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The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 676

post #20251 of 21406
The Notebook (2010)

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you....I'm actually writing a review of The Notebook! First of all, I want you to know this is one of my wife's favorite "chick flicks" so I picked up a copy in the Bargain Bin at Best Buy the other day. Secondly, this is, as I wrote above, the "2010" Blu-ray version. The first version came out in 2009 and it had terrible reviews for being way too SOFT. It is currently sitting in Tier 3.5 for that reason. Regardless of what you (men) may think, this is a very popular movie with the ladies and thus I'm assuming that the bad reviews prompted the "powers that be" to produce another version. I'm hear to tell you that it looks incredible (for the most part)!! There are still a few soft shots, but the majority of the movie has clarity and sharpness rivaling many titles in Tier Blu and Tier Gold. I was truly impressed!

There are countless outdoor, daytime shots with stellar cinematography...the colors are gorgeous, the details are exquisite, and the contrast is super strong. Nighttime scenes are flawless with some of the deepest blacks I've encountered in a film dating back to 2004. Shadow details hold up just as well. Flesh tones are spot-on in 95% of the running time; the other 5% falters a bit with some redness/paleness. Facial close-ups fare quite well, though there are some shots where they appear smoothed over. Depth is simply amazing at times. One of my favorite scenes is when Gosling takes McAdams in a row boat through a forested swamp/marsh with hundreds of snow geese....everything about that scene is pure, 100% EYE CANDY (phenomenal colors, detail, depth, clarity and sharpness). Again, there are still a few soft shots sprinkled throughout, but it is no where near the mess I've read about in the 2009 version.

If you guys have gals that love The Notebook, I suggest you pick up the 2010 copy. She'll be happy that you're willing to cuddle up with her (and a box of kleenix eek.gif) for a night of romance, and you'll be happy for giving your eyes a good sugar rush! cool.gif

I got so carried away there I was going to click "Submit" without giving my placement. This one is demo-quality, without a doubt, and I'm confident it belongs, at the very least, right here....

Tier Recommendation: 1.5

PS I could easily be persuaded to go with 1.25.

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
Edited by djoberg - 3/31/13 at 7:08pm
post #20252 of 21406
X-Men: First Class (currently Tier 2,5)

Stunning! It looks absolutely amazing for me eyes. Great sharpness, plenty, plenty of details and nice depth. Grain looks beautiful and natural. The only weak part are blacks; shadow details are fine, but blacks itself are not as deep and inky as they should, there's more very dark grey than black here.

I was extremely surprised it's only @ Tier 2,5, so I put the disc to my PS3 one more time and watched some scenes almost with my nose in the TV, and it was still amazing.

If blacks were perfect, I think I would even go for bottom of Tier 0.

Tier 1


Lady Gaga Presents: The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden

Crisp, clear, sharp and wonderfully colorful. The only problem here is caused by extremely strong lights. Some banding and posterization is visible more than few times, but in my opinion it's not distracting.

Tier 1.25*
post #20253 of 21406
Parental Guidance

Eww. A simply inexcusable new release that toys with fine detail and sharpness, but then dips into muddy filters and horrendous noise. I thought this was a bad encode of a film source, but it was actually shot digitally if the 'net is correct. Whatever the case, it's ugly.

Tier 3.25*
post #20254 of 21406
Weird. I saw it theatrically and it looked gorgeous, for a load of mediocre crap.
post #20255 of 21406
Hudson Hawk

Recent master with some problems, but overall pleasing. Plenty of detail and impressive definition on display. Black crush is a bother and a few halos will sprout up. Compression is rough too in spots. Still, overall this is a winner considering it was a flop and shoved onto a single disc with another movie.

Tier 2.75*
post #20256 of 21406
Deadfall

I had never heard of this title prior to my visit at a local video store, but with actors such as Eric Bana, Sissy Spacek, Olivia Wilde, and Kris Kristofferson in it, I thought it couldn't be too bad. I was wrong, for it wasn't that good. mad.gif And to make matters worse, the PQ was one of the most inconsistent messes that I've seen recently.

The BAD:

1) Numerous soft scenes (indoor and nighttime scenes)
2) Crushed blacks
3) Washed out flesh tones
4) Grainy
5) Smoothed over faces
6) Orange hues that hindered detail

The GOOD:

1) Sharp and detailed scenes in daytime, outdoor scenes
2) Good facial close-ups (at times)
3) Excellent blacks in selected scenes

Obviously the BAD outweighed the GOOD and thus my placement recommendation is....

Tier Recommendation: 3.5*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #20257 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post

Deadfall

I had never heard of this title prior to my visit at a local video store, but with actors such as Eric Bana, Sissy Spacek, Olivia Wilde, and Kris Kristofferson in it, I thought it couldn't be too bad. I was wrong, for it wasn't that good. mad.gif And to make matters worse, the PQ was one of the most inconsistent messes that I've seen recently.
I haven't seen the Blu-ray, but I am familiar with Deadfall. It has a strong first act but Eric Bana was either woefully miscast in it or the role was simply beyond his talents.
post #20258 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I haven't seen the Blu-ray, but I am familiar with Deadfall. It has a strong first act but Eric Bana was either woefully miscast in it or the role was simply beyond his talents.

You are right Phantom, the first scene was good (and promising) but it quickly evolved into a cesspool of gratuitous violence and family dysfunction. Bana's acting was good (at times) in spite of the role he had as a criminal nearly void of a moral compass.
Edited by djoberg - 4/2/13 at 8:14pm
post #20259 of 21406
The Man With the Iron Fists

I'm going to keep this short, for in all honestly I rented this solely for the audio track which was CRAZY LOUD with INSANE BASS and INCREDIBLE ACTION IN THE SURROUNDS throughout the majority of the 90 minute running time. If you have a decent surround sound system and a sub that is capable of least 20 Hz (or better yet one that can dip into the teens or single digits) this is one amazing Blu-ray.

I was also impressed with the PQ (though often distracted by the wall-shaking/chest-thumping bass), which was razor-sharp in many scenes and filled with rich, saturated colors and deep blacks. (Having said that, there were scenes where softness reared its ugly head and brought this down from a *reference* Blu to Tier Gold.) Flesh tones suffered occasionally by the "orange push." Details were somewhat inconsistent, but when they were on display they definitely had the WOW factor.

I still have one more rental (if I can stay awake) so I'm going to cut to the chase and nominate this for....

Tier Recommendation: 1.75*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #20260 of 21406
Alex Cross

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamereviewgod View Post

Alex Cross

Often detailed and sharp, this one is quite consistent. Grain is well managed and clean without any compression issues. It's the black levels that down Cross though, muddying and turning blue-ish far too often even though they can have bite. A pleasing contrast can't save it.

Tier 1.75*

I can hardly keep my eyes open so I'm taking the easy way out and posting GRG's review. For the most part I agree with it though I thought the grain became a bit too *gritty* at times. I also thought the facial details were inconsistent, though when they were good....they were REALLY GOOD (especially close-ups of Matthew Fox). I wasn't very impressed in the "depth" department; many shots just came across as flat to my eyes (though they are, admittedly, quite weary and perhaps not on their game smile.gif). Long range shots of Detroit weren't too impressive either...lacking detail. I'm inclined to drop it a notch....

Tier Recommendation: 2.0*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #20261 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I haven't seen the Blu-ray, but I am familiar with Deadfall. It has a strong first act but Eric Bana was either woefully miscast in it or the role was simply beyond his talents.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The more I think about Eric Bana's role in Deadfall, the more I'm convinced that actors like Bana, who most always portray the "hero," still come across as nice at times even when they're playing a psychopathic killer. Thus in Deadfall you have Bana killing the stepfather in the hunting cabin followed by a friendly conversation with the little girl. Later he speaks nicely to Sissy Spacek's character (he even says, "I like you") followed by the crazy, maniacal conversation where he holds the whole family hostage. I often wonder if actors like Bana would even sign on to a role where their character would be nothing but evil through and through.

Edited by djoberg - 4/3/13 at 1:48pm
post #20262 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I haven't seen the Blu-ray, but I am familiar with Deadfall. It has a strong first act but Eric Bana was either woefully miscast in it or the role was simply beyond his talents.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The more I think about Eric Bana's role in Deadfall, the more I'm convinced that actors like Bana, who most always portray the "hero," still come across as nice at times even when they're playing a psychopathic killer. Thus in Deadfall you have Bana killing the stepfather in the hunting cabin followed by a friendly conversation with the little girl. Later he speaks nicely to Sissy Spacek's character (he even says, "I like you") followed by the crazy, maniacal conversation where he holds the whole family hostage. I often wonder if actors like Bana would even sign on to a role where their character would be nothing but evil through and through.
I think some actors are in fear of being typecast in certain roles, so they take roles in films that sometimes don't suit their particular talents. You see it all the time with comedians that try to transition into serious dramatic work. If I remember correctly, one of my bigger complaints with Bana in the role was his ever-changing American accent. Hollywood loves casting British and Australian actors in American roles. It doesn't always work out that well. Djoberg, you should probably spoiler text your post on Deadfall's plot. Highlight the text and click the little black box in the edit window to put a spoiler wrap on it.
post #20263 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I think some actors are in fear of being typecast in certain roles, so they take roles in films that sometimes don't suit their particular talents. You see it all the time with comedians that try to transition into serious dramatic work. If I remember correctly, one of my bigger complaints with Bana in the role was his ever-changing American accent. Hollywood loves casting British and Australian actors in American roles. It doesn't always work out that well. Djoberg, you should probably spoiler text your post on Deadfall's plot. Highlight the text and click the little black box in the edit window to put a spoiler wrap on it.

Thanks for the heads up on "Spoiler" wrap!

I do believe actors do as you say; they take roles in order to avoid being typecast. But there may be those that would shrink from accepting a role where their character has no conscience or redeeming qualities, especially if they are used to being portrayed as the hero/nice guy. It's refreshing to see an actor that feels comfortable enough in his/her own skin to take on any role. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Take, for example, Matthew Fox in Alex Cross. There was absolutely nothing likeable about his character and he did an excellent job in portraying the villian. In fact, he was downright creepy.
post #20264 of 21406
Hemingway & Gellhorn

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

HBO's epic romance starring Nicole Kidman is a little uneven in picture quality, largely attributable to the inconsistent color correction done to the digital cinematography in post-production. Shot using the Arri Alexa, the digital video has excellent detail but rarely projects the type of depth and deep focus that the better demo material should display. The compression is relatively strong as the main feature has been put out on a BD-50 at high bitrates. Exterior and daylight scenes show a mild magenta push to the fleshtones. If someone argued for Hemingway & Gellhorn in Tier Two, I wouldn't put up much of a defense.

If you click through to the actual review, the screenshots give an accurate impression of the general picture quality.
post #20265 of 21406
Straightheads (region-free UK import in 1080i / 50 Hz)

recommendation: Tier 4.5*


Straightheads is a very intense British thriller starring Gillian Anderson. The 2007 film was first released to Blu-ray in 2010 by Verve Pictures. Unfortunately it appears they took the broadcast master made for European television and presented it on this disc in an unappetizing 1080i / 50 Hz resolution, which looks decidedly poor. The AVC video encode is mediocre, producing frequent and overt macroblocking from the Super 16mm production. Some scenes exhibit overly aggressive black levels and a serious amount of black crush. This is the type of movie on Blu-ray where the benefits of high-definition are not so apparent over DVD.

Since this Blu-ray had the dreaded 50 Hz video unique to Europe, I had to employ the substandard Seiki SR212S player to handle it. The PS3 of course won't play this disc at all.
Edited by Phantom Stranger - 4/6/13 at 6:21pm
post #20266 of 21406
The Bible: The Epic Miniseries

recommendation: Tier 1.25*


If it weren't for a few lighting problems in the night scenes, I might have been tempted to push this mini-series into Tier 0. Another digital video production using the Arri Alexa camera, the picture quality of exterior shots exude a crisp dimensionality and stellar resolution. The Bible looked vastly better in 1080P on the Blu-ray than the History channel's presentation in broadcast HD. Fox has graced the Blu-ray with a top-notch video encode. What prevents a higher placement are the questionable lighting choices for a few of the interior scenes, particularly those set at night. Some soft CGI elements are the only things which aren't razor sharp.
post #20267 of 21406
Dragon Lord

Worst Blu-ray I have seen in 2013, and close to the worst ever. Likely DVD upscale with miserable compression, abhorrent damage, and impossibly awful black crush. Any appreciable detail has been wiped with DNR, and grain is so poorly managed it goes from frozen to a compressed mess.

Tier 5.0*
post #20268 of 21406
Wow, that almost makes me want to get it!
post #20269 of 21406
Ship of Fools

So-so master of a '60s era best picture nominee, reasonably sharp and clean, although hit with some DNR. It's the compression that kills it, forced onto a double feature cramming almost 300-minutes between the two on a single disc. Grain runs loose, and robs fidelity that is clearly there if the encode would have the room.

Tier 3.5*
post #20270 of 21406
Jersey Girl

Decent master ruined by compression. Messy and all over the place, grain swarms the image and flattens out all appreciable detail. Sharpening raises the grain slightly, and simply causes more trouble despite few visible halos. Artificial or not, sharpness is passable and the print is clean, so you have those positives, along with some nicely resolved black levels.

Tier 3.5*
post #20271 of 21406
I know this doesn't directly impact the Tiers but I thought the news might be of some interest. Disney has just fired most of their hand-drawn animation staff, so it looks like they are moving away from traditional non-CGI animation.frown.gif

http://thedisneyblog.com/2013/04/12/walt-disney-animation-studios-lets-most-of-hand-drawn-team-go/

Outside of Asia, hand-drawn animation appears to be on its death bed for theatrical features.
post #20272 of 21406
People Like Us

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamereviewgod View Post

People Like Us

Jumpy color timing and rough grain don't add up to much until you take in the fine detail. There's plenty of it. Texture is high, and black crush isn't a concern, mostly because black levels don't have consistency either.

Tier 2.0*

The only thing I have to add to GRG's review is that this had a washed out look at times (too hot of a contrast, methinks) and quite a few scenes had the deplorable "orange hues" wreaking havoc on skin tones (and everything else). But as noted details were good, including facial close-ups. Before I even checked to see if anyone else had already reviewed this, I concluded that this was NOT demo material, but was still deserving of 2.0, so I was pleased to see we were on the same page in its placement.

Tier Recommendation: 2.0*

PS This is "chick flick weekend," so expect two more entries before Monday morning.

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #20273 of 21406
Here are some quickies as I watch the Masters (golf, not the movie)in stunning HD:

Wreck it Ralph: This one didn't do it for me for some reason. Tier 1.5

Skyfall: I rarely watch a movie more than once. I've seen this one three times so far. This is the definition of eye candy for me: Tier 0 Some where in the middle.

0 dark 30: This one looked great and the sound was perfect. Tier 0 Below Skyfall

Back to golf!
Edited by audiomagnate - 4/13/13 at 10:59am
post #20274 of 21406
Horror of Dracula (also known as "Dracula" in the UK) (region-locked UK import)

recommendation: Tier 4.0*

Lionsgate just released this 1958 Hammer classic last month in the UK. It has yet to see release on Blu-ray in America, where it would be a Warner title. It features two separate cuts, one which restores footage found in Japan that hadn't been seen in decades. The main transfer works off the 2007 BFI film restoration, while the version with the lost footage is called the 2012 Hammer restoration. Both versions have been encoded in AVC on a BD-50. The 1:66:1 aspect ratio is presented in 1080P. Be warned this import is locked to Region B.

The new color correction has been met with mild controversy, though it's not egregiously poor or anything. I would consider it largely restrained from making radical changes, though it does have differences from prior color timings on home video. It's not the sharpest film experience, though the picture shows no overt ringing or halos. If I had to guess, some mild digital noise reduction has been applied and then the transfer technicians have inserted a minimal amount of faux grain structure to compensate. The moderate grain structure looks entirely too uniform to the trained eye. Overall resolution and detail are better than DVD could hope to produce, but don't expect oodles and oodles of high-frequency content in close-ups or anywhere else. I would consider this particular transfer a success given the currently known elements, though I believe there is some room for improvement.

The film print is clean and has a stable contrast. Select scenes might qualify for Tier Three on their own accord, displaying improved clarity and less softness.
Edited by Phantom Stranger - 4/13/13 at 5:17pm
post #20275 of 21406
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2

Ah, the Saga FINALLY ends!!! "Good riddance," as they say. smile.gif

I checked my review on Breaking Dawn: Part 1 before viewing the final installment and saw that I had some glowing remarks about the PQ, with a Tier Recommendation of 1.25. So, I assumed I would be treated to the same, or even better. NOT! For whatever reason Part 2 was much more inconsistent (especially in the first half), most notably in black levels, details, and sharpness. The black levels were good at times, but then, out of nowhere, they would become murky. Details were generally quite good, but they faltered occasionally. Softness crept in way too many times, though the latter half of the film fared much better, with excellent sharpness and clarity in every outdoor/daytime scene.

Colors were pleasing...contrast was superb (with rare exceptions)...flesh tones were good...and a fine layer of grain gave it the coveted "film-like" look.

Again, I was surprised (and disappointed) at the inconsistency compared with Part 1 and I feel I must dock this nearly a whole tier as a result. So, I'm thinking it should be right about here....

Tier Recommendation: 2.0*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #20276 of 21406
I always thought the new transfers for the original Superman films were excellent on the Anthology set. There is a fantastic interview with the mastering colorist over at MPI (WB's own shop) that directly handled the Superman transfers, as he details the exact process it took to get the films ready for Blu-ray. It even goes over the process for the Donner cut of Superman II and how that transfer came about. The interview is easily the most detailed account I've seen of a new transfer made for Blu-ray.

http://www.capedwonder.com/mpi/
post #20277 of 21406
The Collection

recommendation: Tier 1.75*


The Collection looks positively nice for a new horror release. The transfer is largely immune from questionable color grading and Lionsgate's presentation on the BD is free of significant problems, though higher parameters for the AVC video encode would have been nice. The 81-minute main feature is on a BD-25, framed in a 2:35:1 aspect ratio. Unlike a lot of other recent horror films, the clarity remains high in the dark interiors of the maze the protagonists find themselves in. The cinematography is surprisingly crisp and clean for the grisly subject matter. Solid black levels round out the above-average picture quality.
post #20278 of 21406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I always thought the new transfers for the original Superman films were excellent on the Anthology set. There is a fantastic interview with the mastering colorist over at MPI (WB's own shop) that directly handled the Superman transfers, as he details the exact process it took to get the films ready for Blu-ray. It even goes over the process for the Donner cut of Superman II and how that transfer came about. The interview is easily the most detailed account I've seen of a new transfer made for Blu-ray.

http://www.capedwonder.com/mpi/

I do not where you get 'new masters' from, the article states the newest is 2006 and parts are from 2001.

I guess a person could pick and choose what they do and/or do not like but I struck by how the monitors they used for remastering were talked as inadequate until three years ago and how they used video tape back and forth as the master, I have a hard time believing that is acceptable now, plus I find Miller's 'The Home Video People' reference rather disturbing.

As far as I can tell the article says the IPs were used and not the ON.
Quote:
But we tend to, as colorists, all of us here in America, and all the guys I know in all the years, we tend to make people a lot warmer in our movies than they do in other countries. And I hear that all the time.
Well that certainly explains Westworld.

The interviewer at times seems confused, the TE LOTR is not green tinted, at times he congratulates on getting rid of film grain and then in others proclaims they do not use dnr which Miller himself states otherwise, does he even know what dnr is?

I have several of the Superman BDs and the best they can be described as is ok and now I know why.
post #20279 of 21406
Reprinted verbatim from the article:

Pat mastered these five movies in the Superman The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray box set in the following order, each of which took many weeks to complete:
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut – completed in 2006 (no additional work was done to the 2006 master for the Anthology)
Superman-The Movie theatrical – completed September 2010
Superman II theatrical – completed October 2010
Superman III – completed November 2010
Superman IV – completed January 2011


It does get confusing, because Mr. Miller discusses different cuts and various transfers for prior home video releases in the interview. What took most of the work was fixing all of the optical shots and matching up the color corrections. We knew the Donner cut was the oldest transfer, it does look pretty wretched in comparison to the theatrical version of Superman II.

The Superman transfers, particularly the last three on the list above, will be hard to top at Blu-ray resolution. There is only so much quality you can squeeze out of the film elements for FX-heavy movies like the Superman franchise.
Edited by Phantom Stranger - 4/16/13 at 6:42pm
post #20280 of 21406
The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Another WINNER from Disney! I should clarify that statement by saying I'm referring to the PQ; the movie was....well, ODD!

What captivated me the most were the warm and vibrant colors. There are numerous outdoor scenes with lush greens and gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows. All of the forest scenes were mesmerizing (especially the first time Timothy and his female friend ride into it on her bike). There were a few times where a golden hue started to dominate, but these were short-lived.

Blacks were also EYE CANDY, with some splendid night scenes. When it rained at night the shadow details were exquisite.

Details were spectacular, whether you are viewing the beautiful outdoor landscapes, clothing, or facial close-ups (though these were "few and far between").

Another virtue worthy of mention was the outstanding depth. Again, check out the forest scenes and you would think you were viewing a 3D picture without the cumbersome 3D glasses.

Flesh tones were extremely accurate, contrast was generally strong, and you are rewarded with sharpness and clarity as well in a majority of scenes.

This may fall a tad short of reference quality, but it would easily find a place on my demo shelf....

Tier Recommendation: 1.25*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
Edited by djoberg - 4/16/13 at 7:40pm
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