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Favourite five blu-ray movies (and why)
5 replies to this topic
Posted November 03 2012 - 11:06 AM
This will be my maiden thread on this board after becoming aware that the limited contributions I have made thus far in other peoples threads have, like an electron particle, tended towards the negative. I’m pretty sure that this type of thread has been done here before, but not (as far as I’m aware) recently. My current inventory of BD’s numbers just under 500 – many purchased as prized possessions and equally as many because they were cheap. From the five hundred, the following are my current five favourites weighted evenly between the movie and the technical quality of the blu-ray disk (as with all personal lists, tomorrow could easily produce an entirely different five): * Blade Runner. One of my favourite movies and the first blu-ray I bought (the same day as the player) – wowed by the difference between the dvd and the blu-ray, particularly in the opening “Hades” sequence. Probably an emotional choice as I regard Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s cut) to be Ridley Scott’s best movie * The Fountain. This is an astonishing movie by Aronosfsky, and (I think) his best – a wonderful combination of intellectual puzzle with emotion and heart. The blu-ray was the final piece of the puzzle, as it added finesse to the non-CGI effects when compared to the dvd. This is not a science fiction movie. * Once Upon a Time in the West. Probably my favourite film – imported from the US on release as I couldn’t wait the additional few months for the UK release. The dvd was good, but the blu-ray took my breath away. Yes, Sergio Leone stole from John Ford, but there again hasn’t every film director in the last 50 years. * Doctor Zhivago. This BD was bought at the end of a series of disappointing purchases where the differences between the dvd and blu-ray were marginal and in one case (Escape from New York – UK edition) the dvd looked better than the blu-ray. My jaw dropped open at the early funeral sequence, both in the technical framing and the resolution, and stayed open throughout the entire film. I have not been able to replicate the sheer emotion of this first viewing on BD, and I suspect this is the biggest reason for my disappointment at Lawrence of Arabia on the same format. * Braveheart. I am Scottish, and whatever the historical flaws of this movie, it cannot help but stir the blood. The BD of this movie was miles better than any format I had seen it in before (including cinema). Yes, there are better movies, but I am a sucker for huge character arcs involving injustice. An alternative BD to Braveheart, and one that under other circumstances would have been one of the five, is Ben Hur. Having been a lurker at this site for several years, and getting to know many of the regular participants through their posts, I’m genuinely interested in the favourite blu-ray movies of the other posters here. I’m also here to learn and broaden my own understanding of film. Over to you guys.
Posted November 03 2012 - 02:30 PM
These five are favorites more for the film than the presentation or technical merits of the Bd. While these films differ in many ways - I can revisit these films a seemingly limitless number of times and enjoy them upon each viewing. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Seeing this film in High Definition was a near religious experience for me. This has probably been my favorite (or near favorite) film for most of my adult life. I've owned this film on VHS, LD, DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray with the widescreen presentations (and more specifically the HD ones) finally delivering some of the promise of the film from a visual standpoint. For my money, one of the most ambitious films ever made and Kubrick's masterpiece. I love the themes of the film and its ability to convey the unimaginable. Chariots of Fire - An emotional favorite since the year of its theatrical release. Unlike 2001 I was able to experience this theatrically, so I did not have to rely upon the Bd to get some measure of the film's cinematography - but it was a long wait until the 2nd DVD release finally restored the theatrical compositions. Just a perfect film from the script, the performances, the cinematography, production design and every facet of the film. Easily one of the most emotionally resonant titles in my library. Once Upon A Time In The West - Leone's masterpiece. The thematic richness of the film as it observes the passing of the Old West - exemplified by the passing of power from the Individual to the conglomerate - is unmatched in the Western genre. While the film may be criticized for its supporting performances the leads are so strong and so well realized that the supporting roles are not much of a factor in my evaluation of the film. Great, great performance from Henry Fonda, excellent work by Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards, and a star-making performance by Charles Bronson all elevate this film. Fonda's Frank is my personal choice for the most villainous antagonist to ever grace cinema. The English Patient - Another emotional favorite. I saw this film multiple times theatrically and remained entranced by its lyrical, elliptical narrative. I love just everything about this film and think it is meticulously crafted without a frame out of place. Just a perfect film - IMHO. This fifth choice is kind of difficult, because by posting this title I eliminate so many legitimate, great classic films that I adore, but to be honest I can't think of any film I've enjoyed more in the last few years than: Inception - For me a thinking man's action film that never fails to entertain. Is is (or any other film in this list) better than so many classics that I haven't listed by Hitchcock, Scorsese, Ford, Lynch, etc. Not really, but it is the film that came to mind when picking the fifth choice. I was transfixed by this film when I saw it theatrically and I continue to admire its construction and its narrative structure. There are so many others I could list, but these are all easily favorites of mine. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.
Posted November 03 2012 - 11:57 PM
In order, from favorite to 5th favorite: 1. BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. My favorite movie ever, hands down, and nothing close to it. I was 7 when this was released and saw it at the Stuart Theater in Lakeville, Ct., where we had a summer home. That theater burned down only a few years later, but not before I had had some of the most magical movie nights of my young life, including THE ANIMAL WORLD (did anyone else out there see this in a theater?), MOBY DICK, THE EDDIE DUCHIN STORY, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, LADY AND THE TRAMP, a re-issue of BAMBI, and a few others. My experience of seeing BRIDGE there overwhelmed me. In spite of its length I do not recall fidgeting for a moment. It riveted me. Particular sequences dug themselves permanently into memory, which is all I had available to remember them by in those pre-video years, and long before television presented it (I watched again in black and white on a 20" screen, with commercial interruptions every 15 minutes, which was a catastrophe). The Sony Blu-ray ray is the home presenation I'd been dreaming of for decades. 2. SUNSET BOULEVARD. I never saw this theatrically. I was probably 35 when I first saw it on video (VHS). It knocked me over. The eerie, gothic atmosphere (via gorgeous b&w cinematography & music) is thick enough the slice, and the witty, sardonic humor/horror is palpable. If I was that impressed with it on VHS, it must have had some pretty enduring qualities. I have bought it on every successive video format since, and can't wait to receive my Blu copy this week. 3. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. I can't imagine this not being on the top five list of anyone who has seen the film and who enjoys musicals and classic films. Utterly hilarious, but with a terrific behind-the-scenes look at the making of movies as a bonus. A few really memorable songs don't hurt, either. 4. LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. Ok, I admit that enough time may not yet have passed for me to consider this a top-5 favorite, but I'm 62, it's been twelve years since THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and I do not foresee a change of heart coming. This series captivated me far more than any other film in the past twenty years or so, and I return to it often. I had read the entire trilogy twice (a feat for me), and found Jackson's interpretation to be reverent and emotionally compelling (I actually cried when Viggo Mortensen said to Elijah Wood, "You bow to no one.") Inspired work. I am anxious for THE HOBBIT, although breaking it into 3 parts feels like 1% artistic and 99% commerce to me. 5. This was a tough choice, rather like choosing one from 100-way tie. I guess I'd have to go with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Like my 2nd and 3rd-favorites above, I never had the privilege of seeing this in a theater, and have had to rely upon the good graces of Universal's video releases. Again, I first viewed this on VHS, certainly not preferable these days, but not so long ago the only game in town. Another choice black and white experience, the film (like the book) moved me deeply, and certainly included Gregory Peck's most memorable performance. A stirring, emotionally fulfilling and often very beautiful movie, with a perfect cast, script, direction and musical score (in my top-5 movie score list), the Blu-ray of this film has made me very happy indeed. Damn, wish I was 20 years younger.
Posted November 04 2012 - 04:58 AM
In no particular order: The Last of the Mohicans Ther Perfect Storm Das Boot Body Heat Once upon a Time in the West
Posted November 04 2012 - 08:52 AM
My Blu Ray list is still small since I only started collecting Blu in March, but here's the list as of today: TO CATCH A THIEF--The Blu Ray that convinced me of the difference. Astonishingly gorgeous looking Blu of a Hitchcock classic. And Grace Kelly in HD is a beautiful thing is all I can say. HOW THE WEST WAS WON--The Smilebox version of this movie was too much fun to watch. And I really like the movie to boot. JAWS--One of my two favorite movies of all time looking better than ever. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK--My other top favorite movie. No matter what a few people say, this thing is gorgeous. DIAL M FOR MURDER--After suffering for years with the Japanes subtilted field sequential version, it sure was nice to see this in proper 3D Blu Ray. Honorable mentions: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND--This was a good movie when I watched the DVD. It was an amazing movie when I watched the Blu Ray. HUGO--The absolute best of the modern 3D movies. The 3D is more impressive on the big screen, but that goes without saying. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS--I'm still not the hugest fan of the movie and among the VistaVision Blus I've seen, I was less impressed than with TO CATCH A THIEF, but it looked good. CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON--My favorite of the Universal monster movies and in 3D, to boot. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN--Probably my favorite western. The Blu is fabulous.
Viewing a 3D movie in 2D is kinda like viewing a Scope movie in Pan and Scan.
Posted November 04 2012 - 09:26 AM
My List: Goldfinger: A stunning presentation of the best Bond film ever. How The West Was Won: The film itself is somwhat uneven, but Warner worked miracles to present this film with breathaking clarity despite the difficult elements they had to work with. North by Northwest: The film is as entertaining as ever, and Warner did a thorough and tasteful job in cleaning it up for blu-ray. Great extras as well. E.T: Universal is the least consistent studio for catalog releases but (with Spielberg overseeing) they got it very right in this case. To Catch A Thief It took a few releases on DVD for Paramount to get the elements in pristine shape, and the HD presentation is literally breathtaking, better-looking than many films produced today. Honorable mentions include: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Wizard of Oz, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, UP!, Lord of the Rings Trilogy..
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