New to Blu: January 27 – February 2

Sicario explodes onto Blu-ray with an excellent, reference quality high definition video presentation that is encoded in AVC MPEG-4 and framed in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

“Lensed by the incredibly talented Roger Deakins, Sicario is a visual treat from start to finish …

“Much like the characters’ journeys, the film descends into darkness for its riveting climax, which offers show-stopping black levels.”

“Shot digitally with a variety of Arri Alexa cameras, Sicario looks exceptionally sharp and well detailed virtually all of the time, with a few minor exceptions.

“Much like the characters’ journeys, the film descends into darkness for its riveting climax, which offers show-stopping black levels.”

“The dusty, kind of beige-brown ambience of the American Southwest is detailed in a gritty, lifelike manner, with elements like scrub or even dust clouds offered with no resolution problems.”

“The Dolby Atmos sound mix (decoded as Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on my non-Atmos receiver) is quite revelatory with the sound mixers and editor (Oscar-nominated) achieving enormous heft to the engines of trucks and airplanes and in explosions and crashes which carry real weight in your listening environment.”

The fifth season of Shameless has top-notch video quality. All 12 episodes are slotted on two BD-50s in an impeccable technical transfer by Warner Bros.

“The 1.78:1 aspect ratio is presented at 1080P resolution. The AVC video encode for each episode typically averages less than 15 Mbps. Those numbers alone imply problems but this is a flawless encode without artefacts.”

“This digitally shot show has a somewhat gritty, even dank, quality which keeps it from popping at times …

“The palette is decidedly tamped down throughout the series, with only brief bursts of hues offering relief from a kind of overarching (intentional) blandness. Sharpness and clarity are generally very commendable, while contrast and black levels are at least slightly variable at times.”

“The detail is vivid and sharp throughout with great close-ups that reveal individual hairs, no matter what bodily fluids they’re covered in, makeup blemishes, wounds, and fine textures in the costumes.

“Wider shots are also sharp throughout, no matter if it’s in a run down bar or outside on the south-side of Chicago.”

The Transporter Refueled … looks suitably sharp and well defined most of the time, despite the ever present colour grading in the seemingly unavoidable blue and yellow tones.”

“Sharpness is quite good with lots of detail, and colour is vivid and appealing throughout. Contrast has also been expertly sustained while black levels are very good.”

“I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. With a fair amount of action on display, the mix used the channels in an involving manner throughout the majority of the film.

“This meant cars, gunfire and other mayhem all around the room, and the elements connected in a concise, smooth manner. Add to that music as a bold partner and the soundscape turned into an aggressive partner.”

The week’s only other newcomer is Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song, which includes about half-an-hour of behind the scenes features.

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