Glengarry Glen Ross: Collector’s Edition

BLU-RAY REVIEW 

Street Date 6/2/20;
Shout! Factory;
Drama;
$22.97 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language including sexual references.
Stars Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce, Jude Ciccolella, Bruce Altman.

Some movies just have a way of getting in your head and wrapping themselves around your brain. Glengarry Glen Ross, based on David Mamet’s stage play, is such a film. With a powerhouse cast (including four Academy Award winners) delivering juicy dialogue, how could it not be? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself quoting the film with regularity after a viewing.

In the 1992 film, as with the play, we meet four real-estate salesmen who will do anything to sell worthless property to customers who don’t want it.

Mamet has found a way to cram so many worthwhile themes, from transition to desperation, into such a simple framework. Jack Lemmon plays Shelley “The Machine” Levine, an elderly salesman who has fallen on hard times. Al Pacino plays smooth-talker Ricky Roma, who is in the midst of a winning streak. Alec Baldwin plays a hotshot from downtown who shows up in a classic cameo written specifically for the actor for the screen version. All are pitch perfect.

Baldwin puts the fear of God into the salesmen by telling them to close a deal or they’re fired. The next day, the office has been ransacked. Sensitive documents have been stolen. The subsequent investigation quickly gives way to one of the classic verbal beatdowns in cinema history, when Pacino berates the inept office manager, played by Kevin Spacey, after he costs Roma a big sale.

These are scenes you could watch again and again with continued fascination at the skill with which these performers give life to the words on the page. Mamet’s screenplay, which he adapted himself, is often hailed as being better than the stage version due to the inclusion of the Baldwin scene, which crystalizes the stakes of the story in a way the stage production only hints at.

Surprisingly, despite its legacy and acclaim, the film earned just one Academy Award nomination, Pacino for Best Supporting Actor. Pacino would lose that race to Gene Hackman in Unforgiven, but got the last laugh the same year when he took home Best Actor for Scent of a Woman. For some people it’s just in the cards. (When the movie came out, Lemmon had been the only Oscar winner in the cast. After Pacino, Spacey and Alan Arkin would later win Oscars, with Baldwin, Ed Harris and Jonathan Pryce earning Oscar nominations).

The new Shout Select Blu-ray presents the film with a gorgeous new 4K digital transfer from the original camera negative that offers a crisp, vivid image. Being sourced from a loquacious stage play, the film’s visual splendors are secondary concerns, though director James Foley and cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchía do their best to enhance the dreary ambiance of the piece with moody shadows and reflections of rain while bathing the characters in various shades of neon.

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In terms of bonus material, the new Blu-ray offers a healthy mix of old and new extras.

The first of the new additions is a 30-minute interview with Foley as he reflects on the development of the film version and the relative ease of the production since he was working with such a talented cast and a tight screenplay. The other is “God Bless Ricky Roma,” a 24-minute interview with actor Joe Mantegna, who won a Tony playing Roma on Broadway in the 1980s.

The Shout Blu-ray also includes two half-hour documentaries from the old 10th anniversary DVD from 1992 that were subsequently included on Lionsgate’s 2016 Blu-ray edition: the “ABC: Always Be Closing” documentary about the psychological intersection of fictional and real-life salesmen, and the “Magic Time: A Tribute to Jack Lemmon” documentary.

The disc also includes two commentary tracks. One comes from Foley that originated on the 10th anniversary DVD and was included on the Blu-ray as well. He offers some good stories about the production, some of which he also recounts in the new interview, but there are lengthy gaps where he just lets the film run without saying a word.

The other commentary is by Jack Lemmon, originally recorded for the 1992 Laserdisc of the film but missing from subsequent disc releases, so it makes a welcome return here. Lemmon is effusive in his praise for his fellow cast members, whom he calls the most talented bunch he ever worked with. His commentary is a fantastic intermingling of stories from the set with tales of old Hollywood from the 1950s and ’60s.

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As to what didn’t make it from previous releases, the new Blu-ray jettisons a 10-minute clip of Lemmon on the Charlie Rose show talking about the movie in 1992, and a two-minute bit of Kevin Spacey reciting his “Go to lunch” scene with an audience member on “Inside the Actors Studio.” Both were featured on both the previous DVD and Blu-ray releases, but their absence here is understandable given the problematic revelations regarding both Rose and Spacey that have popped up in recent years. It’s a shame to lose the reflections from Lemmon in the Rose piece, though.

In addition, a couple of extras from the old DVD that didn’t carry over to the 2016 Blu-ray also aren’t resurrected here. These include a scene-specific commentary from the cast and crew, and filmmaker Tony Buba’s short documentary “J. Roy: New and Used Furniture.” So completist collectors who have that 10th anniversary DVD might want to pair this new Blu-ray with the second disc from that set (which offers the pan-and-scan version of the movie along with the extras missing from the later Blu-rays).

Shout Select Presents ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ Collector’s Edition Blu-ray June 2

Shout! Factory’s premium home video label, Shout Select, June 2 will release a collector’s edition Blu-ray of the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross.

Adapted from the play by David Mamet, the film tracks a group of down-on-their luck Chicago real-estate salesman as they try to meet the month’s sale’s goals in order to avoid being fired.

The cast includes Al Pacino in an Oscar-nominated performance, plus Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce and Alec Baldwin as the motivational speaker whose cameo was written into the film version.

The Shout! Blu-ray edition includes a new 4K transfer from the original camera negative; a new conversation with director James Foley; a new “God Bless Ricky Roma” featurette in which actor Joe Mantegna remembers working with Mamet on a stage production of the story; an “A.B.C. ‘Always Be Closing’ featurette; a “Magic Time: A Tribute To Jack Lemmon” featurette; and separate commentaries with Foley and Lemmon.

Amazon’s ‘Hunters’ Top Rising Show, Netflix’s ‘Locke & Key’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Amazon’s “Hunters” was the top rising show while Netflix’s “Locke & Key” was again the top binge show on the TV Time charts for the week ended Feb. 23.

“Hunters” debuted Feb. 21. The series, from executive producer Jordan Peele, stars Al Pacino in a story of Nazi hunters in 1977 New York.

“Locke & Key,” which hit screens Feb. 7, is an adaptation of the comic book series. It follows three siblings and their mother who move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, after the father is murdered under mysterious circumstances. The house, they discover, is full of magical keys that may be connected to the father’s death.

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TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Feb. 23 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Locke & Key” (Netflix) — 2.84%
  2. “Cable Girls” (Netflix) — 2.41%
  3. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.99%
  4. “Sex Education” (Netflix) — 1.94%
  5. “Vikings” (History) — 1.82%
  6. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.67%
  7. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.42%
  8. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (Netflix) — 1.32%
  9. “Riverdale” (The CW) — 1.26%
  10. “Narcos: Mexico” (Netflix) — 1.22%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Feb. 23 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Hunters” (Amazon) — 99.9%
  2. “Koh-Lanta” (TF1) — 97.5%
  3. “Les Marseillias” (W9) — 97.4%
  4. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO) — 93.6%
  5. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (NBC) — 93.2%
  6. “The Chef Show” (Netflix) — 93%
  7. “Love Is Blind” (Netflix) — 86.4%
  8. “God Friended Me” (CBS) — 73.3%
  9. “Batwoman” (The CW) — 71.9%
  10. “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS) — 70.9%

Netflix Left $3.6 Billion at the Theatrical Box Office in 2019

Beginning in late 2018 through this year, Netflix has redoubled efforts to produce original feature-length movies in addition to episodic TV series.

At the same time, the SVOD pioneer continues to throw a curve ball into traditional theatrical distribution by largely eschewing exhibitor releases in favor of worldwide streaming access.

The result is friction from theater operators, industry awards groups and a significant hit to the fiscal bottom line.

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Netflix said its most-popular original movies from October 2018 through September 2019 included Bird Box (80 million views), Murder Mystery (73 million), Triple Frontier (52 million), The Perfect Date (48 million) and Tall Girl (41 million).

The streamer said movies such as Fyre, Otherhood, Always Be My Maybe, Secret Obsession and The Highwaymen generated more than 20 million views each within four weeks of release. The list excludes El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (25 million) and The Irishman (40 million).

While 72% of Netflix households have more than one user on the account, when factoring just one view per subscription, the aforementioned movies generated about 394 million views. Netflix ended Q3 with 158 million subscribers worldwide.

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Multiplying the views by $9.11, the average cost of a theatrical movie ticket in 2018, suggests Netflix conservatively left more than $3.58 billion in ticket sales on the table over a film’s initial 30-day period.

That’s just slightly less than Netflix’s entire third-quarter 2018 revenue of $3.9 billion.

While it can be argued that streaming a movie for “free” is more likely an option for consumers than leaving the house and buying a ticket for a non-Marvel release at a cineplex, the data underscores users’ willingness to devote a significant time allotment for video content.

“The thing that’s amazing about that is … think of everything those people could be doing on those screens, and they chose a [Netflix] film,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at the streamer, told an industry gathering earlier this month.

Sarandos was talking about The Irishman, Netflix’s 3-and-a-half-hour big-budget gangster movie from director Martin Scorsese that has multiple Golden Globe nominations. “Consumers understand the value of proposition of new movie watching, compared with TV series,” he said.

Scorsese’s most-recent theatrical release, 2016’s Silence, earned just $23.7 million at the global box office against an estimated budget of more than $40 million. But before that, 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street earned $392 million at the worldwide box office, 2011’s Hugo earned $186 million, 2010’s Shutter Island earned $294 million, and 2006’s The Departed generated $291 million. With The Irishman touting a typical Scorsese cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, it’s not unreasonable the film would have attracted moviegoers.

Irishman was released in select indie theaters to be considered for industry awards, including the Oscars.

The Irishman lost a lot of box office,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said in an interview. “A Scorsese released properly in cinemas would have generated a nice income.”

Indeed, Netflix hasn’t been shy seeking third-party funding for its content aspirations. In October the platform sold more than $2 billion in long-term debt (bonds) in the U.S. and Europe to buttress original content production in response to growing third-party competition, including Disney+.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

BLU-RAY REVIEW:  

Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $141.06 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout, some strong graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references.
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicholas Hammond.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn’t so much a film as it is a time machine that transports the audience back to 1969, allowing the viewer to swim in the atmosphere and flavor of the era.

The movie is Tarantino’s love letter to the movies and TV shows he grew up with, providing a vast canvas for him to relish in his specialties of memorable characters, rich background detail, and an indelible soundtrack of period-specific songs.

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The story is a tale of contrasting Hollywood paths. On one road is former television Western star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a borderline has-been looking to hold onto his fame by taking guest spots as the bad guy in the popular shows of the day, when he’s not too drunk to remember his lines.

Dalton is accompanied everywhere by his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who’s even more down on his luck but gets by on a come-what-may attitude despite a shady past that has led to Rick being the only one willing to employ him.

On the flip side is Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the up-and-coming starlet giddy over seeing her name on the movie marquee.

And in between them is the Manson family, which gives the film some historical context, grounding it in both a sense of dread and morbid fascination. Of course, anyone familiar with Tarantino’s previous efforts in historical fiction will understand where the real clash of this story is headed.

But as could be expected with Tarantino at the helm, the film transcends the bounds of story to give viewers the experience of living in the fantasy of 1960s Hollywood. A mix of parody and homage, the film is so beautifully shot and faithful to the styles of the time that it just feels like watching a memory — or at the very least, a dream of how things could have been.

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In typical Tarantino fashion, the overarching story isn’t so much the point as the individual scenes that comprise it, offering unforgettable bits of dialogue and character interactions, from Rick being reduced to tears by his 8-year-old co-star, to Rick and Cliff providing a running commentary watching an episode of “FBI.”

Even more of Tarantino’s Hollywood is offered up in the Blu-ray bonus materials, which feature more than 20 minutes of additional scenes, from expansions of scenes already in the movie to faux commercials for some of the products prominently featured.

Also included are five behind-the-scenes featurettes totaling more than a half-hour that detail the intricate re-creation of the period.

 

Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Gets Home Release Dates for Digital, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, the summer theatrical blockbuster Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, will be released to home audiences digitally Nov. 26 and on disc two weeks later, on Dec. 10.

Disc versions will be available in the DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD formats from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in Hollywood in 1969, reimagines the Manson murders that shocked the city that year. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as actor Rick Dalton and his longtime friend and stuntman Cliff Booth, with Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate.

In the film, Dalton and Booth make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The cast also includes Julia Butters, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Luke Perry, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern and Al Pacino — and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

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The film earned $140.4 million in U.S. theaters, and was the highest opening weekend of Tarantino’s career at $41 milion. It has been Certified Fresh by RottenTomatoes.com.

The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases come with more than 20 additional minutes of footage that delves deeper into world of Rick Dalton’s Hollywood. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital include an additional behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production design, cinematography, costume design, cars and more.

Also due Dec. 10 is a limited 4K Ultra HD collector’s edition with a 7-inch vinyl record with two of the soundtrack’s 1960s hits,  a poster for the fictitious Rick Dalton film Operazione Dyn-o-mite!, and an exclusive mini-edition of a Mad Magazine parody of the Rick Dalton TV series “Bounty Law,” called “Lousy Law.” The collector’s edition may be ordered beginning Oct. 28 from Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Target.com.

The Blu-ray Disc release comes with several retailer-exclusive extras, including “Rick Dalton” movie poster cards from Walmart, a vintage-style film magazine with over 26 never-before-seen production photos at Target, and a Steelbook available at Best Buy. All exclusive offerings also may be ordered beginning Oct. 28.

Netflix’s ‘Irishman’ Skipping Major Theatrical Run

Netflix’s big budget original movie The Irishman reportedly will not have a major theatrical run upon its November release.

The Martin Scorsese-directed gangster movie features multiple Oscar winners, including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, among others.

Netflix is eyeing the film for major industry awards, which require a theatrical screening to be considered for nomination.

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The SVOD pioneer continues to maintain a business model that makes original movies available for streaming concurrent with any theatrical run.

To abide by the rules, Netflix has offered The Irishman to theaters for an exclusive 27-day window ahead of streaming, beginning Nov. 1.

But major chains such as AMC, Regal and Landmark insist they have exclusive rights to any theatrical release for 90 days.

As a result, Netflix will screen the film at select indie theaters nationwide — a path the service took when debuting  last year’s Oscar-winning movie Roma from director Alfonso Cuaron.

 

Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’ Gets Global Debut at London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival scored a coup of sorts Aug. 5 when it announced that the upcoming 63rd edition would play host to the global debut of Netflix original feature film The Irishman from director Martin Scorsese.

Netflix — contrary to the SVOD’s feature-film policy releasing titles in theaters and streaming concurrently — is rolling out the mega-budget movie in select theaters first to appease industry awards such as the Academy Awards as well as Oscar-winner Scorsese.

Irishman, which will be screened Oct. 13 at the festival’s “Closing Night Gala,” stars Academy Award winners Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, among others.

The screening apparently precedes a previously-announced Irishman debut at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 14.

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Netflix has not yet announced the streaming release for the film.

The BFI London Film Festival also announced that there would be simultaneous preview screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.

Re-uniting Scorsese with his Gangs of New York screenwriter Steve Zaillian, who adapted from Charles Brandt’s novel I Heard You Paint Houses, The Irishman examines the influence of organized crime in post-war America.

The story is told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century.

Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of infamous Union President Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.

“I’m extremely honored to be having the International Premiere of The Irishman at the closing night of the BFI London Film Festival,” Scorsese said in a statement. “This picture was many years in the making. It’s a project that Robert De Niro and I started talking about a long time ago, and we wanted to make it the way it needed to be made. It’s also a picture that all of us could only have made at this point in our lives.”

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director hailed Scorsese as “one of the true greats of cinema” as both a creator and champion of film preservation and history.

“This is a major occasion for film lovers and I cannot wait to share this film with U.K.,” Tuttle said.

Netflix Releases ‘The Irishman’ Movie Trailer

Netflix July 31 released the official movie trailer for its much-hyped mob feature film The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring fellow Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, among others.

The period drama, which will debut at the upcoming New York Film Festival, boasts Netflix’s willingness to spend big (reported $160 million budget) and initially release the movie theatrically (ahead of streaming) to appease industry award guidelines.

The plot centers around World War II veteran and mob hitman Frank Sheeran (De Niro) and his relationship with former labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975 and was declared dead in absentia in 1982.

When the movie, which also features Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin and Ray Romano, will be released at the box office has not been disclosed.

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‘Alice, Sweet Alice,’ Pacino Flick ‘Cruising’ and ‘Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy’ Coming on Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD in August

Alice, Sweet Alice, the Al Pacino flick Cruising and “Akio Jissoji: The Buddhist Trilogy” are coming on Blu-ray from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group in August.

Due Aug. 6 is the 1976 slasher film Alice, Sweet Alice. A young girl is brutally murdered by an unknown lunatic in a bright yellow rain coat and a freakishly creepy translucent mask. As the killer continues to strike again and again, the young girl’s parents are forced to consider this gruesome reality — perhaps the killer is their eldest daughter, Alice. Ranked No. 89 on Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments, Alice, Sweet Alice features hardcore kill scenes and marks the screen debut of Brooke Shields. Special features include a new audio commentary with Richard Harland Smith; an archival audio commentary with co-writer/director Alfred Sole and editor Edward Salier; “First Communion: Alfred Sole Remembers Alice, Sweet Alice,” in which Sole looks back on his film; “In the Name of the Father,” a new interview with actor Niles McMaster; “Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on Alice, Sweet Alice,” in which filmmaker Dante Tomaselli, cousin of Sole, discusses his longtime connection to the film; “Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice, Sweet Alice,” a tour of the original shooting locations hosted by author Michael Gingold; an alternate television cut; a deleted scene; alternate opening titles; a trailer and TV spot; the original screenplay; and an image gallery.

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Coming Aug. 20 is William Friedkin’s controversial erotic crime thriller Cruising. Pacino stars as a New York City cop assigned an undercover gig that sends him deep into the world of the gay S&M and leather bars in the Meatpacking District in an effort to track down a killer targeting gay men. Special features include an archival audio commentary by Friedkin; “The History of Cruising,” an archival featurette looking at the film’s origins and production; “Exorcizing Cruising,” an archival featurette looking at the controversy surrounding the film and its legacy; and the original theatrical trailer.

Also due Aug. 20 is a collection of Akio Jissoji’s films — This Transient LifeMandara and Poem — that make up “The Buddhist Trilogy.” These three New Wave films made for the Art Theatre Guild take a controversial and shocking exploration through faith. As an added bonus, Jissoji’s 1974 feature It Was a Faint Dream, a film that touches on similar themes as the trilogy, is included. Special features include introductions to all three films in the trilogy by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave; scene-select commentaries on all three films in the trilogy by Desser; theatrical trailers for Mandara, Poem and It Was a Faint Dream; and an illustrated, 60-page collector’s book featuring new writings on the films by Anton Bitel and Tom Mes.