New to Blu: Movies > November 6-12

Western fans will think they’re in El Dorado this week with two classics and a clunker being rounded up on Blu-ray.

Shane comes to Blu-ray in its original 1.37:1 ratio after plans to release it in a wider ratio were shelved because of outrage from fans of director George Stevens’ 1955 classic.

According to the commentary on the US release, which hopefully has been retained, “Shane’s negative underwent extensive restoration in the nineties.

“It is unknown whether additional restoration was performed for this Blu-ray, but the results on Paramount/Warner’s 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray are simply astonishing.

“Details, densities, black levels, textures and colours are all revelatory. I literally felt that I was seeing a film I had never seen before.”

“The picture is glorious (hat tip to Loyal Griggs, who won an Oscar for his work here), the image consistently impressive; colour is rich and natural-looking, and the image is sharp across the board.

“Some scenes that looked fine before are jaw-dropping now, especially the exterior shots of the various homesteads.”

Also new are two re-makes: El Dorado, John Wayne’s reworking of Rio Bravo, and another misjudged revival of The Lone Ranger.

The latter may not have struck the Mother Lode at the box office but Gore Verbinski’s version should look sensational in HD.

Because it’s being released here up to a month ahead of the rest of the world, it hasn’t been reviewed on the web.

But extras include a blooper reel, deleted scene, Riding the Rails of The Lone RangerArnies’s Western Road Trip and Becoming a Cowboy.

Also out weeks ahead of the US and UK is Despicable Me 2, which looks extraordinarily punchy and colourful on Blu-ray, and comes with a directors’ commentary, a handful of variable making-of shorts, and three Minions “mini-movies” that are exclusive to the Blu-ray.

Also new are:

  • the Jason Statham thriller, Hummingbird (“very sharp and precise with no stability issues”)
  • the raunchy theology comedy This Is the End (“the colours and black levels are all represented well”)
  • Jackass 3.5, an “unrated” version of the original (a mixed bag: the image appears sourced from several different cameras of varying qualities, but the film’s general HD-video look is handsomely reproduced”).

Being dusted off for the first time in HD are American Gigolo, Harold & Maude, Hatari!, Samson & Delilah, War & Peace, Charlotte’s Web and:

  • Anchorman: Extended Cut (“borders on dazzling”)
  • Love Actually: 10th Anniversary Edition (“quite a solid transfer”)
  • JFK (“an excellent representation of the director’s stylised intentions and does a much better job of dealing with the divergent materials than the SD DVD”)
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (“colours are rich, vivid and well-saturated”)
  • The Presidio (“excellent detail, superior blacks, proper contrast levels and a finely differentiated colour palette”)
  • Shaft (“looks authentically flat with some texture”).
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4 Responses to “New to Blu: Movies > November 6-12”

  1. It’s interesting how some movies on Blu-ray are being released here first before the rest of the world … does that make us special? 🙂

  2. No, it has more to do with the vagaries of distribution and competitive forces in specific territories. For whatever reason, the studios feel it makes more sense to release these titles here now but hold them back for other markets.

  3. And it works in reverse as well. Mostly in reverse.

  4. It also applies to cinema releases. Why? Because overseas sales are now more important than domestic US sales.

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