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Star Time (1991) - Blu-ray Review

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Star Time (1991) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beersThe Baby Mask Killer strikes again!

Alexander Cassini's Star Time will fuck you up. There’s no other way to put it because this dark commentary on television’s impact upon our culture is truer now than it was when it was originally released in 1993. And we have Vinegar Syndrome to thank for its reemergence in our life. After all, we now have a reality television star as our Commander in Chief.

Wicked and surreal, Star Time opens when one unstable man (Michael St. Gerard) – with little identity outside of the television he watches – decides to throw himself off a building in downtown Los Angeles when he hears about the cancellation of his favorite television show. There can be no life outside of that 30-minute sitcom and so he decides to end it all.

He wasn’t expecting to be talked out of it by Sam Bones (John P. Ryan), a wheeling and dealing showbiz confidence man. The power is in your hands, he tells Henry Pinkle and then he disappears into the night. As satellite signals send and receive their values, Henry runs after Sam and is finally brought to a shitty motel where a constant hum is the only sign of life.

Already, one gets the feeling that this movie was way ahead of its time. It’s very David Lynch-like as Henry mixes real life with the events on the boob tube or, more specifically, with his television family. They are the world to him, you know? And he’s not alone. How many of us depend on our television shows to get through the day? That’s right, too many of us.

 

"There’s no business like show business. Somebody cue Ethel Merman! And, when the landing is as rough as it is here complete with killer baby masks, the final results are pretty damn deadly."


 

The third star is this surreal tale of different sensations is the cityscape of Los Angeles itself. Shot mainly at night, the city shines with an openness that is to be envied. It looks heroic. Clean, in fact. As the neon of the city illuminates in the distance, Sam and Henry talk about ways to make Henry an honest star…and it involves a camcorder and a bunch of conversations with the people in his life. It is, after all, one way to make suicide a big ratings earner.

With artistic shots full of close-ups and a wicked sense of energy in all of its edits, Star Time makes an additional impact as we come into a room full of television screens all selling sex, sex, and more sex. Henry has died and gone to heaven! Body immortality, the female voice suggests, and suddenly all the images of sex become fits of rage and violence. This is extreme stuff and it reaches a dizzying culmination suggesting that too much information is a damn bad thing.

But we already know that. We live it every single day. And cinematographer Fernando Arguelles gifts behind the camera helps us view Henry’s interpretation of this night differently time and time again.

There’s no business like show business. Somebody cue Ethel Merman! And, when the landing is as rough as it is here complete with killer baby masks, the final results are pretty damn deadly.

Star Time, as psychotic as it might be in its unrelenting vision of the effects of television, is a true cult classic that definitely deserves a place on your shelf.   It’s Star Time, Henry.

 

Legend - Style 2

Star Time (1991) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 85 mins
Director: Alexander Cassini
Writer: Alexander Cassini
Cast: Michael St. Gerard, John P. Ryan, Maureen Teefy
Genre: Drama | Crime | Thriller
Tagline: Written, produced, and directed by Alexander Cassini.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Be a winner. Be a winner, play the lottery."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2018
Synopsis: Henry Pinkle (Michael St. Gerard) lives for television. This world of make-believe consumes his every waking moment. But when his favorite show is canceled, Henry is driven over the edge and decides to commit suicide. Then he meets Sam Bones, a mysterious agent who promises Henry happiness and stardom – if he follows his instructions, engulfing Henry in an increasingly downward spiral of brutality and murder…

 

Star Time (1991) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - March 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Vinegar Syndrome presents Star Time’s low budget thrills on 1080p (with 1.85:1 aspect ratios) thanks to their newly restored 2k transfer. The transfer was compiled from their 35mm original camera negatives and the results are as detailed and as deep as you might want. This low budget flick is finally presented as it was originally intended. Black levels are good, shadows are clearly defined, and colors – especially reds – are great. The sound is presented in a English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track which is adequate for this no-budget feature.

Supplements:

Commentary:

The commentary track with director Alexander Cassini is on point. Cinema lovers will love it as he recounts the making of the movie.

Special Features:

First and foremost, Vinegar Syndrome always puts out treats for those of us who love B-movies. This release, complete with a new interview with Cinematographer Fernando Argüelles and a short film by Alexander Cassini, is pretty awesome. A trailer is also included. It should be noted that this special limited edition slipcover (designed by Derek Gabryszak) is limited to just 1,500 units and is only available at VinegarSyndrome.com. Get your copy now!

Shooting Star Time

The Great Performance: A Short Film

Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Star Time (1991) - Blu-ray Review

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