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TOUCHSTONE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
George Armitage
Cast:
John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin , Joan Cusack , Hank Azaria , Jeremy Piven
Writing Credits:
Tom Jankiewicz (and story), D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack

Tagline:
A comedy about a hit man, a high school reunion, and the girl he left behind.

Synopsis:
Celebrate the 15th anniversary of a killer comedy hit - now available on Blu-ray for the first time with a sensational new digital restoration. John Cusack, Minnie Driver, and Academy Award nominee Dan Aykroyd are hilarious in this surefire knockout, loaded with action and laughs. Martin Blank is a hit man stuck in a career rut when his 10-year high school reunion gives him the chance to rekindle an old flame and pull off one final job. Things are looking up until his arch rival joins the party, aiming to blow the competition away.

Box Office:
Budget
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.870 million on 1227 screens.
Domestic Gross
$28.014 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 8/7/2012

Bonus:
• Trailer
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM


Grosse Point Blank [Blu-Ray] (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 8, 2012)

In an interesting coincidence, Disney-owned studios put out two comedies related to a similar subject in 1997. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion goes for the lighter approach to these events, while Grosse Pointe Blank delivers a much darker edge.

Hit man Martin Blank (John Cusack) lives a solitary existence typical of the trade. Egged on by the concerns of his assistant Marcella (Joan Cusack), he picks up a job in Detroit – one that allows him to also go to his 10-year high school reunion at the same time.

This leads to a variety of complications, both professional and personal. Martin has to deal with competition from fellow assassin Grocer (Dan Aykroyd) and also has to fend off various other parties out to cause him harm. In addition, he reunites with Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver), the one-time main squeeze he jilted at prom – and also take care of that job, one with an intriguing target.

I’m under the impression that Blank has built up a decent cult following over the last 15 years, and to some degree, I can see why. It comes with unusual, semi-challenging subject matter that prevents more mass appeal but will interest a certain audience.

Unfortunately, I don’t find myself part of its cult fanbase, though I hoped I would like it. I figured the film had the chance to be a clever twist on the usual reunion theme, and to some degree it is.

However, Blank seems to invest more in its concept than its execution. “Hit man goes to high school reunion” sounds like a good idea – and it is – but the film doesn’t do a lot more to develop its themes and characters.

That makes it an oddly disjointed affair, as it never really brings together its dual sides. Yes, it does combine the “hit man” and the “reunion” settings/characters by the end, but until that point, they feel separate and without good integration. Essentially we get two unconnected films that become crammed into each other, and they don’t flow well.

It doesn’t help that the film fails to develop the roles in a satisfying manner. Part of the post-Pulp Fiction, Blank comes with a very “written” feel, as people utter lines that often seem like script constructions more than natural speech. That works with someone as gifted as Tarantino, but Blank - worked on by four different writers – lacks similar spark.

All of this leads to a sporadically entertaining affair but not one with much to it. The film gets points for its interesting concept but loses them due to lackluster, awkward execution. Blank has enough gusto to remain a decent film; it just never rises above that level.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Grosse Pointe Blank appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an erratic presentation.

Sharpness showed ups and downs. Most of the flick demonstrated good accuracy, but occasional signs of softness interfered. The presence of some moderate edge haloes didn’t help, as these created distractions. I saw no concerns with shimmering or jaggies, though, and the image lacked print flaws.

The colors of Blank could be a little loose. The movie’s natural palette looked decent but not usually much better than that, as the hues veered toward the slightly heavy side. Blacks were a bit too dark, and shadows tended to be rather dense. For instance, in one scene, we hear a discussion of Martin’s tie, but the opacity of the shot makes it impossible to see it. None of these issues created fatal flaws, but they left this as a “C+” image.

On the other hand, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack proved to be involving than expected. The occasional action sequences added pizzazz to the package and gave it some zing. These didn’t pop up often enough to create a spectacular soundscape, but they brought out more than we’d usually get from what’s essentially a dark comedy. The sequence in which the mini-mart exploded worked best, but others with gunfire also delivered useful material.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was distinctive and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music showed nice range and fullness, while effects brought out good accuracy and clarity. All of this was worth a “B”.

Despite its moniker as a “15th Anniversary Edition”, we get virtually no extras. The disc opens with promos for Frankenweenie, The Avengers and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. These also pop up under Sneak Peeks along with ads for Castle and other TV on DVD/BD products. The trailer for Blank shows up here as well.

With Grosse Pointe Blank, we find an intriguing story hampered by problematic development. I like the movie’s idea but don’t think the end product satisfies; it’s mild entertainment and that’s all. The Blu-ray provides decent but erratic visuals, good audio and nearly non-existent supplements. I wish I liked Blank more than I do, but the end product just doesn’t do a lot for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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