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NEW Straight Time (DVD)

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4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 42.16
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5.0 out of 5 stars perhaps dustin hoffman's finest performance Aug. 6 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I last saw Straight Time several years ago, on television (with commercials and overdubbed swearing, of course). Yet this film has lingered in my memory - every time I think of Hoffman, I think of this film. Others here have reprised the general storyline. I've seen most of Hoffman's films, the great to not so great (thankfully I've never been subjected to 'Hook'). Most films with DH in them are indeed "Dustin Hoffman" films. In Straight Time however, he dissolves into the character of Max Dembo. You forget that it's Dustin Hoffman - you see a pathetic little guy, locked in his pathologies, with just the faintest glimmer of self-recognition, enough to despair for knowing that he'll always follow these lost paths. It is indeed one of the best films - and best performances - you've likely never seen. Beware - this ain't no 'Tootsie'. This is gritty and dark in tone, and will not leave you feeling uplifted. Then again, the same can be said for "Midnight Cowboy", and that doesn't make it any less worth the time viewing it. See it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best film you've never seen! March 5 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Gather around, for there is a story I would tell about the best movie that you have never seen in your life. That would be Ulu Grosbard's "Straight Time." This is the story of Max Dembo (expertly portrayed by Dustin Hoffman), a parolee who has just been released from a six-year prison stint on a burglary rap. What follows is a primer on what not to do as an ex-con fresh out of the joint. Immediately on the heels of his release from prison, Max looks up an old cronie, Willie (Gary Busey, looking so dirty and disheveled you can almost smell his sweaty black T-shirt and greasy, stringy brown hair). Max is having a hard time playing it straight in the street and is actively seeking his next big score. He soon hooks up with a more stable ex-partner in crime, Jerry (Harry Dean Stanton), and he and Max plan and successfully execute a bank job. Here we learn something very telling about Max: He is greedy to the point that he is willing to take foolish chances (or perhaps he just WANTS to get caught). While the alarm is blaring and Jerry is screaming for him to leave the bank, Max is opening every drawer, refusing to leave until every last penny in the bank's reserve is in his white cotton sack. I will spare you the results of the jewelry store heist that is to follow, but I would warn you that it is a masterfully directed and acted scene that is suspenseful to the point where you will find that your toes are curled at an angle 90 degrees from the floor. "Straight Time" was released in 1978 to an indifferent public and critics alike. It was gone from the theaters after about a two-week run, relegated to obscurity. Despite the somewhat dry, drawn-out and overlong denouement, I would urge all of you within the sound of my voice to rise up, be a champion of the underappreciated, and for the love of God, give "Straight Time" a much-deserved look-see.
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4.0 out of 5 stars CULT MOVIES 32 Feb. 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
32. STRAIGHT TIME (action-drama, 1978) After 6 years in prison for theft Max Dumbo (Dustin Hoffman) is finally released. On parole from San Quentin Prison he's assigned a nosy, beaurecratic parole officer (Emmett M. Walsh) who oversees his every move. Having spent most of his juvenile life in prisons, Max finds it hard to adapt to the outside world but he nonetheless tries. He meets a young secretary (Theresa Russell) who helps him land a job. She falls in love with him but is unable to help Max deal with the nosy parole officer, who constantly harasses him. When he wrongly suspects Max of breaking his parole, Max finally breaks free on goes on the lam again. He finds an old ex-convict buddy, Willie (Gary Busey) and they plan to pull one last heist. But Willie's lackluster criminal expertise will prove fatal.
Critique: This sleeper film went practically unnoticed inspite of a brilliant, natural performance from Dustin Hoffman. The first part, in which Max tries to follow the 'right' path, is totally unique. It expertly captures the alienation and exploitation that ex-convicts have to deal with after being 'institutionalized' for so long. Max's unsympathetic parole officer makes his efforts a living nightmare. The fine supporting cast includes Theresa Russell, Gary Busey and Emmett Walsh's amoral parole officer (I'm yet to see a bad role from him). The film, however, belongs to Hoffman. He brings a depth of character to the part that makes him totally apathetic when compared to the rest of 'society's righteous'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars CULT MOVIES 32 Feb. 2 1999
Format:VHS Tape
32. STRAIGHT TIME (action-drama, 1978) After 6 years in prison for theft Max Dumbo (Dustin Hoffman) is finally released. On parole from San Quentin Prison he's assigned a nosy, beaurecratic parole officer (Emmett M. Walsh) who oversees his every move. Having spent most of his juvenile life in prisons, Max finds it hard to adapt to the outside world but he nonetheless tries. He meets a young secretary (Theresa Russell) who helps him land a job. She falls in love with him but is unable to help Max deal with the nosy parole officer, who constantly harasses him. When he wrongly suspects Max of breaking his parole, Max finally breaks free on goes on the lam again. He finds an old ex-convict buddy, Willie (Gary Busey) and they plan to pull one last heist. But Willie's lackluster criminal expertise will prove fatal.
Critique: This sleeper film went practically unnoticed inspite of a brilliant, natural performance from Dustin Hoffman. The first part, in which Max tries to follow the 'right' path, is totally unique. It expertly captures the alienation and exploitation that ex-convicts have to deal with after being 'institutionalized' for so long. Max's unsympathetic parole officer makes his efforts a living nightmare. The fine supporting cast includes Theresa Russell, Gary Busey and Emmett Walsh's amoral parole officer (I'm yet to see a bad role from him). The film, however, belongs to Hoffman. He brings a depth of character to the part that makes him totally apathetic when compared to the rest of 'society's righteous'.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece of relism
This is one of Hoffman's unique performances. The romance is believable, and touching, and the slip back into crime is gritty and inevitable. Read more
Published on May 15 2010 by Michael B. Callaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Un-salvagable Character
Dustin Hoffman did a fine job portraying a low-life career thief who deserved nothing more than to be locked safely away in prison for 100 years. Read more
Published on July 30 2003 by J. Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Brains and Balls
Welcome my friends to Bunker's universe. EUNUCS NOT ALLOWED. Great story, superb acting, a real crime-human drama. Existential, uplifting, and above all, life-right-in-your-face.
Published on Feb. 21 2003 by ilyushin
5.0 out of 5 stars '70s seediness at its best
A grim, rigidly understated, crime flick, featuring Dustin Hoffman as a tight-lipped, ill-fated career criminal. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2002 by DJ Joe Sixpack
5.0 out of 5 stars Fan of the actors
A great film, what attracted me to it was the supporting cast. M. Emmet Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton, and Gary Busey give truly mesmerizing performances that make this film special. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars From a book by Mr Blue
A very good hardboiled crime movie with an excellent cast -Harry Dean Stanton and M. Emmett Walsh are sublime as always- but an important fact for crime fiction fans not mentioned... Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching tool for correctional educators
A "how NOT to do parole" teaching tool for correctional educators, especially those involved in corrective thinking curricula.
Published on April 29 2000 by Roberta Branagan
5.0 out of 5 stars quite simply...
the best movie you never saw. this is one of the greatest films ever made. AFI be damned.
Published on July 8 1999
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