It's great to see Christian Slater still working.
Didn't Cuba Gooding, Jr. win an Academy Award?Lies and Illusions sounds like it would be the title of Woody Allen movie as opposed to this tale of double lives, murder, intrigue and everything else that filmmaker Tibor Takacs could put into it. Wes Wilson (Christian Slater) is a best selling author of self-help books. His world is shattered when his fiance is abducted and said to no longer be among the living. Sadly, this is the least of Wilson's problems as he now finds himself a target of hired killers, spies and a career criminal played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. As he struggles for self preservation, he comes to understand that recent events aren't what they seem and his wife isn't 100% who he thought she was. Wilson now finds himself trying to put all the pieces together while extracting his own pound of flesh.
Anchor Bay has given us a pretty run of the mill release here. I could complain about it but at the end of the day, I can't say that I had any high hopes for this release. In that regard this featurette that gives users the skinny on how this film got made met all of my expectations. The reality of the situation is that this is a film that was destined to be a part of somebody's library. Anchor Bay will no doubt sell out to the one of the bigger corporate entities one day (Disney, Universal, Paramount, etc.), and a film like Lies and Illusions will be part of a larger value scheme. Now, had the creators of this DVD made a featurette about that...
Widescreen Presentation - 1080p. Director Tibor Takacs and his Director of Photography Zoran Popovic have done a solid job visually with this movie. For some reason all lower budgeted action films look the same and this one is no different. It has its gun scenes, its slow motion scenes, and those scenes where everything looks flat and cold (I don't know this for sure but I am willing to wager that a lot of this movie was shot in Canada or somewhere that tax breaks are offered). This movie looks like it has been given room to breath on Blu-ray disc and Anchor Bay must be commended for that.
Dolby Surround 5.1 - PCM 5.1. English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing. The audio on this Blu-ray D was good. Like the picture, the audio isn't doing anything that is that amazing but it isn't bad. At no point did I feel that anything more than the bare minimum was done in order to achieve the audio results that were obtained here. There was no real richness of any sort and on the whole everything was somewhat sterile. Still, there weren't any glaring audio problems so I guess the job was better than average.
The cover of this movie looks like it was lifted from Crash or one of those other well performing indie films. Maybe the makers of this DVD wanted to confuse audiences? We get our three main stars and a lot of type. The back gives us 5 images from this movie, a description of what it is about, a Special Feature listing, a credits list, and technical specs.
Lies and Illusions was exactly what I expected. This is Blu-ray release doesn't ask a lot from itself and at 93 minutes it doesn't ask too much of viewers. It looked good for what it is but it is apparent (and maybe even more so in the next generation format) that there wasn't a lot of money behind this project. That said the cast and crew seemed to make every effort to acquit themselves well.
Now... why in the world are Christian Slater and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in this movie? While I am sure that there had to have been something of a paycheck involved, I am surprised that these two thespians cannot get better work? Are these guys hard to work with? Did they make some deal with the movie devil to have great success and now the devil has come to collect its due?
Make no mistake, Lies and Illusions isn't terrible it just isn't anything we haven't seen before.
Lies & Illusions was released August 26, 2009.