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.

Roku Youtube Channels pick the Best/Favorite/Recommended/ Must Own 3D Blu-Rays!

I, in the last 48 hours, have decided to jump into 3D TV. I’ve had a 3D capable Blu-ray player for several months. and just this week ‘engaged the engines'(yeah that’s going to catch on) on getting a 3D projector that does native 1080p. Should be here next week.

And along with that, I have begun compiling a list of recommendations of must own Blu-Ray titles.(ie I jumped on Youtube, via Roku, and found a bunch of recommendations)

And a word on that region free Blu-ray player, I picked up.

I purposely sought out a Blu-ray player that, in addition to being region free, also does 3D; as I knew eventually I wanted to cross that bridge. In fact, being I have been a life long 3D fan, from stereoscopic comic books and Art-books, to the old Anaglyph 3D presentations that would come on tv, every blue-moon, when I was a kid (Invariably the 3D over the tv, never worked great; using those funky red and blue glasses) it is funny that it has taken me this long to jump into 3D.

Part of it is, even though I was in the theaters, with everyone else that snowy winter, when AVATAR made its way onto our screens and became a world wide phenomenon, kicking off this latest 3D craze; I didn’t hop aboard the 3D train. While a fan of AVATAR, and thought its 3D was ground breaking; I was never sold on the idea of everything needing to be in 3D. I am still not. However I am far more compelled by the idea of being able to also do 3D in the home. Not all the time, but occasionally. 

In the 10 years since AVATAR’s success, while hundreds of films have been foisted on us at increased ticket prices, I probably went to see easily less than 2 dozen films in the theaters. 3D is great for 45 minute IMAX films (in real IMAX theaters that are in science centers, not the retrofitted baby Imaxes that are in your local multiplex) but for (closing in on 2 hour) blockbusters, it has to be done well; and not everything lends itself to 3D.

3D when done brilliantly needs to be in the movie theaters, not in our homes, and needs to be done sporadically. At least that was my feeling for the past 10 years since AVATAR, and in the theaters I have seen some good uses of 3D since then.

However these days while I still believe a real theater is the best place for 3D, and that viewing should be sporadic, what supercedes that… is me being a collector. And no, I refuse to use supersede, I am going with supercede. It was good enough in the 17th century, it is good enough now. :).

Being a collector (which I have been since my grade-school days of comics and books and vhs tapes and records),  I like having the ability to not rely on gatekeepers. if I do choose to revisit an especially impressively made 3D film on my Blu-ray player, in my home, I don’t want to have to vet that choice through anyone else; or wait on licensing agreements for movies to become available.

I do not like having to rely on gatekeepers for anything, not my entertainment, not my news, not my liberty. 3D tvs have in the US gone the way of the Dodo, and the older models that you can get are prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers of Blu-ray players, are closing up shop. Big business has obviously passed around a memo, “let’s phase out this physical media nonsense, and make them come to us for everything; where we can monitor, we can control, we can edit material, as necessary.”

A noble memo. But I don’t think they got my memo.

“No.”

So job one, was to pick up a multi-region Blu-ray that could also do 3D. I saved up and got that done a few months ago. ‘What about 4K?’ I hear someone asking.

 

4K? I don’t really care about 4K.

 

“What?? Oh no he didn’t??!!! Get me a knife, I’m gonna cut this fool!!!”

Wait. Bear with me Trumpian mob.

Let me explain,

I do not care about 4K, as it is really negligible improvement over a well mastered Blu-ray.

“What??? But…”

Shhh. Adults are talking.

There is a difference between a well mastered 4K and a well mastered Blu-ray, viewed on the median residential monitor display size of 55″ to 65″, at a viewing distance of 8 to 10 feet; but that difference is not pixel density, is not screen real estate. That difference is not 4k pixel count, vs 1K pixel count.  With 20/20 vision viewing any modern display of the size I listed, from the distance I listed, if you can see a difference at all… it will be negligible at best.

You have to remember you don’t actually see very well, even with 20/20 vision. That’s why the illusion of movies even works. Because our brains are very good at taking the upside down nonsense our eyes sends them, and crafting a world view that makes sense.

That is the reason 24 static images, moved at speed (a movie), can fool us into believing there is motion going on. If our eyes were really any good, we could never fall for the lie of motion, we would register movies for what they are, 24 static images , flipped one after another.

We would be, how Alan Moore, that mad scribe, describes the Flash.

One of the most beautiful, and horrible lines I have ever read, I read at a time when we read most of the horrible things that form us. I had read Flash comics as a kid, and thought them and the character way cool. And with scant lines, Alan Moore taught the young tike I was, the meaning of existential dread.

‘There is a man who moves so fast that his life is an endless gallery of statues.’

I understood then, a concept I had not thought of till that moment, the horrible constraints of perfection.

However we, perhaps thankfully, do not perceive the world clearly, we as a species, even the best of us, see relatively poorly.

However,  our brains are fantastic for compensating for our deficiencies. Making a truth, out of the lie of our eyes. And with television and the difference between pixel count between 1080p and 4K that occurs at speed in real time, our brain is just as adept in that situation, at lying to us. You are unlikely to see any difference in pixel count.

“But I’m telling you I see a clear difference between 1080p and 4K when I watch BOO BOO GOES TO HOLLYWOOD!!!!!”

Yes, I know. But that difference (using the parameters previously stated) is not pixel density. The difference you are seeing is color grading and picture processing applied by technologies such as HDR. That is why HDR is there, to give you the difference that 4K by itself cannot.

But here is the thing, they could have just as easily applied HDR to work with Blu-ray, made HDR an evolution of Blu-ray, solidify Blu-ray as a format, and help it finally supercede Dvd, as the most popular format. But then they could not sell you new tvs, and new incompatible 4K media, which requires all new players.

 

4K is a cash grab. And it is a road of diminishing returns.

While concepts like 2k and 4k and even now 8k, have a useful and needed place in production and mastering and editing, and real theatrical showings. On the residential/consumer side it is simply superfluous. And companies harangued into tying up limited resources re-releasing the same 10 titles in yet another format, just take money and resources away from titles that are still awaiting… their first Blu-ray release.

 

So that is why 4K is not a priority for me. I don’t hate it, I’d just rather solidify the formats we have, than further fragment an already fragmented market. However if studios can make 4k work for them, and make money off it, a niche of a niche, good for them.

I don’t care if 4k, 8k, 16k players exits, there will always be people putting the stupidest things in their homes (“So let me understand this. Every device inside my house will now have a microphone built in, that can not be hardware disabled? And a camera? And be able to call out back to it home servers? And all data is potentially saved? Is this a Bob Newhart skit? A Bill Cosby skit? I’m sorry son, no one is going to believe that science fiction story. 1984 is one  thing, but that story you are talking about would have required an entire generation to not have the common sense that God gave a rock. Next thing you are going to tell me is they let a reality tv star steal the election and run the country into the ground!!! Ha! Ha! What an imagination!”).

Leave me the ability to watch what I want, when I want. Without having to vet my viewing through gatekeepers and their servers; and the rest of the world— can keep spinning.

Yeah give me region-free Blu-ray any day. And yeah, I’ll even take a side of 3D. :).

 

If that is not the longest digression in the history of the world, it has to be in the top 3. But finally, you made it to what you really came for. The tits— oh wait, I meant the list. There are no Mammary glands below. I repeat, there are no Mammary glands below. Go ahead and unsubscribe, see if i care!!!

Yes, yes. It has been a long week.

Oh ps, the items in bold in the lists below, are titles that in my research I think are the ones to start with, and they just so happen to be ones that I have ordered and are on the way. So if you can’t find em, I bought the last ones. HA! HAAHA! HA! HA! HHAHA! HA! HA! HEE! HO! HA— hmm this is surprisingly difficult to keep going. You get the picture, maniacal laughing. Sheesh!

Humor, look it up.

 

TOMMY BOY
HUGO, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF EARTH, KONG:SKULL ISLAND,JUNGLE BOOK,STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS,PACIFIC RIM “Could have been one of the number one 3D movies of all time”,JURASSIC PARK, POLAR EXPRESS, LIFE OF PI, AVATAR -2020 LIST

THE FAILED JOURNALIST

TRON LEGACY, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, HOBBIT BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, AVATAR, HUGO, POLAR EXPRESS, GRAVITY, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THE WALK, LIFE OF PI
-2018 LIST

3D BLU-RAY BUNKER

NEED FOR SPEED, INFERNO(1953), THE WALK, HERCULES(2014), THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (2014), AVATAR, STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, XXX RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER DAY OF RECKONING – his 2020 selections

BRASS TAX

A quick caveat about BT. You think I’m offensive, I’ve never known anyone use the term b*tch as often as he does. 🙂 Seriously, his early videos I left thinking, “Did they delete the other words from the dictionary?”. Joking. But seriously, stick with this show, they are informative and fun. His BLACK PANTHER 3D Blu-ray review is hilarious, and he rates it as superior to the 4K. He hasn’t done a 3D review in 11 months, but I hope new ones are on the way.

THE LAST JEDI, FORCE AWAKENS, BLADE RUNNER 2049, BLACK PANTHER, THOR RAGNAROK, AVENGERS ENDGAME, KONG SKULL ISLAND, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, XXX THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, THE GREAT WALL, GHOST IN THE SHELL, DOCTOR STRANGE, TRANSFORMERS THE LAST KNIGHT

 

**************************

All humor aside, there are a lot of great selections, and great videos to peruse . Do me a favor, if moved to, and not offended by my whimsy… like, subscribe, and support using the links below. Further go subscribe to all four of the channels listed above. They possess just a monumental amount of info on 3D Blurays. I am subscribed to all these channels and consider them, essential. I’m first in line to like their new 3D related videos.

 

DEAL OF THE DAY!

DEAL OF THE DAY 2! Like I said I don’t find 4k a necessity, however I found this player that includes necessities like region free, and 3D, but it also includes 4K at an affordable price. At this price it is a bit of a no-brainer.

DEAL OF THE DAY 3!

This one has steadily increased in price. The model 700 is cheaper, but what I like about the specs on this one (the 706) is it is a short throw, which just means placement is easier as you can place it right near the screen or wall to be projected on.

DEAL OF THE DAY 4!

 

DEAL OF THE DAY 5!

 

KINO LORBER Boutique Blu-ray Label Overview PART 2: FIVE FOR FRIDAY

Last installment I covered some recommended titles from Kino Lorber’s ‘While Supplies Last’ sale. This time I just wanted to cover five titles in general that caught my attention and are on my ‘to buy’ list.

Without further ado, here they are!

p.s. As a hint I generally do not purchase films that do not offer special features. At a minimum I need a film commentary.  Physical media should give you more than you can get from just watching it on streaming, or why pay for it.

So yeah if I own it, or recommend it, it has special features. The only exception for that is titles that may not be available streaming, or 3D titles, or other scarce titles, where we are just lucky to still have the film.

Okay, now we get to it!

 

 

Very interesting sounding film from the Director of DUEL AT DIABLO. And since I have that film, I have to get this one.

This one just sounds bonkers in all the right ways. Not because the movie is going to be great, I have my doubts about that. But just the backstory behind it, namely getting relatives of famous stars to star in an exploitation movie. The commentary on this one seems poised to be full of amazing Hollywood anecdotes and backstory.

This movie sold me on its names. Name One: Director Budd Boetticher, I am now interested in seeing more of his films after picking up Arrow’s sold out FIVE TALL TALES boxset. Name Two: Jeff Chandler who has never given a bad performance and was great in a jaw dropping performance in TEN SECONDS TO HELL Name Three: Sidney Poitier. Hell you could have led with that. I have picked up every single Kino Lorber release with the great Sidney Poitier (DUEL AT DIABLO, almost sold out, Gals and Ghouls! 🙂 ). So yeah, this one is a must buy.

I love the films of John Sturges, and not only have I never seen this film, I have never heard of this film. And another film that is sold by its names: the aforementioned John (MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) Sturges! Richard (One of my favorite Movie and radio actors ever) Widmark! And Borden (I wrote two of the best westerns ever, RED RIVER and WINCHESTER 73) Chase!! What?!!! This is an easy must buy.

I did not love this film the first time i saw it, however it is possible i did not give it the attention it deserved. And considering this is one of the most ‘special feature’ rich releases, from the typically bare bones Kino Lorber, this is a must buy, for the special features alone.

Honorable Mentions:

I can not recommend this Blu-ray because it does not have any commentary or special features, but it sounds incredibly interesting. I’m going to look on streaming for this one. I really want to see if it is as good and interesting as it sounds.

 

I do not currently have an affiliate link with Kino Lorber, however you can click on the images above and they will take you to the item on Amazon. If you use the link you get a great item, and this blog gets a very appreciated couple of pennies. A win-win!

Criterion Blu-Ray of the Day : George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

Night of the Living Dead

I’m watching George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on Criterion’s beautiful newly released 2-Disc Edition.

 

DISC 1: THE FILM

I’ve seen the movie before, years ago, as well as other Romero films. And while understanding the significance of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I have never been a fan of the zombie/ghoul genre. Most likely due to its over-saturation by lesser filmmakers just regurgitating Romero’s novel approach, as well as simply not being a fan of gore.

Romero’s re-imagining of the Zombie as a flesh eating corruption never stood well with me. It was the myth of the ghoul, rather than the older Haitian mythology of the Zombie. A Zombie, as understood from Haitian lore, was something dead, that had been transformed into something beyond death and beyond corruption, more in common with the Jewish Golem, and seen most visually in the Val Lewton produced I WALK WITH A ZOMBIE

Romero’s flesh eating, rotting monstrosity, that was all corruption, could not be more different than the idea of the Zombi. However, to Romero’s credit he did identify the creatures accurately in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as ghouls, but for whatever reason ; the press or marketing latched onto calling them by the incorrect nomenclature of Zombie. If I had to guess, I would think the more exotic sounding Zombie, simply appealed to them more, than the more crude (but accurate) term of ghoul.

So while I appreciated NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I was never the biggest fan of it. It’s a little too strident for me, and argumentative, filled with unlikable people, which may or may not be accurate in such a situation; but was for me, not what I wanted to spend time viewing, and was a bit plodding because of it.

However, re-watching the film, on this Criterion release I have a new appreciation for the film. 

First thing that strikes you is how stunning this film looks, in this Museum of Modern Art remastered edition. The Black and White cinematography is beautiful, and I see now exactly how stylish the film was in its use of camera angles and shadows. It may be Romero’s most beautiful film because of its noirish and dutch angle filled aesthetic.

2nd, the very structure of the film, while commonplace today, at the time the ‘house under siege’ motif was new, most notably seen in 1964’s Vincent Price vehicle THE LAST MAN ON EARTH. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD managed to build on that premise, and deepen it, by adding group dynamics to the mix, as well a claustrophobic ‘you are there’ intensity, in its cinema verite shooting style. Not to mention the creation of a whole new breed of monster.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, taken in context of when it was made, is ground breaking in terms of how it is filmed; the mixture of science fiction, horror, group dynamics and intended irony and unexpected social commentary, along with the running commentary of the media helping to tell the film’s back-story. And just the general bleakness of the film is astonishing, even watching it today. Given how truly threadbare and Indy this film was, in a time before the concept of Independent film even existed, its nihilism still has the power to impress.

Duane Jones gives a compelling performance as Ben, and is the bedrock upon which the film cements itself as a classic. But all the performances are surprisingly intriguing, from Russell Streiner and Judith O’Dea and William Hinzman (lead Ghoul) who effectively open the film in a now iconic sequence, to on-screen couples Keith Wayne and Judith Ridley and Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman, and Kyra Shon as their daughter.

A word on Marilyn Eastman who plays Mrs. Cooper, she gives, in a small role, one of the best performances of the film, up their with Dwayne’s work. You can not take your eyes off of her when she is on screen, she is so nuanced and compelling in a very contained performance, that plays all the more effectively in counterpoint to the histrionics and testosterone around her. She also was part of the crew and is on this commentary, and her insights are always an informative part of the commentary.

DISC 1 SPECIAL FEATURES

Regarding the Special Features, Co-producer Russell Streiner in the INTRO TO NIGHT OF ANUBIS feature, explains NIGHT OF ANUBIS was the working title for the film as it was under production. NIGHT OF ANUBIS was actually the 2nd title for the film, they originally wanted to title the film THE NIGHT OF THE FLESH-EATERS. However a cease an desist order from a studio with plans to release a movie called FLESH-EATERS led to Romero coming up with the title NIGHT OF ANUBIS.

So the movie would go all through production with the title NIGHT OF ANUBIS, however once the film wrapped the distributors did not like the title ANUBIS, found it too esoteric no doubt, so the name was changed for the last time for its release, and the film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was born.

FIRST COMMENTARY

Romero and select Crew- It’s not the most interesting commentary, one reason is because there are so many voices on the commentary, and they are all going in different directions, and largely they are discussing minutiae even by commentary standards. Whether eye-glasses were supposed to be half on or all on, and discussions like that.

It is initially a very pedantic, pedestrian, minutiae focused commentary. However the commentary does pick up in moments, and becomes quite incisive, such as about 25 minutes in as they discuss the actors, among them the lead Duane Jones. and the thoughtful changes he made to his character. One intriguing thing is, it was colorblind casting. The role was not written for a Black guy, they actually had another actor, a White Actor, they were going to go with, but then Dwayne Jones came in an auditioned. His audition impressed everyone and he got the part.

It was a threadbare Pittsburgh production, and for the character of Ben they just needed a big guy to play him, as initially he was supposed to be a Brutish trucker. So largely they lucked out with Duane, as they got an actor who brought so much more to that character, than was on the page.

Necessitating rewriting that character for the more erudite and thoughtful presence that Duane brought to that role.

That in hindsight the film is notable for a Black protagonist, I think overlooks the stronger blessing of that casting; which is that they were lucky enough to get a great actor for that role. Duane Jones ended up bringing a unique variable to that performance, that would have been lost –  not just by an actor of a different ethnicity, but an actor of lesser sophistication. By any actor that was not Duane Jones.

There is a humanity Duane brings to a brutish character, that careens it away from the facile, surface level histrionics— to instead explore someone captivating and heroic and flawed. The takeaway from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is not that they cast a Black actor in the role, but rather that the best actor for that role, was a great actor, who was also Black. It is a subtle distinction but I believe an important one, that is still not quite embraced today.

Another interesting segment on the commentary, is an hour into the film, where they discuss the making of one of their more involved shots, the Washington DC based tv coverage, where the crew drove down to DC, and play the roles of reporters and military personnel. Involved, because for all intents and purposes this was just a very small Pittsburgh production, done by the crew, in any free time they could carve out, around their full time jobs.

The commentary than segues into discussion of Duane Jones before his passing. From this point to the end, the commentary gets far more intriguing. Overall, while not always fluid, this commentary gives you historic insights into the film and the performers that otherwise would have been lost to time. For this reason while not a great commentary, there are gems in here that make it an essential commentary.

 

SECOND COMMENTARY

Commentary Two has even more people involved, so lots of similar voices overlapping. Russell Streiner (producer/actor ‘He’s coming to get you, Barbara!‘), helping to sheep-herd this conversation, gets it off to a more compelling, entertaining start than the first commentary. And it places this commentary in time, to hear them discuss the upcoming laserdisc release. As someone who remembers laserdisc and still own some, it is a nice nostalgic touch.

And I like that, in this commentary, they reassert that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was not made as a social message film, they were simply making a horror film, and Duane was hired simply because he was the best actor who auditioned for the role. Add to that a running gag about Marilyn Eastman and lumber, and it is just a fun, affable commentary.

 

DISC TWO : A WHOLE DISC FULL OF SPECIAL FEATURES

Holy cow. Is this a loaded, feature rich release. This disc includes over 12 special features. Including interviews with the cast, and new documentaries made just for this release. It is just  wonderful grab bag of content that you can revisit and dive into at your leisure.  Including just a wonderful 1987 audio interview with Duane Jones recorded with Tim Ferrante.

“That moment, the total surrealism of the racial nightmare of America, being worse than whatever we were doing as a metaphor in that film, lives with me to this moment.”

-Duane Jones, 1987

 

SUMMATION

All in all, is a must own physical media release. In terms of beauty of the product on your shelf, and the content itself, and booklet. I came to this release a bit hesitantly, because as I mentioned I was never a huge fan of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Revisiting this film, and listening to the commentaries, and going through the special features, I have to say this is one of the treasures of my collection. Highly Recommended.

 

Get your copy here!

 

Criterion Blu-Ray of the Day : Jeffrey Wright on the phenomenal film RIDE WITH THE DEVIL

Like the war it pivots around, Ang Lee’s RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, is a troubling property.

A box office failure on its release in 1999, the film came and went from theaters, virtually unseen. The release of the movie on Blu-ray, from respected Blu-ray Boutique label Criterion, finally gives audiences a chance to (most for the first time), see and explore what may be the most challenging film, from a director known for taking on eclectic and challenging material.

It is not an easy film, filled as it is with absurdities, and contradictions and stupidities reflective of the time. However stick with it, as it is a rewarding film, as much for what it says about the mistakes this nation has made, as it is prophetic and timely about the mistakes this nation is currently making.

Is it a great film? It has moments of greatness, and is never quite what you think it is.

It is ultimately a film I bought simply upon Jeffrey Wright, mentioning it as one of his favorites; and one I am very glad I bought. The beautiful criterion release offers a great interview with Jeffrey Wright, snippets of which I have provided below. However, please watch the film before indulging in the full special features.

In an age of streaming, this Criterion release of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL makes a case for physical media just in the gorgeousness of the gestalt. From the striking and handsomely designed packaging, to the overflowing with special features director’s approved and remastered release, to the eye-catching booklet filled with informative essays on the film; in every way this film is as much a tactile and dimensional experience, as a visual one.

A must own release. Grade: B+.

 

“I think that’s what separates this film from other films about the civil war, and other films that deal with historical racial dynamics in this country, that Ang was open to the complexity of it. That war is a seminal event in the character of American history, and it continues to inform who we are today, and who we will become. The story is a non-conventional look at historic race relations in this country. “

“I understood the attack they had planned, and I understood the subtlety of the character they had drawn. Holt, the character I played, that Ang described as an emerging character, and I thought it worked on multiple levels, relative to the film. Interestingly that was the first role I got, not having had to audition. Ang said that he had seen my work, he had seen Basquiat prior to that and maybe some of my stage work and said ‘There was something in your eyes that I saw, that was right for the character.’ That as well gave me a lot of confidence in the way that he worked, and  the way he understood what acting was.”

“Black folks in the south, in the years before the civil War did not have a voice. Holt, is reflective of the nature of Black folks relation to society at that time. And ultimately as he emerges out of that silence, what he does say is all the more heightened, and all the more powerful.”

“I think it has gained a core audience since then — an expanding audience, it’s a film that’s going to survive. RIDE WITH THE DEVIL is the last film about the Civil War of the 20th century, and I think the arc from BIRTH OF A NATION, at the beginning of the 20th century to RIDE WITH THE DEVIL is an evolution of our ways of portraying this critical and defining point in our history, through cinema.”

Get your copy here!