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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl(2012)
A graphic designer's enviable life slides into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him.
For more about A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl and the A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray release, see A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on May 6, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette, Katheryn Winnick, Aubrey Plaza
Director: Roman Coppola
» See full cast & crew
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, May 6, 2013
There's been a long running custom in American sitcoms that when a supposedly "major" star deigns to matriculate to the small screen, quite often the character he or she is playing is given the same first name as the performer. This goes back to the halcyon days of such fare as I Love Lucy, but it has continued unabated through the intervening decades. It's as if show creators are hedging their bets that audiences won't cotton to an actor in a format like this playing a role with a different name, but there might also be another, more subliminal, aspect at play, namely that the show creators want the audience to identify the role with the actor, as if the actor were playing a "version" of their real life persona. Charlie Sheen seems to be going for a trifecta of sorts in this regard. First he was Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men (and we all know how that ended), and currently he's Charlie Goodson in Anger Management . Somehow he found time in his busy schedule last year to essay yet another "Charlie" role, this time the titular character in Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, admittedly a feature film but one that plays like an extended "very special episode" of a some heretofore unknown sitcom at times. The film never "went wide", to use a bit of showbiz parlance, and evidently only pulled in an actually embarrassing $12,000 in an extremely limited release earlier this year, which may be ample proof of two salient facts: 1) that Charlie Sheen is not a box office draw (to say the least); and 2) that people are sick of him playing versions of himself in any medium, something also borne out by the precipitous decline in ratings for Anger Management.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III was pretty much pilloried, if not outright savaged, by the majority of critics when it had its fitful theatrical release, but here's something of a shocker: I actually enjoyed this oddball little film. I'm not arguing that it's any good, mind you, I'm simply admitting that Coppola's ADHD approach to its similarly manic title character is infrequently dull, even if it's just as admittedly something of an undisciplined mess, much like its star and the character he plays. The film purports to take a look "inside the mind" of a 1970s era graphic designer in a kind of faux Los Angeles (adding faux to Los Angeles may be an exercise in Department of Redundancy Department speak). The film begins with a cutaway view that does indeed give us a glimpse inside Charlie's roiling brain matter, one that is (of course) stuffed largely to the gills (do brains have gills?) with images of naked women and acts of love. The fulcrum upon which much of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III hinges is the supposedly devastating breakup between Charlie and his perfectly gorgeous girlfriend Ivana (Katheryn Winnick).
Though Roman Coppola finally gets around to mentioning Federico Fellini in his commentary included on this Blu-ray as A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III works it way to its final scene on a California beach, it was fairly obvious to me fairly early on in this enterprise that the ghost of Fellini's iconic 8½ looms rather large over the film. Since this film tends to delve into song and dance quite a bit of the time, it might be more appropriate to cite Nine, the Maury Yeston musicalization of Fellini's masterwork that became a none too successful musical follow up for Rob Marshall after his triumph with Chicago. For both A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and Nine are overwrought, gimmicky and even twee, but any cursory review of the similarities will show the comparisons are not unfounded. In both cases we're dealing with a creative genius (in the case of this film, Charlie isn't a film director but a highly successful graphic artist) who's battling some "artist's block" and whose romantic life is a shambles. Also in both Fellini's film (and its musicalization) and Charles Swan, the titular character tends to disappear into fantasies and memories at the veritable drop of a hat.
The film tends to work best in pieces rather than as a cohesive whole, especially since it's so episodic by nature in any case. Some of the fantasy sequences—like an ill conceived dance routine that is inartfully lit, obviously to prevent us from seeing that's not really Sheen doing the dancing—simply don't work, while some others are charmingly goofy in their own way, like the late segment that has Sheen and Winnick crooning the fantastic latter day Jobim classic Águas de Março. (This is neither here nor there vis a vis this review, but it's one of my favorite anecdotes from my childhood which I feel compelled to share here. I am a lifelong fan of Sergio Mendes, and Sergio did the first English language recording of this fantastic song in the mid-seventies. His band performed the song live on The Tonight Show, and unfortunately one of his singers went completely up on Jobim's stream of consciousness lyric. For several hilarious seconds, she simply stared directly into the camera with a deer in the headlights look and kept repeating "la, la, la, la, la, la" while Sergio's other singer attempted to carry on.)
The film boasts a rather eclectic cast. In addition to Sheen and Winnick, Jason Schwartzman (son of Talia Shire, Roman Coppola's aunt) is Charlie's best buddy Kirby, a musician for whom Charlie has designed album covers; Patricia Arquette is Izzy, Charlie's New Age author sister; and Bill Murray is Saul, Charlie's haggard manager who is concerned about Charlie's balance sheet.
Coppola, who co-wrote the far superior Moonrise Kingdom, is still finding himself as an auteur, but the basic talent (perhaps genetically bestowed upon him) is unmistakable. A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, for all its self-absorption and tarted up conceit, is flat out fun a lot of the time, something that so many bigger scale blockbusters never manage to attain despite bigger stars and budgets. Francis Ford Coppola has been accused of being prone to excess more than once in his career, and Roman may simply be following in his father's footsteps for a while. There are worse footsteps to follow.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, Video Quality
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. As Roman Coppola makes clear in his commentary on this Blu-ray, this film was digitally shot on a fairly meager budget, and it appears that several scenes were done utilizing natural light. With that in mind, some of the dank interiors of Charlie's home look a little underwhelming, without sufficient contrast or shadow detail. Otherwise, though, this film is really rather nice looking in its high definition presentation, with vivid and appealing color (which has thankfully not been colored graded in post to within an inch of its life, and appealing fine object detail. Even some of the studio work in dim light works rather well, including the opening sequence (shot separately from the bulk of the film so that Coppola could qualify for some sort of tax break).
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III features a nicely done lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that really springs to life in the film's fantasy sequences, whether those be the song and dance segments or some of the more outlandish imaginary moments, as when Charlie and Kirby face a gaggle of scantily clad Native American women. Surround activity is fairly consistent in these sequences. Dialogue is clean and always prioritized front and center, and the wonderful song score by Liam Hayes and Plush, as well as some source cues, sounds great. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is fairly wide.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Maybe my "expectation bar" was simply set awfully low to begin with, but I found a lot of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III really rather enjoyable. Is it self indulgent? Undoubtedly. Is it too precious for its own good? Absolutely. Has Charlie Sheen completely worn out whatever limited welcome was left to him? No comment. But Coppola is a filmmaker still finding his way, and a certain amount of slack should be granted him while he develops his personal voice. I'll take a flawed attempt at something different any day over yet another cookie cutter remake of something that's been done to death already.
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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Charles Swan III Prize Packages - May 8, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Lionsgate Films are offering four members a chance to win a copy of Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III as well as a bonus of movie related buttons. Additionally one grand prize winner will also receive a Charles ...
• A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray - February 28, 2013
Lionsgate Films have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, starring Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray. Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Roman Coppola the delightfully imaginative ...
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIl Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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