The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 729 - AVS Forum
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post #21841 of 21901 Old 08-26-2014, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Orson Welles' Touch of Evil? Probably not a BD you could rent at the local store. As for newer releases, The Quiet Ones just came out.
The Quiet Ones sounds interesting, even though the majority of *critics* and most moviegoers are slamming it big time. Have you seen it Phantom? You know I like a good horror show and especially one that doesn't rely on gratuitous violence to satisfy, so perhaps this one will work for me.

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post #21842 of 21901 Old 08-26-2014, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
The Quiet Ones sounds interesting, even though the majority of *critics* and most moviegoers are slamming it big time. Have you seen it Phantom? You know I like a good horror show and especially one that doesn't rely on gratuitous violence to satisfy, so perhaps this one will work for me.
Not yet but I plan on seeing it. I have seen The Possession Of Michael King which came out today, it's not for the faint of heart and one of the scariest movies released in some time. It has very good A/V quality, including a soundtrack you'll need to turn down in volume. Some truly disturbing imagery and content in it, however.


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post #21843 of 21901 Old 08-27-2014, 09:00 AM
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The Amazing Spider-man 2 3D

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0 (middle)


Watching this last night was a revelation in how 3D can add to a film. Honestly, the movie itself is very OK, but the 3D effects were quite good. That's not to even start to mention the textures, the little blue veins on Jamie Foxx or the inherent detailed photography. What this didn't suffer from (as opposed to some other recent 3D BD efforts -- I'm looking at Thor: The Dark World and the first The Amazing Spider-man) was darkness due to the addition of the 3D glasses. Every single scene exhibited strong detail and black levels were never or rarely crushed by the additional dimness of the glasses.

Overall there are rare times that I will say that 3D adds to a film -- this is another instance where I think the 3D effects make the film better.

If you want to know, IMO, only these 3 deserve 3D BD:

1. Gravity
2. Avatar
3. The Amazing Spider-man 2

Everything else, so far in my experience, has not been an "addition" to the film, but merely an extra gimmick. That's not to say that certain films don't also look good in 3D (animated titles, STID, and Prometheus being examples), but that overall my enjoyment of the film rarely needs 3D effects.
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post #21844 of 21901 Old 08-27-2014, 07:34 PM
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^^^^^^

Thanks for the excellent review! I don't suppose you'd want to give the 2D version a viewing? I would love to hear your impressions on that and what your placement recommendation would be.

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post #21845 of 21901 Old 08-28-2014, 08:59 AM
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I'm guessing it would be in a similar position, based upon other reviews I've read.

I'll see if I have time for the 2D version, but, in all honesty, the 3D did actually seem to add to an otherwise mediocre film. I'll definitely chime in if I watch the 2D.

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post #21846 of 21901 Old 08-28-2014, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredxr2d2 View Post
I'm guessing it would be in a similar position, based upon other reviews I've read.

I'll see if I have time for the 2D version, but, in all honesty, the 3D did actually seem to add to an otherwise mediocre film. I'll definitely chime in if I watch the 2D.
Many (actually, MOST) professional reviewers will give the 2D version a HIGHER score because of a brighter picture and more vibrant colors, but in this case...maybe not (I say that because of your stellar comments on the 3D version).

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post #21847 of 21901 Old 08-28-2014, 02:54 PM
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Djoberg is correct, normally 3-D editions feature less vibrant colors and contrast than their 2-D counterparts. There is a huge loss of depth in the transition as expected.


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post #21848 of 21901 Old 08-28-2014, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Many (actually, MOST) professional reviewers will give the 2D version a HIGHER score because of a brighter picture and more vibrant colors, but in this case...maybe not (I say that because of your stellar comments on the 3D version).
I know exactly what you mean: i.e. the first The Amazing Spider-man included quite good 2D video quality (from my recollection after seeing it multiple times), but the 3D was overly dark and obscuring--this despite the fact that the film was natively filmed in 3D and looked phenomenal at the cinema using Sony 4K projectors with RealD 3D polarizers and glasses.

This second film was mostly not filmed in 3D and I didn't see it at the cinema but did a blind buy (based on my love for Spidey) and yet it exhibited bright colors and no scenes were noticeably obscured by the added dimness of the 3D glasses. I'm willing to bet that the 2D presentation is as close to flawless as most of the films in Tier 0.

My time this week is taken up by some mundane things, as well as a "bender" on Superman, with watching the original 1978 film last night and planning on watching Richard Donner's cut on Saturday/Sunday following with Superman Returns. It's a nice little trilogy, though PQ is lacking - I'm much less confident placing things in the lower tiers than I am in pointing out strong contenders in the top 2 tiers. If I get any extra time to revisit Amazing Spider-man 2, I'll definitely let everyone know. For the meantime, I'd definitely recommend a rental for PQ alone.

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post #21849 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 03:00 PM
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Has anyone had a chance to watch Oculus yet? There hasn't been many reviews of the BD from what I've seen.

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post #21850 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 03:18 PM
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Has anyone had a chance to watch Oculus yet? There hasn't been many reviews of the BD from what I've seen.
I'd like to see it at some point, though now I will likely wait until Halloween. Fox seemed embarrassed by it, they didn't even bother to send me a review copy. Along similar lines, I have seen Cabin Fever: Patient Zero and The Possession of Michael King in the past couple of weeks. The Cabin Fever sequel has no real connection to Eli Roth's original movie and is barely worth a rental. The Possession of Michael King is a great scary movie for R-rated horror.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

recommendation: Tier 2.75*

The Image BD has no major video problems, exterior shots have nice clarity and solid definition. Using the RED Epic digital camera, picture quality takes a significant dip as the action moves to night and displays poor shadow delineation. Struck from a clean Digital Intermediate, the new production has its moments. Shot on location in the Dominican Republic, there are some fantastic water vistas and sun-drenched beaches. It's not the most polished digital cinematography I've seen with the RED but is a satisfactory effort. There are some minor problems with the AVC video encode's transparency.

The Possession of Michael King

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

This horror film looks a lot better except for the few night-vision shots. It has a very clean, video-like appearance with sharp detail and immense clarity. An even contrast and neutral colors help provide a consistent level of video quality. The transfer has not been unduly processed in post and retains its pristine nature without compression artifacts.


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post #21851 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I'd like to see it at some point, though now I will likely wait until Halloween. Fox seemed embarrassed by it, they didn't even bother to send me a review copy. Along similar lines, I have seen Cabin Fever: Patient Zero and The Possession of Michael King in the past couple of weeks. The Cabin Fever sequel has no real connection to Eli Roth's original movie and is barely worth a rental. The Possession of Michael King is a great scary movie for R-rated horror.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

recommendation: Tier 2.75*

The Image BD has no major video problems, exterior shots have nice clarity and solid definition. Using the RED Epic digital camera, picture quality takes a significant dip as the action moves to night and displays poor shadow delineation. Struck from a clean Digital Intermediate, the new production has its moments. Shot on location in the Dominican Republic, there are some fantastic water vistas and sun-drenched beaches. It's not the most polished digital cinematography I've seen with the RED but is a satisfactory effort. There are some minor problems with the AVC video encode's transparency.

The Possession of Michael King

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

This horror film looks a lot better except for the few night-vision shots. It has a very clean, video-like appearance with sharp detail and immense clarity. An even contrast and neutral colors help provide a consistent level of video quality. The transfer has not been unduly processed in post and retains its pristine nature without compression artifacts.
Thanks for the reviews. Being a completest, I'll definitely rent Cabin Fever 3 but I'm not expecting much from this one. I enjoyed the Ti West sequel way more than the original.

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post #21852 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for the reviews. Being a completest, I'll definitely rent Cabin Fever 3 but I'm not expecting much from this one. I enjoyed the Ti West sequel way more than the original.
Ti West unfortunately is not back for this new sequel. The new one is a Cabin Fever movie mostly in name only. The flesh-eating virus is back, however.


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post #21853 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:04 PM
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The Quiet Ones

I'll say it from the outset...this one will be a HARD CALL due to the mixed bag of digital and stock film used.

Regarding the *digital* shots, they were, for the most part, quite good. In saying that I'm referring especially to close-ups where facial texture was excellent, along with fine detail in clothing, campus buildings, furniture in homes, etc.

Regarding the *stock film*, every shot was quite bad. You had some flashback footage that was terrible, and then you had almost one third of the movie being filmed by a student for a documentary. It was a cropped picture (that automatically *stretched* a few seconds in) and it was soft, speckled, flat, lacking detail, and had horrendous black levels.

I would put the "good" somewhere in Tier 1 (or high Tier 2) but the "bad" in Tier 4. In trying to "even things out" I would have to go with....

Tier Recommendation: 3.5*

There was one redeeming quality in this Blu....the AUDIO!!

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post #21854 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Famouss View Post
Has anyone had a chance to watch Oculus yet? There hasn't been many reviews of the BD from what I've seen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I'd like to see it at some point, though now I will likely wait until Halloween. The Possession of Michael King is a great scary movie for R-rated horror.

beaches. It's not the most polished digital cinematography I've seen with the RED but is a satisfactory effort. There are some minor problems with the AVC video encode's transparency.

The Possession of Michael King

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

This horror film looks a lot better except for the few night-vision shots. It has a very clean, video-like appearance with sharp detail and immense clarity. An even contrast and neutral colors help provide a consistent level of video quality. The transfer has not been unduly processed in post and retains its pristine nature without compression artifacts.
I wish I had more time before my trip to view both of these titles. In spite of Fox being embarrassed by Oculus, I've read some good reviews on it and can't wait to see it. But I'm really pumped to see The Possession of Michael King after reading BOTH of your reviews Phantom. It sounds DOUBLY GOOD, with the "scare factor" AND the "PQ" being so good.

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post #21855 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:16 PM
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So what did you think of the film itself, is it any good? Somewhere along the way, faux documentary footage became the style du jour seen in horror movies. I think Hollywood has taken that approach as far as it can go and it's become predictable. I didn't mention this but The Possession of Michael King is centered on a guy making a...documentary. Thankfully, the director kind of drops it in the middle of the movie.


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post #21856 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:32 PM
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It started out promising and it had some good acting, but as time went on the need to "suspend disbelief" became too frequent! It did have some very decent scares though, thanks to the amazing AUDIO mix.

I'm with you concerning the "documentary footage." I forgot to mention that it became somewhat *jerky* at times...true to form for documentary footage!

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post #21857 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:36 PM
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A complete 5.1 surround system can do wonders for a horror film. It's probably the first genre I think of where a good audio mix and sound design can noticeably improve a movie. Horror directors, do not skimp on the audio mixing.


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post #21858 of 21901 Old 08-29-2014, 06:50 PM
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Hour of the Gun (region-free Australian import)

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

The James Garner movie has only been released on Blu-ray in Australia, by regional distributor Shock Entertainment. Little has been written about this rare BD, so I am open to answering any questions about it. Shock licensed this transfer from MGM, it was originally a United Artists release from 1967. This is a region-free Blu-ray and any player can handle it, including North American players.

The main feature runs 101 minutes on a BD-25, presented in its native widescreen aspect ratio at 1080P resolution. The AVC video encode runs at satisfactory bitrates occasionally topping 30 Mbps, though it does struggle to fully replicate the mostly-intact grain structure from the Panavision film without minor artifacts. It features classic studio cinematography of the period typical for westerns. This transfer actually exhibits quality depth and dimension for vintage film, Hour of the Gun has razor-sharp imagery. Its rich contrast and deep color fidelity are nicely enhanced on Blu-ray, this is obviously a Hi-Def transfer with gains to be seen from DVD.

I know some are waiting for the reasons why I've stuck it at the bottom of Tier Three. Most of the movie has serious ringing and halos play a regular part of the mostly otherwise film-like experience. This is an older MGM film transfer after all. The Hi-Def transfer is a dated one struck from the original negative with obvious signs of processing, almost certainly intended for DVD resolution when it was struck. The print has fairly periodic speckling, a little manual clean-up would do wonders for this film's elements. Bits of positive and negative damage manifest themselves on occasion, albeit limited to specific sections.

With no domestic version in sight for Hour of the Gun, this Australian version is adequate but could have been improved. Removing its over-sharpened halos would immediately improve the film scan's natural picture quality, likely ending up in Tier 3.0 at worst. I still think it's a decent improvement in visual quality from DVD. The MGM DVD was not properly flagged for anamorphic playback and has severe combing.


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post #21859 of 21901 Old 08-30-2014, 09:37 PM
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Arachnophobia

This has been a favorite of mine for years and I was able to pick it up recently at a very good price. This is the *Remastered* release (the first release was horrible on all counts from everything I've read), which came out in 2012. I was pleasantly surprised on how good it looks for a movie this old.

This is NOT perfect, for the first 12-13 minutes had a few issues, notably extreme softness as the cameraman panned the Venezuelan landscapes as a helicopter makes its way into the deep jungle. Blacks levels were also less-than-stellar in that chapter and it lacked depth.

But from the 13 minute mark it literally came alive, with warm and vibrant COLORS (and very natural-looking too!), exquisite DETAILS & DEPTH, measurable SHARPNESS & CLARITY, and spot-on FLESH TONES. BLACK LEVELS weren't the best, but at least I didn't notice any instances of crush or murkiness. There was some banding/noise in a scene towards the end in the wine cellar, but other than that it was void of anomalies.

If you're a fan of this title, by all means pick up a copy. You'll be treated to some decent EYE CANDY in most scenes. If not for the first 12 minutes, some occasional softness, and the scene alluded to earlier in the wine cellar, I would be tempted to assign this to the top of Tier 1. But in fairness it must be penalized, though a half tier drop should suffice....

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

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post #21860 of 21901 Old 08-31-2014, 02:17 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I was really tired last night when I gave my *initial* review so I left out a very important observation. The film had a nice "filmic-look" to it, thanks to a fine layer of grain. I also neglected to comment on specifics when referring to the DETAILS, but I simply loved the fine details in clothing, faces, hair, foliage, etc. One of my favorite scenes is a yard party given by an elderly lady for the "new doctor in town" (Jeff Daniels). This features nearly all the virtues mentioned in my review in a scene lasting 5-10 minutes. It was so natural-looking with great depth and beautiful colors and it reminded me of the best Hitchcock movie (for PQ, that is) that I reviewed this last winter.

I had mentioned that this Blu was "remastered." When Disney was about to give out their Blu-ray release to reviewers to weigh in prior to distributing it to the general public, they quickly realized it was a mess with horrendous black levels and terrible contrast and they withdrew the initial release and gave it a remaster. KUDOS to Disney for doing the right thing! Again, it's not perfect, but it's still demo-worthy, and for a title from 1990 that quite the feat (especially when you consider that this movie was not on the level of a Hitchcock movie or any other great catalog titles).

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post #21861 of 21901 Old 08-31-2014, 02:21 PM
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I leave early tomorrow morning (for real!), so I'll be checking in to see what reviews are coming in. Some of us are still waiting to see more reviews on Need For Speed!

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post #21862 of 21901 Old 09-02-2014, 10:05 AM
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Speaking of Need for Speed

Netflix sent this to me on Friday, right before the long weekend, and amongst various trips and family outings, I was able to watch it yesterday. Wow. PQ is excellent. Everything is bright, crystal clear, and well worth watching (the movie itself is about up there in Fast and Furious quality of storytelling, so as long as you're expecting the right level, you'll be pleased to feast on the eye candy).

Definitely in lower Tier 0 -- 0.75 by my reckoning.

The reason lower Tier 0 is actually because of one instance of banding that I encountered. Honestly, if I hadn't been a regular reader of this thread and a member of AVSForum in general, I don't think I would've seen it as it was in the opposite corner of the screen from where the action was taking place, so your eyes were supposed to be focused on the people on the left, while the banding happened in the upper right corner in the night sky. Other than that, everything about this film was absolutely spot-on and crisp and clear and everything that I would expect from a recent release on blu.

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post #21863 of 21901 Old 09-02-2014, 10:19 AM
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As far as the other movies that I watched this past week:

I don't disagree with any of the placements as they are now, though considering Need for Speed and other Tier 0 quality titles, these other releases look less than stellar.

Superman: The Movie (1978) -- I might be tempted to place this in Tier 3, but I will say that several moments in the film were Tier 0 quality transfers, while the rest stayed in the Tier 3 range, but those several moments give you insight as to where it could be with a better transfer, so I see no need to move it in the Tiers.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut -- Wow. And not in a good way. Mostly soft, blown out contrast, just really an overall mess. Tier 4 is correct placement. While the test footage used showed softer focus and less polish, even the scenes from the theatrical cut were just mostly gross overall.

Superman Returns (2006) -- Considering Superman: The Movie's placement in the Tiers, this is obviously a better contender for PQ. However, not as much as you might think. Excessive BANDING (this looked like I watched it off of Netflix Streaming, and not on blu-ray) and an overall soft focus gives this blu a PQ not much better than the movie that came almost 30 years prior. My suspicion is that the softer focus actually makes the CGI elements blend better and that it was used intentionally. Also, it should be noticed that this movie exhibits perhaps the worst case of orange/teal that I've yet seen. The entire movie has been color timed to a muddy/dirty mess. That isn't to say that many moments of clarity in textures were evident, but too few to move it anywhere farther up and some cases may be made for moving it down (but, I'd argue that there are many moments of clarity that redeem the other shortcomings).

Tim S.
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Currently watching on: BenQ W1070, 82" 1.0 Gain Screen, PS3, with Yamaha RX-V473, SVS PB-1000, a Def Tech CS-8040HD, and 4 Def Tech ProMonitor 800s.
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post #21864 of 21901 Old 09-02-2014, 10:53 AM
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Superman Returns really does look like garbage for a blockbuster movie produced in the past decade. There are too many PQ problems to mention in a brief passing. I think the restoration and film scans given the original Superman films are exemplary. A few have criticized the color changes but they strike the right balance between new-age revisionism and what the filmmakers originally intended before 70's technology got in the way. If you run a search in this thread, there is a lot of good information about those film transfers.
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post #21865 of 21901 Old 09-02-2014, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Superman Returns really does look like garbage for a blockbuster movie produced in the past decade. There are too many PQ problems to mention in a brief passing. I think the restoration and film scans given the original Superman films are exemplary. A few have criticized the color changes but they strikes the right balance between new-age revisionism and what the filmmakers originally intended before 70's technology got in the way. If you run a search in this thread, there is a lot of good information about those film transfers.
Thanks Phantom. I ran a search and read a bunch of posts (almost makes me want to go back and read from the beginning...but I'm not sure I have that kind of time on my hands). Very interesting info about the transfers and about the films. I very much enjoy the tiers -- thanks Phantom and everyone else!

Tim S.
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Currently watching on: BenQ W1070, 82" 1.0 Gain Screen, PS3, with Yamaha RX-V473, SVS PB-1000, a Def Tech CS-8040HD, and 4 Def Tech ProMonitor 800s.
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post #21866 of 21901 Old 09-02-2014, 10:34 PM
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I couldn't handle more than 45 minutes of Need for Speed, it was mind numbingly boring. I only watched it due to the good PQ ratings and even that could not keep me hooked. I'll have to watch this over multiple viewings.
Seems I stopped watching just before this got more interesting I found the second half of this movie a lot more fun.

I have to agree with the Tier 0 ranking recommended by others. I found issues with a few of the night scenes and will have to rewatch and compare with other Tier 0 titles to give a more accurate ranking.
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post #21867 of 21901 Old 09-04-2014, 04:46 AM
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The Book Thief

This is a very clear presentation with some of the best day time scenes I've seen. Dimensionality is almost 3D at times and fabric detail in particular was extremely good. Less appealing were some of the darker scenes where murky blacks were apparent more than once. For this reason I have to dock points accordingly. Otherwise I remained impressed.

Tier 1.25
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post #21868 of 21901 Old 09-04-2014, 01:07 PM
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The Book Thief

This is a very clear presentation with some of the best day time scenes I've seen. Dimensionality is almost 3D at times and fabric detail in particular was extremely good. Less appealing were some of the darker scenes where murky blacks were apparent more than once. For this reason I have to dock points accordingly. Otherwise I remained impressed.

Tier 1.25
Good review Russ! You and I are on the same page, for the most part. You referred to "murky blacks" and I cited "softness" in those scenes, but I'm thinking we were still seeing the same anomaly.

Well, I may be back earlier than I anticipated. Right now my wife and I are sipping on lattes at a coffee shop in Grand Marais, MN, right on the shore of beautiful Lake Superior. The harbor here looks like a postcard of a quaint fishing village on the eastern seaboard or perhaps on the coast of the Mediterranean.

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post #21869 of 21901 Old 09-04-2014, 01:09 PM
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So what Tier is the Lake in?
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post #21870 of 21901 Old 09-05-2014, 06:22 PM
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This is only marginally related to the PQ Tiers but the following BDs are in low supply from Twilight Time:

OUR MAN FLINT - Fewer than 250 remaining
AS GOOD AS IT GETS - Fewer than 400 remaining
THE DRIVER - Fewer than 500 remaining
LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN - Fewer than 500 remaining; Tier 1.75
BYE BYE BIRDIE - Fewer than 600 remaining
HARD TIMES - Fewer than 600 remaining
BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE - Fewer than 650 remaining

Prior history has shown the prices skyrocket once they sell out.

http://www.screenarchives.com/index.cfm

I highly, highly recommend the glorious Leave Her To Heaven BD, reviewed long ago for this thread.


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