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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 110 minutes, feature audio commentary, featurette, and deleted/extended scenes

STUDIO: Focus Pictures/ Universal

RELEASE DATE: 8-8-2006

Imagine if you threw THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON into a blender and set it during the time of life known as high school. Then you also have a local small time crime boss called The Pin who dresses like someone belonging to the Barnabas Collins Fan Club. What you get is a modern film noir called BRICK.

BRICK follows Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt of 3rd Rock From The Sun) investigating the murder of his ex-girlfriend (Emile De Ravin). Set against the time of high school, Brendan must figure out whether he can trust dangerous rich girl, Laura (Nora Zetehner), and when to deliver what he knows to the Vice Principal (Richard Roundtree). He gets sucked into the world of The Pin and his hired thug called Tug while worrying about Dodd (Noah Segan), a druggie that his ex-girlfriend was hanging out with before she died.

BRICK is the kinda of film that will be easy to watch over and over again. It respects the film noir genre while making it seem new. The music and visuals leap out at you. The cast bring this world to life. It's just down and dirty guerilla style filmmaking at it's best.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Image quality is good, but grain is noticeable in a couple of scenes. Overall, not a bad transfer at all.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, and French

Dialogue is clear and sound elements add to the atmosphere of BRICK.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Eight extended, deleted, and alternate scenes (like the original shot version of the ending) with introductions from writer/director Rian Johnson were cut to make scenes better and some stuff reshot. A dream sequence was cut for example.

Auditions for Nora Zehetner and Noah Segan are included.

Th fetaure audio commentary is with writer/director Rian Johnson, actors Nora Zehetner and Noah Segan, producer Ram Bergman, production designer Jodie Tillen, and costume designer Michele Posch. Dashielle Hammett and Miller's Crossing were the starting point for the film. He shot it in his home town. The audio commentary is done in talk show style where the people joining the director are only there for a few minutes and not together in a group commentary. A few gaps of silence and I think the audio commentary would have been better without those gaps.

FINAL ANALYSIS: BRICK is worth seeing because it is a clever modern film noir.

this review is (c)8-11-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com