CQ (SPECIAL EDITION)
MGM Home Entertainment, $26.98
Roman Coppola: son of privilege, director of Strokes videos. CQ isn't his third strike, but this self-congratulatory, uninformative DVD (due Sept. 10) doesn't make the heart grow fonder for his earnest homage to low budget, late-'60s sci-fi.
A surprising theatrical flop, CQ cleverly contrasts the dual lives of an idealistic American film editor (Jeremy Davies) who compensates for the artlessness of his day job (rearranging the Barbarella-esque mess Codename: Dragonfly) by documenting his drab Parisian apartment life in a "search for truth." One need only dabble in the myriad Roman-permeated special features— director's commentary, five inane making-of featurettes, a preproduction diary—to determine that, duh, the role is heavily autobiographical.
Yet the more this DVD reveals about the charmed lives of the Coppolas, the less one cares about any aesthetic conundrums that may have tormented young Roman. His mother and sister—Sofia, director of the far more subtle The Virgin Suicides—contribute insipid "personal documentaries" that laud the lad's perseverance. Watching Roman goof around with cousin Jason Schwartzman amid all of the on- and off-set luxury is enough to permanently overload one's nepotism sensors.
Worse still are CQ's Easter eggs (on the single disc's flip side, scroll up from the "Personal Documentaries" heading to highlight the "Special Features" artwork), a series of incomprehensible, in-joke outtakes. At least you can temporarily escape Planet Coppola by watching Codename: Dragonfly in its glorious cheesy entirety. The haphazard, string-and-saucer optical effects prompt natural shits and giggles that the endless Roman footage only unintentionally provides.
Sept. 10 provides little of note, DVD-wise. The Count of Monte Cristo debuts with newly locally based director Kevin Reynolds on the chat track. There's a Baz Luhrman box set containing Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, and Strictly Ballroom; the Argentine midlife crisis flick Son of the Bride; and 1994's The Road to Wellville for Anthony Hopkins fans. The Israeli occupied territories drama Time of Favor earned a pick in these pages back in July, and it's still made topical by world events. We also liked Changing Lanes, with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck, which ought to gain greater appreciation on disc.