New to Blu: May 16-22

You can’t go past the Blu-ray 3D release of Hugo.

Breathtaking is perhaps the best way to describe this reference quality transfer from Paramount.

“Hugo won Oscars for its cinematography, art direction, and visual effects, and this often jaw-droppingly beautiful 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 effort showcases all those elements to perfection, while transforming the 3D presentation from gimmick to art form in the blink of an eye.”

“So much goes into every frame, from period production design to visual effects to appealing composition, that you can literally freeze any frame and have a piece of art on your screen.”

“A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is provided for both 3D and 2D versions and the extra surround back channels are put to splendid use from the very beginning.

“The sound here is big without being overwhelming or pushed to the limits absent a sense of dynamics. The mix allows for breathing room, letting up with lulls, never becoming too loud and audacious, but hitting with a wallop of special effects when need be.”

Another must-see, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, has a “very high” bit rate that “replicates the theatrical presentation extremely well.

“The period art-direction and misty, dark aura are accentuated by the occasional detailed close-up. The image quality shows plenty of textured, appealing, grain … I see no digital manipulation and visually this looks very strong and faithful to the stylistic intent.”

“Although the artistic choices keep the film from having absolutely rock solid darks, what this does allow the image is a wonderfully extended amount of shadow detail.”

The Muppets comes to Blu-ray with “a superb 1080p presentation that just smacks of all the best qualities of digital cinematography”.

“Disney continues its Blu-ray dominance with yet another stellar transfer. You have never seen The Muppets up this close and personal, from the colour graduation on Gonzo’s beak to the matted hair on Fozzie hands.

“The mix of interior and exterior shots, day and night, keeps everything perfectly balanced; deep blacks, vibrant colors, and not a hint of digital tampering.”

Also out this week are the delayed Pina, the direct-to-disc Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller Dragon Eyes, WWE WrestleMania XXVIIIBizet: Carmen and The Chemical Brothers – Don’t Think.

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