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Modrnknght (Hollywood, CA United States)

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Ashes to Ashes - BBC Series 3 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Ashes to Ashes - BBC Series 3 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Philip Glenister
Price: £7.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Completely satisying last season, 19 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Ashes to Ashes/Life on Mars saga comes to an a way. Like so many others here, I cannot reveal much without giving away plot points and I want you to be as surprised as I was by the last episode. I will say that it is a very satisfying ending and does help make me smile when I think of Sam Tyler and Annie from LOM (no, they do not appear here, I cannot tell you).

Each of the stars gets an episode to shine in as the story nears its conclusion, and I am glad they did. There are shockers, to be sure, and that's good because I normally am miles ahead of these mysteries. Are the questions answered? Yes. And for that I am grateful because too many times TV writers don't have an ending for the last show and leave it up to your interpretation.

The cast is uniformly excellent. And it is fun to see them in the extras featurette, "Dust to Dust"...just be sure not to see it until after you have watched the last epsiode.

The picture quality is excellent, as is the audio.

Recommended viewing...but only after you watch Life on Mars first, and then the first two seasons of ATA. This is a film that will stay with us for quite awhile.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon in Blu-ray 3D [1954] [Region Free]
The Creature from the Black Lagoon in Blu-ray 3D [1954] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Richard Carlson
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, incredible 3d!!!!, 28 Oct 2012
Just a poor, misunderstood creature. That's all the Creature from the Black Lagoon is. People invade his sanctuary, and he fights back...but not without falling in love with the beautiful damsel (Julie Adams).

I forgot how wonderful this entry into the horror fray is. It's basically a one-set premise, with a small cast, but it is highly enjoyable. And Universal has put together a terrific package. The film comes in Blu-ray 3D and 2D on the disc, with only a few extras, but it is definitely worth a purchase.

The black and white 3D is astonishing, a full 5-stars. An excellent print with several in-your-face 3D effects. There is a healthy amount of grain in several scenes, and the sharpness of the 3D print is fully to be applauded.

Audio is excellent.

The extras are on the slim side. The 40-minute history of the Creature (in SD) has all you could want to know. The gallery of several dozen images is also good. In addition, there are trailers from all of the three Creature movies. There is also a commentary accompanying the film that contains a ton of information, but they should have reduced the movie's audio to nothing during it because it's like trying to listen to someone but a person nearby is also having a conversation. The 100 Years of Universal: the Lot, is okay, but is on other discs. It would ave been nice if they could have provided a different Universal history piece for each horror film.

A must-buy for classic fans, for horror fans, and for 3D fans.

Frankenstein [Blu-ray] [1931] [Region Free]
Frankenstein [Blu-ray] [1931] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Colin Clive
Price: £7.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bride - something borrowed, something Blu, 14 Oct 2012
Sequels that are considered better than their original are very few. Godfather Part II is the only one I can think of. However, Bride of Frankenstein could likely fit in in that slim category. Production values were much higher than the first, settings improved, and a great deal of weird and humorous characters thrown in. While thaty humor could spell disaster for a horror film, Bride of Frankenstein succeeds. It soars to great heights in the fright films' echelon, a must-see classic. Whether you only want to see Elsa Lanchester's Bride's swanlike hiss, or the looney tunes Ernest Thesinger's experiments with tiny people, you will ievtably watch the whole film unfold yet agaiin. The center of this film is the Frankenstein monster as it stumbles form one nightmare situation to another, desperately trying to stay alive (as it were) and to be accepted, not shunned. To do that, you really needed an actor like Boris Karloff, who could not only be menacing, but he could tear your heart out in pathos. His is without a doubt the best performance in the film. So, sit down, watch the electrical equipment spark and crackle, as a new life is born...the Bride of Frankenstein.

The video on this is very good, but due to the condition of the film itself it is not a stellar restoration...but it is likely that this HD is the best you will ever see.

Audio is excellent, and especially effective for Franz Waman's famous film score.

The extras include an audio commentary, which I found quite uninvolving. Likewise, there is a documentary, "Creating the Bride of Frankenstein" (SD), which, honestly, was rather tedious because it seemed to spend less time on the making of the film and too much on contemporary filmmakers' saying, "Gee, when I first saw this...". There are also movie trailers for four different Frankenstein films, plus an archive of photos and posters. In addition, there is a newer short (HD) about restoring the classics, which you can find on other releases.

I am not sure why, but after watching the film and the extras, I felt a little disappointed with the totality of the release. It is possibly the condition of the film and the lackluster extras this time, but I still recommend it.

The Phantom of the Opera [Blu-ray] [1943] [Region Free]
The Phantom of the Opera [Blu-ray] [1943] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Nelson Eddy
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To me, the most enjoyable of the Phantom films, 13 Oct 2012
Of the three Phantoms (prior to the musical remake), the Claude Rains version remains my favorite. A good combination of horror, comedy, and music, plus the lush Technicolor cinematography, bring it to the forefront, as far as I am concerned. Claude Rains is a violinist who is driven mad when he thinks his concerto has been stolen by a music publisher. Of course, getting a tray of photochemicals searing into his face probably did nothing to calm his nerves. Before this, the violinist had been a gentle man who was secretly using his salary at the Paris Opera House to pay for the lessons of a young singer (played by Susanna Foster).

NOT-EXACTLY-A-SPOILER ALERT: I menton this because it was a theme cut from the film, so doesn't it doesn't hurt the viewing. The commentary reveals that the violinist was secretly the young singer's father, but she didn't know this. There was at least one scene filmed between an opera singer (Nelson Eddy) and her aunt in which it is revealed, but it - and the subplot - was cut from the film, partly because the powers-that-be at Universal feared the relationship between the Phantom and the young singer would look a bit incestuous. Now, with that removed, it looks like he is an old man trying to hit on her, LOL. It's better to just watch it with the father-protecting-his-daugher theme in mind. It works much nicer and brings a sensitivity to the performance of Claude Rains as the violinist. END OF NOT-EXACTLY-A-SPOILER ALERT.

The high-definition transfer is several steps up from the DVD release. No, it is nowhere even close to today's standards, naturally, but it still looks very good, and, boy, do I miss Technicolor! Lush colors abound, far superior to the DVD.

Audio is quite sufficent, retaining its mono nature in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Again, much better than the DVD.

There may not be a lot of extras but what is there is entertaining and VERY informative. Most of these have been carried over from the DVD:

"The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked" (SD, 51 minutes) explores the history of the Phantom in movies from Lon Chaney through Herbert Lom. Film historian Scott MacQueen hosts this detailed documentary and there are short interviews with Susanna Foster, Carla Lamaelle, and Universal star Turhan Bey. Excellent and well-done.

"Production Photographs" (SD) is a series of 67 images.

"Audio Commentary" by McQueen provides a lot of informative facts about the stars and the production. The commentary is available as subtitles only while viewing the movie with the movie's regular audio.

Other extras include a 7-minute short about the Universal lot and a trailer. Regretably, two minor (but nice) things from the DVD are missing from the Blu: production notes and bios of the cast and filmmakers.

Highly recommended.

Passport To Pimlico [Blu-ray] [1949]
Passport To Pimlico [Blu-ray] [1949]
Dvd ~ Stanley Holloway
Price: £18.23

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When British comedies were at their zenith!, 21 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The story of "Passport to Pimlico" is one of those inventive comedies of classic British cinema. Pimlico is a small area of central London, and in it is a leftover WWII German bomb that explodes, uncovering an underground cave containing treasures and a scroll from the Duke of Burgundy. The scroll is translated and it turns out that Pimlico is not part of England, but still a part of Burgundy, France. The first thing the citizens do is tear up their English ration books, and go hogwild buying as much food and clothes as they want. Londoners start flooding into this "foreign land" to buy some of these items, until the government of England sets up roadblocks going in and out. The hilarity continues as the new Burgandians fight for their rights.

Sporting an impressive British cast of Stanley Holloway, Margaret Rutherford, and Hermione Baddeley, laughs come often in this witty black-and-white film from 1948, one of the first of Ealing Studios classic comedies.

The film has been restored, and for the most part it is impressive. However, it does still have areas of streakiness.

Audio is restricted to a mono 2.0 soundtrack, but that is all you really need for this movie. It delivers every classic line clearly.

The extras are minimal. A three-minute interview with BFI curator shows he is extremely nervous, and delivers it quickly. There is also a featurette that compares modern locations with those in the film. A short photo gallery and a restoration comparison round out the extras.

Highly recommended for British comedy fans.

THIS IS A REGION B LOCKED BLU-RAY, which will not play in the U.S. unless you have an all-region Blu-ray player.

Limelight - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray] [1952]
Limelight - Dual Format Edition [Blu-ray] [1952]
Dvd ~ Charlie Chaplin
Price: £12.60

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chaplin classic, 3 Jun 2012
Charlie Chaplin had a gift to make people laugh, but he also had one other skill that seldom gets mentioned. ..he could tear your heart out with a look. And there are plenty of those looks here in this story of a an old stage comic past his prime but not past his dreams. I don't think this film could ever be called a comedy (there are never moments that make you laugh), but it is a bittersweet look at life in showbiz of Calvero, a man who had reached the top but is now just a historical footnote. Indeed, it is a look at the stage performers of Chaplin's past.

There is a poignancy between Calvero (Chaplin), the washed-up comic, and the young ballerina (Claire Bloom in a beautiful performance) he nurses back to health. A good supporting cast aids the story, including Buster Keaton in a small role (the only time both were in the same film). But, make no mistake, this is Chaplin's movie, and you can see him in a rich performance that encompasses both sorrow and dignity.

The quality of the video in Blu-ray is excellent, and since there is a DVD in this two-disc release, you can see the immediate improvement in quality on the Blu-ray. And if you compare it to the horrendous DVD release from Warner Bros. several years ago, you will see the Blu is a miracle. Audio is also excellent.

One other important thing to note about the difference between the U.S. DVD release and the UK Blu release is the running time. It's the same film but the UK runs about 8 minutes longer due to the U.S. WB DVD release being speeded up because they used a PAL version.

However, the WB release from several years ago does have a distinct advantage over this release, and that is in the Extras section. There are none on the Blu-ray disc itself, and what extras there are are relegated to the DVD in this Blu/DVD combo:

"Chaplin Today - Limelight" (20 min.)
Introduction by David Robinson (6 min.)
Deleted scene (4 min.)
Footlights (two readings running a total of 3 min.).

BADLY MISSING from the Warner Bros. release from several years ago:

Home movies (16 min.)
Photo gallery of about 200 pictures
Poster gallery
Two theaterical trailers
The Professor (7 min. of an uncompleted silent era short featuring a character like in the flea circus sketch on
Original isolated film score
23 min. of scenes from films in the Chaplin collection

Also missing in this Blu/DVD combo release is the French audio that was on the WB DVD.

The Blu video is the way to go...and if you can pick up the WB DVD release cheap, do so for the extras disc.

This is a Region B locked release for both discs.

Pillow Talk [Limited Edition Digibook] [Blu-ray] [1959][Region Free]
Pillow Talk [Limited Edition Digibook] [Blu-ray] [1959][Region Free]
Dvd ~ Doris Day
Offered by Emjays Webstore LTD
Price: £17.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Universal digibook, 26 May 2012
I just got the UK digibook and it looks great! Region free, same extras as the U.S. release (just no DVD, which is okay) and the digibook continues Universal's tradition of having the best-designed books (All Quiet on the Western Front, To Kill A Mockingbird, Buck Privates). And the film looks terrific. If you don't care about the DVD, and would like to save money, get this from Amazon UK.

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