Why hello! You bunch of Roundtable freaks! I am your fearless leader, Reilly, and this is another Reilly Roundtable.
And this is a very special roundtable, if you must know. Why? Because I got some more schwag from the Schmoes and Warner Bros and it’s the best schwag to date. Free Schwag!
I’m talking THE TOWN baby. The Ultimate Collectors Edition of THE TOWN, mind you. And it is one of the best Blu Rays on the market, hands down.
You might already be calling me crazy. Best Blu Ray on the market? For that I say, who are you, my ex-wife? Nay, I say. Nay!
THE TOWN ULTIMATE COLLECTORS EDITION is a three-disc juggernaut, packed to the gills with special features, and includes a directors extended edition WITH alternate ending.
Alternate ending? Yup. And a doozy one at that. More on that later.
Do you remember THE TOWN? The movie that was stiffed for a best picture nomination back in 2010?
Ben Affleck also should have been nominated for best director and, if you’re feeling saucy, nominated for best actor. Nope, nope and nope. However, they did get one nomination right – Jeremy Renner. Dude is badass in THE TOWN. Shoot you in the face, badass.
THE TOWN is about bank robbers and their tight knit ties to the town they live in Charlestown, MA. Title cards announce it’s the bank robbing capitol of America. And just like that, with beautiful shots of Charlestown at dawn, we kick right into the action with a balls out, fist bumps, bank robbery by some dudes in skeleton masks.
Right away you are following Affleck’s Doug MacRay into the trenches of what it’s really like behind a bank job. At least that’s how it feels. Raw and gut churning, you are worried whether or not they are going to make it out of there alive. But what sets THE TOWN apart for me is represented in one moment… the moment when Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall) is trying to open the vault.
She can’t do it. I mean, what self respecting assistant manager to a bank with machine guns pointed at their head would be able to crack the code with such pressure?
What does Affleck’s MacRay do? He touches her hand with his, whispers “Take your time…” And right from that moment, you know you are dealing with a different kind of crime thriller.
That’s why I love THE TOWN. It’s the relationships that make this realistic tale of hoods in a small town, doing bad, worthwhile. What follows is a cat and mouse chase between the FBI and MacRay’s squad as they go about their everyday lives in Charlestown. And by everyday lives I mean, stealing, killing, breaking your kneecap, way of lives.
Doug MacRay, in an effort to make sure Claire Keesey didn’t see anything that might bring his gang down, follows her. And falls in love. Whoops! Not suppose to fall in love with “the mark”.
And that’s the great thing about THE TOWN. Doug’s loyalties are spread thin between his band of merry thieves and the woman that might be the one who turns them in. How he walks the line is an interesting concept, one that Affleck explores fully in the narrative of this piece.
Tie this together with some of the most heart-stopping action/bank robbing scenes and you have one of the best movies made in the last decade.
I could go on and on about plot, on and on about the brilliant directing and acting by Affleck; on and on about Jeremy Renner being at the top of his game – and even, on and on and on about this being the quintessential heist movie… But it’s the characters that make this movie a home run.
As far as extras go – good Lordy, you get a boatload here. And it’s some of the best behind the scenes footage and making of docs I’ve seen.
Disc one features a thorough documentary entitled The Town: A Director’s Journey. Behind the scene interviews, making of and an absolutely dynamic Affleck as he discusses the creative decisions that went into him adapting, writing, directing and starring in THE TOWN. Not only does this doc show the process of making the movie, you also are let in on the creative editing choices made in the cutting room. Even going so far as to show his decision making in what scenes to cut for the theatrical release and which scenes to add back in for the extended edition.
Which brings me to the first disc of the package – the extended cut and alternate ending. Never before have I enjoyed a director’s cut before OR an alternate ending. I think in most cases, the movie benefits in flow and mood from an original cut. My opinion, the scenes cut and original ending are right on. However, I found the extended cut of THE TOWN far superior than the original cut. As I mentioned, this story is all about the characters – Affleck’s MacRay shows an understanding that what he is doing is wrong yet “bangs his head on the walls of his own life,” continuing to go through the motions which contrasts sharply to the character of Jem, played by Jeremy Renner. Jem is the anti-Doug and you can see how the decisions he makes versus the decisions MacRay makes define their relationship and demonstrate a symbiotic relationship. Maybe it’s because Jem, back in the day, murdered a man that was going to testify against he and Doug most likely ending in a conviction of Doug.
The extended edition tracks this dynamic relationship between the two, adds in more scenes of them together and in doing so, strengthens the ties between them. You get a better understanding of their relationship and, better yet, more screen time for Renner’s Jem. Bonus.
And then there’s the new -HOLY SHIT!- ending which is strangely poetic and sad in nature (nope, not going to ruin it for you folks.) The new ending seems to enhance the character arc of Affleck’s MacRay, showing that the decisions he makes in the movie can and will come back to get him in the end. I found this alternate ending absolutely shocking.
The second disc includes another fantastic documentary entitled Ben’s Boston, an in depth look at the locations that went into the making of THE TOWN. It’s another great inside look into what went into picking certain locations in the film; in order to give the town of Charlestown it’s own identity and character.
Disc three includes the DVD version of the extended edition and alternate ending.
What you get with this package is what all other Blu Rays should try to be – packed with extras, beautiful transfer that is glorious to behold, and a flawless movie-going experience.
So, I’m easy – something this good comes along, I appreciate the extra miles put in. Especially when packaging a solid effort like THE TOWN… I will fawn over it if it works.
Giving this puppy…
5 outta 5 Schmoes.
You heard it here. Perhaps I’m a tad biased, as I loved the original outing of THE TOWN when I saw it in theatres, but sue me. The gorgeous transfer, making of documentaries and shocking alternate ending make this a must own.
That’s it for me, folks. As always I’ll see you in line…
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