Goodfellas Special Edition on DVD
Goodfellas is one of those rare Hollywood movies that deserves every bit of
acclaim it has ever received.
Martin Scorseses masterpiece centers on the life of Henry Hill, a former
gangster and current member of the Witness Protection Program.
All Henry ever wanted to be was a gangster. As long as he could remember, he
was fascinated by the life of crimes biggest shots. So at an early age
he joined them, and soon became one of the big shots himself.
The film chronicles his rise through the ranks of the mob the drugs,
the money, and the girls and his particular familys
fall from power.
Its interesting to see the scale to which power corrupts in the mob.
Most of the people seem like theyd be decent enough folks if they werent
able to kill anyone who looked at them funny, made hundreds of thousands of
dollars by breaking the law, and spent copious amounts of money on drugs. That
kind of crime-riddled lifestyle can make people go crazy.
Goodfellas is widely regarded as a classic, and with good reason. Its
full of great performances, great characters, and has a great script to back
them up. The directing is also excellent, this being one of Scorseses
As good as Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta are, what Joe Pesci does in the movie
is pure genius. He won a well-deserved Oscar for his role as Tommy, the extremely
loose cannon with somethin to prove. The classic what do you mean
Im funny? Im like a clown? I amuse you? scene is a riot, mostly
because it looks like it was a lot of fun to make. Even if you find Pesci annoying,
you cant deny his brilliant work in this film.
And speaking of Oscar, Martin Scorsese was denied an Academy Award in favor
of Jonathan Demme for the mediocre Silence of the Lambs. To this day, he remains
tied with Stanley Kubrick as the most deserving Oscar-less director in Hollywood.
While he doesnt seem to be cranking out any Goodfellas-caliber movies
these days, he still did great work on Gangs of New York.
But before we go too far off topic, all we can say is that Goodfellas is a
great movie. You may not like the violence or the language, but youd be
doing yourself a favor to sit down and enjoy this wonder of modern cinema.
Goodfellas was one of the first DVD releases, presented with a terrible transfer,
no extras, and even the movie itself was a flipper disc: you had to changes
sides part way through.
Now we finally get the movie on one side of a disc, with excellent audio and
video, and a second disc full of extras (okay, maybe not quite full).
Video is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, with
great color and sparkling detail. Here and there, things look a little soft
and murky, and there are a couple traces of grain (but nothing to worry about).
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is pretty good, especially considering its never
shrill even when Joe Pesci is at his loudest. Most dialogue uses the front speakers,
but the sound effects and music use all the channels effectively. Gunshots and
shouts reverberate through the room nicely, giving a fuller cinematic experience.
Disc one of the set features two audio commentaries. The first is by Scorsese,
Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Vincent, co-Screenwriter Nicholas
Pileggi, producers Irwin Winkler and Barbara DeFina, Director of Photography
Michael Ballhaus and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Normally it would seem like
too many people on one track, but considering no one person has too much to
say it actually works quite nicely. They talk about everything from Scorsese
first reading a review of the novel, to some of the post-production stuff. The
second track is quite a treat, featuring the real Henry Hill and FBI agent Edward
McDonald. Its quite an interesting listen, featuring plenty of good stuff
about the real characters and scenarios.
Disc two sports four featurettes, the first titled Getting Made,
and is all about, well
getting it made. It starts out at the early scriptwriting
stage, goes all the way to postproduction, and features the usual cast and crew
interviews, as well as some with Hill. The Workaday Gangster examines
how the lives depicted in Goodfellas are how the gangsters really lived. Nor
do they ever actually consider their lifestyles criminal. Made Men
finds a bunch of modern-day filmmakers talking about how much they love Goodfellas,
which is kinda neat but not really relevant. Finally, there is Paper is
Cheaper than Film, which is a short storyboard-to-film comparison.
Goodfellas, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
145 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino
Produced by Irwin Winkler
Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese, Directed by Martin Scorsese
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