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PHOTOGRAPHY

TWENTY BUCKS (1993)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 91 minutes, two audio commentaries, two featurettes, and previews

STUDIO: SPHE

RELEASE DATE: 7-5-2005

ANALYSIS: A quirky series of vingettes linked together by a twenty dollar bill. That is the basic premise of the very unusual TWENTY BUCKS. It is one of those films that has a great series of stories where characters do show up in parts of other stories. At the point when TWENTY BUCKS was made, Brendan Fraser, steve Buscemi, and Elisabeth Shue were just starting to be known or on the verge of being famous actors. They are also among longtime greats like Linda Hunt and Christopher Lloyd. Irony is a big theme in TWENTY BUCKS as this one twenty dollar bill passes from person to person from coming out of an ATM to it's destruction at an airport. Linda Hunt as a baglady is one of the more intersting characters and so is the story between Christopher Llloyd and Steve Buscemi as partners for one night as they rob convience stores. Watch for Melora Walters as a stripper (only to have a different job at the end of the film) and the future Mrs. Kevin Sorbo, Sam Jenkins Sorbo.  Elisabeth Shue puts all of her creative enrgy into the role of a struggling writer.   Many other actors you will recognize for roles they did in later movies.  TWENTY BUCKS was full of rising talent waiting for roles that would strike gold with audiences.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The tranfer is OK looking.  Image detail is good enough.  Colors and skin tones are good.

AUDIO: English 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: Japanese (commentaries not subtitled), English Close Captions

Dialogue is easy to hear. TWENTY BUCKS is dialogue driven, so you won't get much life of the soundtrack except mostly for the songs used for this film.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Oddly enough, TWENTY BUCKS has extras that include two audio commentaries for the movie, two featurettes, and some crappy previews. The first audio commentary is with director Keva Rosenfeld, Elisabeth Shue, Steve Buscemi, and Melora Walters. You hear how the actors got involved and their experiences on this film (like Melora not being happy she had to do the striptease scene so soon). The other audio commentary is with Keva Rosenfeld, screenwriter Leslie Bohem,and producer Karen Murphy. They talk about the story, reveal some production details, and Leslie mentions the original scripted ending.

The featurettes are more interesting than the commentary tracks. The WRITING, CASTING, AND PREPRODUCTION featurette focuses on how Leslie Bohem dusted off an old script of his father's and how Keva Rosenfeld made the suggestion to rewrite the movie to interconnect the stories, the readthrough of the script before casting (including a young Ben Affleck reading for the small parts), and chosing where to film TWENTY BUCKS. The next featurette, FILMING & EDITING, continues with the choice of the Director of Photography, the twenty dollar bills they used and put certain marks on it to show certain stages of the bill's life (then they put each bill back into petty cash once they got the shot with that certain bill), and the editing of the film.

COVERT ART/MAIN MENU ART:  My minor annoyance with the art is it features the newest Twenty dollar bill and not the version of the bill still being printed when this movie was being made (1992).

FINAL ANALYSIS:  If you're looking for quirk films or just good old-fashioned storytelling, you should give TWENTY BUCKS try.

this DVD Review is (c)7-3-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia