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Nick Guthe
Alec Baldwin, Nikki Reed, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jeff Goldblum, Luke Wilson, Svetlana Metkina, Sprague Grayden, Artie Baxter, Rick Fox
Writing Credits:
Nick Guthe

Sex. Murder. Blackmail. There's a first time for everything.

Desperate to be free from her drunken, unloving mother Diane, the beautiful, scheming young Mini seduces her stepfather Martin and soon convinces him to join her in a sadistic scheme to have Diane declared insane. But their conspiracy soon escalates to murder and when John Garson, a young detective, starts investigating, Martin and Mini begin to turn on each other.

Box Office:
$6 million.
Opening Weekend
$21.828 thousand on 7 screens.
Domestic Gross
$48.913 thousand.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
English Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 10/24/2006

• Audio Commentary with Director Nick Guthe


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

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Mini's First Time (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 29, 2007)

For a dark, sexually charged flick, we head to 2006ís Miniís First Time. The film concentrates on high school senior Minerva ďMiniĒ Drogues (Nikki Reed), a babe who didnít exactly grow up in the Cleaver household. As an aspiring starlet, her bitter substance-abusing mom Diane (Carrie-Anne Moss) got knocked up by a producer who died a year later. Diane later married PR man Martin Tannen (Alec Baldwin) so she could live the luxury life. Diane treats Mini poorly and never did much to care for her.

Mini seeks to populate her life with a constant stream of new activities, or ďfirstsĒ as she calls them. These include a stint as an escort, which ends her up with her stepdad and launches an affair between the pair. They decide to remove the impediment to their relationship: Diane. Rather than kill her, they use various medications to send her over the top so they can get her institutionalized.

Their plan works too well. After a steady decline, Diane tries to kill herself. She doesnít fully succeed, but Mini makes sure that she dies anyway. This brings in police involvement, of course, in the form of Detective Dwight Garson (Luke Wilson). The rest of the film follows the aftermath of Dianeís death and its impact on the other participants.

At this point, Reed remains best known for 2003ís Thirteen. She co-wrote and acted in that tale of teens gone wrong, so Mini isnít exactly a departure for her. That flickís Evie comes across like a younger version of Mini, though perhaps the latter has an even darker side.

In truth, Time often feels like a film noir version of Thirteen - or maybe a combination of that flick with Double Indemnity. It certainly offers the tremendous cynicism typical of the noir genre. Look hard and wide to find a sympathetic character, but youíll not easily succeed. The detective is the only honest, admirable person, as Mini and all the others achieve varying levels of scumminess.

The lack of sympathy factor created problems during Thirteen but doesnít cause similar issues here. Thatís largely because Time doesnít truly attempt to exist in the real world. It takes us to a fantasyland of wealth and privilege foreign to most of us and pursues a dark path along the way. While Thirteen aimed for documentary-style realism, Time prefers black comedy.

And it succeeds for the most part, partially aided by some excellent performances. All the actors acquit themselves well, though I particularly like Mossís turn as Diane. She inhabits all the characterís ups and downs well in this bracing performance.

My only real complaint about Time stems from some predictable elements. These particularly mar the third act, as it becomes fairly easy to see where the story will go. At least the movie ensures that we get an interesting ride.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

Miniís First Time appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although not without concerns, the transfer offered many good points.

Sharpness was usually solid. A little edge enhancement caused some looseness in wider shots, but those issues were fairly minor. The majority of the movie came across as crisp and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but source flaws were a moderate issue. I noticed occasional examples of specks and marks throughout the flick. These werenít heavy, but they seemed a little much given the movieís newness.

Colors acted as a highlight of Time. Despite the filmís dark tone, it featured a consistently bright and lively palette that looked great. The hues seemed vivid and concise. Blacks were dense and firm, while low-light shots appeared smooth and clear. Only the minor softness and the specks knocked this transfer down to a ďBĒ.

No significant issues came with the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Miniís First Time, but it also featured few strengths. The soundfield was consistently lackluster. Stereo imaging was never better than decent, while effects created a moderate sense of atmosphere. Surround usage was minor, as the elements focused pretty heavily on the front channels. There wasnít a lot of activity on display here.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed acceptably concise and distinctive, and I noticed no edginess or other issues. Music was decent. Though the score could be a little flat, those elements usually appeared acceptably bright. Effects were clean and reasonably accurate. This was an average soundtrack.

As far as extras go, only one element shows up here: an audio commentary from director Nick Guthe. He presents a running, screen-specific chat. A first-time director, he likes to give some insights for those who may someday stand in his shoes. Guthe starts with a look at how he obtained backing for the project, and at the end, he offers specific tips for neophyte filmmakers.

In between, Guthe touches on some of the usual production issues. He chats about characters and performances, music, sets, locations and production design, looping and auditory concerns, budget restraints and their impact, and editing. Guthe offers a pretty good overview of the production, though thereís a bit too much dead air on display. Nonetheless, the track remains generally informative and interesting.

Supremely dark and cynical, Miniís First Time doesnít make a good choice for Family Flick Night. Populated with cruel, unsympathetic characters and sinister situations, it manages to create a wicked good time, however, as it entertains us with its dark themes. The DVD presents generally positive picture plus adequate audio and a reasonably good audio commentary. If youíre in the mood for an interesting black comedy, give this one a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.9 Stars Number of Votes: 30
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