The Last Hurrah – Directors Series : The Essential Films of Alfonso Cuaron

 

I personally have yet to get into ROMA. I started it, but interest wavered and I never got close to finishing it. But undeniably it is a beautiful looking film and deserving of the permanence of physical media, and one i want to go back to when in the mood for it, and give it another watch. And there is no better way to revisit this film than with Criterion’s impressive release. Click the image to find out more.

 

This for my money edges out CHILDREN OF MEN to be Cuaron’s most successful and re-watchable film. I had the great pleasure to see this in the theater when it came out and was blown away.

I recently acquired the 3D Blu-ray to use on my home projection system, and the film is a must own in 3D format. The 3D in my home projection system,  I enjoy even more than my 3D experience in the theater. I think the 3D (in this case) works a bit better in my active system over the passive system in the theater.

There are, unfortunately, not many great modern 3D movies, great in terms of the film, and great in terms of the 3D production and mastering on physical media. THE LIFE OF PI, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and GRAVITY top the list.

Click the image to get your copy of GRAVITY today, and be aware these are starting to dry up. Buy them while they are available and affordable.

 

Children of Men (Blu-ray) BLU-RAY Movie

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It is a toss up, depending on the day, if I think GRAVITY or CHILDREN OF MEN is Cuaron’s best film. They are very different films. GRAVITY is an insular, real time, largely two person told in a phone booth drama, where the phone booth is the interior of a space suit and the stakes are an intimate screed against the fearsome, boundless horror of space. CHILDREN OF MEN is a rich tapestry of varied actors, places, and times, brilliantly told, and where the stakes are nothing more than the destiny of the entire human race.

What is constant is both films, are masterpieces and deserving of owning in physical media . Get yours by clicking the image above.

 

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.

Streaming TV Guide of the Day 4 Aug 2021- Youtube Edition!

MOVIES AND PHYSICAL MEDIA RECOMMENDATIONS AND INSIGHTS

 

GREAT MOVIE TRAILERS OF THE DAY

Sports and Competition

AUTO AND HOME IMPROVEMENT NEWS AND INSIGHTS

INSIGHT AND NEWS YOU CAN USE

ART BOOKS AND COMIC BOOKS

 

THE LAST HURRAH : Ten Greatest Film Noirs of the 20th Century and their best physical releases here in the 21st Century!

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.

  1. MALTESE FALCON (1941)

  2. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)

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)

4. KISS ME DEADLY (1955)

5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)

Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS remains a watershed book, in many ways improving on the pulp noir and film noir roots laid by writers like Hammett And Chandler. As someone who has read the book, listened to the audio book, and seen the film, Director and Screenwriter Carl Franklin’s take on DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS is just as watershed a film. With a stellar cast, the film is Noir distilled, while being one of the most beautiful color films, and is endlessly watchable and compelling. Indicator Films finally releases this film on Blu-ray, with Booklet and one newer special feature… a charming 2018 Interview– Carl Franklin: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. That said I do wish they had sprung for new interviews and commentaries to go along with the ported features from the original 20 year old DVD; but that aside this is a must own limited-special edition release, that is  25 years in the making.

6. LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)

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8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)

While ostensibly 1941’s MALTESE FALCON is recognized as the first FILM NOIR, this film, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, made at the same time as MALTESE FALCON, actually is the first film to put together all the iconic elements we would later associate with film noir.

In addition to the Femme Fatale, and the morally challenged protagonist, this film adds the heavy use of shadows, the Venetian blinds, the stylish dutch and off-center shooting angles, in essence the visual language of film noir shows up first in this least heralded of films. And with a winding script that keeps you shifting your belief of “who done it” from one character to another, and some strange and compelling performances and laudable direction, you end up with a film that deserves to be better known.

 

10. RAW DEAL (1948)

Being the single best of Anthony Mann’s and John Alton’s magnificent collaborations makes RAW DEAL a must for any top ten list. This special edition, complete with booklet  is a must own release.

Well, that’s it my top 10 list.

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.

I hope that will not be the case, but hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

If you want these films in physical media, pick all ten up today, while they are still in stock. Click the images to be taken to the movies in question.

If  you have enjoyed this post, then like, subscribe and come back for more of our coverage of physical media and the… Last Hurrah.

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!

Song of the Day: HALLELUJAH by the late, great Jeff Buckley

One of the reasons I love the Snyder Cut Trailer, despite the fact I do not think a reedited film will make that C-/D+ movie substantially any better ( though I would love to be pleasantly surprised, the trailer does look great), is simply because I love the song HALLELUJAH. Many years ago I listened to the Jeff Buckley version, and my –appreciation– for that song remains undiminished, regardless who sings it. But for that song at its best, you have to go to the Jeff Buckley version, of the Leonard Cohen classic.

First let’s start with the OG, Leonard Cohen.

Now let’s move on to the version that made me a fan of the song:

And finally this live performance video is not Buckley’s best performance of the song. It is tired and worn and imperfect, and tortured, but for all those reasons, it is an essential glimpse at Jeff Buckley before his untimely passing, and an essential inspiration to all of us, in what it means to perform, even when you are not sure if you have anything left to perform with.

 

 

 

After doing this post I checked and to my dismay realized I did not have the Legacy CD version of GRACE. For a physical media head like me, that’s an unforgivable omission.

Come the beginning of the world or the end of it there are a few things every man or woman of note should have: A good pickup truck, a good shotgun, a good knife, some good books, some good movies, some good CDs, and a portable DVD player to platy them all on.

Jeff Buckley’s GRACE should be one of those cds.

Get yours by clicking the image above.

And get a decent portable player, as well as the headphones I recommend, here:

 

 

Jeff Buckley Lyrics

“Hallelujah”
(originally by Leonard Cohen)

Well, I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Well, there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

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!

Diary of a new at Home 3D Blu-Ray Fan or How to get Started with 3D at Home Part 3!

Per my previous post I have jumped into the world of 3D Blu-ray/Home Projection and I LOVE IT! 3D TV’s being dead, or prohibitively expensive (for the used ones remaining) held me off for a long time.

However, I did my homework and research (for months) before acquiring my current system, and for under $1500 ( and potentially under a $1000 if you get great deals) you can all-in [Blu-ray, projector, screen, glasses] , have a GREAT 3D system.

So quick update on what I have seen on my 3D system, since part 1, and what the winners and losers are.

Today’s 3D film reviews are two films that actually surprised me.

First watch is THE LEGEND OF HERCULES from 2014.

2014 was one of those years where we had multiple films come out on the same subject. Much as 1981 was the year of the WEREWOLF movie, with three great Werewolf films, 2014 was the year of the sword and sandal films, most notably with 2 big budget HERCULES films reaching theaters that year; the arguably more lauded HERCULES starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson with a pretty great cast of supporting character actors, and then this one, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES. Nothing about this one, from the lead actor to the poster art, made me at all interested in this film.

I think I even caught a bit of this on tv, and just was not compelled enough to finish it. However since I am now on the 3D kick, and had seen the Rock’ HERCULES film in 3D (The 3D is pretty great in that film) and reviews had pointed to this one having great 3D as well, i decided to give this film a look.

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.

I have to say, watching this film in 3D, two things surprised me.

One, the 3D from the first frame is what people call Reference quality. Or more literally, this Blu-ray is ‘Show off’ quality. This is one of the 3D discs you put in to sell people who don’t like 3D, on 3D. I just loved the deep depth and clear separation between layers, between all the spatial elements. A lot of newer 3D, is afraid of looking too 3Dy, they are afraid of the clear separation, that for me is the best thing about 3D. This one you can look deep into the screen, offering wonderful depth, as well as offering very compelling and fun push outs.

I was not expecting how impressive the 3D looked, and the thing about really good 3D is it can be the same as really good camera work, or really good sound design, it can become part of the storytelling process, rather than just a gimmick. It can be a part of involving you and immersing you in the story.

I’m not sure if this film was Natively Shot in 3D, or post-converted (if post converted it is a great example of masterful 3D conversion) , but Director Renny Harlin definitely shot it with 3D in mind, with scenes of items projecting toward the viewer. And this effective 3D when added to the story, which to my 2nd surprise I found very compelling, creates a movie that entertained me from first frame to last.

Now it is not perfect by any means. The lead actor does an ok job, however he still seems like a strange choice for the titular character, and Scott Adkins, who I am always happy to see in a film, here is just such a scenery chewing stock villain… it is more than a bit of a caricature rather than a fleshed out character. So there is some storytelling/performance weakness to the film, but not enough to derail what is just a fun, and largely highly enjoyable action/adventure film.

I would say 3D for me really does add a ton to the viewing experience, and while 3D is not as essential to it as 3D is to THE LIFE OF PI, it is a film I would prefer to only watch in 3D.

Grade: A very good film with a reference quality 3D presentation. B- for the movie. A for the 3D.

 

Second watch is THE MAZE (1953).

Kino Lorber and the 3-D Film archive has been the champion for home 3D here in the 21st century, restoring classic 3D films for the home market. So at a time when US theaters have backed away from 3D releases, Kino Lorber and 3D Film Archive have been remastering classic releases for the home 3D enthusiast.

I am lucky enough to have an almost complete collection of their releases, and the ones I have seen, with one exception, are 3D reference quality releases. When I saw THE MAZE, was a B&W film, after issues I had with a DRAGONFLY SQUADRON (an Olive Films released film, also restored by the 3-D Film Archive) I was gunshy about another B&W restoration.

DRAGONFLY SQUADRON sports excessive noise and damage in the film, which is exacerbated and rendered difficult to watch in 3D. So given this I went into the B&W film THE MAZE, with some trepidation. Making assumptions that B&W because of its monochromatic nature, lends itself to a flattening of the image, that does not serve 3D.

Well, a few minutes into THE MAZE, I realize my error. THE MAZE is sumptuous, stellar, ‘Show-Off’ quality 3D Blu-ray! And the film, allowing for its cheap 1950s budget and special effects, is ultimately a fun, eerie, gripping film. Final grade: Film ‘B+’ and 3D effects ‘A’. A must own for any 3D fan!

Diary of a new at Home 3D Blu-Ray Fan or How to get Started with 3D at Home Part 2!

 

 

Per my previous post I have jumped into the world of 3D Bluray/Home Projection and I LOVE IT! 3D TV’s being dead, or prohibitively expensive (for the used ones remaining) held me off for a long time. However, I did my homework and research (for months) before acquiring my current system, and for under $1500 ( and potentially under a $1000 if you get great deals) you can all-in [Bluray, projector, glasses] , have a GREAT 3D system.

So quick update on what I have seen on my 3D system, since part 1, and what the winners and losers are.

Let’s start with the under-performers and move up to the home-runs.

THE MAD MAGICIAN Indicator release, was so far the biggest downer. The B&W 3D was not a pleasant experience.

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.

So the Winners so far…

 

I already mentioned THE LIFE OF PI and GUN FURY 3D as must own 3D films. Both of those films are solid in terms of top-notch 3D presentation. Those are both what i would call demo worthy discs. Solid A+ 3D films.

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!

Collection Overview: 3D Bluray Collection Marvel/Disney

Here is my complete Marvel/Lucas Films Blu-Ray/3D  collection. These are, in my humble opinon, must own releases.

 

All these releases have been selected and vetted by me. On top of which, for my personal collection all the tacky, bottom dweller blue cases that any of these may have come with, have been replaced with stylish, bookcase ready, clear or black cases.

Only thing worse than a person displaying Blue Bluray cases is… oh yeah, that’s right— there’s nothing worse. 🙂 .

 

Most of these are still, while getting pricey, available. You will need, at a minimum, a multi-region blu-ray 3D player, 3D projector and 3D glasses.

Check the Links, and best of luck!

Diary of a new at Home 3D Blu-Ray Fan or How to get Started with 3D at Home Part 1!

Okay, so my 3D projector, that I spent HOURS deciding on before making the purchase, arrived yesterday. I set it up, placed it appropriately. Now my 100″ screen had not arrived yet, but I decided to go ahead and test it against my walls. My walls are a subdued blue-grey and surprise/surprise, I don’t think I need a screen!

Now, Not to jump the gun, but the projection against  the wall—I’m overjoyed by the result.

I’ll make the final decision when the screen gets here, but I don’t think the screen is going to be needed. Let us put it this way, if the screen was not on its way, I probably would be in no rush to order one.

Ok, once the projector was in place and manual read and my 3D All-Region Blu-Ray player connected, I grabbed 4 films to try with the Native 1080p 3D projector. GUN FURY 3D, THOR RAGNAROK 3D, MAD MAGICIAN 3D and THE LIFE OF PI 3D.

All these films with the exception of THE LIFE OF PI, I had seen previously  in 2D, and liked them all. The Rock Hudson vehicle GUN FURY is a serviceable western, and MAD MAGICIAN starring Vincent Price is an enjoyable (if not one of Price’s better) films. THOR RAGNAROK I have seen both 2D, and in the movie theaters in 3D.

Ok,so putting in GUN FURY, I started it first in 2D, and quite liked the picture. Coming from a standard LCD TV, just the size and detail and color via the projector, everything looked surprisingly great. I started smiling, but hold on, now comes the real test, the reason i went the projector route, how would the 3D look?

So I put on the 3D glasses I selected (which I had charged the day before, and these glasses I had spent quite a bit of time selecting as well) switched the Blu-ray over to 3D, and…initially looked at the screen nonplussed. ‘I don’t see any 3D’, I murmured to myself, then it occurred to me, I had to turn the glasses on. I turned them on, and I smiled.

My jaw dropped.

I put this film on, because being a film from the 1950s I was not expecting much out of it. I had heard and read no reviews on this film, so figured the 3D would probably be mediocre.

I was incorrect.

The picture, the 3D depth on this is astonishing. You can look way into the screen, and the screen protrudes out toward you, but mostly it is the unbelievable depth that makes you feel you can toss something into the screen and it would bounce and roll into the background.

The distance between people, foreground to middle-ground to background is all starkly delineated, like you could walk between the characters. Just tremendous.  The effect of the 3D was to make me MORE engrossed in the moments of the film that I liked previously, but was not overly enamored with.

Now however, looking at the people in the background, the imagery of the foreground, the strengths of the middle ground. It all worked together not as a gimmick, but to grab your attention, and ground you in a film, that in 2D, I listened and looked at, but in 3D I still listened to, but rather than looking, I saw.

That’s the best way I can describe the … appeal of really great 3D. I was floored by this 3D film, GUN FURY. I had to force myself to stop watching so I could check out other 3D films. Based on the little bit I saw I give it an initial impression of A. Yes, that is a HIGH initial impression grade and may fluctuate when I watch the whole film in 3D, but yeah initial impression is a solid A, bordering on A+.

I next tried THOR RAGNAROK which is regarded as one of the best converted 3D films, and I can see why. It looks ASTOUNDING. However, it is a tad dark for some reason compared to the GUN FURY presentation, I remember it even being too dark in the theater when I watched it in 3D. However the 3D strikes me as more impressive here in my home than it did in the theater. Now of course I do not have a better system than you will find in a theater, however if they under-light the scene, which is common with 3D projection in theaters, you can have a worse experience in the theaters and their $100000 systems, than you have at home with a $1000+ system. That is all I am saying.

Darkness aside the picture looked less dark than I remember it being in the theater, and the 3D more apparent and effective, here with my cheap system, than the misaligned system of the theater I went to. Initial impressions on THOR RAGNAROK was a solid B+/A-. And I had to tear myself away from it to sample another film.

I then went to the black and white 3D film MAD MAGICIAN. It gave me a headache and the 3D had some depth to it, no projections, but I seriously could not watch it too long, it began to stab me in my left eye. It is not the hardware, or 3D exhaustion, as I immediately went to 3D film after it, which I am about to get to, and had no viewing issue.

All I can think is there is something about the mastering of this particular 3D release, seriously it became an ache in my left eye. Based on initial impressions I have to give it a solid F,  I’ll come back to it when I’m feeling braver and see if I have a better viewing experience with it, but for now, on the bottom of the pile it goes.

Next I put on THE LIFE OF PI, mentioned by a couple reviewers as their best, and not mentioned at all by other reviewers. Me and Ms HT watched the whole film. Ang Lee has been a hit and miss director for me so i went in with no particular expectation. And— the scales fell from my eyes. To be overly dramatic. 🙂

My favorite 3D experience in the theater was AVATAR back in 2009. It was everyone’s favorite 3D experience.  It became the golden standard by which all theatrical 3D would be judged. THE LIFE OF PI , with 4 films under my belt, is the gold standard of 3D for home viewing. It is sublime. Truly jaw-dropping. And what makes it one of the greatest 3D experiences is not only how expertly the 3D works, but how expertly it is applied, to further the story.

The 3D is not jus a superfluous gimmick, and after thought, as you can argue it is with most films. It is used, by the filmmaker, like the costumes, or the set design, or the actors, Ang Lee, uses the 3, to help tell the story. The 3D isn’t just a veneer painted over the film, he constructs the film, that the immersive nature of 3D actually is a framework of the film.

You can make the argument not even AVATAR made the 3D as necessary a component to the film. Scenes where the sea becomes the sky, and the sky becomes the sea, to highlight being lost and adrift, is something that cannot quite be conveyed in 2D. I said I had no expectations going in to this film, that’s not quite right; I expected for whatever reason to be underwhelmed, to find it over-hyped. I’m not sure why, just something did not fill me with confidence in the title or its whimsical artwork. I was wrong. 3D is a tool, it is an effect, and at its best, it is storytelling. THE LIFE OF PI is 3D at its best, not just in terms of mechanics, but in terms of a master storyteller, using 3D masterfully as part and parcel of a masterful story. For that reason it is the best implementation of 3D I have ever seen, and it is arguably the best implementation of 3d, I can imagine seeing.

You need a filmmaker of vast imagination, a story of crushing beauty, and performances ravishing, to be in the league of this film as a film. And because the 3D is not tacked on, but is indivisible from that storytelling, it elevates the 3D, just as the 3D elevates the storytelling. 3D is about immersion, and you would have to have all those things to create a film as immersive as THE LIFE OF PI. Grade: An unqualified A+. One of the gems of my collection.

 

So that has been my initial introduction to Home 3D. And the final verdict, by both me and the far more pragmatic and less easily impressed Ms HT … “What the heck took us so long to get a 3D projector???!!!” :).

Guys if you like 3D, and have been thinking about a home system, don’t wait. Jump in with both feet. Do your homework, get the right player, the right projector, the right glasses, and the right content, and get to watching!!! And now is the time to do it, because everything is starting to disappear and/or go up in price. Buy the stuff now, while you can.

If I get 7 likes on this post, I will do a follow-up post breaking down what I use for my system. I can tell you the system I have built, that works for me, and it should work for you as well!!!

If you found this post useful, definitely, share, like, comment, and click on the images above to purchase the reviewed films.