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directed by George Griffith
USA 2010

 

Based on the real life experiences of writer/director/star George Griffith, FROM THE HEAD finds strip club restroom attendant "Shoes" pushed into reexamining his life on the third anniversary of his employ (in a position where most only last a few months). Amidst the parade of regular customers - from many of which he lucratively wangles extra tip money with various self-learned and -developed tricks of the trade (like extracting non-existent hairs, lipstick, and body glitter from married customers in order not to tip off their spouses) - are a parade of well-wishers who start to make him feel less satisfied with the stasis of his life. He starts to feel less smug about nailing the personalities of newer customers, making small-talk with the regulars, and placating the weirdos; and less jaded about the disappointments and delusions of customers who think they have special relationships with the strippers. Even more depressing for him are the well-intentioned assurances from his co-workers and his regulars that he is intelligent and capable of better things. His growing dissatisfaction with his work along with his family problems (a sick mother and a junkie brother) seem to be pushing him to make a decision whether to stay or make a momentous change.

A remarkably-assured writing and directorial debut from an actor-turned-director whose only previous behind-the-scenes work - according to IMDb - was editor on a short film, FROM THE HEAD finds George Griffith exploring the ways in which Shoes' services is a performance all of its own. The attention to the intriguing details of how he reads people, the different approaches he uses with them, as well as the more general ways he and others in the club deal with the more volatile manages to open up what is essentially a one-set character study. At first, it seems as though Griffith is reigning himself in, in favor of the more colorful cast of familiar faces (including Matthew Lilliard, P.J. Moreno, Jon Polito, and Peter Jason) and less familiar though seemingly promising theater actors - at the expense of creating audience identification with the protagonist; but he in fact shows remarkable restraint in peeling away layers of his central character. It might possibly contrived that everything seems to come to a head in Shoes' mind on the night of his anniversary, but the heavy crowd passing through the club (particularly on a game night) would seem to offer a suitable cross-section of humanity (well, the portion that visits strip joints) to convey to the viewer what the protagonist must deal with nightly.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release:

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DVD Review: Breaking Glass Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Breaking Glass Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:32:30
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.49 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English (CC), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by writer/director/star George Griffith
• Photo Gallery
• Trailer (4:3; 1:43)
• Trailers for 'Silver Case', 'Diablo', 'An American Ghost Story', and 'Dead in France'

DVD Release Date: July 16th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Breaking Glass' progressive, anamorphic disc of this Super 16mm-lensed film is barely dual-layer but is a strong presentation, with no overt edge enhancement and a healthy degree of grain evident even in long shots. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix features is busy, but in a way that emphasizes the reality of the environment. English closed captions are also included.

Writer/director/star George Griffith provides an audio commentary track in which he discusses the autobiographical aspects, the construction of the main set (with breakaway walls as well as holes to accommodate the camera lenses), the casting, workshopping the script (he didn't realize how many times his character smoked or drank until he was instructed to read the script aloud and take a drink each time he did in the script), the contribution of his cinematographer Martin Matiasek, and his filmmaking influences. It's not always an entertaining track but it reveals how much planning and development went into the actor-turned-writer/director's feature debut.

The disc also includes a trailer for the film and the usual Breaking Glass Pictures trailers for current and upcoming releases.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Breaking Glass Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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