Though they’ve both delved into self parody over the last decade or two, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro will go down in history as two of the greatest actors to ever be filmed. Surprisingly, they’ve only appeared together on screen once (The Godfather, Part II doesn’t count as they don’t share any screen time) in Michael Mann’s 1995 thriller Heat.
It's a great film with great performances all around. De Niro plays the mastermind of a professional heist crew that stick to a strict moral code. Pacino is the cop chasing him down. Though it has some nice action sequences, including a riveting downtown Los Angeles bank robbery/gun battle, Mann makes it more of an intense character study of two professionals on opposite ends of the law rather than just an action thriller. De Niro and Pacino only share one scene together, and it's surprisingly subdued. It's basically a discussion over coffee. The performances aren’t as explosive as one might hope, but it's a masterclass of acting.
Heat: Director’s Definitive Edition comes with a new remastered HD transfer that’s getting some good reviews plus it's loaded with extras including an audio commentary, a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and a couple of new Q&As with the cast and director.
I already own Heat on DVD, but this package looks good enough to make me upgrade.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commers, 1080 Bruxelles (Criterion Collection): Chantal Akerman’s cult feminist classic about a single mother's regimented life slowly unraveling gets upgraded to high definition by Criterion.
Brain Damage (Arrow Video): How can I say “no” to a movie about a guy that wakes up to find a strange little creature growing out of the base of his brain stem demanding human sacrifices?
Serial Mom: Scream Factory presents this collector’s edition of John Waters' attempt to go (semi) mainstream.
Orange is the New Black: Season Four: I’m somewhere towards the end of season two of this prison show from Jenji Kohan. It's probably telling of my feelings that I can’t really remember where I am in the show nor the last time I watched it. I actually do rather like it, but it just started to feel a little same-y in terms of character development and tone. The plot is moving towards the same unhinged places that Weeds went to after awhile. I’ll eventually come back to it, but there are so many other shows I need to catch up on first.
Fifty Shades Darker: This is a film that came out and is now on Blu-ray in unrated editions if that’s your thing.