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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Days of Heaven



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#1 of 16 ONLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted March 07 2010 - 02:15 PM

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#2 of 16 OFFLINE   24fpssean

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Posted April 09 2010 - 11:25 AM

A stunning disc and film. Such beauty, it makes my 50" Viera look like an open window. Film grain is preserved, colors are solid and real. Dialogue is a bit low but then there is very little dialogue. A dream film comparable to Sunrise. Redemption for Criterion after the unwatchable fiasco of Howards End.
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#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted April 09 2010 - 09:32 PM

I'm going to have to agree with Robert Harris re: HOWARDS END in that whatever horrible flaws you're seeing that render it a "fiasco" in your eyes must be display chain and/or monitor dependent, because I'm just not seeing any of the problems you have said are there on my Panasonic video projector being fed by my PS3.  To my eyes, HOWARDS END looks very natural and film-like without any objectionable video noise (in fact all visible noise/grain is very low on that Blu-ray).  I don't dispute that you're seeing it on your system, but I'll take Robert's conclusion to heart that, for whatever reason, the HOWARDS END Blu-ray looks bad on some systems and looks absolutely fine/excellent on others.  It would be interesting to do an investigation and find out why this is-  is it the C-reality scanner that was used?  Some sort of post-processing?  It would be interesting to find out the answer, but one should also note to potential buyers that HOWARDS END will not be a visual "fiasco" on all systems.  On many it will look quite good if not excellent.

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#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Heinz W

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Posted April 10 2010 - 04:08 AM

Overall the DoH disc is beautiful to behold, but it does suffer from some minor EE. It's most notable, as usual, when a person or object is silhouetted against the sky. Some shots moreso than others. Not anywhere near as bad as something like the notorious Die Hard: With a Vengence DVD, but it is there.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted April 10 2010 - 10:47 PM

That's not EE. It's from the camera lens diffusing the 'magic hour' lighting.

"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


#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Heinz W

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Posted April 11 2010 - 04:38 AM

Then why is it there in some shots but not in other similar ones knowing that most of the film was shot at that time of day? Why isn't it there in EVERY silhouette shot?

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted April 11 2010 - 12:41 PM

Because the same lens isn't used in every shot.

"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted April 11 2010 - 12:53 PM

 I just picked this up the other and I am looking forward to watching it.



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#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Heinz W

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Posted April 11 2010 - 01:02 PM

So those halos are lens related artifacts? Okay, guess I learned my something new for today. I really think the film looks fantastic, but I could swear that's EE as it looks just like other EE artifacts I've seen before, right down to being heavier on the left side of the person or object than the right. One particular shot stood out to me. After the harvest when the farmer and his accountant are adding up the figures (at about 10:00) the accountant's hat features a heavy halo on the left side. This is a product of the camera lenses? No trying to be difficult, I just want to understand. How do you tell the difference between the two?

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted April 11 2010 - 03:53 PM

Often with heavy natural backlighting there will be a halo-ing effect, especially at magic hour. It does depend on the lens used, as that will vary it from shot to shot.

One way to determine it's in the captured image and not added artificially is to look at the outside photography as compared to the indoors photography. The indoor photography on Days of Heaven does not have any halos/"EE".

I've also seen the film theatrically, and those halos are definitely in the photography and on the film itself.

"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


#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted April 11 2010 - 04:18 PM

The other way is to use a zoom or get your nose right up to the screen to check for mosquito noise. That's usually a dead giveaway of EE.

"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   24fpssean

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Posted April 12 2010 - 07:32 AM

Yes, film can result in haloing, sometimes it will even be red or blue depending on how the light enters the lens. Photographing with film had/has its own set of flaws and was far from perfect.

As far as digital flaws go, my disc keeps confusing my blu ray player at chapter 13 and the image falls apart. Removing the disc and putting it back in made the player say it could not read data on it. Removing it again and putting it back in made it play through. It did it again last night. Taking it back today. Never had this happen with a BD before but I suppose there is a first time for everything.
 “The cinema is an invention with no future…”     – Louis Lumière

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Heinz W

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Posted April 12 2010 - 04:31 PM

Excellent tips there guys, thank you. I saw no apparent halos in any shots not having the sky in the background, inside or out. All the outdoor shots without the sky looked fantastic and very film-like. There are even some silhouette shots without any halos which was why I asked about them. Sean, two things: Do you have the latest firmware for your player and do you have an SD card in it? I couldn't get Starship Troopers to load at all until I put one in my Panasonic BD-60. Try it, it might work. I used the stock one that came with my wife's digital camera. I've had no issues whatsoever with playback of this disc, The chapter bookmark feature works perfectly and playback is flawless. I bought mine from Amazon too where they apparently had some bad copies.  I must have been lucky to get a decent disc.

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   24fpssean

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Posted April 13 2010 - 09:10 AM

The freezing up at chapter 13 happened again, this time on a replacment disc I exchanged. Turns out the issue seems to be firmware; updated my firmware and it now plays. On the other hand, firmware update has NOT made Howards End look any better on blu ray.
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#15 of 16 OFFLINE   James David Walley

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Posted November 15 2012 - 12:34 AM

I've also seen the film theatrically, and those halos are definitely in the photography and on the film itself.
At the risk of digging up a deceased thread, I'd point out that, back when I was in film school, Days of Heaven was one of my favorite films, and I watched it as often and as obsessively as many of my contemporaries did with a very-different work, released the previous year, that was set long ago in a galaxy far, far away. As such, I think I'm intimately familiar with the imagery in early-generation prints, and I never saw halos as pronounced as they are on this BD. Another curious point in this "director-approved transfer" is that the end titles are in white text on black background. This is most definitely not as it was in the original theatrical release, where the text was canary yellow on black. (The Paramount DVD had colored text, but the yellow had aged to a burnt orange.) Not a big deal, but I wonder why Malick decided such a minor change was needed. :confused:
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#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted November 15 2012 - 06:16 AM

The Criterion transfer was the first to be sourced from the O-Neg, perhaps the grade was accidentally given a yellow push during the original printing phase.





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