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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Martin Scorsese
USA / France 1995

Scorsese's movie opens with an hour-long prologue, alternately and relentlessly narrated by De Niro and Pesci, in character, that details the details of the relationship between the casinos, the politicians, the police and the mob bosses as it existed from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. In the second hour, the narrative subtly slips from straight exposition to the main thrust of the story about how brilliant gambler turned casino manager, Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), and his old buddy, Nicky Santoro (Pesci), now a Mafia Made-Man/Maniac, completely "fuck up paradise on earth." It didn't help that Ace marries Ginger (Sharon Stone), Las Vegas' number one hustler, who gives her all, and some of Ace's, to her former pimp (James Woods) – again and again – until she eventually devolves into nonstop drugs and booze.

Comment:
The concept of Comedy+Scorsese doesn't come easily to mind. Even The King of Comedy, whose title character and antagonist could hardly be more vulgar or repulsive (check that: I momentarily forgot about Sandra Bernhard), is more grating than funny. Other movies, like Goodfellas and New York New York, have their moments, but are hardly comedies. Yet it is as comedy - or perhaps, more precisely, docucomedy - that I understand Casino most easily.

As drama, I felt that I couldn't take much of it very seriously – not Nicky Santoro's greed, nor his brutal violence, not Rothstein's fall from grace, nor Ginger's fall into the abyss, not even their daughter's witnessing the ever accelerating and increasingly insane domestic violence. It isn't just that there's so much of it I start to tune it out, but I don't have the impression that Scorsese or Peleggi sees there material as drama either. They seem to be mocking the very madness that they are chronicle. Often as not, I felt like I was watching a parody of Paddy Chayefsky's Marty. I wondered how De Niro and Pesci were able to keep a straight face.

Scorsese permits himself wide latitude when it comes to violence, which is often graphic – here and elsewhere, but when it comes to sex, Scorsese is usually tender and intimate – elsewhere, not here. (I'm recalling Raging Bull where Jake chides Vickie about laying off sex while he's in training.) In Casino, Scorsese alludes to sex only obliquely or fades to black long before the sheets are turned down. If it were otherwise, Casino wouldn't be comedy.

Leonard Norwitz
 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 November, 1995 (USA)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Universal (Anniversary Edition)- Region 1 - NTSC vs. TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Mathias Nielsen and Gary Tooze for the SD Screen Caps!

1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray LEFT

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 
Also available in Universal's  The Gangster Gift Set Collection on Blu-ray (Casino, Eastern Promises and American Gangster)

   

 

Distribution Universal
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Universal (Anniversary Edition)
Region 1 - NTSC

TFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Universal
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:58:20 2:58:00 2:50:48 (4% PAL speedup) 2:58:46
Video Feature 43.7 Gig, dual-layered
1080P, Video codec: VC-1
Blu-ray

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate:5.86  mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.55 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate:5.83  mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Universal - Blu-ray

 

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR BLU-RAY YET!

Bitrate:

 

Universal - Anniversary

 

Bitrate:

 

TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD)

 

Bitrate:

 

Universal

 

Audio English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio. Dub: Castilian and L.A. Spanish & French Canadian, German, Italian & Japanese DTS English Dolby Digital 5.1, DUB: French Dolby Digital 5.1, DUB: Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, English DTS 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1, DUB: French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English SDH, Castilian and L.A. Spanish, Portuguese, French Canadian, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Japanese, Mandarin, none English, English, Spanish, None None, Forced French when English Audio English, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Feature 43.7 Gig, dual-layered
1080P, Video codec: VC-1
Blu-ray

Edition Details:
• Discontinuous Commentary by Director Scorsese, Screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, and Actor Sharon Stone.
• History Alive: True Crime Authors: Casino with Nicholas Pileggi (43:45)
• Vegas & the Mob (13:42)
• Deleted Scenes (2:59)

 

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Deleted Scenes
• Casino: The Story
• Casino: Cast and Characters
• Casino: The Look
• Casino: After the Filming
• Moments with Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone, Nicholas Pileggi
• Vegas and the Mob Featurette
• History Alive: True Crime Authors: Casino with Nicholas Pileggi

 

DVD Release Date: June 14th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: TFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 1: Dubbed French Version of the Movie, Disc 2: Original English Version of the Movie, Disc 3: Extras
• The Directors: Martin Scorsese (58:26) (Burnt-in French subs)
• The Real Casino (14:06)
• French Trailer (2:16)
• Filmographies
• Stills
• Weblink

DVD Release Date: 24 April, 2003
Digipak

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (2:32)
• Text screen Filmographies

 

DVD Release Date: February 24, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 16

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Universal Blu-ray - October 08':

With the Blu-ray obvious superior I'll include Leonard's initial review of the 1080P disc (ed.):

Image: 7.5/8.5
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and
Blu-ray discs.

If Dante Ferrenti's production design is about anything, it's about color – rich, saturated colors to complement Scorsese's dynamic camera style. Las Vegas would seem the perfect subject for them: the glitz, the glamour, the fashion, the lights, the sleeze. From the moment Robert De Niro first walks out of his casino in his godknowswhatcolor suit, we know this movie is going to be about color – and not just the color of money. Universal has nailed that color in all its glory so well that we might be distracted from of a kind of light gauze filter that pervades much of the image. It's less obvious in most close-ups, but in many shots the backlight causes a glowing fuzz around the edges. This is, no doubt, a consequence of the way the film was shot, so I don't fault Universal. It's just peculiar and a bit distracting

Audio & Music: 7/8
A clear audio track is essential for a movie as dense as Casino. At any one time Scorsese will layer on a voiceover, usually by De Niro or Pesci, together with on-screen dialogue, ambient casino effects and a near non-stop time-line music track designed from pop tunes of the day, whose lyrics gives added dimension to the story. To say that I found it all a bit much is to give Vegas itself more credit than it's due. For those few of you out there who've never had the pleasure, Scorsese's audio din is a perfect analog to the real thing. There is one consequence of the uncompressed audio that we probably wouldn't notice in the theatre or on DVD – and this did bother me – that De Niro's and Pesci's voiceovers are recorded in very different acoustical spaces. As the narration switches from the one to the other I find myself twitch. I do anyhow every time I hear Pesci's sarcastic whine. The space thing just makes bad matters worse.

Operations: 8
The menu is laid out like other Universal
Blu-rays. I like the arrows that tell you which way to direct you remote, and the bonus feature instructions are sufficiently detailed and intuitive. The chapter menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to approach those functions from that point, though it's easier direct from the remote. And there is also a way to adjust the PIP volume in the set-up menu. Surprisingly few chapters (16) for such a long movie, though.


 

Extras: 7
Edited from previously recorded bits, there is an audio commentary about the making of the movie and stories about Vegas that Universal calls "Moments" by Scorsese, Sharon Stone and the man who should know: Nicholas Pileggi (whose credits include Goodfellas and producer credit for American Gangster) Pileggi was able to interview several major players behind the scenes of the Vegas story – an adventure documented in the History Channel featurette “History Alive: True Crime Authors." This and the featurette "Vegas and the Mob" are delivered in fairly poor SD.

Bottom line: 7
Casino is not, in my view, a particularly successful movie. While bodacious in concept and execution, Casino is also scattered and unfocused, leaving me only Ginger and her slide into hell to care about (De Niro, oddly enough, kept getting in the way of that, too) – hardly enough for a three hour movie. Its persistent voiceover never lets the action or what drama there is take hold of us. But if you're a fan of the movie, Universal's
Blu-ray image sports gorgeous color and zippy sound.

Leonard Norwitz
 

****

ON THE SD-DVDs: ADDITION: Anniversary Edition (Universal) - June 2005 - initially when I saw this DVD was 2-sided I shuddered. Thankfully the film is all on one side... and the transfer, although not perfect, looks marvelous. Colors are the biggest issue with the new Anniversary release - being more vibrant and true than in the old, contrast boosted NTSC edition. One can now officially dismiss the TF1 release with the non-removable French subtitles as the definitive image. Contrast is very strong in the new release with superior shadow detail. I don't find it reference quality in terms of sharpness, but it does seem equal to, and possibly better, than the old Universal release. The extras speak for themselves with a 'non-officially labeled commentary' with some of the cast. It is a bit scattered but does the same job as a commentary with a narrator describing the next individual speaking (Sharon Stone's voice is notably 'gravely'). The speaking often does not relate to the scene shown at the time which I guess makes it rather inappropriate and the possible reason that the word "commentary' was not used. I'm split on some of the other features - seeing them as filler, but I suppose they might appeal to some devout fans of the film. The audio is good and has some strong rear channel moments. Overall this new Anniversary releases is the definitive edition. 

Jay says:

Is it just me or does the "anniversary edition" look like they minimized the blown-out (purposefully overexposed) areas? I remember seeing the film in the theater & loving the overexposed patches that added the "police interrogation" feel to the film. It would be a shame if they "corrected" that.

Otherwise, the colors look more accurate to me (the film had a high color saturation, which the de-saturated, pinkish original R1 version and the highly de-saturated PAL version definitely do not portray correctly. That said, I still think the harsh contrasts of the PAL disk closer match the original intentions.

****

Hold off on these two...

As far as I am concerned both of these releases have problems that make me suggest that the upcoming Region 1 10th Anniversary Issue will be the superior. We hope to add it to the comparison as soon as we get a copy. Bottom line is the Region 1 is saturated (ridiculously red skin tones at times) with edge enhancement and the French version is dull and has some very hazy moments (almost like it was shot through a soft lens). Its biggest drawback is the forced French subtitles when the original English audio is chosen. The extras look formidable in the newer French 3-disc release, but did they really need a second disc for an excluded audio track? - seems bizarre, unless the French DUBBED edition is actually a different film.

Lets wait for this one -> CLICK HERE - coming out June 2005.

- Gary Tooze

CASINO - Martin Scorsese's grossly underrated counterpart to GOODFELLAS is a terrific epic that has fun with the idea of voice over narrators, makes Las Vegas a character like few other films smart enough to do so ever did and gets better with age. Besides the stunning credits by Saul Bass and cinematography throughout by Robert Richardson, there is exceptional acting work (dramatic and subtly comic) all over the place and the screenplay holds together incredibly well considering its length. The picture has never been right on any of the DVDs and the new version is barely better. The DTS in theaters was an amazing, impacting presentation, especially with Scorsese's masterful choice of hit records. On the DTS-only 12" LaserDisc and all DVDs to date, the sound has been a bit lacking, while the Dolby versions have been really weak. If you are going to own it, the new 10th Anniversary edition is fine until a digital HD version is issued, though the lack of DTS is stunning and inexcusable. This film has yet to get it due, so this new release version should help that. This is easily one of the great American films of the 1990s!

Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

 

 



DVD Menus

 

Universal Anniversary Edition - Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

Opposite side:

 

 


(
TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

Forced French Subtitles on the TF1 edition - can't obtain subtitle captures for Blu-ray

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Universal - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP

2) Universal (Anniversary)- Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) TFI Video (Edition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 

More captures from the Blu-ray

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Anniversary Edition
Menu: -
DVD Box Covers

 
Also available in Universal's  The Gangster Gift Set Collection on Blu-ray (Casino, Eastern Promises and American Gangster)

   

 

Distribution Universal
Region A - Blu-ray
Universal (Anniversary Edition)
Region 1 - NTSC

TFI Video

Region 2 - PAL

Universal
Region 1 - NTSC




 

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