This week, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released Leon: The Professional on Blu-ray, and because I have the best job in the world, I got to watch it for this column. The truth is that this was a formative movie for me, not only augmenting my budding cinephilia in terms of attention to and interest in strongly visual filmmakers, but in understanding the technical and artistic value of widescreen cinema. Before the film was released on widescreen VHS and later, DVD, I watched the pan-and-scan version when it was first released on video and almost got sick from the cropping and scanning of director Luc Besson's balletic camerawork.
Thankfully, I never have to watch it via that sort of butchered presentation again, and even if you don't think the movie is a masterpiece, at the very least, SPHE's new Blu-ray offers a gorgeously rich transfer that fully celebrates Besson's cinematography. But even though this is a film I've revisited several times since its original release in 1994, I was curious to see how well The Professional would hold up some 15 years later – which brings us to this week's "Shelf Life."