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February 04, 2016

'Director's Cut': A Personal Review

LOS ANGELES—The L.A. premiere of Adam Rifkin's Director's Cut took place Tuesday evening, and I was in attendance—and let me say up front that I was one of those who contributed cash to the crowdfunded project, but hopefully, this will be a fairly unbiased assessment. But first let me gush a bit and say that this was one of the funniest horror movies (sort of) that I've ever seen, and should get some sort of award for its inventive style. Not sure I can adequately convey the plot, but I'll try. Director's Cut is a film within a film with another couple of films sneaking in from the side. Ostensibly, it's about the making of a crowdfunded movie called Knocked Off, starring Harry Hamlin, Missi Pyle (many will probably remember how great she was as the strange sexy alien Laliari in Galaxy Quest), Hayes MacArthur and Lin Shaye. Knocked Off is a murder mystery: Someone is going around L.A. killing victims in multiple locations in the style of several serial killers of old: Charles Whitman (of Texas Tower infamy), Jeffrey Dahmer, Charlie Manson (yes, I know he wasn't personally a killer but ...) and others. The constantly (and apparently presciently) vaping cop Hamlin, partnered with Rifkin favorite MacArthur, are tasked with finding the killer; the ubiquitous Lin Shaye (she's been in 186 movies and TV shows) is their captain, and Missi Pyle is an FBI consultant brought in to help out on the case. However, plot-wise, Director's Cut is sort of a film about the making of Knocked Off—except that one of Knocked Off's major crowdfunders is pudgy, long-haired Herbert Blount (Penn Jillette, who also scripted—and gained 110 pounds to play the part), who's obsessed with Missi Pyle, and as the shooting of Knocked Off progresses, he decides they're not using her well … so after video-stalking her from afar during the first half of Director's Cut, he kidnaps her and forces her to create scenes from the movie with him, which he intends to later splice into Knocked Off for a "director's cut"—for which he also delivers a director's commentary! Believe me, that's barely half of what goes on in this film's 88-minute run time—though the scenes that take place in the strip club, about which I wrote an On The Set piece, are woefully short, and generally don't showcase the several porn actresses hired as club dancers: Kirsty Hill, Lexi Love, Penny Pax, Veruca James, Evilyn Fierce, Debi Diamond, Dahlia Sky, Lea Lexis, Callie Calypso, Dani Daniels, Karlie Montana and Aubrey Addams, with retired star Bree Olson playing the part of the "sexy nurse." And of course, Rifkin favorite Ron Jeremy (who also attended the premiere) gets his own brief scene. Oh, and Teller (of "Penn &"...) has a speaking role. Sadly, Rifkin and Jillette don't have distribution for this thing yet, even though it was reportedly an incredible hit at the opening night of Slamdance, but when/if they do, the Great American Public is due for a real treat—and possibly even an Oscar nom for the incredibly versatile Missi Pyle, who essentially plays four different roles in the feature, including a version of herself. I know that I, for one, will be seeing it several more times, since it's impossible to pick up on all of the movie's subtleties and "Easter eggs" in one viewing. Pictured: Bree Olson.

 
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