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Moonstruck (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 28, 2011 by  



Magnificent!  One of the greatest romantic comedies to come from the ’80s, “Moonstruck” has everything you want from a romantic comedy…great music, great location, great story and most of all, magnificent performances.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Moonstruck

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1987

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish Mono, French Dolby Surround, AVC@40MBPS, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

COMPANY: MGM/20th Century Fox

RATED: PG

RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2011

Directed by Norman Jewison

Written by John Patrick Shanley

Producer by Norman Jewison and Patrick J. Palmer

Associate Producer: Bonnie Palef

Music by Dick Hyman

Cinematography by David Watkin

Edited by Lou Lombardo

Casting by Howard Feuer

Production Design by Philip Rosenberg

Art Direction by Dan Davis, Barbra Matis

Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge

Starring:

Cher as Loretta Castorini

Nicolas Cage as Ronny Cammareri

Vincent Gardenia as Cosmo Castorini

Olympia Dukakis as Rose Castorini

Danny Aiello as Mr. Johnny Cammareri

Juli Bovasso as Rita Cappomaggi

John Mahoney as Perry

Louis Guss as Raymond Cappomaggi

Anita Gillette as Mona

Leonardo Cimino as Felix

Paula Trueman as Lucy

Nada Despotovich as Chrissy

Three timeless classics will make their Blu-ray debut on February 15th from MGM Home Entertainment: LAST TANGO IN PARIS: Uncut Version, MOONSTRUCK, and cult favorite RAIN MAN. Collectively nominated for sixteen Academy Awards, these celebrated titles make the perfect additions to any film collection!

Fall under the delightful spell of MOONSTRUCK, with Cher (Burlesque) as an unlucky-in-love Italian widow who finds romance through the intervention of the Manhattan moon. With her wedding to Johnny (Danny Aiello, Once Upon A Time in America), a man she doesn’t love, just weeks away, she meets and falls hopelessly in love with his younger brother (Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas). Her dilemma—and her equally passionate and hilariously eccentric family—make for an unforgettable film. Nominated for six Academy Awards, MOONSTRUCK was honored with accolades for Best Actress (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Olympia Dukakis, Look Who’s Talking), and Best Original Screenplay.


Moonstruck – Film Clip – “All I’m Sayin'”

Moonstruck – Film Clip – “Snap Out of It”

Moonstruck – Film Clip – “Loretta and Ronnie”

Moonstruck – Film Clip – “The Proposal”

Moonstruck – Film Clip – “Love Bite”

Hilarious and enjoyable, “Moonstruck” is a fantastic romantic comedy featuring spectacular performances by Cher, Olympia Dukakis and Vincent Gardenia.  Great screenplay, wonderful direction, just an exciting romantic comedy that is absolutely timeless!

In 1987, “Moonstruck”, directed by Norman Jewison (“Agnes of God”, “Rollerball”, “Fiddler on the Roof”) and a screenplay by John Patrick Shanley (“Joe Versus the Volcano”, “Congo”, “Doubt”) was released theatrically and became the fifth highest grossing film of that year with over $80 million made in the US box office and a film that would be nominated for six Oscars and taking home three for “Best Original Screenplay”, “Best Actress” (Cher) and “Best Supporting Actress” (Olympia Dukakis).  And now this wonderful romantic comedy receives a re-release as part of “Cher: The Film Collection” (note: The version included in this release is the Deluxe Edition).

There was no doubt that 1987 was a busy year for Cher who starred in three films that year alone with “Suspect” and “The Witches of Eastwick”.  Since her return to feature films with “Silkwood” in 1983 (which she was nominated for an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress”), she followed up with a wonderful performance in “Mask” in 1985 which earned her a Cannes Film Festival Award for “Best Actress”.  But it is her role in “Moonstruck” that literally made Cher one of the most popular and most wanted actresses on the planet.

“Moonstruck” revolves around the character Loretta Castorini (played by Cher), a 37-year-old woman who is an accountant and also a widower.  She is dating Johnny Cammareri (played by Danny Aiello, “Do the Right Thing”, “Leon the Professional”, “Harlem Nights”), a man she doesn’t really love.  But considering she has not found love since the death of her last husband, when Johnny proposes to her, she says, “yes”.

But with Johnny’s mother dying and the fact that he didn’t have an engagement ring (had to use his own pinky ring), he tells her that once he gets back from visiting his mother in Italy, who is living her final days, he will return back and the two will plan for their wedding.  But before he leaves, he has one request for Loretta, to please visit his estranged brother Ronny (played by Nicolas Cage, “Raising Arizona”, “Peggy Sue Got Married”, “National Treasure”) and tell him that his older brother is getting married and would like for him to attend.

Meanwhile, Loretta’s father Cosmo (played by Vincent Gardenia, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Death Wish”) is not so supportive of his daughters remarriage, especially since she wants him to pay for her wedding.  As for her mother, Rose (played by Olympia Dukakis, “Steel Magnolias”, “Look Who’s Talking”, “Charlie’s War”), she’s just more concerned that she marries a man that she doesn’t love.

When Loretta tries to call Ronny to let him know about her wedding with his older brother, he screams at her and hangs up the phone.  Because she knows his appearance at the wedding is so important for Johnny, she goes to the bakery where Ronny works and tells him the news to his face.  Immediately, we learn from Ronny why he hates his brother so much.

Apparently when he was about to get married, his brother preoccupied him during a conversation and Ronny put his hand through a meat slicer and lost his hand.  He also lost his fiance who ran out on him with another man and blames Johnny for everything.  So, he is disgusted that Johnny has a girl while he not only lost his, he also lost his hand.

Loretta tries to calm Ronny’s anger by inviting him to her home in which she cooks him a steak.  While the two are talking, he gets angry at her again about marrying his brother and next thing you know, he starts kissing Loretta and the next thing you know, the two go to her bed where they make love.

Loretta knows that she has done the wrong thing and tries to push Ronny away but he tells her that he has fallen in love with her.  But she tells him that they can’t because she is marrying his brother.  Ronny can’t resist Loretta but he will do so if she accompanies him to the opera.  So, she agrees.

Loretta doesn’t know too much about the opera but she wants to look nice with her final outing with Ronny.  Getting her hair died and getting a makeover, the two go to the opera and even though she finds herself caring for Ronny and Ronny continuing to tell her how much he loves her.  She tells him that she can’t because she’s marrying Johnny.  But can she marry a man that she doesn’t even love?  Will she end up staying by her promise to marry Johnny or will she follow her heart and marry Ronny?

VIDEO:

“Moonstruck” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 widescreen).  First, its important for me to remind everyone that this is a 1987 film and I’ve always had the opinion that many films from the ’80s tend to have this aged look and sometimes appearances look soft.  While for “Moonstruck”, the film does show its age in terms of film stock used, this is the best looking version of the film to date.

There is a good amount of grain in this film but there is much more detail.  For example, when we are introduced to Ronny (Nicolas Cage) for the first time, you can see the detail of that flame inside the bread cooking stove, the hairs on Cage’s chest are much more evident, especially the white in Cher’s hair at the beginning of the film.

Blacks are nice and deep in the Blu-ray release and for the most part, it’s not the greatest looking film on Blu-ray but for a 1987 classic romantic comedy, it’s definitely an upgrade from the previous DVD releases.  While the film definitely looks better on Blu-ray, where “Moonstruck” definitely excels is its lossless audio.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Moonstruck” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono and French Dolby Surround.  While “Moonstruck” has always been a film about its witty dialogue, it’s also a film that is known for its music.  While the film is not known for having an immersive soundtrack and it’s not an action film to expect any major use of surround, what I enjoyed about the lossless soundtrack to this film is how they utilized the music towards the front and surround channels.

The music sounds fantastic for this film and I was amazed of how much the music brings the film to life via lossless.  From hearing Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” to the opera and hear how the music was utilized throughout the film and hear it sound crystal clear was pretty awesome.  There are some scenes that do fully utilize the surround that are non-music such as a jet flying over the city and you can hear how the engines start to get louder and go from one speaker and literally envelope the whole soundscape but these are just a few instances.  If anything, the lossless soundtrack for “Moonstruck” is adequate for this film and if you loved the film before, especially for how music was utilized, you’ll love how this film sounds on Blu-ray.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Moonstruck” comes with the following special features in Standard Definition:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Cher, director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley.
  • Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family – (25:29) Director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley talks about making “Moonstruck” a film that showcases Italian family.  Also, featuring interviews with Italian families and more.
  • Pastas to Pastries: The Art of Fine Italian Food – (1:41) Mark DeCarlo takes us around Little Italy in NYC.  After DeCarlo’s introduction we get six establishments featured in their own separate featurettes:

Grotta Azzurra – (18:47) Mark visits the restaurant and we learn how to make three easy dishes courtesy of the chef.

Italian Food Center – (2:32) Mark visits the Italian Food Center and takes a look at things we can find inside the store.

Ferrara Pastries – (2:29) Mark visits the famous Ferrara Pastries.

Piemonte Ravioli Co. – (2:29) Mark visits the Piemonte Ravioli Co. and how they supply fresh pasta to many of the restaurants in Little Italy.

Gelato Stand – (1:03) Mark visits a gelato stand in Little Italy.  Gelato is Italian ice cream.

Florio’s Restaurant – (1:25) Mark visits the popular stone oven pizza restaurant.

  • Music of Moonstruck – (6:25)  A special feature with composer Dick Hyman who talks about the music of the film and how the music was tested with an audience and changes were made to the film.  But how Dean Martin’s “Amore” was a perfect for the film.

Back in 1987, there was no doubt that “Moonstruck” was a magical film.  Before films such as “When Harry Met Sally”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “My Greek Wedding” and “Pretty Woman”, the film had everything that you love in a romantic comedy.  Drama, humor and just solid performances from everyone involved.

When I first watched this film, I was literally laughing for many of the comedic sequences throughout the film.  From Nicolas Cage’s character screaming about how he lost his hand.  It’s such a tragic situation but the way it was done onscreen, it was crazy.  There were just so many scenes that were just way out of left field that I never saw coming and that’s what added to the allure of the film.  You can tell that everyone involved had a blast and everything just came out quite well in the end.  The screenplay and the film’s pacing was well-done, direction was also well-done and as mentioned, the performances were wonderful, especially for Cher and Olympia Dukakis.  These two women did a magnificent job and their Oscars were well-deserved.

Coming back to this film nearly over 20-years later, the film still manages to still maintain its laughs and the film doesn’t look incredibly aged.  If anything, as much as I enjoyed this Blu-ray release, when the original deluxe version came out back in 2006, I felt at the time that the release was well-deserved and that there should have been many special features included.  Because this film was literally re-released several times on DVD and once again last fall for Cher’s “Cher: The Film Collection” from MGM and 20th Century Fox, I was hoping to see newer special features to celebrate this romantic comedy.

As far as the Blu-ray is concerned, this is a wonderful romantic comedy and definitely one of the best films that she has starred in.  She has done many wonderful films in her acting career but “Moonstruck” is my opinion, her greatest performance thus far.  Personally, there is nothing negative I can say about this film because I absolutely loved it.  But for the Blu-ray release, I was just hoping for a bit more in terms of newer special features but it makes you wonder if there will be a 25th Anniversary release?  Nevertheless, you do get the upgrade in picture quality and a lossless soundtrack that really brings the music out for this wonderful film and it is a pretty solid upgrade.

Overall, a highly recommended romantic comedy worth owning on Blu-ray!

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