One from the Vault: ‘CQ’

I probably ought to start off by saying that ‘CQ’ is a DAZZLING! FANTASTIC! sci-fi, movie-within-a-movie type of flick. But mostly I want to say that almost the whole Coppola family is involved in this one. Is that a good thing?

This is the first, and only, feature-length film to date made by Francis Ford Coppola’s son, Roman Coppola (though he does have something called ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’ that’s set to release in 2012 and stars Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette and Jason Schwartzman). But back to ‘CQ’… Papa Coppola executive produced, and Jason Schwartzman and Sofia Coppola have small-to-medium roles. Now, I’m not complaining about Hollywood nepotism, just pointing out that with Francis Ford Coppola’s talent, you’d think some of it might pass down to his son. Or, at least having his son around while making his masterpieces might leave an impression or some guidelines on how to make a movie, right? Well, I actually think it did. ‘CQ’ is an interesting, nostalgic, fun, funny and never-too-snarky look at making movies. I want more. Here’s hoping that Charlie Sheen doesn’t overshadow Roman’s next pic.

‘CQ’ is set in 1969 Paris. A young American film student (Jeremy Davies) is the editor on a sci-fi/secret agent/revolution type of picture called ‘Codename: Dragonfly’. If that sounds discombobulated, it is, and so is its director (Gerard Depardieu) who can’t seem to find an ending for his film. The producers fire him and bring on a flashy young American director (Jason Schwartzman) to snazz it up and finally finish the movie. Along the way, Davies falls in love with the production’s beautiful star, who plays the sexy secret agent that must save the Earth from the moon base’s rebel revolution!

The cast on this one is worth the price of admission alone. The previously mentioned Davies, Depardieu and Schwartzman are all fantastic in their parts. Billy Zane has a small but wonderful role as the leader of the moon base revolution. Giancarlo Giannini, Academy Award nominee and recently of James Bond fame (he plays Bond’s friend Rene), is the Roger Corman-esque producer. The late, great John Phillip Law (‘Barbarella’, ‘Danger: Diabolik’) shows up, as does Dean Stockwell. The unknown female lead, model-turned-actress Angela Lindvall, plays Dragonfly. She’s beautiful and perfect in this role. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much has come from her transition to the silver screen. The music in the film was performed by a group called “Mello,” and it sure is. It feels a lot like a Wes Anderson soundtrack, and it’s perfect for ‘CQ’.

How does the movie look streamed on Netflix HD? Pretty darn good. Shots of the movie-within-a-movie look sufficiently aged to pass as a film “made” in 1969. It’s slightly inconsistent, as the film does sometimes look more HD in some spots. However, the shots on set and otherwise in real life look great. Whites and contrast levels are wonderful. Blacks are deep blacks and there’s plenty of detail. This is a great choice for streaming HD.

Catalog titles are still playing catch-up on Blu-ray, and DVDs drop out of circulation all the time. Fortunately, Netflix tries to fill the void. “One from the Vault” explores the wide selection of movies that the Netflix Instant Streaming service has to offer that are out of print, unavailable, or just hard to find in other formats.


  1. Well it has a fantastic lead in Jeremy Davies, so that is promising. Thanks for pointing me to this, because I had never heard anything about it until now.

    Quick, probably stupid question, but is black and white used because of the time period this takes place?

    • The movie’s in color, actually. Only the character’s home movies are black & white. And yeah, that’s probably because b&w film would have been cheaper at the time. Also, that makes an easy way to distinguish those scenes from the rest of the movie.

  2. August Lehe

    Actually, Mom and Dad had an 8mm Kodak which I was permitted to borrow for the occasional eclipse or something. We’re talking early to late 1960’s, but I don’t recall ANYBODY selling B&W 8mm film! And I looked for it from Ft Lee, New Jersey to New Orleans, La.

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