Chinatown (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-28-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=241956&d=1332956072
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: Paramount - 1974
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 130 minutes
Genre: Thriller/Crime

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby TrueHD Mono, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Burt Young, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Diane Ladd
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Robert Towne
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 3, 2012







"Let sleeping dogs lie"



Film Synopsis:

Screen legend Jack Nicholson breathes life into sharp-tongued private eye Jake Gittes in Roman Polanski's Chinatown. Gittes is hired by a stunning socialite (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband, who she suspects of cheating. But what Gittes thinks is a routine case of adultery quickly deteriorates into a tangle of deceit, corruption and treachery.



My Take:

Chinatown is a landmark movie in the film noir tradition. Jack Nicholson stars as slippery private eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sun baked, pre-war Los Angeles. Hired by a mysterious socialite (Faye Dunaway) to investigate her husband's extra-marital affair, Gittes soon finds himself swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night in...Chinatown. Roman Polanski's Chinatown stands as a true screen classic. It has a timeless appeal that captures a lost era via a masterfully woven murder mystery that twists, turns and compels as we follow Jake Gitties' unraveling investigation where he comes face to face with a City of Angels that has a dark side. Jack Nicholson is on top of his game and his superb performance is accentuated by the wonderful chemistry he shares with the sultry and credible Faye Dunaway. I haven't seen Chinatown in years. It's an engaging and fulfilling detective/mystery that is enhanced by complimentary production elements, apt direction and a sterling cast. The film easily withstands the test of time and is deservedly among the AFI's top 100.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material, sensuality, partial nudity, brief language and violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 80



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373647

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Chinatown comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 Mbps.

This is a solid looking high def catalog release that presents this 30 plus year old film in a positive light. It boasts clean, well depicted primary colors and a good mix of secondary hues that mate well with the source material. Resolution is discerning with varying degrees of delineation. Sharpness is primarily stable with lucid clarity which enhances depth. Black and white levels are spot on which imparts a fair amount of pop to colors and brighter exterior sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking noticeably punchy with quiet blacks with visibly gradational detail in shadowy backgrounds. Grain is moderately textured and other than a few minor instances appears undisturbed. This is a pleasing video presentation that appears faithful to the film's original elements.

This Dolby TrueHD multi-channel mix (there is also a lossless Mono option) does a commendable job presenting the film's soundtrack. The audio maintains a front oriented perspective with a fairly wide soundstage that exhibits good directional spacing and clearly articulated dialogue that reaches well into the room. There isn't much in the way of discrete surround sound or extended dynamics however there are a variety of instances where the entire soundstage is put to good use via Jerry Goldsmith's eclectic music score or the replication of open expanses, echoing gunshots the rush of running water. The auditory is surprising clean and free from strident highs or an edgy mid range. Based upon the theme of the film and the age of the recording I think this is a complimentary presentation that sounds quite good.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary by screenwriter Robert Towne with David Fincher

  • (HD) Water & Power (3 segments totaling 77 minutes):

    1. The Aqueduct
    2. The aftermath
    3. The river and beyond

  • Chinatown: An appreciation - 26 minute featurette

  • Chinatown: The beginning & the end - 19 minute featurette

  • Chinatown: Filming - 25 minute featurette

  • Chinatown: The legacy - 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer



Final Thoughts:

Chinatown is justly heralded as an American Film classic. It's an engaging and fulfilling detective/mystery with a bygone era narrative that is enhanced by complimentary production elements, apt direction and a sterling cast. It's a thoroughly entertaining and intriguing landmark movie in the film noir tradition. Chinatown makes its debut Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring a great looking high definition video transfer, complimentary Dolby TrueHD multi-channel sound and a solid supplemental package that is well worth exploring. If you're a fan this Blu-ray release belongs in your collection.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-28-2012, 10:56 AM
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Great movie, and I'll never forget that scene with the blade... if you 'nose' which one I'm referring to!

Thanks for another fine review, Ralph...

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post #3 of 12 Old 03-28-2012, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post

Great movie, and I'll never forget that scene with the blade... if you 'nose' which one I'm referring to!

Can't even guess, Kitty-Kat!

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post #4 of 12 Old 03-29-2012, 08:25 AM
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>Grain is moderately textured and other than a few minor instances appears undisturbed.

There is some discussion of this in another thread based largely on some critical comments by Robert Harris that were cherry-picked by a poster to support a particular opinion on the release. (Overall, Mr. Harris gave the disc a qualified recommendation). Discerning readers and film grain purists may wish to view these comments in consideration of possible purchase.

I'm actually glad to see Ralph give it relatively high marks for video quality (as some of the other major Blu-ray sites have also done). It's a favorite film and while it deserves better treatment than it likely received in this release, at least it seems as though it won't be in any way a major disappointment.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-29-2012, 09:33 AM
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Nice. I have a copy archived off from cable, will be replacing it with Blu-Ray for sure.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-31-2012, 07:38 PM
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Ralph -- Thanks for your review. Chinatown is a film noir classic and I preordered the BD from Amazon when its release date was announced. I am looking forward to receiving my copy next week.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 08:36 PM
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Looks and sounds great. I thought that blacks were excellent and colors equally good. Also note that the Netflix copy has bonus features and loads quickly with no trailers.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 06:06 AM
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Looks and sounds great. I thought that blacks were excellent and colors equally good. Also note that the Netflix copy has bonus features and loads quickly with no trailers.

Thanks for your report. As noted in earlier posts, I preordered Chinatown from Amazon. Received email notice yesterday that it has shipped and its estimated delivery date is this Friday. Can hardly wait! I am badly in need of a Jake Gittes fix.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 10:31 AM
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Time to replace my copy on laserdisc.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 01:42 PM
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Sorting through the bonus features today. This release is worth the cost of admission just for these features alone. Very nicely done and loaded with fresh interviews of the principles.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Next week I expect to have a great giveaway offer for Chinatown fans. Stay tuned...


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post #12 of 12 Old 04-07-2012, 07:03 AM
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I was over 300 miles from home doing a job for the last few days. I just got back last night and the only important thing I was going to do today was go down and pick up Chinatown. I'll wait. Maybe I'll get lucky

A great movie!

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