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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2011

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"Moonstruck" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-april-2011-moonstruck

Synopsis

This is the story of a 37-year-old widow, Loretta Castorini (Cher), who decides to re-marry after having lost her husband some years earlirer in an accident.  So she accepts a marriage proposal from a man she doesn't truly love, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello).  When Johnny must leave Brooklyn and travel to Italy to watch over his dying mother, Loretta decides to meet up with Johnny's estranged brother, Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage), who works in a local bakery.  Loretta wants to get to know her future husband's brother and possibly facilitate a reconciliation, but she finds herself helpless to resist the power of the moon as well as the power of true love.  This movie received six major Oscar nominations in 1988 and deservedly brought home three of the Oscars - Best Actress (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Olympia Dukakis) and Best Original Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley).

Specifications

  • MGM Studios
  • 1987, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 42 min
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, and Danny Aiello
  • Directed by Norman Jewison
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: Suggestive
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

I really enjoyed seeing this film again after many years.  I love the way the theme of a Super Moon weaves through the story, bringing out intimate feelings between the characters and causing all sorts of lunatic behavior in the Castorini family.  Once the plot gets up and running, the interplay among the characters and their infidelities provide ample comedic fodder.  The story is self-propelled from the moment we meet Ronny all the way up to the closing credits.  Certainly Cher and Olympia Dukakis (who plays Cher's on-screen mother, Rose Castorini) put up excellent performances in the movie.  Cher plays it cool and understated most of the time while Dukakis delivers some of the funniest, most memorable lines of any romantic comedy ever.  I felt that Nicolas Cage was overly melodramatic in his opening scene but as the story unfolds, Cage works his way into the role and plays the character with a ton of heart.  My biggest criticism is that his handicap and it surrounding circumstances are not quite as morose as they are made out to be.  Now, 25 years later, we have another Super Moon.  I wonder what events the new Super Moon may trigger this time around?

Technical

Moonstruck is presented in 1080p on this 50 GB Blu-Ray.  The print that was used for the transfer looks generally pretty clean and tight throughout.  Some dust, dirt and scratches show up here and there.  Also, the black levels are not as rock-solid as a new release and I saw some compression artifacts from time to time.  But the film grain is intact and the colors are natural and properly saturated.  Also, the resolution in the picture is first rate for a movie that was originally shot in 35mm with moderately soft focus.  The audio is particularly captivating with fine ambience effects that are nearly as good as a new release in many scenes.  The msuic from La Boheme sounds a little forward in the upper mids, befitting the movie's era.  More care could have been taken to balance the effects, the dialog and the musical score.  Nevertheless, my overall impression was that the  technical presentation is very nice.

Extras

Extras include an enlightening audio commentary by Cher, Director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley.  The disc also contains two informative and entertaining shorts.  The first is the documentary, Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family.  The other is the featurette, The Music of Moonstruck.