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After struggling to find stuff to talk about last week, this week we ended up cutting some stuff. We start with the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) and their response to Steve Jobs’ comments that Blu-ray was akin to SACD and other failed audio replacement attempts for the CD. Basically, they say “we’re doing just fine,” and note that adoption rates are right in line with DVD at this time in its life-cycle.
Next we look at Matt’s post on Film Junk about film grain and why it’s not a flaw. There’s a difference between atrifacting, noise and film grain, and when properly used, film grain adds to the beauty of a film.
In legal news, a circuit court overturned the FCC’s anti-obscenity rules, clearing the way for networks to avoid massive fines anytime a curse word is accidently aired before 10 p.m. More will come of this in the coming weeks, as the FCC will surely appeal the decision. The Parent’s TV Council overreacted to the ruling, basically saying the move clears the way for f-bombs any time of day without recourse, which isn’t really the case. Clearly there needs to be something to hold networks to the standards that were created to protect kids from foul language, but the amounts of fines being levied with the current setup were beyond ridiculous. To be clear, we’re not advocating Curious George Carlin or anything like that, but are hoping for a better system with realistic fines that will encourage networks – and parents – to be mindful of what our kids are watching.
Finally, the Sony has announced its 3D support for movies and, eventually YouTube, on the PS3 is coming starting in September.
Marketshare slips for the fifth straight week for Blu-ray for the week ending July 4, down to 11%. Revenue was $17.35 million, up 61% from a year ago and a couple million from last week.
Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
A solid suspense film that really is nothing like what the trailers want you to think it is. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this Martin Scorses film about an island that houses a prison for only the most dangerous criminals. Video quality is solid but a bit uneven. Indoor scenes tend to suffer while exterior shots of the island are wonderfully rendered. Some green screen sequences suffer as well. The audio fares a bit better, but in the end this is a film that doesn’t really give its soundtrack a chance to stretch out save for a storm scene that is really well done. A scene inside the bowels of the prison is also notable for its positioning of ambient sounds, echos and screams throughout the sound field.
Vitals: MPEG-4 AVC, 1.66:1 aspect ratio, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Mono
Tom Hanks called this “the greatest film ever made” when presenting Ray Harryhausen an honorary Oscar in 1992. A special effects master whose career started in the 30s and lasted until 2001, this is likely his best known work. “A grandly scaled adventure containing the iconic skeleton assault, quite simply the most breathtaking achievement in stop motion animation you’ll likely ever see,” Matt says in his review. The video looks almost modern at times, after a bit of a stilted start. The audio suffers from age a bit, with the soundtrack a bit distorted at times. Surround use is a bit forced and dialogue, while mostly audible, gets a bit lost occasionally. Sony Pictures is currently running a vote on the Columbia Classics site to choose the next Harryhausen film.
What we’ve seen/are watching
- Geek Tonic’s listings let us in on USA’s cop shows that are premiering or returning this week including The Closer, Rizzoli and Isles (Mondays at 9 and 10 p.m.), White Collar (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.) and Psych (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.).
- It’s a sad time of year for sports, as baseball is all that’s left. With the World Cup over, the British Open is the only thing saving us this week. It’s a pretty light week other than that, with the Tour de Force dominating the lineup. See it all in the HD Sportsman.
Only 12 Blu-ray releases for July 20 aren’t stupendous, but there are some Criterion Collection discs making their way out.
Deals were very light again for this week:
- Get 5 for $5 Blu-ray at the WBshop.
- Save 50% on Criterion discs at Barnes and Noble.
- Buy two Blu-rays and save $5 at Amazon.
Click here to download Episode 41!
|Seen In HD Subscriptions|