Based on a true story and Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy," this critically acclaimed mob movie chronicles the life of Henry Hill (Liotta), who, since he was a boy in Italian-American New York, dreamed of becoming a part of the mob. Nominated for six Academy Awards®, GoodFellas is Martin Scorcese's violent and intense exploration of organized criminal life and features powerful performances by De Niro, Oscar®-winner Pesci, Bracco and Sorvino. (Gary Reber)
Oh no! Who's the wiseguy who put up-front ads on this HD DVD? Well, I guess we can't escape them. The menus are still state-of-the-art and super-cool, popping up transparently and adding descriptions where necessary.
As with the previous DVD, four featurettes are included: Getting Made: The Making Of GoodFellas (30 minutes), The Workaday Gangster (8 minutes), Made Men: The GoodFellas Legacy (14 minutes), and Paper Is Cheaper Than Film (4 minutes). The same two audio commentaries are also included: Cast and Crew, and Cop and Crook. Track One features a collection of anecdotes, recollections and comments from a variety of cast and crew members including director Martin Scorsese, executive producer Barbara De Fina, producer Irwin Winkler, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, actors Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, "Wiseguy" author Nicholas Pileggi, and others. The second track features the cop and the crook on which the film was based upon: Henry Hill, the film's protagonist, and Ed McDonald, Hill's sponsor in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Also includes the theatrical trailer and online info.
The high-definition 1.78:1 HD DVD picture has a slightly dated appearance, but color saturation is well balanced and satisfying. Fleshtones are often well balanced, if a little ruddy at times, and blacks are quite deep. Sometimes brighter hues can appear a bit "crushed." While images are sharp and can be nicely detailed and textured, there is a bit of softness, and occasional haze is inherent. Viewing in a completely blackened room is recommended for the dim nature of the picture, but shadow delineation is perfectly capable of delivering visuals in the darker scenes. The source element is revealing of some dirt on occasion, but is otherwise quite clean. The image is solid and clean overall (especially in comparison to previous incarnations for home viewing). Finicky viewers have to scour for VC-1 compression problems like pixel breakup, but it is difficult to find. (Suzanne Hodges)
Narration in the Dolby® Digital•Plus 5.1-channel soundtrack is delivered across each of the front three screen channels, but the timing seems to be slightly off, which creates a slight echo effect that is distracting. Surround envelopment is very limited, typically relegated to a low level reverberant extension of the front channels. Dialogue sounds fairly good, although, along with the rest of the sonics, it does sound slightly thin. Fidelity is limited by the age of the recording, but the Dolby Digital•Plus encoding format does help to add life to the playback. (Danny Richelieu)