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The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 707

post #21181 of 21407
Can't wait Denny, 14th March roll on....
post #21182 of 21407
Another vote for Ender's Game in Tier 0. Very pretty. Movie didn't quite have the emotional impact I was looking for (in relation to the book), but everything else was gorgeous.
post #21183 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post


The master list for the PQ Tiers gets officially updated every three months or so, depending on the volume of posting in this thread. That is how it has been since around 2009. I'd do it more frequently but each update takes a daunting amount of time and effort these days. It is nearing close to 4000 entries.

 

Newbie here.  Just wanted to thank The Phantom Stranger for his great Blu Ray reviews.  I entered very late into the Blu Ray community, but me and my (initially skeptical of Blu Ray) Dad have been enjoying Tier 0 listed live-action films for the past month. We had no idea what we were missing!  Thanks to you and the other Strangers for your time with the expert reviews. :)

post #21184 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by OppoMrSocko View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

The master list for the PQ Tiers gets officially updated every three months or so, depending on the volume of posting in this thread. That is how it has been since around 2009. I'd do it more frequently but each update takes a daunting amount of time and effort these days. It is nearing close to 4000 entries.

Newbie here.  Just wanted to thank The Phantom Stranger for his great Blu Ray reviews.  I entered very late into the Blu Ray community, but me and my (initially skeptical of Blu Ray) Dad have been enjoying Tier 0 listed live-action films for the past month. We had no idea what we were missing!  Thanks to you and the other Strangers for your time with the expert reviews. smile.gif
I'm glad the PQ Tiers can be of some utility to you. While the best discs are found in Tier 0 (Blu), there are many gems in Tier 1 as well. Speaking of sparkling things...


The Smurfs 2

recommendation: Tier 0* (behind only Monsters University)


Could the smurfs land in anywhere but Tier Blu?tongue.gif Someone gave me a tip that this late 2013 Blu-ray from Sony might be a possible contender for the ultimate crown in the Tiers, so I went and gave it an honest look. I had known the first one was already a top-shelf disc, having resided in Tier 0 for a while.

The 1080P video is jaw-dropping eye candy, nothing short of brilliant. Mastered in 4K by Sony's special process that expands the color gamut on select hardware, The Smurfs 2 contains the most consistently stunning live-action footage seen on the format to date. While the smurfs are pure CGI characters, they inhabit real-world locales in absolute shining clarity. I guess the closest comparison has to be Avatar, but the aesthetic achieved by The Smurfs 2 feels completely different. The picture-perfect video is utterly flawless. We are talking about picture quality that does not diminish at closer viewing distances. I kept inching closer to verify what I was seeing and realized it was easily holding up at two and three-feet viewing distances, which is incredible on a display as large as mine. Few Blu-rays can hold up to that level of scrutiny.

Even interior shots inside a hotel pop with palpable depth, creating a visually immersive experience that feels three-dimensional in sharpness and focus. Sony has treated the transfer with kid gloves, this is easily their best technical effort. The video and CGI blend completely seamlessly at new levels of excellence. Its real-world resolution is hitting the limits of our current technology.

I wrestled with the thought of actually placing it above Monsters University, the current champion of the PQ Tiers. It's a top-five contender for Tier 0 without a doubt. Your exact placement will likely depend on one's preferences for certain attributes, though The Smurfs 2 simply has no weaknesses.
post #21185 of 21407
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I'll definitely be checking it out Phantom!

We are surely being treated to a lot of Tier Blu EYE CANDY as of late! And I suspect it's only going to get better!! cool.gif

I just ordered Gravity this afternoon. I suspect that will be a contender for at least Tier 1, if not Tier 0. I also ordered All Is Lost, a "man versus sea" flick starring Robert Redford. Out of the nine reviewers who have weighed in on this title on Cinema Squid's site thus far, all of them are speaking highly of the PQ AND all of them have given the audio a score of 100, saying it's unquestionably one of the best audio tracks to date, with unbelievable LFE, stellar action in the surrounds, and crystal-clear dialogue in the center channel.
post #21186 of 21407
Enders Game – few questions for
the video geeks here ( I am more of audio guy)
And was not sure where to best post this
I was really impressed with the black levels on this disc
Probably best I have experience post CRT age in my HT
Stunning – I run JVC RS-25 in complete pitch black room ( velvet walls etc)
Was just curious does this quality relate to better tech in the cameras?
Filming technique – post calibration work ? probably bit of each but interested in your comments
hopefully a sign of future releases
post #21187 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by GPBURNS View Post

Enders Game – few questions for
the video geeks here ( I am more of audio guy)
And was not sure where to best post this
I was really impressed with the black levels on this disc
Probably best I have experience post CRT age in my HT
Stunning – I run JVC RS-25 in complete pitch black room ( velvet walls etc)
Was just curious does this quality relate to better tech in the cameras?
Filming technique – post calibration work ? probably bit of each but interested in your comments
hopefully a sign of future releases

Could be mostly the camera tech as you suggest. Shot with the Red Epic ( specs ), according to IMDB.COM . RED claims a remarkable 18 stops dynamic range is possible. They reduced the 5k resolution shot down to 2k for the master digital intermediate. -- John
post #21188 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason View Post

Could be mostly the camera tech as you suggest. Shot with the Red Epic ( specs ), according to IMDB.COM . RED claims a remarkable 18 stops dynamic range is possible. They reduced the 5k resolution shot down to 2k for the master digital intermediate. -- John

interesting - I use IMDB a lot but never thought to expand the Tech stuff- was thinking reminded me of oblivion - same camera
post #21189 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by GPBURNS View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason View Post

Could be mostly the camera tech as you suggest. Shot with the Red Epic ( specs ), according to IMDB.COM . RED claims a remarkable 18 stops dynamic range is possible. They reduced the 5k resolution shot down to 2k for the master digital intermediate. -- John

interesting - I use IMDB a lot but never thought to expand the Tech stuff- was thinking reminded me of oblivion - same camera
The company behind the VFX in Oblivion, Digital Domain, were also responsible for Ender's Game. Ender's Game had a budget over $100 million dollars, the newer digital cameras can produce astounding results with the right amount of time and money. I think it also helped that the movie got pushed back from its initial release date, that usually allows the VFX and digital wizardry to be more finely polished before release.
post #21190 of 21407
Hell Comes To Frogtown (UK Region B-locked)

recommendation: Tier 4.0*


In the past month, Arrow Video has released this extremely limited Blu-ray (only 1000 copies are being pressed) in the UK. They licensed the transfer from Lakeshore Entertainment, so it's not quite up to the picture quality of Arrow's more recent discs. The 1988 B-movie is presented at 1080P resolution from an older telecine, though it is a true Hi-Def transfer from acceptable film elements. This is not spectacular by any stretch but demonstrates appreciable gains in color saturation, sharpness, and fine detail over prior home video versions.

The review has many screenshots for closer perusal. Some minor halos are occasionally evident but the transfer has not been overly processed or stripped of its natural grain density. Micro-detail is a bit erratic, though that is mainly due to the original cinematography.

It is locked to Region B, I strongly doubt we see a release of it in other regions.

http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&filter_name=frogtown&product_id=269
post #21191 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

Hell Comes To Frogtown (UK Region B-locked)

recommendation: Tier 4.0*


In the past month, Arrow Video has released this extremely limited Blu-ray (only 1000 copies are being pressed) in the UK. They licensed the transfer from Lakeshore Entertainment, so it's not quite up to the picture quality of Arrow's more recent discs. The 1988 B-movie is presented at 1080P resolution from an older telecine, though it is a true Hi-Def transfer from acceptable film elements. This is not spectacular by any stretch but demonstrates appreciable gains in color saturation, sharpness, and fine detail over prior home video versions.

The review has many screenshots for closer perusal. Some minor halos are occasionally evident but the transfer has not been overly processed or stripped of its natural grain density. Micro-detail is a bit erratic, though that is mainly due to the original cinematography.

It is locked to Region B, I strongly doubt we see a release of it in other regions.

http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&filter_name=frogtown&product_id=269

 

As a big "Rowdy" Roddy Piper fan, I appreciate the review of this Blu-Ray, Phantom Stranger. :)

 

Keeping with Piper, anyone have any insight as to the best Blu-Ray version of "They Live?"  Hope there is one better than Tier 4.0.

post #21192 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by OppoMrSocko View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post


As a big "Rowdy" Roddy Piper fan, I appreciate the review of this Blu-Ray, Phantom Stranger. smile.gif

Keeping with Piper, anyone have any insight as to the best Blu-Ray version of "They Live?"  Hope there is one better than Tier 4.0.
I haven't picked up yet the Scream Factory Blu-ray for They Live. Personally, I've found their transfers very hit-or-miss. There is only so much one can do with some of these older films. Even a pristine transfer from a new film scan would have only pushed Hell Comes To Frogtown into high Tier 3 territory. Saying that, it's a fun B-movie that has never looked better since release.
post #21193 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post


I haven't picked up yet the Scream Factory Blu-ray for They Live. Personally, I've found their transfers very hit-or-miss. There is only so much one can do with some of these older films. Even a pristine transfer from a new film scan would have only pushed Hell Comes To Frogtown into high Tier 3 territory. Saying that, it's a fun B-movie that has never looked better since release.

 

Thank you, Phantom Stranger!  Will keep that in mind when tracking it down.

post #21194 of 21407
The measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

recommendation: Tier 2.5*


This magical 1951 film received an extensive Technicolor restoration from the 35mm negative in 2009. Filmed by legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff, the impressive cinematography is constructed entirely around showing off Ava Gardner in the best possible light. Okay, some wonderful seaside landscapes are also highlighted.tongue.gif Kino released the film's restoration in this magnificent-looking Blu-ray, originally in 2010. A massive visual upgrade over the prior DVD that words can't accurately convey.

The film restoration went back to the best possible film elements for an incredibly detailed scan with stunning texture and resolution. Cardiff's cinematography ends up looking razor-sharp and oozing with high-frequency content, especially in the tighter shots. There are few soft shots included, even in the close-ups of Gardner. In terms of raw detail and film structure, the transfer is perfect. Its color accuracy and rendition are superb. Only a few, brief bursts of changing color temperature noticeably affect the video.

What the restoration doesn't remove are some of the minor specks and scratches left on the negative, a contrarian approach to transfers intended for Blu-ray. The major studios would have applied extensive manual clean-up and dust removal. It is not a terrible distraction but a few unintended color splotches rear their head in the center of the 1.37:1 frame. A forgivable presence of some halos, though fairly natural and analog, fill the last 45 minutes.

I was mightily impressed by the results of this Technicolor film restoration, bringing back the inherent vibrancy of Pandora's cinematography. The film certainly looks better than ever on Blu-ray.
post #21195 of 21407
Whoa! I just went to Amazon to order Ender's Game and it went up in price by $5!! They must have heard about the amazing video/audio and they're taking advantage of us. I'll wait for a price drop...no way will I pay that kind of money for it with the movie itself being somewhat underwhelming. frown.gif
post #21196 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post

Whoa! I just went to Amazon to order Ender's Game and it went up in price by $5!! They must have heard about the amazing video/audio and they're taking advantage of us. I'll wait for a price drop...no way will I pay that kind of money for it with the movie itself being somewhat underwhelming. frown.gif
If you wait a little while, I imagine it will be available for much cheaper than Amazon in the next month on eBay. I've heard the poor showing at the box office has killed any chance of a sequel.
post #21197 of 21407
Oblivion

Recently I decided to re-rank a few titles following my transition from projector to HDTV viewing which I feel has provided a different view point on some titles, Oblivion being the latest candidate.

Previously I ranked at 1.5, this time around however I was reeled in a bit more by how beautiful this film looked. Standout moments: the clarity of Jacks forest hideaway, simply stunning in detail be it the needle dropping on his vinyl records, his gun being lifted off the table or the blades of grass on which he lays. The close ups particularly when captured by the scabs, bright spotlights hitting every facial pore and sweat bead. The textures of clothing, notably Jacks body armour, Julia's grey knitted cardigan. So much goodness to soak up...I was grinning.

As noted by others there are a couple of soft shots, the odd black which doesn't quite hit the sweet spot. But I cant let the resounding beauty of 99% of the film be overlooked as a Top Tier title. Sorry guys this just has to be upgraded....

Tier 0.75
post #21198 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by rusky_g View Post

Oblivion

Recently I decided to re-rank a few titles following my transition from projector to HDTV viewing which I feel has provided a different view point on some titles, Oblivion being the latest candidate.

Tier 0.75
That's interesting you changed your evaluation with a different display. I've heard it bandied about that projectors are better for film-based Blu-rays, and that more modern fare with digital FX and CGI work better on fixed pixel displays such as LCD and Plasma. I don't think projectors provide quite the same amount of pop and depth for the animated CGI movies.
post #21199 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

If you wait a little while, I imagine it will be available for much cheaper than Amazon in the next month on eBay. I've heard the poor showing at the box office has killed any chance of a sequel.

Believe me...I can wait!

I suspect it will even go down on Amazon and other sites in time. I was hoping to watch it again soon, or to use it as a demo. Oh well....patience is a virtue! smile.gif
post #21200 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
 
The measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

recommendation: Tier 2.5*


This magical 1951 film received an extensive Technicolor restoration from the 35mm negative in 2009. Filmed by legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff, the impressive cinematography is constructed entirely around showing off Ava Gardner in the best possible light. Okay, some wonderful seaside landscapes are also highlighted.tongue.gif Kino released the film's restoration in this magnificent-looking Blu-ray, originally in 2010. A massive visual upgrade over the prior DVD that words can't accurately convey.

The film restoration went back to the best possible film elements for an incredibly detailed scan with stunning texture and resolution. Cardiff's cinematography ends up looking razor-sharp and oozing with high-frequency content, especially in the tighter shots. There are few soft shots included, even in the close-ups of Gardner. In terms of raw detail and film structure, the transfer is perfect. Its color accuracy and rendition are superb. Only a few, brief bursts of changing color temperature noticeably affect the video.

What the restoration doesn't remove are some of the minor specks and scratches left on the negative, a contrarian approach to transfers intended for Blu-ray. The major studios would have applied extensive manual clean-up and dust removal. It is not a terrible distraction but a few unintended color splotches rear their head in the center of the 1.37:1 frame. A forgivable presence of some halos, though fairly natural and analog, fill the last 45 minutes.

I was mightily impressed by the results of this Technicolor film restoration, bringing back the inherent vibrancy of Pandora's cinematography. The film certainly looks better than ever on Blu-ray.

 

Amazing review!  I have not seen this film, but plan to now.  Thanks for reviewing the older titles and B movies: I know this forum leans towards new & mainstream, so your work with other genres is greatly appreciated.

 

I hope they release my favorite film of Ava Gardner's in Blu-Ray one day, Bhowani Junction.

post #21201 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post

Whoa! I just went to Amazon to order Ender's Game and it went up in price by $5!! They must have heard about the amazing video/audio and they're taking advantage of us. I'll wait for a price drop...no way will I pay that kind of money for it with the movie itself being somewhat underwhelming. frown.gif

If you do find a good price, let me know as I want to grab it as well. I even checked ebay for used and prices are high. We might have to wait a bit still.
post #21202 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

If you do find a good price, let me know as I want to grab it as well. I even checked ebay for used and prices are high. We might have to wait a bit still.

I'll definitely let you know.
post #21203 of 21407
See some imports on the list but missing some that is pretty well known to have better PQ over US version. Maybe they haven't got enough votes to be on the list?

Some examples:
Black Hawk Down, German or Nordic disc AVC 26974/31062 kbps
Book of Eli, Australian disc from sony VC-1 26.32 Mbps
Domino, UK or ES disc VC-1 26320 kbps
post #21204 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by wesslan1 View Post

See some imports on the list but missing some that is pretty well known to have better PQ over US version. Maybe they haven't got enough votes to be on the list?

Some examples:
Black Hawk Down, German or Nordic disc AVC 26974/31062 kbps
Book of Eli, Australian disc from sony VC-1 26.32 Mbps
Domino, UK or ES disc VC-1 26320 kbps


It only takes one vote for a Blu-ray to get a placement on the list.  If you have these, please review and make a recommendation for placement.

post #21205 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by wesslan1 View Post

See some imports on the list but missing some that is pretty well known to have better PQ over US version. Maybe they haven't got enough votes to be on the list?

Some examples:
Black Hawk Down, German or Nordic disc AVC 26974/31062 kbps
Book of Eli, Australian disc from sony VC-1 26.32 Mbps
Domino, UK or ES disc VC-1 26320 kbps
I'd love to add them to the PQ Tiers but no one has scored them to date. Someone with those BDs needs to watch them and give them a formal score under our grading system.

Hellgate (UK Region B-locked)

recommendation: Tier 4.5*

This low-budget horror film from the late 1980s has fairly rough picture quality. It is another film transfer that Arrow Video has licensed from Lakeshore Entertainment, but the results are middling at best. Hell Comes To Frogtown from Arrow Video turned out comparatively much better, Hellgate lacks the type of detail found in recent film scans on Blu-ray. The film is also quite ambitious in its attempts at FX, failing spectacularly in the cheesy graphics.
post #21206 of 21407
All Is Lost

A Discovery Channel series that I really miss is "Man Versus Wild" (which starred Bear Grylls). Well, tonight's "outing" was literally "Man Versus Sea." What a harrowing account this was of one man's attempt to survive while lost at sea. Before I get into a breakdown of the PQ, I want to give a huge shout-out for the amazing AQ on this Blu. The first "storm at sea" lasted a good 10-15 minutes and it was so LOUD, with thunderous LFE, that I almost got sea-sick!! No really, the audio was simply superb on every level and if for nothing else, give this a rent just to experience what it's like to "ride out the storm" in a 35' sailboat.

The PQ varied, but all in all it was very good. The most obvious highlight throughout the 100 minute running time was Robert Redford. We are treated to numerous close-ups of his face...and hands...and I'm hear to tell you his leathery and weathered face never looked so good on HD!! And his HANDS...WOW, you could see every freckle and age spot, along with his gray hairs. Fine details in clothing were also on display and in most daytime scenes there was a rich sharpness/clarity displaying Redford, his sailboat, and the deep blue sea! Flesh tones were also accurate, which is good being there were so many facial close-ups.

There were a few issues. Black levels at times either crushed or were murky, and in a few instances inside the hull of the boat and in underwater scenes some noise reared its ugly head. Contrast spiked at times during bright, daytime scenes, giving it a washed-out look. And then were a few instances of banding, most notably in the clouds.

Colors were somewhat subdued, but they appeared quite natural given the setting, so I wouldn't dock the placement due to them. Having said that, this won't receive any accolades for them either.

All things considered this one falls on the border of Tier Gold and Silver, but my love for facial details is compelling me to be generous, thus I'm opting for....

Tier Recommendation: 1.75*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
post #21207 of 21407
All Is Lost looks interesting as a movie. Redford is one of Hollywood's few stars to let himself age naturally on the screen.

A peek at IMDB indicates the movie was filmed on the Arri Alexa camera. Almost every movie made on that camera seems to end up between Tier 1.5 to Tier 2.5.
post #21208 of 21407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

All Is Lost looks interesting as a movie. Redford is one of Hollywood's few stars to let himself age naturally on the screen.

A peek at IMDB indicates the movie was filmed on the Arri Alexa camera. Almost every movie made on that camera seems to end up between Tier 1.5 to Tier 2.5.

I agree with your sentiments regarding Redford aging naturally. To use an old adage, he's "comfortable in his own skin." Would that we all grew old gracefully!

Some may not enjoy the movie as much as I did. I've heard complaints about the "slow pace" and "lack of dialogue," but IMHO it was very good, and you didn't need to *hear* what Redford was thinking throughout his gripping ordeal; his facial expressions told us all we needed to know!
post #21209 of 21407

All set to enjoy "The Lone Ranger" on Blu-Ray this weekend, thanks to everyone's reviews (I am a late entrant to Blu-Ray, having just upgraded my home viewing system; totally in awe of the image quality difference).

 

Sort of off-topic question (not sure which forum I should chime in on): I can't afford to buy all of these Blu-Rays, and use Netflix to rent them.   I wanted to rent "Ninja 2" and "Niagara," but Netflix Blu-Ray rental only has the DVDs of both.  Does Netflix take a while before adding non-mainstream Blu-Rays to their inventory?  Or do they never add them?  FYI: I received "The Americans" tv series Blu-Ray from them overnight, which is newer than either of the above films.

post #21210 of 21407
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