Chop Shop

( 1 )

Overview

Ramin Bahrani's Chop Shop (2007) has arrived on DVD in a handsome and well-annotated edition, complete with a group commentary by the director and key cast and crew members that's about the best round-robin discussion of its kind that this reviewer has yet encountered. That's especially pleasing for this reviewer, as we were so taken with the movie, that we saw it three times in a theater. The film's energy is replicated and, indeed, very much re-enacted in the discussion, which is as lively as the movie itself ...
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Overview

Ramin Bahrani's Chop Shop (2007) has arrived on DVD in a handsome and well-annotated edition, complete with a group commentary by the director and key cast and crew members that's about the best round-robin discussion of its kind that this reviewer has yet encountered. That's especially pleasing for this reviewer, as we were so taken with the movie, that we saw it three times in a theater. The film's energy is replicated and, indeed, very much re-enacted in the discussion, which is as lively as the movie itself and should be required listening for film students and aspiring directors. There is also a selection of rehearsals of various key scenes, which only serve to amplify the points made in the discussion, as well as showing the way in which the script and the characters developed in the course of production and shooting. The film itself has been given a crisp transfer in a 1.85-to-1 non-anamorphic aspect ratio, and encoded with a dozen chapters, which are adequate for its 84 minute running time. The disc opens automatically to a very easy to use dual-layer menu.
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Special Features

Audio commentary with director, cast and crew; Rehearsal footage; Original theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Chop Shop is just your ordinary independent drama about a blue collar hero working five jobs to support his family, pursuing his version of the American dream. Oh, except that he's a 12-year-old living in a makeshift apartment above a chop shop in Queens, and his "family" consists of a teenage sister who should be functioning as a surrogate parent, instead of working against their cause with her reckless behavior. Not to mention that there's nothing "ordinary" about writer-director Ramin Bahrani's sophomore effort, a blistering portrait of the hardscrabble existence of these orphans, playing the hand they've been dealt pretty well, but still suffering their inevitable hardships and compromises. What's really interesting about young Alejandro is the moral principles that guide him. A person in his circumstances would be tempted to steal or break the law in other ways, but Alejandro simply shows a keen understanding of how to work within various under-the-table markets to make whatever money is available to be made. It's all the more tragic, then, when his best efforts still result in failed outcomes, outcomes which illustrate the limitations of a child trying to operate in an adult world. Bahrani's skills as a director are evident not only in the neorealism-inspired atmosphere he creates -- the grit and grime of Queens are palpable without being exaggerated -- but also in his abilities with his non-professional actors. Young Alejandro Polanco appears in nearly every scene of Chop Shop, and never once appears to be acting. Nor does Bahrani try to create additional sympathy for him by making him a saint. He's just a person trying to make it in the world, and because we feel that, we celebrate his victories and bemoan his setbacks along with him -- especially when he's doing everything right and still coming up short.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/8/2008
  • UPC: 741952315797
  • Original Release: 2007
  • Source: Koch Lorber Films
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 34,307

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alejandro Polanco Alejandro
Isamar Gonzales Isamar
Rob Sowulski , Rob
Carlos Zapata , Carlos
Ahmad Razvi , Ahmad
Technical Credits
Ramin Bahrani Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Bahareh Azimi Screenwriter
Bedford Tate Bentley III Co-producer
Jeb Brody Producer
Nicholas Elliott Asst. Director
Christof Gebert Sound/Sound Designer
Pradip Ghosh Co-producer
Elliot Glick Art Director
Daphne Javitch Costumes/Costume Designer
M.L.O. Score Composer
Lisa Muskat Producer
Peter Saraf Executive Producer
Michael Simmonds Cinematographer
Marc Turtletaub Producer
Richard A. Wright Production Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Chop Shop
1. Candy [10:15]
2. Isamar [9:08]
3. The Van [5:28]
4. Baseball Game [7:05]
5. Rain [10:22]
6. Bootleg DVDs [7:28]
7. Acceptance [4:36]
8. Money [7:21]
9. Health Code [:04]
10. Working [8:06]
11. Togather Again [8:25]
12. End Credits [2:03]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Chop Shop
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Subtitles
      English: On
      English: Off
   Extras
      Commentary: On
      Commentary: Off
      Rehearsals
         Play All
         Ale's First Rehearsal With Carlos
         Ale and Isamar
         Ale's First Meeting With Rob Sowulski
         Ale and Rob
         Ale Receives AC Training
         Ale Shows Isamar Their Room
         Ale Tries to Sell Phone to Ahmad
         Ale Sells Ahmad Hubcaps
      Theatrical Trailer
   Previews
      Play All
      Man Push Cart
      Summer '04
      La Chinoise
      Blame It On Fidel
      Klimt
      The Bridge
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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    Posted April 27, 2009

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