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“Green Book” Best Picture now on Blu-ray

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

A very likable movie, Green Book not only took the Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor, but the Oscar as well. Now on 4K, Ultra Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, the movie gives its best theatrical performance in your home. I’m not shocked that the film won top honors as the story certainly is deserving, direction impeccable and stellar acting in the delivery of the characters to the screen.

The story is true and really brings to light the conviction and ideology of the South in the early 1960’s regarding African Americans. Notwithstanding, the film also reveals a not too different attitude among the New York City boroughs like The Bronx that were still teaming with competing ethnic groups for a take home pay. There was no “political correct” or even a holding back on slurs among all the cultures. This film however, shows that a spark of kindness can grow out of the strangest of situations and work wonders.

Viggo Mortensen as Tony and Mahershala Ali as Dr. Shirley in GREEN BOOK photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

It’s 1962 and Tony “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) has been working as a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub in the city. He’s well respected by the clientele that are mostly Italians like himself and knowing all the big shots like Gio Loscudo (Joe Cortese) doesn’t hurt his chances at nice tips. In fact, with a little bit of “magic” he can pick-up a good wad and bring him closer to those big shots. Being a good husband and not wanting to get into trouble, Tony stays as far away as he can from the street bosses.

But, the Copa has to close for a couple of months for renovations so Tony puts the word out that he can use some work. Still having bills to pay, Tony’s able to squeeze a lead out of his Copa boss who tells him it pays big. It seems Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a blackman who’s a famous classical pianist, needs a chauffeur for a tour and also needs protection. Surprised at the opulence in which the man lives, Tony lays out his whole persona to the man figuring he doesn’t have a chance with him anyway. When he gets the job and the tour begins, Tony starts to find things are going well, easy in fact. But when they turn south to continue the tour, he starts to realize there’s another world he knows nothing about.

Mahershala Ali as Dr. Shirley in GREEN BOOK photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

Director Peter Farrelly, who brought There’s Something About Mary and Shallow Hal to the screen, takes some of that tongue in cheek magic and puts it to work on the serious plot. He churns up a good mix of pathos, discrimination and comedy early on so his audience will lighten up before the film starts to get rough. It’s the perfect strategy because just as you are about to sit back and think it’s going to be a fun ride, it gets real. Dipping deeper into his bag of tricks, Farrelly reveals secrets and later a surprise twist you won’t see coming.

Viggo Mortensen as Tony and Mahershala Ali as Dr. Shirley in GREEN BOOK photos courtesy of Universal Pictures

The acting is outstanding on the part of both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. In fact the whole cast should be commended for their effort as they fit the characters and make them believable. Mortensen put on an excellent show as the New York Italian that looks after his family and communicates with the street bosses. His lingo is dead on and the accent perfect. Coming from an Italian family, he could have easily passed for one of my relatives. In fact he has an open invitation to visit my house any time and especially for Thanksgiving as he’ll fit right in.

Taking on the role of Dr. Donald Shirley the concert pianist, Mahershala Ali works the character with a lot of realism. He not only delivers a heartfelt character for the role, but emulates what the excellent piano player was like in real life according to reports. This isn’t the first role he’s been honored for as he’s Juan in the Academy Award winning Moonlight and was awarded and Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and then Golden Globe for his role as well. He was also awarded Best Supporting Actor by SEFCA (Southeastern Film Critics Association) for his work in Moonlight.

BONUS FEATURES:
The film has some very good extras that you’ll enjoy watching.

“Virtuoso Performances” Director, Co-Writer and Producer Peter Farrelly, Co-Writer Brian Currie, Executive Producers Kwame L. Parker and Octavia Spencer along with actors Masershala Ali, Viggo Mortenson and Linda Cardellini talk about the film and their characters. Even the son of “Tony Lip”, Nick Vallelonga gets to say a few words.

“An Unforgettable Friendship” shows scenes that bring the two main characters to life with Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortenson talking about their characters. Corroborating their comments is Nick Vallelonga who acted as co-writer and producer of the film.

“Going Beyond the Green Book” Mahershala Ali, Brent Leggs (Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund), Candacy Taylor (Author, Photographer and Cultural Documentarian) and Octavia Spencer talk about the Green Book, the author of it Victor Hugo Green and the meaning of it in the film.”

Green Book has been rated PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material. The competition for best picture was stiff in 2018, but for sure Green Book deserved the honor.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An excellent film that’s nicely written, directed, acted and produced. (5 out of 5 Stars)  

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, Johnny Williams, Brian Stepanek, Jon Michael Davis, Mike Hatton
Director: Peter Farrelly
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Running Time: 2 hrs. 10 min.
Video Release Date: March 12, 2019
Original Theatrical Release Date: November 16, 2018
Language: English (changeable to French and Descriptive Video)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: Dolby Atmos, DTS Surround 5.1
Video: 1080p HD, Aspect Ratio 2.0:0 Widescreen
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Number of Discs: 2 discs, plus Digital HD
Distributed by: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Released in: 4K, Blu-ray Ultra, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and combo packs
Awards: Oscars Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay. Golden Globes Best Film, Best Supporting Actor

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