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A Bronx Tale [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 121 Mins.
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 18, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

In 1993, veteran actor Robert De Niro (Limitless; Goodfellas; Raging Bull; The Deer Hunter) made his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of fellow actor and co-star Chazz Palminteri’s (Mulholland Falls; The Usual Suspects) one-man play A Bronx Tale. Although memorable to me for personal reasons (my close high school friend’s brother makes a well-placed appearance as an extra) there’s plenty here for everyone with a less personal attachment to find appealing and memorable.

Though outwardly A Bronx Tale treads the familiar ground of De Niro’s past roles in Goodfellas and The Godfather Part II, this is a much different film than either of those. Set in the Fordham section of The Bronx of the 1960s, A Bronx Tale is populated by the usual suspects of colorful mafia characters and their memorable names – Bobby Bars, Tony Toupee, Frankie Coffeecake, JoJo the Whale – but it bypasses the usual criminality and grit of underworld intrigue, instead opting for a heartfelt coming of age tale. Centered around Calogero “C” Anello (Lillo Brancato (age 17)/Francis Capra (age 9)) who becomes torn between his father (De Niro), a hardworking bus driver, and the neighborhood mafia boss Sonny (Palminteri) after he witnesses Sonny shoot a man in cold blood over a parking space, but refuses to tell the police what he saw.

While Calogero’s father raises him to stay away from Sonny and his associates, the young inquisitive boy can’t help but be enticed by their flare, fancy cars and money. It leaves him in a position of going against his father’s wishes, but learning two sets of life lessons from the streetwise Sonny and his working class father, each one in their own way trying to look out for him and, surprisingly for Sonny, trying to keep him away from a life of crime.

De Niro also manages to work in some cultural references to the 1960s backdrop, not the least of which are the growing racial tensions between the Italian-American community and growing African-American presence in the borough of the Bronx. All of this makes for an interesting if at times uneven walk through a bygone era.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

I wish I could say that I thought this Blu-ray issue of A Bronx Tale from StudioCanal looked great, but I cannot. For a brief moment, it almost does, looking remarkably clean, but that feeling subsides as one realizes the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement seems to have had a heavy amount of DNR applied.The end result is skin textures that look too waxy, clothing that loses its textural quality, and grain that looks a bit unnatural and smeared. On top of this, there also seems to have been applied a bit of DNR throughout to compensate for the softness making objects unnaturally standout against backgrounds. I see it a lot in darker scenes with the fins of those classic cars, but definitely the outlines of faces and suits against walls and so forth.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

A LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is offered so there is no surround mix available. The stereo mix is more than adequate for the material at hand, especially when it comes to conveying the hard left-right panning of the 1960s musical soundtrack that consists of songs ranging from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix. Dialogue is clean and has no clipping.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

The brief making-of is the only real extra offered on the disc, but it is not a new piece and is really a tacked on promo talking up the film itself and De Niro, offering little insight into A Bronx Tale.

The supplements:

  • The Making Of (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:06:15)
  • Trailer (1.33:1; SD/PAL; 00:02:12)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

While De Niro’s direction in A Bronx Tale shows obvious signs of being influenced by his work with Martin Scorsese, the film never reaches the epic level of any of the latter’s best. De Niro’s direction and Palminteri’s screenplay fail to raise the level of their fellow cast members, making them the only standouts. Still, their performances are strong enough and the film on the whole satisfying enough to make A Bronx Tale worthy of recommending.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006C1E4N0[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]


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