DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Nines / Slipstream, Blu-ray double feature (2006 & 2007/2013)

One in a series of double features on Blu-ray from Mill Creek, these two share a Donnie Darko sort of mood.

Published on July 4, 2013

The Nines / Slipstream, Blu-ray double feature (2006 & 2007/2013)

Cast (The Nines): Ryan Reynolds, Elle Fanning, Hope Davis
Cast (Slipstream): Anthony Hopkins, John Turturro, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Lawford, Stella Arroyave
Director (The Nines): John August
Director (Slipstream): Anthony Hopkins
Studio: NewMarket & Strand Releasing/ Mill Creek Entertainment
Video: (The Nines): 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD; (Slipstream): 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080i HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, (The Nines only:) also Spanish
Length: TT – 3 hrs. 15 min.
Rating: ****

This is just one of a long list of double- and triple-features packaged on excellent Blu-rays by Mill Creek Entertainment, and available online, some for as little as $6. Both of these are described as mind-mending movies, and that’s fairly accurate, presenting a sort of Donnie Darko mood in both cases. Neither is Oscar material but they are worth watching.

The Nines is made up of three short films, each featuring many of the same actors in different and sometimes connecting roles. In a way it’s more of a riddle with plot twists than Memento—which had so many in the audience scratching their heads. The whole thing is happening in the mind of an actor in a TV series, who is also a writer and a video game designer. There are strange relationships between actors and their roles in the film, between writers and their characters, and so forth. (Similar relationships are explored in Slipstream.) The nines referred to in the film’s title has to do with the rating of people, and the protagonist (Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern) finds the number nine in everything around him.  Somehow koala bears are number eight and most humans are number seven. (Don’t ask.) I liked the part where Reynolds put a series of mousetraps down a hallway where he thought he had heard someone, than forgot and encountered one in his bare feet.


Slipstream was written, directed and stars Anthony Hopkins, and Roger Ebert thought he was impressive in it. And he is. He plays the screenwriter Felix Bonhoeffer, whose life seems to alternate between two sorts of existence: actual reality and the interior wild world of his scripts which he creates. Life and death and everything is presented in the whirling changes and surrealistic happenings around him. Use of flash frames and other various “artifacts” to the screen images are used to convey the feeling of the viewer being in this same slipstream. One long scene has a couple bad buys harassing the  customers in a roadside eatery, and amazed to learn than none of them had ever seen the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they proceed to tell them the plot. (This wasn’t in Felix’s original film script.) And the capper is that Kevin McCarthy, from the original film, is in this film to help blow the mind of viewers a bit further. Then one of the two gangster actors overacts his part so violently that he dies (in real life), and the film crew goes into an uproar over what to do next.  John Turturro is perfect as the studio executive who blows up completely on the set. The cute young thing in Bonhoeffer’s convertible is actually his nurse from the hospital where his wife took him when he acted abnormal.  Towards the end two of Felix’s characters who he has killed off come back to haunt him. His increasingly active slipstream does him no good.

—John Sunier

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