SF, fantasy, horror, mystery website
illustrated SF and general satire
music reviews
action movie heroines
helicopters in movies and TV
VideoVista is published by PIGASUS Press

copyright © 2001 - 2005 VideoVista

Milwaukee, Minnesota
cast: Troy Garity, Alison Folland, Bruce Dern, Hank Harris, and Randy Quaid

producer and director: Allan Mindel

92 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Tartan DVD Region 0 retail
[released 27 June]

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Albert (Troy Garity, son of Jane Fonda) is 'special' (read, Asperger's Syndrome). His great talent is to hear fish talking under the ice, which helps him win one ice-fishing tournament after another. He lives with his mother in a suburb of Milwaukee. Then Tuey (Alison Folland) and her hypochondriac brother Stan (Hank Harris) breeze into town. Albert is attracted to Tuey. Also in town is Jerry James (Randy Quaid), who tells Albert that he is his real father, long thought dead. When Albert's mother is killed in a car accident, everyone is after the money that Albert has won in his many tournaments...

Milwaukee isn't in Minnesota but in Wisconsin. As with other movies like My Own Private Idaho (which Allan Mindel executive-produced) and Fargo, the title is not so much a place but a state of mind. A directorial debut shot on high-definition video over a period of 18 months, including two winter shoots, Milwaukee, Minnesota is something of a mixed bag. Not that long ago, the independent sector was a place for innovation, for personal visions and angles that mainstream Hollywood couldn't or wouldn't accommodate. But latterly it's become a genre in itself, which has accumulated its own weight of clichés. Milwaukee, Minnesota is a fairly standard example, a comedy featuring a cast of rather self-consciously 'quirky' characters mixed in with a plotline out of a snowbound film noir. Unfortunately something in R.D. Murphy's script and Mindel's direction fails to make this soufflé rise: we aren't engaged for the most part and neither the comic nor the crime-movie elements really come off, and the pacing flags. Ultimately this is derivative of many other, often better, movies: the very presence of Holly Woodlawn is a nod to the Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey films of the 1970s. There are decent performances from the cast, including veterans Bruce Dern and Randy Quaid. But the film is neither very good nor very bad nor in any way essential, ultimately just another indie wannabe.

Milwaukee, Minnesota is given an anamorphic transfer in the ratio of 1.78:1. This gives a very sharp look, typical of DV but not very film-like. The director's overuse of an orange filter will certainly be a matter of taste. Soundtracks are available in Dolby digital 2.0 and 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Extras include a commentary by Mindel and Troy Garity, a 42-minute interview with Mindel, a four-page booklet with film notes by Miles Fiedler, Catching Fish a game for those of you with DVD-ROM capabilities, the theatrical trailer and for other Tartan releases: 2046, My Architect, Super Size Me, Coffee And Cigarettes and Ramones: End Of The Century.

Did you find this review helpful? Any comments are always welcome!
Please support VideoVista, buy stuff online using these links - | | Send it | W.H. Smith

copyright © 2001 - 2005 VideoVista