While the direct-to-video titles used to be mostly actioners starring washed-up stars, the teen genre has begun to have a fair amount of its own run-off; pictures that simply are either too small or too poor to recieve a theatrical release. "Tart", which actually boasts a talented cast, is a bit of both. The film, which plays out like a collection of aimless sequences, stars former "Lolita" Dominique Swain as Cat, a bit of a loner who finds herself torn between the popular crowd and the outcasts.
The film really has no plot or structure to really discuss. For 90 minutes, Cat and friends wander from party to party and drink, smoke and do whatever else they may find of interest at that particular moment. Cat gets involved with a popular kid (Brad Renfro) who does various illegal things. At the end, I suppose she realizes its better (healther and less dangerous) to be yourself. Long before the end, I'd realized that "Cruel Intentions" covered the prep-school ground in a much more entertaining fashion.
The actors have been better elsewhere. Micha Barton was far more interesting in "Lost and Delirious"; Swain continues to show less-and-less of the promise that she'd originally offered in her earlier performance; Lacey Chabert, Brad Renfro and Bijou Phillips make little impression in supporting roles (Phillips plays the same character she always does).
"Tart" certainly isn't the worst of what I've seen recently, but there's really just nothing too it. It's difficult to care about a bunch of drug-addict prep school kids wandering around the city with little going on. The film contains some beautiful New York City photography, but that's really about all I found very interesting.
VIDEO: "Tart" is presented by Lion's Gate in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While still noticcably flawed, the presentation is one of the best that I've seen from the smaller studio. The picture remained pleasantly crisp and clear throughout, with good detail, especially in the outdoor sequences.
The picture displayed flaws that weren't particularly major, but still apparent; light grain was occasionally visible, while the print displayed some infrequent marks and specks. Slight edge enhancement and a couple of traces of pixelation were also seen. On a positive note, colors remained natural and vivid. Not a terrific transfer, but certainly a decent one.
SOUND: The 2.0 soundtrack is almost completely dialogue-driven, with the exception of a slight background score that occasionally comes in.
MENUS: Fairly bland and basic menus.
EXTRAS: The trailer.
Final Thoughts: "Tart" was a dissapointment, given the talent involved. The story seemed to go nowhere in particular for 90 very long minutes. Lion's Gate offers respectable audio/video quality on this DVD, but nothing in the way of supplements.