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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 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 21, 2012
I got this at Best Buy on sale for $19.99. Not sure if it is worth more unless you do not own a previous DVD version of any of these movies. Fargo is missing an extra feature found on the Special Edition DVD version -- the Charlie Rose Interview with the Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand. This makes no sense why it was not included.
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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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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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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 December 29, 2013
There are plenty of reviews already posted which describe the story line for each of these four movies. So no need to dwell upon that. The Coen Brothers write with a style like few others. Probably not for everyone. But if it happens to be a style which you enjoy, then stand by for some fantastic entertainment. I would easily compare the Coen Brothers to Quentin Tarantino in terms of writing, production and presentation. Not your everyday humor and, for sure, not the run of the mill violence. For example, Fargo is a crazy mix of a PG Movie with some very violent R Movie thrown in on top of it. I've seen more than one person leave the room during this movie. On the other hand, I have watched it time and time again. Upon each viewing I have come to appreciate more and more the way the movie is put together. Again, not for everyone, but....if it is your cup of tea, you will want a second cup.
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on April 9, 2013
The only words necessary are "the COHEN BROTHERS" and that says it all.
What they do is without a doubt classic and classical. Have enjoyed every one
of their productions and look forward to the next. Recommend it highly.
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on August 10, 2013
these 4 movies are really some of the best movies of the coen brothers I feel in love with the characters in Raising Arizona. You could feel his frustration and need to provide the best he could for his wife and child even if he was stolen. Fargo is just simple strange but yet belivable in a real fashion. the other 2 gave rise to suspense and drama that keep you pinned to you sit. Great movies all of them
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on November 28, 2013
There are two, oh, 4.7s here ("Simple" and "Miller's") and two 5-pluses, so the whole package easily rates a 5. "Raising Arizona" seems to be my all-time favorite "you love it or you hate it" feature films-- I thought it was an astounding piece of work, beautiful, heartfelt, and yes, excessive, a portrait of the criminal mind at its most delusional and sentimental. Friends whose opinions I respect hated it, mostly because they felt conned into caring about it-- but isn't that what skilled criminals do? Oddly, "Fargo" is somewhat its thematic opposite, a portrait of the law enforcement mind at its most doggedly determined. Both films are way up in my top 50.
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