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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Broadcast News [Blu-ray]


(James L. Brooks, 1987)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Criterion Collection - Spine # 552



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:12:32.986

Disc Size: 47,409,647,861 bytes

Feature Size: 30,732,251,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 34

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: January 25th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2048 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2048 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), none



New audio commentary featuring James L. Brooks and editor Richard Marks
James L. Brooks—A Singular Voice, a new documentary on Brooks’s career in television and film, featuring actresses Marilu Henner and Julie Kavner, among other collaborators (36:06 in HD - 3-part 'Groundbreaking Television', 'Moving Into Film', 'The Zeitgeist')
Alternate ending (10:04 in HD) and deleted scenes (19:28 in HD), with optional commentary by Brooks
New video interview with veteran CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky, one of the models for actress Holly Hunter’s character and an associate producer on the film (17:02)
Featurette containing on-set footage and interviews with Brooks, Hunter, and actor Albert Brooks (7:56 + 18:38 - both in 1080i)
Original theatrical trailer (2:18)
16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey





Description: Since the 1970s, the name James L. Brooks has been synonymous with intelligent television comedy—his shows are insightful about work and love and always plugged in to the zeitgeist. He is also a master storyteller of the big screen, and none of his films was more quintessentially Brooks than Broadcast News. This caustic look inside the Washington news media stars Holly Hunter, in her breakout role, as a feisty television producer torn between an ambitious yet dim anchorman (William Hurt) and her closest confidant, a cynical veteran reporter (Albert Brooks). Brooks’s witty, gently prophetic film is a captivating transmission from an era in which ideas on relationships and the media were rapidly changing.



The Film:

Writer/director/producer James L. Brooks scores on all counts with this clear-eyed look at the television news business... and the dysfunctional types who work in it. Brooks' intelligent script introduces us to Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), an ambitious producer at the network news division's Washington D.C. branch, who is calm under fire yet has a good cry at her desk every morning over her empty personal life. Jane works well with Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), an excellent reporter who lacks the visual charisma to make him a star. Into their lives comes Tom Grunick (William Hurt), a regional newscaster who admits he can't write news and doesn't understand many of the events he's covering, but has the presence and physical appeal that the increasingly entertainment-oriented network wants for its news programs. Jane is also physically attracted to him, which drives her crazy, because Grunick stands for everything she's fighting against in the news business, while Altman is devastated by her attraction because he secretly yearns for Jane. As Grunick becomes a rising star at the network, and layoffs of the old guard loom, the three leads deal with their feelings for each other, their careers, and their values. Hunter, Hurt, and Brooks are all superb, as is the excellent supporting cast (including an unbilled turn by Jack Nicholson as the network's smarmy national anchor). Brooks' script is funny, poignant, gritty, and brutally honest in its examinations of the television industry and the ways in which professionals interact on and off the job.

Excerpt from Don Kaye at the All-Movie Guide located HERE

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

Broadcast News looks super on Blu-ray from Criterion. It is advertised as "New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director James L. Brooks and editor Richard Marks". There is apparent grain and colors are bright. Detail is notable in the many close-ups. This Blu-ray looks dramatically superior to my old DVD (we may add some comparison captures later) and I'd have to say 'flawless' as I can't identify any weaknesses in the appearance. As far as visuals go - the film is pretty straightforward with little to dynamically swoon over. There is some depth creeping in and it seems this Blu-ray is easily the best video presentation of the film for home theater enjoyment. It looks perfect.

















Audio :

Criterion stay faithful with 2.0 channel stereo and it's rendering to a DTS-HD Master at 2048 kbps 2.0. The lossless track sounds clean and competent. Like the video it is essentially without a flaw - like the original devoid of extravagant depth or separations. Bill Conti's original score runs supportively in the background - sounding sweet and subtle at times. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

We are treated to a stacked package of supplements. First and foremost, a new audio commentary featuring James L. Brooks and editor Richard Marks recorded for Criterion in 2010. The pairing work very well together - lots of laughing and they are clearly enjoying revisiting the film and imparting details of production. It was revealing and enjoyable to hear. New, also, is a 36-minute tribute documentary entitled James L. Brooks—A Singular Voice. It has input from composer Hans Zimmer, actresses Marilu Henner and Julie Kavner, among other collaborators as they discuss Brooks’s incredible career in television and film. Like all video supplements - it is in HD and this piece is divided into 3 segments - 'Groundbreaking Television', 'Moving Into Film' and 'The Zeitgeist'. I gained further respect for Brooks hearing others extol his important contributions and insights. There is both a 10-minute 'alternate ending' and 20-minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Brooks. Included is a 17-minute 2010 interview with veteran CBS news producer Susan Zirinsky, one of the models for actress Holly Hunter’s character, Jane Craig. She served as an adviser and associate producer on the film. I *believe* these last two featurettes were on the Fox DVD - they contain on-set footage and interviews with Brooks, Hunter, and actor Albert Brooks - and run about 25 minutes - shown in 1080i. There is a original theatrical trailer and 16-page liner notes booklet with photos and featuring an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey.



Typical of James L. Brooks - Broadcast News is capable of touching many emotional areas with its humor (Albert Brooks almost has me in tears) and bittersweet social aspects, communication, romance etc. . It looks at life in a pragmatic manner but that doesn't dampen the expression - it only tends to heighten the impact. The film is stylish, smart, witty and memorable - and he has great repeat value. The extensive supplements and pristine Blu-ray a/v are very worthwhile reasons to indulge. This is a super film to have in the library - especially in this complete package. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 13th, 2011


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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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