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Goodfellas: 25th Anniversary (4K Restoration) (1990) - Blu-ray Review

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Goodfellas - Blu-ray Review 25th anniversary

5 stars

“For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster.  To me that was better than being president of the United States.  To be a gangster was to own the world.”

It seems rather daunting. Writing about a film that, released in 1990, has gone on to be one of the best mob movies ever. Hell, forget that genre label. Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas is one of the best movies ever. It is in AFI’s top 10 movies and, celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new 4K scan, closed the Tribeca Film Festival this year with its premiere and a cast reunion. Countless films and television shows have ripped it off and others, including The Sopranos, whose creator sites this film as his Koran, exist because of its continued influence. What more can be said? Goodfellas is a classic American movie.

Warner Bros have put together a release that respects the elements of the movie and celebrates those involved in its making with their new deluxe package. The new remastered 4K scan is straight from the lion’s mouth; the original camera negative and, with never before seen clarity and new audio delights, absolutely sweeps the floor with its prior blu-ray releases.  Sell your old copies NOW. Hell, give them away to some young punk roaming the street snapping selfies and inspire him to put down the phone and create something. You need this release in all of its violent blood-soaked glory. Scorsese, who studiously supervised the scan, is absolutely obsessive with the details in this print. Colors are sharper than they’ve ever been. The grain is impeccable and the details, my god, the details are precise to the minute hair in each individual fabric. This print damn-near walks itself to the blu-ray player, demanding to be seen. Simply put, the 4K remastering moves and grooves.

As I write this, I have to consider that there are some people who have never seen Goodfellas. I’m not calling you out name by name, nor am I taking to Twitter to publicly shame you into correcting your oversight. I will simply ask, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?! Written by Nicholas Pileggi and Scorsese, the film is about the rise of Henry Hill (played to perfection by Ray Liotta) and is based upon Pileggi’s own book, Wiseguy. Hill, a blue-collar Irish boy in 1950s Brooklyn, becomes an errand boy for the Lucchese crime family and ends up becoming a high-level member as he grows. Fellow criminals Paulie (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy (Robert DeNiro) become his closest friends and the movie roams the gritty kingpin world alongside them – taking time out enough to enjoy a family meal or two with Paulie’s mother, played by Scorsese's actual mother, Catherine – and their many interactions until the day arrives that Hill flips the script on his besties and everything changes.

Full of top-notch improvisations and ad-libbing that first landed during cast rehearsals, Goodfellas is one helluva a performance statement from both Scorsese (who is almost operatic behind the camera) and its three leads, who never outshine one another. The rat-a-tat back and forth chatter between Liotta, Pesci, and DeNiro is some of the best banter ever recorded and would earn Pesci the supporting actor win during the 63rd Annual Academy Awards. While the film would lose its Best Picture and Best Director nomination to Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves, Goodfellas triumphs in its lasting impact and influence. The film earned six Academy Award nominations in all, including Best Supporting Actress for Lorraine Bracco.

Don’t let Warner Bros’ new Pesci-less cover art fool you. What is housed inside this mammoth box is a must-have. This new release includes an all-new documentary, two commentaries, a handful of featurettes and a 36-page photo book, along with a letter from Scorsese explaining the process involved in the restoration of this American classic.  As you watch this film, remember to follow some of the wisest advice ever shared via film and "never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut", please.

Goodfellas - Blu-ray Review 25th anniversary

MPAA Rating: R for some language.
Runtime:
146 mins
Director
: Martin Scorcese
Writer:
Nicholas Pileggi
Cast:
Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Genre
: Crime | Biography
Tagline:
Three Decades of Life in the Mafia
Memorable Movie Quote: "Jimmy was the kind of guy that rooted for bad guys in the movies.."
Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/goodfellasthemovie?ref=ts
Release Date:
September 21, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 5, 2015
Synopsis: From Nicholas Pileggi?s true-life bestseller Wiseguy, GoodFellas explores the criminal life like no other movie. Directed and co-written by Martin Scorsese, it was judged 1990?s Best Picture by the New York, Los Angeles and National Society of Fil m Critics. Electrifying performances abound and from a standout cast that includes Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci walked off with the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award.

Goodfellas - Blu-ray Review 25th anniversary

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 5, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Spanish SDH, Portuguese, Japanese, German SDH, Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian SDH, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Polish, Romanian, Russian, Thai, Turkish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 2.0; German: Dolby Digital 2.0; Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0; Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono; Czech: Dolby Digital 2.0; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 2.0; Polish: Dolby Digital 2.0; Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0; Turkish: Dolby Digital Mono; Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BDs); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

The 4K scan is like unearthing a lost, national treasure. It’s ridiculous how good this transfer is when you consider the lackluster releases of Goodfellas that Warner Bros have previously issued. The comparison is nearly an embarrassment to how poorly they have handled the film since its debut on HD. With this anniversary release, everything – including the non-anamorphic, two-sided dvd disc. While colors are muted, the entire picture is bathed new again. Black levels are deep and never lose their edge. Long-shots are as detailed as close-ups, too. Liotta’s narration gets some welcomed heft in the new DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack and so do the tunes, making this a supersonic treat for the eyes and the ears.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • You get two commentaries: one from the cast and crew recorded at Scorsese’s house and one from gangster-turned-informant Henry Hill and FBI agent Edward McDonald. Both are of tremendous value.

Special Features:

Along with a 36-page hardcover book, there’s a letter from Scorsese explaining the importance of the film. The single new supplemental item is called Scorsese’s GoodFellas and runs about 30 minutes in length. It features new comments from Bracco, Liotta, De Niro, Scorsese, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Hell, even Leonardo DiCaprio and Harvey Keitel appear to share their thoughts on the film. Surprisingly, as with the new cover art, there is no new Pesci interviews. Something smells fishy with no new involvement from him. Was his price-tag too high? All the supplemental items from the previous blu-ray release are included here, too.

  • Scorsese’s Goodfellas (30 min)
  • Getting Made (30 min)
  • Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (106 min)
  • Made Men: The Goodfellas Legacy (14 min)
  • The Workaday Gangster (8 min)
  • Paper is Cheaper than Film (4 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer

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