New to Blu: November 15 – 21


Atomic Blonde leads an explosive slate of newcomers that’s notable for the raft of classics being re-issued on Blu-ray and 4K-UHD.

Atomic Blonde is a rather basic digitally shot film which was photographed at a resolution below 4K and subsequently upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate,” said.

This is a good image and represents a modest, but obvious, upgrade from the Blu-ray, one that doesn’t make a huge impact in 4K but that should satisfy those in search of superior detailing and colour reproduction.

“The film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in 2160p resolution using the HEVC codec,” Home Theater Forum said.

Sharpness is outstanding with hair textures and skin surfaces featuring plenty of detail. Colour has been desaturated and timed very coolly with strong dabs of neon throughout (those familiar with the look of John Wick will find the look here quite similar), but the use of HDR certainly emphasises nicely the neons and other brief bursts of bright colour when they appear.

“The vibrant colour quality and rich dynamic range are particularly impressive, something the filmmakers draw attention to by breaking most of the film down into cold, super-desaturated scenes and impossibly neon-baked scenes,” DVD Active said.

Tight details and deep blacks help press the subtler contrasts, though the emphasis on sleek lines and delicately-pulled shallow focus does mean that some elements appear blurry. The utter cleanliness of the transfer keeps digital noise to a minimum, even throughout the glossy gradations and intense blends.

Two TV series also are out on Blu-ray: seasons one of The Crown and two of Versailles.

The Crown was digitally photographed, and there’s no mistaking a modest smoothness and digital sheen, but there’s also no mistaking the image’s superior colour reproduction and textural excellence,” said.

The image boasts incredibly rich and satisfying colours, firm and natural with exceptional saturation and nuance on everything from natural greens to red lipstick.

The 60th anniversary edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai leads a slew of library classics from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The film is presented here in full native 4K (2160p) at the intended 2.55:1 aspect ratio,” The Digital Bits said.

It’s been given an HDR10 colour grade pass, but that’s been done very tastefully and with a restrained hand, the goal being simply to expand the film’s overall dynamic range and enhance colour rather than create a more modern look … Grain is moderate throughout, but detail is very good – sometimes, truly outstanding – and always a marked improvement over the previous Blu-ray image.


Said The Digital Bits of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (which also can be streamed in 4K on Netflix):

The native 4K image is presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, and it’s simply exquisite. Allowing for the fact that moderate but appropriate grain is present throughout, and that the occasional shot appears optically soft, this presentation is certainly the ultimate image experience of this film in every way.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is marvelously pretty and dripping with added detail and colour in a presentation that easily bests the Blu-ray if you’re looking closely, but 4K/HDR — much like with bad CGI — highlights flaws as much as reveals improvements.”

Similarly, A Few Good Men: “This new 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image seems to bump up the image quality a bit,” Blu-ray Authority said.

Flesh tones are warm and natural, most of the scenes are during the day and the warm, brown hues of the ending courtroom sequence look especially radiant. The HDR adds a bit more coloor range to the film, though there are other films that take more (and better) use of it.

SPHE also has re-issued the Tobey Maguire Spider-man movies on 4K-UHD and is bowing on Blu-ray the original Dunkirk and the Agatha Christie mysteries, Death on the NileMurder on the Orient ExpressThe Mirror Crack’d and Evil Under the Sun.

Also new are:

  • Paris Can Wait
  • Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars (“a rather ‘meh’ presentation”)
  • Guardians (“expertly captures the density of textures and the vividness of certain colours”)
  • The Unborn (“excellent transfer, which showcases a solid, film-like texture”)
  • Cat’s Eye (“it’s a fresh new HD transfer and the results are spectacular“)
  • First Kill (“technical merits are generally very good“)
  • The Relic (“decently robust and extremely film-like”)
  • Straight on Till Morning.
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