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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Miller's Crossing [Blu-ray]


(Coen Brothers, 1990)




Criterion is releasing this on Blu-ray in February 2022:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Circle Films

Video: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:54:51.843

Disc Size: 39,552,796,626 bytes

Feature Size: 36,911,278,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.43 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 30th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3647 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3647 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Italian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Russian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Thai 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Turkish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, none



Shooting Miller's Crossing - a Conversation with Barry Sonnenfeld (16:30)

Interview Soundbites - Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro (8:35)

• Trailers for Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing (2:21 in 480i)





Description: Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (Raising Arizona, Fargo) create a complex and graphic vision of gangsterism set during Prohibition and featuring a riveting rogues gallery of killers and con men.

Leo (Albert Finney), a likeable Irish gangster boss, rules an Eastern city along with Tom (Gabriel Byrne), his trusted lieutenant and counsellor. But just as their authority is challenged by an Italian underboss and his ruthless henchmen Leo and Tom also fall for the same woman (Marcia Gay Harden). Tom, caught in the jaws of a gangland power struggle, walks a deadly tightrope as he tries to control and manipulate its violent outcome'.



The Film:

Miller's Crossing is a wonderfully suspenseful film set in gangster-ridden city during the prohibition era filled with moments of deadpan violence and the darkly comic. Tom Reagan (Gabriel Bryne) is an amoral illegitimate son with habits for picking the wrong horse, the wrong woman and for upsetting all the wrong people. Tom is the lieutenant and close friend of the city's head boss and unofficial mayor Leo (Albert Finney). Life is good or could be except that a gang war is about to erupt over Leo's fatal love for the femme Verna (Marcia Gay Harden) and his protection of Verna's vile brother Bernie (John Turturro). Tom tries to save Leo from himself only to end up isolated and in the middle of the war. Surviving by his wit and nerve Tom becomes a loose cannon whose only real loyalty is to his hat.

Excerpt from Brendan Goodall from EUFS located HERE

"Miller's Crossing" comes from two traditions that sometimes overlap, the gangster movie of the 1930s and the film noir of the 1940s. It finds its characters in the first and its visual style in the second, but the visuals lack a certain stylish tackiness that film noir sometimes had. They're in good taste. The plot is as simple as an old gangster movie, but it takes us a long time to figure that out, because the first half hour of the film involves the characters in complicated dialogue where they talk about a lot of people we haven't met, and refer to a lot of possibilities we don't understand. It's the kind of movie you have to figure out in hindsight.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE


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

Miller's Crossing squeaks into respectability via Fox's Blu-ray transfer. The film has never been one to move effortlessly into the digital realm. However, this dual-layered 1080P image is easily seen as the best seen yet. Previous DVDs were flat, soft and video-like. This Blu-ray has better contrast supporting superior detail. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but upon detailed inspection looks quite acceptable and without major flaw that could be blamed on the rendering. Noise still exists but is unobtrusive and the Blu-ray probably looks as good as this film will likely appear via home theater presentation. The transfer doesn't have manipulation and is clean and has more film-like qualities than SD. Expectations for anything more than that should be tempered.

















Audio :

Like Raising Arizona this has a healthy stack of foreign language DUBs as well as a pitch perfect DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3647 kbps. The track handles all the films aggression and haunting mood music via Carter Burwell's score. Atmosphere is solidly buoyed via the lossless transfer with some nice subtleties in the surround. There are plenty of subtitle options supporting my Momitsu identifying it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

Supplements include the 16-minute Shooting Miller's Crossing - a Conversation with Barry Sonnenfeld where the cinematographer is open and forthright in discussing his career and the film. There are less than 10-minutes, in total, of interview soundbites featuring Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro who give their own perceptions of the production and critical response. Also available are trailers for Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing.



I had another 'Blu-ray experience' with Miller's Crossing - appreciating the film to a much higher degree seeing it in the improved a/v of the new format - as opposed to my previous SD viewing. The hi-def presentation, including the audio, supports the more layered narrative. It's the subtleties that help propel this film experience giving us a viable reason for a recommendation. This is definitely worth watching on Blu-ray, in my opinion. 

Gary Tooze

August 23rd, 2011




Criterion is releasing this on Blu-ray in February 2022:



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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