Thursday, August 31, 2017

MY BLUE HEAVEN (1990) (Warner Archive Blu-ray Review)


Label: Warner Archive 
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 95 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Herbert Ross
Cast: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack, William Hickey, 

This 90's studio comedy came out the same year as Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990) and is sort of a witty sequel to it in way, the story is also inspired by the true turncoat mobster story of mobster Henry Hill, we have Steve Martin (The Man With Two Brains) as Vincent Antonelli, a mobster who turns state's evidence and is entered into the witness protection program in a sleepy and very sunny suburban California town. Rick Moranis plays the straight-man to Martin's mobster, a straight-laced and over-serious FBI agent named Agent Barney Coopersmith who has been assigned as his handler. 

Arriving in the suburbs Vinnie's wife Linda (Barbara Rush, Parents) goes into immediate culture-shock and leaves Vinnie pretty much right away. It also happens that Agent Coppersmith's wife has just left him, too, so that have some common ground, but wiseguy Vinnie is gonna make life hard for Coopersmith, beginning my stealing a car from the supermarket and some credit card fraud which makes Vinnie public enemy number one for the local District Attorney, Hannah Stubbs, played by Joan Cusack (Grosse Point Blank) who gets a small but enjoyable role here, becoming a sort of love interest for Moranis's character and a foil for Martin, there's also some fun bits with her ex-husband(Daniel Stern, C.H.U.D.) who doesn't have proper boundaries.

The movie is very breezy and fun, it doesn't have the non-sequitur humor I so love with Martin's turns in The Man With Two Brains and The Jerk, it's a more straight forward studio comedy and that no mark against it, but it doesn't really endear it to me in a special way. The best bits have Martin as a gangster fish-out-out of water, a criminal tiger who finds it hard to change his stripes, going as far to even starts his own criminal empire with a group of aging mobsters also in the witness protection program, including a nice turn from William Hickey (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) as mobster turned pet store owner Billy Sparrow.  

Audio/Video: My Blue Heaven (1990) arrives on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive with a brand new 2017 2K scan with some clean-up and restoration, the results re quite nice, framed in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in 1080p HD. This is a fairly bright and well-let movie, colors are vibrant and the image is nicely detailed and crisp with some good depth and clarity. The blue skies and suburban setting look great, you get to see the nook and crannies of the textures in Vinnie's sharp-looking wiseguy suits. If I am not mistaken his is the first time that the movie has been released on home video in the proper widescreen aspect ratio, all previous DVD versions I have owned have been full frame 1.33:1 - so just having it in the proper widescreen aspect ratio is a big win for fans of the movie.

Audio on the disc comes by way of an English language DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo track  that is crisp and clean with good separation and stereo panning, fidelity is strong and the dialogue and score are well-mixed. The score from Ira Newborn (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) sounds great as do various soundtrack songs from Fat's Domino, the Beach Boys and Tony Bennett. Optional English subtitles are provided. The only extras on the disc is a trailer for the film, advertised as remastered, but certainly not cleaned-up.  

Special Features: 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (Remastered in HD)

My Blue Heaven (1990) is pretty low on my list of Steve Martin comedies, I prefer his earlier and zanier stuff, but it's hard to deny the chemistry between straight man Rick Moranis and Martin's played-for-laughs Italian mobster, it's a light 90s comedy that goes down easy, it certainly has a lot of charm. The new Blu-ray from WAC looks and sounds wonderful and I thank them for rescuing this one from full frame movie jail with a spiffy new widescreen transfer.