Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) (1997)

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Released 1-Dec-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of-Jackie Brown - How it Went Down
Interviews-Crew-An Interview with Quentin Tarantino
Short Film-"Chicks With Guns" Video
Deleted Scenes-With Introduction by Tarantino
Featurette-Review by Siskel and Ebert
Featurette-MTV Contest and Interviews
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Gallery-Photo
Gallery-Photo
Trivia
Music Highlights
Trailer-Robert Forster
Trailer-Pam Grier
Featurette-Breaking Down Jackie Brown
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 153:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Quentin Tarantino
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Pam Grier
Samuel L. Jackson
Robert Forster
Bridget Fonda
Michael Keaton
Robert De Niro
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     When, after a gap of over 3 years,Quentin Tarantino released Jackie Brown, it wasn't what anyone was expecting. Sure, all the Tarantino trademarks seem to be there. It was set amongst a crime milieu, featured some sharp, self-aware dialogue and expressed the director's admiration for films of a bygone era, in this case the 1970s blaxploitation flicks. But this is Quentin Tarantino with a heart.

     So where did this new-found sentiment come from? The answer probably lies in the original source for Tarantino's script-the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. Leonard knows how to create hard characters in a crime soaked environment but he has a skill at making them likeable. In adapting the novel Tarantino added some of the dialogue for which he is justly famous and created a work with two of his most likeable characters. Tarantino changed the titular character from Jackie Burke to Jackie Brown and changed her from white to black. His infatuation with the films of Pam Grier led to him casting the well-out -of-favour actress in the lead role. Grier had been a notable performer in the "girls in cages" movies of the 70s as well as a string of girl-power blaxploitation films like Coffey and Foxy Brown - "black and stacked and packed with fury!"

     With those films as his reference and Pam Grier in the lead many may have expected that Tarantino would turn the Elmore Leonard book into a tongue-in-cheek, over the top blood fest. Instead Tarantino delivered perhaps his most mature film, featuring some strong and moving performances from a cast of forgotten performers as well as current legends.

     Jackie Brown is a 44-year-old airline stewardess with a difficult past. A previous drug bust importing product for her then husband has damaged her status and employability in the industry. She is now working at the bottom of the ladder, for Capo Airlines running out of Mexico, and is on a basic wage. Jackie has been forced to supplement that wage by bringing money into the country for gunrunner Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson). Ordell has been having a few problems of his own. Another employee, Livingston (Chris Tucker) has been arrested for a traffic violation and the police have found a gun in his car. Washington is looking at a long prison term. Ordell knows that it won't be too long before Livingston sells him out to avoid prison.

     Ordell visits bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) to get Washington out on bail. Once freed a bullet to the head from Ordell solves the immediate problem! With Jackie Brown doing money importation Ordell needs another worker, which he finds in recently released ex-con Louis (Robert De Niro). Louis is none too bright and having trouble adapting to the world outside of prison. Ordell lets him hang out at his beach side apartment occupied by his surfer girl fling Melanie (Bridget Fonda). Melanie was clearly originally enchanted by the machismo of Ordell but now the respect has vanished.

     The plot steps up a gear when Jackie Brown is arrested at the airport by LAPD detective Mark Bargas (Michael Owen) and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton). Once again Ordell bails out his employee but this time the cagey Jackie is too smart to cop a bullet. She makes plans with the police to set Ordell up on gun charges ... all the while plotting with Ordell to bring in the bulk of his fortune hidden in Mexico. How can she possibly pull it off? With the help of Max Cherry, as the 56 year old bail bondsman has fallen under the spell of the bewitching Jackie.

     The difference between this Tarantino film and his earlier flicks is that the affection Max feels for Jackie is genuine and, who knows, she just might have feelings for him too. Jackie Brown may not be quintessential Quentin but to my mind it is probably his most complete and emotionally engaging film. It isn't perfect. Even he concedes that it is pretty long. It is not hard to see where the film could have been cut. There are a number of scenes with Jackson riffing and jiving to De Niro. But they do it so well that I can imagine Quentin’s reluctance. The courage to make a 44 year old woman not only the lead but a seductress of considerable allure is a brave one. When was the last time this was done? The Thomas Crown Affair remake with Rene Russo perhaps? Jackson is stunning in the film creating a cold calculating killer who meets his match in Jackie Brown. But the film is really an actor’s playground for Grier to bounce of the cast including Forster in his best role. Grier is so good and compelling that you can't imagine why she wasn't constantly getting work.

     This Blu-ray isn't at present available for individual purchase. It is only available as part of the Quentin Tarantino Collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Jackie Brown appears on Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio consistent with its original aspect ratio. This is, in fact, the only Tarantino feature film to be released in this ratio. Why the change from 2.35:1? Perhaps to get that greater sense of intimacy.

     This is a strong Blu-ray transfer but not one that comes close to reference quality. The film has that 70's cinema look. There are a lot of browns around and the flesh tones and colours run a little hot.

     There is no criticizing the detail in the faces. Robert Forster looks like he has earned every wrinkle and the hairs in his eyebrows can be counted individually. There is a lot of darkness in the film and the blacks are pretty well handled without evidence of compression problems.

     There are subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired and Spanish, which give a good account of on-screen action and dialogue.

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

Audio

     The sound for Jackie Brown is English 5.1 DTS HD-Master Audio. There is also a DTS Sound Check included to improve your sonic experience.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand including Samuel L. Jackson's controversial use, or overuse, of the "n" word. This film perhaps doesn't lend itself to sonic showmanship yet there is a pleasing ambience to the sound track. There are no technical problems with the transfer.

     Tarantino delves deep into the funk and soul catalogue for this film unearthing a number of lost classics like the opening credits tune Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack, the track Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)by The Delfonics which plays a role in the relationship between the three key cast members and even Pam Grier’s funky Long Time Woman.

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

Extras

     Jackie Brown has had only one release in Region 4. That release had a bare bones extras component. In Region 1 a Collector’s Edition was released which had a bunch of extras. These are listed below.

Jackie Brown: How it Went Down (38:55)

    This is divided into ten parts. Each segment contains interviews with people crucial to the project including Tarantino, long-time producer Lawrence Bender, author Elmore Leonard, editor Sally Menke, actors Grier, Forster, Jackson, De Niro, Fonda, Bowen and Keaton, as well as the prop team. There is a lot of good information on offer here though some of it doesn't really delve below the surface of an EPK.

A Look Back at Jackie Brown (54:42)

     Quentin Tarantino is interviewed at length about the origin of the project, the production and the release of the film. As usual, he speaks a million miles an hour. The only pity is that the interviewer isn't adequately miked so it can be a challenge hearing what she is saying.

'Chicks with Guns' video (4:52)

     Tarantino introduces the full video (actually called Chicks Who Love Guns. There is a fun surprise at the end.

Deleted/Alternate scenes with introduction from Tarantino (15:29 SD)

     Six scenes are on offer. Only one is of real interest, a moment when Brown and Cherry work out how to foil Ordell. The film works better without it.

Siskel and Ebert's review of Jackie Brown (4:46)

     The two critics each give the film a thumbs up and both clearly revel in Tarantino's use of language.

MTV promotional contest video (01:03)

     Actually, this is funny. Tarantino is giving away Miramax's money - the $25,000 from the shopping bag to a lucky viewer. There is a lot of fun from the cast.

MTV Live interview segment(14:22)

     An interview featuring Tarantino, Grier and Fonda chillin' out on the MTV couch.

Trailers (03:50)

     A bunch of trailers.

TV spots (03:56)

     A bunch of TV spots.

Poster Art

     A bunch of posters.

Still Galleries

     You guessed it, a bunch of stills.

Trivia Track

     Little titbits to keep you entertained.

Soundtrack Chapters

     Wanna skip to your favourite songs from the movie. This option allows you to jump right in.

Robert Forster trailers (27:46)

     A selection of trailers, some featuring Forster in prime position but mostly where he is a background character.

Pam Grier trailers (36:21)

     How many caged women movies can one woman make? As it turns out, quite a lot. Grier must have paused on some days trying to remember if she was the "tough, sexy prisoner" or the "hot, sadistic guard"! There are some great mid-70s trailers when Grier was at her height though some later trailers had me going "spot the Pam".

Pam Grier radio spots

     A bunch of these spots are included. There is only one "new" extra created since the Collector’s edition.

Breaking Down Jackie Brown

     This is a roundtable discussion from a bunch of film critics including Scott Foundas and Stephanie Zacharek. It is entertaining enough though you have to like "book club" shows to appreciate the value of the debate.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is the same as the Region A Edition.

Summary

     Jackie Brown is Tarantino at his most leisurely and direct. The film focusses on characters and, with his high quality dialogue, we get an investment in the performances that really pays off. Tears at the end ? A couple...

     The Blu-ray is a decent transfer which looks about the best the film will look and sounds pretty good.

     The extras are pretty detailed but anyone who imported the Collector’s Edition will already have the best of them.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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