Not Martin Scorsese's best, "The Color Of Money" is still a very, very good movie with excellent performances from both Paul Newman and a young Tom Cruise. Newman plays an older pool player named Eddie who finds a young protoge in a bar one night named Vincent(Tom Cruise). Eddie sees a natural pool player in Vincent, and decides to see if he can mold him into a sharper pool player, ready for competition - the big games.
Cruise plays the role extremely well, sort of playing it as the pool hall version of some of his later roles, with energy and a flair for comedic and dramatic moments. It's Newman that runs away with the movie, though: his washed-up shark is a fine performance, and Newman is so good that he makes it look easy(he later won an Academy award for the role).
The dialogue is fast and smart, and although I felt the movie gets a little long at points, Cruise and Newman have great performances and work well together. Again, not Scorsese's very best work, but still certainly a very good one.
VIDEO: Buena Vista screws up once more(which makes that what...5 or 6 discs they've mislabled or had an error in some form on?), labeling the box as having an anamorphic transfer, when the actual disc is a dissapointing non anamorphic one. Images lack sharpness and detail is not very good - consistently throughout the movie. It's not a terribly colorful movie, but what colors do arrive lack any sort of strength. The dimly lit interiors of many scenes look murky - a little too much so. The image doesn't do justice to the work of the great cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who has done such films as "Broadcast News", "Goodfellas" and "Quiz Show".
There's more than a few problems as well, including some pixelation, as well as some marks/scratches on the print used. With this release, Disney again remains a mystery. How could they put so much effort into their new releases and then literally just put what looks like zero effort into a great film like this?. This is really quite dissapointing and I found it hard to watch at times.
SOUND: I found more to like about the audio quality than the picture quality. The film has a fantastic soundtrack, and although it doesn't sound as rich as some current films, it still comes through with very pleasing clarity. Dialogue is natural, although sometimes a little low in volume. I actually liked the audio quite a bit - I loved the soundtrack, and it sounds very good here.
MENUS:: Very simplistic - just a basic shot for the main menu, and simple film-themed sub-menus.
EXTRAS: Where I was talking about how Disney has a ways to go - that continues here in the extras section, where they don't even offer a trailer.
Final Thoughts: This is one of those instances where I can only imagine all of the great work and features that either Tristar or even Warner Brothers might have put into this disc. But since it's Disney, we're stuck with dissapointment. Disney does some things right sometimes, but they need to start doing all things right all the time. There's been too many errors - the badly mislabled "Halloween: H20", the audio error of "Tarzan", the wrong aspect ratio of "Playing By Heart", the problem with "She's All That", and probably one or two more that I've forgotten. They simply haven't convinced me that they're changing for the positive overall. The fact that this is labled anamorphic and it's not makes me(and probably many others) furious.
The movie gets a B+. The DVD(with no extras), on the other hand, gets an F.