Jump to content

Recommended Blu-ray Releases


Recommended Posts

There's been quite a lot of disparate chat recently about the fantastic Blu-ray releases by the likes of Arrow, Eureka, Powerhouse, 88 Films, Criterion, Shout, BFI and others and I think it deserves a thread. I used the phrase 'boutique Blu-ray' elsewhere but it makes me gag a bit. 

 

Anyway, this seems like a more specific topic than the 'DVD Revival' thread and not quite right for the '4K Blu-ray' thread, but if you disagree and want to post in either of them about these enthusiast Blu-ray labels, please do, but I reckon I'll keep this one going single-handedly at the moment!

 

I'll get the ball rolling with some recent favourite picks from a few of these labels.

 

 

Gate of Hell - Eureka!

 

40_GATE-OF-HELL_DF_packshot_300dpi_UPDAT

 

I would say that this is simply one of the most beautiful films I've seen. I'd not even heard of it before I started on the Eureka Masters of Cinema stuff but I'm so glad I took a punt on it. Despite what you might guess from the cover and title, it's a slow burning drama for the most part with only occasional bursts of action, but it had me utterly gripped. The use of colour alone is sensational. Wonderful transfer and again, without exaggeration, it's one of the best looking films I've seen.

 

 

Suspiria - CultFilms 

 

CULT500-Suspiria.jpg

 

I should say first of all that I'm far from familiar with the film having only seen it for the first time recently, and with this edition, but I'm pretty amazed by it. I understand this transfer has had a tremendous amount restoration work put into it and that it's the best the film's ever looked since the original release. I couldn't say if that's all marketing, but it blew me away. I didn't even massively enjoy the film (apologies) because it's a bit manic for my current mood/energy levels, but again, I was mesmerised throughout by the spectacular colours. And to get technical about it, the score sounds fucking amazing.

 

 

Body Double - Powerhouse/Indicator

 

f9dfa5a7-f03f-4631-b868-3788cf38ddf7.jpg

 

It looks like that cover. The kind of movie I don't think I would ever have bought or even watched in many lifetimes if not for a recommendation from a mate. I'm delighted I did. It is dripping with lurid 80s sleaze and while director Brian de Palma intended for it to be Hollywood's 'first hardcore sex film', it's actually an excellent thriller. The direction is really playful and expressive and confident, but it's predominantly about the pure amplified sensory visual experience for me. The soundtrack is also pretty remarkable, all Rhodesy synths, Fairlight pads and lush strings. I couldn't saying it's a film I'd recommend to everyone, it is a bit grubby and unsubtle in many ways, but it's one of the best looking Blu-rays I've picked up and one of the best surprises I've had with a movie in a long time.

 

Anyone seen these or anyone for any more? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thing on Arrow Bluray

 

image.png.f2bfec5e7f681914b9d0c2494efd27fd.png

 

A fantastic print and transfer, the bright white snow fields look perfect with no artefacting, no DNR I could detect but it isn't a particular "grainy" film (if that sort of thing bothers you - I prefer a good transfer but grain left alone usually). The film is of course a stone cold classic where The Thing and the harsh environment are both enemies to our heroes - but ultimately man himself is his own worst enemy.

 

The extras are substantial and not bitty like some big releases can be. A brand new documentary 1hr12 mins that covers the history of the story of The Thing from the novella, Who Goes There?, to the 1951 film then through the birth of The Thing. The latter covers from script to pre-production right through filming to post release flop and the stupidity of the critics who panned it. That documentary has some people missing, John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Rob  Bottin being the main ones but other "smaller names" like the matte painting genius Albert Whitlock do not appear. This is all solved by the inclusion of the fantastic documentary done in the 90s which is 1hr27mins long. This is a great companion piece and bnoth are wortth watching if you are a fan. The other main extra is the audio commentary between Carpenter and Russell which sounds like two men getting drunk and reminiscing, mainly because it is - entertaining if you like that sort of thing (I do).

 

Anyway I recommend it to the house, with the proviso that this Bluray was encoded from a brand new 4k restoration of the negative. There were rumours of Universal releasing a 4k disc of The Thing last year but noone knew whether it would/could use the Arrow restoration... and now rumours are Arrow will a 4k version this year based off that restoration.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

EKA70400_MOTHRA-LtdEd_hardcase_WEBSITE-5

 

Not only is the packaging gorgeous, the transfer and picture quality is really very good for such an early kaiju production. You can't expect miracles (callback incoming), but it's a beautiful set with a cracking booklet and extras. Another Eureka belter. 

 

Separately, I picked up the Jackie Chan period gangster movie, Miracles on 88 Films.

 

miracles-blu-ray.jpg?resize=385,550&ssl=

 

Not what I'd expected at all, but a quite beautiful transfer and a really fun movie. Cinematography is gorgeous for a Jackie Chan film. 88 is easily one of the most consistent labels. Very much recommended. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

265480_overview.jpg?t=1597258182

 

Another day, another cracking release from Eureka, this time the HK action-comedy-horror, Mr Vampire. Produced by Sammo Hung, with an incredibly charismatic and likeable deadpan performance from Ching-Ying Lam, this is genuinely once-seen never-forgotten. They simply don't make them like this any more and, while some of the comedy is pretty broad and the horror is rather camp, there's an endearing charm to the whole production. For a 1985 HK film, it looks superb. Colours and textures are rich and detailed and the screen feels full of life. I know I'll be watching this again soon. Excellent stuff! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Scream factory are bringing a new blu ray out in may, of one of my favourite guilty pleasures - King Kong 1976. It will contain both the cinema and three hour extended tv cuts of the movie - no word on extras as yet but I do love the art work

 

011BB99B-3BDB-4FEC-B3B6-4DE35FF8F87A.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

EKA70343_HighNoon_amaray_red_pack_websit

 

I picked this up a little while back because I fancied a Western but really don't know the genre beyond the surface tropes. This is apparently very well regarded and it's on Eureka so I took the plunge. Bloody brilliant film! Great sense of tension from the off and it just builds and builds. Beautiful black and white picture, Grace's Kelly's clothes and hair look stunning (though probably would at 480p), gorgeous texture to the whole thing. An absolute cracker and now I'm excited to explore the genre further! 

 

Any recommendations? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Marlew said:

EKA70343_HighNoon_amaray_red_pack_websit

 

I picked this up a little while back because I fancied a Western but really don't know the genre beyond the surface tropes. This is apparently very well regarded and it's on Eureka so I took the plunge. Bloody brilliant film! Great sense of tension from the off and it just builds and builds. Beautiful black and white picture, Grace's Kelly's clothes and hair look stunning (though probably would at 480p), gorgeous texture to the whole thing. An absolute cracker and now I'm excited to explore the genre further! 

 

Any recommendations? 


The Wild Bunch

Django

The Dollars Trilogy

True Grit

3:10 to Yuma

Calamity Jane

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most westerns with Clint Eastwood in are worth a watch if you haven't seen them.

 

Outlaw Josey Wales

High Plains Drifter

Unforgiven

Pale Rider

 

The last one is probably considered one of Eastwood's lesser westerns but I still love it. And whilst Unforgiven gets all the plaudits (well, it is a damn good film), High Plains Drifter is one that I watch again and again because it does something a little different to the usual westerns. Not enough to upset western fans, but just enough to make it stand out from the crowd.

Link to post
Share on other sites

20210219-110137.jpg

 

I got this steelbook of Powell & Pressburger's The Red Shoes and it's probably the most beautiful bit of packaging I've ever owned! Gorgeous minimalism. The film itself is extraordinary. Again, a new one for me and out of my usual comfort/preference zone. It's 'just' an ITV release, no boutique label here, but it's a stunner. I heard the Criterion possibly edges it but I'm so happy with this. I know I'll watch it again and again. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the previous non-steelbook version and it is indeed a stunner. Same here as well with the comfort zone thing. Never thought a ballet movie would end up in my top ten movies ever. But then again, it's less about ballet, and more about what you're willing to sacrifice to be the best artist you can be. Reminds me a little bit of Whiplash in that respect.

 

The big ballet scenes are utterly mesmerising. I can only imagine audiences at the time must've had their socks blown off when they saw it at the cinema.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ada31ba8-bedf-4acb-b18c-55b286786db4.jpg

 

This turned up after the release was delayed and it's another corker. Again, another JC I'd not seen and I couldn't turn it off last night. Beautiful picture and colours and while there always seems to be some inherent softness to these 70s/80s HK films in some wider shots (Lenses? Film stock?), in the medium/closer shots, there's a superb amount of detail.

 

In terms of the film itself, I thought it was excellent. More traditional kung fu, very little comedy, and not on the primo level of Drunken Master, nor the top tier stuff with Sammo and Yuen Biao, but it's very entertaining. The opening lion dance sequence is remarkable.

 

As a set, I'm not bothered about the cards and poster but the little book seems excellent so far. Loads of essays and commentary and context for the film and Jackie's career. Packaging and artwork is also probably my favourite of all the Eureka or 88 JC releases. Really solid recommendation.

 

Any interest in a Jackie Chan thread? :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 16/02/2021 at 12:17, Marlew said:

EKA70343_HighNoon_amaray_red_pack_websit

 

I picked this up a little while back because I fancied a Western but really don't know the genre beyond the surface tropes. This is apparently very well regarded and it's on Eureka so I took the plunge. Bloody brilliant film! Great sense of tension from the off and it just builds and builds. Beautiful black and white picture, Grace's Kelly's clothes and hair look stunning (though probably would at 480p), gorgeous texture to the whole thing. An absolute cracker and now I'm excited to explore the genre further! 

 

Any recommendations? 

11254109-1684815768077952.jpg

 

Another good Masters of Cinema release.

 

513hIch7acL._AC_SX342_.jpg

 

I think if you like High Noon, you'll like this old black and white. More of a court room drama really, but with a noose on a tree.

 

Bit more modern, you can get Unforgiven on 4k now. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve just got a Blu-Ray player for the first time in nearly 2 decades so have picked up a few of these recs. I’m really interested in the ‘artisan’ side of Blu-Ray releases. 
 

The only thing is the cost. 
 

Are there any good suppliers for these sorts of discs and are there sales to watch out for? 
 

I take it there is a sustainable market for these sort of releases, a bit like there is for vinyl? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently started buying Blu-rays of films I've enjoyed down the years. Probably really obvious to state it but the fact these usually have some sort of commentary, even if they're just transferred from previous DVD releases, and maybe features and documentaries are the real draw for me, makes for a decent package especially if there's an interesting story behind the film. Maybe this is the vinyl comparison, there are plenty of releases aimed at, well, I hate to say film buffs but let's say people who are wanting a bit more quality than just streaming. If that keeps the disc market going I'm all for it. 

 

Some of the prices are mad though, and I've had to hold off buying some of the more extravagant Arrow special editions because I'm definitely not a collector, although they are very tempting.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well as part of my classic ALL IN nature when it comes to doing something new I have ordered. 
 

The Shining 4K

Bottle Rocket (Criterion)

Empire of the Sun

Gate of Hell (MOC)

Mr Vampire

Tenet 4K

Remains of the Day

Crash (Arrow Ltd) 

 

A selection of films I’ve wanted to see and films I love to get me going and see how I take to it. I’m hoping the act of putting on a film will be better for me than scrolling through endless streaming sites. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Was having a quick look at the Arrow site and noticed A Ghost Waits is out on Blu-ray next week (03/05/21). Saw it at Frightfest last year and really struck a chord with me. It's a ghost story where a guy doing an inventory of a rental house encounters a ghost trying to scare him off. One of those labour-of-love small films, it is sweet, humorous and romantic. I am close to picking it up actually. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.