on May 21, 2003
I love The Blues Brothers. This is one of the all-time great comedies; a truly epic comedy. In it's original form, it is flawless from beginning to end. Five Stars easily.
Unfortunately, this "Special Edition" dvd includes 15+ minutes of scenes. Not under a "deleted scenes" section, which would have been appropriate and very welcome, but inserted into the movie itself. To be fair, the extra footage doesn't really hurt the music scenes. But did we really need to see Elwood at his place of employment? Did we really need to see where the Blues-mobile is stored when not being driven? None of the extra footage adds anything to the movie. In fact, it really ruins the perfect pacing of the regular cut.
I truly hope Universal sees the error of their ways and reissues this film on DVD with the original cut. They could even make the added footage viewable within the movie, through seamless branching, but for the love of Pete, give us the option!!!
on February 5, 2012
La version cinéma, d'une exceptionnelle qualité, fait aisément oublier l'impossibilité de regarder la version prolongée en français car celle-ci présente un défaut de synchronisation de la bande sonore. Dommage car Universal aurait signé là un sans faute. Quoi qu'il en soit ne boudez pas votre plaisir, la version originale n'a aucunement besoin qu'on étire la sauce.
The Blues Brothers in my mind should really be considered a hip musical comedy,or am I just blowing smoke here? The entire film has almost non stop music,either that performed by on screen acts or as background filler;so what could be more musical than that? And the acts and talent behind them....it just blows the mind.
The plot in the film,like any musical,is just something to hang the songs on but the starring characters here Jake Blues(the late John Belusi) and Elwood Blues(Dan Ackroyd) give the screenplay much more depth than normal and as such raise it above the ordinary.
After being released from the Illinois State Pen(Joliet) Jake is met at the gates by brother Elwood.Jake isn't too pleased that his brother sold their old ride for a microphone and bought a used cop car instead,but they're off to see Sister Stigmata,aka the Penguin.It seems the orphanage she runs,in which both the brothers were also raised in,is about to go into foreclosure.The brothers decide to somehow raise the cash to keep it afloat.Jake gets "inspired" at a local church and they decide to put their old band together.While pursuing their "mission from God" they raise the ire of the local constabulary,they use every dirty trick to get the band members to re-form,Jake's ex girlfriend pursues them both hell bent on getting them closer to God sooner than they expected,an irate country band whose gig they took and the bar owner who they owe money to give chase and even the Illinois Nazi Party would like to shove their swastika up both their keesters.When they finally get their break and the band plays a huge concert 165 miles from Chicago,they get their money only to be followed all the way back to the County Assessors office in Chicago to pay off the orphanage debt.In the end everyone including the National Guard catches up with them.The orphanage is saved but the brothers both end up in the Pen.The movie musically fades out with the brothers doing,appropriately,"Jailhouse Rock".
This movie is a modern who's who of musical talent,the likes of which will never be seen again in one place.Just some of the personalities that perform;the legendary Hi-De-Ho man himself Cab Calloway,Ray Charles,Aretha Franklin,James Brown and Johnny Lee Hooker.Then there is the on screen band itself:Steve Cropper and Don Dunn formerly of Booker T and the MGs,Willie Hall formerly of the Bar-Kays,Matt Murphy from Howlin Wolf's band and so many others,and the rest of the horns from the Saturday Night Live Band.It is/was an amazing combination of talent and it never fails to impress.The resultant soundtrack from this movie went platinum at least three times that I know of.
Of course as we all know the entire concept for the characters came from the fertile mind of Dan Ackroyd and the wildly hailed performances of Ackroyd and Belushi on Saturday Night Live in the late 70s.This SNL sketch-to-movie has been the most successful of all the others to follow.Ackroyd's passion for the music genre itself has been the largest contributing factor in its' initial success and all that has followed;with subsequent live tours with the band and a follow up movie(not as successful as the first).
Six actors of note to watch for in the film;John Candy as one of the law enforcement officers,veteran actor Kathleen Freeman as the Penguin,a bit part with "Pee Wee Herman" Paul Reubens as a waiter,"Miss Piggy/Fozzy" voice man Frank Oz as the releasing officer in the Pen,singer Steve Lawrence as the brothers agent in the steam room and "Laugh-In" funny man Henry Gibson as the head of the Nazis.
Technically the movie has been transferred well.This is apparently the original cut of the movie when it previewed so it is nice to have the re-inserted footage back into the movie.It now clocks in at about 2 1/2 hours but surprisingly the pace is still pretty good throughout.It is presented in its' original widescreen glory and the special features include an almost hour featurette on the making of the film,the trailer and a still gallery.
All in all the Blues Brothers is a clear musical winner.Considered more of a comedy than a musical,I think this film is just so good at what it does that most don't think of this being a musical;but I believe it is just that and a darned good one too.I invite you to look at the techniques of the older "gotta sing,gotta dance" style movies and you will definitely see styles from every type poured into this one.Besides what it may or may not be there is one thing we can all agree on;the film is a foot tapping, hilarious and enjoyable 2 1/2 hour ride that aims to please,and does!
on July 19, 2004
Here is one of the few movies in my lifetime that qualifies as a "feel good" flick, one where I left so fulfilled I actually missed the characters, story and fun when the movie is over, wanting it all back again. Fortunately, through the miracle of tape and DVD, you and I can both do that!
This production was the linchpin event for the Saturday Night Live characters that wore black suits and sunglasses before the equally fashion-challenged "Men In Black" showed up. Along with "Animal House", this flick reminds me what a great comedy career John Belushi would have had in cinema had he lived more safely (as long as he stayed away from bombs like "1941").
Back to the film...this is loaded with great music, music from many 20th Century ages, music that makes you want to hum, tap your toe, dance, delight, smile, kiss your girlfriend and say hello to God. The plot -- something about getting money for an orphanage -- is superfluous but the movie has memorable scenes and characterizations equal to the equally uninhibited "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World" from 1963.
A hyperactive musical street scene coming out of a music store -- led by the late Ray Charles doing a great blues tune -- is a typical venue in this film. Another time, Aretha Franklin takes a break from her waitress job to sing threateningly to Jake and Elmore. Still another time, Cab Calloway entertains kids so the brothers can get their cash to Chicago. In another scene, the Blues Brothers band does it up good in a honky tonk but drinks too much beer and ends up in a police-car-RV chase with some good old boys known as...the Good Old Boys!
This movie destroyed about 200 cars in and around Chicago and has one of the funniest car crash scenes and accompanying lines in American film history. The line is: "We're in a truck!" Watch the movie to get the joy from it. You'll laugh out loud and enjoy it almost as much as those Nazis driving off the end of the incomplete freeway overpass in Chicago!
If you want to experience mayhem disguised as two hours of uninhibited escapism filled with great fun, a thousand car chases and car crashes, lowlifes, ex-convicts and rednecks, and some of the best choreographed music sequences ever, buy, rent or borrow this DVD today and get set to ENJOY YOURSELF!
on July 9, 2004
Unique, wonderful, hilarious.
"The Blues Brothers" holds up even better than one might have hoped. And that's a beautiful thing for one of the most unique movies ever made. Conceived, as Belushi once put it, as a show case for African-American music, the movie is exactly that and so much more.
I was moved to watch the "Shake Your Tail Feather" scene due to Ray Charles' recent death. The performance is so wonderful, so full of life; we have lost a true national treasure. But his amazing performance for the movie will live on forever. The soundtrack's 5.1 remix (including the reintegration of old footage cut from a preview at the Picwood Theater in LA. According to Landis, in the DVD's liner notes, the movie distributors complained no white people would see the movie!) is simply amazing. Even on my bargain set, it is crisp, pure and clean and is probably my candidate for best sound DVD ever. Landis again demonstrates his technical mastery, understanding of technology and choice of brilliant helpmates.
As the same Landis once put it, "Where else can a white kid see Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker and James Brown in the same two hours?" He left out Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin as well as studio legends Steve "The Colonel" Cropper (who almost single-handed reintroduced cocaine to Hollywood, the number of people who began their addictions under his tutelage is frightening but no names here; you'll have to look it up yourself); and bass legend "Duck" Dunn, one of the greatest bassists of all times (sorry, Duck, my man, even you have to bow, with every other bassist, to Geddy Lee). Normally invisible, we get to see and here the Blues Brothers' amazing band. These studio legends get there fifteen minutes, often to hilarious effect. Willie "Too-Bit" Hall, the drummer even shows really comic talent, as does Dunn and "Mr. Fabulous," the horn man.
The movie also preserves the now destroyed Maxwell Street, one of the great centers of African-American music and R&B and one of the seedbeds of rock n roll. This is the only place anyone can see Maxwell Street in its prime. In a sense the movie is also a historical document, preserving those people and places who have left us.
The plot is almost irrelevant, beside the almost hysterical comedy and stunning musical performances (Calloway and Franklin never did BETTER jobs on their two signature classics), but there is a story there. The cameos are hilarious as well, from Carrie Fischer (who has said she quit coke because Belushi, on set, one day pointed at her and said, "You're becoming just like me." On that note, Robin Williams also says his visit to Belushi on his ultimate night helped him give up the Life that took his friend) and the Keystone Nazis the Boys have to avoid in their quest to save their childhood home, a dilapidate orphanage on Chicago's South side. The "Flight of the Pinto" scene is not to be missed. And be sure to listen for the tell-tale mating call of a most un-endangered species, "hut-hut-hut."
A movie for the ages. It also highlights the bitter tragedy of Belushi's self-destruction. One can only imagine what a sobered and cleaned-up Belushi could do when he did this movie whilst doing 4 grams of coke a day, dropping acid, downers, booze, marijuana (all of this is in Boobward's sensationalist "biography" of Belushi called "Wired"). Unlike other famous drug addicts and alcoholic (Monroe, Presley, Dean) Belushi's fortunately has been taken as a warning sign of Hollywood excess and hasn't lead to his apotheosis.
Despite his tragic end, the movie is one of the few that, no matter my troubles I can put this movie in the DVD player and know I will be smiling in mere minutes. As I smile now, writing this.
Every American teenager should see this simply for the musical numbers alone. The word classic is misused as often as the word "hero" these days, but it's not misused here. What could have been the umpteenth bad iteration of "Animal House" instead attained the temporary immortality of the true classic. Belushi's been gone for more than twenty years now, but the brilliant John, the hilarious John, the gifted performer John Belushi will live on forever.
And, wherever you are John that has to make you smile.
on March 11, 2004
Why watch a 1980 movie?
* Great music
* Great car chases and crashes
* John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Twiggy, Frank Oz, Chaka Khan, John Lee Hooker, Steven Spielberg, and many more
* A funny plot as strong as the characters
You've heard about the car chases and pileups? Besides the massive crunching and flying of vehicles, they show you the real Chicago as well as the landmarks. As chases go, I have never seen a better one. It is like "Starsky and Hutch" times 250.
Seeing Cab Calloway is a high point. He was 73 when the movie came out, and told a younger generation that "Minnie the Moocher" was a red hot hoochie-coocher. His fame was mostly in the 1940s but his swagger still remained.
Many of the actors with bit parts are surprising. Steven Spielberg and Chaka Khan sneak in there, as does Frank Oz. Calloway, Belushi, Candy, Hooker are gone from this life, and James Brown's career is stymied by personal troubles. The movie has all of them together.
Everything is about Jake and Elwood's mission from God. That's how they see their goal of raising money for an orphanage. They only know one way of making legit cash, and that's through music. Jake has been incarcerated and so the Blues Brothers band broke up. Jake and Elwood gather up the old member one by one, and finally talk their way into a gig. There are enough police who would see it another way, and other bands, old girlfriends, Nazis and wives getting in the way, and into some of the most fun that ever hit Lower Wacker.
The extras on the DVD are interesting. The documentary is the only real value, considering John Belushi's untimely death. The sound lacks in depth and stereo quality. You can make up for this by buying the soundtrack.
I fully recommend "The Blues Brothers."
on January 25, 2004
The Blues Brothers is one of those movies everyone should see at one time or another in their lives.
Blues Brothers is a simple story. Jake(Belushi) has just gotten out of jail and re-united himself with brother and bandmate Elwood.(Akroyd) The Blues Brothers have just found out the orphanage they grew up is going to be sold and they have to stop that from happening. They have a couple of days notice to get $5,000 or it'll be gone. But how can they fail, They're on a mission from God.
This movie has some of the greatest chemistry between actors that you will ever see. Jim Belushi and Dan Akroyd are great. Words don't give these guys the credit they deserve though. They stared, wrote, and actually played and sung the music in this. There characters are some of the most memorable in film history and both are pop cultre icons. Their easily the greatest SNL skit to ever go to the big screen and this is a must for anyone who considers themself a fan of either actor.
The music is awesome in this movie. You have to love a movie that has Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, James Brown, and Ray Charles in it. The Blues Brothers and their band are awesome as well. This movie could be considered a musical and it has some of the best ever.
This one is also one of the first movies to have hit stars in short cameos in it. Carrie Fisher, Steven Spielberg, Frank Oz, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, James Brown, John Candy, and Ray Charles all have good ones and there are pleanty of other guys you'll recognize.
I don't think I've ever seen more crashes in one movie either. If you love high speed crashes and chases you'll like Blue's Brothers just for it.
Blues Brothers is one of the all time greats. Director John Landis(Three Amigos, Trading Places, Animal House) called this the greatest action musical chase explosion movie you will ever see. He's totally right and I garuntee you will love this one.
on October 1, 2003
The red Pinto stationwagon launches majestically off a highway construction ramp into the clean morning air. As Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries blares in the background, the car begins its impossible 15 second descent against the skyline of wakening Chicago. The henchman passenger turns to Henry Gipson's character, the head of the Illinois Nazi Party, and says simply, "I've always loved you". Moments earlier two men in black suits, hats, and sunglasses did a back flip in their vintage police car, traded for a mic, over that same Pinto and sped off. Welcome to the world of the Blues Brothers. The dispatching of the Nazis is perhaps my favorite part, the incredulous looks on their faces as they plummet, coupled with the sly nod to 2001 Space Odyssey as the foreground rushes past them. Belushi's Jake, released from prison reunites with Aykroyd's Elwood. Visiting their childhood orphanage home, they are informed that it needs $5000 in tax money or it will close. Spurred on by a spiritual awakening, their 'mission from God' sees them reuniting their blues band to play and come up w/ the money. They slowly collect their prior band-mates, lifting them from their current dreary existences [lounge acts, fry cooks, etc.] while performing musical numbers with blues greats like James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, etc. Once reunited they play a couple gigs including the infamous cowboy bar. Along the way they collect a not inconsiderable number of people who want them either dead or behind bars. Departing the last gig, they have to get the money to the tax assessors dept. by mid morning. This sets up one of cinema's greatest car chases. The Blues Brothers features great music and nice pacing. The DVD includes some scenes not available for some time that don't hinder the production. While the Blues Brothers themselves are cartoons in their black suites; there is a moment of sweet humanity when Belushi takes off his glasses to plead for his life. The film works on a variety of levels and is recommended.
on September 7, 2003
The Blues Brothers is a true classic movie, one of the few SNL movies that is actually a good story. Joliet Jake is recently released from prison and picked up by his brother Elwood. The two discover that the orphanage they grew up in is going to be sold to the Board of Education unless they can raise $5,000 to give to the State Assesors office. The Blues Brothers try to get the money by putting their band back together and doing a few gigs. Along the way, they anger the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Nazi Party, the owner of Bob's Country Bunker, and a band from Nashville, the Good Ole Boys. This movie is great from beginning to end. The musical numbers are all great including Jake's revelation in the church, Ray Charles singing Shake Your Tail Feather, Aretha Franklin singing in her soul food diner, the peformance in Bob's Country Bunker, and finally the concert at the end including two of their best songs. As well, there is action galore from Elwood jumping a bridge with their 1974 Dodge Sedan to their chaotic ride through a crowded mall to the police chase at the end through the streets of Chicago( especially Lower Wacker Drive) and the chase up the staircase to the Assessor's office. The Blues Brothers has something for everybody and should not be missed.
The Blues Brothers are played to perfection by John Belushi as Jake and Dan Aykroyd as Elwood. The two actors are hysterical together throughout as they anger just about everybody in the city of Chicago. There are far too many lines to mention, but it is obvious that they had fun making this movie. There are plenty of musical cameos also including Cab Calloway, James Brown as a preacher, Aretha Franklin as the owner of a Soul Food diner, Ray Charles as the owner of music store, and John Lee Hooker as a street peformer on Maxwell Street. The film also stars Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Kathleen Freeman, Henry Gibson, and many more. Also look out for a very funny cameo by Frank Oz and a short appearance by Steven Spielberg. Also worth mentioning is the Blues Brothers band including Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Murphy Dunne, "Blue Lou" Marini, Tom "Bones" Malone, Steve "The Colonel" Cropper, Alan Rubin, and Willy "Two Bits" Hall. The Collector's Edition DVD offers widescreen presentation, the original theatrical trailer, a making of documentary with interviews with the cast and crew, and footage not seen since the original release in 1980. This is a great movie that all viewers will find something to like in it. Do not miss this classic!
on August 26, 2003
The Blues Brothers served as my introduction to the Blues. Sure it's a little pathetic, but ask any small town White boy blues fan under the age of 30, and you'll be suprised how many of us share the same memory. Jake and Elwood are a pair of somewhat criminal, blues musicians on a mission from God to raise money to save an orphanage while simultaneously trying to not be killed by a jilted Carrie Fisher.
OK Forget the plot...the fact is that this movie is fun. It has cameos by everyone from Boom Boom John Lee Hooker to Jelly Legs James Brown. Let us not understate that this is the only SAT. Night Live skit-to-movie that works. Where Wayne's World is Marginally watchable, this one is genuinely funny. Every other example should pulled from their respective canisters and burned in a huge public ceremony immeditely after being used to hang everyone involved in their production (and perhaps knotted in order to provide Chevy Chase with a brutal flogging)
In other words this film is worth owning. It makes you want to be a Blues Man. Really, what more can you ask from a movie?