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Josh's Blind Buys: Watching The Unseen Collection

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Josh Steinberg, Feb 7, 2017.

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  1. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I'm glad you discovered The Right Stuff, Nelson. That is one of my favorite films. It blends together drama and comedy so well, and the acting performances are terrific.

    I have the original 4x3 release of From The Earth to the Moon. I resisted upgrading to the widescreen release, as I was concerned that there would be some picture loss due to the framing of this wonderful mini-series. This was one of the early HBO miniseries, and was a foreshadowing of the great series to come from them. The only thing bad about the original 4x3 release is the packaging -- the glue dried out on my set, and all the trays came loose. I had to buy a multi-disc plastic keep case and find some art work online to print out for my set.

    It's been awhile since I watched When We Left Earth -- I need to give that another viewing. The video quality of some of the space footage on the BD release is spectacular, if I am remembering correctly.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Bill Hunt is reporting on DigitalBits that Apollo 13 is coming out on 4K/UHD disc! :rock:

    He also noted that From the Earth to the Moon needs to be upgraded to Blu-ray. Maybe, he read this thread.;)

    http://digitalbits.com/columns/my-two-cents/063017-1545
     
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  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Apollo 13 is definitely one of those titles I would consider upgrading from BD to UHD. One of Ron Howard's best.
     
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  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I agree. I bought the first Blu-ray that was infected with DNR plague but didn't replace it with the subsequent Blu release because I had the wonderful HD-DVD copy of the film and just watched that when I needed an Apollo 13 fix. But I would definitely spring for a UHD version.
     
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  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Scott, I've always known of The Right Stuff movie and book. I think at the time of its release it was all over the place and for some reason, I avoided it! But I always planned to see it. It just took a while longer then expected. Glad I finally did.

    I have the first issue blu ray of Apollo 13. I didn't know of the 20th anniversary blu ray. So I'll upgrade to that. It's under $10. When I update my system to 4K, I'll make the jump then. I know there was criticism of that first blu ray of execcsive DNR but I seem to recall complaints of the color timing too.

    I sure hope there is a HD release of From the Earth to the Moon! I watched the first two episodes on my older plasma display. It was OK. I'll try it on my newer system. I noticed mainly the titles and how blurry the text looks. It's interesting how carefully they focused on stuff not covered in The Right Stuff so as to avoid repeating areas already covered. But they do address the situation with Grissom and say they determined he wasn't at fault for using the explosive charges to open the hatch on his Mercury capsule. And the irony that they changed the hatch in Apollo One that cost him and Chaffee and White.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, hope you'll indulge my further decent into the space program. Thought you guys might be amused with my newest additions to the pile of space themed films. And pardon my take over of the thread with my obsession with the space program and the space race.

    IMG_0005.JPG
     
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  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    No complaints from me! I'm rewatching Marvel movies, Planet of the Apes movies, Christopher Nolan movies and Twin Peaks, so I haven't had much to add.

    I can say that the original Planet Of The Apes remains awesome after all these years and multiple viewings. :D
     
  8. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Cool Josh! Agreed the original Planet of the Apes is a classic. That reminds me, I've been confused over the recent years over many posts that the film elements were going through a restoration and or a remastered blu ray was coming out. It seemed like a lot of talk about it, but I don't think anything ever came of it? I have the 2008 Planet of the Apes blu ray box set. And I thought it looked great. There was talk of a new version that looks even better then that 2008 release. I admit I never sought it out. I've bought so many earlier DVD box sets of the Apes, I guess I sort of felt I had enough and never followed up to see if it was true. But I'd love to see a better version.
     
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  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    My understanding is the studio undertook a new restoration of the original film - which I agree looks perfectly fine on the existing disc - but they don't have any plans to put a disc out yet. If you have a repertory theater near you and they book the movie, they'll get the new version.
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Watching the second film now and just dropping in to note my favorite quote from the film, which just played:

    "The trouble with us intellectuals is that we have responsibilities and no power."

    -Cornelius to Zira in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes
     
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  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Josh. Ok, I get it, the film was restored for exhibition, but not as a basis for remastering a new blu ray. That's great they are preserving the film. I would have thought they might want to take advantage of the current new Ape films to promote a remastered blu ray of the original.
     
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  12. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I purchased this ~9 months ago:

    [​IMG]

    I enjoyed it so much I just ordered a copy of:

    [​IMG]

    I'm really excited about that one and can't wait to see the entire footage of the landing! It was such a thrill watching it live! I watched every Apollo mission launch broadcast I could and most of the shuttle launches. I had an uncle who lived close enough to Canaveral to see live launches but, to my regret, was never able to go down for one.
     
  13. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    Funny this topic came up. Just yesterday I was talking SF films with a young co-worker (late 20s - another movie fan, especially horror and SF/Fantasy) and was surprised to discover she's never seen the original POTA! I pulled one of my copies to take to her next week and get that corrected!

    I just loaned her my copy of Dawn of the Plane of the Apes, she asked for it specifically, which will be the first Apes film she's seen. Had I known she'd never seen the original I'd have insisted on it first. At least "Dawn..." won't ruin anything. :)
    I figure they're waiting for the release of the remake which is to follow the current trilogy. I'm expecting a huge box set with all the Ape films.
     
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  14. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Howie, thanks for the post about the Spacecraft films series on Apollo 8 and 11. At first I thought that looked familiar and I took a look at my cabinet and I have Apollo 11 buried in a pile of discs from Costco! Still in the sealed package. I don't know or recall why I didn't get Apollo 8 or the Gemini film. This is great, and thanks again for the reminder. I now have another collection of discs to chase down. Too bad these are not on higher resolution media, but I imagine the footage isn't exactly cinema quality and the best they could do while filming life in the Command Module cockpit. Armstrong setting foot on the moon is very scratchy.
     
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  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The original Planet of the Apes films all have a special place in my heart, and the first film is one of my favorite movies. Our local Channel 7 in Detroit would have "Apes Week" once a year in the afternoon, and I always caught the five films after school.

    Coincidentally, the newscaster with the bad toupee in the 3rd film (Escape From The Planet of the Apes) is Bill Bonds, who was the top news anchor on that same Channel 7 TV station in Detroit that would carry "Apes Week". Bill is quite a piece of work, but has been doing television in the Detroit market for many decades (and can still be seen on some local commercials). He's also famous locally for announcing the final score of Team USA's "Miracle on Ice" upset victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics before the taped delay telecast - which was to be shown on his own station, the local ABC affiliate! It caused quite an uproar around here.

    Howie, I own the DVD version of that Apollo 11 set from the NASA archives. You'll enjoy it - it's a great keepsake for those of us fortunate enough to remember watching the first moon landing live.
     
  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, when I read your quote of the dialogue from Beneath the Planet of the Apes, it reminded me of how the actor who plays Cornelius did a good job, but he just wasn't the same.
     
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  17. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I, too, rank the original POTA among my favorite films of all time. My dad took me to see it when it came out (shortly before my 13th birthday). We traveled ~30 miles to the next town, where I now live, for the showing and got seated about 5 minutes into the film, missing the crash and part of the journey across the desert. When the credits finished and the curtain was closing I got up to leave but he said "Sit down. We're going to stay for the next showing so we can see what we missed." I thought we'd be thrown out but no one questioned us. We watched the next showing until the part where we came in, got up, and went home. That theater is still standing but no longer shows movies. It's now used by the local Community Theater association for plays.
     
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  18. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    McDowell was in Britain directing The Devil's Widow at the time and couldn't appear in Beneath. That's a shame as he was in every other Apes film, including Burton's reimagining, and the TV series.
     
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  19. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    I remember most theatres in Windsor Ontario when I was a child always used to advertise and run what was called "continuous" showings meaning that the movies, shorts, cartoons, and trailers never stopped. ("Continuous from 2:00 p.m.). This allowed the house wives to shop downtown, and go see a movie at any time they felt like it after lunch. It is also where the saying "that's where we came in" comes from. We would always just go when we felt like it and did not worry about the time.
     
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    #115 - The Day Of The Jackal (1973)
    Viewed on: July 8th, 2017
    Viewing Format: Blu-ray (Cinema Cult - Australian import/region free)

    I'm back! Looking over the list on the main page, it looks like the last time I watched a blind buy was on June 22nd. Since that time, I went and saw four U2 shows in three different cities (and visited with old friends along the way), as well as binged some Marvel movies in preparation for the new Spider-Man release, and also am rewatching Planet Of The Apes movies in anticipation of the latest in that series. I've also been watching and re-watching the new episodes of Twin Peaks. So I've been busy, but I haven't been living a media-free diet either. I had a little bit of extra time yesterday; they asked me to work an earlier shift than I usually do, and when I found myself home earlier than usual as a result, I took it as an opportunity to go back to the blind buy shelf.

    The Day Of The Jackal was a gift, and one that I enjoyed greatly. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, working from a tense script by Kenneth Ross based on Frederick Forsyth's novel, the film is one of the greatest slow burns I've experienced. On one side, there's a shadowy French organization that's grown tired of the current president, but has failed at their own assassination attempts. They bring in a British assassin (Edward Fox), hoping both that a foreigner might slip under the radar and be less prone to slip-ups caused by emotions and passions that a true believer to the cause would hold. The French government is suspicious of the group that's hired the assassins, and one man in particular (Michael Lonsdale) is determined to identify and extinguish the thread. The film cleverly cuts between both sides, allowing us to see each side at work, while withholding just enough detail to keep the outcome from being easily guessed in advance. This really is one of the best cat-and-mouse type films that I've seen, and I was genuinely at the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering if the Jackal would succeed in his plans or be brought down.

    The two lead actors, Edward Fox and Michael Lonsdale, are each fantastic in their roles. As the unnamed Jackal, Fox puts forth a slightly aloof exterior that disguises what a methodical and resourceful killer he is. When facing obstacles both minor and major, Fox is able to handle the situation dispassionately and effectively, bringing to mind someone with all the skills of a James Bond but without the charm to temper it. And on the other side, Lonsdale is driven, inventive and determined to put an end to the threat despite having to serve a president unwilling to take the danger completely seriously. I know Lonsdale well from his role as the villain in Moonraker, and it's a lot of fun to see him playing the good guy this time around.

    The disc is an Australian import by a company called Cinema Cult, who have licensed the master from Universal. Though the packaging claimed it was Zone B, the disc itself appeared to be region free. The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, with a PCM audio mono track. There were no subtitles or bonus features on the disc. The set also included a slipcover which repeated the artwork from the sleeve. The transfer is typical for Universal titles that haven't gotten the deluxe remastering treatment. Though there are moments of imperfection, including a couple scenes that had some mild unsteadiness, and others with had some debris and speckling, on the whole, the transfer is completely watchable and has some moments which are pretty good. To be honest, I found the whole movie so riveting that after the first ten minutes or so, I stopped noticing the transfer and was just sucked into the movie. What's on the disc looks and feels like film, and if it's slightly less than pristine, I don't think that's a problem here.

    The Day Of The Jackal was a wonderfully tense thriller that had me at the edge of my seat until the very last moments. Feeling far shorter than its two-hour-and-twenty-minute runtime, Fred Zinnemann keeps the momentum going without ever resorting to a frantic pace. With a great script and solid lead performances, there's a lot here to recommend.
     

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