Hi Bryan Here…

One of the best films in the last 50 years.  Right at the top of that list.  Robert De Niro is fucking brilliant in this movie.  I can’t believe this movie has not been released on bluray yet.  This film is unrelenting, unmerciful, brutal, and all kinds of AWESOME.  A MUST OWN MOVIE.

Taxi Driver is the definitive cinematic portrait of loneliness and alienation manifested as violence. It is as if director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader had tapped into precisely the same source of psychological inspiration (“I just knew I had to make this film,” Scorsese would later say), combined with a perfectly timed post-Watergate expression of personal, political, and societal anxiety. Robert De Niro, as the tortured, ex-Marine cab driver Travis Bickle, made movie history with his chilling performance as one of the most memorably intense and vividly realized characters ever committed to film.

Bickle is a self-appointed vigilante who views his urban beat as an intolerable cesspool of blighted humanity. He plays guardian angel for a young prostitute (Jodie Foster), but not without violently devastating consequences. This masterpiece, which is not for all tastes, is sure to horrify some viewers, but few could deny the film’s lasting power and importance.  This film is pure and simple, BRILLIANT.  This transfer of audio and video is so amazing for a film of the 70’s.  A must own.

The video presentation is outstanding.  Who would have thought that a film from the 70’s about the seedy underbelly of NYC could look so pristine and clear and pretty.  This is a 1080p transfer that will make all of you go ga-ga all over again for this film.  Surprisingly, this film is crustal clear to the eye in most scenes.  Everything is sharp, bright, and full of depth.  It is very clean with no spots or dirt nor blemishes that caught my sight.  A very impressive video presentation and it might be one of the best transfers of a film I have seen yet from this era.

The audio on this disc is wonderful as well.  It compliments the video very well.  It is a DTS-HD 5.1 sound master and sounds impressive.  The dialogue in this film is usually softly spoken or on the fly, but i never strained or had to rewind to hear something.  It was crystal clear.  The smooth jazz soundtrack is great thru the speakers and compliments everything in the film.  A very true and amazing audio presentation.

  • “Audio Commentaries – Three commentaries provide a wealth of insight, perspective, and nuts-and-bolts information. The first, recorded in 1986 for the Criterion Collection, features Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader, and it’s an engaging, often fascinating trip inside this classic film. The director dominates the track, sharing lots of entertaining anecdotes and thoughtful observations, all of which are distinguished by his brutal honesty and lively delivery. He talks about the influences of directors like George Stevens and Jean-Luc Godard, the unpleasant nature of filmmaking (a surprising admission), how the camera moves are reminiscent of horror films, and how he has tried to mold his own personality into a cinematic style. He also remembers composer Bernard Herrmann, addresses his close and symbiotic relationship with De Niro, and explains how he came to do his cameo in the movie. Schrader’s contributions are much more limited, but no less interesting. He recalls, among other things, how he wrote the screenplay in a frenetic two-week period and based it on his own personal experiences, and how the most famous line in the film (“You talkin’ to me?”) is one he didn’t write. If you only have the time or inclination for one commentary, this is the one to listen to.

    The second commentary is a solo track by author Robert Kolker, who takes on the role of film professor as he delves into Scorsese’s style, the fine points of plot and character, and the director’s storytelling technique. He also notes the influence of such films as “Psycho” and “The Searchers” on ‘Taxi Driver.’ This is a much drier track, and a bit too didactic at times, but if you’re looking for more narrative analysis, then this discussion fills the bill.

    The final commentary is a more recent solo track by Schrader, who dissects his script and provides the writer’s perspective on filmmaking. He offers up some screenwriting tips, admits he got into scriptwriting as a form of “self-therapy” (not for monetary gain), and debunks censorship as a means of keeping real-life psychopaths from emulating and imitating those depicted on screen. Schrader makes some good points, but too many lengthy gaps separate them, making this track a bit of a chore to slog through.

  • Featurette: “Martin Scorsese on ‘Taxi Driver'” (HD, 17 minutes) – This intimate 2007 interview allows the director to discuss such topics as the genesis of the project, how he gained the confidence of the producers despite his limited experience, the movie’s gritty style, other films that have influenced him, and the personal nature of ‘Taxi Driver.’

  • Featurette: “Producing ‘Taxi Driver'” (HD, 10 minutes) – Producer Michael Phillips recalls the events that led to his involvement with ‘Taxi Driver,’ and how he corralled the talent and money to make the film in this interesting featurette.

  • Featurette: “God’s Lonely Man” (HD, 22 minutes) – Writer Paul Schrader talks about his background, education, and the personal experiences that led him to conceive ‘Taxi Driver.’ He also outlines his creative process, discusses the evolution of Travis Bickle, and shares his views about the writer’s role during production. Author Robert Kolker provides additional analysis and perspective in this probing look at the components of screenwriting.

  • Featurette: “Influence and Appreciation: A Martin Scorsese Tribute” (HD, 18 minutes) – Director Oliver Stone (a student of Scorsese’s at NYU), director Roger Corman (Scorsese’s mentor), cinematographer Michael Chapman, actor Robert De Niro, and others recall how they met Scorsese, laud his supreme ability, and discuss the merits and impact of ‘Taxi Driver’ in this celebratory featurette. A few clips from Scorsese’s other films would have enhanced this tribute, but the well-spoken words of his colleagues suffice.

  • Featurette: “Taxi Driver Stories” (HD, 22 minutes) – Actual New York cabbies who worked during the 1970s share their experiences, address the profession’s loneliness, and discuss what they learned driving a taxi in this low-key, interesting inside look.

  • Documentary: “Making ‘Taxi Driver'” (HD, 71 minutes) – It’s rare when all the principals from a major motion picture consent to be interviewed for a retrospective documentary a couple of decades after the film’s release, but this 1999 salute includes remarks from Scorsese, De Niro, Foster, Shepherd, Brooks, Keitel, Boyle, and others, as it explores such topics as casting, editing, costumes, makeup, music, and the movie’s impact and legacy. Along the way, there are some great anecdotes that provide an intimate perspective on production, as well as the requisite collection of photos and clips. Some material is duplicated in the preceding featurettes, but this is still an essential examination for any true ‘Taxi Driver’ fan.

  • Featurette: “Intro to Storyboards by Martin Scorsese” (HD, 4 minutes) – The director talks about the importance of storyboards and how he personally employs them in his productions.

  • Storyboard to Film Comparison (HD, 8 minutes) – Multiple clips are shown along with their respective storyboard drawings.

  • Featurette: “Travis’ New York” (HD, 6 minutes) – Former New York mayor Ed Koch and director of photography Michael Chapman expound on the seedy atmosphere that was Travis’ milieu in the mid-’70s.

  • Featurette: “Travis’ New York Locations” (HD, 5 minutes) – This compare-and-contrast piece employs a split screen to show how nine New York locations looked when the film was shot in 1975, and how they looked in 2006.

  • Galleries (HD, 9 minutes) – This section is divided into four parts – “Bernard Herrmann Score,” which includes reproductions of the composer’s sheet music; “On Location,” which features an array of black-and-white production photos; “Publicity Materials,” which showcases an array of poster art and other behind-the-scenes stills; and “Scorsese at Work,” which provides a number of rare snapshots of the director in his element. Sections of Herrmann’s magnificent score accompany each chapter.

  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 minutes) – An updated, innovative trailer for ‘Taxi Driver’ that hypes the upcoming 2007 collector’s DVD is included.

  • Interactive Script to Screen – This is a great feature that’s well worth checking out. As the film plays, the original screenplay scrolls in a decent-sized window in the right-hand corner of the screen. The speed of the scroll corresponds to the on-screen action, and there’s a clickable icon that allows you to manually manipulate the script, then re-sync it back to the film when desired. You can also put the film in smaller windows, enlarge the size of the script, and add bookmarks. Schrader’s screenplay is fluid and literate, and there are plenty of differences between the written dialogue and what the actors recite, with major chunks abandoned in favor of different approaches. It’s fascinating to read the alternate scenes, as well as the searing and poetic character and setting descriptions, especially those focusing on Travis. Once you begin this feature, you may find it’s tough not to see it through to the end.

  • movieIQ – Filmographies and factoids can be accessed on screen when you activate this Internet-based feature.

  • BD-Live – Players hooked up to the Internet can connect to Sony’s online portal, where you can view trailers and access material about upcoming Sony releases.”

  • By Bryan Kluger

    Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.

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