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Blu-ray Review: ‘Dead Poets Society,’ ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’

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CHICAGO – I worry that future generations will only know Robin Williams for his late-career missteps like “Old Dogs,” one of the most truly reprehensible excuses for a film in the last ten years. Believe it or not kiddies, there once was a time when the man formerly known as Mork was one of our most interesting actors, a guy who spoke for creative freedom and starred in a string of critical hits, two of which were recently released on Blu-ray.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Barry Levinson’s “Good Morning, Vietnam” was a true breakthrough for Williams, an actor who had been reasonably respected for (in films like “The World According to Garp”) but still looked like he could go either way — more Steve Guttenberg than Tom Hanks. “Vietnam” gave us an actor willing to take chances, a larger than life personality with a mission. It clearly involved a subject matter and freedom of expression that interested Williams personally and the result was not only a massive hit but the actor’s first Academy Award nomination.

Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society
Photo credit: Touchstone

And it started a string of performances by Williams that would display the same level of artistic energy. He was a force of nature, a creative voice that mattered in films like “Dead Poets Society” (Oscar nomination), “Awakenings” (should have been an Oscar nomination), and “The Fisher King” (Oscar nomination). What happened to him in the mid-’90s and beyond could be a cautionary tale about taking big budgst parts (like “Patch Adams”) without considering the impact on his critical standing. There’s still the occasional indie gem (he’s pretty great in “The World’s Greatest Dad”), but watching “Good Morning” and “Dead Poets” again, I was struck by how much I missed the old Robin Williams. These films and his work in them have really held up. They’re both well-worth adding to any significant movie collection.

“Dead Poets Society”

Synopsis:
Academy Award winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting, 1997) delivers one of his most memorable performances in Dead Poets Society — digitally restored and presented for the first time ever in breathtaking Blu-ray High Definition.

For generations, Welton Academy students have been groomed to live lives of conformity and tradition — until new professor John Keating inspires them to think for themselves, live life to the fullest and “Carpe Diem.” This unconventional approach awakens the spirits of the students, but draws the wrath of a disapproving faculty when an unexpected tragedy strikes the school. With unforgettable characters and beautiful cinematography, Dead Poets Society will captivate and inspire you time and time again.

Special Features:
o Dead Poets: A Look Back - Interviews with Director Peter Weir, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Many Others
o Raw Takes
o Master Of Sound: Alan Splet - Interviews with David Lynch and Peter Weir
o Cinematography Master Class - An Intensive and Inspirational Lighting Workshop
o Audio Commentary - With Director Peter Weir, Cinematographer John Seal and Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter Tom Schulman (1989, Best Original Screenplay)
o Theatrical Trailer

Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam
Photo credit: Touchstone

“Good Morning, Vietnam”

Synopsis:
For the first time in stunning Blu-ray High Definition, Academy Award(R) winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting, 1997) delivers a tour-de-force performance in the 25th Anniversary Edition of the hit comedy Good Morning, Vietnam!

Enjoy the unsurpassed digital sound quality of Blu-ray Hi-Def as military deejay Adrian Cronauer (Williams) spins a red-hot soundtrack of ’60s hits. His sidesplitting comedy and rapid-fire wit make him a hero to the troops, but quickly get him in hot water with his by-the-book superiors. Featuring a behind-the-scenes look at Williams’s hilarious radio monologues, Good Morning, Vietnam remains the quintessential Robin Williams comedy.

Special Features:
o Production Diary:
·How The Movie Came To Be
·Actor Improv
·Music Of The Movie
·Origin Of The Good Morning, Vietnam Sign-On
·Shooting In Thailand
·Overview Of The Film A Year Later
o Raw Monologues
o Original Theatrical Trailer
o Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer

“Dead Poets Society” and “Good Morning, Vietnam” star Robin Williams. Both were released on Blu-ray on January 17th, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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