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HTF REVIEW: "Jackie Brown" (with screenshots)


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#1 of 57 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 15 2002 - 06:14 AM

Posted Image

Jackie Brown Collector's Edition






Studio: Miramax
Year: 1997
Rated: R
Film Length: 151 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)



Six players on the trail of a half a
million in Cash. There's only one question...
Who's playing who?



Having seen Reservoir Dogs and Pulp
Fiction
, I have always fondly looked to
Quentin Tarentino as a Director who brought brash
freshness to cinema. This first time watching of
Jackie Brown was a bit of a disappointment
for me.

Posted Image

I can completely understand that it's near
impossible to recreate the magic of Pulp Fiction,
a highly fresh piece of filmmaking that scored with
its multiple points of view, non-linear storytelling,
music and violence. After three years following
that film's success, Jackie Brown shows us
a more matured Tarentino who tells this cat and mouse
story in a more conventional manner.

Posted Image

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant
who's illegally transporting money for gun dealer
Ordell Robie (Samuel L. Jackson). When investigator
Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton)catches up with her,
she sets up a complicated plan that will involve
Ordell, Nicolette, her bail bondsman Max Cherry
(Robert Forster), Ordell's partner Louis (Robert
De Niro), and drug addict Melanie (Bridget Fonda).
The story is complex and simple at the same time
and all the performances are top-notch, most notably
Pam Grier and Robert Forster.

Posted ImagePosted Image


Miramax has released Jackie Brown in a
deluxe 2-disc Collector's Edition that arrives
in a very handsome slipcase that gives a bullet-hole
window to Pam Grier's face. The innards slip out
into a 3-pane gatefold that hold the 2 DVDs in
plastic hub housing that sit above two photos of
Quentin Tarentino and his cast.

Posted ImagePosted Image


In the far left pocket sits a 16-page collector
booklet that among other things contains a list
of the cast members; A letter from Elmore Leonard
(the writer of Rum Punch for which the film was
based on); A letter from Peter Bogdanovich who
praises Quentin Tarentino; a selected filmography
of the Director as well as Pam Grier and Robert
Forster; and finally...oh yes....chapter stops.
Dig a little further in the pocket and you'll
pull out a small poster with assorted promotional
artwork from the film.


How is the transfer?


The transfer generally looks good, though its audio
comes across a bit lackluster compared to that of
the Pulp Fiction SE. While the print is in
immaculate condition, free of any blemish, there
is that annoying amount of video noise that shows
up mainly in the whites of building walls. Colors
are very accurate and sometimes vividly brought
out with no oversaturation, such as in Jackie's
deep blue stewardess uniform. I also noticed that
black levels are deep and solid.

Posted Image

After being totally mesmerized by the 5.1 DTS
mix of Pulp Fiction, I was quite unimpressed
with this film's mix when it came to film's soulful
musical passages. While the sounds of Bobby Womack
as well as the Delfonics come across the front
sound stage quite forcefully (even my subwoofer was
pounding to the beats), none of it is supported
by the rears which made Pulp Fictions a
more sonically immersible experience. Even effects
noises aren't as well pronounced in this transfer,
sounding as if they were recorded at a lower volume
level. I suppose that if I weren't comparing the
two transfers I would have no real complaints, but
I just felt that the 5.1 DTS mix here could have
been a little better.


Special Features


A short live-action menu sequence featuring Jackie
Brown announcing herself to a door's intercom begins
upon the initial playback of disc one.

Posted ImagePosted Image


Special Features are spread across both discs.
Disc One contains supplements that can be accessed
from the film directly.

Posted Image

One feature that you should immediately turn
on is the enhanced playback track that
adds text commentary to the subtitle area of the
screen during the playback of the film. This
text commentary is chock-full of useful facts
about the cast, locale filming, and even
variations in the script to screen translation.

Soundtrack Selection lets you easily
access any of the film's 18 musical tracks.
Simply click on the title/artist listing and
you will be taken directly to the point in the
film in which that track appears.

DVD-ROM features include an enhanced
playback track that places a small text box
at the bottom of your computer screen, giving
you useful film facts during viewing. It works
like the standard enhanced playback track (see
above), but also adds some cool animation to boot.
There's a screenplay viewer that lets you access
the film's original script as well as a trivia
game.

Though, oddly enough, there is absolutely no
commentary to be found on this DVD, there is a
50-second personal video introduction by
the Director who apologizes it took so long for
the movie to make its way to the format, but
promises that the very best of care has been put
into this Special Edition.

Posted ImagePosted Image


Now let's head on to disc two....

Posted Image

In the documentary Jackie Brown: How it went
down
, we learn that while filming Pulp
Fiction
both Producer Lawrence Bender and
Director Quentin Tarentino became aware of a
book called Rum Punch, and immediately
knew that this was a great idea for their next
film. Almost losing the film to another Director,
Tarentino finally decided to do the film. Rum
Punch
author Elmore Leonard recalls receiving
a phone call from a nervous Tarentino who was
concerned over the way he changed the title and
color of the film's main character. Leonard
wasn't the least concerned as he was more
interested in what Quentin could creatively do
to the material more than anything else. The
rest of the documentary takes us through cast
interviews, lets us glimpse at behind-the-camera
footage -- including some B-roll deleted material.
All of it ends with some split screen footage of
a film clip played alongside the actual making of
footage. There's also an interesting story on how
Bender and Tarentino finally nabbed actor Robert
DeNiro, including comments from the actor himself.
(length: approx. 39 minutes)

Posted Image

A look back at Jackie Brown features a
way too lengthy one-on-one interview with Quentin
Tarentino who sits for a series of questions from
a female interviewer who can't be clearly heard.
Basically, the Director talks about the reactions
to the film from the author of the book to the
film public at large. He also talks about his
experiences working with his cast ensemble.
(length: approx. 54 minutes)

Posted Image

Quentin personally introduces Chicks with
guns
, the entire full-length video feature
that we see Ordell watching at the start of the
film. It's quite humorous to see that this
production had more to it than what was shown in
the film.
(length: approx. 5 minutes)

As if Jackie Brown wasn't long enough,
Quentin personally introduces 6 deleted scenes
in the film that include:

* An extended scene in the mall with Jackie
and Sheronda that takes place during their shopping
bag exchanges. Jackie asks Sheronds about her
relationship with Ordell. This scene also shows
how much Sheronda may or may not know what is
transpiring.

* A totally improvised scene between Pam Grier
and Michael Keaton. The both improvise this
scene so well that Grier's comments about a
Mademoiselle totally takes Keaton off guard
creating a wonderful blooper.

* An excised scene with Pam Grier and Robert
Forster where the two mastermind a plan to set
up Ordell.

* An alternate take of "For Your Eyes Only"

* An alternate opening of the film that will
make your mouth drop wide open. I will not
even spoil this for you other than to say it
may contain too much pulp for your taste of
fiction.

Posted Image

In an excerpt from Siskel & Ebert's At The
Movies
, we find the famous critic duo giving
two thumbs up for the film.
(length: approx. 5 minutes)

Two Jackie Brown on MTV promotions are
included in this collection. The first is a
contest promoted by Quentin, Pam Grier and Bridget
Fonda. The second is a live appearance by
Quentin Tarentino at the MTV studios above Times
Square, NY.

In addition to three theatrical teaser trailers,
we also get no less than eight TV spots.
And, if you think this DVD didn't offer enough
supplemental information on Grier and Forster, you
have the choice of browsing through dozens of
trailers of their older films. There's even original
radio spots from many of Grier's black exploitation
films.

Posted Image

Still Galleries is an entire scetion
devoted to the posters, publicity stills and
memorabilia from the film. Interestingly enough,
there is also promotional material from many
of Pam Grier and Robert Forster's older films.

Another section is dedicated entirely to
reviews the film received from the likes
of The Philadelphia Inquirer; Village Voice;
Rolling Stone Magazine
and The New Yorker
(to name a few).

There are selected filmographies for both
Pam Grier and Robert Forster as well as Director
Quentin Tarentino. A resume of their many film
accomplishments are listed across many pages.


Final Thoughts


Though Jackie Brown has its moments,
the film is rather long in the tooth for its
near three hour length. Tarentino's direction
seems plodding compared to his previous two
efforts. If you're expecting non-stop action
peppered with a barrage of violence then Jackie
Brown
is unlikely to live up to expectations.
However, those looking for Quentin's signature hip
dialogue will find plenty of it throughout.

Posted Image

Miramax has done phenomenal justice in
bringing out a 2-disc Collectors Edition
that sports an above average transfer, but more
importantly, enough added material to keep fans
immersed in the film long after its done.

Release Date: August 20, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 57 Marc_Savoie

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Posted August 15 2002 - 06:22 AM

While I liked the film a lot more than you (I feel it's absolutely perfect), I appreciate the great review!
Double feature Tarantino-Tuesday can't arrive soon enough!
[c]"The best way to destroy a taste for what is bad, is to cultivate a taste for what is good."
Best Movies of 2003 : DVDs : DVDs (again)
Top 20 Films : Favourite Horror Films : Favourite Music of 2003[/c]

#3 of 57 Patrick Larkin

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Posted August 15 2002 - 06:48 AM

I cannot believe I will own PF and JB for less than $30. These seem like stellar packages.

#4 of 57 Rain

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Posted August 15 2002 - 06:59 AM

I know I'm probably the only one in the world, but I actually liked Jackie Brown MORE than Pulp Fiction. I've been dying to see this one on DVD for a long time.

Thanks for the review.

Oh, and cute licence plate there, Ron. Posted Image

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon

#5 of 57 Robert_eb

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Posted August 15 2002 - 07:50 AM

I know I'm probably the only one in the world, but I actually liked Jackie Brown MORE than Pulp Fiction


Your not alone Rain. I liked Jackie Brown a bit more then Pulp Fiction and looking forward to both of their releases.

#6 of 57 Jeff Savage

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Posted August 15 2002 - 08:00 AM

Great review! I am glad to see that this film is FINALLY out. I have been waiting for this one ever since I got my DVD player.
...wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world...

#7 of 57 Patrick Larkin

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Posted August 15 2002 - 08:00 AM

I recall like Pulp Fiction better but I haven't seen Jackie Brown since it was in theaters. Second viewing is LONG overdue.

What ever happened to Quentin Tarantino, anyhow?

#8 of 57 Rich Malloy

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Posted August 15 2002 - 08:33 AM

Quote:
I know I'm probably the only one in the world, but I actually liked Jackie Brown MORE than Pulp Fiction.

Add another to the list, Rain! "Jackie Brown" is easily my favorite Tarantino film, and the one that finally made me realize that QT was no flash in the pan. By far, his most accomplished work.

But I'm a tad disappointed to hear that Ron isn't completely thrilled by the audio/video quality. And a little confused... reading the DVD FILE reviews of these discs, I was under the impression that the "Jackie Brown" DVD looked and sounded brilliant, whereas "Pulp Fiction" came up lacking in both departments. I wonder why there seem to be such divergent views?
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."

#9 of 57 HenrikTull

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Posted August 15 2002 - 08:37 AM

From the screengrabs there it looks like Miramax was trying to reduce overscan. Hmmmm....
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#10 of 57 TheBat

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Posted August 15 2002 - 08:45 AM

I liked jackie Brown more then Pulp Fiction.

JACOB

#11 of 57 Brian Harnish

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Posted August 15 2002 - 09:27 AM

Well, I loved Pulp Fiction but I'm sure I'll like Jackie Brown. It looks like I'll be picking both of these up come August 20th! Posted Image

#12 of 57 TonyD

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Posted August 15 2002 - 10:14 AM

Quote:
The transfer generally looks good, though comes
across a bit lackluster compared to that of
Pulp Fiction.

ron i'm confused by that quote. do you mean the new pulp or the old pulp dvd.

because i thought you didnt like the new pulp transfer at all because it was so washed out looking.

i will be getting this too. i am looking forward to seeing it on region 1 and not pal without 16x9 enhancement.

so who wants to buy my region 2 flipper from me. reasonable prices accepted.
Posted Image
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#13 of 57 JonZ

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Posted August 15 2002 - 10:44 AM

I also think Jackie Brown is the better film.
I'm really looking foward to seeing this on DVD.

DVDfile said the Jackie Brown transfer was stellar while the Pulp Fiction transfer had alot of edge enhancement. Just goes to show how different DVDs can look with different equiptment.
Cant wait until Tues.Posted Image

#14 of 57 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 15 2002 - 10:44 AM

Tony,

Please don't confuse the facts. Posted Image

I didn't like the transfer of Reservoir
Dogs
. That was the transfer that looked
washed-out.

The transfer of Pulp Fiction (the
new versions) is slightly better than that
of Jackie Brown. I also felt the
DTS track on Pulp Fiction was far
more active than that of Jackie Brown.

I have no answer about why another reviewer
or website hasa different opinion on the
transfer quality. You must realize, however,
that different systems are going to show
slightly different results in both audio
and video quality, though from membership
feedback, I generally find consistency
across the board.



Ronald J Epstein
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#15 of 57 Matthew Chmiel

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Posted August 15 2002 - 10:48 AM

Add another person to the list who liked Jackie Brown more than Pulp Fiction.

I can't wait to pick this up on Tuesday with Pulp Fiction.


#16 of 57 Rich Malloy

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Posted August 15 2002 - 11:32 AM

Quote:
The transfer of Pulp Fiction (the new versions) is slightly better than that of Jackie Brown. I also felt the DTS track on Pulp Fiction was far more active than that of Jackie Brown.

Ron, are you saying you prefer the sound design of "Pulp Fiction" over "Jackie Brown" (e.g., "more aggressive rears" in the local vernacular), or are you saying the sound quality of the "Pulp Fiction" disc is superior?

I was so pleased to hear Peter Bracke's very positive review of the audio in "Jackie Brown", and am a little letdown by your differing impression as I was so hyped for this disc! But reading your follow-up, it almost seems that your comparing sound design rather than sound quality (and, for the most part, Jackie Brown should have a more subtle sound design than Pulp Fiction).

FWIW, Peter has the following to say about JB's audio track:
Quote:
By all regards Jackie Brown is a relatively "quiet film," in that there are no big explosions, gun blasts or asteroids to be found. But that doesn't mean its soundtrack has to suck, and this certainly doesn't. For its DVD debut, Buena Vista has sported for both Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround tracks, and both exhibit a dynamic, full-bodied sound that's sure to please. The surrounds are used intelligently and actively to convey the atmosphere and the occasional strong discrete effect. The dialogue is the real star here, and balanced perfectly with the score and the effects. The songs sound great (Tarantino sure knows how to pick 'em) and the punchy .1 LFE gives both tracks real kick.
Conversely, Dan Ramer has the following to say about the PF's audio track:
Quote:
There are two 5.1 tracks: one in Dolby Digital and one in DTS, but it seems to matter very little which track you listen to, since the soundtrack suffers from compression and bandwidth limitations on both. Gunshots are often no louder than raised voices, and the bottom most and top most octaves don't seem to be present. The dialog remains crystal clear throughout the film, and surround effects are used to enhance the onscreen action, but please note that most of those are identical in both surround channels with little in the way of true discrete effects.
And now that I've completely confused the situation, I shall take my leave. Posted Image
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Two together are always going somewhere."

#17 of 57 TonyD

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Posted August 15 2002 - 11:35 AM

i my fault ron i did get confused. never mind.
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#18 of 57 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 15 2002 - 11:42 AM

Rich,

You bring up a very valid point.

If you want to get down to the nitty
gritty, then yes, I was disatisfied with
the sound design.

The overall sound quality was very good
as stated in the review.

Phew! Think I need a cigarrette about now.

Good question, though, Rich!

Ronald J Epstein
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#19 of 57 JonZ

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Posted August 15 2002 - 12:24 PM

"You must realize, however,
that different systems are going to show
slightly different results in both audio
and video quality"

Yes Ron, I hope you dont think I was trying to be difficult.Just pointing it the difference of opinion for those unaware.

#20 of 57 Antonio Silva

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Posted August 15 2002 - 01:57 PM

Same question as on the Pulp Fiction review, Ron (sorry):

Does it have English subtitles?

Thanks Posted Image
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