Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood revisit past successes on DVD

BY SEAN O’CONNELL stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

‘Goodfellas: 20th Anniversary Edition’
As the nation patiently awaits Martin Scorsese’s latest, “Shutter Island,” Warner polishes off one of the director’s greatest, “Goodfellas,” for an anniversary release.

Scorsese adapts Nicholas Pileggi’s book, “Wiseguy,” into an exclusive, behind-the-curtain expose of life in a modern, Italian mob. It’s told from the perspective of up-and-coming gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who flourishes – and eventually flames out – under the guidance of lifetime criminals Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci).

“Goodfellas,” to me, is the scrappy, unpredictable kid brother to Francis Ford Coppola’s refined “The Godfather.” They belong to the same family – the gangster genre – and share several traits. But there’s a visceral, condescending and standoffish attitude to Scorsese’s crime story (personified by a volatile Pesci in an Oscar-winning role) that makes you want to simultaneously embrace “Goodfellas” while still keeping it at an arm’s length Š a safe distance because you’re not entirely sure if it’s going to smile or bite off your hand.

Warner’s “Anniversary” set comes with a promotional booklet profiling the director and his cast. All principle players contribute to two audio commentaries on the set, while three featurettes examine the making of the film and its impact. “Paper is Cheaper Than Film” shows storyboards from Scorsese’s process, and a trailer rounds out the first disc. Over on disc two, two ,documentaries enhance the “Goodfellas” experience. One, “Public Enemies,” examines the golden age of the gangster genre, while the second offers a smorgasbord of gangster-themed cartoons. They’re funny. Like a clown. They’ll amuse you. I’m just saying.
The movie – **** out of 4
The Blu-ray – **** out of 4

‘Clint Eastwood: 35 Films, 35 Years at Warner Bros.’
A phony (yet very funny) article on The Onion suggests that Clint Eastwood has dedicated his 40-year career to pleasing one man – Daryl Lorrimer, a 53-year-old repair technician from West Virginia. How else do you explain why the iconic actor-director would repeatedly switch gears as often as he does, transitioning from Westerns to period thrillers, from space-hopping buddy flicks to hopeless romances and comedies that pair Eastwood with an orangutan named Clyde.

Time Magazine critic and film historian Richard Schickel skipped Daryl Lorrimer and went right to the source – Eastwood himself – to find out what makes the storyteller tick. The end result is “Clint Eastwood: 35 Films, 35 Years at Warner Bros.,” a comprehensive box set encompassing the director’s body of work with the studio – from “Where Eagles Dare” through “Gran Torino.”

The set dabbles in “Dirty Harry” films; includes his directorial debut, “Play Misty for Me;” dives into “Mystic River;” travels to “Letters From Iwo Jima;” and rounds out with “The Eastwood Factor,” an insightful documentary that follows Clint around the Warner lot as he reminisces on his accomplishments. I loved the scene where, in a trailer reserved for Eastwood’s legendary garb, his long-time costume supervisor Deborah Hopper points to the cowboy outfit he wore in “Unforgettable.” Clint quickly corrects her, pointing out that the Best Picture winner was actually called “Unforgiven.” “It was unforgettable for me,” Eastwood chides with a chuckle. And his career was unforgettable for a lot of people. This set will help them remember.

The box set – ***1/2 out of 4


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  • February 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    I cannot wait for the Clint Eastwood collection to come out….I’m definitely going to buy this the day it comes out

  • February 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    Wow…I didn’t even realize he has made that many films for Warner Bros.

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