New to Blu: August 31 – September 6

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It’s a Blu-ray binge-watching bonanza this week with Captain America: Civil War vs a raft of mostly top TV series: The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime StoryBetter Call Saul (season 2), Blindspot (s1), Hemlock Grove (s3) and The Big Bang Theory (s9).

The Blu-ray of Captain America: Civil War goes on sale here in 2D and 3D editions ahead of the US with these exclusive extras:

  • United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War
  • Captain America: The Road to Civil War: Explore the First Avenger’s evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero
  • Iron Man: The Road to Civil War: Delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Audio commentary with directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
  • Gag reel
  • Deleted and extended scenes
  • Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange preview.

Also landing here ahead of the US is Better Call Saul: Season Two. It, too, abounds in extras, ranging from cast and crew commentaries on all of the 10 episodes and enough Blu-ray exclusives to warrant a bonus disc (although it includes only two 10-minute behind-the-scenes shorts).

  

Blindspot appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, the episodes looked good.

“No significant issues with sharpness developed. Some wider elements seemed a bit soft, but those instances didn’t dominate, so the shows usually provided crisp, distinctive visuals.”

“Motivations and allegiances may remain murky throughout Blindspot, but the image is always clear, even more so on Blu-ray than in the broadcast versions I watched.

“Warner’s TV division continues to employ low bitrates, with the average on Blindspot hovering around 16 Mbps, although the rate routinely spikes upward as the action accelerates.

“The encoding appears to be capable, and the image is free of visible artifacts, but Warner should follow Sony’s example and expand its full TV seasons to five discs.”

“Series creator and writer Martin Gero and teams up with director Mark Pellingham for an optional commentary track on the pilot episode.

“Between patting each other on the back, the pair offers a nice introduction to the series and marvels how they were able to get their first choice for every cast and production member.

“Spread out among the four Blu-ray discs in the package are 19 deleted scenes (explained by Mr Gero) and almost an hour ‘s worth of featurettes spearheaded by [star Jaimie] Alexander and creators talking about the show at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con.”

  

The Nice Guys 5.1 soundtrack, encoded in lossless DTS-HD MA, provides the expected punch and power of a contemporary action film that includes gunplay, car chases and hand-to-hand combat.”

“Warner Bros. provides a crisp, clear 1080p presentation that never wavers in quality. Whether the image is bathed in shadows or awash with Los Angeles sun, it never appears to have any problems whatsoever.”

Criminal makes a run for it on Blu-ray with a fantastic, near-reference 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that remains true to the heavily stylised photography of Dana Gonzales, which terrifically complements the film’s tone and theme.”

“This is an often commendably sharp and very well detailed presentation, at least when it ventures into natural light and when sequences have not been variously colour graded.”

Miles Ahead was primarily photographed on 16mm film. The gritty and grainy façade translates beautifully to Blu-ray.

“The filmic texturing and the steady and somewhat thick, but complimentary, grain structure beautifully hovers atop the image.”

Miles Ahead has a very lively, bright, and colourful visual approach, and the 1080p transfer recaptures that look perfectly, without any video noise or colour bleeding.

“Especially during transitions and surreal episodes where the past and the present collide, your screen will come alive.”

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