Taxi Driver: CE / SE R1 & R2

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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Person
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#26 Post by Person » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:59 pm

jedgeco wrote:I'm going to check the Criterion LD, which was director approved, and should give an idea of what was intended.
Ah, someone here still has that awesome set! Are you capable of taking screenshots of the LD ?

Frankly, I think this new transfer is too reddish. Sony better not be adopting Fox's pink-face methods.

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jedgeco
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#27 Post by jedgeco » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:24 am

Person wrote:
jedgeco wrote:I'm going to check the Criterion LD, which was director approved, and should give an idea of what was intended.
Are you capable of taking screenshots of the LD
Good question. I'll try to find out.

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Person
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#28 Post by Person » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:35 pm

This new transfer was supervised by Michael Chapman and Thelma Schoonmaker, according to HTF owner, Ron Epstein.

Going by the screenshots, I still feel that it looks too reddish. I'll see for myself next week, I suppose.

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jedgeco
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#29 Post by jedgeco » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:06 pm

Person wrote:This new transfer was supervised by Michael Chapman and Thelma Schoonmaker, according to HTF owner, Ron Epstein.
Well, if Chapman actually supervised it, that's probably good enough for me. (Although, nothing aginst Schoonmaker, I can't imagine what her supervision adds.)

DVD Beaver has some comparisons of the 2005 Japanese Superbit disc, which presumably is pretty close to the new release; for my money, the Superbit has a more pleasing image.

Now, Sony, Blu-ray edition please?

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#30 Post by jedgeco » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:03 am

Here are some screenshots from the Criterion CAV LD (Director Approved and transfer supervised by Michael Chapman) vs. the new DVD (as linked above). NB, the Criterion was letterboxed at 1.75, and the frames are not exact:

Criterion
Image

Limited Edition
Image

Criterion
Image

Limited Edition
Image

And a few of the Criterion vs. the Japanese Superbit:

Criterion
Image

Superbit

Criterion
Image

Superbit

Criterion
Image

Superbit

Criterion
Image

Superbit

My impressions -- some differences, but all in all, the new transfers seem closer to the Criterion than to the prior DVD edition (see link to DVDBeaver above). I'm primarily going by balance of colors within any shot, as LD doesn't have anywhere near the color fidelity that DVD does. See especially the crowd shot and the shot with Sport, although the shot in Iris's room is definitely warmer in the Superbit than it is on the Criterion.

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Person
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#31 Post by Person » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:57 pm

Thanks, jed. For a 1991 transfer, the CC LD holds up very well. It's a shame that the brightness / contrast was always blown out on LD transfers, as otherwise, many of them still hold up pretty well, especially Criterion's.

Anyway, enough of my technical babbling. I have never really been a fan of the voice-over narration in films, but Taxi Driver is one of the very best and it is highly appropriate to the theme of the film - a lonely man lost in his own head, talking to himself. I still get a kick out of the, "Listen you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore, who would let..." [cut] "Listen you fuckers...", etc. the voice-over is interupted! And then the, "Here is..." over the notepad, which cuts to him pointing the gun.

The early 70s was strewn with films that tried to be consciously transgressive, but nothing could have prepared the public for Taxi Driver, which doesn't feel contrived in any way. I can only imagine how some people (liberals, middle-class New Yorkers) must have felt seeing this film on a friday night in February, 31 years ago. It shocks and dazzles today.

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domino harvey
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#32 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:19 pm

DVD Beaver weighs in.

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Joe Buck
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#33 Post by Joe Buck » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:49 pm

I'm officially stoked.

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Belmondo
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#34 Post by Belmondo » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:27 am

Got the new two disc set. I suggest that all of you move to Cape Cod where the term "street date" has nothing to do with when DVDs hit the stores and refers entirely to the girls you can meet on Main St. Hyannis.

The wrapper has a peel off ad announcing that this is from "The 2006 Academy Award Winning Director of The Departed". I suffered a brief, but profound, bit of depression in thinking that somebody needs to be told this, and three alternatives occur:

1. You are only as good as your last movie.
2. This Scorsese guy is not well known outside the industry.
3. Our teachers were right in lamenting the fact that the current view of history is limited to what happened in the last twelve months.

I'll view it all over the weekend and I can give an opinion on the bonus features and commentary tracks, or I can keep my big mouth shut and not spoil anything. Just tell me what you want; and, by the way, when is the great Lumet movie with that title getting a street date?

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Person
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#35 Post by Person » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:01 pm

The packaging is impractical. It's a digipack without a traditional sleeve - it has this quarter-width bit of plastic that loosely fits the digipack. Bad design. A steelbook would have been nice.

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#36 Post by tavernier » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:45 pm

Person wrote:The packaging is impractical. It's a digipack without a traditional sleeve - it has this quarter-width bit of plastic that loosely fits the digipack. Bad design. A steelbook would have been nice.
I agree, the design is horrible, but since it's not one of my favorite Scorseses, it'll just be sitting on my shelf anyway. So I won't have to worry about dealing with that extra piece of plastic.

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#37 Post by souvenir » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:54 pm

tavernier wrote:I agree, the design is horrible, but since it's not one of my favorite Scorseses, it'll just be sitting on my shelf anyway. So I won't have to worry about dealing with that extra piece of plastic.
What would it be doing if it was one of your favorite Scorseses? Going out for dinner with you? Taking baths? Riding in taxi cabs? :)

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#38 Post by tavernier » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:51 pm

souvenir wrote:
tavernier wrote:I agree, the design is horrible, but since it's not one of my favorite Scorseses, it'll just be sitting on my shelf anyway. So I won't have to worry about dealing with that extra piece of plastic.
What would it be doing if it was one of your favorite Scorseses? Going out for dinner with you? Taking baths? Riding in taxi cabs?
All of the above, and it would be taken off the shelf once in a while to be watched, which this won't.

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#39 Post by arsonfilms » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:55 pm

tavernier wrote:All of the above, and it would be taken off the shelf once in a while to be watched, which this won't.
I for one, will be taking my copy of Taxi Driver out for a romantic dinner before heading up to the overlook to mess around. My favorite of Scorsese's by far.

Why would you buy a DVD you have no interest in ever watching?

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#40 Post by tavernier » Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:35 pm

arsonfilms wrote:I for one, will be taking my copy of Taxi Driver out for a romantic dinner before heading up to the overlook to mess around. My favorite of Scorsese's by far.

Why would you buy a DVD you have no interest in ever watching?
I watched it when I got it, now it's on the shelf with the rest of my Scorseses. It's called "collecting."

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#41 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:42 pm

arsonfilms wrote:
tavernier wrote:All of the above, and it would be taken off the shelf once in a while to be watched, which this won't.
I for one, will be taking my copy of Taxi Driver out for a romantic dinner before heading up to the overlook to mess around. My favorite of Scorsese's by far.
I admire your restraint in not taking it to the adult cinema

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#42 Post by tavernier » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:10 pm

Then he would be too much like Travis Bickle.

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#43 Post by arsonfilms » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:12 pm

I'll be honest, I laughed out loud at that one.

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Person
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#44 Post by Person » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:08 pm

I have changed my mind about the transfer - the colors of the neon night scenes defy description.

The extras are brilliant. I don't know what else to say. They brought out in me a new, invigorated love for Schrader and Scorsese that has always been there, but was reaffirmed. Taxi Driver is one of the genuine labors of love of the darker side of American Cinema - a film that had to be made.

The "Taxi Driver Stories" are salient and sobering.

The "God's Lonely Man" piece is an interview with Schrader and it finally sunk in to me how destitute and dislocated he must have been at the time he concieved the character and story.

I'll listen to the commentary. I have high hopes.

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#45 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:37 pm

I almost have an excuse to throw away my old laserdisc. The transfer is absolutely wonderful, but my only gripe is the Scorsese commentary, but really, what are you going to do?

May be one of the great DVD releases this year, fancy packaging too.

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#46 Post by Person » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:35 am

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:... fancy packaging too.
Not to beat this into the ground, but I still don't know what to make of the packaging. I went to pick the thing up and I grabbed it at the plastic sleeve and that's all that ended up in my hand - the digipak fell on the carpet.

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#47 Post by Belmondo » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:58 am

Person wrote:Not to beat this into the ground, but I still don't know what to make of the packaging. I went to pick the thing up and I grabbed it at the plastic sleeve and that's all that ended up in my hand - the digipak fell on the carpet.
Let's view that as a physical metaphor for the theme of the movie - we hold what is bright and shiny in our hand, while we watch real things fall into the gutter.

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#48 Post by oldsheperd » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:04 pm

I always found it fascinating that Travis Bickle has become some sort of Gen X hero without folks even grasping the point of the movie. What did Kurt Cobain say? He doesn't know what it means when I sing?

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#49 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:33 pm

Belmondo wrote:
Person wrote:Not to beat this into the ground, but I still don't know what to make of the packaging. I went to pick the thing up and I grabbed it at the plastic sleeve and that's all that ended up in my hand - the digipak fell on the carpet.
Let's view that as a physical metaphor for the theme of the movie - we hold what is bright and shiny in our hand, while we watch real things fall into the gutter.
If only more companies would take the themes of the movies into mind when designing the DVD packaging?

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#50 Post by Person » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:41 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:If only more companies would take the themes of the movies into mind when designing the DVD packaging?
But then they would have to package Tom Cruise films in faeces and the 1953 version of War of the Worlds would get mucked up on the shelf and that would be horrible.

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