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DVD debacle, Blu-ray bonzana, HD DVD hullabalooza!

I’ve kind of been slacking on updates regarding new DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD releases that have been pouring on to my desk. As it happens, one of each has arrived in the last week (not counting Les Triplettes de Belleville, discussed here). What can I say? I haven’t been feeling all that great over the last week or so, and as a result I’ve been a bit distracted. I was feeling decidedly queasy on Saturday, and in addition to that I think I’ve done something to a muscle, or joint, or bone, in my hip. For over a week, I’ve been having pains of varying degrees throughout my left hand side from my waist down, and, on Saturday night, I woke up with my whole leg spasming of its own accord. I was actually contemplating going to the hospital, but things seem to be settling down somewhat now, so I’m currently assuming that whatever was damaged is sorting itself out. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with the heavy crates I was carrying about at work just under a fortnight ago. One incident report coming right up!

Anyway, in jollier news…

DVD

My review copy of Blue Underground’s US 2-disc Special Edition of Dario Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome reached me. I’ve done little more than take a cursory glance at the transfer, which doesn’t appear to be particularly good (although not much worse than I was expecting, given Blue Underground’s track record for having an unhealthy obsession with the edge enhancement and filtering dials), and watched the Dario Argento interview on the second disc (which was very informative, even if he did gloss over the supposed conflicts he had with cinematographer Guiseppe Rotunno during the shoot). I intend to take a fuller look at it towards the end of the week, with a review (including a newly rewritten article on the film, similar to what I did for Suspiria and Inferno) coming soon.

Blu-ray

I also picked up a copy of Fox’s recent Region A Blu-ray release of The Fly, making this my first ever high definition David Cronenberg film (with Eastern Promises to follow on HD DVD in December) and only my second Fox DVD. From what I’ve seen of it, it appears to be a pretty good representation of the source materials, although perhaps a bit softer than I would have liked. Unfortunately, the original stereo audio mix has been junked in favour of a souped up 5.1 remix. For shame, Fox, for shame.

HD DVD

Finally, the HD DVD release of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey arrived on Saturday. Believe it or not, I haven’t seen the film before and am decidedly curious to sit down and watch it for the first time. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those films that takes a while to “get”, but one thing I do know for sure, at this stage, is that it features a very nice transfer. While I am a little concerned about its almost grainless look, in every other area it appears to be excellent, with a much higher level of detail than I am generally used to seeing from Warner’s HD releases. The line-up of extras looks very good, too, with the Channel 4-made documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth thrown in along with a commentary and several other documentaries and featurettes. The other four Kubrick titles released on HD DVD at the same time (A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket and The Shining) are also on their way, although, due to supply issues at Amazon.com, they were all dispatched at different times.

 
Posted: Monday, November 05, 2007 at 11:58 PM | Comments: 7
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | HD DVD | Reviews

 
Comments

1.

*Ugh* I had to send back my copy of Stendhal (disc 1) due to it freezing up at chapters 14, 15 & 16.

Also, i heard a rumor that BD+ was cracked today.

Posted by: Phantom, November 6, 2007 1:29 AM

2.

I have no expertise in the subject so feel free to correct me anybody but could the fact that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a 70mm film explain the lack of grain in the picture?

Posted by: , November 6, 2007 9:45 AM

3.

Anonymous -

I wouldn't be able to tell you, but considering the 'feel' of 2001, having an almost grainless transfer might even win Kubrick's approval.

Posted by: Baron Scarpia, November 6, 2007 6:23 PM

4.

That may be a point about the grainless appearance being tied to the 70mm format - I’ll have to investigate the issue more since, as far as I can recall, this is the first 70mm-sourced title I’ve ever seen in HD.

And yes, I heard about BD+ being penetrated. It made me smile.

Posted by: Whiggles, November 6, 2007 9:44 PM

5.

"I have no expertise in the subject so feel free to correct me anybody but could the fact that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a 70mm film explain the lack of grain in the picture?"

Yes, it's very likely.

Posted by: , November 6, 2007 11:58 PM

6.

you're probably going to be a bit let down by Clockwork - while we never had a anamorphic scratch-free R1 SD to compare, many times it looks no better than a great SD upconvert. Maybe it's the source but I have 2001 and the Shining and they have much much more in terms of detail. Taking Warner's great record in restoration and release of older films to HD DVD, this is probably the best we'll see it.

Posted by: aw, November 7, 2007 5:40 AM

7.

Looking forward to your Stendhal Syndrome review, Michael.

Posted by: Avanze, November 7, 2007 7:28 AM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

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