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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...You Shall See Thangs Wondrous To Tell..." - O Brother, Where Art Thou? on BLU RAY...
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 ALL-REGIONS BLU RAY REISSUE ***

"Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!"

When the Coen Brothers unleashed "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" into cinemas in September 2000 - it was an audio and visual sensation. The DVD that followed in 2001 received equal praise. But little will prepare fans for this truly beautiful 2011 BLU...
Published 24 months ago by Mark Barry

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feel Good Farce
O Brother, Where Art Thou is a very typical Cohen Brothers film in that it is in every respect smarter and wittier than standard Hollywood fare but has a plot that barely hangs together and makes no real attempt to build a narrative. The film is loosely based on The Odyssey but that fit is created primarily with the introduction of side characters who are clear homages...
Published on 2 April 2010 by MLA


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...You Shall See Thangs Wondrous To Tell..." - O Brother, Where Art Thou? on BLU RAY..., 19 July 2012
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 ALL-REGIONS BLU RAY REISSUE ***

"Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!"

When the Coen Brothers unleashed "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" into cinemas in September 2000 - it was an audio and visual sensation. The DVD that followed in 2001 received equal praise. But little will prepare fans for this truly beautiful 2011 BLU RAY transfer - it's properly gorgeous to look at - and up there with the best this (often frustrating) format can offer...

When it was originally filmed on location - a 'lossless' digital process was used to fully realise the specific light and scenery of Depression-hit Mississippi in 1937 (beautiful gold and yellow hues). That process combined with the stunning cinematography of Roger Deakins both get to shine like never before. There are times when the visuals are quite literally breathtaking in their clarity. And the canvas to impress your eyes just keeps coming at you as the movie progresses from location to location - open fields, hay barns, twisted swamps, dust roads, river banks, inside period cars and beat-up trucks, the chain-gang detail, radio stations and bank interiors. Even in the notoriously difficult indoor scenes in ramshackle homesteads and around campfires at night - it all looks 'so' good. Add to this a blisteringly funny script full of savvy life-observations and brutal local colloquialisms - and it's hardly surprising that it was nominated for 2 Academy Awards in these areas (Best Script and Cinematography).

Defaulted to 2.35:1 aspect ratio - it has bars top and bottom of the screen - but even when stretched to full screen - it rarely loses any definition. And better news for fans around the world is that this issue is an 'ABC/All Regions' BLU RAY - so it will play on every machine (as well as PlayStation 3 consoles).

Written and Directed by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen - "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" comes across as a sort of Three Stooges Road Movie with song accompaniment. Roughly based on Homer's ancient Greek play "The Odyssey" about a journey of salvation with many "ob-stack-les" along the weary way - its genius soundtrack also sparked a worldwide interest in Blues, Gospel and Old Timey Country music - much of which had been long forgotten and often derided as hick and corny (2011 saw a 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' reissue of this). The film was immediately followed by the DVD release of the "Down From The Mountain" concert in Nashville, Tennessee featuring live music played by musicians on the Grammy-winning soundtrack. Anyone who has seen it will know that it's an equally joyful and musically charged experience. This is America before the sadness and loss of 9/11 - enjoying itself and celebrating its heritage - and rightly so.

The large and varied cast is exceptional - especially the grotesque caricatures that pepper scene after scene. Quinn Gasaway as a gun-totting boy in filthy overalls, Stephen Root as the bug-eyed giggling recording studio boss, John Goodman as the dodgy Bible salesman Big Dan Teague whose ears pop up when he hears the crisp click of dollar bills in a restaurant. His eye-patch signals him as the club-wielding one-eyed Cyclops. Wayne Duvall as the hood-wearing racist Homer Stokes trying to get elected over Charles Durning - the portly but wily Governor of Mississippi - Pappy "Pass The Biscuits" O'Daniel who also hosts a radio show. So many great parts...

The story goes something like this - chained together as a trio of escaped convicts - they are driven to find a $1.2 million dollar treasure Everett is supposed to have hidden in a shack in a valley that is to be flooded in five days time to build a massive hydro-electric dam. But they are being pursued by the Devil in sunglasses with his mean dog - Sheriff Cooley (played with relish by Daniel Von Bargen). After visiting a relative of Pete's called Wash (a man who rarely does) - the boys are hounded off the farm yet again. They then meet a Negro called Tommy Johnson at a crossroads and give him a lift (superbly played by Louisiana guitarist Chris Thomas King). He explains that at midnight the night before he sold his immortal soul to the Devil in return for a guitar that he "sure can play" (like the folklore surrounding Blues legend Robert Johnson). Delmar is appalled but Everett sees a business opportunity. If they can get to a radio station on the outskirts of the State - there's a man there who'll give them money to "sing into a can". They eventually get there - pretend to be The Soggy Bottom Boys - do a charged rendition of "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" - and cut a record. But unbeknown to the hapless crew - a radio hit is born that will literally save their souls (and lives) in the end. But before they can get to that redemption of sorts - all sorts of journey hilarity ensues - including a reunion between Everett and his estranged wife Penny (Holly Hunter) and their 4-strong progeny of mouthy daughters. There are gun-battles with a madcap bank robber George 'Baby Face' Nelson who shoots livestock because he hates cows (a fantastic turn by Coens' favourite Michael Badalucco) and sexy Sirens by the river who turn Pete into a horny toad. It all ends with tins of Dapper Dan pomade floating by the screen when the big flood comes (along with everything else)...

The music deserves a special mention. While audiences expected to howl with laughter and cringe at the array of unhygienic ingrates displayed on screen - what they hadn't expected was to be so moved by the old-timey music - full of ballads about heartbreak, poverty and death. A perfect example is The Cox Family singing "I Am Weary (Give Me Rest)" on a truck at a town gathering - the melody and lyrics are genuinely moving. The congregation making their way through the trees to the river to be baptised as they sing (Acapella) "Down To The River To Pray". Country and Blues musicians also have on-and-off-camera cameos - Clooney lip-synching in the recording booth is really being sung by Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss' band Union Station - Gillian Welch asking for a copy of the song in a record shop - Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris provide the Acapella vocals as the seductive Sirens on the river - Ralph Stanley of The Stanley Brothers singing "O Death" as Tommy is led by a lynch mob to a gallows and a burning cross - The Fairfield Four Gospel group singing as they dig graves by a log cabin...

But the movie belongs to the three principal leads - John Turturro as the permanently moaning Pete Hogwallop and Tim Blake Nelson as the less than Mensa-material Delmar O'Donnell (a role he would revive to great effect in "Flypaper" - see review). There is a rare and completely believable chemistry between them. But the big revelation here is George Clooney playing the philosophy-jabbering Everett Ulysses McGill. While he doesn't quite reach the cult-inducing peaks of Jeff Bridges as 'The Dude' in the Coens incomparable "The Big Lebowski" (a part emblazoned into cinema lover's hearts forever) - Clooney shows a deftness of touch for comedy and pathos throughout that is quite fantastic. More importantly he seemed to finally park his devastatingly handsome good looks by taking a career chance and showing the world that he was more than just a pretty face. Clooney can act his soggy pants off if given the right part (something he's proved many times since).

The only real let down is the paltry extras (those that accompanied the initial DVD issue) which last only a few minutes and leave you craving more.

Still - this is a fantastic advertisement for what BLU RAY can offer. I only wish I had a humungous home-cinema system to watch it on.

To sum up - after they fail to catch a passing train full of men with "aimless lives of wandering..." Delmar is asked by the other two squabblers to give the deciding vote on who is leader of the trio. Delmar sappily says - "I'm with you fellas!"

I wholeheartedly agree.

BLU RAY Specifications:
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition - Aspect Radio 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital
SUBTITLES: English SDH (Hard Of Hearing), French and Spanish

EXTRAS:
1. The Making Of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
2. Two Storyboard-To-Scene Comparisons
3. "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow" Music Video
4. Theatrical Trailer

PS: Isaac Freeman - the bass vocalist with the legendary Gospel/Acapella group "The Fairfield Four" (mentioned above) - released his 1st solo album at the age of 73 in 2011 on Lost Highway Records called "Beautiful Stars". It's a beauty. Check it out...
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Region-free Blu-ray, 10 Jan 2012
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This is an excellent film, and an excellent blu-ray transfer. I will not belabor that point. However, others might be interested that despite Amazon's claims, this is a region-free blu-ray (plays in A, B, and C), so don't hesitate to buy it if you are in Europe and worried that it will not play. (The back cover also is marked A, B, C, but Amazon neglected to show that.)
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best film I've seen for ages, 7 April 2006
By A Customer
I'm not film enthusiast, and had never even heard of this one until I saw it on the listing for my 9 hour flight home from India. Flipping through the channels, the music made me stop at this one. Usually I have a hard time staying awake for a whole film on a night flight, but I just loved this film - so much so that I watched it all again 4 hours later, in preference to any of the others on offer. I have never, ever watched a film twice in one day before! I definitely want the soundtrack.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and mythical, 16 April 2006
By 
David Welsh (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Loosely based on the Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou tells the story of three petty criminals who have escaped prison in order to claim a haul of treasure before it ends up at the bottom of a lake which is about to be created by the building of a new dam, and the many sidetracks and adventures they encounter on the way. Clooney is brilliant as Ulysses Everett McGill and the film's soundtrack is wonderful - beautifully evoking the depression-era America in which the film is set. A hilarious, beautifully shot and mythical film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blu ray, 19 Oct 2013
No need to review what is an all out classic!!!
My comment is only this....the blu ray is outstanding. Colours beautiful and rich and pin sharp.Audio mix is spot on.Just buy buy buy.
Its a bare bones release but when you have a film of this quality which looks stunning who cares. One of my all time faves that delivers with every viewing, and thats because im a Dapper Dan man!!!!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A maelstrom of mirth and music, 8 July 2006
It's a long time since I read Homer's Odyssey, so perhaps it's not surprising that I can't remember seeing any of this story in that story - well, hardly any. There's the blind seer, the sirens, the Cyclops, Pete seeming to be changed into a frog (the sort of trick Circe liked to pull), the fact that Everett's first name is Ulysses and his wife's name is Penny (Penelope), and a temporary associate of the boys attacks a herd of cattle ... . So, a few points of contact with The Odyssey, but it really only fits where it touches. But who cares? This is a brilliant film. Best I've seen in ages. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get round to watching it - probably put off by the title. Silly me. I loved The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona - all fantastic Coen Bros films with dopey sounding titles. I should have just trusted them and watched this film years ago. To make up for lost time I watched it 3 times in the first week I had the DVD and kept skipping back to the beginning of the parts where The Soggy Bottom Boys sang "Man of Constant Sorrow". Fabulous music. And the dialogue is so clever, especially when you consider that the protagonists are more than slightly gormless - and they still give the impression of being idiots even whilst delivering these sparkling lines. Great comic acting. Great acting regardless of category, in fact. Another Coen master piece!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They have a plan, but not a clue., 27 April 2012
THE FILM)Putting their own unique spin on Homer's classic Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou is another Coen brothers classic. In a Golden Globe winning performance, George Clooney plays Ulysses Everett McGill, a silver-tongued petty criminal who finds himself on a chain gang in deepest Mississippi. Together with a clumsy duo of lame losers, simple minded Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and maladjusted Pete (John Turturro), he scams his way off the chain gang and into the adventure of a lifetime as the three set off in search of a fortune in buried treasure... still shackled and hopelessly unprepared for the road ahead. Featuring a supporting cast of larger than life characters including John Goodman as Big Dan Teague, Holly Hunter as Everett's old flame Penny and Charles Durning as Governor Pappy O'Daniel, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is an irresistible mixture of high adventure, sidesplitting comedy and heartfelt emotion..
WHAT CAN I SAY?
Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home in this Serious Comedy with wonderful characters,The Coen Brothers have truly outdone themselves in this wonderful saga of three escaped convicts.with great music. It's the old folk sound, the kind of music that was written during a time when music was enjoyed as a part of day to day life. Enjoyed by everyone, chain-gangs, church choirs, and even prison escapees.
What really strikes me about this is the larger than life characters. Take clooney's character for example. His name is ulysses everet mcgill. You know that he must be something special with a name like that.with his Clark Gable-ish looks and character He is very charismatic and has the gift of the gab.Holly Hunter plays his estranged wife.John Turturro, who has played in at least all the other Coen and Coen movies that I have seen. He is one of those non-glamorous actors who is at the top of the profession we also have a true master performance from Tim Blake-Nelson
Other great characters include john goodman as bible salesman big dan teague
and charles durning as councillor pappy o daniel.
They encounter many various things on the way.
The way this was filmed makes it visually fascinating, with scenery enhanced by computer graphics
All the people in this movie are wacky and yet The parade of all this wild characters which make this film so so Wonderful..
I can only describe (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)as beautiful and so Riveting yet it is intriguing, and so funny and charming
its a kind of a magical Road trip movie
It is one of those films that you can watch over and over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Coen Brothers tour-de-force, 9 April 2001
By A Customer
They've done it again! This is possibly the best of the Coens when taken altogether--allusions to Homer, independent storylines, acting, and music. Surely the best soundtrack this year. I haven't seen the DVD version yet, but I've seen it twice on the big screen and would have gone again if it hadn't closed. I had no idea until I went just how great it was. My husband and I loved it (we're in our early 50's), both my sons (17 and almost 20) loved it, everyone I know who saw it loved it. I'll be getting the DVD for my sons and I'll have to own it myself. This is one of those films you can watch once a month or so and never get tired of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cohen bros classic, 3 May 2014
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Brill film with great tunes and actors a must see film for all the family to watch 5 stars +++++
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 13 Jan 2014
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Like all blu-rays when compared to watching the DVD version or an old video one watching this film is a clearer, more detailed experience and in many cases it's like looking at the film for the first time as the film stock used to transfer to Blu-Ray is usually "worked on" first to get as good a copy as possible.
My taste in films may not be the same as yours so if you want to know about this film I suggest that you use the internet to find 2 or 3 reviews by experienced film reviewers and make your judgment whether to buy this film or not.
I have watched approx 600 films in my life and have a collection of over 200 Blu-Ray's and I rate this one 8/10.
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O Brother Where Art Thou? [DVD] [2000]
O Brother Where Art Thou? [DVD] [2000] by Joel Coen (DVD - 2013)
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