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Blu-ray Reviews

Hannah and Her Sisters Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 15 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 22 2013 - 01:32 PM

Woody Allen’s beloved “Hannah and Her Sisters” debuts on Blu-ray with a strong high definition showing in both picture and sound, courtesy of MGM Home Entertainment. The bonus material is lacking, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from considering the release for purchase.


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Hannah and Her Sisters

Release Date: January 15, 2013
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Blu-ray keepcase
Year: 1986
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1:46:54
MSRP: $24.99


  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video AVC: 1080p high definition 1.85:1 High definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 1.0 / Dolby Digital: French 1.0, Spanish 1.0 Dolby Digital: English 2.0
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish None

The Feature: 4.5/5

If movie titles were changed to better reflect their stories, Woody Allen’s celebrated dramedy “Hannah and Her Sisters” would be “Hannah’s Sisters and Ex-Husband.” Yes, it makes for a horrible title, but it shows how the film actually spends most of its time with the sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest), and Hannah’s first husband Mickey (Allen), than on Hannah (Mia Farrow) herself. On examination, the actual title is a nod to how the character, a successful actress and seemingly happy wife and mother, tends to get all the respect and attention while her siblings struggle with life and love and can’t seem to catch a break. However the film’s actual focus illustrates it’s not the people who have it all together with the most compelling lessons to learn in life.


Taking up most of the threads of Allen’s interwoven narrative is an affair between Lee and Hannah’s husband Elliot (Michael Caine). He’s dissatisfied with his marriage because his wife doesn’t seem to need him; coupled with the overwhelming passion he feels for his sister-in-law, Elliot seems poised to end what seems like a perfect home and family life. But once the affair is underway, he finds the thought of leaving Hannah more difficult than expected. Meanwhile, Elliot’s sudden declaration of love has opened a window for Lee to escape a stifling relationship with the misanthropic artist Frederick (Max von Sydow), but Elliot’s ultimate ambivalence about moving forward with her shows she must make her own way in life rather than wait for things to come to her.


Holly’s issues by comparison are less dramatic, but no less central to her self-discovery. A recovering cocaine addict, she’s trying to get her life back together by pursuing an acting career, but is coming up short. Her partnership in a catering business with fellow actress friend April (Carrie Fisher) has promise, but it’s also about to get up-ended over their mutual interest in a handsome architect (Sam Waterston). Eventually, Holly turns her sights to writing for television, which in turn prepares her to become re-acquainted with ex-brother-in-law Mickey, a producer for a TV network who’s been going through his own existential crisis.


Not surprisingly, Mickey’s tale provides the most comic relief as Allen has his signature, neurotic hypochondriac come face-to-face with a legitimate health scare, and then go on a fruitless search for the meaning of life. Unexpected is the poignancy of Mickey’s eventual revelation, which comes to him after a botched suicide attempt. While some may be dissatisfied with what finally gives Mickey the reason to live, the fact it keeps him in the game to enjoy what life offers him in the next chapter is undeniably powerful.


And that ultimately epitomizes the subtle charm of Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Heavy life questions are approached and handled with such deftness, humor and sincerity that it renders its messages indelible. Coupled with strong performances all around – from Best Supporting Actor and Actress award winners Caine and Wiest, to Allen himself – and an assured and sophisticated directorial style, it's likely to remain one of Allen's most enduringly popular and accessible films.


Video Quality: 4/5

Framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer features inky black levels and a full and uncompromised range of contrast. Color is richly saturated, though flesh tones can come off as a bit pinkish. Detail holds up from establishing shots to close ups, though heavier grain in more dimly lit environments, as well as occasional flecks of dirt and dust in the picture can affect fine rendering of things like hair and skin texture. Occasional flicker or flutter in the image can be mildly distracting, but otherwise the image exhibits no other transfer artifacts.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Dialogue in 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp and detailed, though the characters’ internal monologues frequently sound too low compared to scenes involving multiple characters. The track does have an impressive breadth in its soundstage however, offering some subtle vocal placement that keeps it from being a strictly center channel experience.


Special Features: 1/5


Theatrical Trailer (1:36, HD)


Recap and Recommendation

The Film: 4.5/5

Video Quality: 4/5

Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Special Features: 1/5

Overall Score (not an average): 4/5


MGM Home Entertainment turns in a fine high definition presentation for “Hannah and Her Sisters,” Woody Allen’s humorously touching reflection on the meaning of life. The bonus material is limited to a lone theatrical trailer, but the merits of the feature make the release one to pick up for those who have never had the film in their collections. Those who own the previous DVD release, now over a decade old, should find it a worthwhile upgrade.




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#2 of 15 Brian McP

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Posted January 22 2013 - 03:48 PM

My all time favorite Woody Allen movie and also the one with the best cast (a great final role for Lloyd Nolan, who also gets to sing and play the piano in this). I have seen it many times and to me it is also a time capsule of New York, early 1985 and is full of small but memorable scenes -- Michael Caine and Barbara Hershey in that huge old bookstore, Max Von Sydow griping and moaning about people buying his paintings 'by the foot', in his rambling apartment loft and Woody returning home from shopping and taking out his groceries.... Great performances and a pleasure to listen to such wonderful dialogue -- although I think I may have watched this picture too many times -- if you remember the scene between Woody and Diane Wiest in the record store, notice the tv on behind them, playing possibly music video tapes -- you will see most of "We Are The World" playing in the background.

#3 of 15 David Weicker

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Posted January 23 2013 - 04:54 AM

A fantastic movie. I now own my three favorite Woody Allen films - Manhattan, Hannah And Her Sisters, and Annie Hall. David

#4 of 15 MattAlbie60

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Posted January 23 2013 - 06:56 AM

Give me PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO sometime soon and I'll be all set :)

#5 of 15 Cameron Yee

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Posted January 23 2013 - 08:01 AM

Give me Purple Rose of Cairo and Mighty Aphrodite.


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#6 of 15 Garysb

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Posted January 23 2013 - 08:07 AM

Radio Days and the Purple Rose. Great Double Feature. Really like Hannah and her Sisters. Hannah and Sleeper are currently $8.99 each at Costco.

#7 of 15 filmnoirguy

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Posted January 23 2013 - 11:43 AM

Hannah and Her Sisters is my all-time favorite Woody Allen comedy and my favorite movie of the entire '80s decade. In my mind, it's a perfect film. Great to watch during the Thanksgiving holiday since the story begins on a Thanksgiving and ends two years later on Thanksgiving, plus there's another Thanksgiving about two-thirds of the way through the picture! Cheers~~

#8 of 15 Trentrunner

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Posted January 23 2013 - 01:49 PM

And a bonus: This Woody Allen film features his future wife as a child! Second bonus: That child is Mia Farrow's real-life daughter! Third bonus: Woody and Mia were partnered when they made this film! Final bonus: I'm waiting for Woody to star as Noah Cross in the remake of Chinatown!

#9 of 15 MattAlbie60

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Posted January 23 2013 - 02:34 PM

Okay?

#10 of 15 David Weicker

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Posted January 23 2013 - 02:41 PM

And a bonus: This Woody Allen film features his future wife as a child! Second bonus: That child is Mia Farrow's real-life daughter! Third bonus: Woody and Mia were partnered when they made this film! Final bonus: I'm waiting for Woody to star as Noah Cross in the remake of Chinatown!

To be accurate, Soon-Yi was Mia's adopted daughter from when when she was married to Andre Previn. The other two points are accurate, but irrelevant to the quality of the film.

#11 of 15 Trentrunner

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Posted January 23 2013 - 03:27 PM

I love(d) the film, but it is unfortunately spectacularly creepy to see child Soon-Yi with Mom in the same frame as her future husband. And I'm not quite sure what difference it makes that she's adopted. She is Farrow's daughter, period. Or does being adopted make her fair game? :)

#12 of 15 schan1269

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Posted January 23 2013 - 03:58 PM

You know if Soon-Yi were male and "he" and Woody adopted him, that would be marriage... Oh wait...(Just being funny, not wanting to start a same-sex marriage discussion...just pointed out double standard...and a mighty funny one at that)

#13 of 15 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 23 2013 - 07:09 PM

Originally Posted by Garysb 

Radio Days and the Purple Rose. Great Double Feature. Really like Hannah and her Sisters.

Hannah and Sleeper are currently $8.99 each at Costco.


Thanks for that "heads up".  Was wondering if Costco might have them cheaply on sale...


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#14 of 15 Mark-P

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Posted January 24 2013 - 08:02 AM

Hannah and Sleeper are currently $8.99 each at Costco.

Just made a Costco run, sadly none to be found at my Costco :(

#15 of 15 Mark Walker

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Posted January 25 2013 - 02:12 AM

Mark P, I found Hannah and Her Sisters at the Wilsonville Costco near where I live, but no Sleeper. Of course, if you spend $8 in gas to drive to Wilsonville, it kinda defeats the purpose. ;)

Just made a Costco run, sadly none to be found at my Costco :(


Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.






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