Head Office (1985)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 87:22 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ken Finkleman
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Judge Reinhold
Lori-Nan Engler
Eddie Albert
Merritt Butrick
George Coe
Danny DeVito
Ron Frazier
Ron James
John Kapelos
Don King
Richard Masur
Rick Moranis
Brian Doyle-Murray
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Newton Howard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Before The Office, Office Space, or even the classic Dilbert there was this mid 1980s attempt at corporate satire. Head Office tells the story of Jack Issel (Judge Reinhold) and his climb up the corporate ladder of America. Young Jack has just graduated from Harvard Business School and manages to land a job out of the blue for INC - a mega-global corporation that makes just about everything on the planet. For some reason Jack finds himself getting promoted in his first week of work and it's got nothing to do with his work ethic. It might just have something to do with the fact that his father is a US senator and the executives at INC need someone in government on their side for some big decision that is about to go down  - but Jack is completely unaware of this, or possibly too stupid to understand.

    As Jack's career continues to move ahead in dramatic leaps through no fault or effort of his own, he someone manages to meet Rachel Helmes (Lori-Nan Engler), a radical young woman who is completely anti-corporate everything and is protesting about INCs decision to close a local plant and ship production off to Mexico. They form a bit of a relationship and manage to uncover more than they can probably handle.

    The whole plot seems to hang together with a series of attempted black comedy corporate-style jokes involving highly-strung marketing managers who die of heart attacks (a cameo by Rick Moranis), and others who throw themselves out of windows because they have been implicated in an insider trading scheme (Danny DeVito). There's even a cameo by the king of 80s self promotion - boxing promoter Don King (as himself).

    This is a really lame excuse for a film that you will probably just not find funny anymore. Maybe it was in 1985, but in 2004 I think audiences are a little more sophisticated than this film gives them credit for.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Overall there is a fairly disappointing video transfer on offer here.

    We have the pleasure of experiencing this film in its original theatrical aspect of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. It's an odd aspect ratio for the type of film that it is and I can't help but feel it would look much better having been framed in the more conventional 1.85:1 or 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

    This is not an overly sharp transfer, with a soft quality to the overall picture and a shockingly high level of contrast throughout. There is also a reasonable amount of edge enhancement present. Shadow detail suffers at times, though it is not the major problem. Grain is present throughout and at times is extremely noticeable. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are pretty awful. The high contrast appearance of the film has left most of the colours looking washed out and very limp. This is certainly not an overly vivid transfer.

    Compression artefacts are absent, but film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of some light shimmer on a variety of surfaces throughout. There are also a small number of film artefacts (of the usual small and barely noticeable variety).

    There are no subtitles at all on this disc

    This is a single sided, single layer disc only, and hence there is no layer change to worry about.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   There is only one audio track available, and it's a rather dull Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo effort in English. This is a fairly unremarkable soundtrack that sounds much older than its 20 years. It's fairly harsh at times and severely lacking in fidelity.

    At least the dialogue is clear enough to understand despite being a little grating and there are no audio sync problems.

    The music is 1980s synth and electric based rubbish at its absolute worst. Grating and truly annoying and amazing that it is credited to the well-known score composer James Newton Howard. I guess we all have off days.

    Being only a stereo track, there is no surround channel or subwoofer use at all.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Thankfully there are no extras on this disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title does not appear to have been released in Region 1 as of yet.

Summary

    Head Office is a pretty lame 1980s film that looks incredibly dated and appears on a DVD that looks incredibly dated.

    The video and audio are pretty lacklustre, befitting their budget status.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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