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Friday, April 15, 2011

Blu-ray Round Up: MGM Classics

MGM is kicking their blu-ray releases into high gear with the release of five (among others) classic films that would be at home on any film fans shelf.

Let's have a peak at these five MGM classics: Raging Bull, Dances With Wolves, Last Tango In Paris, Moonstruck and Rain Man.

Dances With Wolves is a much anticipated release for the films 20th anniversary.  The set  has a decent number of features that are unfortunately, not all that interesting.  Quantity isn't always quality.

Picture wise though, flawless is the word of the day.  It really does look gorgeous.  Unfortunately, I don't know that this movie will be one that merits repeat viewing.  It's a great movie, albeit with some flaws, but it's pretty long and at times a bit slow.  It's nice to have as a collector but honestly, I doubt you'll be pulling it off the shelf after you watch it.

Moonstruck is another story.  It's a charming little film that earned Cher her academy award.  Very funny with some fantastic performances.

Moonstruck looks wonderful on Blu-ray and the sound is top notch. 

Special features are decent.  You get a commentary and a few featurettes.   Nothing to go nuts over but then again, this is an 80's romantic comedy so really what features would one want?

Ah, the crown jewel of these Round-Up.  The 30th Anniversary Edition of Raging Bull.  A gorgeous transfer with superb audio and some really good features including 3 commentaries, a 90 minute making of featurette, a featurette with Martin Scorsese discussing film, and even Cathy Moriarty on Johnny Carson, among others.  Really great collection supplementing one of Scorsese's best.

There is a reason Raging Bull is an AFI Top 100 film.  Out of all the titles we cover this time, Raging Bull is the definite must own.

Last Tango In Paris.  I dunno what really to say about this one.  It was controversial back when it was first released but I'm not sure that today would have the same effect.  It was originally brandished with an X rating.  That was changed to NC-17 some 2 decades later.  Marlon Brando's performance was brilliant of course and the film is worth it for his performance alone.  It is a nicely directed human story about a man dealing with a devastating loss in a somewhat unusual way.  If you like movies about people who are lost and suffering that come together and have sex then you will want this movie.  It is after all presented it its original uncut glory.

It looks beautiful on blu-ray and almost like it's a new film.  The problem is that there are absolutely zero special features to speak of, outside a trailer.  Seems pretty odd to not give any real features to a film as controversial as this one was.

Definetly worth a buy and a watch.  Repeat viewings might not ever happen though.  Unless you REALLY like Brando.

I'm not a particularly big fan of Rain Man.  It's a good movie but I really never have the desire to ever watch it again.  I'm not sure why.  I feel like it is an okay movie bolstered by a great performance.  That said, it is a sight to behold on blu-ray.  Just beautiful, crisp and clear.  The audio is wonderful as well.  As for special features, well, it's a little skimpy.  Some commentary, a deleted scene and some featurettes only one of which is all that interesting.

I wouldn't call Rain Man a must own, especially if you have it on DVD.  It is a major step up in terms of picture quality but beyond that there isn't much to write home about.

So there you have it.  Quick looks at soem MGM classics.  All are good films, some are more repeat watchable than others but all of them deserve a spot on your shelf.  Most of them (with the exception of Raging Bull) can be had for under $20.

Rain Man, Moonstruck, Last Tango in Paris, Dances With Wolves and Raging Bull are all available now.

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