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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Trixie
Trixie
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 8, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Director Alan Rudolph had a particularly bad reception for his previous film, "Breakfast Of Champions". It recieved the kind of reviews where you wouldn't think to be seeing the director anytime soon, but, here he is. The results this time out are not a complete loss, but "Trixie" is a dark comedy that lacks a sense of humor or focus. It certainly has a good cast, although lead Emily Watson("Hillary and Jackie") is miscast as Trixie Zurbo, a casino security guard. Do we believe that the rather tiny Watson could be a security guard? Not a moment.

Trixie's main trait is confusing her sayings (she nabs criminals "by hook or by ladder"). She meets another set of colorful characters in the casino, including a lounge singer(Nathan Lane), sleazy local(Dermot Mulroney) and even Nick Nolte appears to play a character similar to many of his previous efforts - this time, a corrupt senator.

The entire tone of the movie seems to be off. Watson is such a talented actress, I would believe that she would be able to play comedy well, but this movie really doesn't prove such. Trixie's ability to spout mixed up sayings is funny once, until we realize that these sayings are every other sentence out of her mouth. It gets tedious about 5 minutes into the film. The rest of the cast overplays already dull material; Mulroney and Britney Murphy find themselves lost in poorly defined characters. It's supposed to be a "noir-screwball comedy", I suppose. The material isn't at all funny, but some of it could have been saved it was played right - the movie needs an edge, a snap, (much!) quicker pace. Lines that are supposed to be played for laughs are just dropped in this film - as a result, they fall consistently flat.

As for the plot, well it revolves around some sort of scandal nonsense with the corrupt Nolte character. The movie's characters are so unengaging that we really don't care a great deal about what's going on. Watson seems to be the only actor at least trying, and I actually felt sorry for her that she found herself in this mess - she's a great actress and really deserves better.


The DVD

VIDEO: Tristar does the best they can here with a movie that doesn't seem to be particularly visually pleasing to begin with. Sharpness and detail are fair; much of the movie seems to be intentionally given a slightly soft look. Some of the interior scenes, such as at the casino, end up looking a little too dark, murky and undefined. Cinematographer Jan Kiesser gives the film a rather drab look that doesn't really make it any easier to watch.

But, at least it's fairly clean looking. I spotted some little marks on the print used early on, but these were brief and not too distracting. Some small instances of pixelation and shimmering appear, but these aren't terribly noticable. Colors are rather subdued throughout, with browns and other dark colors often seemingly the color of choice in many scenes.

Not a terrible presentation, but I don't think it's a great looking movie anyways. 1.85:1 (anamorphic) on one side, full-frame on the other.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation really only comes alive during the casino scenes, where there are some light ambient sounds from the surrounds. Otherwise, the sound here folds up completely to being dialogue-driven. Mark Isham's score doesn't really come in that often, so we're not left with much.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Alan Rudolph, who often sounds as excited while talking about his movie as I was while watching it (read: not very). An unintentionally funny remark comes at the very begining of the track where he says, "I tried to do this film with no visual style". The rest of the commentary proves to be a mildly involving listen, as the director talks about some of the details of the production and some of his feelings about the story. The commentary didn't bring any new understandings of "Trixie"; I still think it's not a well-done film. Although the director isn't particularly energetic, there is the occasional interesting tidbit.

Trailers: Trailers for two much more enjoyable films, "Groove" and "Me, Myself, I".

Also: Talent files.

Final Thoughts: Simply not recommended.

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