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A Likable Love Letter to 1960s Eurocinema with Marvy Mellow Music
dtb16 March 2004
Paul Ballard (Jeremy Davies), a young film editor living in Paris in 1969, gets his big directorial break when DRAGONFLY, the sexy futuristic (it's set in 2001!) spy flick he's editing, loses not one but two directors. It should be noted that Paul's been filching black-and-white film from the DRAGONFLY production company to make his own rather self-indulgent cinema verite film at home. Once he's at the helm of the big-budget SF schlockfest, Paul has a hard time distinguishing between real life and reel life as he falls in love with the bewitching Valentine (Angela Lindvall), an activist-turned-actress making her film debut as "Agent Code Name: Dragonfly." Think of this comedy-drama as a sort of 8½ or DAY FOR NIGHT for the baby boomer generation. It's clear that writer/director Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's son, big shock :-) has great affection for the art of filmmaking in general and for kooky, cheesy 1960s Eurocinema romps such as BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK in particular (neat in-joke: the leading man of those films, John Philip Law, appears in CQ as Dragonfly's spymaster). The score by the appropriately-named Mellow captures the mod mood music of the era delightfully. At times Paul's self-absorption became as grating to me as it did to his long-suffering girlfriend Marlene (Elodie Bouchez), but the spoofery of filmmaking and the 1960s won me over. The excellent cast helps a lot, particularly Dean Stockwell's touching turn as Paul's father, the ever-smooth Billy Zane as Dragonfly's revolutionary adversary/lover "Mr. E," and the hilarious performances of Giancarlo Giannini as a Dino deLaurentiis/Carlo Ponti-esque producer and Jason Schwartzman as the wild 'n' crazy replacement director who gets replaced himself after he breaks his leg in a sports car accident. Don't blink or you'll miss Roman and Jason's Oscar-winning kin Sofia Coppola cameoing as Giannini's mistress. I was also utterly charmed by model Angela Lindvall in her movie debut (art imitating life -- ain't it grand? :-). It's great fun to watch Lindvall switch from throaty-voiced siren Dragonfly onscreen to sweet, endearing animal lover Valentine offscreen, plus she's got the most expressive eyebrows since Eunice Gayson in DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. (My hubby would like me to point out that Leonard Nimoy and The Rock are tops in Expressive Eyebrows, Male Division! :-) Do rent the DVD version of CQ so you can also watch the entire film-within-the-film DRAGONFLY, which is to the CQ DVD what MANT! is to the MATINEE laserdisc (is MANT! on the MATINEE DVD, too? If not, it oughta be!) -- with enjoyable commentary by Lindvall, yet!
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Modest debut for Francis Ford Coppola's son Roman
DennisLittrell17 March 2006
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

There are two films within a film in this campy debut from Roman Coppola. There is the introspective black and white, experimental, "student" sort of film that the young director Paul (Jeremy Davies) is making in his Paris apartment, and there is "Dragonfly," a kind of Barbarella (1968) sci-fi space shoot 'em up that he ends up directing. These might be seen as the twin realities of the young film maker: on the one hand there are those short films you made at USC or UCLA film school to get your degree; on the other, there are those mindless commercial entertainments that Hollywood needs to crank out for the masses. These represent the bookends of the young director's reality.

The third film, the film that exists over and above these two, is the film that Roman/Paul would like to make, a film about what it is like to be a young film maker amid the crass commercialism of the producers, the seductive lure of the glamor that is the film maker's world, and the daily often tedious work of the actual film making. In other words, Roman Coppola is self-exploring in public. He is the novelist as a film maker.

"Dragonfly" itself is indeed Barbarella without the benefit of Terry Southern's contributions to the script or the services of Jane Fonda. It is unconsciously campy and a satire on such films. Model Angela Lindvall, five feet ten and three-quarters inches tall, anorexically thin, and sporting some very serious hair, plays Dragonfly with a kind of Barbie doll intensity. It is immediately obvious that she has the muscle tone of the languid and the athletic ability of a preteen. Yet her character is a "for hire" secret agent skilled in the martial arts and the use of weapons. Playing opposite her is Billy Zane as "Mr. E" a kind of Che Guevara revolutionary who is absurdly stationed on the far side of the moon where he is training revolutionaries.

In the introspective black and white film, Paul sits on the commode and talks to the camera much to the disdain of his live-in girlfriend Marlene (French actress Elodie Bouchez, best known for her work in the outstanding The Dreamlife of Angels (1998)) who would like him to pay more attention to her.

This might be compared (distantly) with Francois Truffaut's La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night) from 1973 in which the great French director plays himself making a film--in other words a film within a film. Jeremy Davies reminds me somewhat of the sensitive, boyish actor Jean-Pierre Leaud, who played in that film after gaining prominence in Truffaut's Les Quatre cents coup (1959). It is easy to see Truffaut's influence on Roman Coppola, as indeed Truffaut has influenced many directors.

I don't think CQ ("Seek You") was entirely successful mainly because I don't think Roman made the transition from the self-indulgence and showiness characteristic of the very films he is satirizing to the mature project that addresses itself more directly to the needs of the audience. There is some fancy camera work with mirrors and characters seen from interesting angles, and some beautifully constructed sets, and some witty dialogue amid some telling satire of filmland people and their world (especially producer Enzo played by Giancarlo Giannini and Dragonfly's idiot second director), but we are never made to care about what happens to any of the characters, this despite the fact that Davies is a very sympathetic actor.

Some of the jokes in the film include the three-day five o'clock shadows on the faces of the young actors. (That style is almost contemporary--not sixties-ish.) The hairstyles of the women with the beehives and such hinted of 1969, the year of the main film, but the eye makeup again was more contemporary than sixties-ish since it lacked the very heavy black eyelashes and eye liner that one recalls. To get it right, Roman should have reviewed, e.g., Blow-Up (1966) or Elvira Madigan (1967), films I am sure he has seen. Another is the view of Paris in the year 2001 as seen from 1970. It is futuristic in a silly way, and recalls some science fiction that exaggerated the technological changes that would take place. Orwell's 1984 (from 1948) has not yet arrived, nor has the overpopulated, polluted world from Blade Runner (1982).

Appearing in small roles are Dean Stockwell as Paul's father, and veteran French film star Gerard Depardieu as Dragonfly's original director.

Bottom line: worth seeing if only because it is the first film of the son of Francis Ford Coppola who may yet do something to rival the great works of his father. By the way, this might also be compared to The Virgin Suicides (2000), his sister Sofia Coppola's first film, just to see who is more likely to best please Dad. I'm taking no bets.
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The Third Way
tedg11 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

There are three ways to make a film. You can find a mood, embed it in a style and just carry the audience into the taste. You can engage in the fluids of life, the humanity of events and desires. Or you can concern yourself with the art of what it means to make a film and essentially produce an imaginative essay on creation.

Coppola senior is the second type of filmmaker. Sofia Coppola is the first.

In all three, the story plays a role, but never the central role any more than what you eat has to do with why you are alive. Each of us as watchers have a similar choice to make, a choice that determines our lives in film.

Our man Roman has decided to take the third way. If he was starting when his father did, the `third way' filmmakers would be the French New Wave guys, plus the early Fellini. Except for the genius Kubrick, who in 1968 made a film set in and called `2001' that was itself a third way film, and which concerned the battle among the three ways.

Kubrick's three `ways` are three completely independent cosmologies who tussle for control over the film: the humans, the machines, and some undefined supernatural consciousnesses. It is a masterpiece of self-reference.

Now along comes Roman and makes a film in 2001, set in 1968 about a science fiction film. It deals with the same three agents, this time as discrete films: the human diary of Paul, the scifi film and the wrapper film.

That scifi film stands for the style piece. It starts life as a New Wave film, with a French director who is obsessed with the revolution. It features a Cronenberg-inspired `gun' (reference eXistenZ about the same three levels) that represents the camera: it freezes things. That director (played by the most recognizable French film icon alive) ensures that the camera is returned to the revolutionary.

The film is then turned over to the `mood' director, here a parody of Roger Corman. And then Paul, who takes the third way under the nose of the Italian boss, his dad.

It is an amazingly clever construction, much deeper and richer than `Adaptation' for instance because it actually wears what it sews, and integrates the three layers. It absolutely sets him apart from Sophia and Francis. I'll take one of these over one of those any day, even if the product is as dreary as `the Auteur Theory.'

Others have rattled off many of the references to other films, mostly new wave, but I didn't see this one: the bit at about the stolen film references the chase in `Give my Regards to Broad Street,' which had very similar aspirations. Instead of relying on Kubrick, who had worked out some of the outstanding problems of the construction, it more ambitiously leveraged Alfred Jarry. But alas, it was tedious. This isn't.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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good student film
tritisan7 July 2004
Folks, I really, really wanted to like this film. Alas, I found myself looking at the DVD's timer, wondering when the thing would end. So many elements are likable: groovy sixties design, groovy music, groovy chicks, groovy references to (truly) groovy sixties flicks with chicks. But it doesn't hold together. It doesn't flow. It doesn't involve you.

The self-referential dialog and editing had the cloying and self-conscious feel of a student film. (And I had to sit through plenty of those in college, including my own ;-)

Overall, I think Roman has promise, but he has a lot of catching up to do with his sister.
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george.schmidt28 May 2002
CQ (2002) *** Jeremy Davies, Angela Lindvall, Elodie Bouchez, Gerard Depardieu, Giancarlo Giannini, Massimo Ghini, John Phillip Law, Jason Schwartzman, Dean Stockwell, Billy Zane. Filmmaker Roman Coppola proves to be a chip off the old block (his dad is Francis Ford, duh!) with this sweetly dark comic valentine to foreign films of France and Italy focusing on a struggling film editor/auteur wannabe (Davies in all his squirmy, milquetoasty glory) assigned to a disastrous sci-fi B flick where he winds up being a replacement director and falls deeply in love with his gorgeous starlet (Lindvall, the epitome of sex echoing the leonine good looks of Catherine Deneuve at her start) in the process. Coppola has a keen technical sense incorporating set and production design, costumes, camerawork, editing and low-key acting to make a picture perfect ode to the hurly-burly world of filmmaking then and now. If there is a criticism it is that it is a bit slight in its theme (filmmaker's navel gazing fails to see the big picture: love is all around) yet there's a nice homage to Coppola's relationship with his famous father in the interplay between Davies and his onscreen father Stockwell, an absent-minded businessman, echoing nicely. The title is a play on Seek You = CQ.
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I found myself in Roman Coppola...
RodrigAndrisan14 March 2016
...and in the characters Paul(played by Jeremy Davies) and Andrezej (played by Gerard Depardieu),together are an alter ego of mine. I mean, a film director who is always unhappy, in fact, which is compelled to work due to the bad taste of the producers and the general public stupidity. In my opinion, that's what Roman Coppola wanted to tell us. The film is clearly an homage to the film Danger: Diabolik, directed in 1968 by Mario Bava. Angela Lindvall is a replica of the character played by Marisa Mell(Eva Kant in Danger: Diabolik). I am convinced that Coppola would cast her in CQ, if he had not died in the meantime. As he did with John Phillip Law, who is the star of Bava's film, and also the star of Barbarella, made also in 1968. The action in CQ is Paris 1969, one year after, and it feels also the influence of Roger Vadim and the atmosphere of Barbarella. Jeremy Davies is subtle, Giancarlo Giannini is effective, Billy Zane is funny and Angela Lindvall is sexy. I think that many fall into the trap of considering this a farce-action-film-eurospy-soft-love-story. It's more than that, it's a subtle metaphor which says clearly that the film industry is a huge conveyor and how very hard is to create a masterpiece. 10 out of 10.
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CQ on Reel 13
eplromeo818 October 2011
Despite the pedigree of being made by the latest Coppola clan member to enter the feature film directorial ranks, CQ came and went from theaters when it was released a few years go. Seeing it for the first time on Reel 13 on Saturday, I'm a little stunned as to why. Roman Coppola proves to be a promising, thoughtful filmmaker and as adept a student of cinema history as his Uncle Francis. CQ is an engaging, if loosely structured movie, managing to be simultaneously inventive and derivative, borrowing from and paying homage to everything from La Dolce Vita to the Marx Brothers.

Its primary source of influence is, of course, 1968's Barbarella, here thinly veiled as the fictional "Dragonfly", as the film within the film. CQ is about how Paul, a young editor (Jeremy Davies), working on said "Dragonfly" deals with balancing his career and his relationship as he works on both the big-budget sci-fi epic and directing his own personal documentary film. This set-up provides Coppola with three different planes of action going on – real life, the black and white documentary and the colorful, sexy, futuristic world of "Dragonfly". The fun really begins when Coppola deftly uses these formats to blur the lines of fantasy and reality when Paul, in his search for himself, begins to lose sight of where the boundaries for each of these worlds lie – or if they even exist.

In addition to Coppola's stellar usage of mixed media, the other key to CQ's success is Jeremy Davies, an extremely talented and severely underused young actor who quite possibly should have won an Oscar for his work in Saving Private Ryan and at least should have been nominated for last year's Rescue Dawn. I think there are less roles for him because he seems to insist on making quirky, out-of-the-box choices. However, when a director with vision is willing to roll the dice on him, he almost always delivers an inspired performance. CQ is no exception as Davies brings a believable, uncomfortable edge to Paul. He is a character who is lost and confused, but most actors would play him with a modicum of swagger. Davies makes him neurotic without being nebbish – as if still a boy in the body a man who isn't quite sure that he wants to grow up. At the heart of Davies' performance, however, still is that extra element of quirkiness that is all his own. It's that extra layer of thought he puts in to his performance and those unusual choices he makes that allows the character to feel fresh – different than what we're used to while at the same time, wholly plausible.

After all is said and done, with all its layers of meaning and different milieus represented within it, CQ ultimately becomes a dissertation on film and the nature of filmmaking as an artform. It depicts the tendency of the artist to lose himself in his work and how said artist can learn to manipulate the art to find his way again (it's no wonder I liked it so much). In that sense, it's a beautifully realized film and another highly auspicious debut from an almost unfairly talented family.
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Interesting premise butchered by an amateur
TigerMann10 February 2004
Watching the trailer for this movie, I couldn't help but feel excited.

Look at all the swank 60's spy movie references!

Well ... this wasn't the movie I'd hoped for. I believe that "CQ" is Roman Coppola's (son of famous Francis Ford Coppola) first feature-length movie. And I suppose that all first-time directors flail and hick-up in their first (hell, even second and third) films.

But Coppola very blatantly tries to conceal all his director and writer disabilities by shrouding the film with 60's pop-culture trivia ... something that I'm sure his "hipster" handbook directed him to do.

The premise involves an American attempting to edit a ridiculously avant-gard sci-fi/spy Modesty Blaise-esque movie in Paris ... while in his personal time he whines and moans about how he isn't adept enough to sustain a meaningful relationship ... all this through the eyes of a camera. And whilst he records his day-to-day life on film ... he neglects his stunning french girlfriend.

So ... our young American in Paris ends up taking the reigns of the spy movie and plenty of hijinx ensue.

It isn't hard to predict how the movie will end. And if you wait around long enough and can somehow see past Coppola's bloated, pretentious and pedestrian writing and direction ... then you'll have earned a shining ticket to complain about how great this movie COULD have been.

And people wonder why nobody remembers (or wants to remember) this movie. Chalk it all up to the futile attempts of a son of a great director to become more than his father.

Remember ... even old Francis Ford had to LEARN filmmaking. Anyone ever see "Dementia 13?" It wasn't a HORRIBLE movie ... but then again ... it wasn't "Apocalypse Now," either.

Roman's sister, Sophia Coppola has done so interesting work. If anyone inherited Francis Ford's filmmaking genes ... my guess is that it's her. "The Virgin Suicides" is a really excellent movie. "Lost in Translation" wasn't bad either.

So ... Roman ... keep on making those music videos. Your video for "The Strokes" was painfully dull ... but it was a little easier for me to switch channels.
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I have seen many movies that irritate me. This is one of them.
barnes-18310 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First off, I LOVE Italian genre pictures from the 60s and 70s. I love the look, the plot, the acting, the music, the sets, the fashions. The entire thing.

This movie had so much promise, but flushed it all down the toilet. For me the fatal flaw was the main character, Paul. He was not likable. In the least. I could see no reason that he should have any friends, or a girlfriend, or a job. He is a self-absorbed schmuck. In every scene, he has the ability to make his life better (or at least push the plot in a direction that would be mildly interesting). He COULD say or do something to improve his relationship with his girlfriend. He COULD say or do something to make the woman he is attracted to like him. He COULD say or do something to make his boss excited about his potential. Alas. Paul does almost nothing, and what little he does is irritating and/or cringe-inducing. He squints. He furrows his eyebrows. He stares. A lot. He utters the minimum amount of dialogue necessary to interact with the other characters. His utterances are all awkward and and painful to experience. Note that this appears to be the goal of the writer, director and actor. I give them credit in that they achieved their goal. I simply do not appreciate what they have achieved.

Paul is not the only fictional character to be a man of inaction. Alvy in Annie Hall. Or Hamlet. However, Paul is certainly no Hamlet and he isn't even an Alvy. Hamlet frustrates us with his inaction and digressions. However, our frustration with Hamlet is ultimately relieved. We are left with a sense of satisfaction once Hamlet finally becomes a man of action. Also, let us not forget that Hamlet is a victim. So even when he frustrates us, he has our sympathy. Paul's life is pretty crappy because he is a man of inaction, not because of some external forces operating on him. His failure to say or do anything meaningful is the cause of his crappy life, not the result of a crappy life.

A movie homage to Italo genre films should have some zip, some pizazz. This has none. The movie does have great music, great fashion, great shots. But it is all for naught because at the core of this rotten apple, is an unlikable character who is too lazy to irritate us by his actions. The best he can do is irritate us with his lack of action.
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Brilliant Multi-layered Cinema
luludavis15 January 2003
This film is entertaining, thoughtful and beautifully photographed, It cleverly mixes documentary with the real lives of it's characters giving a new twist to the "story within a story" genre. Every actor gives an honest performance in a story that could have easily slipped into the same old tortured artist crap that seems so popular in film today. The soundtrack is very much a part of the story in that it represents the era in which the film is set and the style in which the film within the film is set. Roman Coppola may be Francis' son but he is not a copycat.
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One of the worst films I've ever seen.
kdmagnusson5 February 2004
CQ could have been good, campy fun. But it commits the only unforgivable sin: it is b-o-r-i-n-g! The pace is deadly slow and the plot is fairly confused and so artificial that it's next to impossible to care where it's going. The story would have been acceptable in a creative writing class from a thoughtful and sensitive eighth grader but this video should have carried a warning label: "CAUTION: Student film. Fit for viewing only by relatives of the film maker."
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Very pretentious nonsense
muaddib-2012 July 2007
This is a movie about making a movie. Such movies may be entertaining, but they need some substance, to do so. It did not happen here, I am afraid. Mr Coppola did not inherit his father's skills, unfortunately (neither did his sister, who can however make movies which one might watch).

I do wonder how this movie came to get such rave reviews.

Let's see: the lead male actor, supposedly a director, is as expressive as a frozen squid and his voice has the same pitch whatever he says, the lead female actress has an expression on her face that never changes, the plot is totally segmented in bits with perhaps one single connecting element, the movie within the movie idea must be more stale than paleolithic rocks... Would that be enough?

I regretted every single moment I watched this movie. A walk with the dog is far superior entertainment to this unbelievably lame movie. It's as if a François Truffaut plot were directed by Dick Cheney...

Brazil, some other classic SF movies? You must be really joking...
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The worst film I saw this year.
RunPepe27 December 2002
CQ was the worst film I saw this year. Nearly every film I choose to see in the theater is at least entertaining or has something to say. This film looked like like it was directed by a film student for his Intro. to Filmmaking class. His father makes great films. His sister made a good one. But brother Roman? NO! One critic had the audacity to compare this film to Godard's Le Mépris (Contempt). While Coppola, Jr. did take the same idea, a film about film, he tried too hard to make himself seem European, artsy, and witty, when it's all really just kitsch. The lead actor carries the same expression through the whole film, like he's either in awe or in shock of this film being made around him. Schwartzman somehow manages to pull off his role as a flamboyant director. Depardieu is alright. The one scene that has any real film spoof humor at all is, surprisingly, not the B-movie scenes, but rather one which takes place in Italy; a montage of shots of several various characters inside a very small car, driving around picking up and dropping off random people. This was the only thing that reminded me of the cinema I am guessing he was trying to spoof. Or rip-off. Or both. The documentary with the lead talking into the camera and filming various objects has been played out, the ending was tagged on for the sake of a "twist" or artistic value... I suppose the funniest thing about this film was the film itself, and not in the way it intended. No wonder this film was sent back after a festival screening to be re-edited or re-shot or whatever, which makes me curious as to just how bad it was before. I can't believe it could have been worse than this. If you want to see a good parody of film check out the Austin Powers films. Any of them. The opening to the third is more entertaining and more genius than this entire film. Lil' Romy, for the sake of cinema, PLEASE go back to directing your cousin's music videos. Leave The Godfathers to daddy.
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Interesting but forgettable
rps-218 October 2004
Okay, the film festival crowd probably loved it. But your average, popcorn munching movie goer who has scraped to-gether the ten or fifteen bucks it costs to see a movie these days will probably wonder why he or she made this choice. If it's stamped "Copolla" it's automatically great stuff, right? Wrong! It's a neat spoof of filmdom's pretensions. But it's terribly "in." I worry when film makers are more concerned about entertaining themselves rather than the public. It's interesting as a cinematic curio and it does have a chuckle or two in it. But once it's run its course in the movies and on TV, the dust will grow thick on the film cans and tape boxes holding it. Hardly either epochal or an epic!
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=G=13 September 2002
From the nepotism capitol of the world comes another junk flick in a fancy wrapper. "CQ" tells a lame, disjointed mess of a story which is little more than a bunch of silly caricatures, a babe, and straight man Davies running around trying to make a stupid sci-fi flick. I can't think of any reason anyone would want to spend time with this ridiculous attempt at film making. (D)
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Dazzling? Yes! Brilliant? Maybe...
EmperorNortonII26 June 2002
"CQ" is the directorial debut of Roman Coppola, the latest product of the great Coppola dynasty. This movie contains two other movies; one is "Codename Dragonfly," the schlocky science fiction spoof of "Barbarella," and the black and white personal piece by the main character. Anyway, I found "CQ" interesting. I enjoyed the chic 1960's European look. And the "Dragonfly" segments were also fun to watch. The rest, however, was probably trying too hard to be clever. The most memorable performance belongs to Gerard Depardieu, as "Dragonfly"'s first director. Although he doesn't have much screen time, he manages to make the most of what he has. If nothing else, "CQ" makes for nice eye candy.
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Quirky Good
tabuno22 January 2019
20 August 2006. This little quirky movie has some nice odd elements to it, an almost romantic fantasy. It's difficult to sort out whether the movie is intentionally bad or is actually good or bad, like a modern dance - it's difficult sometimes to find a mis-step. Nevertheless, unlike many such movie attempts and parodies, this movie like Barbarella (1968) it has a sort of strange disorienting charm and has at least a decent movie within a movie sequence. There are attempted cinematic experiments going on with this movie, many work, but overall, it does fail to maintain a solid, consistent Clockwork Orange (1971) quality. Seven out of Ten Stars.
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Life Creates Art, Art Imitates Life
Rogue-3210 June 2002
This film by Roman Coppola is a treat from beginning to end - clever, charming, well-crafted and most definitely easy on the eyes. At its heart it's about one of my favorite subjects - how one's life creates one's art, and how art, once having been created, re-manifests in the artist's life in unforseen ways. (As a writer myself, I am fully aware of this process, which never fails to amaze me.) Roman Coppola has taken his real-life experiences (growing up in the movie biz as he has) and recycled them into something quite unique, entertaining and accomplished. Seek this one out.
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pretty good
allar10014 March 2003
This film was pretty good. As a lover of campy 60's sci fi I think that I was a little more excited about then others. This is not a laugh out lout kind of movie, but it is comedic through the situations that arise in the film. The actors act out there roles very well, the directing is spot on, and the pacing of the film is well done. The story is fun and the technical way that they made this film (they only used technology that was avilable in the by 69) gives me a little more respect for this movie. While i recognise that this is not for everyone, it is a good film, and deserves a look none the less. The talent of the coppala family never ceases to impress me. 8/10
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The Creative Process of Howard The Duck
Pasafist2 October 2003
The creative process should boggle anyone's mind. I mean if you took one look at the time and energy exerted on one motion picture you'd probably scream. Sure some movies deserve the time spent on them. Nobody is going to begrudge the creative team behind 2001: A SPACE ODYESSY or CITIZEN KANE. But what about the creative team behind HOWARD THE DUCK. Did not talented people put just as much time and energy into that film? CG is a film about the creative process thru the director working on a film just a stupid and banal as HOWARD THE DUCK.

It tells the story of a young and talented film editor named Paul (Jeremey Davies, Spanking the Monkey) and his short stint as director on a B grade science fiction film in 1969. The film about a secret agent named Dragonfly (Anglea Lindvall, New York Stories). It's Moonraker meets Charles Angels. This film is directed by a creative visionary named Andrezej (Gérard Depardieu, The Closet). After months of editing the end still needs to be reworked, and Andrezej has been thrown off the picture because his producer (Giancarlo Giannini, Hannibal) he taking for to long to finish.

Andrezej is replaced by a snotty kid named Felix DeMarco (Jason Schwartzman, Rushmore), he's the kind of guy who doesn't deserve to be where he is and everybody knows it. When tragedy strikes the new director. Paul is called in to finish the picture.

First time director Roman Coppola, has crafted a disjointed but still overly satisfying film. Making movies is a game of luck and CQ (The Morse Code phrase for Seek You) has some real moments of brilliance. It's about the lengths money men will go to make a picture, it's about compromise, and it's also about the creative quest to make an audience happy all while keeping yourself from going crazy.

Jeremy Davies is one of the most underused actor's in Hollywood. He does so well with each and every performance, even if the films suck (See Million Dollar Hotel, for example). His Paul is both nervous and yet calculated. He hides in the shadows only to jump out and surprise you. Like any number of craftsman and artisans he's the real talent and he props up those around him.

I loved how Coppola, counterpoints the silly B movie with Paul's other black and white art film. Paul is making this drippy and disjointed film at his house. It's this surreal black and white film that features disjointed takes, and exists for arts sake more than anything else. Of course it's silly and pretentious, but in the end it's all about creating your own film, and moving on with your life. Plus it's really an excuse to p*ss off his live in lover Marlene (Elodie Bouchez, Dreams of Trespas).

Marlene is a good counterpoint to Dragonfly or Valentine whom is the lead in the movie. She's the woman Paul truly lusts after. Each women stars in one of his movies and you can tell which on he thinks is a hero and which is a villain. This gives Paul a flawed dimension and these women bring out the two faces of this talented man.

Overall CQ is a tad vague. I liked it that way; something tells me if I knew what Coppola was truly trying to say it would be quite a letdown. Thankfully I will take my interpretation and leave it at that.

I also loved the B-picture itself. It was campy and silly. Like Austin Powers without the laughs, and tons more style. Lindvall was the perfect choice for Dragonfly because she looks like a Model in the Sixties. Like a Breck girl from the 60's.Plus, Billy Zane's (Titanic) small roll as Mr. E, is so goofy and yet so suave you can't help but be pulled in.

CQ is not for everyone and a nominal understanding of the creative process of film will enhance it. But if you're looking for something a little different, a little out of the ordinary, and a little weird, give CQ a try.

**** out of 5
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Which side are you on?
Aoi_kdr7 September 2019
The protagnist worked as a film editor at first, but he ended up to be responsible for the film direction. But the pressure and suppression by the environment made him confused as he lost the difference between the real and the dream. Although he tried to achieve his ambition at first, he was chased from his ambition and something to do. I reminded me my days, so I was a bit awful. I felt like it was in a similar genre to "Barton Fink." "Dragonfly," the film he was creating looked charming, but also looked very boring. I recommend to watch it with "8 1/2" from Federico Fellini.

Anyway, I laughted a little in some sad scenes because the protagnist was unique. He was introverted character exquisitely. Why couldn't he guess what would happen when he treated his girlfriend carelessly?
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A big-budget student film that works on some levels. (Minor spoilers)
Nishiki12 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
CQ is an exercise in self-indulgent filmmaking that nevertheless has its charms. Taking the film-within-a-film concept an extra step, it tells the story of Paul, a young filmmaker in 1969 Paris who is working on both a sci-fi schlockfest (director Roman Coppola's homage to Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik) and a personal art film. As he tries to "make something honest" with his art film, he simultaneously tries to figure out an ending for the SF movie.

CQ is rather episodic, moving freely between events in Paul's reality and scenes within his two in-progress films. I can't help but think of a line from the movie, wherein Paul is told to "connect things, so that the audience feels something". Beyond a simplistic theme of doubles (a comment by Paul's father leads to an ending for the SF film), there is nothing deeply connecting the scenes presented to the audience. The director's commentary track failed to provide any insight here, mentioning things like "this is my Fellini homage scene" and "my friend's grandmother told him this story about Dragonflies, and I thought it was neat so I put it in". Coppola is treating us to his personal relationship with film, without really giving us anything to think about. (Another example from the commentary comes from a scene where Paul opens a letter to reveal a French driver's license, which is not clearly visible, at least on a 31" TV screen. Although the license is implied by an otherwise unconnected sideplot from much earlier in the movie, I didn't realize what it was. Coppola's comment on this is along the lines of "People told me that nobody would know it's a driver's license, but I thought it was pretty obvious, so I left it". This pretty much sums up his attitude towards the audience.)

All that said, there is entertainment to be had watching CQ. Billy Zane nearly steals the show with his small role, and Jason Schwartzman is good for a few laughs as well. The acting is generally very good, including model Angela Lindvahl as Valentine, the star of the sci-fi movie. Jeremy Davies manages to convey Paul's narcissism without making him unlikeable (at least to viewers who understand the relationship of the artistically driven to their work), which is a fine tightrope to walk.

In the end, Roman Coppola has given us an entertaining film, but one which is less thoughtful from the audience's viewpoint than he likely intended. He's certainly a competent filmmaker, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a much better film in the future.

3 stars out of 5.
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not bad
kyle_furr20 February 2004
It wasn't as bad as i was expecting, after reading all those negative reviews. It reminded me somewhat of Woody Allen's Stardust Memories which came out in 1980, but this is nowhere as good as that movie. This movie stars Jeremy Davies as a film editor who is promoted to director after the first two directors are fired. In one scene you can see Sophia Coppola, who must be related to the director. I've liked everything I've seen Jeremy Davies in and Billy Zane is good as a gay leading man. You can also see Dean Stockwell in a cameo as Jeremy Davies father.
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CQ (Roman Coppola, 2001) **1/2
Bunuel197617 June 2006
To cannibalize my own reference to it in the review I wrote for Mario Bava's DANGER: DIABOLIK (1968), this is "a homage to the European style of film-making circa 1970": while pretty interesting in itself (particularly its behind-the-scenes look at a lowbrow sci-fi picture), the film unwisely also tries to recapture the feel of an art-house flick by having its wannabe film-maker editor shoot an autobiographical film in cine-verite' style; however, this section is pretentious and fairly boring - as opposed to the charm and sheer nostalgia of the sci-fi/espionage ambiance!

The film has two sequences lifted directly from DANGER: DIABOLIK: the shower scene and the one where the leading lady is covered in bank notes; however, there's another obvious link to that film in the presence of its star John Phillip Law! That said, the sci-fi heroine (called Dragonfly and played by the stunning Angela Lindvall) here actually recalls the Jane Fonda of BARBARELLA (1968)!

It also boasts a number of larger-than-life characters (in fact, several established or up-and-coming stars of European cinema are featured) with a background of cinema, which at times is a bit much - as this threatens to turn the whole into a Felliniesque extravaganza! Still, it does have a major asset in Dean Tavoularis' stylish production design (particularly that for the invented sci-fi scenario).
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Film needed more style and nostalgia
rosscinema15 April 2003
I really love the sexy action and sci-fi films of the sixties and its because of the actress's that appeared in them. They found the sexiest women to be in these films and it didn't matter if they could act (Remember "Candy"?). The reason I was disappointed by this film was because it wasn't nostalgic enough. The story here has a European sci-fi film called "Dragonfly" being made and the director is fired. So the producers decide to let a young aspiring filmmaker (Jeremy Davies) to complete the picture. They're is one real beautiful woman in the film who plays Dragonfly but she's barely in it. Film is written and directed by Roman Coppola who uses some of his fathers exploits from his early days and puts it into the script. I wish the film could have been an homage to those early films. They could have lots of cameos by actors who appeared in them. There is one actor in this film who was popular from the sixties and its John Phillip Law (Barbarella). Gerard Depardieu, Giancarlo Giannini and Dean Stockwell appear as well. I guess I'm going to have to continue waiting for a director to make a good homage to the films of the sixties. If any are reading this, "Make it as sexy as you can"! I'll be waiting!
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