Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Tony Marsiglia
US 2009

 

Those expecting cheesecake thrills from the director of LUST FOR DRACULA and DR. JEKYLL & MISTRESS HYDE (as well as CHANTAL, one of the handful of remakes featured as bonus features on DVDs of the films of Nick Millard/Nick Phillips) are in for a shock. Tony Marsiglia's SUZIE HEARTLESS is a relentlessly grim, despairing, and monotonous (intentionally so) look at the tragic final days of a teenage prostitute (Wendy McColm, young, hipster "Wendy" in the recent national commercials for that restaurant chain). The film is successfully told without dialogue for its entire hour and a half duration, with McColm's pained facial expressions and Marsiglia's dissonant score and sometimes too flashy non-linear editing capably convey what little story there is while cycling a series of recurrent flashback and flashforward images that steer Suzie towards her fate.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 3 February 2009 (USA)

Reviews                     More Reviews                         DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Alternative Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Alternative Cinema

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:36
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alternative Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by writer/director/editor/composer Tony Marsiglia and producer/assistant director Donna Kane
• Slideshow
• Deleted Scene (16:9; 2:26)
• Disc 2 (see below)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 1

 

Comments

Alternative Cinema's single-layer anamorphic widescreen DVD seems to suitably represent this HD production in SD. The noisy, sometimes blown-out look of the film owes as much to the rushed schedule, lighting, and stolen location shooting as it likely does some post-production color tweaks to make it look grimmer. There is no dialogue, but the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack is shot through with dissonant music cues and piercing screams. A single deleted scene is included, offering what at first seems to be a welcome moment of comfort amidst the feature's relentlessly downbeat tone. On the audio commentary, Marsiglia discusses the origins of the project (from working the graveyard shift as a Yellow Cab driver in Anaheim during his college years), the short shooting schedule (a Christmas 4-day weekend to take advantage of reduced rates for the Sony HD camera and meager lighting package), as well as the budget (locations were stolen whenever possible and much of the money went to the actors). A slideshow rounds out the package for disc 1 (see below for disc 2).

Alternative Cinema's 2-disc set is out of print, but unopened stock is available directly from the filmmakers via eBay.

- Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menu
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


(aka "Ashes and Flames" )

 

directed by Tony Marsiglia
US 1995

 

At its worst, PHOENIX embodies every film school - many of the cast and crew were USC film students and graduates - wierd-isms (although it's never boring); but when performances, the jazz score, and Dave Profiri's gorgeous monochrome cinematography come together, it's like a misguided collaboration between sixties sexploitationers Joseph Sarno, Michael and Roberta Findlay, and Doris Wishman. The vague scenario follows the parallel stories of waitress Nicole (Aisha Prigann) desperately searching for her prostitute sister (Sasha DeMarino) - who actually seems to be the only normal member of her dysfunctional family - and a morgue attendant (Mark Schultz) who seemingly can only attain sexual arousal from a wooden fetish. The thin story - which may or may not be the delusions of one or the other character - is filled out with throw-away comic vignettes with weird (or just weird-looking) supporting characters (a rail-thin hustler and a full-figured client, a sleazy man who stalks Nicole and decides to call her "Dahlia", a soothsayer wandering the desert, a slinky death fetishist named Necro, a cat-like prostitute, Sam's creepy parents, and a character who seems at first to be just a rough trick but turns out to be something more disturbing), diluting what could have been something darker and more obsessive.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 1997 (USA)

Reviews                           More Reviews                                DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Alternative Cinema - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Alternative Cinema

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:18
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 3.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alternative Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Tony Marsiglia
• Slideshow
• Interviews (4:3; 37:50)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 1

 

Comments

Alternative Cinema's single-layer, anamorphic, interlaced presentation of this monochrome feature is generally attractive, but aliasing is regrettably sometimes evident on fine lines. Director Marsiglia discusses the dreadful experience of realizing his first feature, originally planned as a 16mm feature - substandard blow-ups of the surviving test footage appear at the end - but eventually undertaken in 35mm. He admits to having conflicts with the cinematographer because he came from a stage background and could not always communicate his wants in "film language" (and spent a few years before mounting his next film learning the craft). He admits that he threw in as many elements as possible into his first feature thinking he's never make a film beyond this one (an impulse/mistake with which many indie filmmakers are probably familiar).

The lengthy, loosely-structured interview segment with actress Aisha Prigann (shot in Barcelona thirteen years after the production shoot) finds her reflecting on the project (which she considers a more instructive film school that the program in which she was enrolled at the time). She mentions that the film was retitled ASHES AND FLAMES - under which it was released on VHS - because Columbia Pictures was producing a film called PHOENIX at the time, but the disc presentation bears the original title. The talk is a tad repetitive, possibly because she appears to have shot it herself as informal recollections rather than a structured interview with a prompter (or at least some scripting). A slideshow is also included.

- Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menu
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 


 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Alternative Cinema

Region 0 - NTSC



Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!