A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III Blu-ray Review

Roman Coppola has received some pretty high praise for his collaborative work with director Wes Anderson on the Academy Award nominated MOONRISE KINGDOME in 2012.  However, with his solo shot at directing his first feature film, A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III, signs are starting to point toward Coppola’s contribution on “Moonrise” to be perhaps somewhat far less than a lion’s share.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

Charlie Sheen is back, but he’s far from “winning” with this role, nor is his title character in the film.  Charles Swan is a graphic designer in the heyday of the 1970s.  Swan’s womanizing and sexual escapades have caused his life to fall into a tailspin and his creative slump has put his business in jeopardy.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

There’s no other way to say it, or at least this film doesn’t deserve the thought process to put it another way, this is a very bad film.  The kind where if the opening and closing credits rolled back to back, you would still check your watch to see how much time is left.  There’s something much worse and intolerable about a bad studio film as opposed to a bad amateur one.  The amateur or indie-type film is supposed to have flaws, everything is against them.  If they even have one vaguely recognizable name in the cast and a coherent script, it’s a major victory.  But when you have the clout to get a legend like Bill Murray to step onto your set and recite your script, you better have some quality material ready.  Not to mention that your own name is pretty much Hollywood royalty and will all but guarantee any project you choose to get a green light from someone, somewhere.  Regretfully though, Coppola wastes his resources on an 87 minute bad impression of a Wes Anderson film with Monty Python type animation thrown in as a poor gimmick.

Aubrey Plaza in A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan

And if the film itself wasn’t bad enough, you also have to be reminded just how far the once great star of films like PLATOON, WALL STREET, MAJOR LEAGUE and HOT SHOTS has fallen.  Regulated now to what is the equivalent of a direct-to-video release, Charlie Sheen is far too much of a parody of himself to even begin to portray another human being.  Other Coppola “friendlies” include Jason Schartzman and Stephen Dorff appearing in roles that are either a pure favor to the director or the result of a lost bet.  And then there’s Bill Murray, showing up in scenes like he’s just strolling through the studio and decided to take part in the film out of boredom.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

Even with this utter mess of a first attempt; Coppola should not hang up the clapboard.  The man does have talent. But perhaps for now his wheelhouse lies in the ability to collaborate with someone who knows how to organize his thoughts into an actual narrative.  Maybe after working with and studying master filmmakers like his pal Wes, he can come back with a more focused effort and make sure “a glimpse” is all well ever have to see of Charles Swan III.


Video:  1.85:1 Widescreen, 1080p/AVC MPEG-4: Surprisingly there is a picture flaw that doesn’t show up very often among new films shot with high-end HD cameras.  There is actually banding in the opening sequence, but with this film who knows, it could have been done on purpose.  Not that it would make any sense, but that didn’t stop them from making the film in the first place.

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The sound feels like most of the film looks, amateurish.  The entire time it gives off a sense that some dorm room kids got their hands on some fancy equipment but don’t entirely know how to use it.  There are obvious acoustic problems in some scenes and the music plays with a very flat mix.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Roman Coppola:  This commentary is like when a coach give a press conference after a bad game and does nothing but blame the refs.  Coppola constantly reminds you that the production was low budget and how it affected the shoot.  Someone should gift wrap him some DVD’s like SLING BLADE, SNATCH and just about any Christopher Guest film to show him it ain’t all about the money.

“The Making of Charles Swan” Featurette (25 min):  This featurette gives a little background on some of the pop culture art that inspired the film and the standard interviews with cast and crew.

“A Glimpse Into the Mind of Charles White III” (12 min):  This is an interview with movie poster artist Charles White III, the man in which the title character of the film is loosely based.  Even though it has hardly anything to do with the film, White’s career is mildly interesting, which means it’s THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION compared to the actual film.


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