Top Gun

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Action;
$14.99 Blu-ray, $22.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Rick Rossovich, James Tolkan, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan.

The new Blu-ray editions of 1986’s Top Gun were clearly timed to coincide with what would have been the theatrical release of the film’s long-awaited sequel. However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down theaters, Top Gun: Maverick was pushed back six months to Dec. 23.

The new Blu-ray does include a trailer for the new film, plus a new six-minute “The Legacy of Top Gun” featurette in which Tom Cruise and some of the filmmakers behind the sequel discuss the impact of the director Tony Scott’s original, which has become an iconic depiction of fighter aircraft combat action. The film still holds up well (despite some cheesy over-the-top machismo that is part of its charm).

Of course, the other thing the film is well known for is its beach volleyball scene that has fueled the film’s reputation as a homoerotic fantasy. The volleyball scene has become so intrinsically associated with the film that a recent board game based on the film lets players either try their hand at the airplane combat of the famed Top Gun dogfighting school, or simulate the volleyball game.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The bright, vivid image of the new Blu-ray transfer shows off every detail, to the point where it’s impossible not to notice how almost everyone is sweating profusely in practically every scene (it must be hot on those airplanes and carriers). The disc also brings out the film’s legendary soundtrack in a 5.1 mix that perfectly services the action.

The other extra listed as new for this edition is the five-part half-hour retrospective “On Your Six: Thirty Years of Top Gun.” It’s filled with great stories about the production ( such as Scott getting a Navy captain to turn an aircraft carrier around in order to get the perfect lighting from the sun). It was obviously filmed a few years ago, since this year is the 34th anniversary of the film, and Cruise talks about having just read an early draft of the sequel screenplay (the same sequel that is now finished and waiting to hit theaters).

The Blu-ray also includes all the bonus material from previous releases, including a commentary with the filmmakers and naval experts; storyboards; vintage interviews; four music videos (which have not aged particularly well); an earlier behind-the-scenes featurette from the 2008 Blu-ray; and an interesting look at the real Top Gun school, also from 2008.

Follow us on Instagram!

Criterion July Slate Includes ‘Bull Durham’

The Criterion Collection in July will release new Blu-ray special editions of the classic 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham and Steven Soderbergh’s directorial debut, sex, lies, and videotape.

Arriving July 10 (order date June 12) on Blu-ray and DVD, Criterion’s Bull Durham features a new 4K digital restoration supervised by director Ron Shelton, with a 2.0 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, plus an alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD master audio on the Blu-ray.

Extras include two audio commentaries featuring Shelton and actors Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins; a new conversation between Shelton and film critic Michael Sragow; “Between the Lines: The Making of Bull Durham,” a 2002 program featuring interviews with cast and crew, including Shelton, Costner, Robbins and actress Susan Sarandon; “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” a 2008 appreciation of the film featuring former players, broadcasters, and sports-film aficionados; a NBC Nightly News piece from 1993 on the final season of baseball at Durham Athletic Park, where Bull Durham takes place and was shot; an interview with Max Patkin, known as the Clown Prince of Baseball, from a 1991 episode of NBC’s “Today”; the film’s trailer; plus excerpts from a 1989 piece by longtime New Yorker baseball writer Roger Angell, with new comments from the author.

The new DVD and Blu-ray editions of 1989’s sex, lies, and videotape arrive July 17 (order date June 19), with a new 4K digital transfer supervised by Soderbergh, and a 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include audio commentary from 1998 featuring Soderbergh in conversation with filmmaker Neil LaBute; a new program Soderbergh responding to fan questions; interviews with Soderbergh from 1990 and 1992; a new documentary about the making of the film featuring actors Peter Gallagher, Andie MacDowell and Laura San Giacomo; a new conversation with composer Cliff Martinez and supervising sound editor Larry Blake; a deleted scene with commentary by Soderbergh; trailers; plus an essay by critic Amy Taubin and, in the Blu-ray release, excerpts from Soderbergh’s diaries written at the time of the film’s production.

Coming July 3 (order date June 5) are Blu-ray and DVD boxed sets of Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood, a collection of six films pairing director Josef von Sternberg with German actress Marlene Dietrich.

The set includes the films Morocco (1930), Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Scarlet Empress (1934) and The Devil Is a Woman (1935).

All six films feature new 2K or 4K digital restorations, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays. Also included are new interviews with film scholars Janet Bergstrom and Homay King; director Josef von Sternberg’s son, Nicholas; Deutsche Kinemathek curator Silke Ronneburg; and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis. Other extras include a  new documentary about actor Marlene Dietrich’s German origins, featuring film scholars Gerd Gemünden and Noah Isenberg; a new documentary on Dietrich’s status as a feminist icon, featuring film scholars Mary Desjardins, Amy Lawrence and Patricia White; The Legionnaire and the Lady, a 1936 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Morocco, featuring Dietrich and actor Clark Gable; a new video essay by critics Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López; The Fashion Side of Hollywood, a 1935 publicity short featuring Dietrich and costume designer Travis Banton; a 1971 television interview with Dietrich; plus a book featuring essays by critics Imogen Sara Smith, Gary Giddins and Farran Smith Nehme.

Also due July 10 is 1967’s Dragon Inn on Blu-ray and DVD, with a new 4K digital restoration supervised by cinematographer Hua Hui-ying, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new interview with actor Shangkuan Ling-fung; a 2016 interview with actor Shih Chun; scene analysis by author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix; newsreel footage of the film’s 1967 premiere in Taiwan; the trailer; a new English subtitle translation; and an essay by critic Andrew Chan.

The 1946 film A Matter of Life and Death, with David Niven and Kim Hunter, arrives on new Blu-ray and DVD editions July 24 (order date June 26), with a new 4K digital restoration, plus uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Bonus materials include a 2009 audio commentary from film scholar Ian Christie; a new interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, director Michael Powell’s widow; a new interview with film historian Craig Barron on the film’s visual effects and production design; an interview from 2009 with filmmaker Martin Scorsese; The Colour Merchant, a 1998 short film by Craig McCall featuring cinematographer Jack Cardiff; plus an essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek.