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Golden Shadow Pictures presents
Mic and The Claw (2001)

"James, meet Mic. The man who sold his soul to sell a million wet panty dreams."
- Claw (Jon Jacobs)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: November 11, 2002

Stars: Jon Jacobs, Michael Kastenbaum
Other Stars: Arroyn Lloyd, Kevin McCorkle, D. Thomas Heyward, Jr., Ava Lazar
Director: Kevin Hynes

MPAA Rating: R for (language, nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:25m:31s
Release Date: November 12, 2002
UPC: 823931000723
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-D+C- C+

DVD Review

Over the years rock and roll has sadly become a subject that has been largely short-changed as a substantial plot device. The great ones (Almost Famous, This Is Spinal Tap,Rock N' Roll High School, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Phantom of the Paradise) are unfortunately few and far between, as it seems that most screenwriters' visions of what makes rock and roll tick is based on broad stereotypes and unoriginal scenarios. In 2001, Kevin Hynes wrote and directed the indie comedy Mic and The Claw, and for me it almost made it into that rare upper echelon of really cool rock flicks by featuring a few believable and lifelike characters, but the script gets a little sidetracked and has them ultimately doing too many silly and unnecessary things.

The premise here is a promising one; two once successful rock stars, now bitterly feuding former bandmates, are forced to spend a weekend together in a remote Colorado mountain cabin to collaborate on some new material in an effort to jumpstart their careers. Clean-cut nice guy Mic (Zero Pictures founder Michael Kastenbaum) is fresh out of rehab, on the verge of divorce, and is desperate (and slightly nervous) to start writing music again. The Claw (prolific indie darling Jon Jacobs) is a vitriolic, venom-spewing Brit with Alice Cooper eyeliner and the comic denseness of Tap's Nigel Tufnel; when their cabin is rumored to be haunted by a man named Bud Holland, The Claw is immediately convinced it's really Buddy Holly come back for revenge. The two are more than out of their element at the cabin, and run-ins with burly God-fearing rednecks and members of the Christian Gunowners Teen Camp only adds to their troubles.

Putting the two aging rock stars in a remote cabin is a solid start, but the plot's heavy reliance in the third act on the whole redneck gunowners subplot seems like tired, uninspired padding. Comedically, however, this film is all about The Claw, and he more than counterbalances Mic's apparent new-found normalcy without going too far overboard. Jon Jacobs talks the talks and walks the walk as the drug-addled musician, and fortunately his portrayal doesn't come across like a parody, but rather a dead-on visage of any number of late 1970s rock stars. Jacobs gets all of the great dialogue, and his constant bitching and moaning about his life is one of Mic and The Claw's saving graces.

For all of the broad, often sharp stabs at rock comedy, a secondary role almost manages to eclipse the main stars. Arroyn Lloyd is Mic's "handler," Mary, and she turns what could have been a remarkably bland role (see Kevin McCorkle as The Claw's "handler" James) into one of the film's most involving, three-dimensional characters. Lloyd plays it simple and sweet, and the genuine soft-spoken ease in which she delivered her lines made me wish she had more screen time, though her involvement in the ridiculous Christian gunowners subplot is more than a little contrived.

This isn't a perfect film by any means, and I think I might have really liked this one much more had Hynes simply let Mic and The Claw bicker and snipe at each other on their way to discovering the redemptive powers of rock and roll on their own, rather than bury them in a dumb sitcom subplot about gun-crazy religious zealots.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.33:1 full-frame image, this is easily one of the worst visual transfers I've seen in quite awhile. That's unfortunate, because it really is a major distraction;tons of fine grain are the least of Mic and The Claw's worries, as black levels are so horrendous it renders a number of prolonged night scene into fuzzy, blue messes. The source print has a few noticeable scratches, and color flicker is a constant annoyance.

It's hard to enjoy a film when the image transfer is so far from desirable.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Not nearly as bad as the image transfer, the audio transfer is still nothing to get excited about. The 2.0 surround track has a fair amount of distortion, and quite a few scenes have segments of undecipherable dialogue. The mix itself is pretty flat, without any real spatial depth.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
11 Other Trailer(s) featuring Welcome Says The Angel, Prometheus Bound, Rage, The Blue Door, The Girl With The Hungry Eyes, Phoenix Point, Hero Lover Fool, The Wooden Gun, The Invisibles, Dogstar, Lucinda's Spell
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The Zero Story (10m:19s) is narrated largely by founder (and Mic And The Claw star) Michael Kastenbaum, and he explains how the plan to "disregard formula" was the core idea for the films released under their banner. A number of other unidentified assorted Zero Pictures filmmakers proffer quick sound bites, and the whole piece plays like a long commercial. Kevin Hynes Speaks (01m:12s) features the director in a quick piece that was apparently designed to be played at screenings prior to running the film. It's only a minute long, but Hynes provides a little background on the story's origin.

The rest of the extras include a full set of Zero Pictures trailers (Mic and The Claw, Welcome Says The Angel, Prometheus Bound, Rage, The Blue Door, The Girl With The Hungry Eyes, Phoenix Point, Hero Lover Fool, The Wooden Gun, The Invisibles, Dogstar, Lucinda's Spell), and a commercial for the website, Project Entropia (www.project-entropia.com)

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Jon Jacobs is pretty damn funny as cartoony Brit rocker The Claw with his Alice Cooper eye-makeup and Spinal Tap-ish demeanor. Some of the comedic situations get a little too contrived and slapsticky for my tastes, but the bickering interplay between Kastenbaum and Jacobs is consistently filled with some enjoyably rich dialogue. A radiant Arroyn Lloyd, however, outshines them all with a sweet, innocent performance that is sadly chained to an obligatory sex scene that seemed hopelessly and needlessly gratuitous.


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