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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

Extra Scoop
'Tailor of Panama' given special-edition treatment

By Jordan Riefe
Special to The Advertiser

Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush, left), a Cockney ex-con turned tailor to the rich and powerful of Panama, is preyed upon by the ruthless British spy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan) in "Tailor of Panama."

Columbia Pictures

"THE TAILOR OF PANAMA" (Columbia Tristar) 2001
109 minutes
Geoffrey Rush, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Leigh Curtis, Brendan Gleeson
Based on the novel by John LeCarre, a simple tailor and a fallen British spy collaborate in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

"Spy thriller, comedy, farce, domestic drama" — that's how actors Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush explain their latest collaboration. It's all of those things, and more. Engaging, witty, suspenseful, beautifully written and deftly executed, "The Tailor of Panama" is unlike any spy film you've ever seen. So good that Columbia Tristar has given it the Special Edition treatment, despite its lackluster performance at the box office.

Among the added extras is an alternate ending in which Harry (Rush) shoots Osnard (Brosnan), but the director found it impossible to make the emotional shift into the final scene and therefore altered it, allowing the double-dealing Osnard to escape Panama intact and with a bag of money. Not a fitting end, but a realistic one. In "The Perfect Fit: A Conversation" Brosnan and Rush discuss the novel as a base for the film and how LeCarre's writing informed their characterizations.

"BLOW" (New Line Cinema) 2001
124 minutes
Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta, Paul Reubens, Rachel Griffiths

Bio-pic chronicling the rise of drug dealer George Jung from the 1960s through the '80s.

"Even if I weren't in prison, I think that every day would be the last day of summer," says convicted cocaine dealer George Jung. "I'd be left out in the cold with no place to go."

Eight interview bites with Jung are just some of the extras on New Line's latest Infinifilm feature, "Blow." Entertaining from beginning to end, "Blow" is not unlike the party years it represents; a blast while you're in the thick of it, but, in retrospect, somewhat less enthralling.

Still, Infinifilm provides viewers the ability to jump to supplemental features relative to the current scene, and New Line serves up some phenomenal extras dealing with the subject rather than pimping the production.

Also included is a video diary covering the events of the shoot from the inside out. An acting exercise of each performer ad libbing about themselves and their relation to Jung is engaging, as are 10 deleted scenes, including an alternate beginning and an orchestrated take-down of Jung's double-dealing partner in crime, Diego Delgado.

"THE BLOB" (Columbia Tristar) 1988
95 minutes
Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Joe Seneca

Remake of the 1958 sci-fi classic in which an alien life form terrorizes a small town.

Why remake a classic? Well, if it's a sci-fi, it's all about the effects, and the effects here are terrific.

This updated blob is more insidious: bleeding acid and snaring its prey with tentacles, dragging hapless country folk into its ooze, where they later turn up, semi-digested, to scare the daylights out of new victims.

Although there's no substitute for Steve McQueen, part of what makes this an enjoyable remake is that it's a B movie remade as a B movie, not as an A movie with $100 million budget and big stars. It maintains its matinee feel and, most important, the remake is as campy as the original. There are no special features on this disc.

Jordan Riefe is a Los Angeles-based writer who is the West Coast radio correspondent for Variety magazine.