The Boondock Saints
Is it a blatant and amateurish Tarantino
rip-off or a savagely funny take on murderous Punisher
-ish superheroes? I think the answer lies somewhere in between. While I was one of the many converts to the Boondock
cult when it was released direct-to-dvd in 1999, after everything we know now about the troubled making of the film and director Troy Duffy
’s career-halting behind the scenes diva behavior, it’s hard not to view it through a different and more critical lens. Even so, watching it now I still get caught up in the enthusiasm and charisma of the McManus
brothers as well as laughing along with the ultra-violent yet silly comic book influenced action.
(Sean Patrick Flanery
) and Murphy
) are well-meaning, if a bit obnoxious, Boston Irish Catholics who end up accidentally killing several Russian mobsters and getting a taste for fighting crime the permanent way. With the help of their somewhat incompetent friend David “The Funnyman”
(David Della Rocco
) they wage a war on crime that succeeds through sheer bravado and dumb luck despite the efforts of the mob to find and kill them, using a hired gun Il Duce
), and of the FBI investigator Paul Smecker
) who can’t decide whether to catch the brothers or cover up for them.
--Why get this on Blu-Ray over DVD?
The picture is a bit better. The sound is fantastic, and for this bombastic movie, that’s a good thing. As far as bonus features go, all we’ve got, other than the original trailer (presented in a crappy video transfer) is the same stuff that has been in other versions released on DVD.
-Two commentary tracks, one from the director and one from Billy Connolly
(only available with the theatrical cut of the film on the disk)
-Outtakes: 2 whole minutes of them in glorious uncleaned video work print
-Deleted Scenes: Some nice expansions on character and scenes here that make it well worth your while, but I’m unsure why they couldn’t have cleaned up these from the crappy work prints.
-The Script: Yes, if you feel the need to hook up your printer to your Blu-Ray player network and print out the script, you can do that here.
-D-Box, yo: If you have a ridiculously overpriced sound chair, your movie will play along.
Is there anyone in Hollywood who realizes we’re in an economic slump?
The major misstep here is such an obvious one, and that’s not including the documentary “Overnight”
an excellent and revealing look at the production of the movie and most specifically how a giant bloated ego can destroy a movie, even a good one. There’s a reason “Boondock”
went straight to DVD and it wasn’t because it wasn’t a good movie.
Primal Fear: Hard Evidence Edition
I can’t believe I never watched this. It probably had a lot to do with the generic sounding title (I still don’t understand what it has to do with the film in any way) and Richard Gere
starring in it, who I found then and still find to be annoying, with his narrow little eyes and offputtingly bland stare. None of us knew then about his co-star Ed Norton
, who launched from his spectacular 1996 film debut here into an amazing career of playing complicated and controversial characters. Primal Fear
’s twists may seem a little predictable now, in the wake of a thousand similar legal thrillers, but it still beats the crap out of ANY of the John Grisham
movies. It left me thinking about it for hours afterwards, both from it’s decisive message concerning those who manipulate the law for their own ends and from the powerful performances from Gere
as well as from then relative newcomer Laura Linney.
When a egotistical and famous attorney celebrity-chases his legal way into defending a poor young altar boy (Ed Norton
) who seems to be undeniably guilty of the murder of the city’s beloved archbishop, his case becomes more than just another ploy for public attention when he becomes convinced that the lad is innocent, or at least doesn’t deserve the death penalty for his crime. Performances by Gere
, Frances McDormand
, Alfre Woodard
, John Mahoney
, Andre Braugher
, Maura Tierney
and Terry O’Quinn
elevate this from standard legal thriller to a potboiler to be sure not to miss. Like I did. I’m so lame.
--Why get this on Blu-Ray over DVD?
Both the sound and the picture have been substantially upgraded, even if this isn’t the type of film with which that matters so much. The real advantage is the three brand new featurettes covering the production, two of which mainly focus on the casting and one which studies the real-life implications of similar legal situations. All three are rather long yet slickly done and I got both enjoyment and edumacation out of them. Ed Norton
makes no mistake REPEATEDLY that he owes his entire career to director Gregory Hoblit
. It’s nice to see an actor of his stature being so humble. Also included is a commentary by the director, writer, producers, and casting directors, although since they got all the actors back for the featurettes, I’m surprised none of them showed up for this.
/In Cold Blood
goes on and on about how the OTHER Truman Capote
movie that came out shortly afterward, “Infamous”
, is much better than this one and maybe he’s right. It’s gotta be one helluva movie though because Phillip Seymour Hoffman
’s performance here as the somewhat effete Capote
is mesmerizing and earned him about every award out there for it. I think, to counter what the Onion
noted at the time, that it’s not a new “Truman Capote Biopic”
category that needs adding to the Oscars
so much as a “Best Performance by an Actor who Isn’t Phillip Seymour Hoffman”
. It’s just not fair to everyone else.
When a terrible murder of an entire family takes place in a poor town in Kansas, famous writer/gadfly Truman Capote
is inspired to show up to write about it. His surprising charm wins over even the simple local folks but it’s his relationship with one of the killers on trial for the killings, Perry Smith
(Clifton Collins Jr
) that ends up being surprising to him. His odd attachment with the killer that grows over the close communication between the two over three years, versus his need to see his book be finished, leads to a deep moral quandary for the man that, according to the film, he never pulled out of and which effectively ended his legendary writing streak (the novel “In Cold Blood”
was the last one he ever finished writing).
-Why get this on Blu-Ray over DVD?
The first reason is that it comes packaged with the amazing and classic 1967 film version of the book starring Robert Blake
, Scott Wilson
, and John Forsythe
. While it still certainly holds up as an excellent movie, it seems somewhat odd in it’s choice to completely exclude Truman
himself as a character.
Naturally, a recent and high-profile film like “Capote”
is given excellent treatment in the transfer to hi-def. It both looks and sounds fantastic. I didn’t expect them to offer the same care to “In Cold Blood”
but they surprised me at how thoroughly it’s been cleaned up as well.
There aren't bonus features on the older film, but “Capote”
comes with two commentary tracks, one of which gets in-depth with Hoffman
about acting and the craft that went into his version of Truman
. There’s also 30 minutes of featurette about the ‘making of’
, a series of interviews with the real Truman
, and of course some of that BD-Live
crap that will more than likely be useless within a year or so.
Click Here to Buy The Boondock Saints [Blu-ray]
Click Here to Buy Primal Fear [Blu-ray]
Click Here to Buy Capote/In Cold Blood [Blu-ray]