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Stormy Monday
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.78:1 Widescreen
  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Surround
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary with Mike Figgis, moderated by critic Damon Wise
  • New video appreciation by critic Neil Young, and a ďthen and nowĒ tour of the filmís Newcastle locations
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing by critic Mark Cunliffe

Stormy Monday

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Mike Figgis
1988 | 93 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: July 18, 2017
Review Date: July 18, 2017

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SYNOPSIS

In 1988, Mike Figgis (Internal Affairs, Leaving Las Vegas) made his feature directorial debut with Stormy Monday, a taut, noir-influenced gangster movie that drew on his key formative influences, including his youth in the Newcastle of the late '50s and early '60s, and the city's vibrant jazz scene. Sean Bean (Ronin) plays Brendan, a young loafer taken under the wing of jazz club owner Finney (Sting, Quadrophenia), who's under pressure from American mobster Cosmo (Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive) to sell up in exchange for a cut of a local land development deal. Brendan just wants to earn an honest crust, but his burgeoning relationship with Cosmo's ex-lover Kate (Melanie Griffith, Body Double) threatens to drag him into the middle of the impending showdown... A romantic crime thriller with genuine heart, Stormy Monday features striking, rain-drenched cinematography by Roger Deakins (The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) and a seductive jazz score provided by the director himself. Presented here for the first time in high definition in the US, there has never been a better time to discover one of this iconic filmmaker's most assured and uniquely haunting efforts.


PICTURE

Mike Figgisí debut feature film, Stormy Monday, receives a new dual-format edition from Arrow Video. The Blu-ray sports a 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

The notes indicate Arrow is using a high-definition master created in 2010 and upon seeing that (before throwing the disc in admittedly) I didnít hold out much hope for the end result here but much to my surprise itís a rather nice looking image. There can be a slight softness at times (probably more source related) and mild compression can be evident but on the whole the image still delivers sharp details and excellent clarity. Film grain is there and looks decent most of the time but isnít as clean as I would hope, compression probably limiting it a bit. And while at the filmís heart it is noir, with its fair share of dark and rain soaked scenes, the colours are rendered incredibly well, looking quite bright and vibrant at times, especially those neon signs. Black levels are decent, a bit murky in places, but generally pleasing and help with those darker scenes.

I was also surprised to see how clean the image is in regards to source materials: I donít recall a blemish popping up. Could it be better? For sure! Yet despite the age of the master and some obvious limitations related to said age, I still think it holds up fairly well. In the end it manages to look very good.

7/10

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AUDIO

Audio is presented in lossless PCM 2.0 stereo surround. It sounds okay, nothing too special. There can be a bit of hollowness present in the jazz score, and some effects can be flat, but dialogue is easy to hear and there is some decent surround activity.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow includes a few features, including (surprisingly) an audio commentary featuring Mike Figgis and moderated by critic Damon Wise. Disappointingly itís a bit dry but Figgis gets into details about the production and what he was trying to accomplish. He goes over some of the limitations he faced (budget being the biggest) and the nervousness he could feel working on his first big film. He does share a few amusing stories, particularly in learning how to deal with professional actors and crew members (he was a bit frightened of Tommy Lee Jones), and he talks about his appreciation of Roger Ebertís review after his film received a number of scathing ones. Again itís a little dry but Figgis has a few decent stories that make it a worthwhile track.

Also on the disc is a new piece put together by critic Neil Young who offers his appreciation of the film while also talking extensively about Newcastle (where the film takes place) and the various locations used in the film, while also offering his thoughts on the filmís place alongside other British crim films like Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. Itís a fun feature and I enjoyed the tour that it offers. It runs about 30-minutes.

The disc then closes with the filmís theatrical trailer. Mark Cunliffe also provides a short essay in the included booklet, offering his appreciation for Figgisí debut before going a little into its initial reception and Ebertís review. Itís probably one of Arrowís shorter booklets but I found it to be a good read.

Overall not packed but I donít think I would have expected much to begin with so getting a commentary with the director and fun little video appreciation is more than enough.

5/10

CLOSING

Arrow puts together a fairly solid release. Much to my surprise the picture looks really good and the couple of supplements we do get are worth going through.




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