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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Moscow on the Hudson [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Mazursky, 1984)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:57:14.610  

Disc Size: 39,161,506,641 bytes

Feature Size: 39,110,676,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3439 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3439 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2075 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2075 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1810 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1810 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2044 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2044 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1978 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1978 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
Audio Commentary with Director Paul Mazursky
Isolated Score Track

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 Copies!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Writer-director Paul Mazursky’s brilliant comic take on a very contemporary subject – immigration – Moscow on the Hudson (1984) focuses on Vladimir Ivanoff (Robin Williams, in a performance that combines the funny, the poignant, and the purely intelligent to fantastic effect), a Russian musician who defects while on a group tour through Bloomingdale’s. His travails – and those of the many fellow immigrants and new Americans he meets along the way – ultimately constitute a heartfelt tribute to America’s endangered open door policy. Also featuring wonderful turns from Maria Conchita Alonso, Cleavant Derricks, Alejandro Rey, Elya Baskin, and Savely Kramarov.

 

 

The Film:

They're a tip-off to an interesting casting decision by Mazursky, who populates his movie almost entirely with ethnic and racial minorities. In addition to the black and the Italian, there's a Korean taxi driver, a Cuban lawyer, a Chinese anchorwoman, all of them reminders that all of us, except for American Indians, came from somewhere else. Ivanoff moves in with the security guard's family, which greatly resembles the one he left behind in Moscow, right down to the pious grandfather. He gets a job selling hot dogs from a pushcart, he works his way up to driving a limousine, and he falls in love with the salesclerk from Italy. That doesn't go so well. She dreams of marrying a "real American," and Ivanoff, even after he trims his beard, will not quite do.

Excerpt from RogerEbert located HERE

When Russian saxophone player Vladimir (Williams) visits NY, his experiences back home lead him to defect, leaving family, friends and a familiar culture for the pursuit of pleasure and freedom. But after the initial delirium, he finds that the Big Apple is rife with poverty, racism, unemployment, and mugging. Mazursky's comedy may not exactly be politically profound, with its suggestion that freedom and happiness are relative concepts. But where it scores so highly is not only in its ability to evoke Vladimir's astonishment at the bizarre, sometimes brutal texture of New York life, but also in the generosity it extends to the musician's sad predicament. Even the absurdity and chaos of his department store defection (treated by the surrounding Americans as yet another media spectacle) becomes in Mazursky's hands a heroic moment of private, victorious self-assertion. Romantic humanism may not be fashionable in these cynical cinematic times, but few directors reveal the tragicomic lives of ordinary people with such sensitivity and humour.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Moscow on the Hudson comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. The visuals are quite strong with some decent layering in the contrast and colors look deep and rich. It looks quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles. Grain textures are consistent and support the film-like appearance very well. This Blu-ray gives an excellent HD presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I was impressed with the high resolution video transfer.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Twilight Time give the option of either a very robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 3439 kbps (24-bit) or a more modest 2.0 channel stereo (also in lossless.) The surround has a few deft separations but the film doesn't export too many head-turning effects. The score is credited to David McHugh with numbers performed by Chaka Khan as well as songs by Waylon Jennings like People Up In Texas, The Gap Band's Party Train and a bit of jazz/blues - all sounding solid in the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time add two audio commentaries - a new one with film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and a second, older one, with director Paul Mazursky. They both have value especially if you are keen on the film, Robin Williams and the production. There is also the usual Isolated Score Track and an original theatrical trailer. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I know I'm in the minority but I didn't like Moscow on the Hudson... one bit. I'll don by flame-retardant suit and admit I have never been a big Robin Williams fan. I certainly prefer his more serious roles (Insomnia, One Hour Photo, Good Will Hunting etc.). This is a decent feel-good film... just not for moi. The Twilight Time Blu-ray provides a solid a/v transfer for the film and further value with the commentaries, isolated score and liner notes. It's another of their complete Blu-ray packages and fans should feel confident snapping it up. 

Gary Tooze

November 28th, 2016

 

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 5000 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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