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I love my diatribes

So far, I really haven’t said much about my PhD work on this site. The main reason for that is that, recently, with me having been feeling under the weather, I really haven’t had the energy or motivation to get cracking on it. Now, however, two things have conspired to change that. First of all, I’m feeling quite a bit better, and can now turn my mind to things other than my constant nausea (which, mercifully, I’ve been clear of for nearly a weak now) and pains (which are now much less severe than they were this time last week). Secondly, the supervisor of my MLitt dissertation, who is currently away on leave, is having a catch-up session on Wednesday and asked me if I would be interested in meeting up with her to discuss my progress. Of course, I said yes, and decided to use the opportunity to get something written so that, when I traipse into the university on Wednesday, we won’t both be staring at a blank sheet of paper.

I always find that I work best when I have a deadline. It’s not that I can’t motivate myself, but I tend to find that I’m at my most lucid when I know I’ve promised to hand in x number of words by y date. The last 24-48 hours before a deadline are often when I get my best work done, and I’m not sure why, as I don’t typically make a habit of leaving everything to the last minute. Still, my current supervisor (the one who isn’t on leave) had suggested to me that I get writing as soon as possible, so that I don’t get into the habit of letting the work pile up and suddenly find myself in my final year of my PhD with nothing down on paper.

At our last meeting, it was agreed that I’d put together a piece of writing explaining (a) what a giallo is and (b) why I think this is a worthwhile field of study. I was originally to discuss it with him last week, but my ill health put paid to that, so it was only this afternoon that I finally completed the assignment. It’s just over 4,200 words long, approximately 3,000 of which were written today (I’m definitely one of those “bang it out quickly” people), and, while I doubt that any of it will be used in my final thesis, and it doesn’t even touch on the issues of gender and identity that I hope to begin to explore in the near future, it has helped me to crystallise some thoughts and, perhaps more importantly, has eased me back into the process of academic writing, which I hadn’t done in over a year. Anyway, I’m reasonably satisfied with what I’ve written, even if I’m still not entirely sure how it fits into the grand scheme of things. I often find that, once I’ve completed a project, whether it’s a review, an essay or whatever, I feel strangely fulfilled, so, right now, I’m feeling light-headed and quite pleased with myself. Come tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be able to find a million things wrong with what I’ve written, but right now, I’m just glad to have made what I feel is a decent enough start at what is going to be a long, long project.

Oh, and I got to use the phrase “academic snobbery” in an academic essay. I wonder how that‘ll go down.

 
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2007 at 11:00 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Cinema | General | Gialli | PhD
 

DVD review: The Stendhal Syndrome

DVD
If you already own a copy of the Italian release of The Stendhal Syndrome, then whether you consider this new edition to be a worthwhile purchase will be dependent on whether you feel that the price is worth paying for a slightly improved transfer and new bonus materials. If, however, you only own the poor quality Troma or Dutch Film Works releases, then I would definitely recommend this release.

I’ve reviewed Blue Underground’s recent release of Dario Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome, presented for this first time uncut in North America in this 2-disc special edition, courtesy of DVD Pacific.

 
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2007 at 1:56 PM | Comments: 5 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | Reviews
 

Eyes half shut

Below are some screen captures from Eyes Wide Shut, comparing the old fullscreen DVD release with the new widescreen HD DVD. Which framing looks more accurate to you?

Example 1:

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

 
Example 2:

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

 
Example 3:

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

 
Example 4:

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

 
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2007 at 11:35 AM | Comments: 10 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD
 

Hair of the rat

Blu-ray

If I ever met Pixar’s Rick Sayre, I would shake him warmly by the hand and say “Thank you, sir, for a job well done.” The guy is possibly the best professional encoder in the business - he struck gold with the PAL DVD of The Incredibles, and he’s done so again with Ratatouille. Even the absolute best HD releases generally have mild compression artefacts if you pause and zoom in close enough to inspect them in minute detail. Not so with Ratatouille. The image is, to my eyes, completely flawless. It just doesn’t get better than this.

Ratatouille
(Disney, USA, AVC)

Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille Ratatouille

 
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 11:35 PM | Comments: 1 (view)
Categories: Animation | BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Technology
 

Oh, nausea!

I got through the whole of today without feeling sick once. I put this down to my decision to stop taking the Regulan (which my GP told me was probably a wise move when I suggested it to him), which was emptying my bowels at an impressive rate but leaving me feeling like crap for several hours after each, erm, evacuation. By the way, the GP (a different one from the one who put me on the stuff in the first place) gave me a pretty thorough examination, but could find no obvious explanation as to why I have been experiencing the pains I’ve been feeling. He said there was a possibility that it had been brought on by a varicose vein, which would correct itself in time, but otherwise couldn’t offer any definitive diagnosis, and so has referred me to the hospital for an ultrasound, x-rays and the like. I’m feeling somewhat less worried now, though, because he obviously didn’t consider it to be anything life-threatening, and the pains do seem to have abated somewhat over the last 24 hours, which makes me wonder if they were partly being accentuated by anxiety. I know that, if you constantly worry about something, it’s always going to seem worse. Conversely, I managed to forget my aches and pains at various points throughout the day, which I take to be a good sign.

DVD

Unfortunately, the people responsible for mangling Suspiria (see my previous post on the issue here) seem to be doing their damnedest to make me feel as ill as possible. I got home from work this evening to find screen captures of the upcoming French 3-disc collector’s edition from Wild Side waiting for me, and, judging by them, the new French transfer looks just as bad, if not worse than, the Italian “definitive” DVD. I’ve cancelled my pre-order - if it looks this bad, then all the bonus materials in the world won’t convince me that it’s worth shelling out €30 for.

HD DVD

In more positive news, my HD DVD of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket arrived today from Amazon.com. I haven’t seen the previous 2006 HD DVD release of this film, but apparently it looked like crap, so I’m happy to report that this new remastered edition looks excellent, along the same likes as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining rather than A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut. Detail is excellent, and this is definitely one of the best-looking discs Warner have put out, regardless of when the film itself was made (they’ve put out plenty of HD releases of 2006 and 2007 films that look vastly inferior). This is another “major” film that I’ve yet to see, so I’m looking forward to sitting down to watch both it and The Shining at some point in the near future.

 
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 10:00 PM | Comments: 2 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | General | HD DVD | Technology
 

Cooked to perfection

Blu-ray

My review copy of the Blu-ray release of Ratatouille arrived this morning from DVD Pacific.

It goes without saying that my expectation were very, very high for this release. Pixar have put out some of the best-looking standard definition DVD releases ever, with their UK edition of The Incredibles being one of the few titles that I actually consider to be as close to “as good as it gets”. Okay, so Finding Nemo ain’t so hot in comparison, but they’ve never put out anything that’s less than “very good”.

Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed. If there is a single flaw in Ratatouille’s transfer, I can’t see it. According to writer/director Brad Bird, it was handled by a Pixar technician named Rick Sayre, who also supervised The Incredibles’ DVD transfer, and it looks sublime from start to finish. There is a lot of difficult material here, particularly running water, fur and various spices, but the encoder never seems to slip up once, and, while the visual look of Ratatouille doesn’t quite have the crispness of Sony’s Open Season (it was intentionally given a slightly softer, “warmer” sheen), I know which film I’d rather watch. For those who crave sharpness above all else, Pixar’s Cars, released at the same time as Ratatouille and being delivered to the HMS Whimsy shortly, could easily become the new HD disc of choice (at least judging by the trailer on the Ratatouille DVD, which is a little over-compressed but beyond criticism in terms of detail).

That said, for me, by far the most striking aspect of this BD (barring the “Depending on your player, this disc may take up to three minutes to start” disclaimer at the start) was the trailer that played before the film, showing brief high definition clips of Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, The Lion King and Pocahontas. Disney, why must you keep us waiting so?

 
Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 10:47 PM
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD
 

An HD DVD that shines

HD DVD

My copy of the recent HD DVD release of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining arrived on Saturday from Amazon.com. Now I’m only waiting on Full Metal Jacket, and so far, the Kubrick HD DVDs are basically two for two. A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut both look reasonably good, if a little underwhelming, whereas 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining both look excellent - definitely in the top tier of Warner’s catalogue releases. Now, obviously The Shining is a less visually stunning film than 2001, so it lacks the “wow” moments offered by the earlier title, but this appears to be an excellent representation of the source materials all the same. A bit of light noise reduction is visible at times, but otherwise I’d have a hard time making any specific criticisms.

Oh, and just to weigh in on the aspect ratio issue once again, having flicked my way through various scenes in The Shining (I’ll watch the whole film soon, honest), I find it hard to understand why anyone would prefer the open matte version. The compositions, at 1.78:1 (close enough to the intended theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 for me not to bother splitting hairs about it), are absolutely sublime, and I can only imagine the open matte version looking decidedly wonky (which, judging by the screenshots posted at DVD Beaver, it most certainly does).

 
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2007 at 9:26 PM
Categories: Cinema | HD DVD
 

Edgar Wright on Suspiria

DVD

Edgar Wright, director and co-writer of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has contributed audio commentaries for the international and US theatrical trailers to Dario Argento’s Suspiria over at Trailers From Hell. This is a very interesting little project that I wasn’t aware of until now, essentially having several “gurus” (including Joe Dante, Mick Garris, John Landis and Rick Baker) discuss a variety of trailers for genre pieces. Both of Wright’s commentaries are very entertaining, and, for the record, I completely agree with his assessment of their relative strengths and weaknesses.

International trailer
US trailer

Credit for discovering this goes to Pete M at Dark Discussion.

 
Posted: Monday, November 12, 2007 at 6:27 PM
Categories: Cinema | Dario Argento | Web
 

DVD debacle

DVD DVD

I picked up a couple of DVDs on my lunch break the other day: Paul Verhoeven’s Soldier of Orange and Series 4 of Peep Show.

Again, sorry for the sluggish updates. I thought I was on the mend, but it turns out I may have been mistaken. The pains in my stomach have now gone, but I’m still getting all sorts of aches from the waist down on my left hand side, and, to make matters worse, last night, while lying fully stretched out in bed, I could literally feel the circulation in my left leg being cut off and the entire limb going to sleep. I was only able to get the circulation going again by bending it at a 90 degree angle - so, as you can probably imagine, I didn’t sleep particularly well last night. Oh, and I’m feeling absolutely rotten again today (nausea and stomach cramps), so I suspect I’m going to try to get another appointment with the doctor tomorrow.

 
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Comments: 5 (view)
Categories: Cinema | DVD | General | TV
 

This is going to set you back several Disney dollars… (Part 4)

You can view Part 1 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Alice in Wonderland) here, Part 2 (Peter Pan to The Black Cauldron) here and Part 3 (The Great Mouse Detective to Tarzan) here.

Fantasia 2000 (James Algar, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Don Hahn, Pixote Hunt, 1999) - I don’t own this one on DVD. The R1 US single-disc edition includes a DTS track, commentaries and other bonus materials not found on the R2 versions. This and the 3-disc Collector’s Edition (bundled with Fantasia) are both OOP.

The Emperor’s New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000) - I don’t own this one on DVD. All versions present the film in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, accompanied by the original 5.1 mix. The OOP R1 2-disc Collector’s Edition features a DTS track not found on the other releases, but otherwise all 2-disc variants throughout the world appear to be identical. Avoid the various (also OOP) single-disc releases.

DVD

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 2001) - All of the various 2-disc Collector’s Edition releases present the film in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, accompanied by the original 5.1 mix in both Dolby Digital and, in English-speaking territories, DTS forms, plus a massive array of extras. There is also a single-disc R1 release, but at all costs avoid the R2 UK single-disc version, which features only a cropped 1.33:1 presentation of the film.

Lilo & Stitch (Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois, 2002) - All releases present the film in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, accompanied by the original Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Virtually every territory except North America has a 2-disc Special Edition packed full of extras, with the R4 Australian release also including an English DTS 5.1 track and therefore being the best available version. At all costs avoid the R2 English and German releases, which have been censored (particularly the German release, which is missing upwards of a minute of footage). The UK versions also have a Gareth Gates song inserted over the closing credits.

Treasure Planet (John Musker, Ron Clements, 2002) - All releases present the film in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, accompanied by the original Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The R2 UK release also includes a DTS 5.1 track, making it the preferred version. Having seen both PAL and NTSC transfers, I would say that the PAL version offers improved detail while also exhibiting slightly more in the way of compression artefacts.

DVD

Brother Bear (Aaron Blaise, Bob Walker, 2003) - The R1 2-disc Special Edition includes two versions of the film, one corresponding to the theatrical presentation of the film (starting in windowboxed 1.85:1 before expanding to 2.39:1), and the other cropped to 1.66:1 throughout. The R2 UK version, meanwhile, comes on a single disc and includes only the cropped 1.66:1 version. According to Rewind, the R2 Norwegian release is also OAR. Both English-language versions also include a DTS track. Note that the R1 release has very poor image quality (extreme amounts of filtering).

Home on the Range (John Sanford, Will Finn, 2004) - Draw between all releases, which present the film in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, accompanied by the original Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

 
Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007 at 10:32 PM
Categories: Animation | Cinema | DVD | Technology
 

Hooray for HD DVD!

Once again, I must apologise for the sparsity of updates over the last few days. It turns out that the problems I was having didn’t go away - if anything, they got worse. I took a trip to the doctor this afternoon, and, while I didn’t come away with a definite diagnosis, she said that the most likely answer was that I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Apparently, there’s not a great deal that can be done about it, beyond establishing a diet that agrees with me and making sure I take lots of fibre and fluids, but I did get a prescription for a high fibre drink called Regulan, which, taken over the course of the next 30 days, should flush anything nasty out of my bowel and intestines (and all for under a fiver - seriously, one of the few things about this country that I’ll never knock is the NHS).

HD DVD HD DVD

Anyway, while I wait for my Regulan to take effect, I’m going to take my mind off the horrendous stabbing pains in my gut by posting about the two HD DVDs that arrived recently (Wednesday and Thursday respectively), A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut. While 2001: A Space Odyssey featured an absolutely sumptuous transfer on HD DVD (I’ll post screen captures soon, I promise), these two look fairly good but not great. Detail levels are above average, but there are some tell-tale signs of grain reduction, and overall they just don’t leap of the screen in the way that 2001 does. Particularly revealing is the fact that my old standard definition DVD of Eyes Wide Shut actually shows more grain than this new HD transfer. Now, maybe it was just the naturally lower resolution of the DVD accentuating the grain, but one thing’s for sure, this is the first time I’ve seen an HD release that is less grainy than its standard definition counterpart.

Oh, and, by the way, although the packaging claims that the both the censored American R-rated and international unedited versions are included on the same disc, in actual fact only the unedited version is there (I checked - no dodgy CGI men obscuring the rumpy-bumpy). Apparently, the Blu-ray and DVD versions released at the same time are the same. I’m personally not complaining - at least they included the right version! - but I’m slightly disappointed not to be able to see the apparently ridiculous censorship for myself, and I’m sure someone’s going to take Warner to the cleaners for false advertising (the back cover clearly states that the film is rated “R”).

Finally, a quick note on Eyes Wide Shut’s aspect ratio. As you probably know by now, the previous DVD release was presented in a 1.33:1 open matte aspect ratio, supposedly reflecting Stanley Kubrick’s preferences (although, of course, he isn’t about any more to ask). The new HD DVD, Blu-ray and DVD versions, meanwhile, are presented in a matted 1.78:1 ratio (as per all Warner releases with an intended 1.85:1 ratio). Now, I’m aware that the issue of how these films should be presented has been argued about since time immemorial, with passionate and convincing arguments coming from both sides of the fence, but ultimately I trust my eyes more than any theorising, and, having watched the 1.33:1 and 1.78:1 versions side by side, I am in no doubt that the 1.78:1 looks more “right”. Again, screenshots will follow when I get the chance to do them.

 
Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007 at 7:09 PM | Comments: 3 (view)
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | General | HD DVD
 

Blu-ray review: Oldboy

Blu-ray
It’s great to see more non-Hollywood content appearing on Blu-ray, particularly a solid film like Oldboy, but it’s hard not to feel somewhat shortchanged by Tartan’s failure to port over all of the bonus content from their 2-disc DVD set, while the image, despite being a definite step up from every prior release of the film, falls short of the high standard set by their Blu-ray release of Black Book.

I’ve reviewed Tartan’s recent UK Blu-ray release of Oldboy, Chan-wook Park’s critically acclaimed revenge flick. This Region 0 release features decent if not outstanding transfer and audio treatment, while some but not all of the extras from the DVD release have been ported over.

 
Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2007 at 10:16 AM
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Reviews
 

Alan Jones on Mother of Tears

Mother of Tears

Reviews of Dario Argento’s Mother of Tears have been pouring in for some time now, some good, some bad, some split right down the middle, but, for many fans, the review they have been waiting for is the one penned by all-round Argento expert Alan Jones. After much anticipation, he has finally written a few words on the film, as well as its Rome premiere on Halloween.

As to the film itself, well, it’s not the conclusion to the SUSPIRIA and INFERNO trilogy any of us wanted to see.

[…]

While it’s easy to criticise LA TERZA MADRE (occasionally different to the US MOTHER OF TEARS version) for what it isn’t rather than what it actually is - a gory, campy supernatural romp - the main problem with the film is simple. The layers of ethereal artifice given by lush cinematography and arch style to the prior two classic films lent their fractured stories a further atmosphere of palpable fever dream unreality. Stripped of that, and saddled with Fasano’s dull realism (his DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK photography was superior), the film’s equally episodic narrative comes off as contrived, crude and kitsch. Why on earth didn’t Argento use again the vivid colour palettes that made SUSPIRIA and INFERNO so fabulous to look at? He had the chance in Jace and Adam’s jewel-bleeding concept, but axed it as too fairytale instead of embracing its rich atmospheric possibilities.

[…]

Claudio Argento said it best at the premiere performance. He told me, “For the general public it’s a good solid movie, for Dario’s fans I’m not so sure”.

For the full piece, which includes several photographs from the premiere, head over to Dark Dreams.

 
Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 at 9:53 PM | Comments: 7 (view)
Categories: Cinema | Dario Argento | Halloween | Reviews
 

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 (view)
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | HD DVD | Reviews
 

Belleville belle vue

HD DVD

My copy of the French HD DVD release of Les Triplettes de Belleville arrived this morning from FNAC - a lovely surprise, as I’d completely forgotten it was being released at the end of October and had no idea it was on its way.

For me, this release is a huge deal, because it’s the first full-length traditionally animated film I’ve owned on HD DVD (the next is likely to be Asterix and the Vikings, also due out in France at the beginning of December). I’ve already seen the three Looney Tunes shorts that are included on The Adventures of Robin Hood HD DVD, which made my salivate for more, as well as Satoshi Kon’s Paprika on Blu-ray, but the latter featured a somewhat underwhelming transfer, while the visual style did absolutely nothing for me (anime generally does little for me anyway, particularly when its flat, bland, stilted, washed-out anime like the kind found in Paprika).

Many people are under the misconception that animation doesn’t benefit from HD as much as live action, but my opinion has always been that the exact opposite is true, as I hope the screenshots I’ve posted below prove. Les Triplettes de Belleville looks amazing, with the improved definition really allowing you to appreciate the line work of the pencil animation and the level of detail in the backgrounds. Oh, and as an added bonus, it’s in its intended aspect ratio of 1.66:1, unlike the DVD, which was over-matted to 1.78:1.

It’s not a completely perfect release: the low bit rate of 9.16 GB is slightly too stingy for the encoder to cope with some of the more visually complex shots. In motion, the artefacts that you might be able to see in some of the screenshots below are nothing like as noticeable - in fact, I hardly noticed any of them when I was actually watching the film - but they could probably have been avoided had an HD30 been used instead of an HD15.

Still, all in all a very nice release indeed, and one that means I can now retired my 2-disc standard definition DVD version (all of the extras have been ported over, even if they are, by necessity, PAL to NTSC standards conversions).

Les Triplettes de Belleville
(France Télévisions Éditions, France, VC-1, 9.16 GB)

Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville Les Triplettes de Belleville

 
Posted: Monday, November 05, 2007 at 3:16 PM
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | HD DVD | Technology
 

DVDs I bought or received in the month of October

HD DVD/Blu-ray/DVD
  • Black Book (R0 USA, Blu-ray)
  • Dawn of the Dead (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Day of the Dead (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Fallen Angel (R2 UK, DVD)
  • The Fly (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Halloween (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Inferno (R2 Italy, DVD)
  • The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition (R0 USA, DVD)
  • Masters of Horror: Season 1, Volume 1 (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Masters of Horror: Season 1, Volume 2 (RA USA, Blu-ray)
  • Mission Impossible III (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • Nikita/Subway (R2 UK, DVD)
  • Oldboy (R0 UK, Blu-ray)
  • Seed of Chucky (R0 USA, HD DVD)
  • The Stendhal Syndrome (R0 USA, DVD)
  • Suspiria: Definitive Edition (R2 Italy, DVD)
  • Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season (R1 USA, DVD)

No question about it, this was a very Blu month. A very expensive one too, although at least I managed to snag three review copies.

 
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 11:59 PM | Comments: 1 (view)
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | HD DVD | TV
 

Halloween HD DVD review: Underworld: Extended Cut

HD DVD
In terms of bonus content, Sony Pictures’ recent US Blu-ray release of Underworld, which ports over most of the extras from the standard definition release of the extended cut, is definitely preferable. For those who are restricted to HD DVD only, however, this release provides a magnificent audio-visual presentation of the film that I struggle to imagine being bettered.

Concluding this year’s Halloween special, I’ve reviewed Concorde Home Entertainment’s HD DVD release of Underworld, a film which may not offer much in the way of seasonal cheer, but at least has vampires and werewolves in it.

 
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:47 PM
Categories: Cinema | HD DVD | Halloween | Reviews
 

Halloween DVD review: Inferno

DVD
Unlike the Definitive Edition of Suspiria which I reviewed earlier today, the differences between this iteration of Inferno and the earlier Anchor Bay release are not a clear-cut case of something being “wrong”. Rather, they constitute a decidedly different-looking version of the same film, but one that is probably equally accurate to Argento’s vision. While dedicated fans will undoubtedly wish to pick up both DVDs, those only looking for one to add to their library are advised that both editions have their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice is up to the viewer.

Continuing the joint celebration of Halloween and the Italian theatrical release of Mother of Tears, I’ve reviewed the recent Italian R2 release of Inferno, Dario Argento’s third film in the Three Mothers trilogy.

 
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:45 PM
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Halloween | Reviews
 

Halloween DVD review: Suspiria: Definitive Edition

DVD
The so-called Definitive Edition of Suspiria proves to be anything but: a thoroughly disappointing release whose only claim to fame, beyond buggering up the look of the film something rotten, is its nifty tin case. And thus the quest for the definitive DVD release of Dario Argento’s masterpiece continues…

To celebrate Halloween, and to coincide with the Italian theatrical release of Mother of Tears, Dario Argento’s concluding part to the Three Mothers trilogy, I’ve reviewed the recent R2 Italian “Definitive Edition” of the first instalment, Suspiria, which comes in a nifty metal tin.

 
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:43 PM
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Halloween | Reviews
 

Halloween Blu-ray review: The Descent

Blu-ray
The Descent is one of the most impressive high definition releases I have seen so far, not only for featuring a stellar transfer and solid audio support, but also for featuring one of the best modern films released on either format thus far, and for being one of the few Blu-ray releases to not only port over all of the extras from its standard definition counterpart, but also for including an array of HD exclusive bonuses. Yes, the lack of true picture-in-picture means that the effect is not as seamless as it could have been, but this is overall a magnificent release and the best Blu-ray disc I’ve seen.

As part of DVD Times’ Halloween 2007 coverage, I’ve reviewed last year’s Blu-ray release of The Descent, and excellent presentation of Neil Marshall’s superb horror film put together by Lions Gate.

 
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:39 PM
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Halloween | Reviews
 
 

 
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