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The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:09 pm

They also announced a new Blu-Ray edition of Assault on Precinct 13, but have yet to say what new features may be on it. I would assume that they will port over all of the old ones, but if there are any new ones I will probably have to shell out for the thing. I am assuming that it will be the same transfer; I doubt it can be improved upon. By the way, that was one of the first films that I tried out on my new plasma, and it looked fantastic -- it still looks like a low budget film, but if you understand how it should look, it really hits it out of the park.

Plus, Larry Cohen's delirious Q: The Winged Serpent is on its way shortly.


I did cash in my reward zone certificates for the Blu-Ray set of the Indiana Jones films. I have watched the first three so far, and a few of the supplements. It is well worth it just for the first and third films plus the extras. I need to screw up the courage to take on the fourth one again.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:57 am

I will hold off picking up the new release of Assault unless I think it is really worth it. I'm happy enough with the version I have. However, if the new edition is truly an upgrade, then I'll likely shell out the coin too.

Approach Crystal Skull like you would Avatar, and you'll be fine.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:43 am

Ah, no, not a good comparison. Avatar is worth watching, despite its deficiencies; Crystal Skull is arguably one of the worst films ever made, when taking into account the budget. I would rank it right with disasters like Star Trek V; movies that are not just bad, but are INSULTINGLY bad, given the money and talent that went into them. (Bad low-budget movies are a dime a dozen and are hardly worth criticizing.)

The funny thing about rewatching the series is, that given all of the love for it, in reality you have one great film, one good film and two lousy films. Not really a great track record, actually. But the first one is so damned good that people seem to give the rest of the films more of a pass than they should.

That first Assault disc is fantastic, make no mistake. I am sure that there are plenty of criticisms that could be made about the transfer, but I think that it is as nearly perfect a translation of the source material as could be made. In that respect, the Shout/Scream version could not possibly improve upon it. I also enjoy the Carpenter commentary, even if it drags a bit as most of his "solo" commentaries do. (Unlike the ones where he was watching with Kurt Russel; their Escape from New York commentary is one of my all-time favorites.) My biggest fear is that they will just add one or two new supplements, and sadly I am enough of a completist that I will feel the need to pick it up anyway.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:09 am

FYI, Raiders on Blu has the original matte painting version of the nazi jeep going off the cliff, not the "enhanced" CGI version. So all is good for purists. (Though it does contain many of the clean-ups that were done for video, like erasing the reflections off the glass in front of Harrison Ford during the cobra scene. But those kind of things bother me less, even if part of me would still prefer to see them left alone.)
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:50 am

I know what you mean about The Last Crusade not being a great film. But I have a soft spot for that movie. It is a good adventure and I like the characters. Connery and Ford have good chemistry and Connery doesn't play the hard man in this film. It's certainly not brilliant, but I'm more than happy to rewatch it.

I was, of course, making the comparison tongue in cheek. However, when you consider the money and talent that went into Avatar, it is disappointing. I really expected more. The only thing that strikes me as remarkable is the special effects.

I have to let go of my completest needs at times. As I mentioned in another thread, I collect too many things. I either need to curtail that, or figure out a way to make more money.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:15 pm

Who says that you need to make money to spend it?


Keep in mind that I did say that Last Crusade was a good film; just not a masterpiece like the first one. But I always enjoy re-watching it, unlike Temple of Doom. To be fair, that film is not entirely without merit; I love the opening musical number, and the farcical chase throughout the club for the antidote and the diamond. It makes the movie look like good things are yet to come. Then, they jump out of an airplane with a rubber raft, and the good things pretty much end.

Ordered my copy of The Fog, which streets tomorrow!
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:01 pm

High hopes generally lead to disappointment.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Well, they certainly did not in the case of the first film! After a smashing opening, the set pieces just keep getting better and better. But it was a massive downhill slide for the second one. To say nothing of the inexcusable racism and sexism in the film. I am perfectly capable of accepting movies as being a product of their times; I can still watch The Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will and admire their craftsmanship while simultaneously rejecting their reprehensible points-of-view. But one was made shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, and the other was made prior to Germany starting World War II. By 1984, when Temple of Doom was made, Lucas and Spielberg (and the execrable screenwriters Willard Hyuck and Gloria Katz) had no excuse.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:38 pm

Thankfully, we've come a long way in nearly three decades (although we still have a ways to go). Racism, sexism and marginalization were still quite rampant in the 80s, especially in the early 80s. Sure, steps were being taken in the right direction, but I recall a lot of bad taste. That isn't an excuse for Spielburg and co.; just an observation.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:24 am

Oh, of course such things were still rampant in the Eighties -- they are still rampant today!  But that is still far enough along the continuum that it is harder to excuse or ignore.  I got into a debate with a friend not too long ago about John Wayne's treatment of Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man, which is one of my all-time favorite films.  She felt that he was abusive toward her in the last part of the movie, and that may be a valid argument, but it does not erase how otherwise progressive their relationship is for the era.  I can overlook her criticisms in a movie made in 1952 and focus on what I enjoy about the film.  On the other hand, I have a harder time ignoring how awful Kate Capshaw's character is in Temple of Doom in 1984 -- especially coming from the producer and director who had given us Marion Ravenwood three years earlier.  Of course, Lucas destroyed Princess Leia's character in his own series just the year before, so he was definitely on a anti-feminist roll that decade.  The worst part is that I really like Kate  Capshaw, and I think that she does the best that she can with such a shrill character.  If she was not appealing in the part it would be well nigh unto unwatchable.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:32 pm

Isn't it funny how society, to this day, celebrate the Leia introduced to us in Return of the Jedi? Little and big girls the world over want to be Leia come Halloween (and it's often the Leia from the third film), and society embraces them.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:54 pm

Granted, in one sense I have no issue with Carrie Fisher in a metal bikini; but it definitely demeans the character, if not the actress! I know that George Lucas has talked about the "darkness" of Temple of Doom and blames part of his pushing that element on the fact that he was going through a divorce at the time. But I have to wonder if that fact also played into the way he turned Leia into an object (both sexual and romantic) and went from Marian Ravenwood to a shrill weepy sidekick for Indiana Jones; it may also a reflection of how he was feeling about women at the time.



Reading yet more rave reviews about the Scream Factory edition of The Fog. Dean Cundey supervised the transfer, and supposedly it looks stellar. Speaking of that, there is an anniversary edition of Halloween coming out in October (different studio, though.) Supposedly Cundey is supervising the transfer on that one; presumably he will restore the blue toned night scenes that were colour corrected out of the previous version. We talked about that one when it was released, and personally I have no issues with the alteration, as I am not too fond of the overly filtered look, but it will be interesting to see how he treats it.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:17 pm

That is one case where the completest in me might not be able to resist. I'm not a fan of the blue filter, but it would be cool to have for comparison's sake.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:29 pm

Tough call, but I know that I will eventually pick it up regardless, so resistance is futile. Regardless of the colour scheme, while the Anchor Bay transfer was quite good I am sure that there is room for improvement. Plus, there will be new features on it.

I watched the Criterion On the Waterfront last night as well as most of the supplements. Absolutely staggeringly good disc, and well worth picking up if you can. It may be the ultimate in completism: it has three different versions of the film in three different aspect ratios. The movie was filmed in the early days of widescreen, and cinematographer Boris Kaufman shot it "open matte" at 1.37:1, but protected for the two aspect ratios 1.66:1 and 1.85:1 as well. At the time, theatres were projecting in all three ratios, and depending where you saw it at the time you could have seen any of the three. So rather than arbitrarily choose a "best" ratio, Criterion included all three. I watched it at 1.66:1, which I understand was Kaufman's preferred ratio. but that is a helluva way to cover all the bases!

Speaking of that, Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits had some pretty extensive conversations with industry experts at Comic Con, and they all agreed that with the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, that we would likely eventually see restored versions of the original Star Wars films. Even if Lucas is telling the truth that he destroyed the negatives (unlikely,) there are very good quality prints still in existence. The consensus was that Disney will not pass up the opportunity for the cash grab by releasing yet another edition. The only thing that could screw that up is if Lucas wrote something into the sale that prevents them from releasing the originals.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:37 pm

Who knows with Lucas. I guess time will tell.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:03 am

Spielberg has seen the light, even if Lucas has not, which may be why the original cliff scene is intact in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The only version of E.T. available on the Blu-Ray is the original theatrical cut; the so-called "director's cut" from a few years ago is not even offered as an option. He does have a newer "final cut" of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is on the Blu-Ray/DVD, but to his credit, both the Special Edition and original 1977 versions are also available on the same set, which is how it should be. And to be fair, in that case I prefer the final cut version; it includes the added scenes from the Special Edition but deletes the scene showing the inside of the mothership, which was always a mistake. (Though that was the only way to get the studio to finance the re-release.) But I would still be upset if I did not at least have the option to watch the other versions.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:13 pm

In the case of Close Encounters, I agree that the collector's cut is the better of the three cuts included on the Blu-ray, although the 1977 cut is still good. I did like the extra character development provided in the special edition cut, but the inside of the mothership should never have been shown. As you say, Spielberg knew that from the get-go, but it was the only way that Columbia would agree to having the special edition released.

I have E.T. on Blu but have yet to watch it in that format. I bought the disc because I feel it's a pretty important film to have in the collection. It is a must-own and a must-see film that I will one day watch with Seajunior. Having said that, I've never particularly enjoyed the film, finding it a bit dull overall. But I was quite young when I first saw the film and I'd like to think I've grown since. (Incidentally, I didn't care for Close Encounters when I first saw it either.)
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:20 pm

I had fun rewatchig E.T. on Blu, mostly because the last time that I watched it prior to that was seen the so-called director's cut version in the theatre.  It was nice seeing the movie as it should be seen.

Blade Runner is another film where the recent "final cut" version is clearly the best version available, but again they did the right thing by releasing ALL of the other versions with it -- five in total.  That one really lets you make your own decision regarding the best version!

I prefer the latest cut of CE3K because it keeps the Special Edition version of the introduction to the Neary family, which is much superior to what happened in the 1977 version, but it also restores the full "breakdown" scene from the 1977 version when Roy destroys the garden to obtain the supplies for his Devil's Tower sculpture.  It is a bit over-the-top, but otherwise the appearance of that sculpture is too jarring in the Special Edition version without any explanation.  That, plus the added "appearance" scenes from the opening of the Special Edition definitely benefit the movie, while of course losing the interior of the mothership benefits the movie as well.  In this case, for me the final cut is truly includes the best of all possible versions.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:28 am

Blade Runner is an interesting film and I love what they did with the Blu-ray release. To be honest, I haven't watched all five versions yet. In my fantasy land, I'd have a lazy day where I could get up early, have a nice breakfast with coffee and start watching the movies. Not sure I'd get through all five, but I'd like to compare two or three versions back-to-back.

As for the film itself, that is another one that had to grow on me. I was ho-hum about it on first viewing, but really enjoy watching it now. Speaking of which, I haven't watched it since I first picked it up on Blu.


Last edited by Seamaster on Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:15 am

Well, I have seen the theatrical version (including the "extended" European version with extra violence) and the 1991 "director's cut" enough times that I had no interest in rewatching them. I only watched the new final cut and the legendary pre-release version, which of course I had never seen (it was only shown at a special screening in L.A., and has never been available on home video prior to this set.) In a way, the newer final cut is similar to the CE3K cut as it is the best of all possible versions. The 1991 so-called "director's cut" was actually done without the participation of Ridley Scott, though they asked him for a laundry list of changes that he would like, and incorporated just three: nixing the voiceover and the happy ending, and adding the shot of the unicorn. The final cut version was made with his complete participation and truly represents his final version, without making too many unecessary alterations. If Lucas had made such subtle changes to the original trilogy, I might have been more willing to accept them even without access to the originals. But fortunately, unlike Lucas, Warner Brothers pulled out all of the stops with that Blade Runner set and gave the fans EVERYTHING. Even if you do not watch all of it, that is pretty hard to complain about! Oh, and by the way, if you have yet to watch that three hour (!) documentary included on the set, it is absolutely stellar and worth every minute.

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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:20 pm

Shout Factory tip: grab the new Blu-Ray for A Boy and His Dog as quickly as you can. Great disc. The transfer is outstanding, with the caveat that they have not removed scratches or other damage. But the level of detail is amazing for a movie shot in two-perf Techniscope, the grain is intact, and the colours and contrast are outstanding (again, recognizing the budget and the technology.) It ports over the old commentary track from the DVD (which was actually recorded for the laserdisc release back in the Nineties,) but it adds one absolutely stellar special feature for fans of the film: a 50 minute conversation between director/screenwriter L.Q. Jones and Harlan Ellison. Both are in their eighties, and they do speak a little slowly sometimes, but considering the love/hate relationship that the two have had over the four decades since the film was released, it is amazing to see them talking about it. Ellison even makes a rather astounding admission about their forty-year feud over L.Q. Jones changing the final line from the book to the joke that Blood makes at the end of the film. After talking about their fights and screaming matches over the years, Jones makes the point that some things that work well on the page simply do not work as well in a feature film, and that in his heart he still feels that he made the right choice to change it in the movie. Ellison replies -- and if you know anything about Harlan Ellison, you will understand why this non-admission admission is amazing -- that after all of these years, he has to admit that Jones "may not be wrong." Awesome stuff. Plus, he explains how he personally funded redubbing some of the dialogue in the film that he hated, despite having no money at the time. Highly, highly recommended.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:16 am

That one will have to be an online purchase. I think I'm unlikely to find that Blu-ray in Best Buy or a similar store.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:51 pm

Best Buy does not stock Shout Factory titles. Jerks.

Just picked up season three of Boardwalk Empire today. The Walking Dead hits next week with season four of Spartacus after that. Yikes. At least I have some time to catch up on all of them before season three of Game of Thrones; that does not street until next year.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:12 am

I was being cheeky and stating the obvious . . .

I've lost excitement for Game of Thrones. Perhaps it will be back by the time the next season is available.
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Re: The miscellaneous Blu-Ray/DVD thread

Post  Iago on Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:10 pm

I thought that season two was top-notch overall, with only a few minor complaints. But even season 5.1 of Breaking Bad had some flaws, even if it was smashing overall. Perfection ain't.

I do have to thank you for nagging me about the second season of Boardwalk Empire. While the first season was quite good, it just did not engage me enough to prioritize picking up the second one. But it ended up "grabbing" me far more than the first season did, and I am looking forward to digging into the third.

By the way, the latest REALLY big news from Scream Factory is that they are going to release the "Cabal cut" of Clive Barker's Nightbreed. Loved the book, enjoyed the movie, but I am really looking forward to seeing his original intent, albeit in an arguable "rough cut" version. (I doubt that even Barker originally intended to release the movie at a two-and-a-half hour length, and would still have fine-tuned things.)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/shout-factory-release-directors-cut-609031
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