A Company Man (2012/Well Go USA
Blu-ray)/At Any Price (2013/Sony
Blu-ray)/The Iceman (2012/Millennium
B/B-/B- Sound: B/B-/B Extras: C Main Programs: C+
Now for a
new set of dramas that are not great, but have their moments…
Sang-Yun’s A Company Man (2012) is a
sometimes very funny action film about a young man named Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub)
who has gone to work for a nondescript corporation in Korea that
turns out to be a front for assassination jobs.
You have to be good at what you do to stay employed and he is, but inner
turmoil and people vying for power within the contract killing company start to
cause unexpected complications.
the fight scenes and murder set-ups are not bad and the cats is pretty good,
but some of this is just too much and the script does not always find the way
to go all the way on some points as it should have since we have seen some of
this before. The mix of predictability
and scenes that do not have the impact they should hold back what could have
been an unexpected gem, but it was still worth a look and you are bound to
smile a few times if not laugh from this uncut version of the film.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer and Making
Bahrani’s At Any Price (2013) has
its own ironic comedy as Dennis Quaid is a farmer who has been up to no good
battling to make money and deal with corporations flooding the market with
often inferior genetically engineered (GMO) seeds they own the copyright to. They can resell new seeds every year, killing
the seed washing and reselling businesses that only remain for organic farming
these days. However, he has gone too far
and his schemes are about to catch up to him.
son has left the country, leaving his younger (Zac Efron) to help him with
farming, but he wants to be a car racer, so maybe the family business, if it
survives, will not last after all, but other fact ors might kill it first. We see Quaid’s almost dementedly charming
interaction with potential customers, or is that victims, and the film has some
moments that work.
problem here are more clichés, Efron is not bad but could be better, some of
the turns are just too predictable from a mile away and some of the dialogue is
just plain awful. The storyline needed
to take on more of how ugly the GMO seed debacle is and that would have meant
cutting back on the melodramatic, formulaic filler. Kim Dickens, Heather Graham (there she is!)
and Clancy Brown also star as part of a decent supporting cast, but this film
needed to go further and if so, it would have really worked.
include Rehearsal Footage with the makers blocking the scenes without the
actors, a feature length audio commentary track with Bahrani & Quaid and
Toronto International Film Festival Q&A featurette.
Vromen’s The Iceman (2012) has
Michael Shannon playing to type as a family man who also secretly makes XXX
films as an editor in the 1970s when the opportunity arrives for him to be a
contract killer in his own right, which he takes advantage of. He loves his wife (Winona Ryder) and is
quickly very good at his job, but various conflicting gangster and gangster
elements may doom his run of luck and his family.
a true story, I liked the consistent style and look here, even if it was not
100% true in tone, it was close. Shannon is not bad, but he is again repeating himself, as
is Ray Liotta as a head gangster quickly annoyed by inefficiency and
incompetence, though we can also say that about the plot, which is everything
we have seen in the Gangster and Crime genres for many years.
Evans gives the big surprise performance here as his own kind of hitman and
James Franco does a turn that is brief enough to work, along with David
Schwimmer in his best work since Apt
Pupil and Robert Davi as an older Italian chief gangster in an almost
unrecognizable appearance. Fine work on
Mr. Davi’s part. Too bad we have seen
too much of this before, but once again, it is worth seeing for what does work.
include separate Behind The Scenes and Making Of featurettes.
releases are digital shoots and fare well enough with the 1080p 2.35 X 1
digital High Definition image transfer on Company
just edges out the other two in picture performance, detail and definition, but
the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Price and 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High
Definition image on Iceman are still
decent shoots that more than have their moments. Price
simply has more motion blur and detail issues than I would have liked, but
manages to look naturalistic for an HD shoot, while Iceman does an excellent job of styling itself to look like the era
it takes place in, even if this costs it in definition, warmth, detail and has
Video Black that is a bit crushed.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Company and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on Iceman tie for the best audio presentations, despite the latter
being quiet often, with warm consistent soundfields throughout. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix
on Price is towards the front
speakers except when action kicks in, especially car races.