Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sin City Blu-ray Review

Sin City Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc 1: 39.5 GB
Disc 2: 37.9 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: Free

Video
Sin City comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks fantastic, and is sure to impress. Detail is great, and black levels are nice and deep. The reds used in the film are rich and vibrant, and look fantastic. Textures reach quite impressive levels, and fans will ultimately be amazed by the Blu-ray presentation. There is no sticking with the DVD release for fans. 9.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track has been included for both cuts of the film. The track is very nice, and certainly impressive. The film's effects are used very nicely, and provide a very immersive experience. The most impressive thing about the master audio track is how clear even the most discrete effects are. The film's score is fantastic, and lossless audio makes the experience so much better. While the track is not as impressive as The Spirit, it's really not possible to demand more from Sin City. 9/10.

Extras

Disc 1:

Cine-Explore (Picture-i
n-Picture track)
Play movie with audio commentary by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
Play movie with audio comment
ary by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
Play movie with a 5.1 audio track featuring a recording of the Austin audience reaction
D-Box Enabled

Disc 2:

Kill 'Em Good: Interactive Comic Book
How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make The Film (5:42) (SD)

Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino (7:12) (SD)

A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars Of Sin City (7:34) (S
D)
Bronze, Broads, and Guns: The Props Of Sin City (10:58) (SD)

Making The Monsters: Special Effects Make-Up (9:03) (SD
)
Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes Of Sin City (7:33) (SD)
Teaser & Theatrical Trailer (4:01) (SD)

Rodriguez Special Features (58:16) (SD)

Blu-news Summary
Sin City is such a fun and original experience. The film is both entertaining and interesting from start to finish, and the stories are all very nice. I have always been impressed with the casting, yes even Jessica Alba. Her small dance number is both memorable and sexy, and you may have noticed a bit of it on teasers for Sin City. The movie is great, and one that everyone should at least watch once.

The Blu-ray release is great, featuring impressive video and audio, and ported DVD extras. Sin City on Blu-ray is 'Highly Recommended.'

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Grease: Rockin' Rydell Edition Blu-ray Review

Grease Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 38.1 GB
Film Size: 34.3 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: Free

Video
Grease comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. I had previously seen a high-def rental of Grease, and this presentation is a slight but good improvement. Either way I was impressed with the quality compared to the DVD release. Everything is much sharper and detailed, and colors were rich and natural looking. Black levels are impressive and deeper than I had expected, and the the source seems to be very cleaned up. Many shots do exhibit an out of focus look at times, but it has always been that way. The presentation was always good, and managed to reach 'wow' levels at times too. It's really hard to expect much more from Grease. 8/10.

Audio
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track for Grease. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the DVD was actually quite disappointing. Were we in for a slightly improved disappointing track, or is this the first good audio track for Grease? The track is actually pretty quiet on regular levels, but once it was turned up a bit, it really shines.

Dialogue is definitely improved, while still sounding a bit aged. Musical numbers of course were dubbed, and because of that they sound so much better with lossless audio compared to regular dialogue. The film's surround use is minimal, but used quite effectively during certain scenes and musical numbers. I was very pleased, not necessarily amazed, but certainly improved from the DVD. 8/10.

Extras

Commentary by Director Randal Kleiser and Choreographer Patricia Birch
The commentary track is interesting overall, but I felt select cast commentary would have been more fitting. Regardless, the track was informative, just a bit lacking.

Introduction by Randal Kleiser (:24) (SD)

Rydell Sing-Along
Select a specific song, or play the entire movie with sing-along enabled.

The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease (22:26) (SD)
The cast and crew look back at Grease, and discuss how they were cast in the film, etc. It's the highlight feature on the disc.

Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes (10:16) (SD)
Includes introduction by Randal Kleiser, there are 11 scenes total included.Footage is in standard definition, and in black and white.

Grease on DVD Launch Party (15:13) (SD)
Footage from the DVD launch in 2002, features cast interviews and reunion, including performances of the memorable songs from the film.

Grease Memories from John and Olivia (3:24) (SD)
Short interview with John and Olivia at the DVD launch.

The Moves Behind the Music (8:13) (SD)
Choreographer Patricia Birch discusses her work in creating the dances featured in Grease. There are also interviews with the Director, and Director of Photography.

Thunder Roadsters (5:23) (SD)
George Barris discusses customizing the Grease Lightning Car.

John Travolta and Allan-Carr "Grease Day" Interview (1:46) (SD)

Olivia Newton-John and Robert Stigwood "Grease Day" Interview (2:07) (SD)

Photo Galleries

Theatrical Trailer (2:11) (HD)
A theatrical trailer for the film is included, thankfully the transfer on the actual film is much much better than the quality of the high-def trailer.

Blu-news Summary
I'll start by saying that I really enjoy Grease, the movie musical is fantastic, and still holds up quite well. The comedy is still very funny , the characters are all memorable, and the songs are all terrific. The casting felt almost perfect to me, as each actor played their part extremely well, almost as if it were meant to be. There are many that won't admit to it, but public majority likes Grease.

The Blu-ray is about as good as one could expect. The presentation is impressive, and surprisingly clean overall. I was also very pleased with the audio track, as it certainly improves very nicely over the DVD track. All extras are ported from the special edition DVD, what more could a Grease fan want? 'Recommended.'

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Spirit Blu-ray Review

The Spirit Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 40.5 GB
Film Size: 27.9 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

Video
The Spirit comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The Spirit brings a similar visual style as seen in Sin City, and is pretty much the same high-def quality as well. The colors when used were very rich, while black levels stayed deep at all times. Detail is quite spectacular on this release, with impressive textures on the faces, clothing, and environment. This title is not a colorful experience, but it still makes a wonderful high-def experience. 10/10.

Audio
Lionsgate has included a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for this release, that is sure to impress. I actually found the track to be much more immersive than Sin City, which is definitely saying something. The track has a lot of power to it, and I really loved how versatile the track is. Surround use was used with any given opportunity, but was far from gimmicky. Dialogue was clear at all times, while staying front and center. The film's music expanded into the surround area very nicely. This track is certainly demo material, and one to both please and impress. 10/10.

Extras

Disc 1:


Audio Commentary with Director Frank Miller & Producer Deborah Del Prete

Green World (22:53) (HD)

Miller on Miller (15:57) (HD)

Alternate Storyboard Ending With Voiceover by Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson (2:37) (HD)

History Repeats (15:27) (HD)

Theatrical Trailer (2:28) (HD)

LG Live (BD-Live):
Ringtones
Wallpapers
LG Gadgets (Clock, Weather)
Online Trailers

Disc 2:

Digital Copy of the film (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media)

Blu-news Summary
The Spirit is far from the greatest film you will ever see, but does that make it a bad film? I am sure many viewers may be displeased with the film, based on critic response. That said, The Spirit never tries to be something it's not, it's just a fun ride from beginning to end. The cast is very strong, and they all add significance to the film. Samuel L. Jackson is great as usual, and fans should definitely enjoy him in the film. The Spirit is fun from beginning to end, just don't take it too seriously.

The Blu-ray release is top notch, with impressive video and demo material audio. Extras aren't the greatest, but I have to say that I am loving the little uses of BD-Live from Lionsgate. Those interested in the film should definitely 'Give It A Rent', but it's a 'Must Own Blu-ray Release For Fans.'

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Uninvited Blu-ray Review

The Uninvited Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 28.9 GB
Film Size: 23.5 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

Video
The Uninvited comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks great in high-def.. I was quite impressed with the rich colors featured in the film, and Blu-ray only enhanced the look. Black levels stayed solid throughout, and detail reached very impressive levels as well. The video presentation is not up there with the best, but it is certainly very good. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included, and is very fitting to the film. Dialogue stays front and center, but was very clear at all times. The film's effects stayed within the front left and right speakers, while the film's creepy score expanded into the surround area. The track isn't demo material, but it certainly enhances the viewing experience. 8/10.

Extras

Unlocking the Uninvited (19:00) (HD)
By far the most entertaining feature. It includes interviews with the crew and cast on their work in remaking A Tale Of Two Sisters. The featurette was very informative, and featured quite a bit of behind-the-scenes footage. I completely forgot Emily Browning played Violet Baudelaire in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, especially since she dropped the English accent for The Uninvited. Fans of the film should definitely enjoy this feature, as it covers many different stages in making the film.

Deleted Scenes (5:37) (HD)
Four deleted scenes are included, and it's pretty clear why they were deleted.

Alternate Ending (:50) (HD)
The alternate ending still features the same shocking ending from the film, but they changed Anna's reaction. I could say much more, but it would spoil the film's ending.

Blu-news Summary
The Uninvited was a nice little surprise, that I'm sure many people will enjoy more than they anticipate to. Yes this is another remake, but unlike many remakes, this one is only based on the original, but given a shocking new twist that works very well. The film is more of a thriller film, and not so much a horror film, but fans of either genre should enjoy it. I have to admit I wasn't expecting much from the film, but was left very satisfied with The Uninvited.

The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a good video presentation, and a nice audio track. Extras are a bit weak, but no less than what is included on the DVD. The Uninvited on Blu-ray is 'Worth A Look.'

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) Blu-ray Review

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 39.7 GB
Film Size: 26.2 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

Video
Fox has included a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for The Day The Earth Stood Still. The video presentation is quite strong, despite a few darker-lit scenes and ugly grain. There are shots where the grain looked a bit excessive, and noticeable enough to take away from certain scenes. Otherwise the presentation is sharp and filled with detail. Textures are impressive, and special effects look fantastic. This is a fantastic presentation overall, and will certainly please viewers. 8.5

Audio
Fox has included a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track was a very nice audio experience. Surround use was fantastic and quite dynamic, and dialogue was clear as could be. The film's audio effects weren't always as impressive when compared to other films I have viewed recently. Certain scenes will have your room shaking and immersed. While other scenes will sound a bit underwhelming for what could have been. This track is not bad by any means, I've just heard better. 9.0

Extras

Disc 1:

Klaatu's Unseen Artifacts: The DayThe Earth Stood Still Picture-in-Picture track
This Picture-in-Picture track is a making of mode. It features pre-visualization, special effects footage, photos and more. The track is active during the majority of the film, so I would say they did a good job.

Build Your Own Gort (BD-Java Game)
A fun and interactive game with limited options, but fans of Gort with a bit of free time should enjoy this for at least a couple of minutes.

Deleted Scenes (1:57) (HD)
Two deleted scenes, and one extended scene are included. Deleted scenes are usually cut for good reason, and these fit the typical mold.

Re-imagining The Day (30:06) (HD)
Thoughts from the cast and crew on the original, and their attempt to make a remake that lived up to the original film. It features footage from both the original and remake, as well as behind-the-scenes footage. It's interesting for sure, but this film can't compare to the original.

Unleashing Gort (13:52) (HD)
Director Scott Derrickson discusses Gort, and how he used the original film as a starting point. They talked about the different stages of designing Gort, and they realized they had completely went off course. They then went back and designed a Gort more similar to the original.

Watching The Skies: In Search Of Extraterrestrial Life (23:08) (HD)
Interviews with astronomers and staff from The Planetary Society on certain theories and advancements in technology, etc.

The Day The Earth Was 'Green' (14:04) (HD)
Commentary from the crew on how they made the film green, with a message to the public as well. If you are interested in how they made the world a better place while filming this movie, then by all means check it out. It is interesting, but quite preachy.

Commentary by Writer David Scarpa
I checked out the commentary for about 10 minutes, which was more than enough. David Scarpa just wasn't that interesting, nor did he say much.

Still Galleries
The still galleries available include concept art, storyboards, and production photos.

Theatrical Trailer (1:48) (HD)

Disc 2:

Digital Copy of The Day The Earth Stood Still (iTunes and Windows Media compatible)

Disc 3:

Original 1951 movie on Blu-ray (Read our review)
The extras have been excluded for this release, but the film still maintains the same 1080p transfer and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track.

Blu-news Summary
The Day The Earth Stood Still is a film that starts of great, and gets worse and worse as it goes on. I a few people over while watching this film, and the reaction was quite mixed. There were a couple of people that thought it was pretty good (having never seen the original), another who thought it was mediocre. There were also quite a few that thought it was overall pretty bad, including me. I thought the film really started off great, I loved the mystery aspect provided, and it left me on the edge of my seat. As the film progressed, I was no longer on edge, and I ultimately was left underwhelmed. The film isn't completely awful, but it could have been so much better.

The Blu-ray release itself is great, with very nice additional features. Had the original not been included, I would have said 'Rental At Best.' But thanks to the inclusion of the original (which is truly fantastic), I would say this package is 'Recommended.'

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Mean Girls Blu-ray Review

Mean Girls Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 33.8 GB
Film Size: 28.8 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

Video
Mean Girls comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The Blu-ray presentation is fantastic, and a revelation when compared to the previous DVD release, and even the HD rental. The Blu-ray release is sharp and quite detailed, and colors are especially fantastic. Colors are rich and vibrant, and black levels are very solid. Detail impresses in clothing textures, as well as facial and hair details. Blu-ray is all about upgrade, and this one provides just that. 8/10.

Audio
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track for the Blu-ray release, and it sounds about as good as I had expected. The track provides a clear and enjoyable audio experience, but don't go in expecting a surround sound miracle. The film is very front heavy, with very little surround use. That being said, it's clear and as good as the track can probably be. 7/10.

Extras

Audio Commentary
by Director Mark Waters, Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey and Producer Lorne Michaels

Only The Strong Survive (24:52) (SD)
The cast talks about behaviors of girls towards each other. Tina Fey also talks about the book 'Queen Bees and Wannabes'. The crew also discusses the casting, and how they each tried out for different parts and wanted different parts.
The Politics Of Girl World (10:33) (SD)
Rosalind Wiseman discusses why she wrote 'Queen Bees & Wannabes,' and discusses cliques as seen in the film.

Plastic Fashion (10:25) (SD)
The costume discusses the fashion in the film, and what affects their decision. The film takes place over an entire year, so the fashion has to change according to the season in the film as well. Character development throughout the film affects the wardrobe as well, particularly the wardrobe for Lindsay Lohan.
Word Vomit (5:43) (SD)
Bloopers from the film, a lot of it is actually very funny.

So Fetch - Deleted Scenes (7:01) (SD)
9 deleted scenes are included, and are available with commentary by Director Mark Waters and Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey. They are actually all very funny, but a lot of them were too random to make a transition from one scene to another in the film. By themselves though, they are great.

Interstitials (1:39) (SD)
Promotional material to show off the film with just the characters. The first one features the Plastics as they try to explain frenemies, the second one has Lindsay Lohan talking about being new to the school, and being well adjusted to her new school. The last one is a PSA style interstitial from the Plastics as they discuss how hard it is to be a girl. 7/10 teenage girls have a negative body image, but who cares, because 6 of those girls are right.

Theatrical Trailer (2:35) (SD)

Blu-news Summary
Mean Girls is the best teen comedy I have ever seen. The film uses aspects similar to other favorite films of mine, including Heathers, Clueless, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The film is so funny and smart, unlike most teen comedies we have come to experience as of late. The film doesn't put it's focus on teens trying to get laid like most comedies today. Mean Girls is a whole different level thanks to Tina Fey, and the fantastic cast involved. The film has a lot of characters you may relate to from your high school days, and it all comes together extremely well. Casting was absolutely perfect for this, and everyone should at least give this film a rent before writing it off.

The Blu-ray release is about as good as it gets. The video presentation is very impressive, especially when compared to both the DVD and HD broadcasts. I have seen the film many times on both DVD, and in HD, and the Blu-ray tops both experiences. Audio isn't a huge difference, but it is definitely improved. All extras from the DVD release have been included, and for the most part very entertaining. Mean Girls on Blu-ray is a 'Must Own' for me, but to all others I would say it's 'Highly Recommended.'

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