New to Blu: July 16-22

Welcome to the Dallas Buyers Club on Blu-ray.

The movie that won three Oscars, including best actor for Matthew McConaughey, was shot digitally using hand-held Arri Alexa cameras.

“The transfer here is top-notch, but since the filmmakers used available/natural light for almost all of the scenes, some footage comes off as more warm/over-saturated than others.”

Detail is excellent, allowing us clinical close-up observation of skin textures, clothing weaves and background touches, bringing characters, sets and scenery to life, with no signs of digital issues – no edge enhancement, no excessive DNR application, no banding or aliasing.”

“Sound is the master track which featured no ADR [automatic dialogue replacement] work at all.

“Music is used sparingly, but the levels are always spot on even in the loud club scenes, allowing for a balance of dialogue and effects.”

Unfortunately, McConaughey’s authentic drawl makes some of his quotable quotes hard to catch, and the NZ release doesn’t have subtitles.

Also new, in 2D and 3D, is a couple of overripe gladiatorial romps: Pompeii and 300: Rise of an Empire.

Pompeii‘s 1080p transfer is expectedly spectacular. [It] dazzles in nearly every shot, and the transfer is only less than perfect when sporadic bouts of noise interfere in a few darker shots.”

“The 3D image is slightly darker but displays nice spatial separation and good depth.

“Fireballs leap from the screen and ash floats down in the foreground, and the gladiatorial arena appears quite expansive in three dimensions.”

“The DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track  is aggressive and makes constant use of the surround channels.

“With a wide frequency response and dynamic range, the track is perfectly emphasising the bombast and action of the film with its often thunderous sound field.”

Rise of an Empire‘s 1080p/AVC-encoded 2D video presentation and MVC-encoded 3D experience are first-rate stunners, with an exceedingly refined image faithful to [director Noam] Murro and DP Simon Duggan’s blood-soaked vision and flawless even in the face of the film’s most frenetic action scenes.”

“Far more impressive, though, is the film’s potent 7.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack.

“Regularly active from all directions, this is a very satisfying film aurally.”

Rise of an Empire also is out on a double pack with 300.

“Universal’s Ride Along is presented in 2.40:1/1080p HD widescreen.

“Befitting a recently made action comedy, the image quality is near reference quality; colours are bright and bold, and the black levels look excellent.”

Ride Along has an English DTS-HD MA 5.1mix (@ an average 3.5 mbps, going up to 5.1 mbps during the big action beats), which fills the home theater with plenty of music and bass hits to go along with the quips and ad-libs coming from the front channels.”

Also new are Cuban Fury and season four of Justified (“a fantastic looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encoded transfer that gives the image a painterly quality, highlighting the golden hues and earth tones that typically make up Harlan County”).

A Hard Day’s Night is one of the year’s best back-catalogue releases, resurfacing on a 4K-restored Blu-ray with new HD extras (including some from the even more impressive Criterion edition), 5.1, 2.0 and mono soundtracks, and a DVD with extras from the 2002 release.

Its debut coincides with news of Ron Howard’s plans to direct a documentary about the Fab Four.

Other golden oldies include The Hound of the BaskervillesMoby Dick and The Devil’s Playground.

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3 Responses to “New to Blu: July 16-22”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    July 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Hi Philip. I’m just wondering if you know why the Twin Peaks Blu-ray is not being released in NZ? At least I have not seen it mentioned anywhere. I should have mine in a few weeks YAY 🙂

  2. Good news and bad news, Trevor: it’s definitely confirmed for NZ but its release seems to have been delayed. September was looking likely but there’s still no sign of it.

  3. A Hard Day’s Night disappoints in that those 2002 DVD extras are in HD on the criterion release 🙁
    Balancing that is that the NZ release is priced as low as $19 whereas the Criterion is $27USD and locked to Region A. 🙁

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