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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "Glengarry Glen Ross" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)



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#1 of 67 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:17 AM

Posted Image

Glengarry Glen Ross
10 Year Anniversary DVD







Studio: Artisan
Year: 1992
Rated: R
Film Length: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish




Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day's Work.


For years I have been hearing nothing but praises
for Glengarry Glen Ross, a film that had
managed to remain high on the list of WANTED titles
for DVD release. I have always wanted to see this
movie, but patiently waited to do so until its release
to the DVD format. Last night's viewing was a treat
for sure!

Based on a play of the same name, Both the play and
the film were written by David Mamet, whose other
credits include The Untouchables, The Spanish
Prisoner
and Wag the Dog.

Glengarry Glen Ross isn't your typical
Hollywood fare. The film is a twisted take
on normal life played by some of the greatest actors
of our time -- all coming together and delivering one
of the most exceptional performances of their careers.
It is my understanding that all of these actors worked
for months rehearsing their dialogue to perfection, and
you can see how fluidly that dialogue works on screen.

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The salesmen of Rio Ranch Estates, a small real
estate office are told by a hot shot motivator
(Alec Baldwin) that a new contest will be held to
boost sales. The winner will get a Cadillac, second
prize will be a set of steak knives, and those coming
in third or lower will be fired. This aggressive
and abusive approach does little to raise the
confidence of the dejected salesmen who are all
worn out from the stale sale leads that they have
been supplied with. Shelley Levine (Jack Lemmon) is
a modern Willy Loman --old and tired, no longer full
of the rhythm he once had. He is so desperate that
he bribes his uptight, hard ass office manager (Kevin
Spacey) into giving him more leads. Angry Dave
Moss (Ed Harris) blames management for his lack
of sales. And George Aaronow (Alan Arkin) simply
blames himself. There's only one true sales performer
in the group -- Ricky Roma (Al Pacino) -- a salesman's
salesman. This smooth-talking pro prides himself on
his communication skills, using every trick he can
to make a sale on less than desirable property.

Posted ImagePosted Image

With the pressure on to avoid pink slips, this
group's only chance to close deals again are wrapped
up in a stack of leads locked in the Spacey's office.
All three salesmen have their motives for stealing
them, Harris and Arkin even discuss doing it one night
at the bar, but Arkin doesn't want to go through with
it. Nonetheless, a robbery does occur and the finger
pointing soon begins.

Posted ImagePosted Image

While film's plot remains simplistic, mostly taking
place in the single setting of a real estate office,
Glengarry Glen Ross serves more as a showcase
for the amazing performances by its star-studded cast.
The editing is amazing as it moves the story along
at just the right pace. All the scenes are skillfully
choreographed and every shot is perfectly framed.


How is the transfer?


I have to admit that when I heard Artisan was
handling the release of this New Line Cinema film,
I got very concerned. There is no doubt that Artisan
is one of the worst studios in existence when it
comes to its DVD transfers.

One would find it hard to believe that this transfer
of Glengarry Glen Ross is an Artisan effort.
It defies everything you have seen from that studio.
This is a top-notch, first-rate transfer that is
nothing short of perfection.

It's quite rare that you see a catalog title look
totally brand new. This film does. Artisan has put
together a warm transfer that shines with the natural
beauty of stable colors and extremely accurate flesh
tones. Black levels are nice and deep -- especially
seen in Alec Baldwin's jet black hair and Kevin
Spacey's black vest. The darker night scenes,
particularly the car conversations between Harris
and Arkin, are incredibly sharp, never lacking in
detail. The film is stylized with the use of vivid
reds, blues and greens that accent many of the shots.
These colors come across with extreme intensity, yet
never become oversaturated. With the film's
incredible attention to detail, you would expect to
find some sort of background noise. There is none.
This film looks as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Posted ImagePosted Image

I often wonder why studios choose the DTS format
in films that are mostly conversation driven. This
film pretty much answers that question. The DTS
track adds a nice spacial quality to this film which
you immediately hear during the film's opening credits
as you listen to James Newton Howard's cool, jazzy
soundtrack envelope the sound stage as it underscores
the fast-paced verbal acrobatics taking place. Dialogue
comes across the center channel with defining clarity.


Special Features


One would wonder why Artisan chose to release a
2-disc Special Edition for the mere sake of providing
separate widescreen and full frame transfers.
Fortunately, this hasn't really affected the price
of this disc (about $20 online), and it has enabled
Artisan to add a DTS track to this DVD.

Posted Image

The DVD begins with a wonderful opening menu
system that really shows off the beauty of the
transfer. A broken window against a rain-soaked
backdrop provides a glimpse of the film's main
characters as the background fills with changing
deep blue and red colors. The menu is gorgeous,
and it really gives you a preview of just how
spectacular this transfer is.

Posted Image

Okay, enough about the menu....let's look at the
supplements....

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Magic Time: A tribute to Jack Lemmon is
an absolutely wonderful look back at the consummate
actor who so often portrayed the "everyman." It
begins with Jack's son, Chris, talking about his
earliest remembrance of his father, on the set of
The Great Race. The rest of this tribute
features words from the people who knew him best --
including Directors John Avildsen and James Foley,
Manager David Seltzer, and actor Peter Gallagher.
If the words of these individuals aren't powerful
enough to move you, I think you'll be moved by the
words of Jack Lemmon himself, in a touching interview
that is included at the end of this tribute. Don't
miss this!
(length: approx. 29 minutes)

There's a commentary by Director James Foley.
Unfortunately, this is not a full-length commentary
but rather one that is broken down into short
individual scenes that concentrate on Directing,
Screenplay and Rehearsal. In Directing, Foley
explains how actor Alec Baldwin arrived late in
the film's production after all the other actors
had bonded with each other. He was treated like shit
from all these great actors, and it greatly motivated
Baldwin's abusive character as a result. In
Screenplay, Foley describes his fascination
of working with actors that were able to skillfully
create many of the "hypothetical" back story scenes
used in the film. In Rehearsal Foley describes
his own personal filmmaking heaven as he talks about
how he began with individual readings and rehearsals
prior to having the entire cast work together. He
also talks about approaching director of Photography
Juan Ruiz Anchia about using color to stylize his
scenes.

On Disc Two you will find additional bonus
commentary
by Cinematographer Juan Rulz Anchia;
Production Designer Jane Musky; actors Alan Arkin
and Alec Baldwin. These commentaries are rather
short and only scene specific.

Posted Image

If you wish to view the remaining supplementals,
you need to insert Disc Two....

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ABC "Always Be Closing" is a little too long
and may be difficult to sit through in its entirety,
but it begins with an interesting revelation...the
film Glengarry Glen Ross has actually been
used to teach real salesmen how to sell and how not
to sell. This feature takes a looks at variety
real salesmen (mostly involved in real estate) who
talk about their craft and their motivation to become
the best they can be. Just remember, the sale begins
when the customer says "no."
(length: approx. 29 minutes)

Posted Image

J. Roy: New and Used Furniture is a look at
a dreamer, Jimmy Roy, who started as a flea market
salesman, eventually becaming an auto saleseman.
This featurette takes a look back at the art of
making a sale and what qualities makes a great
salesman.
(length: approx. 9.5 minutes)

Posted ImagePosted Image

Two very short clips featuring TV interviews are
included here. The first The first is a 1993 interview
with Jack Lemmon from The Charlie Rose Show that
lasts 10 minutes. The second is a hilarious 2-minute
audience interaction segment featuring Kevin Spacey
from Inside The Actors Studio.

Rounding out the extras is separate Cast and
Crew Biographies
as well as Production Notes
that explains the journey of this 1983 play that began
with its performances in London, and eventually becoming
a low-budget picture filmed in just 39 days.

The bad news is that there is absolutely no inclusion
of the film's original trailer here. The good news
is that Artisan has provided subtitles for the hearing
impaired -- something you don't often see from this
studio.


Final Thoughts


Glengarry Glen Ross is a modern-day classic
that benefits from an outstanding cast, a fine
screenplay, and an intriguing subject. It's one
of the greatest ensemble acting performances you
will ever see on film.

With the exception of the Jack Lemmon tribute and
TV interview clips, this 2-disc 10 year Anniversary
DVD is somewhat lacking in interesting supplemental
material. However, the drop-dead gorgeous transfer
is reason enough to warrant the purchase of this DVD.

Well worth the wait!


Release Date: November 19, 2002

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 67 OFFLINE   Enrique B Chamorro

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:28 AM

This disc is MINE!
I have the Pioneer SE laserdisc and
can't wait for the DVD!
If I ever get the LD player fixed, I
can check if the commentary track is
the same?

#3 of 67 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted November 12 2002 - 02:18 AM

Great stuff, Ron! Posted Image

I really hope that the people at Artisan are reading all these reviews on the Net and they take heed and make sure that their future DVD tranfers are as good as this.


Gordy

#4 of 67 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted November 12 2002 - 02:20 AM

I will cherish the Jack Lemmon commentary from the LD!

Felix

#5 of 67 OFFLINE   MichaelG

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Posted November 12 2002 - 02:38 AM

Talk about clueless, I thought that this was being released in March of next year! I will be getting this one for sure. My brother has been in sales for only about 4 years, but he said that this movie is awesome because it really hits home and represents an accurate portrait of this way to make a living.
Signed,

Epstein's mother's Doctor!

#6 of 67 OFFLINE   CraigL

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:11 AM

You know...i absolutely love this film and I'm totally looking forward to it...

BUT...

these supplements absolutely suck. There's not one that even remotely interests me. Wasn't there a FULL commentary by Foley on the laserdisc? So now we get a chopped up version of that PLUS NO lemmon commentary. Wow...guess i'm going to have to try and pick up that laser on Ebay.
No trailer? No cast or crew interviews? No Mamet? Nothin?? Just background. And shouldn't the Lemmon tribute have been it's own separate disc? I dunno. I'm sure most people will say i'm just complaining...but I just expected more interesting extras from a special edition.

#7 of 67 OFFLINE   josh4040

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:40 AM

I can't wait till tuesday to pick this up! Ron I am glad you liked the movie, but with some of the "questionable" titles you have "highly reccomended" as of the past few months, maybe this title deserves to have the same accolades. This is definetly worth a sight unseen pickup, both for the dialogue and for the stellar ensemble cast!

#8 of 67 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 12 2002 - 04:14 AM

Josh,

You know what?

You are 100% correct. This title does deserve
a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED status and I will make the
necessary changes to reflect that status.

The transfer alone is worthy of such praise.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#9 of 67 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted November 12 2002 - 05:34 AM

i'd rather have an inexpensive barebones single disc version. $20 is too much for a DVD nowadays. this will be mine soon enough but i'll wait for the inevitable price drop.

#10 of 67 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted November 12 2002 - 05:38 AM

Can't wait for this DVD! Thanks for the review Ron.
Home Theater Addict

#11 of 67 OFFLINE   Josh Lowe

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Posted November 12 2002 - 05:45 AM

I'm sure like all new releases it will be available for $15.99 or lower at major chains. Personally I'd have no problem paying $30 for any good movie if it means it's given a proper treatment and supports an outstanding transfer such as this release.

#12 of 67 OFFLINE   CraigL

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Posted November 12 2002 - 06:07 AM

FYI..it'll be $20 at Best Buy. Doubt it's going any lower than that. It's not really a "new release" as it's an older film. They don't get the same treatment as first release films.

#13 of 67 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted November 12 2002 - 06:10 AM

Quote:
They don't get the same treatment as first release films.

exactly. i'd pay $30 for a film if I HAD to but I'm accustomed to DVD's at around $15 now. I'm sure it will hit that mark eventually.

i'm not big on extras on any DVD so when i see this come out on 2 discs with extras I'll never watch and a $5 premium on price, i'll pass for now.

#14 of 67 OFFLINE   JosephMoore

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Posted November 12 2002 - 08:45 AM

I'm really glad that this is a great transfer, which is the most important thing, but it's a shame that someone like Criterion didn't release it with some "serious" extras since the audience for this film is really mostly serious film buffs.

This is a superb flick, if you haven't seen it you owe it to yourself to at least rent it.


#15 of 67 OFFLINE   Joel Vardy

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Posted November 12 2002 - 10:37 AM

Quote:
FYI..it'll be $20 at Best Buy.


FYI it'll be $17.54 and $17.94 at DVDEmpire.com and DeepDiscountDVD.com respectively. If you are not a Pennsylvania resident and you can find 3 other titles (then you get free shipping) your best bet is DVDEmpire. Unfortunately, as a PA resident I have to factor in sales tax as well. DDD seems to be the place to go for most on this title. Speculation that the B&M's most likely will not discount this due to its eclectic nature is well founded (no loud noises/nude bodies nor blood - just outstanding dialogue). I wish I knew if some B&M will break ranks and try to attract us to their stores Posted Image .

In any case, this is one of the most anticipated titles since I started collecting late in '97. I won't let a couple of dollars stand in the way from owning it. Others should probably consider the rental option if your not already a fan of the film.

Joel

#16 of 67 OFFLINE   Eric T

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Posted November 12 2002 - 02:14 PM

This is one of my absolute favorite films. As Ron mentioned in his review, it's a powerhouse of acting talent. I think anyone serious about film should own this one.

#17 of 67 OFFLINE   Peter Kim

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Posted November 12 2002 - 06:14 PM

Biggest news of this week...Ron's review of GGR. Posted Image Y Tu Mama Tambien, GGR,...careful, people might begin to label you as quirky.

Love this film. Easily $20 worth of viewing/re pleasure. Even better to hear about (and see) the glorious transfer.

The scenes of Pacino in the chinese restaurant - very intimate and engaging to the point of being hypnotic. Great background stuff for small parties.
my girls rock Balenciaga & smoke mad marijuana - M.O.B.

#18 of 67 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted November 12 2002 - 10:44 PM

Joel Vardy: Why do Pennsylvanian's have to pay more tax? I think I've heard of this before and I have always wondered why that is. I live in Britain, so it's all unknown to me! Posted Image

$17.54 is pretty good - that's £11.04 on the current exchange rate. I buy from the British e-tailer, www.play247.com and Glengarry cost me £14.99, which is $23.80 on the current exchange rate. Delivery of in-stock titles is usually 2 days and out-of-stock titles is 4-7 days. I sometimes use DVD Box Office and DVD Soon - Canadian sites! The prices are great, but delivery can take a while.


Gordy

#19 of 67 OFFLINE   Greg_Y

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Posted November 12 2002 - 11:18 PM

Quote:
One would find it hard to believe that this transfer
of Glengarry Glen Ross is an Artisan effort.

My most anticipated title of the year by a long shot and this sentence alone made me smile! WOO HOO!

#20 of 67 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted November 13 2002 - 02:54 AM

I forgot to add, Thanks Ron for the review. Its good to have something besides techno-epics to read about!

Gordon - the states in the US all have different sales tax amounts. Pennsylvania is 6%. Delaware has no sales tax. New Jersey is 7 or 8% I think. Joel's point was that DVD Empire is located in Pennsylvania, thus all PA residents must pay sales tax when ordering from them. The other 49 states don't have to pay tax. The same can be said for Amazon.com. Since they are located in Washington state, any Washington residents need to pay sales tax on Amazon orders...

Finally, on pricing. I compare this release (MSRP-wise) to the relase of Blood Simple. It was released selling for over $20 only to see a big price drop 6 months later. I'll wait for the price drop since I'm not a rich man. Posted Image