DVD Shopping Bag: Scorsese's Goodfellas on Blu-ray - Mania.com

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DVD Shopping Bag: Scorsese's Goodfellas on Blu-ray

Some Wise Guys before the Island

By Robert T. Trate     February 16, 2010
Source: Mania.com

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Scorsese’s Classic now on Blu-ray
© Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


This week the DVD Shopping Bag is going just slightly outside of Mania’s genre. We are just looking over the fence if you will to that genre, the gangster film. No one since the golden age of Hollywood has been more influential than Martin Scorsese. The gangster film or crime drama has been his staple for years. Though, on occasion Scorsese does step out of the genre from time to time giving us films like The Aviator (2004), Kundun (1997), Shine a Light (2008) and one of my personal favorites The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
Like Mania, I rarely step out of my genre. A few years back I was introduced to Goodfellas (1990) through a film class I was taking. The film was already five years old and was being hailed as a modern day classic. Gangster films were never really on the must watch list in my home. The most influential person in my life for movies I saw was my father. The fact that he was a policeman may have had something to do with the type of movies I watched. Rarely was there ever a movie about someone becoming a bad guy shown in our house. The movies he showed me often had to do with heroes, tragic or otherwise. So as I got older this gangster genre was something completely alien to me.
Goodfellas was incredibly refreshing the first time Iwatched it. The way the story was told through Henry Hill’s (Ray Liotta) narrative using his voice to propel the story was the biggest lure for me. It’s easy to fall into Henry’s lifestyle and become obsessed with making an easy buck and not living like a schnook. Yet this was one of the first times I can ever remember not having any remorse for the lead character. Looking back now, how can you feel bad for anyone in the movie? They rob, steal and shoot people for just for verbally fighting back. They get exactly what they deserve and even Henry Hill, the tragic gangster hero, betrays their rules to save his own neck. He lived by this code for so long but when his ass is really on the line he rats them all out. If anything I felt bad, and still do, for Pauly (Paul Sorvino). At least he lived as a righteous, sage-like gangster.
After watching Goodfellas I started to take notice of Scorsese’s other work. Rolling back the clock I introduced myself to Taxi Driver (1976) and even Boxcar Bertha (1972) all because Scorsese directed them. Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was my first Scorsese film in the theater. I was shocked to see he directed The Last Temptation of Christ yet now knew why Judas (Harvey Keitel) spoke with a New York accent. It was Gangs of New York (2002) that really solidified me as a fan of his work. Not his best work, in my opinion, but here I really saw the master storyteller that everyone speaks so highly of. He opened my eyes to a darker side of American History. The Aviator was completely captivating and in my opinion a much better film than The Departed (2006). The Academy Award he received for it was more an apology for not winning on all those other great films. All in all Scorsese is emerging as the last great director from a generation consisting of George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg. Scorsese truly understands the power of movies and never goes too far from who he is as a director. The three other directors, in the order I listed them, have either completely lost it, found a greater love in making wine and perhaps have started to see themselves as we see them. Scorsese loves what he does and it shows in all his movies. If that isn’t enough just listen to him talk about any movie. He truly loves them as much as we do.
Warner Brothers this week is cashing inonScorsese’s Shutter Island with their release of Goodfellas on Blu-ray. All of the special features on the Blu-ray are identical to the 2004 Special Edition 2-Disc release. This is a tad disappointing yet, not surprising that Warner Brothers wouldn’t really have anything left on the film to release. What I found out was how great the Blu-ray transfer looked until I got to the scene where Jimmy (Robert De Niro) and Pauly tell Henry he has to go back to his wife. A big red line started running vertically down the screen. It was as if the film had a huge scratch on it. Now on 35mm this is expected from time to time. Blu-ray is another story. Later when Henry believes the helicopter is following him dirt marks appear as if they are on the lens, more than twice. The occasional viewer might not notice this but when Blu-ray is supposed to be perfection one has to wonder what they are doing there. Was there dirt on the lens when Scorsese was filming? I don’t think so. So what’s up with this lazy transfer to Blu-ray? Outside of these minute details the Blu-ray is worth if it is you first time Goodfellas purchase. There is also a bonus DVD included featuring “Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film”. An incredible documentary tracing the genre’s roots all the way back to the first gangster film through the talkies and how it erupted during the depression and prohibition. To top it all off are some classic Warner Brother gangster themed cartoons. Not a bad way to spend an evening, yuh mugs.
20th Century Boys 2: The Last Hope ~ Teruyuki Kagawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Yusuke Santamaria, and Takako Tokiwa
Freeway Killer [Blu-ray] ~ Michael Rooker, James Babson, Helen Wilson, and Eileen Dietz
Freeway Killer
From Mexico With Love ~ Steven Bauer, Gene Lebell, Bruce McGill, and Stephen Lang
Goodfellas (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Lorraine Bracco
Hellhounds ~ James A. Woods
Law Abiding Citizen ~ Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Leslie Bibb, and Viola Davis
Law Abiding Citizen [Blu-ray]
Ninja Assassins: 4 Film Set ~ Conan Lee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hwang Jang Lee, and Alexander
Shark City ~ Carlo Rota, Vivica A. Fox, Corey Haim, and David J. Phillips
Volando Voy ~ Borje Na, Fernando Tejeras, Mariola Fuentes, and Alex Casanovas
Bleach Uncut Box Set: Season 4, Part 2
Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street Movie
Claymore: Complete Series Box Set [Blu-ray] ~ Stephanie Young, Brina Palencia, and Caitlin Glass
Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Two ~ Sean Schemmel, Christopher R. Sabat, Sonny Strait, and Masako Nozawa
Heroic Age: Complete Series [Blu-ray] ~ Caitlin Glass
Halo Legends [Blu-ray] ~ Andy McAvin, Deke Anderson, Chris Patton, and John Swasey
Halo Legends (Single-Disc Edition) ~ Andy McAvin, Deke Anderson, Chris Patton, and John Swasey
Melies Encore: 26 Additional Rare and Original Films by the First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1911) ~ George Melies
Spectacular Spider-Man 6 ~ Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert, Joshua LeBar, and Grey DeLisle
Spectacular Spider-Man 7 ~ Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert, Joshua LeBar, and Grey DeLisle
Zorro & Scarlet Whip Revealed
Black Dynamite [Blu-ray] ~ Michael Jai White
Black Dynamite
Criterion Collection
Revanche (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] ~ Hanno Pöschl, Andreas Lust, Ursula Strauss, and Johannes Krisch
Revanche (Criterion Collection)
13Teen ~ John Lansch, Marc Hustvedt, and Trent Batey
Quiet Nights of Blood and Pain ~ Amanda Delotelle, Loren S. Goins, Ray Freeland, and Greg Nichols
Red Hook ~ Terrence Mann, Christina Brucato, Tate Ellington, and Brian J. Smith
She's Crushed ~ Henrick Nolen, Natalie Dickinson, Caitlin Wehrle, and Keith Malley
Barnaby Jones: The Complete First Season ~ Buddy Ebsen, John Carter, and Mark Shera
Branded - The Complete Series starring Chuck Connors! 6 DVD SET - OVER 19 HOURS! ~ Chuck Connors, Alex Cord, Burt Reynolds, and Peter Graves
Cannon: Season Two, Vol. 2 ~ William Conrad
The Guild: Season Three ~ Felicia Day, Jeff Lewis, Amy Okuda, and Sandeep Parikh
Kingdom: Series Three (3pc) (Ws) ~ Stephen Fry, Hermione Norris, Celia Imrie, and Karl Davies
Lincoln Heights: Season One ~ Russell Hornsby, Nicki Micheaux, Erica Hubbard, and Rhyon Nicole Brown
Small Wonder: The Complete First Season ~ Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, Jerry Supiran, and Tiffany Brissette
Contempt [Blu-ray] ~ Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, and Fritz Lang
Lady Killers [Blu-ray] ~ Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, and Herbert Lom
Ran [Blu-ray] ~ Mieko Harada, Hisashi Igawa, Kazuo Kato, and Takeshi Kato
Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros. ~ Clint Eastwood
Dirty Harry Collection (Dirty Harry / Magnum Force / The Enforcer / Sudden Impact / The Dead Pool) [Blu-ray] ~ Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Tyne Daly, and Liam Neeson
Dirty Harry Collection (Dirty Harry / Magnum Force / The Enforcer / Sudden Impact / The Dead Pool)
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


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jppintar326 2/16/2010 9:35:12 AM

Choosing your favorite Martin Scorsesee film is like choosing your favorite chocolate, very difficult.  Goodfellas is probably my favorite.  Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, The Departed, and The Aviator are also in the running.  The only one I didn't care much for is After Hours.  This comedy about a guy who spends all night in New York is strange but not particularly funny.  Too many of the characters were so eccentric that it gave me a headache.  Even an appearance by Cheech & Chong fails to get a giggle. 

Hobbs 2/16/2010 11:43:42 AM

I'll give you Coppola and Lucas but Spielberg??!!?? With the exception of Hook and A.I. off the top of my head how has he lost it or that we look at his work a certain way?  I've seen that more than once on Mania when Speilbergs name comes up and he is ripped on. 

Maybe I'm missing something but looking at the guys body of work to date he is still the sheet. 

Scorsesee is a great director but comparing the two of them is night and day.  Just like Speilberg, not all of Scorsesee movies are good and I still wish he would end his love affair with Leo DeCRAPrio...who can't act and still looks like he's 15 years old.  I agree with one review about Shutter Island, that Daniel Day Lewis was the first choice and I would have been more intrested in Shutter if he would have been the lead actor. 

themovielord 2/16/2010 11:47:55 AM


War of the Worlds, Terminal, Indy 5, Catch me if you can and Minority Reprt were so not Spielberg. I have long waited for his Lincoln film and perhaps the Pacific will return some of his glory. But the man has his names on Transformers.... completely losing all his street creds.



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