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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Empire Records (1995)

Empire Records (1995) (NTSC)

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Released 6-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Biographies-Cast
Listing-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 89:56 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Alan Moyle

Warner Home Video
Starring Anthony LaPaglia
Rory Cochrane
Johnny Whitworth
Robin Tunney
Renee Zellweger
Liv Tyler
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music None Given

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Empire Records is a great film - very entertaining. If you liked Mallrats, Clerks, or any movies of that ilk, you will love Empire Records. The plot is relatively simple, but it works very well for this movie. Empire Records is an independently owned, hip, happening, and altogether exciting music store that is on the brink of being bought out by Music Town, a large music chain. Needless to say there is a bit more that goes on, but not a lot more.

    Lucas (Rory Cochrane) is a very unusual individual working at Empire Records and on his first 'close' decides, on a whim, to take $9,000 and gamble it at a casino. Unfortunately, this doesn't work out well and the store comes out on the bad side. Joe (Anthony LaPaglia), the store manager, is less than impressed to find the store's takings gone and this results in some hilarious antics. Meanwhile, Debra (Robin Tunney) is a teen with an attitude aching for attention, A.J. (Johnny Whitworth) is pining for Corey (Liv Tyler) who is pining for Rex Manning (Maxwell Caulfield). The store psycho, aptly named Berko (Coyote Shivers), does his best to constantly play death metal while Gina (Renee Zellweger) does her best to wear as little as possible. That is by no means a bad thing. Will Empire Records survive or will it be overrun by a heartless, funless, corporate institution? - Well, that is for me to know and you to find out!

    Throw into this great young cast a shoplifter, an armed hold-up, a complete loser, a whole heap of great music, and a love story. Great entertainment that I don't hesitate to recommend.

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Transfer Quality


    This is another NTSC release from Warner Home Video and it shows. The quality of this transfer is not great - it is certainly watchable, but should be a lot better. The major problems are grain, aliasing, and a weird ghosting problem that I couldn't quite place my finger on.

    This movie comes in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is good to see the correct ratio being used on this movie, but it would have been even nicer in PAL.

    Sharpness is never excellent, varying from poor to very good. This transfer has quite high levels of foreground and background grain that really affect the sharpness of the transfer. Shadow detail is acceptable, but there is not a lot of need for good shadow detail in this movie as it is generally filmed in good lighting throughout.

    Colour is well saturated throughout, with no problems to speak of.

    There are numerous MPEG artefacts during this transfer. Gibb effect and pixelization are evident during the opening credits and occasionally on background detail throughout the length of the feature. Film-to-video artefacts occur constantly throughout this transfer, mostly in the form of aliasing. Aliasing occurs on just about every sharp edge or straight line throughout the movie. Some examples can be found at 5:46, 11:41 (monitor), 18:14, and 43:46 (sign). I stopped recording all the minor aliasing but it is always evident on Berko's chain. There is also significant telecine wobble occurring at times during the transfer. Film artefacts seem to be a little more obvious than usual so it is safe to say this was taken from fairly old film stock.

    Another problem that I noticed throughout the transfer was some mild ghosting. I could not quite identify where the problem was originating but it was starting to irritate me towards the end of the movie. It was most obvious in close-ups on faces - as the face moved, the highlights, especially cheek bones took a little longer to move, giving this strange ghosting effect.

    The English subtitles seem to be quite accurate and well paced - no problems. There is no layer change on this disc as it is single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer on this disc fares much better than the video transfer, although it is still far from perfect.

    There are two audio tracks available on this DVD. English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384kbps.

    Dialogue is generally good throughout with no audio sync problems. Occasionally, the dialogue seems a little distorted but nothing to be concerned with. There are some nasty clicks/pops at around 61:00 - 63:00, but that is the only occurrence.

    Empire Records has an excellent soundtrack featuring great alternative bands like the Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Better than Ezra. The choice of music really suits the movie, as can be expected for a movie about a record store.

    Surround presence is fairly limited with nothing to really reach out and grab the listener. The subwoofer chimes in well to support the music. This is not a huge action flick so the use of surrounds and sub is no less than necessary to tell the story.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is well themed, static, and 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2.24)

    This trailer is in MUCH better condition than the main feature. Presented at 2.35:1, the video is 16x9 enhanced and of excellent quality. Audio quality is also very good.

Cast and Crew

    Numerous pages of cast biography. Nothing exciting.

R4 vs R1

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

    As has been the norm, rather than the exception, of late, Warner have released another dual coded R1/R4 NTSC disc. For this reason, there is absolutely no difference between this disc and the R1 release.


    Empire Records is a great movie on a relatively poor disc that should have been much better.

    The video quality is quite ordinary.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    The extras are close to non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Sunday, February 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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