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Image Entertainment presents

Real Time (2007)

“Get in the car, Andy.”- Reuben (Randy Quaid)

Stars: Randy Quaid, Jay Baruchel
Other Stars: Jayne Eastwood
Director: Randall Cole

MPAA Rating: R for (pervasive language including sexual references)
Run Time: 01h:17m:41s
Release Date: 2009-03-03
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

Having a film take place in “real time” isn’t exactly the newest approach in filmmaking. The first great film whose story spanned the same span as its running time was Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. Since that 1948 classic, others have tried using the “real time” gimmick, but with much less success. The latest to try is 2008’s aptly titled Real Time, which made a run of the international film festival circuit last year.

Andy (Jay Baruchel) is a muttering loser who seems to base his whole day on whether or not he’ll strike it rich on instant lottery tickets. He starts another morning off with a losing ticket and storms off to the streets. No sooner has Andy left the convenience store, then he is approached by Reuben (Randy Quaid), a hit man looking for the money this lottery loser owes his boss. He also informs Andy that he is going to die today, and the two set off in Reuben’s car. It turns out that Andy the loser and Reuben the hired killer actually get along with each other, so his executioner grants this dead man walking an extra hour to live so he can tie up loose ends, say goodbye to family and friends, and maybe even negotiate a second chance at life.

It’s always a dicey proposition to stick two actors in a car and have them interact with each other for an entire film, even if it’s only 77 minutes long. Fortunately, the producers of Real Time chose the right two actors. Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder) is a revelation as Andy, making us both care for him and berate him for making such stupid choices in his life, but it’s Randy Quaid that shows us acting chops that we never knew he had. He’s so far removed from his beloved Cousin Eddie character from National Lampoon’s Vacation that we’re left to wonder if we looking at the same actor. Quaid’s strange accent can get a bit annoying, but in no way does it interfere with two compelling bits of acting. Both Baruchel and Quaid are on screen virtually the entire time, and they drive the story along brilliantly, culminating in a shocker of an ending, that, in reflection, is really the only satisfying way to finish the film.

Director Randall Cole even has a few nice tricks up his sleeve, including a scene where he takes us from an interior setting to an exterior with a seamless transition. It comes at the end of a long sequence inside Andy’s Grandmother’s (Jayne Eastwood) house. Andy has just jumped off of the second story in an attempt to escape from Rueben. Cole takes us from an interior view through a window of Andy hitting the ground to Rueben pursing him outside by making it appear that we’ve passed through the window’s glass. This neat effect is further enhanced by the seamless audio transition from the sound of the television to the ambient noise of a snowy day. Such a nuance isn’t something we expect from such a dialogue-heavy independent film, but the addition takes Cole’s picture to another level.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is nothing special, but this film doesn’t rely on a sharp look to be effective. The images are detailed, though, with the color scheme doing a nice job of representing the harshness of winter in Canada. The lack of dirt, grain, or other print flaws is another plus.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is a low-key track, but this is a dialogue-driven film that doesn’t rely on flashy sound effects. The dialogue is always crisp and clear, remaining well-blended into the mix throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dark Reprieve
Packaging: Thinpak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extras are a couple of trailers, including the one for Real Time.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

2008’s Real Time is a great little Canadian movie that takes the gimmick of its title and uses it to great effect. A tight, short film, this festival favorite is powered by excellent performances from Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel. Image Entertainment brings it to DVD with nice audio and video presentations.

Chuck Aliaga 2009-03-02