New to Blu: August 10 – 16

The Witch is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.66:1, a kind of retro aspect ratio that may subliminally help to achieve an ‘old school’ ambience.

“The IMDb lists this as having been digitally shot with the Arri Alexa, and the image boasts the typically sleek, smooth and often beautifully detailed look of this capture technology.”

“Most of the movie is bathed in moonlight scenes that offer little in the way of sunlight. Darkness reigns in this film’s colour palette and the way it handles that aspect is wonderful …

“All in all, The Witch offers one of the best looking Blu-ray transfers I’ve seen for a lower-budget movie featuring this much visual darkness.”

“Perhaps most disappointingly, The Witch comes with no extra features. Which would be fine but for the fact that Lionsgate’s US release, from a couple of months back, sported a whole slew of extras including an audio commentary. The lack of these features leaves Universal’s [Region B] disc almost not a keeper, at least for fans who want the best release.”

“Audio arrives in an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that is technically fine but not without some minor irritants. Dialogue can be a pain to understand. Actors’ accents and speech patterns often muddy the ostensible clarity of the audio.

“The period phrasing employed further complicates what’s being said, making the optional English (for the hearing impaired) subtitles even more vital.”

Eye in the Sky‘s 1080p transfer, sourced from a digital shoot, rarely, if ever, excites the visual senses. It’s stable in its relative blandness, its digital sheen and glossy finish never accentuating the earthy Kenyan landscape or, really, even the cold, spartan command center set pieces.”

“The 2.39:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is expectedly polished and impressive, with good fine-object detail, clarity and sharpness. There is a hint of digital softness, but colors do not bleed, black levels are overall good, and I noticed no aliasing or compression artefacts.”

Eye in the Sky is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (avg 3.4 mbps, going up to 4.9 mbps for the bigger moments). It’s a solid mix, including music and some atmospheric sound in the surround channels. The subwoofer kicks in as needed for music and for the heavier moments.”

The 5th Wave‘s 1080p transfer is expectedly excellent. The digitally sourced photography presents with a clear, stable, and well defined façade. Clarity is excellent and never does that digital gloss or flatness overwhelm the experience.”

“Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, contrast is spot-on and pitch-perfect with brilliant, crisp whites that make the film really pop and burst off the screen. The video also arrives with superb brightness levels, displaying inky rich, full-bodied blacks with exceptional gradational differences between the various shades.”

The Boss bursts onto Blu-ray with an attractive 1080p transfer. The digital source material shines. The image is clean and efficient, boasting well started colors and pinpoint details.”

“Things tend to soften as the film goes on but the sharpness returns near the end, in what is a good transfer from Universal.”

There are three TV-on-BD newcomers —  Occupied, 11.22.63, season three of Black Sails — and the direct-to-disc Backtrack (“a satisfying 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.40:1 encode of this handsomely-lensed feature”) while the week’s only back catalogue release is the 15th anniversary edition of Donnie Darko.

New on the anime front are: Beserk: The Golden Age Arc Movie CollectionA Letter to MomoEvangelion: 1.11 You Are (not) AloneYour Lie In April: Part 1 (Eps 1-11) Limited Collector’s EditionBlack Butler: Book of MurderLove Live! – The School Idol Movie (Limited Edition) and Fairy Tail Collection 20 (eps 227-239).

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