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Showing 1-10 of 135 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 140 reviews
on August 30, 2011
Four great Coen Brothers early works from Fox, and a couple licensed from MGM. Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, and Miller's Crossing are all instant classic films from the Coen catalog, and Fargo is an Oscar favorite bundled with this set and previously available. The die-hard Coen fans probably already own Fargo, making its inclusion here a little annoying for them, but it's still a better value (at current prices) than buying the others as individual discs. For those who have been waiting to get Fargo, or want a headfirst introduction to some of America's coolest filmmakers, this is a great bargain and a fantastic set; for the rest of us who are already Coen converts, buy the set, enjoy it, resell or give your extra Fargo to a friend, and try not to stew too badly thinking about Barton Fink, which yes, would have been better suited for this set.

Fox has given us individual cases for each movie, which I like a lot better than the cheap cardboard packaging of other sets. The discs themselves look and sound great. Most knowledgeable Blu-ray buyers know that there's a sliding scale, the age of the film and the cost invested in the release will determine how good it will look, and those films that have suffered from poor storage or mishandling are special challenges. I think, on the sliding scale, the Coen Brothers films included here look fantastic. These are mostly independently made films, in the range of twenty to twenty-six years old (excluding Fargo), none of them using Hollywood blockbuster money. I think Fox has done a bang-up job on their MGM license releases, and the Coen Brothers set continues that streak. The colors are as vibrant as each film's color palette allows, and a welcome amount of detail is brought out on Blu-ray. For artistic and intelligent films, the Coen Brothers employ a lot of kinetic camerawork and striking visuals, more in line with big-money Hollywood films, and these releases showcase that better than the DVDs I've seen. Occasional softness or a little grain notwithstanding, these are very well-done Blu-ray, and I think easily the best these film have looked since they first hit theaters.

The sound is very solid, though I have to admit my system isn't the best way to test that. No noticeable flaws to me. English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital Surround on Arizona and Miller's, Blood Simple is English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 DTS on Arizona and Miller's, no other language tracks on Blood Simple. Fargo is the same as before, English 5.1 DTS Master Audio and Dolby Digital Surround, Spanish, French, German, and Italian 5.1 DTS, Portugese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. All are 50GB dual layer discs, ACV @ 39 MBPS (Blood Simple), 31 MBPS (Raising Arizona and Fargo), and 30 MBPS (Miller's Crossing).

Special features are a little thin, but we would be complaining about the wait if Fox put off these releases until the Coen Brothers wanted to contribute more in-depth features and commentary. Raising Arizona essentially gets nothing (trailers and TV spots, and if ever a film was overdue praise, it's this one. A loaded special edition may be planned for some time (25th anniversary is next year), but for anyone who wants the film looking its best (or pretty damn good), this edition is commendable. Blu-ray buyers know the bread and butter of most studios are new releases, not catalog titles, so this is nothing we haven't seen before, and better than a lot of them.

Menus and playback features are pretty stylish. Studios seldom get credit for that, but the extra work is appreciated.

It would have been downright heroic to get Barton Fink with these other early Coen Brothers favorites for the same price, but Fox probably makes a better profit including a previously-released film which has already been paid for, and they've been pretty generous to make the other three titles individually available, if you only want one or two. Not a bad compromise. These are excellent films, fantastic stories and great acting, incredible directing and original ideas, must-owns for me, and if they haven't been given Lord of the Rings-level attention, they've at least been treated pretty respectfully. I'll wait for Barton Fink to get its own release, and get my Coen Brothers fix in the meantime with the four that are included.
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on March 21, 2015
This imported set of five of Coen Brothers' movies on Blu-ray, currently selling for around $20, offers a unique brand of comedy at an exceptionally low cost; the discs are playable in all regions. The first three come with full complements of extras, but the last two ("Barton Fink" and "Intolerable Cruelty") do not, tempting me to dock the collection a star in my rating. However, the overall greatness of the films and the excellent value in this package prevent me from doing so.

The Coens are a prickly pair of daring auteurs whose sometimes affectionate and often misanthropic takes on humanity are not to everyone's taste. They write for their favorite actors, among them George Clooney, John Goodman, John Turturro, and Steve Buscemi, who repeatedly appear in their ensembles, providing them endlessly wry dialog and deliciously clever irony.

The films:

The critically praised but bleakly comic "A Serious Man" (2009) deals with a quest by a physics professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) to understand the purpose of his life, one continually beset by misfortune and absurdity. As his family, career, and finances disintegrate, the professor turns to his Jewish faith for a consolation that is questionable at best. The story inevitably brings to mind the biblical book of Job.

Set in Washington, DC, "Burn After Reading" (2008) features a terrific troupe of actors: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and John Malkovich. They play arrogant, avaricious, duplicitous, sex-obsessed, and downright stupid schmucks who collide with one another and with fate in myriad combinations and permutations. Spy thriller meets Laurel & Hardy and riotous misadventure ensues.

Cult classic "The Big Lebowski" (1998) is as odd as they come, a gleefully profane and hallucinatory story about bowling, mistaken identity, and mind-altering substances. Its characters include a philanthropist, a pornographer, a police chief, a Vietnam veteran, a farmer's daughter gone bad, a gang of German nihilists, and the ultimate slacker, indelibly portrayed by Jeff "The Dude" Bridges. He's joined by an all-star cast: John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Ben Gazzara, Tara Reid, David Thewlis, Sam Elliott, and others.

The surreal, paranoid "Barton Fink" (1991) is an atmospheric cross between Franz Kafka and William Burroughs. John Turturro plays a playwright-turned-screenwriter suffering from writer's block and John Goodman plays his insurance agent neighbor at a run-down hotel in Hollywood. Under pressure to complete a screenplay for a studio, Fink finds inspiration in a very dark source. What's in the box? That's for you to figure out!

Finally, there's "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003), which concerns a high-powered divorce attorney (George Clooney) and the beautiful gold-digger he falls for (Catherine Zeta-Jones). This is a very funny, take-no-prisoners battle of the sexes in which only the most relentlessly scheming character can win.

My recommendation:

Buy this collection. If you add the similarly low-priced -- and similarly wonderful -- Blu-ray anthology "From the Minds of the Coen Brothers" ("Blood Simple," "Fargo," "Miller's Crossing," and "Raising Arizona") and a few individual films ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "No Country for Old Men," and "True Grit"), you will have the 12 Coen movies that I think matter most, a weirdly enthralling mix of comedy and tragedy imbued with mystery, poetry, and genius.
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on March 19, 2017
This is another one of those great bargains I love to find on Amazon. It's four of the Coen Brothers' best early films sold together as a single set. Each movie comes in it's own case (probably the original individual blu-ray releases) within a simple sleeve, so you can store them together or separately if you need to.

It's really hard to go wrong with this set. It's basically $6.00 per individually packaged blu-ray of some the Coen's most critically acclaimed and entertaining films. There aren't a huge number of special features, but the ones they have are worthwhile, especially on "Miller's Crossing" and "Fargo".

If you're a hardcore Coen Brothers fan, you might already have these. But if you're a neophyte, this collection of four movies for the price of one is the best place to start.
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on February 16, 2014
As there are other review that provide better details on the movies themselves, I'm not getting into it. I just wanted to clarify on the issue about them or some not playing in the US. I have a US Sony blu-ray player and all 5 movies played perfectly, so each disc is region free. Not sure why on some review says that some discs don't work, but just wanted to post this as I was a bit skeptic when I ordered this product and basically had my fingers crossed everytime I played each disc.
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on March 4, 2017
Although I bought this set strictly for Fargo and Raising Arizona I thought the other two were pretty good too. Nice price and cool looking case too!
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on January 31, 2012
This is a great collection for a great price; there isn't a bad Coen Brothers movie and they run from great to pretty good (the worst being Intolerable Cruelty which is not part of this collection). This includes three early films and the Oscar winning Fargo. Virtually all Coen films are tales of morality and what happens when one crosses the line into immorality; their first, Blood Simple, is included here and is their first foray into film noir. Their second, the offbeat comedy Raising Arizona, is one of my favorites and is their first foray into allegorical story telling. Their third film, Miller's Crossing, is another film noir offering with a character who manipulates, and is often manipulated by, other gangsters as he operates under a code of morality known only to him. FInally, Fargo is another film noir that examines the "domino principle" and what happens when one crosses the morality line, tapping the first domino that causes them all to fall while spinning wildly out of control. It's also one of two films in history that I can recall that successfully mingles comedic elements with stark violence. The Coens contrast the quirkiness of midwesterners with the stark harshness of violent crimes. By the way, the other film that does this successfully? A Clockwork Orange. The interesting thing for me is when I think back on A Clockwork Orange I remember it as very violent and when I watch it I realize how funny it also is. When I think back on Fargo I remember the comedy and then when watching I realize how serious and violent it is.

Regarding the transfers, Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing are fair, Raising Arizona and Fargo are very good. Still, to get these four movies you can't beat the price.
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on May 26, 2015
Blood and Millers were decent transfers.
However, Arizona and especially Fargo were the grainiest things I've ever seen.
I habitually scout reviews for bad transfers but I assumed these more or less modern masterpieces were gonna be at least alright. I put on "Lawrence of Arabia" circa 1962) just to make sure my Bluray wasn't malfunctioning. Amazing restoration.
Who ever signed off on these transfers should find another line of work.
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VINE VOICEon December 11, 2012
I've been a fan of the Coen Brothers' films for years. I remember seeing Blood Simple ages ago, though I had forgotten a lot of the details of the film. I have most of the Coen films in my library in one format or another, but I couldn't pass up the great price on this box set.

I'm not going to do reviews of the movies in this set - if you are considering it, then it's likely that you already like the films or plan to give them as gifts, etc. The box set is a great value. Each film is in separate retail-quality packaging, unlike many sets that repackage everything into flimsy paper or cardboard carriers. The restoration and quality of each film is very good. The Coen Brothers like their movies dark - visually as well as thematically, and the Blu-ray versions in this set are very easy to watch. Even the very dark scenes are crisp and well defined, but not "overexposed" as some restoration projects tend to do.

These are classic movies, packaged very well, in today's best format, at a great price. What's not to like?
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on October 13, 2012
Gotta admit, the title of the box set is kinda dumb - "From the minds of ...". But it's a good decision to put these four movies together. All are crime-gone-wrong movies (what the Coens are best at), although some may argue that Raising Arizona is out of place here as it's the only full-on comedy. Since Blood Simple is an early Coens film, can't expect much from the Blu-ray transfer. The rest are quite good transfers to high-def, although not top-notch reference-disc material. Raising Arizona's colours are especially vivid, since its palette fits the slapstick cartoonish action. Miller's Crossing has a stately picture quality and the classy cinematography is very much aided by the high-def, where colours are correct and shadows are strong. The obvious lack here are extras. But I believe there are not many extras on the individual releases either, so what's there to complain really.
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on January 24, 2017
Good grab for the price. I want to give it 5 just because these are Coen movies, but the box set just isn't 5 stars in my opinion. I still haven't watched A Serious Man though, but overall this set shouldn't disappoint fans or someone who hasn't heard of the Coen brothers. I really like Burn After Reading and the Big Lebowski, and Bartton Fink is pretty good. Intolerably Cruelty was ok, but not one of their best. Clooney is good in it, but the movie just doesn't click in some ways that leave it lacking. I actually didn't care for Burn After Reading the first time i watched it, but I happened to watch it again a couple years later and now I think it's one of their funniest movies. Since these are all Blue Ray too it helped me fill my collection with movies I didn't have, plus updating one or two that I didn't have on Blue Ray, and the price was worth it. Something like $20? I also couldn't find a box set that had everything i wanted, and this one was kind of unique i thought.
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