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Posted October 1, 2010
The greatest living director of our generation, Martin Scorsese, finally gets a much overdue tribute, thanks to Warner Home Video. ¿The Martin Scorsese Collection¿ features five outstanding examples of a master director indulging in his craft; Who¿s That Knocking At My Door (1968), Mean Streets (1973), Alice Doesn¿t Live Here Anymore (1974), After Hours (1985) and Goodfellas (1990). Scorsese, who became a producer, writer, actor and finally director, grew up in New York¿s Little Italy - the inspiration for his best films. Many of his masterworks have long been available on DVD, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Waltz, The Last Temptation Of Christ, The Age Of Innocence, Casino and Gangs Of New York. There is so much to talk about that we might as well get started. ¿Who¿s That Knocking At My Door¿ is the story of J.R. (Harvey Keitel), a young man of no ambition who, quite by accident, finds himself sitting next to `the girl¿ (Zina Bethune) on the Staten Island ferry. The girl is impressed by J.R¿s knowledge of classic movies. But the pair develop a problematic relationship that is, sadly, doomed nearly from the start. This is the only B&W film in this box set. Contrast levels appear a bit weak with whites slightly on the gray side. Image detail is also unstable, some scenes appearing quite detailed and others just so-so to extremely blurry. These shortcomings appear to be inherent in the original film negative and are not a flaw of DVD mastering. Film grain is present but hey, it¿s a Scorsese film: he generally likes a gritty image and this film is certainly a fine example of that. ¿Mean Streets¿ is the first teaming of Scorsese and DeNiro on film. Harvey Keitel is Charlie, a thug who collects debts and runs a numbers game. One of his friends, Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) owes money to Michael Longo (Richard Romanus). But Johnny is a loose canon and, as the plot progresses, we learn just how unstable a person he can be. Tensions mount after Charlie becomes enamored with, Teresa (Amy Robinson). By no means a watershed production, in hindsight ¿Mean Streets¿ heralds the coming of ¿Goodfellas.¿ This is a very dark film ¿ literally. But Warner¿s DVD mastering is bang on with colors that are vibrant. Flesh tones are very accurately rendered. Contrast levels reveal a significant amount of fine detail. Overall the image is very sharp. There is a slight amount of film grain and some light shimmering present. No edge enhancement though, for an image that is basically smooth. Next up is Scorsese¿s first important masterwork, ¿Alice Doesn¿t Live Here Anymore.¿ Departing from his formulaic atmosphere of dark brooding unscrupulous characters, ¿Alice¿¿ tells the story of Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn) an abused housewife on the verge of a nervous breakdown when her husband, Donald (Billy Green Bush) is suddenly killed in a truck accident. Determined to exploit the tragedy as her new lease on life, Alice packs up her station wagon with son, Tommy (Alfred Lutter) in tow. Alice¿s dreams of becoming a singer are short lived but a second chance at romance might be in the stars when Alice lands a job as a waitress at Mel & Ruby¿s Café where a frequent customer, David (Kris Kristofferson) recognizes Alice¿s innate value as a soul mate. Burstyn¿s tour de force performance won her the 1974 Academy Award as Best Actress and the film spawned the long running, highly successful television series, ¿Alice.¿ Warner¿s DVD certainly delivers with vibrant colors. Contrast and fine details are nicely realized with only a hint of film grain. During the opening shots there is some very distracting artifacting going on but this vanishes after the opening credits for a picture that will surely NOT disappoint. ¿After Hours¿ is the out of control spiraling saga of mild mannered Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne), whose chance meeting with the seemingly harmless, Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) leads to an increasingly perilous adventure. Marcy is full of interWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2010
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