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A few words about...™ A History of Violence -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 16 2009 - 08:33 AM

A History of Violence from David Cronenberg is a fine film, and after setting aside Amadeus without fully viewing it, I moved on to AHoV. Here we go again. This is a New Line release, and once again, WB may have had little to do with the video transfer, but what we have is another failure. Colors are pretty. The film element is clean. But again, it takes on the plastic look of Patton. Virtually all detail is gone. Not a good thing, especially for a film which deserves far better. While I can heartily recommend the film, I cannot accept the quality of the Blu-ray disc. RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted February 16 2009 - 08:57 AM

Disappointing, to say the least. Especially since it probably doesn't have enough of a fan base to be revisited any time in the near future. Thanks for saving me $25 bucks though... Ken.

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted February 16 2009 - 09:27 AM

Yup, saved me from buying it as well. Sorry Warner but when you don't do a film justice by producing a faithful transfer, you don't get my hard earned dollars.

#4 of 27 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:41 AM

Thanks for the headsup, RAH. Like Ken said, it's even more unfortunate that it'll be years before this title gets a re-release.

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:41 AM

Allow me to state again, that these films do not go through Warner, they are distributed by Warner, which has little or nothing to do with the way that they look.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#6 of 27 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:49 AM

As a matter of practically (I fully understand the refusal to endorse a release in hi-def when compared to its source material and how good it could be), if one wanted this title and did not have it in any other format (recorded on DVR, SD DVD or, in a generic case, VHS), would the recommendation be A) get the BD if you really want this movie and don't want to wait because it's better than any other available format, despite the significant flaws it suffers from or B) don't get this under any circumstance because not only does it look bad on a "big screen" but even on a small monitor, it looks bad. If I understand correctly, Patton could fall under option A) while Gangs of New York would fall under category B). If this makes sense, would A History of Violence fall under Category A) or B)?
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#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:54 AM

An odd question. Both Patton and Gangs are impermissable, and should be melted down and made into plastic forks. For History, the answer is simple. Do not purchase this title on Blu-ray. Purchase a used copy of the standard def, as nothing is gained in Blu. RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#8 of 27 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted February 16 2009 - 11:02 AM

My question was based on (possibly misremembered) comments from you, I believe, regarding your initial viewing of Patton on a small (30 inch, if I recall correctly) monitor seeming reasonably good whereas it became unacceptable on a large (again, if I recall correctly, 50 inches plus) screen. On the other hand, your comments about Gangs of New York offered no mitigation whatsoever, so I took that to mean that there were limited circumstances wherein Patton might be okay on an individual basis (though its release in its current condition could not be endorsed as a matter of principle) whereas there were no conditions under which Gangs of New York could be remotely tolerable (at any screen size). If I'm misremembering such nuances, I apologize.
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#9 of 27 OFFLINE   Dion C

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Posted February 16 2009 - 11:06 AM

Warner may only be the distributor of these titles, but Warner isn't exactly some no-name, no-influence party that's just thankful to have a play in the game. It's Warner. It's a phone call, a meeting, a memo: "Hey, New Line, your shabby transfers are costing you -- and us -- sales. Our more demanding customer base is making a fuss. How about throttling back on the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum grain strip?" It's not like New Line's gonna tell Warner to like it or lump it and hang up the phone. It's Warner. And, yeah, I'll be passing on this title, too -- a title I would have otherwise purchased, as I'm a big Cronenberg fan, have the SD, and was keen on picking AHoV up. So thanks for saving me the money, New Line. Or, if it's Warner reading, feel free to pass the message on to your friends at NL next time you see them.
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#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted February 16 2009 - 11:33 AM

What's sad about this is that it used to be you could count on New Line for superior SD packages and transfers. The LotR Extended Editions, now over 4 years old, are STILL the standard, IMO, for overall excellence in DVD releases. With the collapse of the company last year, and its subsequent absorption into WB, I'm guessing the people who were responsible for NL's glory years are probably no longer there. This does not bode well for the release of the LotR theatrical editions on BD supposedly coming late this year. If they hose up LotR they will make a whole lot of people very, very upset.
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   Mark Cappelletty

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Posted February 16 2009 - 11:37 AM

Um, this IS Warner, guys. The last real movie that the old-school New Line Home Video department worked on -- as far as I know -- was DARK CITY. All of NL Home Video's operations are run through Warner Bros. now. Unless this transfer was done prior to last June, it's Warner Bros' baby.

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 16 2009 - 11:53 AM

The most likely scenario. These things are at times years in the process.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#13 of 27 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted February 16 2009 - 01:17 PM

I saw this a couple nights ago and I agree 100%. Thank goodness I Netflixed it. Perhaps the WB Blu-ray folks were let go or reassigned and the New Line crew have taken over the shop...?

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted February 16 2009 - 03:31 PM

Now this is just sad......I was looking forward to picking up this disc too. I guess my upconverted SDVD will have to do as I assume that the Alliance version (The Canadian distributor of this film) is the same New Line disc. Well, at least you saved me some cash to use on a disc that's more worthy Mr. Harris.

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#15 of 27 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:03 PM

Interesting, but I disagree with you about Patton in that extreme. Crawdaddy

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#16 of 27 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 16 2009 - 10:05 PM

This transfer might have been done prior to last June. I think we'll all be surprise as to how many titles are done and in the pipeline. Crawdaddy

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#17 of 27 OFFLINE   Bleddyn Williams

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Posted February 17 2009 - 01:25 AM

Once again a title which would have been a no-brainer for me has become a "no sale" because of stupid processing. What's the point of buying a Blu-ray that I won't be happy with because I can see plain as day its not right? "Better than the DVD" is not good enough. Robert's comments about how many more titles are done and in the pipeline means a "wait and see" policy is the only way to go with Warner released titles.

#18 of 27 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 17 2009 - 01:35 AM

I'm not so sure it's only Warner.

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#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Paul Arnette

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Posted February 17 2009 - 02:39 AM

Oh, it most certainly is not only Warner; however I think the sheer volume of titles Warner releases when compared to the other studios Blu-ray Disc offering means they're going to get called on the carpet more. Additionally, they seem content to release New Line's problematic transfers, which will only compound the issue.
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#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Josh Dial

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Posted February 17 2009 - 02:48 AM

Count me in as another disappointed non-buyer. I have better dsics to spend my money on, and the DVD will suffice. Thanks, as always, for the review, Robert.





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