The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 783 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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post #23461 of 23483 Old 11-11-2016, 10:48 PM
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X-Men: Apocalypse

It's very late...I'm tired...so you get the really short version on this one!

In short, this was a MARVEL (Pun Intended), though it didn't start out that way. The opening scene starts out in ancient Egypt and it is bathed in ORANGE hues, but it quickly goes underground with a rather murky darkness that yielded little in the way of details or depth. But once the second scene opened up the "MARVEL" began (even though there was still plenty of color-grading to go around), with bold primaries (wait till you see the rich blue body and orange hair on Mystique), super-strong contrast (resulting in BRIGHT WHITES and DEEP-INKY BLACKS), mesmerizing details, accurate flesh tones, and razor-sharp clarity.

In fairness I should say that there was plenty of CGI that created a bit of softness and noise at times, but I can be quite forgiving when the vast majority of the time we're treated to pure EYE CANDY. This one may be hard to call...I'm thinking either low Tier Blu or the top of Tier Gold. I'm feeling generous so I'm going for....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

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post #23462 of 23483 Old 11-12-2016, 12:39 PM
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Monday at 11:01 AM

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

New distributors to Blu-ray tend to hit some expected bumps in their authoring and encoding. K Street Pictures' Monday at 11:01 AM is no exception. The independent production looks fairly decent in 1080P resolution with its excellent contrast and sharp clarity. This is their first release and a few issues prevent the video's likely Tier 1 quality from truly coming out.

Problems arise in the sub-par AVC video encode, introducing nagging artifacts that could have been eliminated with a second pass through the encoder. Exteriors shine with definition, showcasing fine depth and dimensionality. The video becomes rougher in darker scenes with less lighting.

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post #23463 of 23483 Old 11-12-2016, 01:13 PM
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Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

I was quite surprised to see that this title has never been reviewed (and thus it is not listed in the Rankings Thread). I do recall seeing this before, so for whatever reason I failed to review it (it's possible I saw it on a satellite broadcast and that's why I didn't write a review).

I loved the "natural-look" that this release offered. It had a lot of natural light and colors were natural (not MUTED or SATURATED). It also had a lot of film grain and this usually lends itself to a more natural look. I will say though, regarding the grain, that it became heavy at times and I could see some thinking it was "noise" and not grain. This look appeared in quite a few long distance and panoramic shots of deserts, mountains and forests, with the sky suffering the most.

Black levels were superb and nothing was lost in the shadows! This is good news because there were many night time scenes or interior scenes with either low light or no light at all. Contrast overall was excellent. Flesh tones were also "natural" and thus spot on accurate. The color palette was on the drab side, though there were a fair amount of bold primaries (especially "reds") that really stuck out against the earth tones surrounding them. Details were good to very good, not excellent (some were high tier 1, others fell into tier 2). Depth could be astounding at times, but generally speaking there was nothing to write home to Mama about in this department.

Before I place this, I watched the 4K version and it really didn't look that much better for most of its 120 minute running time. There were subtle differences though that would probably bring it up a notch in placement.

Tier Recommendation: 1.25*
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post #23464 of 23483 Old 11-12-2016, 01:33 PM
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People would be surprised how many popular movies, especially catalog titles from before the Blu-ray era, have not been covered yet for the PQ Tiers. We have 5000-some listings but there are still tens of thousands unranked films.

Which is why I encourage newcomers and oldtimers to throw their hat in the ring and chime in after seeing a disc. We don't expect a complete review for a recommendation to be included. A mere score is good enough to be included in the PQ Tiers.
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post #23465 of 23483 Old 11-12-2016, 11:39 PM
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Kickboxer: Vengeance

recommendation: Tier 1.0*

Scenic location photography in Thailand and stunning clarity stand out in this new release from RLJ Entertainment (formerly Image Entertainment). Like many other Tier 1 placements, this Kickboxer reboot offers razor-sharp definition with outstanding detail. It receives a perfect digital transfer without technical problems.

Filmed with the RED camera, Kickboxer: Vengeance definitely knocks on Tier Zero. In prior years I may have even placed it there.

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post #23466 of 23483 Old 11-15-2016, 01:54 PM
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Private Property

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Director Leslie Stevens' Private Property receives a new 4K restoration from lost film elements preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Niche distributor Cinelicious Pics gives the long-missing thriller a beautiful black-and-white presentation in nicely rendered 1080P video. The 1960 film's stunning cinematography by Ted McCord (The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre) includes gorgeous black levels and a crisp contrast.

This is a film transfer that transparently captures Private Property's soft grain structure and gritty texture in loving detail. The 80-minute main feature is shown in a flawless AVC encode on a BD-25. It preserves the movie's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

Encoded with top-notch parameters, every ounce of texture and fine detail found in the restored elements is completely replicated. There are no compression artifacts, even in the darker and messier scenes. This is an unprocessed, unfiltered transfer with excellent depth and definition. Utterly film-like and convincing in its raw grain, Private Property has never looked better.

Cinelicious has shown a commitment to high-quality transfers that exude perfectionism. Private Property is another feather in their cap with a faithful presentation that epitomizes classic filmmaking from another era.

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post #23467 of 23483 Old 11-17-2016, 08:22 PM
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The Quiet Man (Olive Signature edition)

recommendation: Tier 2.0*

A breathtaking 4K scan of the original camera negative turns out wonderfully in this new Signature edition from Olive Films. Director John Ford's romantic film receives an evenly saturated color grading that brings out the lush greens of its bucolic Irish setting. This is a nigh perfect film transfer that substantially improves on the prior Blu-ray edition's picture quality from Olive Films. There is better depth and a more faithful film texture, including tremendous new detail.

This is easily worth buying over again on Blu-ray for videophiles. No one knows when, or even if, Paramount Pictures will ever get around to issuing this film classic on UHD. Vintage catalog doesn't seem to be a priority for Paramount these days.

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post #23468 of 23483 Old 11-17-2016, 08:41 PM
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Finding Dory

Pixar has done it again!! This is a drop-dead gorgeous animated marvel that is easily a contender for the Top Ten in Tier Blu. I didn't take the time to compare it with its predecessor (Finding Nemo which is currently at #27) , but this is most definitely more detailed (some of the texture on fish, birds, coral, etc. is simply amazing), with more depth and brighter colors (my favorite is Carl, the octopus, whose vibrant red stands out above all others). It also has deeper blacks (and more scenes to show them off).

This can't compete with something like The Good Dinosaur in the photo-realism department, but there are some shots where objects look like they were taken out of a live-action film (a case in point would be the truck used for fish that were in quarantine).

My vote goes for...

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (#10, between Inside Out and The Croods)

PS I enjoyed the movie! It is a worthy successor to Finding Nemo.

PPS I can't wait to show this to my grandchildren! I also have the 3D version and they'll probably beg to see that instead of the 2D copy.

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post #23469 of 23483 Old 11-17-2016, 08:44 PM
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I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I saw you hadn't ranked Finding Dory closer to the very top.

I guess Pixar can't push the envelope on every movie. I'm not sure when I will get a chance to catch it.
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post #23470 of 23483 Old 11-17-2016, 09:38 PM
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Perhaps others will put it closer, but IMHO it still didn't have enough texture on display in creatures underwater compared to the texture in characters and objects in the releases that are currently in the Top Five. There were also quite a few deep underground water scenes that lacked detail and even softened a bit. If not for those I probably would have nominated it for a spot in the Top Five.

Don't get me wrong, this was REFERENCE quality all the way, and being #10 is quite respectable. The scenes that really impressed were the "above water" shots in the harbor...the razor-sharp clarity and brilliant colors were insane!
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post #23471 of 23483 Old 11-19-2016, 11:07 AM
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Goodfellas (25th anniversary restoration)

recommendation: Tier 2.0*

Scorsese's masterpiece has finally received the transfer it deserves. Scanned in 4k from the OCN, the presentation is beautiful and detailed. Clarity in fabrics, faces and building textures are shown in all their glory. Colors and flesh tones are well presented and black details are deep without being crushed. The movie is given it's own BD-50 so it has plenty of room to breath, no worries of compression artifacts or playback limitations.

Overall a very nice upgrade from the previous ranking of 4.0 for the original Blu-ray.
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post #23472 of 23483 Old 11-21-2016, 01:03 PM
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The Initiation

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Arrow Video's new film transfer from the camera negative reveal this slasher's soft, mildly diffuse cinematography. The 1984 movie offers decent contrast but its relatively flat depth limits its visual appeal. The presentation includes outstanding texture reproduction, down to the grain structure.

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post #23473 of 23483 Old 11-21-2016, 01:09 PM
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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (75th anniversary restoration)

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

Spectacular restoration from Sony, the picture is sharp and detailed except for some of the transitions and the typical soft focus shots of the leading lady (Jean Arthur). Black levels and contrast are nicely presented, an overall nice looking film.

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post #23474 of 23483 Old 11-23-2016, 02:12 PM
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The Hustler

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

Beautifully shot in 2.35:1, it won the Oscar for cinematography. Sharp transfer and nary a speck of dust or print damage, details really pop. The rich fabrics and gritty textures of New York really shine. Black levels and shadow detail are fine but I think the contrast was a little on the light side.
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post #23475 of 23483 Old 11-23-2016, 07:25 PM
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Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

We should all be thankful for the many excellent Blu-rays released in 2016, from classic catalog titles like The Quiet Man to the latest blockbusters such as Finding Dory. The format is still hanging in there and delivering better picture quality than ever before.

Here's a fairly comprehensive spreadsheet of Blu-rays available for Black Friday shopping. It's not mine but the list makes for handy comparison between stores. UHD fans as well will find it addresses their needs.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...sle=true#gid=0
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post #23476 of 23483 Old 11-24-2016, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

We should all be thankful for the many excellent Blu-rays released in 2016, from classic catalog titles like The Quiet Man to the latest blockbusters such as Finding Dory. The format is still hanging in there and delivering better picture quality than ever before.

Here's a fairly comprehensive spreadsheet of Blu-rays available for Black Friday shopping. It's not mine but the list makes for handy comparison between stores. UHD fans as well will find it addresses their needs.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...sle=true#gid=0
A Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Thanks for your continued commitment to this thread.
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post #23477 of 23483 Old 11-27-2016, 07:13 PM
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Tomorrowland

recommendation: Tier 1.0*

I cannot understand the praise for this movie's PQ. Technically it seems flawless (though I did not pause or go frame-by-frame) but visually I can't imagine anyone being wowed by the art style, except in perhaps a wonderful 10 minute scene with some nice CGI.
Spoiler!
Technically is far ahead of Avatar but the color palette in Avatar (especially the nature scenes) are much more interesting. I thought of Furious 7 while watching, keeping in mind that this film had a very high PQ rating here. Furious 7 is another live-action movie with a wonderful color palette and multiple demo-worthy scenes. Two scenes I can think of (minor spoilers):
Spoiler!
. Top of tier 1 makes sense for this movie: it's technically good but there are other live action and especially animated movies that have a less drab visual style.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Criterion Edition)

recommendation: Tier 0* / Tier 0.3* (directly above the Fox release of the same movie)

Delightful visuals with a warm palette for the nature and a cool palette for the human-made buildings. The fur is a stunner through the whole movie. The scene that most sticks out is:
Spoiler!
The detail on
Spoiler!
was also amazing. The Criterion release has around double the bitrate of the Fox release (which I have not seen), which should make it as good as or better than the Fox release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I saw you hadn't ranked Finding Dory closer to the very top.

I guess Pixar can't push the envelope on every movie. I'm not sure when I will get a chance to catch it.
It was underwhelming in theaters. The Good Dinosaur was much better visually. Luckily, Disney's Moana should be demo worthy once it comes to home video. Especially if you like water at all.
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post #23478 of 23483 Old 11-29-2016, 07:46 PM
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Hell or high water

Okay, it must be said from the outset...this is NOT a contender for Tier 0. Having said that, it's CLOSE!

Aside from some "orange/yellow" color-grading at times, I simply loved the "natural-look" of this release. it features a lot of daytime scenes with sunny weather and whether we're looking at panoramic views of Texan vistas, close-ups of actors, or anything in-between, we are treated to excellent details and a very good depth of field. Add to this some excellent black levels and shadow details and you know you've got to make room for this on your demo shelf.

My votes goes for....

Tier Recommendation: 1.25*

PS I could see others dropping it a notch to 1.5...I wouldn't argue with them...but any lower and you'd have yourself a debate!

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post #23479 of 23483 Old 11-30-2016, 08:04 PM
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Mechanic: Resurrection

Yet another "Jason Statham" movie with STUNNING PQ!!!

This was perhaps his best outing "PQ-wise," thanks to his globe-trotting to exotic beaches in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia (and a very short scene in Cambodia at the very end). These all featured superb, razor-sharp clarity with tons of details, excellent depth, and vibrant colors. I also love a good beach scene that includes stellar blue skies/waters along with lush green palm trees and these were also on display in all their glory. Statham and Jessica Alba were both sporting a new tan and skin textures and tones were exemplary. Night time scenes in these locations were also eye candy...blacks were deep and nothing was lost in the shadows!

Once the scene shifted to Bulgaria the highlights mentioned above were diminished considerably, but clarity and details were still satisfactory. Thankfully this was short-lived.

The only anomaly I noticed was early on; there was an explosion and I saw obvious banding in the sky overhead. I guess I should mention some fleeting softness that occurred a couple of time, but this was so minimal that it doesn't justify penalization.

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

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post #23480 of 23483 Old 11-30-2016, 08:22 PM
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The Secret Life of Pets will be a top tier release to review as well. The UHD is simply amazing. The movie was more than watchable. I actually laughed out loud in several spots.


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Our Kind of Traitor

Mixed bag, anyone? That about sums it up, for one minute you had striking clarity teeming with details, vibrant colors and accurate flesh tones, and the next minute softness reared its ugly head resulting in a lack of details and depth. And of course, there's also the "color-grading" factor...the first half featured egregious "orange" and the latter half some not-so-egregious "teal." The orange hues really wreaked havoc on flesh tones!

Black levels were very good most of the time, but even there you had some inconsistency where murkiness intruded along with what looked like either "noise" or "heavy grain." When blacks were good though we're treated to excellent shadow details. My favorite PLUS throughout was the superb FACIAL CLOSE-UPS, where every fine nuance in texture was seen, even on the female actors. I should also mention that some of the daytime, outdoor shots were spectacular, especially the scenes at the "safe house in the Swiss Alps."

Tier Recommendation: 2.0*

PS I "almost" went with 1.75, for the scenes that highlighted the virtues listed above bordered on reference quality.

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post #23482 of 23483 Old Yesterday, 08:50 PM
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Houdini (1953)

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Olive Films issues the 1953 Technicolor production with an adequate, mildly dated film transfer. Some natural aging is evident in the elements, leaving an exaggerated magenta push to its color saturation. The 1080P video receives a fine AVC encode that handles the light grain structure without difficulty.

Texture and detail are less than ideal, revealing an older scan of the elements. This presentation is quite serviceable and offers nice enough clarity, but a new 4K restoration could bring this Technicolor film to life with better sharpness and stronger color fidelity.

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post #23483 of 23483 Old Today, 09:11 PM
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Don't Breathe

I had just spent 20 minutes writing out a review and I "accidentally" deleted it! So, I'm too frustrated to attempt a carbon-copy, thus I'm giving you the extreme "short version."

The first 14 minutes took place in either bright sunlight or indoors with very good lighting. The PQ had excellent clarity with bold colors, eye-pleasing details, appreciable depth, and accurate flesh tones.

The next hour took place inside "the house" with either "very dark scenes" or "low-lit shots." Blacks were vital here and for the most part they didn't disappoint. In fairness though there were some "graying of the letter-boxed bars" at times that were bad enough to take my out of the movie. There were also a couple instances of "black crush," but no other artifacts. Shadow details were exemplary, so don't be "afraid" that you'll miss any of the "scary details."

The last act took place outside and it was even better than the first 14 minutes, with razor-sharp clarity and eye-popping details & colors.

This one may not quite reach your "reference quality shelf," but I'd easily assign it to the top of my "demo shelf."

Tier Recommendation: Tier 1.0*

PS This one held my attention all the way through!

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