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Ivans xtc. Blu-ray Review

Danny Huston shines in “Ivans xtc.”

“Ivans xtc.” is a Hollywood set reworking of Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death Of Ivan Ilyich” that is written by Lisa Enos (who also stars) and Bernard Rose (who also directs). The story begins with the death of film agent Ivan Beckman and then goes back in time to when he was alive and working. Ivan thinks his career his on the rise after he lands a major movie star with Don West, but his dreams come crashing down when he learns he has lung cancer. 

“Ivans xtc.” (AKA “Ivansxtc”) is a low-budget indie that is part Tolstoy adaptation and part dark satire. Director Bernard Rose explores the seedy and superficial side of Hollywood by focusing on the unflattering, cold, self-destructive, selfish, and empty existence of certain individuals in this world. Of course, the standard glitz and glamour, broken dreams, sex and drugs, wheeling and dealing aspects are also touched upon here as well. While hardly revelatory, “Ivans xtc.” does deserve credit for a no holds barred approach to the industry that also thoughtfully (and introspectively) looks at human mortality.

Actor Danny Huston (who has since gone on to become a successful veteran actor) truly elevates the material here by giving a strong, committed performance. He really sells the material here. The film also boasts a few memorable supporting performances by Peter Weller (who plays a jackass actor named Don west) and Lisa Enos who plays Ivan’s drug addicted girlfriend who is also in the biz.

The one glaring downside to the feature is the cinematography. This is one of the first films to be shot in HD and, as you might imagine, it looks cheap and distracting like “Birdemic.” Sure, cinematographers Bernard Rose and Ron Forsythe deserve credit for being pioneers in the HD world, but it certainly does not hold up visually 21 years later.

Note: This release contains 2 versions of the movie- the Director’s cut (92 minutes) and the longer 110 minute Producer’s cut. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p in 60i and 24 fps. How do they look? Both cuts of the film look impressive in hi-def despite the shoddy early HD cinematography.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA for Director’s version and 2.0 DTS-HD MA for the Producer’s version. How do they sound? Both tracks do the job. 


Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* A booklet with credits, photos, and a written piece by Robert JE Simpson.
* 2 archival interviews with Lisa Enos and Bernard Rose from the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
* Extended party sequence outtakes
* A 34 minute 2018 Q&A with Bernard Rose, Lisa Enos, Danny Huston, Peter Weller and Adam Krentzman from the Egyptian Theater in LA.
* “Charlotte’s Story”- A making of documentary by Lisa Enos who talks about her life, career and the making of ‘Ivan.’
* Commentary by Lisa Enos and Richard Wolstencroft. 

January 27, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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