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post #21961 of 21981 Old 10-22-2014, 06:40 PM
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I don't have The Signal's Blu-ray but someone did give me the UltraViolet copy. I'll have to bump it towards the top of my queue after your recommendation.
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post #21962 of 21981 Old 10-23-2014, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I don't have The Signal's Blu-ray but someone did give me the UltraViolet copy. I'll have to bump it towards the top of my queue after your recommendation.
I'm quite sure you'll enjoy it Phantom. I liked the pace and the suspense, and the acting was superb, especially that of Brenton Thwaites (the young lead actor who looks a lot like Josh Hartnick!) who gives an excellent performance. Laurence Fishburne can always be counted on to deliver a good performance and he was true to form here. BTW, I should have mentioned in my review, when commenting on the amazing facial close-ups, that Mr. Fishburne has a face made for Hi Def, much like that of Morgan Freeman or Tommy Lee Jones (filled with pores, age marks, wrinkles, etc).
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post #21963 of 21981 Old 10-23-2014, 04:13 PM
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I decided to watch The Signal again before returning it to the video store and I was even more impressed with the movie, the PQ and the AQ the second time around. I'm changing my placement from 1.75 to 1.25! All Sci-Fi aficionados...this is a MUST SEE!! I forgot to mention last night the soundtrack is awesome and gives it the perfect mood all the way through.
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post #21964 of 21981 Old 10-23-2014, 07:09 PM
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Well, I guess I need to put forth a "disclaimer" regarding The Signal. I was curious as to what others were saying about this movie so I visited Amazon.com where there were dozens of reviews. The average was only 3 Stars with many naysayers complaining about 1) the slow pace, or 2) the terrible plot, or 3) the confusing ending. For me, I found I was in good company with a fair number of 4 or 5 Star reviewers who loved the 1) suspenseful-pacing, 2) the non-conventional plot, and 3) the mind-blowing ending (which definitely left room for a sequel). I feel the vast majority of Sci-Fi fans today are jaded and have short attention spans. If they aren't treated to non-stop action and multi-million dollar CGI from start to finish (think Transformers or Avatar), they will reject a movie without giving any serious thought to what they just watched.

Anyway, I though it best to bring this out, for if you fall into the class listed above who need tons of CGI and have short attention spans, I would advise you to skip this one. But if, like me, you like something out of the ordinary which actually makes you think (and wonder what's coming next), this one is for you!

Okay, back to our normal broadcasting.

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post #21965 of 21981 Old 10-25-2014, 10:25 AM
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Terror Train

recommendation: Tier 4.0*

Shout Factory brings this 1980 slasher to Blu-ray in adequate condition. The older transfer is fairly soft and has black levels all over the place, resulting in a moderate upgrade over standard definition versions of Terror Train. The film elements are marked by scratches, there was no attempt to clean them up for 1080P resolution.

This is not a film transfer from the original negative. Its overall lack of clarity and softness indicates an older telecine struck from secondary film elements. The exaggerated grain structure is a result of an over sharpened transfer. It would not have been a bad transfer...six or seven years ago. Scream Factory does employ a very strong AVC video encode at high compression parameters, cleanly replicating the noisy grain and darker shadow delineation.

Terror Train is a BD that definitely deserves Tier 4. Others may place it even lower, depending on their tolerance for dated cinematography. A new film transfer would have made for a more substantial upgrade in picture quality.
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post #21966 of 21981 Old 10-26-2014, 07:14 PM
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The Fault in our Stars

As popular as this movie was at the Box Office, I'm surprised I couldn't find one review on any of the usual sites I frequent for reviews. As some of you may know, the female lead is Shailene Woodley, the female lead in Divergent. It's quite dramatic (my wife had a box of tissues between us in case we needed them) and the acting is quite good. But how's the PQ?

The PQ was VERY GOOD, with exceptional sharpness/clarity, finely-rendered details, satisfying blacks, amazing shadow details, accurate flesh tones, astounding depth, and last, but not least, warm & vivid colors. Sounds like an easy contender for Tier Blu, right? Not exactly. Why? Because in spite of the "exceptional sharpness/clarity" in most scenes, there were some scenes that came across as "too sharp," bordering on what you'd see on a sharp-looking cable/satellite broadcast. I'm NOT speaking about the infamous "soap opera effect" (where "motion" is also involved, as well as a "soft" look) but rather the look that results from, perhaps, post-digital processing to make it look sharper than it really is.

Overall though, this was very pleasing to the eyes and I can't imagine it ending anywhere lower than Tier Gold. I was impressed enough to assign it to the top of that tier....

Tier Recommendation: 1.0*

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post #21967 of 21981 Old 10-27-2014, 10:30 AM
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I guess I was mistaken when I said that there were no reviews on The Fault in our Stars. Blu-ray.com did weigh in last month with a very positive PQ score citing many of the same virtues that I outlined in my review. There were two differences in our reviews: 1) They said nothing about any shots being "too sharp;" and 2) They referred to some shots where the contrast, in brightly-lit scenes, looked "milky" and resembled "blooming." (I didn't catch those in my first viewing.)

I should have mentioned the amazing cinematography. A few scenes took place in Amsterdam and every shot of its ornate buildings, cobblestone streets, canals, and beautiful foliage was demo/reference quality. I also should have mentioned, when referring to "details," that facial close-ups were, at times, exemplary.
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post #21968 of 21981 Old 10-27-2014, 05:20 PM
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I'll wait until the disc officially comes out tomorrow, but Begin Again has some of the best-looking RED-shot video I've seen on the format. It likely will end up in Tier 0.
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post #21969 of 21981 Old 10-28-2014, 12:54 PM
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^^^^^

I'm blaming you for me renting Begin Again a few minutes ago Phantom. Had you not told me about the excellent PQ I would passed on this one due to it being a "Romantic Comedy." My last viewing was a "chick flick" and here I am watching two of them back to back!

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post #21970 of 21981 Old 10-28-2014, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
^^^^^

I'm blaming you for me renting Begin Again a few minutes ago Phantom. Had you not told me about the excellent PQ I would passed on this one due to it being a "Romantic Comedy." My last viewing was a "chick flick" and here I am watching two of them back to back!
It stars Keira Knightley and is directed by John Carney, the genius behind Once. It is not quite as good as the magical Once, which I still consider a favorite romantic movie of mine, but covers much of the same territory. I wouldn't characterize it as a romantic comedy. There is some romance, but it's more about one young woman's passion for music. The review will soon go up on everyone's favorite site.
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post #21971 of 21981 Old 10-28-2014, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
It stars Keira Knightley and is directed by John Carney, the genius behind Once. It is not quite as good as the magical Once, which I still consider a favorite romantic movie of mine, but covers much of the same territory. I wouldn't characterize it as a romantic comedy. There is some romance, but it's more about one young woman's passion for music. The review will soon go up on everyone's favorite site.
I didn't have my reading glasses at the video store so I couldn't read the small write-up (on the back of the disc case) describing the content of the movie, but in rather large letters on the front of the case were the words, "FUNNY AND ROMANTIC" (written by Peter Travers of ROLLING STONE), so I assumed it was a romantic comedy. My bad!

I also had noticed that Adam Levine is in this and I'm a fan of his, so I'm hoping it will feature some of his musical talent.

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post #21972 of 21981 Old 10-28-2014, 01:31 PM
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post #21973 of 21981 Old 10-28-2014, 02:54 PM
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Hitchcock

Some scenes were low tier 0, others were low Tier Silver. The majority were somewhere in between.

Tier 2.0
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post #21974 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 08:42 AM
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^^^^^^^

Hey Russ,

I had to do a Search to see where I had placed Hitchcock. I gave it a 1.0 and Phantom gave it a 1.25. Your viewing experience was obviously different, so could you be a bit more specific as to why you gave it a 2.0. For example, did you think it was too soft, or perhaps the blacks levels weren't demo-worthy. What say you?

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post #21975 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 11:59 AM
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The Exorcist III

recommendation: Tier 2.75*

"My name is Legion: for we are many."

This has always been one of my favorite horror sequels, so I am pleased to report it has received a very satisfying Hi-Def presentation in the new Exorcist Anthology box set. A competent AVC video encode retains this film's natural grain structure from a relatively modern, fresh HD transfer. The color timing is superb, displaying a rich contrast and stark black levels. This is most definitely one of Warner's better catalog efforts in 1080P resolution.

This newer film transfer has been acquired from the original camera negative. The film elements are in pristine form, as fresh-looking as they possibly were in 1990. An immaculate print shows precious little sign of digital tampering, it is a film-like presentation of ordinary film stock utilized in the solid cinematography of Exorcist III. It has a surprising sense of depth and pop. A possible wisp of edge enhancement is negligible in magnitude, only very astute viewers on 100" projection screens will even recognize the tiny halos. This recent transfer has very appreciable levels of detail and high-frequency content, there is a pleasing sense of true filmic quality in its resolution.

Given the visible grain and enhanced chroma range, the film scan was likely done at 2K resolution. I know that 4K film scans are all the rage these days, but 2K transfers can still produce excellent picture quality results with the right elements and care. Exorcist III is one of them. The AVC video encode is adequate, largely hovering in the sub-20 Mbps range. It accurately replicates the shadowy interiors and fine grain structure without introducing a surfeit of artifacts. It falls short of reference quality but the 105-minute main feature is confined to a BD-25.

This quality Blu-ray presentation of Exorcist III makes it an easy recommendation for fans; it is never going to look much better on the format. I only wish we had gotten more supplements than an old trailer.
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post #21976 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 02:19 PM
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^^^^^

I've never seen The Exorcist 3. I'll have to check it out! I'll be watching Begin Again in a few hours.

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post #21977 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 02:53 PM
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Hi Denny

Sorry my review was so brief. I went with a gut feeling score - I felt the outside shots looked very good, darker lit scenes lacked some finesse in terms of clarity - colours were nicely done, as were blacks. Maybe I could nudge it up to 1.75 as Although not an outright stunner it was still pleasing in terms of PQ.

Hope you're keeping well
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post #21978 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 07:21 PM
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Begin Again

Phantom had succeeded in whetting my appetite for this Blu-ray and I'm more than glad that he did. You may recall him saying, "It will likely end up in Tier 0." I'd like to go a step further and say, "It WILL end up in Tier 0!!"

Besides the usual array of virtues that we look for in a Top Tier contender, I was mesmerized by how perfectly "natural" this looked. My wife and I spent three days in New York City a few years ago, walking the streets day and night for countless hours. I felt like I was back walking those same streets as I watched scene after scene in "The Big Apple" with its stellar clarity and details. I had mentioned in my last review how there were shots in The Fault in our Stars that were "too sharp" and thus they came across as "unnatural." By contrast we have in this title super, sharp clarity, and yet it retains that "looking through a window" look...again, PERFECTLY NATURAL.

There were a few soft shots, most notably in an opening scene in the bar where Keira Knightley first sings (a scene that is repeated a few times in the first half). But I feel like I'm "straining at a gnat" in bringing this out, for the majority of the film was pure EYE CANDY. We are treated to a good number of daytime scenes in New York City and the depth is astounding, along with details in foliage, buildings, cars, etc. that rivals any Blu that currently resides in Tier Blu. Colors are also pleasing to the eyes...contrast is strong...flesh tones are "natural"...and black levels are to die for!

Before I give my placement, I just have to ask, "Who knew that Keira Knightley could sing?" I'm always amazed when I've seen actors for many years playing in non-musical roles and then, all of a sudden, they're playing the role of a musician and they reveal to the world that THEY CAN REALLY SING! Of course, Adam Levine also performs and is at the top of his game (though I wasn't too convinced of his acting ability).

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

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post #21979 of 21981 Old Yesterday, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Begin Again

Phantom had succeeded in whetting my appetite for this Blu-ray and I'm more than glad that he did. You may recall him saying, "It will likely end up in Tier 0." I'd like to go a step further and say, "It WILL end up in Tier 0!!"

Besides the usual array of virtues that we look for in a Top Tier contender, I was mesmerized by how perfectly "natural" this looked. My wife and I spent three days in New York City a few years ago, walking the streets day and night for countless hours. I felt like I was back walking those same streets as I watched scene after scene in "The Big Apple" with its stellar clarity and details. I had mentioned in my last review how there were shots in The Fault in our Stars that were "too sharp" and thus they came across as "unnatural." By contrast we have in this title super, sharp clarity, and yet it retains that "looking through a window" look...again, PERFECTLY NATURAL.

There were a few soft shots, most notably in an opening scene in the bar where Keira Knightley first sings (a scene that is repeated a few times in the first half). But I feel like I'm "straining at a gnat" in bringing this out, for the majority of the film was pure EYE CANDY. We are treated to a good number of daytime scenes in New York City and the depth is astounding, along with details in foliage, buildings, cars, etc. that rivals any Blu that currently resides in Tier Blu. Colors are also pleasing to the eyes...contrast is strong...flesh tones are "natural"...and black levels are to die for!

Before I give my placement, I just have to ask, "Who knew that Keira Knightley could sing?" I'm always amazed when I've seen actors for many years playing in non-musical roles and then, all of a sudden, they're playing the role of a musician and they reveal to the world that THEY CAN REALLY SING! Of course, Adam Levine also performs and is at the top of his game (though I wasn't too convinced of his acting ability).

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
I'd just like to say we got this from Netflix and watched it tonight and I can echo everything you said. Some those night scenes really showed how awesome black levels are on the Kuro, albeit I was watching it on the lowly 5020.

Hope you don't mind, but copying your ranking...
Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

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post #21980 of 21981 Old Today, 10:19 AM
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^^^^^^^

Good to see we're on the same page tcramer!

I'm sure your "5020" looks just as good as my PRO-151. You gotta love it when the source material features deep blacks so our KUROs can live up to their name!

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post #21981 of 21981 Old Today, 10:55 AM
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I'll go along with my fellow posters and recommend largely the same placement.

Begin Again

recommendation: Tier 0* (2/3rds down)

Truly exemplary digital quality shot from the RED camera for this movie. Djoberg definitely pointed out its biggest failing, that softer opening in the bar. I believe there were some VFX or digital composites in that scene. This is possibly the best-looking BD released by Starz/Anchor Bay.

The outdoor scenes are gorgeous, rendered in vivid detail with a lush, naturalistic color palette. Inky black levels and extreme resolution highlight a generous amount of fine detail.
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