New to Blu: March 13-19

This week World Without End gets the Blu-ray release that its prequel, The Pillars of the Earth, was denied in NZ when it came out ahead of SoHo’s HD broadcast.

World Without End comes with a 1080p AVC-encoded transfer that, more often than not, borders on fantastic, but due to a few instances of inconsistency, it fails to receive completely high marks.

“Mostly, though, the miniseries looks very sharp, and every bit a recent production with all the technological trimmings one might imagine go into a production like this.”

“Certainly up to the highest TV series standards and not a long way below a full blown movie release, it is only the slightly basic CGI at times coupled with the lack of many really, big scenes that belies the lower level of production.”

Otherwise, art house titles dominate this week’s fresh-from-the-multiuplex slate.

Arbitrage was shot on a variety of Kodak 35mm medium to high speed film stocks (Vision3 200T 5213, Vision3 500T 5219, Vision2 Expression 500T 5229), and while this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer isn’t exactly the ideal high definition reference material with its somewhat muted colour palette, very high presence of grain, and somewhat soft appearance, it does look natural and film-like at all times with no artificial enhancements or post-processing misdeeds apparent.”

“The DTS-HD 5.1 track is even more impressive. Dialogue is clean and clear from the centre channel, while the surrounds are used effectively for environmental and ambient effects (especially in NYC scenes). The score sounds especially good, with great dynamics.”

Monsieur Lazhar is presented with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. For such a relatively small scale film, this high definition presentation is really staggeringly beautiful at times, albeit within an overall limited environment.”

“By modern standards this is a reasonable and average Blu-ray representation and probably very accurate to the original production.

“It advances beyond DVD editions in several key areas – notably detail and depth.”

The Words looks gorgeous on Blu-ray … a very natural, film-like 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer.”

“Clarity and contrast are both quite good, lending the image an easygoing viewability, but a lack of vibrancy and razor sharpness keep it from achieving the wow factor that distinguish the best transfers.”

Storm Surfers 3D and the direct-to-disc Wild Bill (“slightly underwhelming“) and Peace, Love & Misunderstanding  (“sharp, colourful, and free from distractions”) round out the new movie releases while back-catalogue baseball comedy A League of Their Own bats above average for its era (“looks clean with a film-like presentation”).

Also new are Shut Up and Play the Hits, the WWE duo WWE: Best of Nirto – Volume 2 and Royal Rumble 2013, and the anime collections Aria the Scarlet Ammo, Baka and Test – Series 2, Berserk Movie 1 – The Egg of the King, Hellsing – Ultimate Collection 1, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere – Season 1 and Steins;Gate – Collection 2.

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2 Responses to “New to Blu: March 13-19”

  1. It’s a shame they did not re-release Pillars of the Earth on Blu-ray with World Without End 🙂

  2. I got The Pillars of the Earth on Blu-ray from Amazon US last year for a fairly cheap price. I watched World Without End and thought it was an excellent series, although it had a couple of weaker episodes early in the series.

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