International Blu-ray discs

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#426 Post by feihong » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:42 pm

Sidonis Calysta in France released a blu ray of Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station. This arrived today and there are, sadly, ups and downs.

It's region B, with a French dub track or an English language original DTS track with forced French subtitles.

The print they used looks phenomenal, with beautiful color, extreme depth of field...just a wonderful way with the light.

Unfortunately, the disc employs a nasty level of grain management. Weirdly in this case, the long shots look much better than the closeups. Sometimes in the long shots there is some visible grain––in the closeups, almost never. They really didn't have to do it this way. The grain would've made the film look great.

When will the French companies wise up to this? It's getting disgusting, as more and more companies seem to be making the jump to real quality, as DNR is used with less relish in Japan, that the French, who used to release great DVDs, are just jacking up one exclusive blu ray release of a classic film after another.

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tenia
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#427 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:44 am

Oh yes, Comanche Station got panned in every French forums I read about it.
DVD Classik especially was very clear about how destructive it was : http://www.dvdclassik.com/test/blu-ray- ... is-calysta" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Malheureusement, on a appliqué une réduction du bruit assez drastique qui entraîne deux conséquences fâcheuses : le niveau de détail est limité, surtout dans les textures des vêtements, et le grain est pratiquement estompé (hormis dans certaines scènes ponctuelles) alors qu'il était bien présent en DVD. Cette double faiblesse occasionne un lissage parfois assez marqué, proche d'un rendu cireux en quelques rares occasions, en tout cas très loin du cachet argentique attendu."
"Drastic amount of DNR was applied, limiting the level of details, especially visible on clothes, and the grain has almost totally disappeared. This gives the picture a smooth aspect, almost waxy at times, anf far away from the expected film-like aspect".

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#428 Post by feihong » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:18 pm

Has anyone seen the Korean blu ray from Video Nara of Mr. Vampire? I am wondering what the quality of this release will be––whether it will be typical Fortune Star upconvert garbage or something special from out of nowhere. I live in hope.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#429 Post by jheez » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:11 am

Anyone have the German Magnificent Obsession blu-ray? How is it?

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#430 Post by feihong » Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:58 pm

Another Sidonis disaster, Joseph Losey's M has clearly had a nice restoration––but the blu ray is a miasma of DNR. It leaves the movie looking nearly as soft as the Pathe Le Samourai disc. It's a shame that after a lifetime of seeing this as a crummy 3rd–generation VHS-quality presentation, that now, after a restoration, we get a presentation that only suggests it could have been something better. The Sidonis disc has an original English language audio track, which is thin–sounding, and non-removable French subtitles.

I also picked up the German WGF DVD of Abraham Polonsky's Romance of a Horse Thief. There is a French disc available, and I think the WGF has the same transfer. The image looks very good––certainly better than the old VHS tape version that has been the only way to see the film until now. It's a movie that could use some restoration, but this is a very watchable DVD. The big problem here, though, is that there's no English-language audio track––just a German dub and a French dub. The French disc, as I understand it, has only the French dub, and no english, either.

Neither disc is exactly a win. But hopefully, now that the films have been released somewhere, another company somewhere else will follow with something better.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#431 Post by feihong » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:29 pm

Took a look at In Our Time and Growing Up from the Taiwan New Wave Cinema box. The movies look more beautiful than they've ever looked on DVD, of course, but the image is soft on both of these, just a tad. I can generally see the grain, but it doesn't come through the way it ought to. The color and contrast on the films are very, very pretty. The depth isn't quite what it should be.

It's not super-noticeable, though. I thought the image was breathtaking initially. It was only when I really stared at the image that it began to look a little thinner.


I also took a look at the Taking of Tiger Mountain blu ray from Panorama. It's very nice! Sharp, and with lots of depth, expansive audio, etc. The film itself seems to improve on second glance. I find that, unlike in Saving Private Ryan, I can pretty readily dismiss the present-day sequences and just watch the intense period action. It doesn't make up for not having a blu ray of Red Sorghum, but it's pretty cool, all told.


I wonder why no company has really jumped into the Asian film market with high quality releases, like HK Legends and France's HK Video did during the DVD boom? It seems like there should be a decent way to get into this market. Do people no longer care about these movies at all?

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tenia
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#432 Post by tenia » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:10 am

feihong wrote:Another Sidonis disaster, Joseph Losey's M has clearly had a nice restoration––but the blu ray is a miasma of DNR. It leaves the movie looking nearly as soft as the Pathe Le Samourai disc. It's a shame that after a lifetime of seeing this as a crummy 3rd–generation VHS-quality presentation, that now, after a restoration, we get a presentation that only suggests it could have been something better. The Sidonis disc has an original English language audio track, which is thin–sounding, and non-removable French subtitles.
You know, I've written pretty much this (though I've been nicer to the AQ, which I found decent) for my review on Retro HD, and we're now facing Sidonis' response, and they're not very happy. It's sad to see a seemingly fine restoration being filtered to death, à la Patton / Predator, but I find it all the sadder they don't want to aknowledge that, and maybe worse : they might not even be able to understand it's a problem. They are eluding the problem in their answer and prefers to use ad hominem attacks than to discuss the bottom of it.
(We're also quite sure they're behind the account only created to post a very aggressive post at the bottom of the test).

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#433 Post by Manny Karp » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:18 am

jheez wrote:Anyone have the German Magnificent Obsession blu-ray? How is it?
I'd like to know, too. There's also an Italian disc.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#434 Post by feihong » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:41 pm

tenia wrote:
feihong wrote:Another Sidonis disaster, Joseph Losey's M has clearly had a nice restoration––but the blu ray is a miasma of DNR. It leaves the movie looking nearly as soft as the Pathe Le Samourai disc. It's a shame that after a lifetime of seeing this as a crummy 3rd–generation VHS-quality presentation, that now, after a restoration, we get a presentation that only suggests it could have been something better. The Sidonis disc has an original English language audio track, which is thin–sounding, and non-removable French subtitles.
You know, I've written pretty much this (though I've been nicer to the AQ, which I found decent) for my review on Retro HD, and we're now facing Sidonis' response, and they're not very happy. It's sad to see a seemingly fine restoration being filtered to death, à la Patton / Predator, but I find it all the sadder they don't want to aknowledge that, and maybe worse : they might not even be able to understand it's a problem. They are eluding the problem in their answer and prefers to use ad hominem attacks than to discuss the bottom of it.
(We're also quite sure they're behind the account only created to post a very aggressive post at the bottom of the test).
I read the comments and your review in translation. Thank you for that link! The screencaps are clear proof of what's been done to the disc--kind of absurd of Sidonis to challenge this. It's more than a little vexing to imagine that they don't see the excessive DNR as a problem, but that really must be the case, I think. M and Comanche Station both show an exceptional–looking image hidden under the digital filtering. Sidonis and other French companies must want to do things this way. I wonder if it's more a question of the different companies imitating each other at this point?

In the comments after your review, it looks like you're saying that the theatrical restoration of M had the same DNR problem? The translation did not read very clearly to me, so I'm not sure that's the case.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#435 Post by Ashirg » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:27 pm

Manny Karp wrote:
jheez wrote:Anyone have the German Magnificent Obsession blu-ray? How is it?
I'd like to know, too. There's also an Italian disc.
I think they are all from the same Lobster Films restoration as Japanese disc. Serge Bromberg stated that they own RKO library for all countries, except France and USA/Canada (Warner).

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#436 Post by David M. » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:52 pm

tenia wrote:
feihong wrote:Another Sidonis disaster, Joseph Losey's M has clearly had a nice restoration––but the blu ray is a miasma of DNR. It leaves the movie looking nearly as soft as the Pathe Le Samourai disc. It's a shame that after a lifetime of seeing this as a crummy 3rd–generation VHS-quality presentation, that now, after a restoration, we get a presentation that only suggests it could have been something better. The Sidonis disc has an original English language audio track, which is thin–sounding, and non-removable French subtitles.
You know, I've written pretty much this (though I've been nicer to the AQ, which I found decent) for my review on Retro HD, and we're now facing Sidonis' response, and they're not very happy. It's sad to see a seemingly fine restoration being filtered to death, à la Patton / Predator, but I find it all the sadder they don't want to aknowledge that, and maybe worse : they might not even be able to understand it's a problem. They are eluding the problem in their answer and prefers to use ad hominem attacks than to discuss the bottom of it.
(We're also quite sure they're behind the account only created to post a very aggressive post at the bottom of the test).
Ew. Is that seriously from a new restoration? If so, who decided to degrade the image that way?

The irony is that if you want to filter the picture to that extent, all the money that went into doing the new restoration has been a total waste. You could just as easily get an older HD telecine, NR the result, and be done with it.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#437 Post by tenia » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:25 pm

feihong wrote:In the comments after your review, it looks like you're saying that the theatrical restoration of M had the same DNR problem? The translation did not read very clearly to me, so I'm not sure that's the case.
Yes, it was already very smooth in theaters (DCP) which is why I believe this isn't a home video issue but something baked-in the restoration (sadly).

It is silly of Sidonis to challenge that, and the "anonymous" commentary on the review page is even more silly by claiming that the screen caps are fine (or that I photoshopped them). However, my "boss" at Retro HD phoned them today and it seems OK now. It seems they mostly understood the test as being against them, while it's solely against the restoration work. Fortunately for them, I saw the restoration in theaters, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to point at the restoration and would have had pointed at the overall PQ without distinction of what's at fault.


I don't have a lot of stuff from Sidonis, but it seems to be highly hit-or-miss. I have Broken Lance which is also heavily filtered, while Cutter's Way simply uses a pre-existing HD master with all its limitations. But they have some titles which are fine, others better, others worse. They don't seem to have any technical filters as to what's acceptable for a BD release (technically wise).
feihong wrote:Sidonis and other French companies must want to do things this way. I wonder if it's more a question of the different companies imitating each other at this point?
I know Wild Side are still fans of DNR. They use it much less than in the past on DVD, but still usually very slightly use it (they've done it recently for Lenny). Gaumont are known for doing the same, though it has also slightly improved over the years (including very recently).

Apart from them, I'm unsure if it's only related to the French labels or if it has to do simply with the material they're given (though it'd be weird that France are getting so many waxy material while other countries don't).
David M. wrote:The irony is that if you want to filter the picture to that extent, all the money that went into doing the new restoration has been a total waste. You could just as easily get an older HD telecine, NR the result, and be done with it.
I know, right ? It's Children of Paradise, again. Why would you commission a brand new restoration of such a difficult-to-access movie if it's to ruin it by filtering it to death ?
It's all the sadder that we're in 2016 and are still getting things like this. Between this and 15 yo masters recycled on BD, sometimes, what's get released on BD (technically speaking) really depresses me.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#438 Post by Ashirg » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:29 pm

DVD Beaver compares M blu-ray in all its waxy glory.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#439 Post by HairyMonster » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:20 am

feihong wrote:Has anyone seen the Korean blu ray from Video Nara of Mr. Vampire? I am wondering what the quality of this release will be––whether it will be typical Fortune Star upconvert garbage or something special from out of nowhere. I live in hope.
Unfortunately, it appears to be the same transfer as the Japanese version. I found it quite watchable, it certainly is a big improvement over the Region 1 FOX DVD that had aliasing issues. And the packaging is really cool as well.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#440 Post by feihong » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:34 am

Thank you for letting me know! I have the Hong Kong Legends DVD, and I'll probably be sticking to it, as it doesn't have the aliasing issues, as far as I recall. I have the Japanese blu-ray, and I thought it was watchable as well, though not the kind of improvement you hope for on blu ray.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#441 Post by nosy lena » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:41 am

Has anyone seen the Spanish blu-ray of A Seance On A Wet Afternoon? It's the only available blu-ray release right?
Last edited by nosy lena on Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#442 Post by feihong » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:49 am

I got the German blu ray of Jacques Audiard's Read My Lips. It's put out by a company somewhat unexpectedly called Pierrot le Fou. The disc has no English subtitles. It was released about 2 years ago, I think, and I didn't really have too high of hopes for the disc. The Artificial Eye disc of The Beat My Heart Skipped is okay, but no great shakes, and I wondered if a hi-def transfer even existed for Sur Mes Levres.

Holy cow. The disc looks great. Sharp picture, beautifully nuanced, tight grain structure, serious contrast and depth of field. There are French and German DTS 5.1 tracks, which sound good as well. This was a really nice surprise, and it was quite nice that it was for such a good, modest movie.

I also got Koch Media's DVD of Rudolph Mate's D.O.A. The DVD isn't great, but it's pretty nice. There are a lot of flecks and dirt from the transfer source, but the picture seems sharper and the contrast rendered far better than in any of the public domain editions I've seen from the U.S. It's a handsomer package than I ever thought I'd see presented for D.O.A.––probably my favorite noir film. The Koch Media disc comes in a handsome hardback book edition, with an 8-page essay in German stapled into the binding.


This is more a question for anyone who knows: I'm wondering about available editions of Deepa Mehta movies. Over the last couple of days I finally finished the trilogy started with Fire. I saw Earth, which I really liked, and Water, which I'm totally okay with, even if I'm not bowled over. Mehta seems an interesting filmmaker to me: more serious-minded for the most part than the majority of Bollywood movies, more consistently entertaining than Mira Nair, say, very visually sensitive and interesting––but for all that ostensible virtue, a director of movies that are often ham-fisted and clumsy in their narrative development, or, at least, nuance and subtlety are not always there at the command of the director. I was struck by the contrast in source material between New Yorker's Fire and Earth DVDs––which are terrible, interlaced and miserable––and the 20th-century Fox DVD of Water. As I recall the DVD of Midnight's Children was also very handsomely done.

Does anyone know if there are better discs of Fire and Earth? I'm kind of thinking I want to build a Deepa Mehta collection now. Earth is by far my favorite of her pictures so far. I wonder if there is a truly watchable version of that film somewhere out there?

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#443 Post by feihong » Thu May 12, 2016 12:36 am

Watching the new French blu ray of Written on the Wind right now. It's a blu-ray/dvd combo pack. The film is full HD 1080p, with something they call "Mono DTS HD Master Audio." The footage behind the opening credits sequence looks a little chunky, but once the superimposed titles disappear, the picture quality snaps up pretty close to incredible. There's good visible grain, extreme depth of field, beauteous technicolor. Fassbinder's comments on Sirk's queasy use of color finally make real sense here, with the colors given their due range. I don't know the story of how the film was shot and what the proper aspect ratio is? Here it's presented in 2.00:1.

The audio is quite clear. There are French and English audio tracks, and un–forced French subtitles. It's a great presentation, of an exceedingly fun, exciting movie. This is a great presentation, and totally worth anyone's time. I should say also that, while the picture looks a little more flat during the opening credits, there is no dip in quality during the crossfades from scene to scene throughout the rest of the film.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#444 Post by feihong » Thu May 19, 2016 12:38 am

The German Koch Media blu ray of The Glass Key is straight-up stellar. Thick, rich grain, sharp, full of depth-of-field, great contrast. The picture doesn't seem restored, exactly, but it is taken from a beautiful source. There is the occasional little pop or scratch––but none of the visual disturbances are obtrusive at all. The closeups on Ladd and Lake are ravishing. The audio is listed as DTS–HD Master Audio 2.0, and it's exceptionally clean and clear. The SD versions of the film I've heard before sound much more mushy, so this one is a real treat.

Forgot to mention, so I'm adding it in here: Removable German subs, and 2 audio tracks––1 German dub, 1 original English language track. I didn't listen to the dub. The English track sounds really clear and awesome.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#445 Post by feihong » Tue May 31, 2016 3:03 pm

I keep importing these discs, hoping for a gem. And it's really 50/50.

Cinefil Imagica has released a Japanese blu ray of Le Samourai. They bragged on Amazon's listing about it being a new encode, using the technology they use to produce great Studio Ghibli discs. There is a logo on the back of the box that says MASTER GRADE ENCODING in wild, "surf's up!"–style brush script.

It looks like this is a new transfer of the film. There is lots of depth, very fine color, and a crisp, albeit a bit narrow–sounding score. Grain is sometimes evident. But Cinefil Imagica has given the transfer its own grain management, and so there is a wide range of degrees of depth and grain in the different images. Some closeups look ravishingly sharp; medium shots sometimes look close to lightly blurred.

I'm very conscious that at this point I've never seen Le Samourai in a theater, and I don't know much about how the film is supposed to look––especially in terms of deep-focus vs. shallow-focus, etc. I'm basing most of my opinions off the Studio Canal and Criterion blu rays of Le Cercle Rouge, of the Criterion of Army of Shadows, and my memories of Army of Shadows' theatrical tour. There are lots of points in the image, where the figures are closer to the edge of the lighting than other figures, and they appear a tad out of focus. This happens to Alain Delon frequently throughout the film. I can't tell if this is a result of DNR or if the film, which really appears to be shot in really low-light situations, lets Jef Costello out of focus for the early parts of the narrative. Lots of shots appear to have a very narrow depth of focus. I'm inclined to believe that the DNR is the cause of this softness, and not scrappy filmmaking. This isn't a film that seems like it would suffer from scrappy filmmaking.

I'll try and get some screenshots up later so people can see how this looks. I guess the good news is that a new transfer of the film exists. The film has a certain majesty even just with what depth and color remains. Hopefully Criterion will be able to do the film with more of the natural film grain.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#446 Post by rockysds » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:16 am

Screenbound Pictures is releasing Max Ophüls' La ronde in July

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#447 Post by isakorg2 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:08 am

Any blu-ray Ophuls is extremely welcome. I'm unfamiliar with Screenbound's track record in the format. Any input from the forum's members?

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#448 Post by Ashirg » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:08 am

They are also releasing Wise Blood in September. Screenbound Pictures is a new name for Odeon Entertainment.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#449 Post by tenia » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:52 pm

feihong wrote:Cinefil Imagica has released a Japanese blu ray of Le Samourai.
Caps-a-holic.com now has a comparison with the French BD.
It looks like it uses the same restoration than Pathé used (well, the 2nd encode of it), with a tiny bit less grain management.
However, the LPCM 2.0 tracks are 96/24 instead of the DTS HD MA 48/16 which can be found on the French BD.

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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#450 Post by feihong » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:35 pm

Has anyone seen the new UK bluray of Black Orpheus from Screenbound Pictures? I'm wondering if its better than the Criterion, which was disappointingly soft.

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