Blu Ray™ Savant
Join Date: Jan 2007
Re: Blu Ray thread!
holy shit review of taxi driver bd
The Columbia Pictures logo looks kinda rough. Bummer. That's about all there is that's bad to say about Sony's breathtakingly gorgeous Blu-ray release of Taxi Driver. A recent recipient of a 4K restoration, Taxi Driver looks extraordinarily good, so good, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine the movie looking any better than this upon its initial theatrical release in 1976. That's the beauty of this restoration; the film looks as it's meant to look: it's occasionally a bit rough around the edges -- a few scenes appear soft, colors are slightly dulled, a bit of grain swirls around the image - - but the critical factor for this and most any Blu-ray release, really, is preserving the integrity of the image as it was and was meant to be seen. Sony's Blu-ray release does just that. As a general rule, clarity is astounding -- positively astounding -- and viewers both intimately familiar with Scorsese's film and Cinematographer Michael Chapman's handiwork or new to the picture will be awed at the way the image doesn't look like a new 2011 movie, but looks like a brand new 1976 release. The general film-like texture makes this a revelation, and the Blu-ray resolution, grain retention, and the like only add to the way the transfer so effortlessly brings out the finest available details, right down to ever-so-slight layers of dirt on Bickle's yellow taxi. Facial and clothing details are extraordinary, too, and shadow detail is top-notch; black levels are positively immaculate. As noted, colors aren't particularly vibrant, but they appear in such a way that they blend into the general context and broader look for which Scorsese's films strives. Still, the yellow cab, various shades of period clothing, and even the bluing on Bickle's .44 magnum revolver all look positively gorgeous within the context of the film's parameters. In short, this is a revelation, one of the finest transfers of a classic film ever to grace a Blu-ray disc. Sony continues to prove to be the cream of the crop when it comes to quality of Blu-ray transfers; Taxi Driver may be the studio's crowning achievement to date.
MUST buy for everyone
list of extras:
# Interactive Script to Screen: A unique feature that presents the script on-screen as the film plays. Users may choose to sync the script with the film or to peruse it independently of the movie.
# Original 1986 Audio Commentary: Originally recorded for the Criterion Collection LaserDisc release of Taxi Driver, this track features Director Martin Scorsese and Writer Paul Schrader. Scorsese discusses his filmmaking style, shooting in New York, set design, casting, and plenty of other insightful tidbits. Meanwhile, Schrader discusses the rapidity with which he wrote the script, the themes of the story, the genesis of metaphor through theme, refinements to the script along the way, and plenty more. The commentators were recorded separately and later edited together. A moderator of sorts identifies the speakers and provides various background tidbits of her own.
# Audio Commentary: University of Virginia Professor Robert Kolker delivers what is easily the best and certainly most unique commentary of the bunch. His insights are incredibly precise and thought-provoking as he dissects the picture from every conceivable angle; he points out nuances in the photography and colors, how every scene emphasizes the greater whole, and much more. This track is basically akin to attending a film class lecture; it is alone worth the price of admission.
# Audio Commentary: Writer Paul Schrader returns to man the third and final track, discussing candidly the fallacies in his original script, differences from the script and the final film, the superiority of an actor demonstrating a trait rather than describing it, the performances of the cast, and plenty more. There are a few lengthy stretches of silence; still, this is a quality track, but if time is a factor it's the one of the three to gloss over.
# Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver (1080p, 16:52): The director discusses what it took to get the film onto the screen: the people who made it happen, the casting process, Writer Paul Schrader's vision, the filmmakers's passion for the project, his inspirations and shooting styles, the character of Travis Bickle, the film's noir roots and European influences, and more.
# Producing Taxi Driver (1080p, 9:53): Producer Michael Phillips speaks on his involvement in the project: his attraction to the script, the film's themes, its characters, the work of Director Martin Scorsese and Actor Robert De Niro, the friction between the filmmakers and the studio, and other fascinating insights. Writer Paul Schrader also shares a few thoughts throughout the piece.
# God's Lonely Man (1080p, 21:42): An in-depth look at Travis Bickle, set against the backdrop of Writer Paul Schrader discussing his personal background and his influences in and process of writing the script.
# Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute (1080p, 18:30): Oliver Stone, Paul Schrader, Roger Corman, Robert De Niro, Robert Kolker, and others speak on the work and style of Director Martin Scorsese while also exploring the man behind the films.
# Taxi Driver Stories (1080p, 22:23): Former cab drivers discuss working in New York City in the 1970s.
# Making Taxi Driver (480p, 1:10:55): A comprehensive documentary that covers the entire filmmaking process, looking at the qualities and themes of the film, the work of the cast and crew, the film's legacy, and plenty more. Much of the information overlaps from previous commentaries and supplements, but viewers looking for a piece that's thorough but a bit more concise than the entire supplemental package will find much value here.
# Travis' New York (1080p, 6:16): Taxi Driver Cinematographer Michael Chapman and former New York Mayor Ed Koch discuss the New York of the 1970s.
# Travis' New York Locations (1080p, 4:49): A fascinating split-screen feature that shows nine clips from the 1975 film alongside the same New York locations as they were in 2006.
# Intro to Storyboards by Martin Scorsese (1080p, 4:32): The director speaks on the importance of storyboarding to his success.
# Storyboard to Film Comparison (1080p, 8:21): Various scenes played alongside their hand-drawn storyboard counterparts.
# Galleries (1080p, 9:28): Bernard Herrmann Score, On Location, Publicity Materials, and Scorsese at Work.
# Taxi Driver Theatrical Trailer (480p, 2:09).