Blu-Ray Review: ‘Rain Man,’ ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ ‘Moonstruck’

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CHICAGO – What could “Last Tango in Paris,” “Moonstruck,” and “Rain Man” possibly have in common? Two won major oscars and the third should have? All three feature some of the career-best work by iconic actors? Honestly, all that they have in common is that they weren’t out on Blu-ray before and every catalog title needs a release date eventually and so MGM chose February 15th for the trio. Pick up all three.

If we had to pick a favorite, it would be Bernardo Bertolucci’s sexually-charged drama with its fantastic work by Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. The landmark and controversial film, now re-rated NC-17, has held up surprisingly well in the nearly four decades since its release. Classic film historians should definitely own it, even if the bare-bones nature of its Blu-ray release is a serious disappointment. Zero special features for “Last Tango in Paris”? That should be illegal.

Last Tango in Paris
Last Tango in Paris
Photo credit: MGM Home Video

Fans of “Rain Man” and “Moonstruck” will be happy to learn that the special features previously available on their DVDs have made the transfer to HD. As for how well the films have held up, I’ll leave that up to the eye of the beholder. Personally, I never thought “Rain Man” deserved to win Best Picture (nor Actor, even though I think Dustin Hoffman to be one of the best that ever lived…he just didn’t deserve it for this role) and “Moonstruck” looks particularly dated now. It’s still a lot of fun though, especially for Cher fans. She was arguably never better.

Photo credit: MGM Home Video

The transfers on all three films are reasonable, not spectacular. If you’re one of those people who got rid of your DVDs when you made the jump to Blu-ray, then these three releases are for you. If you don’t mind an upconverted classic and already own all three, I see little reason to upgrade.

“Last Tango in Paris”

“Brace yourself for the uncut, uncensored version of “the most controversial film of its era” (Leonard Maltin). As scandalous as it is scintillating, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris still resonates as a landmark in cinematic history, featuring an Oscar-nominated performance by Marlon Brando that ranks among the best of his career.

He (Brando) is a 45-year old American living in Paris, haunted by his wife’s suicide. She (Maria Schneider) is a 20-year old Parisian beauty engaged to a young filmmaker. Though nameless to each other, these tortured souls come together to satisfy their sexual cravings in an apartment as bare as their dark, tragic lives.”


“Fall in love with Moonstruck all over again! From director Norman Jewison (The Hurricane), Oscar®-winning writer John Patrick Shanley (Best Original Screenplay, 1987) and an all-star cast including Cher in her Oscar®-winning role, comes the tale of a hilariously eccentric family and the ever-surprising marvel that’s amore!

Academy Award®-winners Olympia Dukakis (Best Supporting Actress, 1987) and Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) co-star in the mesmerizing romantic comedy about a superstitious Brooklyn window (Cher) who is ready to get married again. Only this time, she plans on doing it right - even if she has to say “yes” to a man she doesn’t really love. When she unexpectedly falls in love with her fiancé’s estranged brother Ronny (Cage), what comes next is a romantic complication worthy of the greatest comedic operas.”

Rain Man
Rain Man
Photo credit: MGM Home Video

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary Featuring Cher, Director Norman Jewison and Writer John Patrick Stanley
o Moonstruck: At The Heart Of An Italian Family Documentary
o Music Of Moonstruck Featurette

“Rain Man”

“Dustin Hoffman is a “triumph” (People) in an Oscar-winning role, and Tom Cruise delivers the “best acting of his career [in a film that’s] fascinating, touching and full of smart surprises” (Newsweek).

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) has just discovered he has an autistic brother named Raymond (Hoffman) and is now taking him on the ride of his life. Or is it the other way around? From his refusal to drive on major highways to a “four minutes to Wapner” meltdown at an Oklahoma farmhouse, Raymond first pushes hot-headed Charlie to the limits of his patience… and then pulls him completely out of his self-centered world! But what begins as an unsentimental journey for the Babbitt brothers becomes much more than the distance between two places - it’s a connection between two vastly different people… and “a poignant, profound and powerful film” (Joel Siegel, ABC-TV)!”

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary by Director Barry Levinson
o Audio Commentary by Writer Barry Morrow
o Audio Commentary by Writer Ronald Bass
o The Journey Of Rain Man Featurette
o Lifting The Fog: A Look At The Mysteries Of Autism Featurette
o Deleted Scenes
o Original Theatrical Trailer

“Last Tango in Paris,” “Moonstruck,” and “Rain Man” were released on Blu-ray on February 15th, 2011 from MGM. content director Brian Tallerico

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