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'Goodfellas: 25th Anniversary' [Blu-ray]
(Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, et al / Blu ray+Digital HD / NR / 2015 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Martin Scorsese's unforgettable film of Nicholas Pileggi's true-crime best seller Wiseguy is presented here in a stunning new 4K remaster. Arresting performances from an all-star cast led by Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Lorraine Bracco drive this brutal yet darkly funny narrative of life in the mob.

Blu ray Verdict: OK, let's get this straight from the start: According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and this very same film, Joe Pesci's portrayal of Tommy DeSimone was "90% to 99% accurate," with one notable exception; the real Tommy DeSimone was "a massively built, strapping man"!

Starting with the 1950's, we follow Henry Hill from a teen who tries to realize his dream of `always wanting to be a gangster'. He goes from running errands for Paulie Cicero to become a trusted man within his organization. Working with James Conway and Tommy De Vito, Henry navigates his violent lifestyle where death is never more than a few steps away.

For my generation this was one of our first introductions to Scorsese doing a real tour-de-force of a film - I was too young to appreciate Raging Bull and his 70's work when it first came out and the eighties were a quiet period (except the brilliant king of comedy). So here was a great introduction to a fantastic director. The plot is spread over such a long time (in terms of story years) that it's hard to get beneath the surface events, but this is a very minor problem given that it's such a great ride.

The focus is on events and the culture rather than a deep story and as such Scorsese works with set pieces and events rather than too much characterization. However the story moves so effectively through the action - Scorsese uses long tracking shots, pumping soundtracks and scenes of building tension and sudden violence to create a masterful experience.

The weakness with lack of depth is really put to the back of your mind by the action, the direction and the performances. The story is well held together by Hill's narrative and the shallowness is easily over looked. Liotta is excellent as the aspiring gangster and is full of self seeking menace. De Niro does what he does best in terms of the Irish gangster role but the standout is Pesci. Pesci gives a strong role as the vicious Tommy and deserved his Oscar. The rest of the cast are all excellent whether it's major roles (Paul Sorvino, Lorraine Bracco) or minor characters (Frank Vincent, Sivero).

The real star here is Scorsese - he uses the camera and the soundtrack to great effect and gets great performances from his cast. A modern gangster feast. I mean, truly the camera work is brilliant with some very long tracking shots [see one explanation below], and scenes without a cut- which take you as an invisible spectator along through the scenes. And last but not least there's the music. Scorsese makes use of well-known pop music of that time, which really adds to the atmosphere as a whole.

By the way WATCH the commentaries - there's two of them - as you find out little tidbits that enhance the viewing of this movie. Like, the now-legendary Steadicam trip through the nightclub kitchen was a happy accident. Scorsese had been denied permission to go through the front, and had to improvise an alternative! Also, the movie's line "As far back as I could remember I've always wanted to be a gangster," was voted as the #20 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.

This Blu ray package of 'Goodfellas: 25th Anniversary' also includes a simply STUNNING 36-page photo book exploring the films far-reaching influence. The book also includes a letter written by Martin Scorsese. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

ALL-NEW Documentary: Includes interview with the Director, cast and some of your all-time favorite movie gangsters! Join some of Martin Scorseses greatest gangsters Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Jack Nicholson and Joe Pesci to discover what its like to work for perhaps the greatest gangster director of them all.

www.WarnerVideo.com





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