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Geoorge Armitage
Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Fred Ward, Nora Dunn, Charles Napier
Writing Credits:
George Armitage

Real Badge. Real Gun. Fake Cop.

Veteran criminal Frederick Frenger, Jr. (Baldwin) has moved to Miami to get a fresh start... at robbing a whole new set of people. But when his streetwalker-gone-straight wife (Leigh) begins to suspect his criminal behavior, and an obsessed cop (Ward) begins to close in, he will need a lot more than luck and a bogus badge to escape a crossfire hotter than the barrel of a smoking gun!

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $24.97
Release Date: 4/28/2015

• Interviews
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Miami Blues [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 23, 2015)

For a return to the days when Alec Baldwin played handsome leading men, we head to 1990’s Miami Blues. When Fred “Junior” Frenger gets out of prison, he starts over in Miami.

However, Junior doesn’t view this as a chance to go clean. Instead, he sees Miami as a spot with a new crop of robbery victims, and he starts his own little crime wave. He also meets prostitute Susie Waggoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and almost immediately marries her.

Junior doesn’t tell Susie how he makes his money, which adds to the intrigue. In addition, he also attempts to stay one step ahead of Hoke Moseley (Fred Ward), the cop who chases after Junior.

Blues falls into that category of “movies I probably saw but forgot about years ago”. Back in the early 1990s, I used to frequent second-run theaters in my area, and I’d see virtually anything. Was Blues on that list? It seems likely, but at no point did my screening of this Blu-ray trigger any memories.

That wouldn’t seem to bode well; if Blues was good, shouldn’t I maintain some recollection of it? Now that I’ve seen Blues (again?), I can state that it offers some quirky charms but lacks consistency.

Much of the movie flits between two largely separate plot points. One part of the flick follows the Junior/Susie relationship, while the other concentrates on Junior’s life of crime and Hoke’s pursuit of him. The story connects these elements along the way – especially when Susie becomes more suspicious of her husband – but they usually remain separate from each other.

That’s largely because some of the actors feel like they’re in different movies. Baldwin and Ward tend to play their parts in a broad, almost caricatured manner, while Leigh brings more of an earnest feel to Susie. Sure, she lays on the cornpone accent a little thick, but she makes Susie into a fairly real character, whereas the men lean more toward comedy.

While I like Leigh’s performance, I suspect Blues would work better if it left out her character and focused on Junior’s shenanigans. The film’s most entertaining moments stem from his criminal activities, as those show some real spark. Ward’s slovenly detective also manages some nutty charm of his own.

Because the movie can’t connect all these dots terribly well, it feels more up and down than I’d like. Blues manages moderate entertainment value across its 97 minutes but the lack of consistency becomes an issue. There’s enough here to turn the film into an occasional pleasure and that’s about it.

The Disc Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

Miami Blues appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an inconsistent presentation.

Sharpness was usually fine, but exceptions occurred. Wide shots occasionally became tentative, so some of those could be a bit on the fuzzy side. Still, overall clarity was positive; I couldn’t call this a razor-sharp image, but it looked reasonably precise.

No issues with jaggies or moiré effects appeared, and edge haloes remained minor. Print flaws became a persistent concern, however, as the movie suffered from a mix of specks, blotches, hairs and other marks. Some parts of the film looked dirtier than others, but it was clear no one attempted to clean up the image – or if they did, they didn’t try very hard.

Colors looked decent to good. 1990 film stocks didn’t tend to be the most dynamic, and Blues could reflect those trends, but the hues usually looked reasonably positive. They probably should’ve been peppier given the broad nature of the palette, though.

Blacks were fairly deep, and shadows showed acceptable clarity. Some low-light shots lacked great definition, but they were mostly good. Parts of the image seemed satisfactory, but the image lost a lot of points due to all those print flaws.

As for the film’s LPCM stereo soundtrack, it provided serviceable audio. Music demonstrated nice stereo spread, but effects didn’t have a lot to do. We got some general atmosphere but nothing memorable occurred. This remained a pretty low-key mix.

Audio quality was fine for a 25-year-old soundtrack. Speech remained natural and concise, with only a smidgen of roughness along the way. Music showed nice fidelity and range, and effects appeared fairly accurate and robust. The track didn’t boast a ton of oomph, but it showed decent low-end, mostly related to the music. This became an average mix.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find new interviews with actors Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh. In this 26-minute, one-second compilation, they discuss their casting, characters and performances, shooting in Florida, reflections on the film, and working with director George Armitage. It’s great that the disc’s producers managed to get the stars to talk about Blues, but the end result seems less than fascinating. While a few decent notes emerge, I don’t think we learn a lot about the movie.

An odd mix of styles and tones, Miami Blues occasionally entertains. However, it seems too disjointed to become anything consistently satisfying. The Blu-ray provides flawed visuals along with decent audio and a mildly interesting set of interviews. Blues has its moments but doesn’t pack enough of them to gel.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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