Carlito's Way: Ultimate Edition Brian DePalma

I thought this movie was largely swill when it opened in '93, but a second viewing reveals it to be swill of an entertaining kind. The eponymous Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) is a convicted smack runner who's vowed to go straight and thus invests in a disco run by his lawyer, Kleinfeld (Sean Penn). Unfortunately, Kleinfeld is a raging coke fiend who gets involved with his dodgy clients, leading to the brink of both men's downfall. But street cred is the furthest thing from the movie's mind; instead, it tries to resurrect the wretched excess of the late '70s while indulging the director's penchant for pointless travelling shots. It's impossible to get terribly involved in the story, which is familiar from millions of other movies (including a "Pacino and washroom" scene cribbed straight from The Godfather) and upstaged by DePalma's whiz-bang cinematography and desire to pour on the nuttiness. A relationship between Carlito and disillusioned dancer Penelope Ann Miller goes nowhere and even the normally dependable John Leguizamo gets lost in the shuffle as a young-Turk dealer with too much to prove. Even the period detail doesn't ring true, looking more retro art direction than evocation of a time and place. But though the film is an example of a decadent movie brat trying to relive glory days, there's no denying a certain pleasing charge to its total devotion to camera moves and impossibly complicated blocking. It's shallow, well-upholstered fun. Extras on the "Ultimate Edition" include a shallow quasi-interview with DePalma, an extended and thorough "making of" featurette, a reel of nine deleted scenes, a photo gallery with some fascinating poster concepts and a vanity selection of DePalma snaps, the original (and not particularly edifying) promotional featurette, and the trailer. (Universal)