Individual Entry

 
 

 
Another bonzer Aussie BD

Blu-ray Blu-ray

Back in February 2007, Lions Gate released Mary Harron’s film American Psycho on Blu-ray Disc in the US, and a thoroughly cack-handed job they did of it too, delivering an image so processed that every single edge had masses and masses of ringing surrounding it, and all the actors looked like they’d been deep fat fried. To add insult to injury, Lions Gate encoded their horrible image in MPEG-2 on a single layer disc, and junked most of the extras from its DVD counterpart.

Flash forward just under a couple of years, and the film materialises on BD in Australia, under the auspices of Sony Pictures. Now, I try not to judge books by their covers, but come on: Sony or Lions Gate? Who would you trust to get the job done? I ordered a copy, which arrived yesterday, and we had a fine evening watching Bruce Wayne… sorry, Patrick Bateman… slicing and dicing his way through a variety of yuppies, hookers and bums. So, is the Australian disc an improvement on its woeful US counterpart? You bet it is. No, it’s not a stellar-looking title by any means, suffering from a degree of ringing and a slight diffuseness, but it’s a significant step up all the same. The upgrade to an AVC encode on a dual layer disc gives the film more room to breathe, reducing artefacting, while detail and overall realism are greatly improved thanks to considerably less ringing and noise reduction. By the looks of it, the same master was used for both discs, but Sony managed to restrain themselves from subjecting it to the added round of digital post-processing applied by Lions Gate. You just have to look at Examples 13 and 14 to see how much less distracting ringing there is, and Examples 6 and 8 to see how the reduced filtering makes subtle (and some not so subtle) improvements to the overall level of detail. Unfortunately, as with the Lions Gate release, a number of the extras are still MIA (the same ones, actually), but, in every other respect, the Australian release constitutes a major upgrade from the miserable-looking US disc… meaning that Lions Gate got pantsed by the Aussies twice in a row (c.f. The Descent).

(Screen captures after the jump…)

Lions Gate: 4/10; Sony Pictures: 7/10

American Psycho
studio: Lions Gate; country: USA; region code: A; codec: MPEG-2;
file size: 17 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 23.87 Mbit/sec

The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release)

 
American Psycho
studio: Sony Pictures; country: Australia; region code: ABC; codec: AVC;
file size: 27.3 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 38.31 Mbit/sec

The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release) The americanpsycho (US release)

 
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Comments: 9
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Definite sharper image over the US release, but for me it's not enough to warrant a purchase. I'll stick with the uncut DVD I bought some years ago for ten bucks.

Thanks for the screencaps, as always.

Posted by: Christopher D. Jacobson, February 1, 2009 2:03 AM

2.

Both versions look too noise reduced to really be thrilled about but th AUS version does have way better fine detail.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, February 1, 2009 2:25 AM

3.

Close up views of some shots signify the US release looking the best, even though not what I would call top-drawer for Blu-Ray. The Australian release is softer and not the one I would go for.

I see some edge enhancement on the US release, but the shots of Christian Bale's face in shot 8 on both, still points to the US version with more fine detail. Unless this is an error.

Posted by: Craig, February 5, 2009 8:39 PM

4.

Craig:

Seriously? That’s absolutely not the verdict I would draw from these captures. You didn’t get the two captures backwards, did you? ;)

There is no extra detail in the US version of Shot 8 - in fact, there is considerably less, with the filtering merely making the pores in Bale’s skin look larger and clumpier. Sorry, but for me there’s no comparison: the US disc is an absolute turd, and the Australian disc, while no stunner itself, blows its American counterpart out of the water.

PS. I don’t believe the ringing in the US release is edge enhancement but rather filtering. What’s more, they filtered an already filtered master, so, to quote one of the AVS Forum pundits, even the halos have halos.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 5, 2009 8:44 PM

5.

Maybe I'm looking at them wrong, but even though the Australian version is obviously free of ringing and edge enhancement...the fine details like Christian Bale's hair in shot 15 for example just doesn't look as good. Is the film meant to be blurry? as in the Australian version of shot 15?

Discuss.

Posted by: Craig, February 5, 2009 8:48 PM

6.

It doesn’t look blurry to me - certainly not any more so than the US release (in fact, I’d say it looks considerably less blurry - much tighter in terms of the fine details). This may seem like a stupid question, but are you enlarging the images to their full resolution? By default, most browsers shrink large images to fit inside the window, which is no good for comparisons like this.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 5, 2009 8:54 PM

7.

Sorry, accidentally posted a reply u need to moderate (delete it now). To clarify, I am looking at the images in new tabs and at full size and in the exact same position, switching back and forth between the two. Double checking your URLs it seems I am correct in which image I have picked as the better looking as far as detail is concerned, especially shot 8 - and thats the US one.

Don't get me wrong, I normally think your HD / Blu-Ray writings are on the money, and have based several purchases on your recommendations.

Posted by: Craig, February 5, 2009 9:14 PM

8.

Fair enough - I’m certainly not going to tell you that you’re right or wrong in that regard. I put these captures up to let people make an informed choice, so by all means go for the US one if you’re thinking about picking up a copy of this film. I can only stress how much better the Australian release looks to me, particularly in motion, but ultimately that’s only my opinion.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, February 6, 2009 10:13 AM

9.

I gotta say I totally disagree with Craig. I think at first the filters may trick our eyes into thinking that the US release is sharper but the details on the AU disc are much more pronounced. I wouldn't even consider buying the US disc (I think I know why its so cheap on amazon.com).

Posted by: Tim, May 6, 2009 10:45 PM

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:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
Back to...