Blu-ray

lincoln blue

lincoln blue

DreamWorks Pictures has officially detailed the Blu-ray releases of director Steven Speilberg’s Lincoln, starring Academy Award-winning Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis and Oscar-nominated actors Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. Lincoln is distributed by Walt Disney Home Entertainment and streets on March 26th.  (via Blu-ray.com)

Lincoln features a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, and will be available via a 4-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + Bonus Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) and a standard 2-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (1-disc Blu-ray + 1-disc DVD):

4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack Super Set  (BD + Bonus BD + DVD + DC)

  • The Journey To Lincoln: Steven Spielberg and his collaborators discuss the challenges and excitement of bringing this story of a complex and very human president to the screen.
  • A Historic Tapestry – Richmond, Virginia: Spielberg and his team discuss the historical significance of Richmond, Virginia, and why they chose to shoot the film there.
  • In The Company Of Character: Delve into Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln, and discover the authenticity and openness created by the actors and filmmakers on set.
  • Crafting The Past: Examine the re-creation of Lincoln’s era through authentic period details in production design, costume and makeup.
  • Living With Lincoln: Follow Steven Spielberg, the cast and crew through the shooting of the film, from the battle at Jenkins’ Ferry, through the epic 13th Amendment showdown in the House of Representatives, to Lincoln’s tragic end.
  • In Lincoln’s Footsteps: Explore the film’s editing, sound design, and the subtle yet poignant musical score by John Williams, and discover how relevant and inspiring Lincoln still is today.

2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD + DVD)

  • The Journey To Lincoln: Steven Spielberg and his collaborators discuss the challenges and excitement of bringing this story of a complex and very human president to the screen.
  • A Historic Tapestry – Richmond, Virginia: Spielberg and his team discuss the historical significance of Richmond, Virginia, and why they chose to shoot the film there.

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To whet our appetites for the DVD/Blu-ray editions of The Avengers coming September 25, Disney and Marvel have given us a taste of the special features by releasing a deleted scene that would’ve have served as alternate prologue.

Titles for more than 35 minutes of deleted scenes that will appear on the Prometheus Blu-ray have been discovered at the BBFC via BleedingCool:

00:02:31:16 (ARRIVAL OF THE ENGINEERS) (DELETED SCENE)
00:00:58:05 (T’IS THE SEASON) (DELETED SCENE)
00:00:42:08 (OUR FIRST ALIEN) (DELETED SCENE)
00:00:42:14 (SKIN) (DELETED SCENE)
00:01:22:01 (WE’RE NOT ALONE ANYMORE) (DELETED SCENE)
00:02:57:01 (STRANGE BEDFELLOWS) (DELETED SCENE)
00:01:25:04 (HOLLOWAY HUNGOVER) (DELETED SCENE)
00:00:23:12 (DAVID’S OBJECTIVE) (DELETED SCENE)
00:03:27:07 (JANEK FILLS VICKERS IN) (DELETED SCENE)
00:03:40:12 (A KING HAS HIS REIGN) (DELETED SCENE)
00:02:01:24 (FITFIELD ATTACKS) (DELETED SCENE)
00:04:06:06 (THE ENGINEER SPEAKS) (DELETED SCENE)
00:05:30:04 (FINAL BATTLE) (DELETED SCENE)
00:05:05:19 (PARADISE) (DELETED SCENE)

Two new Blu-rays coming in a few months are of special interest to auteur-oriented viewers looking to fill gaps in the collections of two of our greatest living directors. Criterion’s edition of Roman Polanski’s 1968 parenting nightmare Rosemary’s Baby will be released on Oct 30 (details after the cut), and Ridley Scott’s sumptuous 1977 period piece, The Duallists follows three weeks later on Nov 20. Rosemary’s Baby was shot by 6-time Oscar nominee William A. Fraker and Frank Tidy’s misty cinematography in The Duellists was nominated for a BAFTA award.

I keep waiting for someone to remaster more of Robert Altman’s movies in high-def. It’s sad to see his filmography so neglected. Though we’ve heard The Long Goodbye is being released Oct 2 in France where it’s known as Le prive. What are some of your own most coveted titles still MIA on Blu-ray?

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“…’cause people watch this movie two or three times a year anyway.”

Looks spectacular.

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DVD/Blu-ray combo pack is the only option. (No standalone edition for either format). No details about special features yet, except for a 30 minute making-of documentary, Exploring the Tree of Life, to focus mainly on Malick.

MGM announced a couple of days ago that they would be bringing 3 Coen brothers classics to Blu-ray on August 30. Miller’s Crossing, Blood Simple and Raising Arizona can each be purchased individually, but we now see that they’ll be offered together with Fargo in a 4-disc box-set.

Going for the box set represents a pretty big savings. Current pre-order prices for the individual discs:

  • Miller’s Crossing – $22.49
  • Blood Simple – $13.99
  • Raising Arizona – $23.49
  • Fargo – $14.47

That adds up to over 74 bucks. The box-set can be pre-ordered from Amazon for roughly half that. (hang on, the rational part of my brain is now saying $48.99 is 65% of $74 — still a sizable discount.)

I’m no investment adviser, but if you already own Fargo on Blu-ray now would be a fine time to divest yourself of that holding and apply the proceeds to reduce the net cost of the box-set. (I suppose I could’ve posted this last night, but I first needed to sell my copy of Fargo for $9.99 before the bottom dropped out of the market. They’re selling for a dollar less today.)

That will shave your box set cost down to 40 dollars, so you’ll only be spending $10 per film. Anybody who can pass up a deal like that oughta have his head examined.  Details of the traditionally meager Coen extra features (the same as the SD editions), after the cut.

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No official release date yet, but Amazon.com has a pre-order page and publicity material for the 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray restoration of Citizen Kane, with a new DVD remaster of The Magnificent Ambersons set to be released simultaneously. Ambersons is currently OOP in the US and the UK edition is rather shabby, so let’s hope they’ve found a good source negatives for the new transfer. (Though don’t get your hopes up — it’s still gonna only be 88 minutes.) The Kane Box set appears to include the PBS documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane from in the current DVD set, as well as RKO 281, the HBO behind-the-scenes dramatization of the film’s production, (with Liev Schrieber as Orson Welles, James Cromwell as Hearst, and John Malkovich as Herman Mankiewicz.) Looks like assorted reproduction lobby cards, booklets and other doodads will jack up the price to 80 bucks for the whole shebang. (what? No snowglobe?) The pre-order cost of $55.99 will save you $5 off buying Ambersons separately.

These past 2 days, I’ve been in Blu-ray nirvana. It’s also been tentatively announced that Arrow Academy in the UK will be issuing a Blu-ray edition of Bertolucci’s The Conformist later this year — one of my all-time favorites films which was honored with a special screening in Cannes yesterday afternoon. Arrow’s first forays in the Blu zone with Diabolique and The Bicycle Thieves have been impressively comparable to Criterion editions with a wealth of special features, but unfortunate cropping on all 4 sides of Diabolique has me holding off to wait for the Criterion in a few short weeks.

If I had to guess on a release date for the Citizen Kane box set, Tuesday September 6th would be sweet. September 5th, 1941 is the day Kane opened across the US in 1941.

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One of a hundred reasons why Criterion editions are worth the extra cost. Another flippable cover after the cut. (Nice prices under 20 bucks on select Criterion titles from Amazon this month.)

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I think not. Though Brad Brevett at RoS finds this rather baffling news on Blu-ray.com:

Blu-ray MoviesFrench distributors EuropaCorp have announced that they will release on Blu-ray acclaimed director Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011), starring Brad Pitt (Twelve Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking, The Weight of Water ), and Jessica Chastain (Jolene, Take Shelter). The region coding status for this release is unknown at the moment. Street date is July 15th.

Disclaimer: That date must be a mistake, right? Following a path through the place-holder page for the eventual Blu-ray review, there’s a link to a pre-order page on Amazon.fr — ‚Ǩ23.99, cet article para√Ætra le 15 juillet 2011… don’t know what to make of this, but I’ll pass the information along — at the risk of sounding like I’m proselytizing for the imminent arrival of The Rapture.


(View XXL)

A few weeks ago Warner Brothers announced a May 31 release date for the Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection on Blu-ray. The set will include all the Kubrick films previously released on Blu-ray and adds 3 more jewels in the crown, MIA until now. Lolita and Barry Lyndon have been remastered and the set will include the 2001 documentary biography, Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. Held off posting this news because I don’t want to go overboard with the Blu-ray fetishism. But today ran across the brochure for the British Film Institute’s upcoming tribute to Ken Adam, Kubrick’s preeminent production designer, so the news of the box-set now has more artistic relevance. (Earlier DVD editions of Barry Lyndon couldn’t do justice to the shadowy flicker of the delicate candlelit atmosphere.)

Nathan Crowley on Barry Lyndon

Sir Ken Adam is perhaps best known for his ability to create scale using singular set pieces that are so memorable that they infect the character of the whole film. Barry Lyndon does not rely on this singular moment but instead portrays life in the late 1800s, gently immersing you in a time and period that feels
remarkably real.

The film builds in scale with ever increasing complication through a series of misfortunes that start humbly in rural Ireland, massing into the decadence of the 1880s. Interiors complement the landscapes with a level of artistic composition and precision.

The film is full of imagery that helps describe the emotion and period of the film, none more than: “Barry’s daily walk at Sir Charles Lyndon’s house in the gardens” towards the end of the film, where the bleakness of finally reaching his goals with the coldness of the walk contrasts with an empty feeling of loneliness and meaningless in his pursuit which led him here, not to mention the cost in betrayal, violence, love and jealousy.

It’s a marvellous piece of design that continues to be part of one of my favourite films and offers great inspiration when embarking on new projects.

Crowley was BAFTA-nominated for his work on Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008)

Nathan Crowley talks about Dr Strangelove after the cut, where you’ll find more details about the Blu-rays.

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Blu-ray.com says at least one online retailer is listing the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy for sale on June 28th. There will apparently be 15 discs in the box-set, most of the special features ported over from all the previous editions on SD discs — including 6 discs from the extended-edition DVDs and the 3 discs from the theatrical and extended limited-edition DVD set. The feature films will be spread across 6 Blu-ray discs. Amazon.com is offering pre-order price of $84. Details of special features and epic closeup of the box-set, after the cut.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars — Robert De Niro, Best Actor; Jodie Foster, Best Supporting Actress; Bernard Herrmann, Best Original Score; and Best Picture — Taxi Driver of course won nothing the year Rocky was the movie you feel. A rare disconnect when Best Director and Best Picture nominations only matched for 3 films (Alan J. Pakula, Sidney Lumet — and winner John G. Avildsen), Ingmar Bergman and Lina Wertmuller were the directors whose movies didn’t make the cut. Imagine being an Oscarwatcher in 1976! The ARPANET must’ve exploded! Taxi Driver won the Palm d’Or in Cannes.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has given Taxi Driver a 4K digital restoration and it’s screening at the Berlin Film Festival this week. The DVD and Blu-ray will be released 6 weeks from now, April 5, and the best news of all — they’ve licensed the original Martin Scorsese-Paul Schrader commentary track from the Criterion laserdisc, inaccessible since the early ’90s! More details about the special features from blu-ray.com, after the cut.

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(thanks to Vance Jerico) Includes a feature-length documentary called “How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?” — a nice riff on the classic Lolita tag-line. Details of the 2-disc set after the cut.

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blu-ray 12-7

Among today’s new releases on Blu-ray and DVD are three mindbenders from masters Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro and David Cronenberg. Inception, Cronos and Videodrome are especially noteworthy additions in high-def because of the cinematography of Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight), Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth), and Mark Irwin (The Fly).

Other significant Blu-rays with special Oscar relevance released today are Closer (featuring Natalie Portman’s first Oscar nominated role), Lost in Translation, and Restrepo, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s Afghanistan war chronicle likely to figure in this year’s Best Documentary race.

all about eve sm

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced that it will bring the 1950 classic All About Eve to Blu-ray on February 1, 2011. Nominated for 14 Oscars and winner of 6, including Best Picture and Best Director for Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Next year is big on Blu for the Mankiewicz brothers since 2011 should see the release of a spruced up Citizen Kane for its 70th anniversary edition. Kane, of course, won it’s only Oscar out of 9 nominations for Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. (What other creative endeavor has ever inspired pairs of brilliant brothers more than the movies?)

Fox will be releasing An Affair to Remember, Leo McCarey’s 1957 tearjerker the same day as All About About Eve (as it happens, the day after the SAG awards). Full-sized views of both Blu-ray book covers, after the cut.

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inception

No solid release date yet, but hard to imagine Warner Bros won’t want to have the Inception DVD and blu-ray available in time for Christmas — and in time for Academy members who want to upgrade from their bare-bones screeners. (The Dark Knight theatrical release, July 18, ’08; DVD release Dec 9. Inception theatrical release, July 16; DVD release __?) The photo here shows the deluxe special edition fans in the UK are getting, complete with spinning top. No word on the price tag, and no indication how much more the extra-dreamy special edition will cost with the top that never stops spinning.

Incidentally, Inception is still in the Top 10 of current releases — slipping from #6 to #9 this past weekend — and sometime today it will cross the $700 million mark worldwide. Thanks to sartre for the link to Filmonic. Full list of special features after the cut.

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George Lucas cranked up the cuteness quotient at the end of Return of the Jedi in order to sell more Ewok merchandise, says producer Gary Kurtz in this LATimes interview.

“I could see where things were headed,‚Äù Kurtz said. ‚ÄúThe toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It‚Äôs a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It‚Äôs natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that‚Äôs not the best thing for making quality films.‚Äù

He added: ‚ÄúThe first film and ‚ÄòEmpire‚Äô were about story and character, but I could see that George‚Äôs priorities were changing. The emphasis on the toys, it‚Äôs like the cart driving the horse.”

More on Gary Kurtz’s nobler plan for the end of the trilogy after the cut. Topping this post is a further reworking of Jedi’s ending for the 1997 vandalism remastering job Lucas did to ‘enhance’ the original trilogy. On the next page you can take a look at the compromised ending as it appeared in 1983. Admittedly, the yub nub campfire chant will not be remembered as John Williams’ finest hour, but was it wise to tack on the misguided updates above that already look dated a decade later?

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Sleepless nights lying awake waiting to experience Christopher Nolan’s dreamworld? Here’s a special offer to help some of us (US residents) see Inception at a reduced price. On July 13th Warners releases the new Blu-ray transfer of Nolan’s icy 2002 thriller Insomnia, and just as NolanFans reported in March, it will come packaged with a $7.50 voucher for “Movie Money” that can be applied to your first, second or third ticket to Inception 3 days later. Blu-ray.com say the new edition is “an unexpectedly satisfying, altogether filmic presentation that tactfully complements Christopher Nolan’s isolated Alaskan hideaways and Wally Pfister’s burdensome shadows.”

First and foremost, the film’s colors are gorgeous. Savory, hearthlike hues imbue a cozy hotel with welcome warmth, clinical greens and icy silvers lend a callous quality to the Nightmute’s morgue, and wintry grays and earthy browns afflict a dilapidated lakeside cabin. Through it all, skintones remain natural and lifelike, only succumbing to slight flushing on rare occasion. Black levels are nearly impeccable, delineation teases and reveals exactly as it should, and contrast is strong and stable. Moreover, detail is exquisite. Crisp, refined textures are common and closeups look magnificent; landscapes are sharply defined and the film’s attractive veneer of grain is intact. In fact, the whole of the transfer is both proficient and pristine… From scene to scene, shot to shot, Insomnia earns its place among the most stunning catalog titles released this year. Filmfans and videophiles will be extremely pleased with the results.

Rundown of the disc’s special features after the cut.

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(ClassicFlix.com)

The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre both due on Blu-ray October 5th from Warner Bros Home Video, whose efforts to resurrect and restore top catalog titles deserve our appreciation. Maybe even more exciting: The Exorcist goes Blu the same day. From Blu-ray.com:

The Exorcist will hit Blu-ray on October 5, in a two-disc Digibook edition, packaged with a personal letter written by director William Friedkin inside a 40-page booklet. Both the extended director’s cut and the theatrical version will be included, remastered from the original camera negative.

Regarding the two versions, director William Friedkin says, “After my final cut of the original The Exorcist, I took out 12 more minutes before we actually released it in theatres. Years later, Bill Blatty asked if I’d consider reviewing some of that rejected footage (which he always felt should have remained) with an eye towards putting it into a new version. Bill gave me the best piece of material I’ve ever received and because of that and because the film had such a major reputation over some 25 years, I agreed to revisit all these scenes. When I saw them, I came to realize that Bill was, in fact, right. With technical advances, scenes that didn’t work then could now be fixed with CGI and there were others that I thought strengthened the spiritual aspect of the film. Warner agreed and released a whole new theatrical print in 2000 which we called The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen. And I now agree with Blatty that this is the best and most complete version.”

The Exorcist special features and cover art after the cut.

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