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Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT150-BR

AMERICAN BUFFALO (1996) (CLOSEOUT SALE PRICE) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, Sean Nelson
Directed By:  Michael Corrente
Composed By:  Thomas Newman

“The language contains such rich humor just beneath the surface. It’s not a comedy (although sometimes we laugh), but an elaborate playwright’s joke.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“With its staccato, profanity-laced language and metaphorically potent setting, American Buffalo folds a stylized parody of American gangster movies into a bleak Samuel Beckett vision that is wide enough to accommodate many interpretations…it adds another resonance to the heap of them already surrounding a work that only grows richer in meaning as the years pass.”
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, and Sean Nelson star in the film version of David Mamet’s acclaimed play about a small-time heist revealing the all-American characters of its trio of losers. This stylized parody of classic gangster films reveals some profound truths about “free enterprise” even as it gives us a look at three resonant sad-sacks born into the “land of opportunity.”

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1996 / Color
87 MINUTES
RATED: R
REGION FREE

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Posted by Mark Turner on July 28, 2017 1:01 PM
ACTING AT ITS BEST

There are some plays and movies that are not about sitting there for 90 minutes or more just watching something that makes you laugh or tense up due to the action involved. Instead they offer an actor the chance to use the skills they have developed to bring life to a character, good or bad, that makes that character come alive. To watch that isn’t necessarily something you watch for pure entertainment. It becomes a combination of that and being pulled into the lives of the characters on screen. Those actors become those characters.

On top of that there are certain writers who can bring forth a story and screenplay (or play) that offers actors the chance to do just that. One of the most exciting of these is David Mamet. In numerous screenplays Mamet has provided actors with the opportunities to show just how great they can be. The language he chooses may offend but it is the language of the characters he is writing about. It’s real.

In 1996 two actors performed in a movie based on one of Mamet’s hit plays, AMERICAN BUFFALO. Both of them displayed such amazing jobs of acting that you come to a point where you have a hard time differentiating between what is real, what is acting, and what is a movie that you are watching. Between the written word and the sculpting of the characters both bring life to what could have been boring.

Dennis Franz is Don, the owner of an inner city junk store and part time thief who has just learned of a possible big score. Having resigned himself to the daily grind of running this business he now has a chance to put something away, make a large haul for himself and for the person that tipped him off to the score, Bob (Sean Nelson). Having overheard a conversation at the nearby diner across the street, the two are making plans for this once in a lifetime deal.

Into the pawn shop walks Teach (Dustin Hoffman). Teach is a professional criminal by trade, a small timer who talks big and who thinks he knows it all. Where Don has resigned himself to the daily life he leads, Teach constantly makes plans to be the big man on the block. He recites rules that should apply to all criminals and yet follows none. He might talk about how a smart crook knows not to share information while at the same time pressuring those around him to talk. Such is the case as he pushes Don’s buttons trying to find out just what he’s planning, what the score is. While punching up how great he is he tells Don that Bob is too young and unskilled to be a part of this score.

Throughout the movie Don is on edge, wondering if they can pull off this burglary or not, wondering who he should trust, being manipulated by the fast talking and ever present Teach. He knows Bob is a young kid but is Teach someone he can actually trust? As the film moves forward the arguments back and forth, the discussions of what to do fill the 88 minutes we’re watching with a sense of dread and concern for all involved. They may be crooks but they are also human beings. We watch as they crumble before us and hope that in the end things will turn out all right.

The movie takes place in the junk store from start to finish with only a few moments with the characters stepping outside into the street taking place. It feels claustrophobic and tight matching the wordplay that goes on between the characters. What goes down between these three men in the course of one night makes for some tense moments and some fascinating back and forth dialogue that has you mesmerized from the start.

I remember seeing this years ago when it first came out and thinking how boring it was. But I was younger than and unappreciative of the display of skill that was taking place by the actors on the screen or the dexterity of the written words that Mamet had woven together to create these three characters and their world. Watching it now I wish I would have appreciated it more at the time and now look forward to watching it again.

This new blu-ray release from Twilight Time shows their care in the choices they make to bring to blu. Extras, as are normally the case with Twilight Time, are limited but good choices none the less. An isolated score track, commentary track featuring film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and the original theatrical trailer are what is offered.

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