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Lion's Gate presents
Tick Tock (2000)

Rachel: Didn't last night mean anything to you?
Travis: Yeah, $100,000.

- Megan Ward, Linden Ashby

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: November 09, 2001

Stars: Megan Ward, Kristin Minter, Linden Ashby, David Dukes
Other Stars: John Ratzenberger, Hedy Burress, Ian Barford, Sarah Kaite Coughlan
Director: Kevin S. Tenney

Manufacturer: Technicolor
MPAA Rating: R for (violence, sexuality/nudity and some language)
Run Time: 01h:33m:56s
Release Date: September 25, 2001
UPC: 806469157725
Genre: suspense thriller


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+B+B+ D+

DVD Review

"This has been the worst night of my life, and it's all your fault." - Rachel

Reviewing some of these DVDs blind is a set up for either uncovering hidden classics, or finding good reasons why I had never come across them before. There usually isn't much middle ground, so when Tick Tock showed up, I didn't quite know what to expect. Writer/director Kevin Tinney is probably best known for his Witchboard films, which I vaguely recall seeing a part of at some point in my life. Tick Tock is a stylish suspense thriller that manages to elevate itself well above mediocre, while still being unable to really kick it over the edge and deliver more than an interesting, but all too familiar movie.

After a time lapse montage, we are introduced to Rachel (Megan Ward) and her millionaire husband Holden (David Dukes), who is putting the final efforts into his pre-trip lovemaking, which he hopes will tide Rachel over until he returns the following night. While he heads off to the shower, she gets on the phone to her photographer friend Carla (Kristin Minter), whom she has plans with for the evening, but seems reluctant to go through with them. At the airport, Holden tells Rachel he thinks that Carla is a bad influence. Rachel does meet up with Carla at a bar, and the two strike up a conversation with Travis (Linden Ashby), a cowboy buck, who ends up dancing with Rachel. When Carla decides to leave, Rachel is about to do the same, until Carla whispers something in her ear. Left alone with Travis, he asks if she has plans for the rest of the evening, and after some hesitation, she agrees to meet him under the clock tower in a local park. They leave the bar separately, but end up spending the night together. As she leaves in the morning, we find out that someone has been photographing their tryst; this is where the first of many flashbacks kicks in to uncover more of the story, which starts out with a blackmail scheme.

While many films that jump around in time can tend to be disorienting, Tick Tock manages to keep this aspect pretty coherent, and it plays a major role in how we view what is going on. With each flashback—stylized by running a clock backwards for reference—we get a different person's perspective, which often changes our perception of what we thought we were watching. The twists in the story are well-executed, keeping up the suspense and also keeping the uncertainty of what is really going on in focus, since we know, after the first occurence, that there is more we don't know about. Our understanding of what is going on changes through the course of the film, and works pretty well as the plot thickens. Some of the circumstances, though, are too predictable, and some go a little over the top, and are left unexplained, creating major plot holes and plausibility issues. The characters are not fully realized, as many of their actions aren't justified by the script. Like many aspects of the movie, dialogue is workable, but fairly clichéd and predictable, adding an (assumed) unintentional comedic element.

This 2000 film costars Cheers favorite, John Ratzenberger, as a private eye hired to keep track of Rachel's movements. The acting is serviceable, though nothing outstanding. The story is interesting, and has an appropriately unexpected—though implausible—resolution. The style enhances the film without overwhelming it. There is some graphic violence and one scene of nudity, though, like many parts of the film, not where it was expected. It was an entertaining hour and a half, but not one that I would find myself recommending for anything more than a rental, if that.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic image is well presented, with only moderate amount of grain in some scenes. No major compression issues were noted, and color fidelity was fine. The lack of edge enhancement was welcome, and black levels were reasonably steady. A couple of places looked just a touch on the dark side, but nothing that detracted from the presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is serviceable, but nothing to get excited about. The soundtrack has no technical deficiencies other than some location noise in certain segments and a hint of distortion at times. Dialogue is easy to make out.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Standard promo fare includes trailers for Lions Gate DVD releases of Bodyworks and The King's Guard (both fullframe) and an anamorphic widescreen one for Tick Tock, which is a spoiler-fest like I've never seen before. The quality of these is middling, with lots of interlace artifacts present.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Tick Tock is an interesting and stylish little suspense thriller, though has a made-for-TV feel to it, despite some well-executed plot twists. I found the acting a bit bland, and several plot holes distracting. Well above average, but still missing the mark.

 


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