Update to my review on Warner Archives CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN!

A few posts back I recommended the Warner Brothers Archive distributed, Hammer Studios made CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN disc, but did point out an issue with its aspect issue. That the so-called wide screen 1:85 version is ‘fake’ widescreen, that basically just zooms in and crops information on the sides and top of the film, and that the 1:66 version is superior to the 1:85 version.

While that is true as far as it goes, I have just seen the special features on the 2nd disc, and the light bulb goes off. The primary feature on this disc is the movie in 1:37, basically 4:3, tv frame. This film was shot to maintain the 4:3 standard, that was very much still the standard for cinema. The viewers they used to frame their shots, everything was 4 by 3. Widescreen in the 1950s was very much a hail Mary, to try and bring people back to the cinemas by giving them something they could not get in their homes… widescreen.

And where widescreen would be used to real effect, by filmmakers as the years went on, watching the 1:37 print, from frame effing one it is clear, this is how the film was meant to look. From the first frame you can see the castle at the top of the screen that the rider is climbing up the mountain toward. a castle that is not discernible in the 1:8 version and you can just make out the bottom of on the 1:66 version.

In the 1:33 version you can clearly see the destination the rider is heading toward. And the rest of the movie is likewise perfectly framed, you no longer get the horses ears getting cut out of the frame, or the tops of people’s heads touching the top of the screen or being clipped out of the frame.

I knew the moment I saw the 1:8 version that it was missing detail. The 1:66 version gave us some of that detail back, the 1:33 finally gives us all the story… and the scales fall from our eyes.

Not only do you gain data on the top and bottom of the frame, you also gain data on the sides. You gain all that information that had the picture feeling… lacking (to differing degrees) in the other two versions.

And the pictures looks great in this 4 by 3 version. I’m over-joyed they included the 1:33 version but am dismayed they relegated it to the special feature disc (that potentially most will not even know about), and the ‘legitimate’ versions will be touted as these fake wide-screen versions.

It actually makes me mad, that the superior version of the film, the 4 by 3 version, was not the marketable version. “Oh but everyone has a widescreen tv, and people don’t want the picture to not use all that widescreen real estate”, even if it means they are actually being sold an inferior viewing experience, under the guise that it is a superior standard.

Studio speak.

It reminds me of what is happening with 4K, People are sold this idea that 4k is a superior picture to Bluray, that is is 4 times as good picture wise, and as with fake widescreen, that is not true.

1st, the term 4K is a misnomer sold to idiots, it is not 4 times anything compared to Bluray. It can discern smaller pixels, so roughly twice more dots per inch. But that is about screen real estate, and is not picture quality. It is picture real estate that depending what you are looking at and how it is applied… could be a component of better picture quality, or not.

But as I’ve stated before, in real world situation on a 60″ or less tv, at a standard viewing distance you are not going to discern any notable difference in the resolution between HD and UHD (called inaccurately 4K). What you do notice is the bells and whistles they dress up the marginal difference with, ie Dolby Digital and/or HDR. And that is color grading. And that technology could have just as easily veen applied to Bluray, but then they could not have sold the masses on new Tvs and players.

UHD like Widescreen has the ability to be well used, but it also (as in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) has the ability to be lip-service to quality, rather than a true qualitative improvement.

It depends if the people mastering these discs, are just interested in selling you a buzz word and a fad to get you to part with your money, or if they are actually interested and capable of recognizing a superior picture, and providing you that experience.

As with widescreen, sometimes the UHD/4K is just a buzzword with no value, and you are better off getting the 4:3 or Bluray version.

THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a great film, and if you have only seen it via the ‘wide-screen’ versions, go to disc 2 and watch the 1:33 version, and see what you have been missing. Highly Recommended!

Three Essential 3D Blu-ray Movies to Purchase, while they are still available! September 2020 Edition!

 

Ang Lee in THE LIFE OF PI, uses 3D as masterfully, as you will likely see it used. Like cinematography, or the score, 3D here is not a gimmick, but is ingrained in the way the story is told. Absolutely essential to see this film in 3D. In a properly setup home system (or commercial system) the experience of watching this in 3D  feels like— a moment of grace.

 

For Anybody who has issues with films post converted in 3D, direct them to FORCE AWAKENS. This Post Converted film looks vastly better than some films shot with 3D cameras (such as RESIDENT EVIL:AFTERLIFE and TRANSFORMERS:THE LAST KNIGHT). It is clear it was photographed and shot, with 3D in mind. Because it uses that depth, masterfully. The film looks like  you can step into it, and more, in moments like it can push out toward you.

One moment, a little more than 36 minutes into the film, comes a stunning and awe inducing moment of 3D projection, as one of the Star Destroyers appears quite effectively, and repeatably, to extend out of your TV.  And more than that one scene, 3D here is used as immersive and involving storytelling. A winning 3D film. I wish the 3D in THE LAST JEDI (my favorite of this new era of Lucas Films, and right up there with  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as my favorite of any of the Star Wars films) was as well done.

 

 

I saw GUN FURY first in 2D. It was ok in 2D, but after watching it once, I had it in my to sell pile. I had seen it, let someone else enjoy it. However I then watched it in 3D, this 70 year old film, and I was blown away. I mentioned before, the 3D in THE FORCE AWAKENS being better than some natively shot 3D films. This is not one of those films.

The 3D in this film, magnificently restored by the 3D Film Archive, is a revelation. That 3D from 7 decades ago could look this good, this immersive, this grand, is a revelation. And kudos to the filmmaker, the great Raoul Walsh, one of the great Director’s of the golden age of Hollywood (I’m very partial to many of his films, including THE ROARING TWENTIES, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON and HIGH SIERRA).

Here, the reportedly dashing former stuntman, turned actor, turned (due to an accident on a shoot) one-eyed Director, delivers his only 3D film; and for a man who could only surmise the effect of his shots in 3D, he delivers a movie that is gripping in its use of stereoscopy; replete with breathtaking endless vistas of an untamed America that seems to go on forever.

This is the power of 3D, to make a film more involving; just like great sound design,  or a great score, 3D is a tool, to make a film work better. 

In  the hands of a great filmmaker, 3D is more than a gimmick. 3D elevates GUN FURY from a film I thought was good but disposable, to a film that nearly every scene captivated me, and it will now —  not leave my collection. That is the power of well applied 3D.

 

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!

Collection Overview of the Day : August 2020 3D Blu-Ray Collection Twilight Time, Kino, WB, Olive Films!

 

This is a nice collection of 3D films from a variety of studios. A few of these I had previously, but the vast majority were acquired this month. Basically these are (after researching and comparing multiple reviews, lists and videos) all must own movies. You can just make out in the pictures, I replace all the standard Bluray cases (seen in the stock pictures below), with clear Blue-ray cases.

The clear ones just present much better on a bookshelf/display shelf than the standard tacky blue ones. it is a bit of a pet peeve, but it does make a difference, the clear cases make the collection looks like it belongs to an adult as opposed to something that belongs in a college dorm :)! However, that’s just me. 🙂 .

As far as the films themselves, of the ones I’ve seen in 2D, INFERNO (courtesy of TWILIGHT TIME) is a great film. Just top notch throughout. And JIVARO (KINO LORBER) and GUN FURY (TWILIGHT TIME) are both very good. I also have about a dozen more 3D films, lots of Marvel/Star Wars, not shown in these pictures — that will be in my next collection overview.

Looking forward to seeing all these films in 3D, tops on my list are DRAGONFLY SQUADRON, INFERNO, THE MAZE, BLACK PANTHER, GHOST IN THE SHELL, LIFE OF PI. When my projector arrives next week, I’ll update with reviews at that time.

Amazon Item of the Day : Multi-region Bluray Player

 

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LG BP175 Region Free Blu-ray Player – If you need an affordable multi-region Blu-Ray that also supports  3D discs, than this is a solid, well rated option.

 

Now regarding 4K.

I personally find very little need for 4K, as I do not have a 70″ or larger screen and I’m not sitting 2 feet away from it inspecting pixels. And the difference between 4K and 1080p, while substantial in pixels (ie inreal estate), in real world picture quality is minuscule. It is not the kind of quality jump that you got from DVD to Blu-Ray.

I have 20/20 vision, and see better than most people I know, ie I don’t need glasses or contacts, so at 1080p on a 60″ or less screen, from a recommended 8 feet or more viewing distance you are talking the threshold of what the human eye can differentiate in regards to pixel count/real estate.

That is where other considerations such as how well the source is mastered ( a huge consideration, I have some DVDs that provide a better picture than Blu-ray simply because they were well mastered and the Blu-rays were not) , and contrast and dynamic range and brightness, and frame rates all come in to play to provide you a superior picture.

But as far as chasing real estate, resolution, HD to 4K to 6K to 8K to 16K, that is a meaningless numbers game in a consumer setting. Unless you are projecting on a movie theater sized screen this chasing of resolution/real estate it just so manufacturers can continue to sell you the new hotness. The new player, the new tv, the new discs.

However if you are somone who has the disposable cash, and want the latest and greatest, so a 4K player to go with your 4K tv, well then the following is the one to get.

Sony X800 – UHD – 2D/3D – SACD – Wi-Fi – Dual HDMI – 2K/4K – Region Free Blu Ray Disc DVD Player – PAL/NTSC – USB – 100-240V 50/60Hz for World-Wide Use & 6 Feet Multi System 4K HDMI Cable

This one will do 4K (if you have a 4K tv as well), Bluray, Super Aucio CD, and 3D (If you have a 3D TV or Projector).

 

If you found this post informative, then would definitely appreciate a like, subscription, or using the included links.

Thanks and have a great day! See you next installment!

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 and Quite Possibly the Year : NetFlix’s DRACULA

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Netflix’s DRACULA – I have been looking forward to this series ever since i saw the first teaser trailer a month or so ago. The series has finally dropped on Netflix, and I have to say… the first episode exceeds my expectations.

Smart. Lavish, Biting, Charming and Ironic and irreverant when it needs to be, and above all dripping with gothic athmosphere and horror, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA is off to a phenomenal start.

I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the new shows recently, 2nd season of JACK RYAN, WITCHER, even the 4th season of THE EXPANSE… not really wowing me yet, but DRACULA… yeah, I’m on board. Looking forward to upcoming episodes, and to see if the 3 episode mini-series sticks the landing.

Grade: A/A+.

Today’s STEELBOOK Deals of the Day!

 

Show full-size image of LIMITED The Hunger Games - Complete Edition Stunning German Import! Blu-Ray!

I am not the biggest fan of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy, but the odds of me, not owning this ‘work of art’ Steel-book and Movie, and having it proudly displayed on my bookshelf /media room,… those odds are zero.  🙂

If you likewise would like to add the item to your home, please use the following link. You get a great item, and it earns a few pennies for this Blog to keep the proverbial doors open. A win-win. 

Also it makes a great gift/ present.

HUNGER GAMES LIMITED EDITION STEEL-BOOK

 

 

Also have the following now available (you will find them using the above link as well):

 

Rambo: First Blood - Zavvi Exclusive (Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra HD) - Steelbook

Movie Posters of the Day!

Joker Movie PosterI’m glad this film is getting good reviews, and hope it is good. However I personally have not loved the trailer. And Todd Phillips helming this film, with a history of only comedies behind him, is a question mark for me. Since I am not a fan or audience for his previous films. Still I hope this is great, but don’t have a big interest in it. The TAXI DRIVER and FALLING DOWN or MAN BITES DOG films, are not my cup of tea, and that seems to be the ground this is aiming for. But I’ll wait to see if the reviews pile up one way or another after opening day. But likely if they are not glowing I’ll wait till it hits streaming.

Midway Movie PosterNice poster. No interest in the movie.

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Motherless Brooklyn (#2 of 2)

Another nice poster. No interest in the movie.

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Gemini Man (#4 of 6)

The talk of the look of this film and the technology, getting the 120 frames per second thing working correctly, and early positive reviews, has me interested to see this in the theaters. Ang Lee is not a director whose films I typically gravitate to, but  I look forward to being pleasantly surprised by this one. And Will Smith is a star for a reason.

Whatever else the film offers, he always comes into it giving a 100%. He’s a star for a reason. And this film where he gets to act against himself, gets to clash the actor he was, against the actor he is… a riveting concept. And it is cool, how much young Will Smith, looks like his son, Jaden.

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how! The FINAL Part!

Here is the promised final part.

Just in time to order, pull the trigger by this Wednesday 24 July 2019!

 

Books worth pre-ordering by 24 July 2019, and save money off cover price, of books being released early October! Halloween!

Here then are the recommended books!

 

Books worth buying from Marvel:

While Marvel under the auspices of the great film division helmed brilliantly by Kevin Feige, are doing gangbusters on the big screen and television screens; the comic books are a train-wreck. I’m not talking talent wise, I think Marvel, The Comic Book Division has talented and creative people actually writing and drawing and creating the books.

Where Marvel falls down is in marketing and pricing their books, and over saturating a small market, with a lot of noise. I think Editorial and Marketing between the two of them are steering the company, periodical wise, at high speed right into a wall.

You do not have to be a genius to realize, Johnathan Hickman or any writer, is not going to revamp crap, if you are diluting and smothering a good idea, (in this case the ‘revamping’ of the X-men) right out the box, by comprising your jump on story 6 to 12 new titles, by that many creative teams. It is the moronic, diminishing returns crap, Marvel publishing has been doing for the last few years. Drowning whatever signal they may produce, under a crap load of noise.

 

One X-men title. One exciting creative team, writer, artist, colorist, letter. One steady price-point, $2.99. Not 10 mutant titles to dilute and confuse your audience. One title. One jumping on point. One easy brand to market to retailer and customers. If you are a Marvel Comic book company, with Marvel Studios having done the hard work of giving you a potential GLOBAL audience of BILLIONS. And you can not sell ROUTINELY hundreds of thousands, if not millions of EVERY issue of X-MEN, the issue is gross mismanagement.

It is not the customer, it is not people do not read, it is not competition from video games or movies, it is gross incompetence by your marketing/management and arguably editorial divisions.

Disney needs to farm out the marketing and management of Marvel Comics, to anyone but the people who are currently failing at it.

Books to buy from Marvel:

None

 

Books to buy from DC:

My above rant about Marvel periodical, also applies to DC periodicals. (With the exception of their $1 reprint line, one of which you will see below).They raised their periodical prices to $3.99 to coincide with hiring Marvel Poster Boy Brian Michael Bendis. And they were on an upswing before doing that. Following their price hike I dropped all of the books that went up in price, except Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE. And to this date, that is the only periodical book I am buying from DC Comics.

 

TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

 

Alter Ego 161 - Click Image to Close

November 2019 – 100 pages (FULL COLOR)

ALTER EGO #161 (100 pages, $9.95) is a full-issue tribute to Stan (The Man) Lee and his contributions to comics! Roy Thomas writes on his more than 50-year relationship with Stan—and shares 21st-century e-mails from Stan (with his permission, of course)! Art by Kirby, Ditko, Maneely, Everett, Severin, Romita—plus tributes from pros and fans alike—and special sections on Stan by Michael T. Gilbert, Bill Schelly, and even the FCA! Vintage Galactus cover by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

Diamond Comic Distributors Order Code: JUL192270

 

Order Books here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice?AffID=200301P01

 

FAVORITE SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK COVER EVER???

My better half thinks I’m a sick puppy for liking this cover, but man, I remember being wowed by this cover as a kid, and as an adult it still makes me literally laugh out loud. Even from the 60s and 70s age of outrageous SUPERMAN covers it is one of the most outrageous and funny.

The thought that even Luthor would stoop to such extremes, is absurd and horrible, both character wise and concept wise. But the absurd part wins out, you can not take it seriously. 

Even as a kid, I knew there was no way anyone was getting ‘killed’ and Luthor would get his well deserved beatdown,  and so even as a kid i saw the cover as a bit of wonderful hucksterism, and wildly audacious fun/comedy. As an adult I still feel that way. I don’t think the interior story is memorable, but that cover… is frame worthy.

 

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Lex Luthor turning the heroes into kids is bad enough, but then he is still so cowardly that he is sneaking up behind them and hitting them in the back of the head, rabbit punching them, with his super-powered brass knuckles. Do you get anymore ludicrously, cowardly, mustache twirlingly despicable. It is impossible not to view it like a Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote skit on meth. :).

Quick aside, my Favorite Luthor in live action, and I have, to varying degrees,  liked all the versions, but the actor for me who is not only the best live action version, but is better than the animated version , is the criminally under mentioned Sherman Howard.

Sherman Howard

His work in seasons 3 and 4 of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, thanks to great scripts and a great cast and crew (including the excellent Stacy Haiduk and Gerard Christopher), was TREMENDOUS. Those two years of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, season 3 and 4, I would have to rate as easily the best live action version of Superboy/Superman on the small screen. Better than LOIS & CLARK, better than SMALLVILLE, better than the second season and up, of SUPERGIRL.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

And a large part of why those two seasons remain worth revisiting are the Luthor episodes, and the fact that Sherman Howard gets to take the character from brilliant to wildly unhinged to sympathetic and back again. It is really a wonderful performance, that I urge you to go out and purchase or view those two seasons if you have never seen them.

They are that good, and Sherman Howard is that good in the role.

Get the shows here:

https://amzn.to/30zujB9

https://amzn.to/2XHHUod

 

Now getting back to the comic book cover… The cover shows MUCH better in person. But you should get a feel from the image whether it is one to add to your collection. If so, get your copy here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=action+comics+466&AffID=200301P01

 

 

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AVENGERS : AGE OF ULTRON RealD 3D Review!

avengers_age_of_ultron_ver25_xlg

Three years in the making, since the box office shattering and acclaimed first AVENGERS film, Joss Whedon’s hungrily awaited follow-up AVENGERS:AGE OF ULTRON has arrived.

So being a fan of the first film, I was happy to make it down to one of the better and newest theaters to see this film in RealD 3D. I’m not typically an advocate for 3D films, but 3D post processing on the Marvel Studio films has been very good.

So I plunked down the requisite coin and entered the theatrical showing of the AGE OF ULTRON, and quick thoughts? I quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t the masterwork that the first film was, but that was lightning in a bottle and very hard to recapture. This is a solid follow-up, with characters you’ve come to like, played ably by actors that have become household names, and a solid and inventive and witty script that hits all the requisite points.

World ending threats? Check. Cool Villains? Check. Astounding set pieces and fight scenes? Check. Witty repartee and good natured bickering? Check. Budding romance and Scarlett Johanson in skin-tight and fetching uniforms? Check and Check! 🙂 And moments of pathos and heroism? Check. And fun immersive 3D? Check.

All together Joss Whedon weaves together a 2+ hour blockbuster, a spectacle that is worthy of the big-screen, theatrical experience. That said it is not perfect. It lacks the immediate watchability and crowd pleasing nature of the first, oh it has its moments to be sure, but you’re not going to leave this AVENGERS movie immediately ready to see it again like its predecessor.

This film after one viewing you’re more than content to wait for it to hit Blu-Ray before watching it again. And I think on Blu-Ray it is a perfect format for really appreciating the immense work that goes into the battle scenes.

So all in all a worthy film to get you in the theaters. Grade: B+.