New to Blu: July 10-16

The first part of Breaking Bad’s fifth season lands this week on Blu-ray just ahead of part two’s premiere on Sky’s SoHo channel.

“As always, the video quality is as clear as Walter White’s blue meth …

“There are only a few compression errors within the nearly flawless video quality, but the audio quality has stepped up to a perfect five stars.

“With over nine hours of quality special features, this Blu-ray set is yet another must-own Breaking Bad release.”

“There’s really nothing to complain about here, the picture quality is outstanding.

“If you really, really look for it you might notice some mild banding and the occasional mild compression artifacts but most aren’t going to even notice this.

“The content looks excellent.”

It’s the first season of Breaking Bad to come out on disc here within only weeks of the US; previously months if not years was the norm.

But there’s been an unusually long, four-month gap between the US and NZ releases of the last major Oscar-winner to go on sale here.

Zero Dark Thirty’s Blu-ray presentation is about as faultless as the movie.

“The HD video photography is nothing short of striking; while it doesn’t quite achieve the natural organic look of film, the source does capture, and the Blu-ray presents, a supremely well defined visual experience that’s as good as any digital movie out there.”

“This entire Blu-ray is demo-quality. It’s a richly detailed, perfectly contrasted transfer that should be used to show off what your TV is capable of.”

“The disc’s English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is equally splendid.  It’s subtle, nuanced and highly immersive and yet when the rubber meets the road, it delivers with thunderous intensity.

“Dialogue and directional imaging is natural and clear, the score is perfectly staged and there’s outstanding low end when needed.”

Oz: The Great and Powerful is, bar-none, the best Blu-ray 3D experience thus far this year.

“Virtually every shot features multiple planes of depth, with smooth, gradual transitions between them for a more natural look.”

Then again …“I actually much prefer the 2D rendering of Oz The Great and Powerful to its ragged 3D counterpart.

“While obviously not as dimensional, this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer still possesses a palpable sense of depth and an elegant lushness that makes the fantasy world of Oz truly come alive.”

“The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is a remarkable achievement with continual delights for the ear.”

Broken City was shot digitally with Arri Alexa HD cameras, but you’d hardly know it; most of the movie has a gritty, textured, almost film-like quality that the Blu-ray’s 1080p/AVC encode captures well.”

“The disc is your basic, good-looking recent movie premiering on Blu-ray.

“There’s nothing exceptional about the image, but then, there’s nothing about the cinematography. Like the film, it’s all very workmanlike.”

Liberal Arts has “an extremely attractive Blu-ray transfer” but locally misses out on a filmmakers’ commentary and deleted scenes.

The US commentary’s also omitted from Tower Block and “although not exactly a stunning demo vehicle, this is a fairly good-looking, reasonably stylish production”.

Low-budget horror Mama is being released the same week as re-issues of Piranha (1978) and Warlock.

Mama has been lavished with an excellent Blu-ray presentation.”

“The image looks gorgeous throughout the 100 minute run-time, with the flesh tones looking natural and smooth.”

21 and Over also “looks great for a fairly low-budget comedy”, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn has “an excellent 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that struggles with just one flaw: mild to moderate banding” and Upside Down “has some gorgeous photography which is given a great transfer”.

Also new are Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, Great Expectations (2012), The Penguin King (3D), National Geographic: Best of Great Migrations, Knife Fight, WWE: Best of War Games, Jane’s Addiction Live in NYC, From Up on Poppy Hill, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 Collection, Patlabor – The Mobile Police Ova: Series 1, The Early Days Collection and Rurouni Kenshin – New Kyoto Arc.

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