Sunday, March 12, 2023

B'TWIXT NOW AND SUNRISE (2011) (The Authentic Cut Blu-ray Review)

The Authentic Cut

Label: Lionsgate
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 79 Minutes 
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.00:1) 
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Tom Waits, Ben Chaplin, Alden Ehrenreich, David Paymer
Francis Ford Coppola originally released Twixt back in 2011 and it seems he was not pleased with the theatrical version, and as with so many of his films he has returned to it some years later and re-jiggered the film into a directors cut, which he's done with Apocalypse Now, The Godfather III, Dementia 13, The Outsiders and now we have 'The Authentic Cut' re-edit of Twixt now re-titled B'Twixt Now and Sunrise, which is closer to Coppola's preferred title. I did watch Twixt back in 2013 when it was released on DVD but honestly do not remember caring for it much, but I also have no substantial recollection of it a decade later - so I am more or less jumping into this re-edit as a first time watch, and without any memory to say what's different about it compared to the 2011 release. 

In it we have a struggling supernatural/horror writer named Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer, Top Secret) who has arrived in a small town as part of his book tour. His inauspicious 
appearance takes place at a poorly attended hardware store where the offbeat local sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern, The 'Burbs), who fancies himself an amateur writer, not only spins local folklore to the visiting writer, suggesting that they should collaborate on a new book, but also invites him to the morgue to see the body of a victim of a serial killer. Baltimore is less than impressed with the idea of co-writing, but he's intrigued by LaGrange's local tales and strings him along in hopes that he can get enough of the stories to inspire a new book, hoping to get away from his long-running series of witch hunter novels that he feels trapped by.  

Meanwhile, Baltimore sets up in his hotel room, gets drunk on the nightly, and has dreams in which he speaks to the ghost of a young girl named V (Elle Fanning, Neon Demon) as well as Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin, Remains of the Day). Between the local tales from LaGrange and his nightly visitations with Poe and V the author learns of the town's bizarre seven faced clock, a local mass murder, and a group teens living on the other side of the lake who might be vampires, or at least satanists, which all figure into the story.  While I don't remember caring for the theatrical version all that much I liked this re-edited version which runs about ten minutes shorter quite a bit without loving it. It's a bit muddled but I liked it overall, and while I don't remember the original theatrical cut all that well, and did not revisit it for this review, I did enjoy where this went, and the personal tragedy that is at the root of the story worked for me. An interesting minor entry in the Coppola filmography, and one definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen it, or like me, are willing to give this re-edit a re-visit. As I say, I have little memory of the first film, so do I like it more now because of the re-edit or does the film sit better with me ten years later? It's hard to say, as I don't recall it the original cut I am unsure what's different about it, but I dig it now and foresee a revisit of the original cut in my near future. 

 Audio/Video: B'Twixt Now and Sunrise (The Authentic Cut)
arrives on Blu-ray from Lionsgate presenting the film in HD framed in 2.00:1 widescreen with Dolby True HD audio with optional English subtitles. Th film was shot digitally so there are no issues with source related photochemical blemishes, and I found the largely desaturated color-grading to be quite pleasant on Blu-ray. The image offer terrific fine detail and contrast throughout, and while it does have a digital video look to it I thought that the overall visual aesthetic was pleasing, particaurly the monochromatic dream sequences. Audio sounds fine, dialogue is delivered clean and is never a chore to decipher, plus the low key score by composers Dan Deacon and Osvaldo Golijov is laid in nicely. 

The only extras on the disc is an archival 41-minute documentary made by Coppola's granddaughter Gia Coppola that offers an intimate on-set diary of the making of the film with some great shots of Coppola doing his things, as well as discussing inspirations for the film like an unfinished dream and the death of his son. The set also includes a digital copy of the film. 

Special Features:
- Twixt: A Documentary by Gia Coppola (41 min) 
- Digital Copy