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    Crimes and Misdemeanors Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Fox MGM Twilight Time

    Feb 22 2014 04:17 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    The dichotomies between life and death, love and hate, innocence and guilt, genuineness and pomposity: all are fodder for the grist mill of Woody Allen in what is one of his very best films Crimes and Misdemeanors. His title is apt: the film lays out a number of scenarios which examine life’s little foibles and bigger issues with both the humor and the horror (and everything in between) which are inherent in everyday living. How each individual chooses to deal with them gives a real depth to this film which makes it one of the more probing ones in Allen’s oeuvre.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: MGM
    • Distributed By: Twilight Time
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: PG-13
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 44 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: keep case
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: All
    • Release Date: 02/11/2014
    • MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    Two marriages are at the core of Crimes and Misdemeanors. For Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) who has been carrying on a two-year affair with flight attendant Dolores Paley (Anjelica Huston) who now expects Judah to leave his wife (Claire Bloom) and begin a full life with her or else be prepared for her to spill the details of the relationship to his family, the problem is to find some way to placate Dolores without risking a domestic life he loves and an ophthalmology career that is thriving. For minimally successful documentary filmmaker Cliff Stern (Woody Allen), his crumbling marriage to wife Wendy (Joanna Gleason) would be gladly abandoned if PBS producer Halley Reed (Mia Farrow) would give him a tumble. Hired by the network to produce a documentary on the day-to-day life of a fatuously successful television producer (Alan Alda), Cliff and Halley spend a lot of time together where he falls hard for the divorced Halley who refuses to commit to him or any man for fear of being hurt again.

    How each of these men handle his differing romantic issues forms the crux of the film, and along the way ideas about morality, guilt, and righteousness continually come into play (a seder from Judah’s past where relatives debate the cause and effect of faith versus practicality is the heart and soul of the film’s message). While the subject matter is sometimes grim and at other times playful (a murder is ordered by one; a murderously satirical slam at his rival is the other’s plan), the variance in tone isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, the witty quips and putdowns found on Cliff’s side of the story are a welcome breather from the far more serious and solemn story that Judah must experience, sequences which occasionally make us recoil in horror and yet stare at in dumb amazement as events either unfold or are played back for us (Allen’s smooth, effortless way of working in flashbacks within scenes taking place in present time is matchless and likely one of the reasons he found himself with yet another Best Director Oscar nomination for his work here).

    The performances are sublimely superb across the board. Martin Landau’s desperation, exasperation, revulsion, and guilt over his predicament put him squarely in the limelight even though his screen time likely isn’t any longer than that of Woody Allen’s wisecracking director or Mia Farrow’s softly appealing producer. Alan Alda steals all his scenes as the pompous producer who thinks his every word is a pearl worth savoring (he won Best Supporting Actor from both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics), while Jerry Orbach as Judah’s shifty brother, Anjelica Huston as the discontented mistress (whose character is so fascinating that one wishes even more of her life could have been shown), and Sam Waterston as a rabbi who’s going blind all make notable appearances in key roles.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully conveyed in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Apart from some stray white specks which dot the film at irregular intervals, the picture is very warm and welcoming with strong color that lends peaches and cream complexions to many of the flesh tones. Sharpness is quite fine with black levels which might not be the inkiest but are certainly beyond serious criticism. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix produces exactly the mono sound associated with all of Woody Allen’s projects at this stage of his filmmaking career but with likely better fidelity and clarity than was present in the theater or in previous releases of the film on home video. Dialogue is always strong and clear. The infrequent music cues never intrude on what people are saying but often complement the on-screen visuals in a wry way.

    Special Features: 2/5

    Isolated Score and Effects Track: presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0.

    Theatrical Trailer (1:39, SD)

    MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)

    Six-Page Booklet: contains a selection of color stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s astute and informative take on the movie.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    One of the great movies in the filmography of Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors is darker and deeper than many of his other films of the 1980s, but its wrestling with life’s profundities with both the humor and turmoil we all experience on occasion makes it ring eerily true for many viewers. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
    Support HTF when you buy this title:

    • Mark Walker likes this


    8 Comments

    Does anyone know why/how this ended up with Twilight Time (and limited to 3,000)? This seems odd. This isn't a cult oddity, after all. It's not as if this isn't a major release from Woody Allen (or MGM). 

     

    And, after the 3,000 are bought up, will this end up being released 'normally'?

     

    Just curious.

    Maybe the four Allen films that MGM released on their own didn't sell well? That might account for their picking a boutique organization for their remaining holdings of his films.

    Photo
    Richard Gallagher
    Feb 24 2014 09:42 AM

    Does anyone know why/how this ended up with Twilight Time (and limited to 3,000)? This seems odd. This isn't a cult oddity, after all. It's not as if this isn't a major release from Woody Allen (or MGM). 

     

    And, after the 3,000 are bought up, will this end up being released 'normally'?

     

    Just curious.

     

    People asked the same question about As Good as it Gets - winner of two Academy Awards, nominated for Best Picture - but here it is nearly two years later and it still hasn't sold 3,000 copies. So the market for comedies and romantic comedies on Blu-ray may not be as strong as you might expect.

     

    As Good as it Gets Twilight Time

     

    My understanding is that the studios give Twilight Time an exclusive window on titles - it may be three years, but I'm not certain about the length of the window. Others who know more may want to chime in.

    Call me misinformed or just plain stupid, but I had no idea this Twilight Time label existed until I saw a couple reviews of Crimes and Misdemeanors, one of my absolute favorite films and the movie that first got me into Woody Allen.

     

    Of course even for a favorite film I am loathe to pay $30 for a no-frills disc when I was able to get the four Allen films on MGM blu ray at Costco for $9 each. 

     

    Am I stupid to wait for more classic Allen films to be released by MGM as part of their "Woody Allen Collection" and should I just bite the bullet and buy this and other upcoming Allen films on Twilight Time?

    Am I stupid to wait for more classic Allen films to be released by MGM as part of their "Woody Allen Collection" and should I just bite the bullet and buy this and other upcoming Allen films on Twilight Time?

    If it was me, I'd bite the bullet. Twilight Time has a window of exclusivity (the amount of time that I've seen cited for other titles is 3 years but I don't know that for a fact) and who knows how good the market is going to be for physical discs in 2017. Plus, Twilight Time is potentially 'taking' 3,000 sales from any future re-release by Sony which has got to cut down on their interest in putting out the disc again.

    And the fact that they licensed it out at all tells me they had little or no interest in putting it out themselves. 

    And remember that Twilight Time has another Woody Allen film coming up soon - Broadway Danny Rose, another sign of MGM's lack of interest in releasing his work on Blu-ray themselves.

    Wow had no idea this was out until now. Man, I really try to avoid paying much for Blu Rays, but this isn't even available directly from Amazon. I ordered from one of their marketplace vendors for $30+ since Ebay was even more ridiculous. I debated on simply sticking with the DVD, but I figure that it will only get worse with such few copies. Ugh.