New to Blu: January 9-15

It’s a gringo bonanza on Blu-ray this week, with today’s direct-to-disc release of Get the Gringo and El Gringo.

“Get the Gringo crosses the Blu-ray border with a 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation that—beyond seeming merely faithful to source—looks pretty damn good.

“The film was shot digitally using the ever popular Red One cameras, which, when coupled with high quality lenses, are capable of producing a strikingly sharp picture. That’s certainly the case here.”

“The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is very good.”

There doesn’t appear to be any online reviews of El Gringo, but Variety said this “undeniable exercise in third-hand coolness, with nods to spaghetti Westerns and ’70s drive-in actioners” has “solid” production values, which, given it was shot in HD, should translate well to Blu-ray.

Another direct-to-disc gem, Lockout, starring Mel Gibson’s fellow countryman Guy Pearce, is “just shy of spectacular” and “exceptional looking”.

“If you were hoping for demo-worthy audio that will shake the very walls of your media room then you’re in for a treat.”

Kiwi director Lee Tamahori’s latest, The Devil’s Double, also boasts a transfer that’s “just about perfect.

“The film’s colour palette focuses on the brighter side of the spectrum with gold, bronze colors dominating.”

“The image looks excellent; so good, in fact, there were times where I occasionally spotted some obvious technological ‘mattes’ and other visual effects whose seams reared their ugly heads.”

The week’s only other theatrical release on disc are Bernie and Hysteria.

“The Blu-ray gives us of the film, in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, AVC/MPEG4-1080p transfer, does fine by the look of the film, but that’s not saying too awfully much.

“Hysteria appears to have undergone some up-to-the-minute technical procedure to digitise its presentation even in theatres, so that something in the negative-development process itself has actually removed texture from cinematographer Sean Bobbitt’s images for a gloopy yet faded-out, greyish look one associates more readily with big, CGI-saturated movies than fluffy romantic comedies.”

Bernie arrives on Blu-ray with a very stable, bright, slightly warm, and strongly detailed 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer.

“Audiences will appreciate the HD video source’s crispness, colour, and attention to detail.”

Coming out three weeks ahead of likely Oscar-nominee Zero Dark Thirty is Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, which “fluctuates quite a bit between crisp and strongly detailed” and “only manages to deliver an occasionally sharp picture that captures fine detail and textures”. *

White Vengeance “looks gorgeous almost all of the time, and the best news here is that the digital intermediate has not been through the usual blender of colour timing, filtering and contrast pushing or pulling”.

But the local release “lacks the extras available on the Region A version which run for 90 minutes and include a making of and interviews”.

Also going straight to disc are: A Thousand Words (“in contrast to the movie’s many faults, the Blu-ray’s feature presentation is just about flawless“); 360 (“a grainy, washed-out picture that feels colder than it should”); Fire With Fire (“generally strong video and audio”); The Barrens (“a gorgeous example of 16mm photography”); Silent House (“video quality is hardly on par with what we expect from new titles, but the audio’s use of effects and lack of sounds is very strong”); Not Suitable for Children (“pleasing throughout both in sound and vision terms”); Vamps (kind of a knockout in high-def”); and Bad Karma.

Rounding out an exceptionally busy slate are the National Geographic documentary, Alien Deep, and the anime titles King of Thorn, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Steins: Gate – Collection 1 and Strike Witches: Season 2.


* Since posting this, Universal NZ has postponed Seal Team Six’s release indefinitely.

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One Response to “New to Blu: January 9-15”

  1. The old AV adage of “crappier the movie – better the video” survives well into the HD age!

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