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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Last Goodbye
Last Goodbye
Lightyear Entertainment // Unrated // October 18, 2005
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeff Paramchuk | posted September 21, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The first feature to come out of first time director Jacob Gentry, Last Goodbye is a twisting tale of a rock star, an underage runaway, an alcoholic and an actress who hunts vampires in her hit TV show. How the lives of these people intersect on a hot summer day in sweaty Atlanta drives the story behind Last Goodbye. Agnes (Clementine Ford) loves rock star Peter (Liam O'Neill) who isn't sure about his feelings for Agnes and chooses to spend his time with underage runaway Jen (Sara Stanton). Aside from this connection, Jen is linked in another way to Agnes through a man who works for her father, the self destructing alcoholic Roland played by Chris Rydell.

Last Goodbye tells it's story in non-linear fashion, not unlike how other movies have tried and failed but manages to weave a tale that seems so out of order that it takes the attention of the viewer to actually know what's going on, but not feel like their mind has been warped when the 99 minute feature is complete. Each character comes around full circle in the pounding climax, with great performances from the cast, and in my opinion especially by newcomer Liam O'Neill (son of Academy Award winning Faye Dunaway).

One thing that really stood out for me when watching Last Goodbye was the cinematography. A great attention to detail was paid in each frame, I was very impressed with the visuals in the film, as Gentry made great use of Atlanta both during the day and night.

Gentry must really know some famous people as he was not only to enlist the children of large stars like Cybill Shepherd (Clementine Ford), O'Neill, and Kansas Carradine but also the highly respected parents Faye Dunaway and David Carradine as a movie director and bible thumping father figure, respectfully.

The DVD

How's it Look:

The independent feature is presented in a nicely detailed anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the widescreen fanatics out there. While the quality of the film varied with the subjects, such as the older grainy and tarnished look of some of the flashback scenes, overall the quality was actually quite good with a nice color palette throughout. I did not notice any edge enhancement or excess granularity that detracted from my viewing experience.

How's the sound:

A single sound option exists for Last Goodbye, and that is a 2 channel Dolby Digital option. While limiting by omitting the surrounds, the soundtrack was quite sharp and crisp throughout, crescendos to a thunderous climax which did not even require the additional speakers to make the point that this scene made.

Extras:

For an relatively small feature, Last Goodbye packs a decent amount of extra content for the viewers.

A 9 minute featurette on special effects, called Making Special Effects by Making Effects Special, which demonstrates the creation of one scene in the movie which required some effects due to actress Clementine Ford being absent for that day. Not being a terribly interesting feature, director Jacob Gentry tries to bring some humor to it by focusing on things which are normally insignificant in movie making, specifically the animation of boxes which represent the human form.

An 18 minute feature called Truth in Acting, Through Acting in Truth, a mock featurette on the training of actors to become better at their job. Jacob Gentry and acting coordinator Blake Edmonton chat and show footage of actors doing exercises to a mostly comedic result. While sometimes funny to watch, it wasn't really what one expects as an extra and really didn't help enhance my viewing of the movie.

Another feature is the director's commentary, which includes 2nd 2nd assistant assistant director Seth Joiner, Edmonton, Gentry and bit player Justin Welborn. More akin to the Kevin Smith type commentaries, I had a tough time actually getting information about the movie from this commentary as it involved too many people trying to be the one who stands out. In fact at one point around 45 minutes into the feature it "appears" as if Edmonton gets fed up with Joiner and storms out of the room. Because of the nature of the rest of the commentary it's difficult to know if it's a sincere thing or not, but I found it humorous none the less.

Also a video for the fictional band Altruistic is included, and it's actually a very well shot video intermixed with footage of the movie throughout.

Closing:

I'll admit, the initial scenes of the Last Goodbye were so seemingly random that I felt that there could be no possible way to tie things together, but through flashbacks and some interesting story telling, Gentry was able to pull things together quite nicely in his debut as writer and director and I look forward to seeing what else he can do, and hopefully his sense of humor that was seen in the special features can make its way into future features. A visual treat, this Rubik's Cube of a film is something that I am sure a lot of people would really enjoy, thanks to it's new twist on an age-old topic, and unique presentation. Recommended.
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