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Radioland Murders (1994) - Blu-ray Review

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Radioland Murders (1994)

Because maybe the Easter Bunny DOES crap colored eggs!

Radioland Murders, directed by Mel Smith (The Tall Guy, Bean) and co-written by George Lucas, is a throwback to another era of comedy.  Unfortunately, none of that was recognized when the film was originally released.  This film, being fast and furious as manic murders ravage a new (and fourth!!) radio broadcast station, is a DEFINITE screwball comedy and, in 1994, that simple description meant it was not going to register with your typical moviegoer.  And yet . . . and yet . . .

"With solid beats and memorable one-liners, Radioland Murders appears as if out of time itself. "


. . . somehow the film has survived the test of time and now, thanks to Universal Studios, the film FINALLY arrives on blu-ray.  I get the hate surrounding the film.  I do; however, as a fan of Haunted Honeymoon and films cut from the same stylized comedic cloth, I do appreciate its absolute zaniness in spirit and in style.  It certainly isn’t for everyone, but the film has a lot going for it. 

Hilarious and full of great (and manic) performances from an all-star cast, Radioland Murders is what happens when a 1939 Chicago radio station goes live and the shit hits the fan when one death after another strikes the cast, the crew . . . and the writers – having to respond to all of it – absolutely lose their minds, turning to a smartass janitor to bail them out of the calamity.

Starring Brian Benben, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ned Beatty, Harvey Korman, Michael McKean, Jeffrey Tambor, Candy Clark, Bobcat Goldthwait, George Burns, Rosemary Clooney, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Lerner, Stephen Tobolowsky, Anita Morris and Jack Sheldon, the manic nature of this murder mystery starts early and doesn’t let up as writer Roger Henderson and assistant director Penny Henderson, in the middle of a newly filed divorce, find themselves in the middle of a night of murders.  The comic tension – stylized to resemble a comic caper of old that is situated around an old-time radio program – hits fast and thanks to Benben as a sorta Groucho Marx character has an energy that might give you whiplash.

With solid beats and memorable one-liners, Radioland Murders appears as if out of time itself.  It belongs to another era and yet is so perfectly positioned in the 1990s – with its complete wackiness – that maybe, just maybe, you had to be in your teenage years when you first saw it in order to appreciate it.  I mean, the opening shot – a spin on the opening of every Star Wars movie – is about as subtle as this film gets and it completely works.

Don’t jump or I’ll shoot!  Radioland Murders is now on blu-ray thanks to Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

3/5 beers

Radioland Murders (1994)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- August 13, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Universal presents Radioland Murders on 1080p, preserving the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected.  Some of the F/X scenes from the era haven’t made the HD transition quite as well, but the film looks better than it did in the theater.  Colors are perfect.  Blacks are solid.  Skin tones are detailed and appropriate.  The sound quality is equally impressive and is offered in a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None.  There’s not even a menu.  Sad.

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Radioland Murders (1994)

MPAA Rating: PG for mild language, some farcical violence and brief nudity.
Runtime:
95 mins
Director
: Dennis Hopper
Writer:
Willard Huyck
Cast:
Brian Benben, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ned Beatty
Genre
: Comedy | Crime | Drama
Tagline:
At station WBN, the hits just keep on coming.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Retire? Who'd support my mother and father?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 21, 1994
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 13, 2019
Synopsis:

Radioland Murders (1994)

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