New to Blu: March 25-31

Expect The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies to lord it over the rest of this week’s Blu-ray releases.

“The final instalment in the fantasy-adventure trilogy erupts on the screen with a superb, demo-quality 1080p/MVC MPEG-4 encode …

“Like its predecessors, the movie was shot entirely on a Red Epic camera system, using the high frame rate of 48fps, and it looks exceptional on the traditional frame rate of 24fps, exposing the tiniest flaw and imperfection in the clothing, armour, buildings and various weapons seen throughout.”

“At all times, sharpness appeared excellent. Virtually no instances of softness occurred, as even the widest shots came across as precise and distinctive.

“Neither jagged edges nor moiré effects materialised, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws didn’t mar the image in any way.”

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is a real treat in the third dimension.

“I realise that since the majority of the film is CGI, the 3D is applied to the movie as part of the design, and maybe not even in much of the original photography.

“Yet every shot satisfies, from the landscapes that stretch to infinity to medium shots in which sword points and extended hands reach out at us.

“The 3-D is engaged in a balanced way, enriching the image and the action but never becoming the dominant subject of a shot.”

As with the first two Hobbit movies, the extras come up short.

“You’ll have to wait for the Extended Edition later this year to find the special features everyone wants to see.

“Fortunately, its excellent video presentation and powerful DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track will make the wait a bit easier to bear.”

Map to the Stars’ technical presentation is excellent.

“Well-lit close-ups, in particular, boast outstanding depth, and clarity is consistently very pleasing.”

“There is a precision to the piece, but it’s held back from being obvious demo material by the stylisation, which views the subject matter through an almost slightly soft-focus style.

“It’s intentional, of course, but it makes it hard to view the piece as anything close to being perfect.”

Good People arrives on Blu-ray with a satisfactory 1080p presentation.

‘[The] transfer is solid, appearing relatively bland and bleak but seemingly in-line with filmmaker intent.”

“Detail is strong throughout, with good colour reproduction and nice black levels.

“It’s a surprisingly good transfer of a surprisingly good looking movie considering it probably didn’t have a lavish budget or a lengthy shooting schedule.”

Stonehearst Asylum is admitted onto Blu-ray with a deliberately cold and lifeless 1080p transfer.

“Though colours are somewhat drained and the image favours a pale, sometimes almost grayscale appearance with precious little in the way of colourful flash — that’s reserved for a few specific scenes — it’s nevertheless well defined and appropriately represented for its natural values.”

“The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix replicates the mostly restrained sound design well.

“Dialogue, effects and score are balanced appropriately, and both range and clarity are good. The surrounds are used occasionally for ambient effects.”

Lucio Fulci’s classic Zombie Flesh Eaters is being released here only on a single disc rather than the UK edition’s two, so it will be short on extras but hopefully the transfer is of the same caibre.

“The visual reproduction of this 1979 film is excellent.

“Transferred by the respected James White, using the original negatives, and presented in entirely unexpurgated fashion, the film has surely never looked so sharp and clean.”

“The video comes with excellent contrast levels and brilliant whites … Primaries are richly saturated with blood reds that leap off the screen, and secondary hues are warm and full-bodied.”

Also new are Zombie Holocaust, Savaged and season four of Hell on Wheels.

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3 Responses to “New to Blu: March 25-31”

  1. I saw Maps to the Stars at a film festival – another stinker from Cronenberg with Shovelface from Twilight. It again confirms the edict that the worse a film, the better it will look on home video 🙂

  2. I thought it was too good to be true from the heading: March 25-April 31 – six weeks in advance! PS: Thanks again for maintaining a great website.

  3. Yikes! That’s embarrassing. Appreciate your kind comments but not sure if “maintaining” is entirely accurate given a mistake of that magnitude! Thanks for pointing it out. Happy to go further out with Blu-ray release news — but based on readership stats, people seem more interested in the TV side of things. Appreciate your support.

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