Importing a Better Match Point (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Woody Allen's Match Point is not available on blu-ray, at least not here in the United States. And you're no better off in the UK or Canada. So if we want this in HD, and it is one of Allen's more popular, highly received modern films, we're gonna have to import. And I don't know about you, but if I'm to the trouble of importing, I want some extras and no forced subs. And I know extras and Woody Allen don't generally go together, but today we're in luck. We actually have a couple options, but I went with the Italian blu from Medusa.
In 2005's Match Point, Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Velvet Goldmine) is a lower class tennis trainer in London, who catches the attention of a very wealthy family. It's not long before he's marrying his way into their family, by way of Emily Mortimer, and he seems to be set for life. They all love him, they've set him up with an incredible career and Mortimer wants to have a baby. But he's not the family darling long before he meets an American actress, Scarlet Johansson, who's dating another member of the family, and he can't resist the temptation of an illicit affair. But when he ultimately becomes too involved to both parties, how far will he go to hang onto his new, gilded way of life?
When I first saw this film, I liked it well enough. Attractively shot, well acted, an involving story with a particularly effective ending. But I sort of felt like we'd covered this ground before with Crimes and Misdemeanors, and that's a masterpiece, leaving this as kind of pointlessly redundant and inferior. I was surprised it was treated as a sort of comeback for Allen by critics and audiences. I'd actually gotten more out of last couple maligned comedies. This and Cassandra's Dream just felt to me like Allen was proving he could direct more popular mainstream work if he chose - which he successfully did - than make another great film.

But over the years, I've revisited it and it's risen in my estimation. It is a great cast; it is a strong, classical story, expertly made. Once you let the comparison go and take the film on its own merits, what's not to like? Okay, it's still not Crimes and Misdemeanors, but I realized it was time to lift the embargo on Match Point from my collection. I also bought a used DVD of Cassandra's Dream for under $2.  ;)
Like I said, Allen like's you to be in on his influences.
So, like I said, Match Point has never been released on blu-ray in America, but it was released on DVD back when it was a new release back in 2006. I've got that one, so we can look at that for a comparison. Match Point did come out on blu in France, but it has forced French subtitles, so I wouldn't recommend that one unless you're a native French speaker. But over the years, it's slowly popped up in other countries, with a few, light extras and unforced subs: Australia, Germany, Japan. The most recent is Medusa's Italian blu-ray, which came out in 2013.
Universal 2006 DVD on top; Medusa 2013 blu-ray below.
So, unsurprisingly, it's the same master. Framing, colors, all that's basically identical. Unfortunately, that means there's still some edge enhancement (look around the edges of Meyers' suit in the museum) that you probably wouldn't find being employed in a new master. I suppose I held out a sliver of hope that a newer blu meant a new master, but it's no surprise everyone's licensing and using the same one made back in '06. And it's not like it's terrible or anything; just a little below the most modern standards. It's still a nice HD upgrade; it's not like it's an upscale... is it?
Universal 2006 DVD left; Medusa 2013 blu-ray right.
No, whew! Look at that. Resolution is much better on the blu, with small detail looking like a blurry mess in comparison. I mean, the DVD is fine by DVD standards; there's no interlacing or other issues. But the blu-ray definitely reaps all the benefits of its higher definition, which is all I can ask for.

Oh, and uncompressed sound, which it also has. Both the original English and Italian dub are LPCM 2.0. And if you want Italian subtitles, they're here, too; but they're optional/ removable.
So, okay, let's talk extras. Again, it's Woody Allen, so set your expectations low. The US DVD has nothing, not even the trailer. Just a bonus trailer for Munich; which plays on start-up. Blah.

Medusa's blu does have the trailer, so we're already ahead. But don't worry, I haven't set my expectations that low. Medusa's blu also includes a nice, 17 minute featurette called Crime Without Punishment. They basically take your basic EPK interviews with Woody Allen, Scarlet Johannson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and turn them into one piece. But hey, that's a lot better than the nothing we get here in the USA. And someone's clearly taken the time to inter-cut the interviews, and add in behind the scenes photos and clips from the film to make it a little nicer watch, which I appreciate.
The featurette does have burnt in Italian subtitles, and they use the Italian dub for the clips, but that's fine. The dub actually makes it slightly more interesting assuming you've just watched the film before switching to the featurette. It's also got interlacing problems, but for an extra it's fine. The interviews are good, especially Woody's, and that's all that matters.

The German, French and Japanese blus also have brief featurettes/ interviews, all of which are short and presumably based on the same EPK. The Italian one is probably the strongest single piece, since it edits different elements together into a more original featurette, but it looks like the German blu includes snippets from Mortimer and Matthew Goode, so you could go either way there. The German blu also has a photo gallery, but I'd bet they're mostly the same shots that were edited into Medusa's featurette. The Australian blu doesn't seem to have anything, though.
So if you want Match Point on blu-ray, go for it! I can totally vouch for this Medusa disc; it's a proper HD release and a nice little step up from the DVD. And the featurette's a nice touch.

The Greatest Italian Horror Yet To Be Released: Spider Labyrinth

If only one more Italian horror film could ever get a DVD or blu-ray release from now on, 1988's Spider Labyrinth would be it. This is the best "I can't believe it's never been released" Italian horror film of them all. There's never even been a laserdisc of it, or an untranslated foreign DVD. Although, interestingly, the soundtrack was just remastered and released digitally in 2014. Could that be a good sign? Spider Labyrinth was directed by Gianfranco Giagni, co-writer and director of Valentina, the 80's adaptation of Guido Crepax's comic books starring Demetra Hampton - another great movie desperately in need of a DVD or blu-ray release. But let's stay focused on this one for now.
We start out with a great, Hammer-like set up. A university professor is told his classes are canceled and he's to come to a meeting with the school's council. They tell him that they've lost touch with one of their senior professor's in Budapest, who's been out there studying a religious cults. And now they'd like him to travel out there and try to find him, or at least what's left of his research. Naturally, what we winds up stumbling into is much bigger and more sinister than he could've ever suspected. Shady characters, dark alleyways, murderers and yes, spiders.
Our hero gets lost driving around the distinctly labyrinthine city. He asks a man on the street for directions and as soon as he pulls away, someone steps out of the shadows to talk to the man. And there's a great city where he's talking to his assistant at a fancy restaurant. They're covering a lot of exposition, but you slowly start to notice in the background that, one by one, the diners in the background are getting up and slowly walking upstairs, until our leads find themselves in an eerily empty restaurant. I've often seen this film as Bava-esque, and it is, but the style and mystery actually reminds me more of Pupi Avati's best films, like House With Laughing Windows, or the writer trying to follow the clues found in his typewriter ribbon in Zeder.
But it's not all mystery, suspense and old timey film noir-isms. If one of this movie's parents is a restrained Mario Bava, it's other is a wild Lucio Fulci. Big deaths, colorful lighting and the supernatural running screaming right up in your face. Do you want to see a creepy stop motion spider? How about a woman who hangs from a high ceiling and drools silk that turns into a noose and hangs a man? Yeah, this film even delves into the crazed imagery style of some of the more innovative Asian horrors. Spider Labyrinth has it all.
Usually, these things end in a room full of tired old shriners in hooded robes standing around a flat alter with one big dagger between them. I'm not going to spoil what this film ends with, or all the twists and turns it takes to get there, but I'll say the effects of Sergio Stivaletti (as well as Barbara Morosetti, who worked on Demons, Phenomena, Wax Mask and Dellamorte Dellamore) are used to deliver something much more satisfying.
What I've got is a 2011 bootleg DVD from Underground Empire. You've no doubt noticed the Italian television watermark on all my screenshots. It's at least anamorphic widescreen (at an unusual 1.64:1 ratio), but looks sourced from videotape, being very soft and light on detail. There's also a slightly bootleg that's being sold on Amazon as one of those made-to-order DVRs. It's from PR Studios, 2009, and according to one customer's review, "First of all, the dvd cover is obviously a crummy scan of a vhs cover.... The source for this [disc] is a vhs tape. It is full-frame. It looks second or third generation. It is crummy." Another viewer describes its "smudged and grainy picture and muffled sound quality is of an old VHS tape." So yeah, this bootleg at least seems preferable to that one.
But really, we should be able to chuck all these bootlegs. It's time for the high quality presentation this film deserves. Look at all these beautifully shot, creepy atmospheric locations. Imagine how they'd look on blu-ray with a fresh scan of the OCN. And how about some extras? It seems like we hear more and more about the same handful of Italian horror films over and over, often the same interviewees telling the same anecdotes. Yaknow, Catriona MacColl is great, but I think we've learned all there is to know from her a dozen times over. Now let's hear from some of these other people about these other great films. We know next to nothing about the story behind Spider Labyrinth, and I'd love to learn! I don't think I've ever even seen an image of Giagni yet. Heck, even just giving Italian horror fans around the world a chance to see Spider Labyrinth alone would be an education, because most of you have no idea what you're missing.

Possibly Better From Australia? The Killing Fields (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Naturally, Q isn't the only blu-ray that's better from Australia. I'm going to be looking at a few of these in the next couple weeks, but this one's really debatable. Today we're looking at The Killing Fields, again from Umbrella Entertainment. Warner Bros released their 30th Anniversary digibook blu-ray of this title in 2014, but Umbrella had already beaten them to the punch in 2012. This gave Warner Bros the advantage, which they used to come ahead in some departments, but still fall short in others.
The Killing Fields is a seriously impressive, moving film. On the extras, the creators stress that it's not really a war film, and I'd agree. It doesn't stake itself on any particular army's side and doesn't follow which wins or loses, or even how the soldiers do in combat. It's a true story about the journalists staying (initially) at the American embassy covering the devastation in Cambodia during the struggles between the Khmer Rouge and the government in the early 70s. It's a rag-tag international collection, but we focus primarily on New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) and his local translator/ protege Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor, who won the Academy Award for this performance). It's a powerful look at the consequences of war on a nation of people, and also a bit of a platonic love story between these two men.
I already called this film impressive, but that really is the word to describe this picture in my mind. It's got an incredibly authentic feel, thanks in no small part to its incredible locations and production value. Filmed in and primarily around Cambodia just a few years after the events that inspired the film, the history and violence is totally alive in this picture, populated by Cambodian citizens reliving their own experiences on camera. Among them is a surprising supporting cast including John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T. Nelson, Bill Patterson and of course Spalding Gray (Swimming To Cambodia is about this film). There's also a very unusual but effective soundtrack. It's almost impossible to believe that this was the first film of writer Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) and director Roland Joffe until you realize it was produced by heavy hitter David Puttnam, the man behind everything from Chariots of Fire to Ken Russell's crazy Liztomania. He was able to enlist the cooperation of multiple governments to help realize an uncompromised and unflinching vision that doesn't shine anybody involved in a sentimental light.
So, I don't have Warner Bros. 30th Anniversary blu-ray, but I've read extensively about it and I'm going to refer you guys to a screenshot on another review site in a minute. I do, however, still have my original Warner Bros Killing Fields DVD from 2001, and of course I have Umbrella's 2012 blu-ray. But even if you just look at my on-site comparison between the DVD and Australian blu, you'll see the whole story: it's a question of source material (and extras).
Warner Bros 2001 DVD on top; Umbrella Ent's 2012 blu-ray below.
Boy, these are pretty different, huh? One thing this isn't a case of: the same old transfer being slapped on an HD disc. No, the blu-ray is much bluer heavier on contrast. Yeah, the blu has more picture on the sides, particularly the left. But more than that, there's the bold blacks, bright highlights, and a bluer tone. Except for one shot. One quick two-second shot on the blu-ray is totally different, and really stands out from the rest of the film while watching it.
Warner Bros 2001 DVD on top; Umbrella Ent's 2012 blu-ray below.
This is a set of shots that take place in the same scene. Ngor is crawling under a fence, we cut away to see if he's been spotted, and cut right back to him. On the blu-ray, the cut back to him is starkly different in color timing, as if it went from day to night. I went back to the DVD, and it doesn't have that issue; it all matches perfectly.

I think what's going on here is that the Umbrella blu is taken from a print, and Warner Bros is using the same or similar master the DVD used. Here's that link I mentioned earlier; taken from an excellent review of the US blu by  It's not an exact frame match, but it's the same moment as my second set of shots, above. You can plainly see it's much closer to the old DVD in terms of color and contrast.

That said, Umbrella's transfer is a fine presentation of this bluer print. Compression is strong on the blu-ray; it looks like a real HD image compared to the soft DVD. In fact, detail seems stronger here than on the Warners Blu, even (look at the rocks on the ground)! And watching the film, if you're not directly comparing it to US releases, the colors don't look particularly off (apart from that one brief shot, which is strange).  As you can see from the other screenshots on this page, it's not like every scene has a strong blu hue or anything.  The only thing that really struck me on my initial watch is that the blacks might be a little crushed.  But then after going back to the DVD and comparing the transfers now, I do feel the US colors are more natural and almost certainly correct. So, transfer-wise, I would rank them WB DVD < Umbrella blu < WB blu. But the WB blu isn't exactly a fancy 4k scan of the OCN either, so I'm not sure the Umbrella disc is so far behind, so much as it is noticeably different. But don't get me wrong. Warner Bros still looks decidedly more correct.

Oh, and the US blu offers a 2.0 DTS-HD track, while Umbrella has 5.1 DTS-HD audio. And the DVD has a standard Dolby 2.0 track. But I don't regret picking up the Umbrella blu-ray over Warner Bros', and it's not because of the 5.1.
Extras play a particularly strong role with this title. Just about every release of The Killing Fields, including all three discussed so far, include an excellent commentary by director Joffe. He passionately discusses every aspect of the film, from his getting hired to the real events behind the film. He's alone with no moderator for the entire two and a half hour running time, and he never stumbles or leaves us with a moment's dead air. He's very engaged and even if you've seen the the other features I'm about to talk about, it's unrepetetive and highly informative.

But that's about it for the DVD and the US blu. They have the trailer, and the blu has a nice booklet. But The Killing Fields has been released in many countries, all with differing extras, and I believe the Australian disc to be the best in this regard. Again, they pretty much all have the commentary. But the UK disc has multiple interviews, and the German disc has a substantial documentary. There's also a French DVD that has some very interesting sounding features consisting of about two hours worth of interviews with real Cambodian refugees. But all of that's in French with no English language option, so we can take that one off the table.
So, yes, the Australian disc takes the crown here. It features one, and by far the longest, of the interviews from the UK disc. A very detailed, hour-long discussion with producer Puttman. He is still very serious about this film and has a lot to say, and almost none of it repeats the commentary track. It helps that he's got a very informed, intelligent interviewer asking him questions and it's just edited enough to keep you engaged the entire hour.

And even more importantly, it also has the documentary that was on the German disc. This is an hour-long British television special about the film, made before the film had even been released, which goes very deep into the film. It interviews the key players in the cast and crew, but goes well beyond that, filming them shooting in Cambodia, showing authentic wartime footage and talking to the real people, including the real Schanberg and Pran. It's narrated by William Shawcross, a journalist who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Cambodia during that time, and provides coverage of the true story that rivals the coverage in The Killing Fields film itself.

The Umbrella blu also includes the trailer.
It's a bit frustrating that no one's released a really comprehensive release of this film: the Warner Bros transfer with all of the extras on the Australian blu, and the additional interviews from the UK blu as well. If you're a hardcore fan of the film, or just have the money to spend, you could import all three for a "total package" experience. But for most of us, it's going to be about deciding between the USA's transfer and Australia's features. For me, the US transfer is best but not amazing, and the Australian extras really are excellent; but it's all going to come down to personal preference. So now that you have the facts, choose away.

Better From Australia: Larry Cohen's Q The Winged Serpent (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

If you follow this site regularly, you know I'm a big Larry Cohen fan, and Q: The Winged Serpent is one of his most enjoyable films, but it took me a long time to upgrade it. Scream Factory upgraded Blue Underground's 2003 DVD to blu in 2013. But it wasn't a big restoration or anything, and it didn't have much by way of extras... it claimed to have a new commentary by Cohen, but the BU disc had a commentary by Larry Cohen, so what was up with that? And otherwise, there wasn't anything else, so I never bothered with it. But I also never quite shook the notion that eh, that would be a nice title to upgrade and maybe find out if that commentary's any different or what. But finally I found out about the Australian blu-ray from Umbrella Ent. And while it's not exactly a mind-blowing special edition, it was enough to get me to bite.
Q is Larry Cohen's King Kong. And my that, I don't mean he's ripping off the old Hollywood classic for modern 80s audiences, I mean we're seeing the basic Kong concept - giant monster running rampant in NYC - through the Cohen's lens, turning it into a totally different, unique experience. It's a Cohen movie through and through, just like if Woody Allen or David Lynch used the basic concept; they would be completely different movies, nothing like watching the actual King Kong.

In Cohen's world, the story is told through the eyes of a perennial loser, played by the incomparable Michael Moriarity. He's a failed freestyle jazz musician who winds up joining a small group of thugs' attempt to rob a jewelry store. Everything goes wrong and he hides out in the top of the Chrysler Building, which just so happens to be housing the nest of Quetzalcoatl, the ancient Aztec winged serpent god that's been summoned by an high priest who's running around the city performing ritual sacrifices. David Carradine, Richard Roundtree and of course James Dixon are the police on the case trying to solve both strings of mysterious murders.
Moriarity and Cohen together are always a treat, but I think this is Moriarity's best role for Cohen. The Stuff was maybe an even more outrageous character, but his performance is strongest here. And it's peppered with a great cast collection of supporting character actors like Larry Pine, Malachy McCourt and Candy Clark as Moriairty's devoted girlfriend. The monster story's fun with a lot of entertaining set pieces and production value; but it's all the human scenes that really make the film, peaking when Moriarity finally gets to meet with the mayor and, in his eyes, become a hero.

So, Umbrella's blu-ray came out in 2014. It basically uses the same transfer as the Scream Factory blu. I've got that and I've still got my Blue Underground DVD, which I plan to keep, for reasons I'll detail as we go on.
Blue Underground DVD on top; Umbrella blu-ray below.
Actually, right away it's clear this is more than just the same master plopped onto a an HD disc like I was expecting. It may not be a glamorous 4k scan of the original negatives, but it's a nice improvement. The contrast boost might be a little controversially strong - look how the light flares out behind Moriarity in the first set of shots, pure white, which are actually blue skies on the DVD - but overall it really doesn't look bad. We get some additional picture information, and not just because the blu is framed at 1.77:1 while the DVD's matted to 1.85:1. The blu finds more on all four sides, and it's definitely sharper and cleaner on the blu. Just take a look at all the signs in the second set, which are full of splotchy compression mess on the DVD, nicely cleaned up on the blu.

The DVD gave you a bunch of audio options: mono, stereo, 5.1 and even 6.1.  The blu-ray just has one solid, lossless DTS-HD Master audio stereo track, but it's the best of the lot. Neither disc offers any kind of subtitles.
And now for the commentaries. Yes, they are different, distinct recordings. But on the other hand, Cohen says mostly the same stuff on both. There was nothing wrong with the original, so I'm not sure why anyone thought to replace it. I guess it was cheaper to record a new one than license the old one? Or maybe Cohen didn't like some off-hand comment he made the first time and wanted a chance to rewrite history? I don't know, but both are excellent commentaries. They're not 100% all the same content... Cohen seems to have a lot of rehearsed stories for the film, but moderator William Lustig manages to ask some questions that pulls out some info Cohen doesn't get to on his own. In terms of which is better, I'd say it's a tie. But if you're asking if you should double-dip to get both, I'd say no, though both have a few unique anecdotes and things to them. Cohen sings part of a song he wrote for and about Moriarity on the Blue Underground commentary, so that's fun. But really, it's a tie and mostly the same ground is covered.

The DVD doesn't have much else besides the commentary. There's a promo trailer, which is kinda neat, sense it's narration over an animated logo rather than just scenes from the film. And there's a photo gallery and an additional DVD-Rom collection of articles and press sheets that actually has a few interesting things in it if you bother to take the time and dig into that on your PC. But that's it. And same with the Scream blu-ray, which is missing the gallery and Rom stuff, but has an additional theatrical trailer. Oh, the DVD also had a nice insert with Spanish poster art.
The Australian blu has the same, newer commentary as the Scream Factory disc, but it also has one other special feature, which is really what put it over the top for me. Confessions of a Low Budget Maverick - an all new, 25 minute interview piece with Cohen. It's mostly a single sit-down interview with Cohen, who talks charmingly about Q with photos and clips edited in where appropriate. He does tell a lot of the same tales from the commentaries. But he also a couple new anecdotes, talks about his earlier films, and then takes us outside to his pool, where he filmed scenes for Bone and Black Caeser.
It's a nice new piece, and it's exclusive to the Umbrella blu. So I'd definitely go for this one over the Scream for it, and coupled with the HD transfer and alternate commentary makes it a solid upgrade. It's missing the cool teaser, though, but that's fine since I'm hanging onto the DVD for the original commentary anyway. It's still a lower priority double-dip than some other films, but the new feature bumps it up high enough that I did it and I'm happy to have done so. And this isn't the only Umbrella blu that's like that...

Woody Allen's Irrational Man (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Weaker films by previously great directors have taught me not to blindly collect a filmmaker's work. Like every Cronenberg film used to be a must-have until he started filming lesser writers work rather than his own. After Ghosts of Mars, I realized it was time to start getting selective with John Carpenter's work. There's only a handful of the truly great masters I can really get excited about every single one of their films - Bergman or Rohmer come to mind. And even then it's not all perfect tens. But as rocky as Woody Allen's road is known to be, and how frequently his work is popularly rejected, I'm always eager for the new Woody Allen movie. Every one is at least worth owning and revisiting for me. Yes, even Hollywood Ending, Whatever Works or whatever you consider to be the bottom of his barrel. I'm excited for it; the latest Woody Allen movie is here!
In Irrational Man, Joaquin Phoenix is a hot shot philosophy professor who rolls into a stodgy college campus. He's having too much of an existential crisis to appreciate all the attention he's getting from his student Emma Stone and married faculty member Parker Posey, but he believes he may have finally found his calling when he overhears a conversation at a diner. A woman laments that a corrupt judge is ruining the lives of her and her family, and it occurs to Phoenix that perhaps he's finally found his calling in life: to kill this judge, and in doing so make the world a better place. It's a moral puzzle as well as an intellectual one, for an amateur to plot a perfect murder.

Look, Woody's not one to hide his influences. Throughout the film characters directly reference and debate Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Satre, DostoevskyImmanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt... their ideas are sometimes even stated outright and then challenged by the decisions these characters make in the story. The humor's very subtle, playing more like a drama with am underlying sense of satire. Tonally, it's closest to Allen's Match Point or Cassandra's Dream. The cast is great, the film's beautifully smart, but there's a(n intentional?) distance between you and the characters. You're observing and studying more than relating and getting caught up personally with them. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but at the end of the day, I consider it to be a lesser though still very good Allen film. The issues didn't grip me, but I had a good time with it, the cast was excellent, and it leaves you with a lot to go back to.
Irrational Man came out at the beginning of 2016 as separate DVD and blu-ray versions as a new release. There's not a lot of surprises to be revealed in comparing the DVD and blu-ray discs, but I own the blu and have access to a copy of the DVD, so I might as well be extra thorough. And it's not like Sony has an exactly perfect 100% success ratio with their new releases ("cough, 2015 black crush, cough"), so we should look to be sure.
Sony 2016 DVD top; Sony 2016 blu-ray bottom.
Again, it's a new release film, so nothing should really be going wrong here. Then again, Allen's still shooting on 35mm, so it's not like the filmmakers are just emailing a finished master to the label for them to copy to theaters and blu-ray. It's an attractive looking film, thankfully showcased by a first class release. Framing is 2.40:1, the colors and brightness look natural, etc. The DVD and blu share the same master, though obviously the former is a bit softer and more heavily compressed. Lines are clearer and smoother on the HD blu.

Both discs feature 5.1 mixes, though of course only the blu's is lossless DTS-HD. Both also offer French and Spanish dubs, plus English, English HoH, French and Spanish subtitles. The extras are also optionally subtitled, which is nice.
Sure, there ain't much by way of extras, but after decades of having it pounded into our heads that Woody Allen films shall never have extras besides the trailer, I'm happy for what little we do get. Ever since Midnight In Paris, the trend has been to at least include short promo featurettes on each of his films, and that's what we get here, too. On the Red Carpet: Los Angeles Film Premiere, cuts together interviews with Emma Stone, Parker Posey and Michael Barker (co-president of Sony Pictures Classics). It's super short (4 minutes), but it isn't padded with any film clips, so at least it's all content. Besides that, there's just the trailer and a slipcover.
The trend with Woody Allen blu-rays these days seems to be to start out really expensive, and then the price slowly sinks until they're dirt cheap. Irrational Man started out at almost $40, and that's not just the MSRP, but what all the sites were actually selling it for. Considering this is a single disc with barely any extras, no booklet or anything kind of release, that's pretty bold. But in the four months since its release, it's already come down to a reasonable under $20 price. So I'd recommend it starting now. It's no special edition, but it's a first class "plain" release. Or you could keep holding out, and it'll probably get cheaper.  he he  But do cop it at some point; it's a good film.