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Old 12-11-2009, 23:18   #1
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Thoughts On New Blu-Ray Releases - a compendium

I thought it would be good to have a separate thread for people to post thoughts on the latest releases as they see them. I know I get confused about which thread to find what - and sometimes some new releases don't get any threads at all. Since they're finally starting to issue some interesting titles on Blu-Ray, I'm hoping this thread will be the place to come to read about them.

Happy to start the ball rolling:

Logan's Run - have read many criticisms about this Blu-Ray release, all written by people who quite obviously have never seen the film in a theater and have no idea what this is supposed to look like. The bottom line is that Logan's Run has hundreds of optical effects shots - what does this mean? This means more grain, less sharp in those shots. All one has to do is look at what happens when there is a cut from an optical effects shot (or fade or dissolve) to a shot without any effects - suddenly we're gorgeous and sharp as a tack.

I have, in the past, been a major critic of Warners' DVD transfers, most of which have perfectly wretched and wrong color. Their early HD and Blu releases gave me no cause for hope, since they were simply ports of HD transfers created for DVD. However, something has changed in the last few months and whoever is now supervising the telecine room has been taught or knows what color is supposed to look like (i.e. not flooded with yellow and brown - and BLUE is your friend) and their recent Blu-Ray releases have been pretty spectacular.

As is Logan's Run - not a very good film, although beloved by those who saw it as children, which is per usual for films like this. But an absolutely splendid transfer with perfect color - the release prints of this film were terrible and exacerbated all those effects shots' grain and softness - this transfer is, for me, the best the film has ever looked. So, if you're a fan, I can say that you'll probably be very happy with this Blu-Ray. Do not listen to the naysayers, those armchair experts who watch a Blu-Ray without having any real idea if the transfer accurately represents what the film originally looked like.
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Old 13-11-2009, 02:11   #2
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The General - US Kino release.

Reasonably sharp image - the tinted version with the Carl Davis score. Unfortunately, in terms of print and/or negative quality, this does not hold a candle to the MK2 French DVD restoration, which is the best The General has ever looked on home video. It's not tinted, which I actually prefer, and it has a Joe Hisaishi score, which I, too, prefer to the Davis. So, I'm hoping MK2 issues a Blu-Ray. In the meantime, if you're a fan of the film, which you should be, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the presentation here - but there is a lot of negative and/or print damage from whatever source they used. The MK2 was a revelation in that regard, so there must be a pristine restored negative sitting in France.
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Old 13-11-2009, 09:38   #3
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would like to know your views on The Wizard of Oz....For some reason when I looked at it ....it appeared to be out of focus on some shots and there was a fair amount of grain that appeared to be fizzing or movement on it....Just wondered was it possibly a bad disc I received as it has had a lot of great reviews from various people....
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Old 13-11-2009, 17:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben001 View Post
would like to know your views on The Wizard of Oz....For some reason when I looked at it ....it appeared to be out of focus on some shots and there was a fair amount of grain that appeared to be fizzing or movement on it....Just wondered was it possibly a bad disc I received as it has had a lot of great reviews from various people....
I thought Oz looked pretty spiffy, especially color-wise. I'd have to go back and look for what you're mentioning, but I don't recall seeing anything that bothered me. The black-and-white sections of the film are not as sharp because apparently, if I'm remembering correctly, they no longer have the original negs for those sections. But the color stuff was pretty great, I thought, and sharper than its ever been. Some shots certainly could have been softer, especially if they contained opticals or were shot with filters.
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Old 13-11-2009, 17:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haineshisway View Post
I thought Oz looked pretty spiffy, especially color-wise. I'd have to go back and look for what you're mentioning, but I don't recall seeing anything that bothered me. The black-and-white sections of the film are not as sharp because apparently, if I'm remembering correctly, they no longer have the original negs for those sections. But the color stuff was pretty great, I thought, and sharper than its ever been. Some shots certainly could have been softer, especially if they contained opticals or were shot with filters.
thanks for that...would agree about the black and white sections as there didn't seem to be much change from the dvd equivalent....I may rent this out just to see if there is any change from what I had been seeing before....appreciate your thoughts

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Old 13-11-2009, 22:27   #6
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Thanks for confirming my suspicions about the Logan's Run reviews. Even the screencaps that went with the most negative PQ review I read seemed to contradict the assessment. Looking forward to receiving this one. The movie is prime 70's cheese and it's of great sentimental value to me. I think Jerry Goldsmith wrote one of his best scores for this, btw.
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Old 13-11-2009, 10:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haineshisway View Post
Logan's Run - have read many criticisms about this Blu-Ray release, all written by people who quite obviously have never seen the film in a theater and have no idea what this is supposed to look like. The bottom line is that Logan's Run has hundreds of optical effects shots - what does this mean? This means more grain, less sharp in those shots. All one has to do is look at what happens when there is a cut from an optical effects shot (or fade or dissolve) to a shot without any effects - suddenly we're gorgeous and sharp as a tack.
I suspect it wasn't deliberate in all honesty

The effects work shouldn't really alter the appearance of the movie (unless it is deliberate). Obviously optical effects do, but due to the available technology at the time it was unavoidable. It wasn't an artistic choice to make the flick look naff during effects shots and pin sharp for the rest of the running time.

I'm intrigued by the BD of Logan's Run now
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Old 13-11-2009, 10:41   #8
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There's a Logan's Run blu-ray?
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Old 14-11-2009, 08:21   #9
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The Red Shoes Blu-Ray.

Finally got my multi-region player and couldn't wait to plop this in. The situation with this film is a little confusing - I'm told this Blu-Ray was derived from a photo-chemical restoration of the film. But is that the same restoration that was just done by UCLA or a different one, and if so, how can there be two? Since the UCLA restoration has just been making some screening rounds I don't think the UK disc is from it.

So, judging from the UK disc - there are times when the Blu-Ray is achingly beautiful - so sharp and so colorful and right up there with the Black Narcissus Blu-Ray. And then there are a few moments that don't quite do it - a little soft (not due to lenses, filters, or opticals), a little less detail. But the majority of it is something to behold. I've always found the film very strange, but I like it all the same and the ballet itself is really fantastic, even though it's quite odd that almost none of it could actually be performed on a stage. So, mostly a winner, with just a few off moments that don't really hurt anything.
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Old 14-11-2009, 11:02   #10
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This might help with your Red Shoes restoration query.
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Old 15-11-2009, 05:22   #11
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This might help with your Red Shoes restoration query.
It didn't really tell much that I didn't know, but the ITV Blu-Ray's end credits did - it is indeed from the UCLA restoration performed by my friend and neighbor Bob Gitt.
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Old 15-11-2009, 05:25   #12
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Moving right along:

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

I'd somehow never seen this before, even though I was seeing everything from the UK back then. I really enjoyed it - very much of its time, which, for my money, is a good thing. Wonderfully directed by Karel Reisz, with terrific performances from Finney, Rachel Roberts, and Shirley Anne Field. Freddie Francis' fantastic photography really shines in this transfer - there's a bit more grain than I was expecting, and interestingly it's not uniform - but a very sharp, very good transfer and I don't think anyone would be disappointed by it.
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Old 15-11-2009, 05:27   #13
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Red Desert (can you tell I've been giving my region free Momitsu a work out):

I've watched about thirty minutes so far and it is, in a word, superb. Finally Red Desert has accurate color. It's Antonioni, so that may or may not impact your enjoyment, but I'm a fan of most but not all of his films and there's something quite mesmerizing about this one. But the transfer's the thing here, and I'm not sure that Carlo di Palma's photography has looked this good since the film was released in Italy.
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Old 15-11-2009, 05:30   #14
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I also checked out Hamlet and Henry V - both are not stellar, with Hamlet, at least the first five minutes, verging on being one of the worst Blu-Rays I've ever seen - loaded with awful grain (this film did NOT have this sort of grain ever - I owned a gorgeous 35mm print of it, which looked nothing like this Blu-Ray) - it's also very contrasty. As stated, this is based on nothing but the first five minutes of the film - I've seen the caps at the Beaver, who LOVES this transfer, so I'll report back when I've gotten further along. Henry V I had high hopes for based on some screencaps I saw online, which is why you should base absolutely nothing on screencaps - the color is merely okay, it's smeary-looking and a huge disappointment, at least the parts I watched.

The 39 Steps, as you've probably read, is not great on Blu-Ray, but I've seen worse. However, if you've got one of the better DVDs you're probably fine for now until someone comes up with better source material.

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Old 16-11-2009, 06:06   #15
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Since the actual Up thread seems to be about how much money you can save and where to order it from, etc. -

Up is, in a word, stunning on Blu-Ray. Beyond stunning. Just what you'd expect from Pixar - a perfect image and perfect sound. My player spazzed out a couple of times, which I think has to do with all the little do-dads they put on the disc that taxes the best of players. I have a Samsung, bought about four months ago - no updates to download then, but maybe there is now and maybe that would help. It happened three times - the picture would freeze for a moment, the sound would continue, then the picture would unfreeze and the sound would go back to where it was at the moment of the freeze. And once the sound just stopped period - had to put it in reverse for thirty seconds and then it played fine.

The film, for me, is the best of this year - I doubt I'll see anything better, what with it being November and all.
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Old 16-11-2009, 10:56   #16
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Since the actual Up thread seems to be about how much money you can save and where to order it from, etc. -

Up is, in a word, stunning on Blu-Ray. Beyond stunning. Just what you'd expect from Pixar - a perfect image and perfect sound. My player spazzed out a couple of times, which I think has to do with all the little do-dads they put on the disc that taxes the best of players. I have a Samsung, bought about four months ago - no updates to download then, but maybe there is now and maybe that would help. It happened three times - the picture would freeze for a moment, the sound would continue, then the picture would unfreeze and the sound would go back to where it was at the moment of the freeze. And once the sound just stopped period - had to put it in reverse for thirty seconds and then it played fine.

The film, for me, is the best of this year - I doubt I'll see anything better, what with it being November and all.
Just flicked through the chapters briefly as I bought this for a Christmas gift for the kids and it does look stunning and very colourful as all Disney Pixar films do....Little bit concerned that your player was freezing whilst playing this so will monitor this when I get round to watching it with the kids over Christmas period....For Disney Pixar though it is really a case of not going wrong when it comes to picture and sound quality...without seeing UP completely yet my favourite of the Disney Pixar's to date is Monster's Inc for picture sound and plot top class entertainment....

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Old 16-11-2009, 11:11   #17
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Originally Posted by haineshisway View Post
My player spazzed out a couple of times, which I think has to do with all the little do-dads they put on the disc that taxes the best of players. I have a Samsung, bought about four months ago - no updates to download then, but maybe there is now and maybe that would help. It happened three times - the picture would freeze for a moment, the sound would continue, then the picture would unfreeze and the sound would go back to where it was at the moment of the freeze. And once the sound just stopped period - had to put it in reverse for thirty seconds and then it played fine.
The freezing is occuring when the film is performing a seamless branching transition [clearly not all that seamless for you!] Its definately your player, I had no issue on the PS3, other than noticing my amp screen redisplayed the sound format after each branch.
Throughout the film, when onscreen text appears - say in the scrapbook - the disc jumps to either English, French or Spanish text, depending on the language option you have selected from the menu.
Yes, Pixar created multiple versions of props and such that have text printed on them for international markets. Cool eh?

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Old 18-11-2009, 17:44   #18
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The freezing is occuring when the film is performing a seamless branching transition
Brings back memories of the seamless branching problems that plagued early Samsung DVD players in a bygone era.
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Old 17-11-2009, 00:17   #19
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I guess I'll have to see if there's a firmware upgrade for the player, although the player is only a few months old.
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Old 18-11-2009, 17:19   #20
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Galaxy Quest.

Back when it came out, it did not do the business it was expected to, despite it garnering excellent reviews. I don’t remember the campaign for it, but it certainly wasn’t high on MY radar, and it wasn’t really a must-see movie. But I went and saw it and it was really quite wonderful. Watching it again last night it’s not only wonderful, it’s a miracle of a movie – even ten years later there is no way they would make this movie today and have it be as perfect as it is. The reason it works is simplicity itself – they hired really good actors who play it straight. And therefore the comedy shines through as it should. There are no crass jokes, no vomiting, no nudity, they don’t make fun of anyone – no, it’s warm-hearted, affectionate, oddly touching, and very, very funny. The transfer, while not the sharpest Blu-Ray I’ve ever seen, is fine, and the sound is pretty punchy. David Newman’s score is as terrific as the rest of the movie.
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