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Heavy Traffic [Blu-ray]

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Heavy Traffic [Blu-ray] + Ralph Bakshi's: Coonskin [Import] + Wizards (35th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 56.70

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Product Details

  • Format: Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • Release Date: July 16 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C7E3EH8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,658 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Michael, a young artist who lives with his neurotic mother and two-timing father, escapes the absurd and often ugly side of life on New York's tough streets by satirizing its rich yet wacky characters in wildly entertaining cartoons. From the gruff homeless and wisecracking prostitutes to gun-toting gangsters and corrupt cops, Michael's world becomes an outlandish kaleidoscope of shocking images and horrifying events that are either a testament of his wild imagination or a reminder of the strangeness of reality.

Heavy Traffic is writer-director Ralph Bakshi's follow-up to Fritz the Cat, so if you're looking for a little something to watch with the kids, you might want to search elsewhere. It's an odd little movie, one that seems to both condemn and celebrate depravity at the same time. The hero is Michael, an artist who still lives with his battling parents. Michael is far too sensitive for the cruel city, though he sure seems to draw an awful lot of pictures of it. Michael hooks up with cool bartender Carole and the two of them set off to... well, they plan to do something. More engaging than the story are Bakshi's visual techniques, which include blending animated and live-action sequences and layering old film clips into cartoon backgrounds. Though interesting as a piece of animation, Heavy Traffic is difficult to recommend. There is a running thread of misogyny that makes the film off-putting, to say the least. Yes, all of the characters are unpleasant and yes, most of the violence is over-the-top enough to make a case for it being comic. It is the constant, casual misogyny that's unsettling--at one point Michael backhands Carole across the face and everyone, including Carole, seems to be fine with that. Keep an ear out for Jamie Farr and watch it for the animation, not the plot. --Ali Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17 2004
Format: DVD
I only have one thing to add to the other reviews. The DVD version of "Heavy Traffic" has parts of scenes restored that were cut out of the VHS version. Since this is usually a selling point I'm suprised it's not advertised as an un-cut version. Compare the "Maybellene" sequence on VHS and DVD and you'll see what I mean. It's quite a bit more, uh, graphic on the DVD. If you have an old VHS copy and like the movie, getting the DVD is definitely recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frances L. Arsenault on April 15 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though, I usually watched family-oriented animated films; but I guess, I am like wholesome vs taboo. I first encountered Ralph Bakshi's films when I was a teenager - I don't know how old. I started with "The Lord of The Rings," then "Wizards," that film became my favorite Bakshi film. And then I watched on YouTube : "Fire & Ice," "Cool World" (live action/animated), and this film "Heavy Traffic."

Well anyway, Heavy Traffic is a film which begins, ends, and occasionally combines with live-action, explores the often surreal fantasies of a young New York cartoonist named Michael Corleone, using pinball imagery as a metaphor for inner-city life.

In the film, New York has a diseased, rotten, tough and violent atmosphere. Michael's Italian father, Angelo "Angie" Corleone, is a struggling mafioso who frequently cheats on Michael's Jewish mother, Ida. The couple constantly bickers and try to kill each other. Michael ambles through a catalog of freaks, greasers, and dopers.

Unemployed, he dabbles with cartoons, artistically feeding off the grubbiness of his environment. He regularly hangs out at a local bar where he gets free drinks from the female black bartender, Carole, in exchange for the sketches from the somewhat annoying Shorty, Carole's violent,legless barfly devotee. One of the regular customers at the bar, Snowflake, a nymphomaniac transvestite, who gets beat up by a tough drunk who has only just realized that Snowflake is a man in drag and not a beautiful woman. Shorty throws the drunk out and the bar's white manager abusively confronts Carole over this and she quits.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A lot of stylized elements in this film, more so than any other Bakshi pic I would say. Yet ironically, it's probably one of Ralph's most 'human' films as well. (possibly a little autobiographical?) Sure, some of the characters are WAY over the top, stereotypical, and violent beyond reason. But there's a sense that it's the perception of Michael throughout trying to make sense of it all. And though it starts off that Michael maybe this unfortunate kid doomed by his surroundings and perceived as a 'geeky virgin'. The viewer quickly learns Michael is fairly comfortable in his own skin, and at ease - if not controlling of his surroundings. And though the pinball segments get a little long and redundant, it reinforces the point that it's all 'controlled chaos'. And that the character of Carol is the (pardon the pun...) 'free ball' that Michael has been given and has to make the most of in the end. And dare I say a rather 'Kubrickian' ending at that. Has Mike and Carol really escaped the imaginary reality that brought them together. Or are about to leave the predictable surroundings for a surreal adventure? And not to sound totally melancholy, but there's a sense of happiness and joy either way for the characters at the end. Didn't think Ralph could ever touch me like that? But in this case, I won't be pressing charges against him. LOL
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By TrezKu13 on Oct. 13 2003
Format: DVD
Like Fritz the Cat and Bakshi's other works, Heavy Traffic moves into city life to show the darker side of America. Bakshi once said in an interview: "If Disney was going to animate for the middle class, I was going to animate for the guy on the street." Heavy Traffic is Bakshi accomplishing that.
The film isn't just a social statement though, it also has a lot of creativity behind that. It opens with the live action version of our main character Michael playing pinball. Michael is a cartoonist, and as he asks questions to himself he slowly dives into his world...a world similar to the one he lives in now, but a caricature of themselves. Michael deals with his crazy mother, corrupt father, a relationship with a girl, and trying to get a job - a hard task as his ideas involve events such as God getting shot in the face with a shotgun.
If you were offended or put off by the brashness of "Fritz the Cat" then you should give Heavy Traffic a try. The nudity and sex is still there, but on a toned down scale. The social satire and goofy humor is still there, and that just makes it all the more a good film.
Bakshi considered this one of the top three best films he did (next to Fritz and Streetfight). It is deservedly so.
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Format: VHS Tape
Not my favourite Bakshi movie, mind you. That spot will always be reserved for 'Wizards', regardless of how hard the critics panned it (generally the same critics who thought the awful 'Fire and Ice' was great.)
In any event, Heavy Traffic is a more satisfying movie than Fritz the Cat, with which it probably has more in common than any other Bakshi movie. Sure you can always pick holes in Ralph Bakshi's films, but what about the strong points: his gorgeous use of dialogue. The actors sound completely uncoached and spontaneous. I've always thought the dialogue in Bakshi's films up to Wizards was masterful. I could listen to it with the picture turned off.
Heavy Traffic is probably autobiographical in part. At least, if it isn't, Ralph sure went out of his way to make it seem that way. Protagonist is a young cartoonist...
The supporting cast are almost all low-life of one sort or another; losers, psycopaths, bigots, masochistic transvestites, dysfunctional parents, alcoholics, amputees, or a combination of the above. And for the most part they're repellant and irresistable at the same time.
You might have noticed I haven't mentioned the plot. Don't worry about it. The plot isn't the thing. Just immerse yourself in Bakshi's mise-en-scene; the characterisations, the dialogue, the backgrounds, the music, the underlying dirtiness and violence - you've got to just absorp the thing as a whole.
BTW this film has, in my opinion, the most terrifying moment-of-death scene of any movie I've ever seen (also one of the longest, unless you count 'Jacob's Ladder', which is nothing _but_ a moment of death scene.)
Well anyway, I think it's a great adult animated movie.
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