Friday, January 28, 2011

Silence Of The Lambs Blu-Ray

I have viewed this blu-ray once before.  When I first saw it, I was taken, or maybe alarmed is a better word, at the sounds that I was hearing through the surround speakers.  Playing it again this evening, another person commented on it without me saying a word.  There is no doubt that the sound is the aspect that is most improved by the Blu-Ray process; but so is the playback quality of the photographic images!  At some places it almost looks as if you could just crawl through the telly and just appear on the scene.  This is especially true of the outdoor scenes.  The image when Clarice goes to Fredrica Bimmel house, when she speak to the father in the yard, there is so much depth of field it is almost dizzying.  Of course, I am not saying that anyone would actually want to crawl into this world of methodical murder and bleak and bleeding woe--but it still looks like you could if you were so inclined.  Another aspect of this blu-ray is that details like the stitching on Clarice's gun holster or what color tie famed director and producer Roger Corman's character as FBI Director is wearing in framed and walled photographs, are right in your face; you don't need to squint even a little bit!  

This comes as part of another Blu-Ray set.  This is BY FAR the absolute best buy of the day!!  It is the "Hannibal Collection," which includes this,  Hannibal and director Michael Mann's Manhunter with William Peterson.  People complain that this set does not include Red Dragon and Young Hannibal, but those were released by another production company.  And hey, the retail price is $29.98 and sells on Amazon for a great price of $19.45!  I mean, with that you get a movie that is one of the only horror films ever to take top honor at the Oscars.  Not that I'm saying that is any kind of indication of how good a horror film really is, just that some companies like to think that they can command a superior price for an inferior (even somewhat) horror flick.  To my way of thinking Bran Stoker's Dracula has nothing on this film.

I saw this in the theater, and I honestly don't remember it looking this good even then.

Blu Ray Heaven!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of early film of all sorts!  There was absolutely no way I was going to have a Friday Fright with Blu-Ray without including at least one silent film.  So many copies of this historic (in so many ways!) film from 1925 are so sub-par on so many levels that most are virtually unwatchable.  This blu-ray, which is not the entire film, which is actually a series, is the restored "1905" sequence, the most famous of all this series segments.  I works too as a film on it's own.  Kino Co. came a bit late to the blu-ray boat.  They smartly shied away from entering in on the HD vs Blu-Ray rivalry, staying in the DVD (and eve VHS business) until a clear winner emerged.  (And when I say "smartly,"  I'm tooting my own houses horn, we did the same--and I "dead-chuffed" that we waited!).  

This is absolutely my favorite Blu-Ray so far.  So many audiophiles who know WAY more about the blu-ray experience have remarked that, while newer films, particularly CGI, benefit a great deal from Blu-Ray, it is older films that are literally breathed back to theater experience life by the Blu-Ray treatment.  When I first heard this, I sort of thought, because I don't know dick about the actual process, well that doesn't really make much sense.  I thought especially that the oldest films, meaning anything between 1888-1929, would probably not benefit much at all.  BOY WAS I WRONG!!  Again, it's the Blu-Ray darks.  Old black and white film stock was able to store so much photographic information, but other than viewing an actual original reel of any of these films, no reproduction has ever been able to convey all of that information at once.  That is no longer a problem!!  All the stark lines between black and white and various shades to gray are so well defined; and all the detail, all of it, comes through to the point that it is a bit disconcerting to the brain.  I really feel like this was the first time I've seen this film.

This really is Blu-Ray Heaven!

Some Images:

Blu Ray Number 6

The Shrek Set

Here's a set that I do think is fairly priced on Amazon.  It retails for a whopping $76.99, but Amazon sells it for $40.49.  For that you get all four Shrek movies and a ton of extras, including a whole separate disc of never before released material, and Shrek specials, including Holiday stuff aired on Network TV.  It might seem to be kind of overkill to buy animated movies on Blu Ray, but having watched the first and second discs in this series, I am impressed.  The blu-ray brings out a a smooth velvet like quality in the colors, while at the same time providing a crisp, clear differentiation of the lines.  

This was a Christmas gift for the kid and we promised him he pick one of his blu-rays to include in Friday Fright today.  I'm glad he chose one that I hadn't viewed before.  I've watched this movie with him so many times on DVD and it always seems a bit "muddy" to me--no more!!  Highly recommended if you have any young ones around or are a fool for animation--or Both!

Also a Wado (thanks) to The Peanut's Goopy for having him over this week.  So here's a shout out to Grandma!!

Some Images:

Blu Ray Number 5

The Wolf Pack

This comes as part of another Blu-Ray set.  It is packaged with Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  These are premium films compared to the Sci-Fi flicks from the previous collection; and they look terrific.  Or at least Wolf and Dracula do; I haven't brought myself to watch Branagh's send-up of  Frankenstein--it's rendition that I find a bit tedious.  Of these three films, Wolf is the least known and my personal favorite.  It is a film that is shot mostly at night; and those Blu-Ray darks just pop like iced celery:  pure eye candy.  The scenes in Central Park are positively hard to see on the DVD transfer.  The DVD makes the whole park look as if it has a bunch of bright spot lights on all of it; I've even seen reviews of the movie criticizing the so-called "lighting" is this part of the film.  When you watch it on Blu-Ray, one quickly realizes that it wasn't actually shot like that.  The lighting was, in fact, mostly available lights, with a few set lights to help out in areas of the park where there is no light.  This is one of the best Blu-Rays that I have seen so far.

While it is convenient to have these 3 films together if you are a horror movie collector, again, as with the previous set, I have criticize the pricing.  It retails for $59.95 and sells on Amazon new for $46.99, that's $15.66 per Blu-Ray.  Most Blu-Rays of comparable movies can be had for around $10.  Fortunately, there are some good secondary prices on the set from vendors.  For the right price, this Blu-Ray set comes highly recommended for some scary Friday action. 

Some Images:

Blu Ray Number 4

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

I bought this as part of huge Blu-Ray pack of grade C through Z double features that you most probably have seen, or turned off, on any given Saturday or Sunday on the Syfy channel.  Actually some of these are so bad that I don't think Syfy would even show them, but as a Blu-Rays they are stunning.  One reviewer remarked that is was surreal seeing such low grade Sci-Fi shlock in such amazing High Definition.  I haven't seen all the movies in this pack yet, actually only 3.  I watched this for the first time this morning.  It does have a Japanese sub theme (which I was completely unaware of) that pairs somewhat nicely with the previous Gamera flick.  As far a film is concerned, it's not at all to be watched to "deep enjoyment," but you will get a hell of a laugh out of most of it.  I mean, come on, a shark that bites the Golden Gate bridge in half???  Oh so utterly awesome and, simultaneously, awful at the same time!  The one serious drawback that I have with this set is that it is too expensive for the actual qualities of the movies themselves--not the high def. part, all the rest:  the plot, the cheesy monsters, low grade "special effects."  It retails for a whopping $74.99 and sells on Amazon for $46.49.  Even at Amazon prices, almost $5.00 per movie is too much to pay for a pack that includes at least one Born Again Christian movie about the Mayan long count calendar or film about the haunting of the famous (or infamous) Winchester Manson in California that has nothing to do with....the Winchester Mansion!  If you can find it for less at a vendor, then it's worth it.  

Also for what it's worth, I did actually enjoy this movie.  It's good fun--not scary, but Fun!

If you are looking for this on Amazon it goes under the title of 10 Movie Pack.  If you look up any of the individual titles, this pack won't come up.

Images From The Movie: