Casino (1995) - Widescreen 10th Anniversary Edition

Genre(s): Crime / Drama
Universal || R - 179 minutes - $22.98 || June 14, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-06-18


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): Nicholas Pileggi (novel), Nicholas Pileggi (screenplay) & Martin Scorsese (screenplay
Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak, James Woods


Theatrical Release Date: November 22, 1995


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Moments with Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone, Nicholas Pileggi and More
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Casino: The Story - Featurette
  • Casino: The Cast and Characters - Featurette
  • Casino: The Look - Featurette
  • Casino: After the Filming - Featurette
  • Vegas and the Mob
  • True Crime Author


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

"The town will never be the same. After the Tangiers, the big corporations took it all over. Today it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior's college money on the poker slots."

This 1995 Scorsese classic, Casino, tells the story of a mobster's rise and fall in Las Vegas. Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro) moves to Vegas and manages the Tangiers casino with an iron fist. Following him there is best friend Nicky (Pesci), a muscle man and a lunatic to boot trying to make his own claim in sin city.

Ace meets and falls for the beautiful, Ginger (Stone), who has a shaky past and a pimp boyfriend (Woods) who has control over her even after Ace and Ginger marry. But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and like the people who come to Vegas with everything and leave with nothing, the same can be said for these characters. Not to be too "intellectual" about this (and shockingly nobody has described me as that... yet), Casino comes across like one of Shakespeare's plays as in the end, no one truly wins.

Casino is a good but overly long movie (nearly 3 hours). One could consider this to be a sequel of sorts to another Scorsese mobster classic, Goodfellas, but I never really felt this film reached those levels. What the movie has going for it is, once again, great performances from leads De Niro and Pesci as well as Sharon Stone who has never been better (and whose career has stumbled so far as to co-star in the horrendous Catwoman).

Although the movie does get a tad dull and repetitive at times, I found De Niro's character to be interesting enough for it to be worth the time spent watching it. That said, it is not as good or memorable as Goodfellas or many other mob movies so on that front, it's just another long movie.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

First, I just want to complain to Universal as they have, once again, gone with the double-sided discs rather than just putting the feature film on one disc and the features on the other like Warner Brothers is doing with their special editions... In any case, aside from that, the Casino DVD contains some good features that anyone who is a fan of the Scorsese mob flicks will enjoy.

The back of the DVD case says Moments with Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone, Nicholas Pileggu and More!, but it's definately more like a commentary track, though I think (after watching the documentaries) it was taken from those featurettes. [As a commentary] this one is exactly the same as Scorsese's others as there are several people who are spliced in and out depending on the scene and such. For the person who just wants to learn the information about the movie, this is fine, but for me, I like it when people are bouncing ideas and stories back and forth. The good news (and something I noticed was lacking on The Aviator DVD) is a person to say who is talking so that we (the listener) doesn't get confused about who is who.

The deleted scenes are more like outtakes or goofs than anything. Wish they would they would've just called it that; plus even as such, it isn't that great anyways. I assume this is all they could dig up and I guess it is better than nothing.

The disc includes four featurettes about the making of Casino:

The Story goes through the process of how the story came about - based on a trial of several mobsters. Interestingly, author Nicholas Pileggi wrote the "Casino" novel AFTER the movie had completed filming. He wanted to get the book done before the film came out so that it would sell better. Included in this are interviews with Scoresese, Pileggi and others. As far as I can tell, these are new ones.

The Cast and Characters has some more of the same, but most of the interviews (especially the cast like De Niro and Pesci) come from press junkets back in 1995. This goes through, in detail, about the characters - like the real Ace wanted to meet De Niro - and with in regards to the interview with Sharon Stone (who breaks down in tears recounting how she wanted Scorsese to push her in her portrayal of the character). Once a diva, always a diva... Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak and James Woods are also covered, though shortly.

The Look covers how Casino was filmed from the struggle to get a casino to let them film there to the costume production designs. There are more interviews with the editor, production desginer, etc.

And After the Filming has some more coverage with editing, the opening credits, music choices and the actual release in which some critics didn't like it. It's a good book end in what is a 4-part 'making-of' documentary and clues anyone interested how the film was made.

Vegas and the Mob looks and sounds like it originally aired on Dateline and running around 15 minutes plus the NBC News copyright at the end, I assume it was. Hosted by one of Dateline's correspondents, the short goes over the real people behind Casino, how they lived and some archive interviews with the real Rosenthal (Frank Rosenthal). Interjected are some clips from the movie and the real story. This is wasn't, however, about the movie but instead about the mob including other mobster and famous characters who had come to town (like Howard Hughes, subject of Scorese's The Aviator).

Last is a History Channel special, True Crime Author: Nicholas Pileggi which is all about the author and his research about the mob in Las Vegas. Featured are more archive footage of "Lefty" Rosenthal and other members of the mob. What's interesting is that instead of showing footage from the film, it was reenacted... However, this is a good documentary if you want to learn more about what Casino was based on.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Better than other releases, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds good especially when the music comes in. The picture is also great and with it being 10 years old, it looks like the makers remastered it very well.



.::OVERALL::.

If you are interested in the old mob and/or a fan of the movie Casino (or Robert De Niro/Joe Pesci), then this worth the money to purchase. For me, Casino isn't the masterpiece that Goodfellas was, but it certainly should be one of the better movies in the "mob" genre.