Blu-ray Review “Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection”

Starring: Frederic Forrest, Robert Duvall, Teri Garr, Harrison Ford, Vincent Gallo, Gene Hackman
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Number of discs: 4
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Run Time: 695 minutes

Films: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Francis Ford Coppola, this 5-Film Collection is the ultimate prize. Included is four films previously available on Blu-ray – “Apocalypse Now”, the updated and extended version – “Apocalypse Now Redux”, “The Conversation”, “Tetro” and romantic musical “One From the Heart”, which is being released on high-def Blu-ray for the first time. It is definitely the main draw for this release! Lionsgate has really delivered the essential collection for one of most influential filmmakers of his time. The set includes four of the best works for the highly respected filmmaker, which share a combined total of 12 Academy Award® nominations and two wins between them. This release comes just in time for the holidays, and is perfect gift for all film fans. At the very reasonable price for less than $30 dollars, this release is a sure-win!

These films include some of the most unforgettable performances from Hollywood’s top talent. From “Apocalypse Now” we get Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, who all deliver each of their best performances to date.  Harrison Ford gives a wonderful performances in both “Apocalypse Now” and “The Conversation”. Gene Hackman is amazing in “The Conversation”, as is Cindy Williams and John Cazale.  Like Ford, Frederic Forrest also stars in two of these included “The Conversation” and “One From The Heart”.  Raul Julia also gives a show stopping performance in “One From The Heart”, as does Nastassja Kinski and Teri Garr.  Most recently, Vincent Gallo also delivers a career high performance in “Tetro”.

APOCALYPSE NOW: In the Vietnam War epic, Martin Sheen stars as Army Captain Willard, a troubled man sent on a dangerous top-secret mission into Cambodia to assassinate a rogue Green Beret, Colonel Kurtz (Brando), who has barricaded himself in a remote outpost. As Willard ventures deeper and deeper into the wilderness of the jungle, he embarks on a strange journey that leads him to Kurtz – but also forces him to come face to face with the terrifying vision of the heart of darkness in us all.

APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX: This is the definitive version of Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning vision of the heart of darkness in all of us, re-edited and re-mastered with 49 minutes of additional footage.

ONE FROM THE HEART: Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola shines his spotlight on a Las Vegas couple (Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest) whose break-up on the 4th of July leads them both to a night on the strip in pursuit of their romantic fantasies (Raul Julia, Nastassja Kinski). But in this town of gamblers and dreamers, should they bet it all on dreams, or give true love another roll of the dice? Featuring breathtaking design, show-stopping set pieces, the stunning cinematography of Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor) and accompanied by the wonderful Oscar® nominated music of the one and only Tom Waits, this neon explosion of color, sound and innovation is a cinematic valentine for all movie lovers.

THE CONVERSATION: In an underground world of conspiracy, surveillance and mystery, the film follows expert wire-tapper and spy Harry Caul (Hackman) during a routine investigation. With a haunting past tormenting his every move, Caul makes it a golden rule to stay far outside of each project. However, his latest job turns out to be more than Caul bargained for when he’s caught inside a web of murder and secrecy that threatens his safety – and his sanity.

TETRO: Starring Vincent Gallo (Buffalo ’66) and set in Argentina, Tetro tells the bittersweet story of two brothers, of family lost and found and the conflicts and secrets within a highly creative Italian immigrant family.

When it comes to Blu-ray presentation, these films have never looked better and don’t show their age at all. “Apocalypse Now”, “Apocalypse Now Redux” and “Tetro” are all presented in 1080P High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.35:1).  “One From The Heart” is presented in 1080P High Definition 4×3 Full Screen (1.33:1) and “The Conversation” is presented in 1080P High Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1).  All films contains a very solid audio, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  Of course “Apocalypse” sounds the best due to its extreme action sequences throughout.

The special features are very impressive overall…for the most part.  If you are looking for the definitive “Apocalypse Now” release with major amounts of extras check out the previously released “Full Disclosure Edition”.  This release only includes an audio commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola. “One for the Heart” is up next and includes the most extras on its first bode on Blu-ray.  To start there is a feature-length audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola.  There are four documentaries included: “The Dream Studio”, “The Electronic Cinema”, “Tom Waits and the Music of One From The Heart”, The Making Of One From The Heart (1982)”. Each one is equally highly recommended as it covers various aspects of the musical. There is previously unreleased demo recordings and alternate takes of Tom Waits’ music included, as well as deleted scenes and videotaped rehearsals. There is also a recorded Press Conference at the Studio and “Francis Coppola Speaks to the Exhibitors”.  Lastly there is “This One’s From the Heart” Music Video, Stop Motion Demo and Theatrical Trailers included.

“Tetro” is up next and delivers some decent special features but are only presented in 1080i. There is an audio commentary with Francis Ford Coppola and actor Alden Ehrenreich. There are four featurettes included on this disc like in the previous release. “The Rehearsal Process” focuses on Coppola’s extensive preparation with the cast; Osvaldo Golijov: Music Born from the Film” featurette. “Mihai Malaimare, Jr: The Cinematography” looks at the film’s dancing, as does “The Ballet” featurette. Lastly “La Colifata: Siempre Fui Loco” is a look at the filming of Tetro at La Borda mental hospital. Lastly “Fausta: A Drama in Verse” is an extended version of the play featured within the movie.

Lastly up is The Conversation”, which are equally impressive as “One from the Heart”. First, there is an interview with director Francis Ford Coppola and composer David Shire, as well as two audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola and editor Walter Murch.  There is a further on siscussion with Francis Ford Coppola about his early film “No Cigar”. There are two featurettes including “Harry Caul’s San Francisco: Then and Now” and “Close up on The Conversation”.  Lastly there are archival screen tests with Harrison Ford and Cindy Williams, archival audio of Francis Ford Coppola dictating the original script and also an archival on-set interview with Gene Hackman.