Director’s Cut is a 2016 dark comedy film produced & directed by Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, The Dark Backward, Psycho Cop Returns, & Chillerama). It was written & produced by lead actor Penn Jillette. Jillette lost so much weight around 120 lbs after principle photography ended that they were unable to go back & do any re-shoots or pick-up scenes as he looked completely different. It’s considered to to be part of the “meta-film” sub genre. It raised $1,164,928 from 4,736 donors on crowdsourcing platform FundMe. Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Stiller, Carrot Top, Dee Snider, Ron Jeremy, & Joan Rivers were some of the names that pitched in to lend their support to the crowdfunding campaign. It opened the Slamdance Film Festival in 2016.
Director Adam Rifkin (played by: himself) is working on his new film “Knocked Off”. It’s about two detectives Godfrey Winters (played by: Harry Hamlin from L.A. Law, Mad Men, Shameless, & Veronica Mars) & Reed (played by: Hayes MacArthur from Super Troopers 2, Angie Tribeca, A Haunted House 2, & Someone Marry Barry) with the help of F.B.I agent Mable (played by: Missi Pyle from Galaxy Quest, Big Fish, Dodgeball, & Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) are investigating a psychopath that’s committing copycat murders from famous serial killers. The unknown real life monster is paying tribute to the likes of Albert Fish, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Richard Speck, Charles Whitman, & others! Captain Wheeler (played by: Lin Shaye from Detroit Rock City, Chillerama, Tales of Halloween, 2001 Maniacs 1/2, & Snakes on a Plane) is angry & wants this case solved ASAP! They run into several wacky characters while looking into the gruesome crimes which include Superintendent (played by: Gilbert Gottfried from Up All Night, Problem Child series, & Beverly Hills Cop II), Moving Company Guy (played by: Marshall Bell from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Starship Troopers, Total Recall, & Stand by Me), CSI Perry (played by: Nestor Carbonell from Bates Motel, Lost, The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises, & Smokin’ Aces), & Rudy Nelson (played by: Teller from Penn & Teller, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, My Chauffeur, & Car 54, Where Are You?). Aspiring filmmaker & huge crowdfunder to the project Herbert Blount (played by: Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller, Hackers, Scorpion, & Tough Guys Don’t Dance) is disappointed in the direction that the production is going so he takes matters in his own hands! After filming various behind the scenes footage he decides to take over as the director without anyone’s permission or knowledge! He kidnaps & forces lead actress Missi Pyle to complete his vision of this failed independent feature. All hell breaks loose when he takes creative control & puts together his “Director’s Cut”!!!!
First off, I want to say that I’ve never seen anything like this before so that alone really impressed me! I’ve never witnessed a film that used a director’s commentary as the narrative. The script & concept for Director’s Cut is top notch. It’s a very creative approach at making fun of film making & what happens behind the scenes during it. Lots of cinema references & common mistakes are pointed out. It’s beyond hilarious & it keeps a sinister grin on your face during the whole running time because you just get exactly what it’s trying to do with this production. The social commentary on this is spot on. As a long time fan of anything to do with movies I felt instantly connected to it. Let me clarify that because I don’t mean I want to stalk & take over a movie production like Herbert Blount, what I mean by that is the process & situations behind creating cinema. LOL Also, I’ve always been interested in true crime so I loved the addition of the re-creations of the some of the most infamous killers of all time featured in this. So it’s definitely much more than a dark comedy & any horror fan will geek out during those familiar moments. The writing on this is pretty good at getting you to laugh at the same time while experiencing real brutal visuals so it does have a great balance to it. Penn Jillette proves if given a chance he can really shine. Also, after seeing this I want to see more scripts produced that he’s written because he brings something to the table that most in the movie business just don’t get & it’s very refreshing to see. Character actress Missi Pyle shows she has the chops to be the lead if given the opportunity. So many awesome cameos including a speaking role for Penn’s partner in crime Teller! Adam Rifkin is one of the most under-rated directors around & his last two projects proved this with no hesitation. I watched The Last Movie Star a few weeks ago & I was blown away with what he achieved with that smaller feature. I really hope he gets a chance at making something big again someday because he honestly deserves it. I’ve honestly never been disappointed with anything he’s made so far & that’s a hard thing to accomplish. Director’s Cut is truly one of a kind & it’s very original so I highly recommend this film & release to everyone especially to cinephiles!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Epic Pictures & Dread Central Presents! This 1080p (1.77:1) transfer looks great & very stylish for a low budget production. The quality drops on purpose with time codes included during the added footage from fake director & cinematic lunatic Herbert Blount which adds to the charm of this entertaining feature. Especially towards the end, it gets out of control & it’s so much fun. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is very clean & provides a nice addition to the excitement of film making gone wrong! It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this release from from Epic Pictures & Dread Central Presents! Audio Commentary with producer/director Adam Rifkin & writer/producer/star Penn Jillette. They joke about this being a commentary over a commentary. They point out the fake logos & disclaimer at the beginning. They talk about the origin of the project & how they both got involved in it. Jillette really enjoyed Rifkin’s film Look. He called him instantly after getting his number for a possible collaboration. Adam Rifkin mentions how much fun it was basically making two films at the same time. Missi Pyle originally was only supposed to have a cameo role in this but the lead actress dropped out so she got the lead role instead. Penn Jillette jokes about gaining 100 lbs for the role. He mentions his two inspirations that helped him come up with the name Herbert Blount. They have fun with Teller’s cameo & bring up he had the most lines out of anyone. They bring up cinematic moments & artists during the track that goes with the theme of this feature since it’s about making a movie plus what goes behind the scenes with it. They bring up the other actors featured in the film. Penn Jillette jokes about Celebrity Apprentice & Donald Trump. They go into various details about the production & the techniques used for it. They bring improvising & material that got cut from the final version. These two have excellent chemistry & this audio track is very fun to check out. It has a nice flow to it & you get to learn a decent amount about Director’s Cut. Audio Commentary # 2 with crowdfunder Perry Friedman. He says Nestor Carbonell’s character in the film is named after him. He brings up the person who helped him crowdfund this project. He chats about the low budget feel of the production & the style it adds to it. Just a warning for this audio track, it has lots of silence & it’s kinda awkward to be honest. It’s always nice to have additional extras on a disc but I personally didn’t like this commentary at all. “Riffin’ with Rifkin and Penn” is a little over 31 minutes. Penn Jillette talks about how he looks so much different since doing the film. Adam Rifkin jokes that he deserves an Oscar nomination for losing 100 lbs. They talk about their early cinema inspirations which include the Universal monsters & Horror TV hosts. They go into detail how they met. Their mutual friend Ron Jeremy recommended Penn to check out Rifkin’s film Look one day. Penn was blown away by it & decided to contact the director after he was done writing Director’s Cut. They joke about making original contact on Facebook & both having no lives on a Friday night. They talk about the original script was much darker & the Herbert Blount character was completely unlikable in it. They say Missi Pyle changed the whole feel of it when she joined the cast. They bring up that it took 2 years to get distribution for this project. They chat about how rough the movie business is & no one there has a guarantee. “Blount’s BTS: Behind The Scenes of DIRECTOR’S CUT” is a little over 19 minutes. Penn Jillette says he first came up with Director’s Cut about 10 years ago.
Director Adam Rifkin joins him for some behind the scenes footage. They laugh at being creepy & filming certain scenes with Missi Pyle. Multiple video blogs cover various production days on this shoot. It’s pretty cool to see them create this feature. Teller even steps in & chats a little bit. “KNOCKED OFF “Early Cut” is almost 14 minutes. it’s nice addition & look into the project. “Outtakes” is almost 6 minutes & it has some really funny bloopers in it. “Slamdance Premiere” is 9 minutes. It starts out with a Q & A then go into interviews with the main creative forces for this project. Producer/director Adam Rifkin & writer/producer/star Penn Jillette chat about Director’s Cut to various people & press. They are later joined by actors Missi Pyle, Harry Hamlin, Teller, & Gilbert Gottfried. “Brendan Mitchell at the L.A. Premiere” is 14 minutes. He also known as WetMovie1 & he is one of the worst reviewers around. His hoarding up YouTube videos are cringe worthy & he doesn’t seem to care about the actual releases he talks about. He’s more about the attention than anything. I still don’t understand how anyone can tolerate his awkwardness for more than a few minutes at a time. I guess it’s like watching a train wreck because it’s hard to look away sometimes. Luckily, his premier & signing videos are better than those. He starts out with a quick chat with Penn & Teller. It features a small portion of the Q & A with various cast & crew members moderated by Rob Galluzzo. Ron Jeremy is falling asleep during this & it’s kinda amusing to see. Penn says he tried to shopping it around to multiple studios & got rejected by all of them. Missi Pyle, Ron Jeremy, & Adam Rifkin are briefly interviewed. Ron Jeremy & some girls make a joke that WetMovie1 completely falls for which makes him look a little clueless. He ends the feature mumbling & shuddering trying to review what he seen but really doesn’t say much to sell you on it. Luckily, you have someone like me to give you a better insight on something like this. “The Clap: Slate-Mania from the set of DIRECTOR’S CUT” is a little over 2 minutes. It’s definitely a weird little extra. “Make Penn Bad: Original Crowdfunder Pitch Video” is 4 minutes. Penn Jillette sells the shit out of this film. He kills it at pitching this. I am not surprised that they did so good with this on Crowdfunding. This video was probably one of the main reasons for that. “Deleted Scenes” is 15 minutes & it features some of the fast forwarded stuff in the film like the Manson Family & Jeffrey Dahmer material. I kinda wish they were in the actual feature now. Last not least, you get various trailers for Dread Central Presents releases which include Two different Director’s Cut trailers, Zombiology, Vidar the Vampire, & Terrifier. Epic Pictures & Dread Central KILLED it on this release because it’s fully loaded! It will keep you busy for hours, check it out!!!!