Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Home Video

How Redford and Pitt Play 'Spy Game'

April 11, 2002|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the entertaining DVD of "Spy Game" (Universal, $20), the CIA espionage thriller starring Hollywood golden boys Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, director Tony Scott spills the beans on how the two actors work at their craft.

Scott, the colorful brother of Ridley, explains on the digital edition that Redford comes totally prepared for the day's work; the actor knows his character inside and out. On the other hand, says Scott, Pitt arrives on the set prepared but eager to improvise and try new things if he feels the character or the scene warrants it.

Despite their diverse acting styles, the two superstars and friends--Redford directed Pitt a decade ago in "A River Runs Through It"--worked well together.

Highlights of the disc include deleted and alternate scenes complete with Scott's commentary, a look at how Scott uses storyboards in making his films, a list of requirements for acceptance into the CIA, trailers, talent files, commentary with producers Marc Abraham and Douglas Wick and commentary from Scott.

Rounding out the disc is a feature called "Clandestine OPS." Each time an icon appears on screen, viewers can click on it to watch several interesting mini-documentaries on the making of the film.

*

Director Peter Chelsom is a delightful, charming guide through the digital version of his romantic comedy "Serendipity" (Miramax, $30), starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale as two strangers destined to be together who meet cute at Bloomingdale's during Christmas. Jeremy Piven, Eugene Levy and John Corbett also star in the farce that never really realizes its potential.

The DVD features 16 minutes of deleted scenes, which should be viewed after watching the movie. In his commentary, Chelsom explains that after the filming was completed, he re-shot the three opening scenes.

Those pivotal sequences were filmed before the chemistry between Cusack and Beckinsale was really established. Chelsom realized that the actors appeared nervous and thought re-shooting those sequences would make the film stronger. His decision was correct. In the deleted scenes, Cusack and Beckinsale make an attractive couple, but there isn't much of a spark between them.

*

"The Skulls," a thriller from 2000 about a secret and deadly college fraternity, didn't exactly attract the attention of critics and audiences. But that fact hasn't stopped Universal from producing a made-for-video sequel, "The Skulls II" (VHS is priced for rental: $27 for DVD). "Skulls II" is quite numbing. The original at least starred Joshua Jackson from "Dawson's Creek."

The sequel is peppered with a lot of attractive but boring unknowns--Robin Dunne, Nathan West and Ashley Lyn Cafagna. This time around, when new member of the Skulls (Dunne) sees a woman murdered within the walls of the group's private chambers, he finds his life is in jeopardy

*

"The Nude Set" (First Run, $25 for VHS; $30 for DVD) was probably considered pretty racy when it was released in 1960. But the French farce is pretty tame and quaint in 2002.

Agnes Laurent, who is described as "the new French love kitten," stars in this hoot about a young girl from the provinces who convinces her wealthy parents to allow her to study art in Paris, so she can continue her romance with a handsome young doctor.

When she arrives in Paris, she discovers that her boyfriend loves to go to a strip club where he has romanced several of the young performers. Before you can say "oo-la-la," she goes from observer to performer in the club.

*

Also new from First Run is the fascinating documentary "The Man Who Bought Mustique" ($60 for VHS; $30 for DVD) from British filmmakers Joseph Bullman and Vikram Jayanti. In 1956, Scottish Lord Glenconner bought the tiny Caribbean island paradise of Mustique and ended up transforming it into a playground for the rich and famous. Visitors included the late Princess Margaret, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. By the late '70s, Glenconner ran out of money and lost control of his land. He moved to nearby St. Lucia, where he operates a popular restaurant.

The 78-minute documentary, which is alternately funny, shocking and sad, follows Glenconner as he returns to Mustique for the first time in a decade. Director Bullman captures Glenconner, warts and all, as he berates his family and friends, verbally abuses the filmmakers and treats his help as if they were slaves.

*

For sheer fun, check out "Flash Gordon: The Peril From Planet Mongo" (Image, $20) starring Buster Crabbe. A feature-length edited version of Chapters 7 through 12 of the 1940 serial, "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe," this zippy action-adventure finds Flash, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov returning to the planet Mongo on a special mission for their friend Barin, whose kingdom of Arboria is being threatened by Emperor Ming's heat projectiles.

A sharp script, gorgeous production design, perfect performances and fast-paced direction make it a must-see for "Flash Gordon" fans.

*

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|