- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Here are my top picks in Blu-ray home entertainment this week.

GoodFellas: 25th Anniversary Edition (Warner Home Video, Rated R, $34.99) — Director Martin Scorsese’s cinematic adaptation of the book “Wiseguy,” based on real-life mobster Henry Hill, returns to the high-definition format to dazzle crime drama connoisseurs.

Starring a who’s who of Hollywood’s finest wiseguys including Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Paul Sorvino, Samuel L. Jackson, Lorraine Bracco and Tony Sirico, the 1990 film garnered multiple Academy Award nominations and a win for Mr. Pesci as best supporting actor.

The movie fills home theater screens with a 1:78:1 aspect ratio and looks amazing with appropriate grain, stunning clarity and color depth thanks to a 4k scan of the original camera negative supervised by Mr. Scorsese. My jaw dropped many at times but especially at the scenes featuring the blue-collar gangsters taking care of some unsightly business by the illumination of a car’s red taillights.

As far as goodies go, viewers get: a 36-page hardbound book mixing photos and text paying tribute to the movie in the package; and a new 29-minute retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Mr. De Niro, Mr. Liotta and Mr. Scorsese as well as Harvey Keitel, Leonardo DiCaprio.

We also get all of the extras from the 20th anniversary Blu-ray release of the film. That’s a not a bad thing as selections are bountiful and include:

* A pair of optional commentary tracks with one featuring Mr. Scorsese, screenwriter Nicolas Pileggi, producers Irwin Winkler and Barbara De Fina and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (to name a few) and the other starring the real Henry Hill and FBI agent Edward McDonald. The latter is absolutely riveting.

* A definitive look at the early cinematic portrayal of organized crime in “Public Enemies: The Golden Age of Gangster Films” offers a 106-minute introduction to the genre with stars such as James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart, while loaded with classic film clips.

* A quartet of classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons reveals how Bugs Bunny and his pals made fun of the gangster genre of films.

Mr. Turner (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Rated R, $34.99) — Director Mike Leigh’s Academy Award-nominated biographical drama arrives in the high-def format to give viewers the definitive look at celebrated 19th century British Romanticist landscape painter J.M.W. Turner.

Specifically looking at the last 25 years of his life, the meticulously researched costume period film starred Timothy Spall as Turner. The devoted actor brings to life the rotund, grumbling curmudgeon so authentically that he actually spent two years learning how to paint in preparation for the role.

The true co-star of the 2.5-hour effort is cinematographer Dick Pope who borrowed Turner’s color pallet when crafting the beautiful look of the movie.

The digital transfer breathtakingly reveals the result and is most apparent during every one of Mr. Pope’s outdoor, landscape shots.

The mandatory extra is an optional commentary track from Mr. Leigh who does a fantastic job explaining his vision for the film as well as offering plenty of historical background on Mr. Turner.

Additionally, fans can watch a 30-minute, well-rounded featurette on the making of the film and 16 minutes of information on the fantastic cinematography.

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