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Staten Island [Blu-ray]
(James DeMonaco, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Why Not Productions
Video: National Entertainment Media
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 17,918,796,706 bytes
Feature Size: 17,175,281,664 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 22nd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3762 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3762 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core:
5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), English, Spanish, none
• Commentary with James Demonaco, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio
•'Interview with Vincent D'Onofrio (2:19)
• 2 Deleted Scenes (2:36 - SD)
Description: In the shadow of Manhattan, the lives of three ambitious men intersect when Sully, a dim-witted septic tank cleaner, decides to rob $50,000 from the local mob boss. Starring Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofio, Seymour Cassel and Julianne Nicholson. Directed by James DeMonaco.
Sully Halverson is a septic tank cleaner who is desperate to give his unborn son the chance he never had. Jasper Sabiano is a deaf-mute deli worker who wants to escape the mobsters that have infiltrated his life and business. Parmie Tarzo, is a local mob boss, who dreams of crushing the competition and becoming infamous any way he can. These three men have two things in common they are all searching for better lives and they all live in Staten Island - the forgotten borough of New York City. Once their lives intersect, nothing will ever be the same.
Auds may feel a sense of deja vu while watching the blackly comic crime thriller "Staten Island," which, given its tripartite structure and Ethan Hawke's role as a screw-up, could have been titled "Before the Devil Knows You've Changed Boroughs." Still, there's enough originality and verve in writer-helmer James DeMonaco's debut to make for compelling viewing. Although firmly embedded in Gotham's suburbs, the pic's quirky blend of striking violence and unembarrassed sentimentality betokens strong influence from French co-producer Luc Besson, whose Europa Corp. will release "Staten" in Gaul this March. Offshore, the pic could board the ferry to moderate biz.
Structurally reminiscent of, most immediately, Sidney Lumet's late masterwork "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" -- and going further back, "Pulp Fiction," "Sin City," "Amores perros" and any number of pics with nonlinear, Venn-diagrammatic plots -- "Staten Island" pivots around a superficially inconsequential but emotionally charged scene in a deli, where the pic's three main characters all meet before the action jumps back and forth to show what happened before that moment and what will happen after it.Excerpt from Leslie Felperin at Variety located HERE
I don't believe we have ever reviewed a disc from NEM (National Entertainment Media) before. This Blu-ray has some notable weaknesses - first and foremost it is 1080i (interlaced - see last large capture). Secondly, it is single-layered with only about double the feature disc size of a dual-layered DVD. The bitrate is equally as modest. While the image quality is lackluster - there are a few pluses. Detail and colors are acceptable while contrast is a shade weak and noise exists in monochromatic backgrounds with black levels occasionally crushed. The Blu-ray package still has a few redeeming features - the film itself, the audio (see below) and the price - 44% OFF at the writing of this review - actually a dollar less than the simultaneously released DVD. Some will find it definitely worthy of a spin.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3762 kbps handles all that Staten Island throws at it with relative ease. There is some aggressive violence with a few subtleties reaching the rear speakers. It's no demo when it comes to depth or range but I suspect that it is faithfully replicating the theatrical audio experience. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles andmy Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The supplements include a commentary with director/writer James DeMonaco, and stars Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio. I like both actors quite a lot and it is a pleasure to hear them in a relaxed atmosphere discussing the production shoot. There is a 2-minute piece with D'Onofriotalking about Staten Island as the forgotten borough of New York - and 2 deleted scenes lasting about 2.5-minutes. Even with the commentary it is not a lot but certainly better than nothing...
December 8th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze