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Tusk Blu-ray Review

Tusk Blu-ray

“Tusk” is a clunky experiment from the usually reliable Kevin Smith.

Born out of a Smodcast podcast with hosts Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, “Tusk” is writer/director Kevin Smith’s latest non-View Askewniverse film. The story concerns a podcaster (Wallce) who ventures to Canada with the intention of interviewing a viral video celeb. Upon arrival, Wallace learns that the celeb died so he has to search for a new story. After stumbling onto an intriguing flier, Wallace decides to roll the dice and interview the flier poster who turns out to be a wheelchair bound old man (Howard Howe). As Wallace learns through his interview, Howard has lived a rather extraordinary life as he rambles on about a tale in which a walrus allegedly saved him from a shipwreck. Just when Wallace thinks he has golden podcasting  material, however, he finds himself drugged by Howard who wants to turn him into a walrus. Can Wallace try to prevent the madman from carrying out his deranged plan? Can he try to get help from his girlfriend (Ally) and podcasting partner (Teddy)?

As a fan of many Kevin Smith films, live shows, and podcasts (namely his uproarious Hollywood Babble-On show), I have no problem saying that the cult writer/director has created some of the funniest entertainment of the past 20 years. Lately though, Kevin Smith seems to be at a different place in his career where he is experimenting with genres. Now, I’m all for writers and directors attempting new things. After all, no one wants to see a talent become stagnant. With “Tusk” though, it feels as if he is making a “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” movie that doesn’t translate well to the big screen.

Aside from the truly disturbing walrus costume by creature f/x guru Bob Kurtzman, there’s simply not much to “Tusk.” It is what it is- a movie about a man being turned into a walrus. Granted, it’s a ballsy risk by a writer/director who is traditionally known for crafting personal comedies, but the movie has relatively little to say. Kevin Smith skyrocketed to stardom because of his deeply personal and identifiable comedies. He was a voice of the 90’s that struck a chord with the youth of that time period. “Tusk” feels like the work of someone who is trying to find something to say in the now. Of course, it’s entirely possible Smith will have something to say in his films again (perhaps with “Clerks 3” or “Hit Somebody”?), but for now, I hope Smith is at least enjoying his strange cinematic departures even if they may not work for everyone.

As for the cast, I’m sad to say that no one is putting out their best work here. Michael Parks and Justin Long certainly give it their all here, but some of their scenes are downright cringe worthy. The only actor who seems to be having a ball is a barely recognizable Johnny Depp as an oddball Canadian ex-cop named Guy Lapointe. It’s an out-there performance that doesn’t exactly work, but it’s one of the film’s more memorable moments to be sure.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? Truth be told, the moody cinematography is one of the film’s few highlights. This is arguably the best looking Kevin Smith film to date.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? “Tusk” is largely a dialogue driven affair so don’t expect too much going on audio wise. With all of that said, the hi-def track does what it needs to do.

Extras:
* Digital HD copy.
* Lionsgate trailers.
* 2 deleted scenes.
* “Smodcast #259: The Walrus and the Carpenter”- The Smodcast podcast that inspired “Tusk.” Far more amusing than the film.
* “The Making of Tusk”- A lengthy 14 part featurette that covers the story, pre-production, direction, filming, production design, the podcast, the crew, Jason Mewes shenanigans, and the Walrus costume.
* “20 Years To Tusk”- Kevin Smith shoots the breeze about his career and “Tusk.”
* Commentary by Kevin Smith. A lot of this material has been recycled in interviews and podcasts, but there’s still a lot of interesting stories regarding the production.

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December 26, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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