I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one.
Francis Ford Coppola 5 – Film Collection (Lionsgate) newly released on Blu-ray™ is quite possibly the quintessential collection for Coppola fans if you had to pick the top four films, with the exception of The Conversation (1974). I will get to that review in a moment, but first, let’s discuss the Blu-ray™ for Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now – Redux. Martin Sheen stars as Willard, an Army Captain sent into the bowels of Cambodian-Vietnamese War. Sheen’s Captain Willard is sent to assassinate a very dangerous, rouge Special Forces Officer, Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who is clicked out of his mind due to the traumatic events of the war. Kurtz has buried himself deep in the jungle in a remote outpost. As Willard approaches Kurtz’s stronghold, he not only finds his target–but the brutal inhumanity of his fellow man.
In an absolutely stunning portrayal of the fatality of war, Apocalypse Now is one of Coppola’s greatest works. The artistry of the film remains poignant and relevant of the cruelty of war and its effects on the men who fight in them. Coppola places you front and center–you are in the air, in the helicopter–you are on the ground in the mud, in the mosquito infested jungle–you hear gunfire, and you see blood in all it’s magnificent Blu-ray transfer (MPEG-4 AVC: 1080p video resolution: Aspect ratio 2.35:1 – Audio English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1).
Apocalypse Now Redux (approx. 49 minutes of additional footage), is also included on the same disc as Apocalypse Now as the extended version of the film and is an extraordinary, 3+ hour epic feature. Redux is the definitive version of Coppola’s vision–the heart of darkness in all of us.
Apocalypse Now/Apocalypse Now Redux Blu-ray™ special features include:
- Audio commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola.
- The option to watch the 1979 version of the film; or the additional 49 minutes of footage in Redux.
Every family has a secret.
Tetro (2009) is an amazingly creative feature. Coppola’s Tetro is a film that is as tragic as it is poetic. Vincent Gallo stars as Angelo ‘Tetro’ Tetrocini, who lives in Buenos Aries with Miranda (Miribel Verdu) and is not too happy when his brother, Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich), shows up at his door. Tetro is in a state of discord, and there is much unhappiness in his past, depicted though a series of flashbacks featuring his father Carlo (Klaus Maria Brandauer), a composer who refuses to accept his son’s brilliance. There are horrible secrets in their family’s past to which Bennie is oblivious to. In all, Tetro tells a bittersweet tale of two brothers, internal struggles, and the shocking reveal in the final act in the film will leave viewers in amazement. There are beautiful scenes that feature more ‘colorful’ moments, but they add a specific quality to the film and are benefited viewing.
What I truly enjoyed about this film is that is is shot in black and white which is appealing and artistic. The use of the black–the lighting and the shadows it creates is phenomenal. This is a really good looking film. The Blu-ray and audio quality of the film is magnificent (MPEG-4 AVC: 1080p video resolution: Aspect ratio 2.35:1: Audio English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1). After watching Coppola’s Redux film it was a little difficult “coming down” from all the war and chaos. However, Tetro is a mellow ride into the director’s artistic expression.
Worth a look.
Tetro Blu-ray™ special features include:
- Audio commentary with Francis Ford Coppola and actor Alden Ehrenreich
- The Rehearsal Process featurette – documenting Coppola’s extensive preparation with the cast.
- Fausta: A Drama in Verese – extended version of the play featured within the movie.
- Mihai Malaimare, Jr. The Cinematography featurette.
- The Ballet featurette – a look at the film’s choreography and the use of dance in the film.
- Osvaldo Golijov: Music Born from the film featurette.
- La Colifata: Siempre Fui Loco featurette – a behind the scenes look at the filming of Tetro at La Borda mental hospital.
Harry Caul will go anywhere to bug a private conversation.
The Conversation (1974) stars Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert, wire-tapper, and spy, and we follow him during a routine investigation.; keep in mind that he does his best to remain unattached to the subjects he trails. Unfortunately, with his latest job, Harry is finding it difficult to go along with the status quo. In an intrigue of mystery, secrecy, and murder starts to play a big part of his job, his safety, and evidently, his sanity. What’s truly engaging about this film is the way Caul goes about the old way of wire tapping and surveillance. It is almost like the “cave man” way of doing surveillance, considering now in this day and age, there are cameras mounted in nearly every location–right to the mobile devices that we all carry and at anytime, can find yourself the center of attention.
Caul fights within himself in maintaining his “never get involved” persona to his own suspected paranoia that he is being tracked and listened to. He worries now that all the work he has done is indeed being recorded for a mysterious “someone,” and that information collected on him will be disclosed and this is the brilliantly complicated beauty about this film. Hackman’s character is extremely complex and very intriguing to follow. This film plays on the personal aspect of privacy–maybe in a way to cause everyone to think that they too, are closely being watched at one time or another.
This is a fantastically depicted film makes a spotty presentation on Blu-ray™ (MPEG-4 AVC: 1080p Video resolution: Aspect ration: 1.78:1: Audo English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1). You can tell that the film was made in 1974, but despite its sometime grainy presentations, and audio flaws, it is certainly one of Coppola’s most definitive, underrated masterpieces.
The Conversation Blu-ray special features include:
- Interview with director Coppola and composer David Shire
- Harry Caul’s San Francisco: Then and Now featurette.
- Archival screen tests with Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams.
- Archival audio of Francis Ford Coppola dictating (writing) the original script.
- Archival on-set interview with Gene Hackman
- Close up on The Conversation featurette
- Discussion with Francis Ford Coppola about his early film exercise, “No Cigar”
- Audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola
- Audio commentary with editor Walter Murch
One From the Heart (1982) is the Francis Coppola film that audiences never had the chance to see. I am not a fan of musicals in any form. As soon as a feature get into the really dramatic, and really the good parts of a film–there is a pause where everyone breaks into a song. Still, I decided to give the film a go, and begrudgingly, One From the Heart is one enjoyable feature.
Teri Garr plays Frannie. Frannie is hopelessly in love with Hank (Frederic Forrest) and in the beginning the two are inseparable. Eventually, as we all know that love is fleeting, and the two hopeless romantics break up on the 4th of July. Thereafter, each pursue their passions and other romantic fantasies with Raul Julia and Nastassja Kinski. In the town of gamblers and big dreamers, should these two give true love another chance? One From The Heart features a host of show-stopping set pieces, and the cinematography (MPEG- AVC: Video resolution 1080p: Aspect ratio: 1.34:1: Audio DTS-HD Master Audio/Music 5.1) of Vittorio Storaro. Even though the actors don’t actually sing in the film, the audio, and voice overs are pretty convincing.
Check it out!
One From the Heart Blu-ray special features include:
- Feature length audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola
- The Dream Studio documentary
- Tom Waits and the Music of One From The Heart documentary
- The Making of One From The Heart (1982) documentary
- Previously Unreleased Demo Recordings and Alternate Takes of Tom Waits’ Music
- Deleted scenes
- Videotaped Rehersals
- The Tom Waits Score: Alternate tracks
- Press Conference at the Studio
- Francis Coppola Speaks to the Exhibitors
- This One’s From the Heart Music video
- Stop Motion Demo
- Theatrical trailers
- This film is only available in the box set Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection
The Francis Ford Coppola 5 – Film Collection contains some of the best cinematic works from Coppola; and unforgettable performances from a list of top acting talents:
- Marlon Brando
- Martin Sheen
- Robert Duvall
- Vincent Gallo
- Harrison Ford
- Gene Hackman
- Frederic Forrest
- Raul Julia
- Cindy Williams
- John Cazale
- Nastassja Kinski and
- Terri Garr