New to Blu: April 9-15

Hobbit fans with 3D TVs should opt for the 3D Blu-ray of the trilogy’s second instalment, The Desolation of Smaug.

“The level of depth in the 3D stereo window is amazing.

“Actors, objects, and background appear in multiple planes, which is only enhanced by Jackson’s directing style of constantly moving camera, which allows objects to appear and disappear gradually from view, highlighting the level of depth perception on all planes.

“The latter half of the film has many of what we could consider ‘the money shots’ of 3D with Smaug the dragon pursing our heroes and spraying fire at every 3rd dimensional angle.”

But buyers of the 2D edition won’t be disappointed, either.

“Warner Brothers gives The Desolation of Smaug an expectedly excellent 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that provides all the detail and texture one could want from Middle-earth.”

“Although the video still possesses that digitised and sterilised appearance of shooting in HD, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is quite remarkable and dazzling to watch.”

“Awash in colour and detail, the high definition transfer is incredibly rich, turning the film yet again into a feast for the eyes. Deep blacks give the image solid depth, making sure the world of the Hobbit is rich and dimensional.”

“With one of the best audio experiences for a fantasy epic I can remember hearing in a very long time, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug milks its DTS-High Definition Master Audio English 7.1 soundtrack ever so well.”

The week’s other big release is James Gandolfini’s penultimate movie, Enough Said.

“This Arri Alexa shot feature is suffused with the brilliant amber glow of Los Angeles, and benefits from a surfeit of bright primary colours which pop really nicely throughout the presentation.”

“Sharpness is usually spot-on (with only an occasional shot which seems out of place among those which surround it), and colour is rich and appealing with very believable skin tones. Contrast has been expertly dialed in.”

“Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

“Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough.”

“Madman Home Entertainment have done a stellar job with the Blu-Ray release of The Turning.

“The Blu-Ray looks immaculate, perfectly capturing how the film looked in theatres.

“Because all the films are stylistically different, the Blu-Ray perfectly captures the intended look of each segment of the film. The image is crisp and clear.”

The Limited Collector’s Edition is packed with commentaries and extras, and comes with a booklet.

Also new this week are Free Ride, The Protector 2, Stanley Kubrick’s Fear & Desire (Blu-ray/DVD) and:

  • Nurse (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray): “The only real downside to the visuals is one that hurts lots of lower-budget movies, in that the CG effects are overly obvious thanks to the clarity of the transfer”;
  • Bad Milo!: “A clean image that suffers occasionally from wide shots lacking definition and a lack of saturation at times that can negatively affect skin tones and the film’s overall colour palate”.

Music titles abound, from BB King: The Life of Riley and Sensation: The Story of Tommy to Joni Mitchell’s Woman of Heart and Mind + Painting With Words & Music, One Last Time + Celebrate! The Best of Tina Turner, Transformer (Classic Albums) + Live at Montreux 2000, and Justin Bieber’s Believe.

Harlock Space Pirate (Blu-ray 2D/Blu-ray 3D/DVD combo) launches an anime slate that includes Fairy Tail The Movie: Phoenix Priestess, Good Luck Girl! Binbogami Ga! – The Complete Series, Steins;Gate – Series Collection and Sword Art Online – Vol. 4: Fairy Dance Part 2.

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