GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS
Still there is enough 3D to be noticeable and given the choice I would much rather watch this film in even muted 3D, then without. So worth a look. Grade: C- for the movie and C- for the 3D.
Now having seen it, I completely do not understand how this film is virtually never mentioned, even by die-hard Criterion experts and fans. This is clearly one of Criterion’s best and most essential releases.
As a fan of theatre, great theater is hard to translate to great film. While a fan of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI the film, it pales to the power and immediacy of the theatrical presentation I saw. The same with nearly every version of RICHARD THE III I have seen, they pale to the experience of having attended a walking theatrical play of RICHARD III , conducted at night, in the rain, following the actors in an out of decaying edifices, with roofs gone, and nothing to stop the heavens to bearing witness. Great theater is hard to match.
Very rarely does that happen the other way, where the film can capture or surpass the theatrical presentation.
A few come quickly to mind, Branagh’s HENRY THE VTH (1989), Anthony Harvey’s THE LION IN WINTER (1968) and this film, Wim Wender’s PINA (2011) while not an adaption of any one performance, but rather the overview of a troupe’s body of work, offers an immediacy in how the camera is used, and the stereo imaging is used, that allow the artists to communicate with you in a way that transcends, perhaps by a little — perhaps by a lot, anything that you can experience sitting in the best seats of the best traditional theater.
p.s. THE CRITERION RELEASE OFFERS A MAKING OF, THAT IS ALSO IN 3D (SOMETHING I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE), as WELL AS A COMMENTARY. THIS FILM HAS A WEALTH OF CONTENT FOR NUMEROUS VIEWINGS and REVISITS. A RELEASE I LOOK FORWARD TO ENJOYING FOR YEARS.
“Dance. Dance! Or otherwise we are lost.”
These reviews were conducted using 3D Blu-rays, a region free 3D compatible Blu-ray player, and a short throw, full HD, 3D compatible short throw projector (Essential for a flexible/portable system) offering at least 3000 lumens, and high contrast, and active DLP glasses (one of the most important parts of any system)..
If you would like to purchase your own pre-assembled system you can use this link as well as clicking the images in this post to acquire the items depicted.
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Alfonso Cuaron is a director who unfortunately only makes films sporadically, and currently IMDB has no upcoming films listed for him Which is a shame. He is a director with a vision, that I always am hopeful to see more from.
I have not put CASABLANCA or THIRD MAN on this list, because although they have noir elements, there is an A picture scope to them in terms of not just budget but aspiration, that transcends the conventions of the noir, they ultimately tell larger tales than the fall or redemption of a single man, which is the heart of the noir aesthetic.
With that caveat aside, onto the list.
I don’t love the cover art for the Eureka release of Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (I think they should have gone with the art used for DVD and other releases) , but the film itself is magnificent, one of the greatest film noirs of all time. And a very good Blu-ray release. It is currently the must own version of this film.
3. MURDER MY SWEET (1944)
5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)
7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)
8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)
9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)
10. RAW DEAL (1948)
2020 saw all ten of these films available on quality, feature rich Blu-Ray releases (eff barebone, questionable quality 4K releases — I despise the “no interior artwork, lacking new artwork” 4k releases. I also blame 4k for the further fragmentation and dwindling of a market, that can not survive anymore fragmentation. If you are going to do UHD releases, release them with the Blu-Ray and/or DVD in multi-packs. You eliminate having to have a DVD market and a Bluray Market and a UHD market, and the associated expenses of trying to package for 3 different formats ) for the first time in the relatively short history of physical media. And arguably by the end of 2021 these ten movies will never again all be available in quality, feature rich, physical media versions.
Hope you found this helpful. Click on the images to view the films in question. Purchases through the links are appreciated and earn this blog always appreciated pennies. Thanks for looking and on the way out, go ahead and like, subscribe, and share the link to this site.
Be well out there!
A quick aside on 3D, a great 3D home experience depends on your personal setup. So depending on your setup, or lack of, your mileage may vary. At a minimum I suggest a multi-region Blu-ray player that will play 3D. Also either a 3D tv, or more likely these days a DLP 3D projector , and Active Shutter glasses. Your glasses are very important in terms of not just comfort, but image quality. Better active glasses will have a switch to flip the left right views, which makes a MASSIVE difference depending what content you are watching. If the content is flipped, it is going to appear slightly out of focus, incorrect depth wise etc; so a good pair of Active Shutter glasses will let you resolve/fix that with just a press on the glasses. So like anything else, if you are having a less than stellar experience with something, check your setup and tools. As mentioned if I get 7 likes on this post, and the previous parts of this article, i will do a post breaking down my exact recommended 3d/2d hardware/setup.
Also another B&W one that is a difficult watch, is DRAGONFLY SQUADRON. Now the 3D in this is actually very, very good. Lots of depth and separation between objects. What hurts the film, is it is very noisy and grainy, and I don’t typically have an issue with grain. GUN FURY 3D was grainy, but the color presentation with it, had no problem with the grain, and the 3D was phenomenal; however with the DRAGONFLY SQUADRON in 3D, the grain and pops in the film feels likes tiny explosions going off while you are attempting to watch the film. A shame because, as I mentioned the 3D is very impressive.
I found the HOBBIT UNEXPECTED JOURNEY pretty underwhelming in 3D.
I heard lots of praise for RESIDENT EVIL AFTERLIFE’s 3D, however finally watched and the 3D is uneven. It comes and goes. Sometimes it has depth, sometimes it does not.
TRANSFORMERS THE LAST KNIGHT is the same way, moments of effective 3D, and sequences that are basically 2D.
Those are probably the biggest UNDER-PERFORMERS so far.
Another demo worthy disc would be PACIFIC RIM in 3D! Holy cow! That is a must own. Another A+ 3D film.
I would also say STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS 3D is another great 3D film. Lots of wonderful depth, and one notable striking pop-out. A solid B+.
I’ve only seen a few minutes of IMMORTALS, DRIVE ANGRY and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:DAY OF RECKONING, but initial impressions is that the 3D in all three of those films, is phenomenal. Especially UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:DAY OF RECKONING (which is the best Universal Soldier film, largely because it is nothing like the previous films. It is Universal Soldier by way of APOCALYPSE NOW). directed by John Hyams I believe, I love this film in 2D, and in 3D it is even better. Initial impressions they are all easily B+, but that grade may go up once i watch the whole film in 3D. DAY OF RECKONING in 3D is a must own. Click on the images to pick up copies while they are still in stock.
MAN OF STEEL in 3D, is better than I expected. People have been lackluster in reviews regarding WB/DC 3D films, but I was pleasantly surprised. While there are no pop-outs in the film, there is nice depth for a good portion of it, especially the more sci-fi aspects. Overall while not an essential 3D disc, the film is more enjoyable to watch in 3D than 2D. And considering I am not a fan of this film (I think it is one of the weakest Superman films, after the first 2 Reeves films, and below SUPERMAN RETURNS), it has its good parts (not the [minor spoilers] video game massacre of millions, and the stupid tornado sacrifice scene), and it is overall a good 3D to have in your collection. I’d say a C+ in terms of its 3D.
Today i will probably sample KONG SKULL ISLAND in 3D, as well as SANGAREE 3D and HERCULES 3D, and I’ll bring you in the next installment what I thought of those.
Also i have some IMAX Docs in 3D coming, so I’ll review those once I view them.
And remember guys, like, subscribe and share this post. If I get 7 likes, on this post as well as the first part, and I will break down the hardware that makes up my system and how I have it setup. Till next time, Gals and Guys, be safe out there!
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