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Children Of Times Square, The

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Children Of Times Square, The



    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection

    Released on: June 28, 2012.

    Director: Curtis Hanson

    Cast: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Joanna Cassidy, David Ackroyd, Brandon Douglas, Danny Nucci

    Year: 1986

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:


    An early feature made for TV by director Curtis Hanson, 1986's The Children Of Times Square follows a fourteen year old kid named Eric (Brandon Douglas) who isn't happy at home where his stepfather, Peter (David Ackroyd), treats him like crap. Despite the fact that his mother, Sue (Joanna Cassidy) obviously cares for him, he decides to split and runaway to New York City. He hits Times Square and quickly meets up with a kid named Luis (Danny Nucci) whose family has lost their apartment to a fire and are now living hand and mouth in a dingy hotel room.


    Luis introduces Eric to Skater (Larry B. Scott) who brings him into a fold of similarly disenfranchised youth who make money selling dope for an adult named Otis (Howard E. Rollins Jr.). Luis and Eric are soon intrigued by the allure of what seems like easy money, while Sue decides to drive to Manhattan and find her son before it's too late.


    Despite the fact that this movie is very much a product of the decade in which it was made, The Children Of Times Square is more interesting than your average After-School-Special style morality tale. First off, it does appear that large portions of the movie were shot on location so you get a bit of that Times Square sleaze and squalor and movie buffs will appreciate trying to spot what pops up on the various marquees that appear in the backgrounds. A few abandoned buildings were used to nice effect for the meetings that Otis holds with his kids while the hotel used to hold Luis' family feels appropriately yucky. So yeah, the movie winds up with more atmosphere than you'd probably expect it to thanks primarily to some good location photography.


    The acting is fun, if not always good. Brandon Douglas isn't always the most convincing runaway you've ever seen on screen, he's a little too wholesome and unspoiled looking for the part but he's not bad. Larry B. Scott and Danny Nucci feel a little more authentic and do slightly better with the material while Joanna Cassidy is convincing enough as the understandably concerned mother. Howard E. Rollins Jr. is the real scene stealer here, his Otis at first a friendly and seemingly helpful figure but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, hey, he's a drug dealer using kids, he can't possibly be as nice as he seems. Look for a blink and you'll miss it cameo appearance from a young Courtney Gaines of Children Of The Corn fame as well as a very quick appearance from none other than Joe Spinnell.


    The film deals with drug use, child prostitution (it features a surprisingly effective scene involving some 'chicken hawk' types) and other issues that plague youth inner city or otherwise but despite its cautionary characteristics it never seems overly preachy. It's well shot, well paced and plenty entertaining - particularly if you dig on eighties fashions and styles and enjoy geeking out over that special seediness that only the Times Square of the past can provide.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    As this was a mid-eighties made for TV movie it makes sense that it pops up on DVD-R in 1.33.1 fulframe. For the most part the image quality here is pretty good. Colors look nice and bold, black levels are alright and there's only very mild print damage evident in a few spots. There are no issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement and this seems to be a nice representation of the source material.


    Likewise, the English language Dolby Digital Mono track on the disc is fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and the levels are well balanced. It's not a particularly fancy or immersive track but it gets the job done. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided.


    There are no extras, only a static menu offering chapters at ten minute intervals.


    The Final Word:


    While hardly any sort of unsung classic of the eighties, there's enough about The Children Of Times Square that'll appeal to a certain segment of cult movie buffs to make it work despite its made for TV origins. MGM's MOD release looks and sounds fine but contains no extras. A niche title to be sure, but a fun one.





















    • Randy G
      #1
      Randy G
      Senior Member
      Randy G commented
      Editing a comment
      This looks awesome, those screens have a lot of atmosphere for a TV production.

    • Robin Bougie
      #2
      Robin Bougie
      Senior Member
      Robin Bougie commented
      Editing a comment
      I like this movie, but then I love pretty much anything shot on location from this time and place.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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