David Hochman
January 25, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Being John Malkovich

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
112 minutes
Wide Release Date
10/29/99
performer
John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich
guest performer
Brad Pitt
director
Spike Jonze
Producers
Gramercy Pictures, Propaganda Films, Single Cell Pictures
distributor
Gramercy Pictures
author
Charlie Kaufman
genre
Comedy, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it an A

Ready for yet another John Malkovich head trip? The Special Features on the new ”Being John Malkovich” DVD (1999, USA Home Entertainment, 112 mins., R, $24.95) are as intriguing as the mysterious 7 1/2 floor in the film (”Low overhead, m’boy!”). In fact, ”Malkovich”’s digital extras set new standards in DVDelights. There’s a must see featurette on ”the Art of Background Driving,” which shows how bizarre the extras hired to drive on movie set highways tend to be (”You could literally have just gotten out of prison and gotten a job doing this,” one driver says).

Even more subversive is the exclusive DVD interview with director Spike Jonze, which quickly starts looking like Barbara Walters’ worst nightmare. The segment begins with a warning: ”The director’s interview was conducted under duress and should be used for information gathering purposes only.” Good advice, since Jonze isn’t in top form, having just wrapped his first big screen feature. As the interviewer lobs softball questions — ”Were you surprised by how easygoing Malkovich was on the set?” — the director gets paler and paler until he runs out into traffic and loses his lunch (literally). Sure, it’s probably staged, but we defy you to figure out how the prop master passed Jonze the can of vegetable soup so seamlessly. Talk about a revealing interview.

While a director’s commentary and some behind the scenes footage might have been nice, all in all the features on ”Malkovich” will leave your head spinning. ADDITIONAL SPECIAL FEATURES TV spots; theatrical trailer; mini-featurettes on the 7 1/2 Floor and the art of puppeteering; cast and crew Biographies; the director’s photo album; and ”A Page With Nothing On It,” literally
DVD: A
SPECIAL FEATURES: A

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