Raging Bull (30th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta
Cathy Moriarty as Vickie La Motta
Joe Pesci as Joey
Frank Vincent as Salvy
Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
Theresa Saldana as Lenore
Mario Gallo as Mario
Frank Adonis as Patsy
Joseph Bono as Guido
Frank Topham as Toppy
Lori Anne Flax as Irma
Charles Scorsese as Charlie – Man with Como
Don Dunphy as Himself – Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan as Eddie Eagan

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Special Features:
- Commentary by Director Martin Scorsese and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker

- Cast & Crew Commentary

- Storytellers Commentary

- 4 Part Feature Length Documentary: Marty & Bobby; Raging Bull; Reflections on a Classic; Remembering Jake; Marty on Film

- The Bronx Bull behind-the-scenes Featurette

- De Niro vs. La Motta

- La Motta defends title

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 129 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Robert De Niro teams with director Martin Scorsese in this ‘extraordinarily compelling’ (Leonard Maltin) film that introduced unflinching realism to stunned audiences in 1980. An ‘exceedingly violentas well as poetic’ fight picture that maps ‘the landscape of the soul’ (The New York Times), ‘Raging Bull’ garnered eight OscarĀ® nominations and won two, including Best Actor for De Niro. De Niro gives the performance of his career as Jake La Motta, a boxer whose psychological and sexual complexities erupt into violence both in and out of the ring. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty are unforgettable as the brother who falls prey to Jake’s mounting paranoia and jealousy, and the fifteen-year-old girl who becomes his most prized trophy. A “brilliantly photographed film of extraordinary power and rare distinction” (The Wall Street Journal), ‘Raging Bull’ is filmmaking at its riveting best.”

“Raging Bull” is rated R.

Mini-Review:
“Raging Bull” is one of those movies I always meant to watch, but for one reason or another missed up until now. The film has long been considered a classic and I wanted to see why.

While watching the bonus features, they repeatedly said that the movie was not well received by critics when it was first released. Then in other featurettes a variety of film directors and movie critics explained why they felt it was a classic. I ultimately felt all of them had valid points.

On the negative side, Jake La Motta is not a likable lead character. He’s violent, paranoid, an adulterer, and he beats his wife. He’s not someone you can easily identify with or root for. (Despite all of this, he had plenty of admirers in the real world.) You see La Motta’s life circling down the toilet and the audience is pulled down with him. It’s not a pleasant experience. While watching “Raging Bull,” I also came to the realization that Joe Pesci has played Joey in practically every role he’s done since then. He has really been typecast as the angry little New Yorker who’s every other word is ‘f**k.’ This is where it all started. That realization took away from my viewing experience.

On the positive side, it’s a cinematically interesting movie. Martin Scorsese uses all sorts of impressive filming techniques. For example, in the fighting scenes he used flames underneath the camera to distort the image and give it a surreal look. He brought the camera in tight to give the fight scenes a claustrophobic feel or physically widened the ring to reflect La Motta’s mental state. Then there’s the black and white footage which gave the movie an appropriate period feel. Robert De Niro’s performance as Jake La Motta, despite him being an unsavory character, is also impressive. Most notable is his dramatic physical transformation as he packed on 60 lbs to play La Motta later in life. De Niro is almost unrecognizable. He also got his body in peak physical fitness to convincingly play the younger version of the boxer. Combine that with a tortured, emotional performance and you see why he won the Oscar for Best Actor. Cathy Moriarty also delivered an impressive performance as Vickie La Motta. It’s amazing that such an inexperienced, young actress could hold her own with the likes of De Niro.

Your enjoyment of “Raging Bull” will depend a lot on why you like to go to the movies. If you like emotional, dark, dramatic films or even boxing movies, you’ll enjoy this film. If you’re looking for an escape from reality or lighter fare, “Raging Bull” isn’t your movie. I thought this was well done but it’s not something I’ll be watching again and again.

This 30th Anniversary Blu-ray has a good selection of bonus features. There are three different commentaries including Director Martin Scorsese, the cast and crew, and the ‘storytellers’. There is also a documentary covering the relationship between Scorsese and De Niro, Scorsese himself, and the making of the movie. The highlight is a documentary where they talk to a group of retired boxers who all knew the real La Motta. But the real highlight of the bonus features is “The Bronx Bull.” It features interviews with the real Jake La Motta and also shows his reactions to the film. The documentary also has film commentary, interviews and other interesting stuff. Rounding out the bonus features is an interview between Cathy Moriarty and Johnny Carson from 1981, footage of some of La Motta’s real fights, and comparisons between footage of De Niro and the real La Motta.

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