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Morten Hillebert Bay (Struer, Denmark)
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Titanic [DVD] [1997]
Titanic [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great transfer, low on extras., 14 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Titanic [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
If you happened to see Titanic in it's theatrical re-release, and still cling to the DVD-format, this is the DVD for you. It contains the newly remastered transfer also used for the film's 2D Blu-Ray release, thus making this the best-looking DVD of Titanic you are likely to ever find. It therefore also contains the fixed night-sky scene from the theatrical release, though this will not be important to the casual viewer, as it doesn't have any impact on the narrative AT ALL.

The movie is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and with a good new 5.1 Dolby Digital surround soundtrack (thought the Deluxe Edition's DTS-offering is sorely missed).

Likewise, the only extras offered on this DVD are the previously released deleted or extended scenes and the alternate ending - although they too have received a new transfer. None of the other great extras have been ported over from the 4-disc Deluxe Edition, so don't let the 2-disc tag fool you - it's merely to split the movie in two, to uptimise picture and sound on the DVD format - similar to how the Avatar Collector's Edition DVD also had three discs like the Blu-Ray, but only featured a fraction of the extras.


Superman Returns [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Superman Returns [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Brandon Routh
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £3.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Good-looking full-screen DVD, 14 Aug 2014
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Enough has been said about this movie, that I will only say I generally like it. The rest of this review I will therefore concentrate on the full-screen (4:3) single-disc DVD which I've purchased.

I bought this DVD back before I got Blu-Ray, when I viewed most of my movies on an SD 67" square tube. I've always been a fan of original aspect ratio, (in this film's case, 2.39:1) but when dealing with a standard definition screen, the extra pixels of resolution is also just worth it. As such, I found myself buying many movies both in full-screen and original aspect ratio versions.

Now, enough of that.
The extra lines of resolution, as mentioned above, allow this version of Superman Returns to be, by a wide margin, the best looking DVD available. However, of course, this does mean you compromise on the aspect ratio, and more often than not loose some information on either side of the picture. However, this DVD isn't fully Pan-&-Scan, but has actually had its composition opened up slightly, in many cases showing a little bit more on top and bottom of the picture. If you still have a 4:3 television, this might be the version for you.

The audio is a perfectly serviceable 5.1 soundtrack, the same that appears on all versions of this movie on DVD. This movie could have benefited greatly from a DTS soundtrack, but the track available isn't terrible by any stretch:

The single-disc version contains no special features other than the opening trailer-show.


The Dark Knight Trilogy (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
The Dark Knight Trilogy (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by encorerecords
Price: £23.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Streamlined box set. Best on DVD!, 14 Aug 2014
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Definitely the best version of these DVDs available in the UK. The exclusive bonus disc for The Dark Knight Rises including most of the Blu-Ray's bonus features is a welcome addition to this set, and is what will warrant a potential double dip.
The main drawback of this release for me, is that neither The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises is presented in the full-screen IMAX-format, like the Blu-Rays. However, some viewers might prefer it this way, with a single aspect ratio.
The packaging itself is very attractive, with a lenticular cover representing all three movies in one cover and the fold-out digitrays presenting the three movies, each with two discs, with their own colour scheme. Very streamlined!


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD]
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Offered by EagleDVD
Price: £10.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, great extras, good transfer., 14 Aug 2014
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The Movie:
The movie itself is arguably the best in the trilogy, though it shouldn't necessarily be taken as its own movie. The extended cut of this movie is as great as the one for the first two - it not only expands the running time - it also expands on the story and gives fans a chance to see things that didn't make it from book to cinema screen. The movie is split on two discs; this gives the viewer a logical break in the

The Video:
For a DVD, the picture is adequate. That said, as a cinephile, it does always bother me, when a DVD transfer has black bars all the way around the movie - I mean, of course there should be black bars top and bottom to preserve the original theatrical aspect ratio. But those 6-10 on either side of the image are so ugly, when your monitor doesn't apply overscan. This arguably won't bother most casual viewers anyway, and the rest of the 2.39:1 picture looks excellent for a DVD, with the slightly desaturated colours of the original theatrical presentation nicely presented. Like previous releases, the integration of the new scenes is seemless.

The Audio:
The DTS 6.1 ES Surround track is excellent - simply the best DVD has to offer. It is sad, that the push towards Blu-Ray keeps these tracks from being added to DVD - of course Blu-Ray will always sound better, but especially so, if only compared to a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo tracks are also provided.

The Extras:
The last two parts of the "Appendices" are here. Once again an excellent, attractive package is rounded out by a huge amount of exclusive extras. Overall this set is definitely worth the upgrade.


Breaking Bad: The Complete Series [DVD]
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bryan Cranston
Price: £49.75

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good box-set for a great series!, 8 Feb 2014
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*This review is of the actual DVD box-set.*

The series:
Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher who, when diagnosed with cancer, decides to cook meth-amphetamine, in order to provide for his family. The actors are great, the story is gripping and always unfolding in front of your eyes. Top notch!

The picture:
The video of Breaking Bad is quite good for DVD. The DVDs never contain more than 4 episodes per disc, usually fewer, so there is plenty of room left for the encoding. The quality is almost the same throughout the series, exactly what you'd expect for a series produced in HD. Breaking Bad is a very visual series, and these DVD transfers do it justice.

The sound:
The spectrum of this series is pretty wide and on DVD the 5.1 mix included on all discs is worthy of a movie. Not every episode is all action and explosions, but even those episodes excel at selling the series' mix with with ambiance, music and clear dialogue.
The entire series has English subtitles, some seasons include SDH subtitles as well. Other languages vary from season to season.

The extras:
Here's where the deal's at. This set, despite not containing the now sold-out exclusive bonus disc on the Blu-Ray barrel release, contains a load of extras. The box claims a total of 50 hours of special features; more than the actual series' runtime. Each disc has more special features than some other series has on an entire set, including audio commentaries (on a lot of episodes), Inside Breaking Bad-mini-documentaries for EVERY episode, behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, mini-episodes, alternate endings, the extended Season 4 finale, every episode uncut and much more. Overall, it would have been nice seeing the 2-hour documentary included in the Blu-Ray set, but this package really delivers the goods, more so than many other series this length. It delivers a special features package that lives up to the standard of the series - and that's an achievement in itself.

The packaging:
The Complete Series comes in a hard card-board, glossy finish case which holds the 21 discs in six folding cardboard sleeves. The box itself has the title embossed in silver writing on all sides but the bottom and the back, with green smoke around it, the spine and front being slightly raised. All other text is on the piece of paper, which was wrapped around the box. It comes off easily, in case you want to keep it.
The box has no closing mechanism, which means it stands a little open after a while.
The individual seasons are stored in their own thinner card-board case, with each disc sliding out of a card-board sleeve. This has caused scratches and unplayable discs for some, but I had no such issues.
They all have a green design added to their spine in order to fit into the set, but otherwise carry over the widely varied designs from their original individual releases. The insides of the volumes are similarly varied, with the only thing in common being the episode guide that appears above each disc.
The Season 1 volume holds 3 discs, Season 2-4 holds four discs each.
Season 5 has, like its individual release, been split into two volumes in this set; Season 5 and Final Season. They each hold three discs, for a total of six discs.

Overall the set looks great, the series is brilliant and the bonus material is engaging, well produced and most of all, plentiful. It's great for any collector who doesn't already own part of the series on DVD.
Recommended!


James Bond - 22 Film Collection [DVD] [1962]
James Bond - 22 Film Collection [DVD] [1962]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Price: £45.51

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy the French DVD edition! No spoilers., 13 Jan 2014
Let me begin by saying; I've been a Bond fan since the 2006 reboot (because of how young I am, not because of a fault in the old movies). This Christmas, I then received a sizable cash gift from my grandmother, and I decided that now was the time to watch all the old Bond movies and see what it was all about.
As a collector (and student who doesn't own a Blu-Ray player), I started out by searching the internet for the best version of all the movies collected. Of all the international Amazon websites, only the amazon.fr was able to provide a box set containing all the movies in 2-disc collector's editions and Skyfall included. If you are a collector like me, and don't mind spending the extra money, I highly recommend picking up the French Bond 50 DVD box set, over the British edition, which has very limited extras and comes without Skyfall.

THE MOVIES:
So far I've watched 11 of the included 23 movies (again, please note; the UK edition comes without Skyfall), and I must say I have enjoyed them all immensely. They are not all of equal standard, but every movie has something special of its own, and is part of a greater whole in this box set.

VIDEO:
The video quality is exceptional for DVD. In this manner the set stands out for having the Ultimate Edition transfers from around 2008. They all look beautiful, but many of the transfers are ever so slightly overscanned. This, however, is no more than most recent DVDs, and unless you are watching on a PC monitor, will be hidden by the edge of your TV. Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are all from their original transfers (2006, 2009 and 2013, respectively), which all look exceptional. The UK editions are equal in picture to the French edition.

AUDIO:
On the audio side of things is where it gets interesting. Whereas the UK edition contains both Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and DTS 5.1, the French edition "unfortunately" only has Dolby Digital 5.1 in English - the DTS soundtrack is reserved for the French dub. On my system, however, I was hardly able to hear the difference, and only the most recent of the films sounded even slightly better on the DTS soundtrack. This would not have been even close to a dealbreaker to me, had I discovered it before buying.

SUBTITLES:
The French version comes with English HOH subtitles on all of the movies.

MENUS & NAVIGATION:
The menus are in French on all the Ultimate Editions in the French box, but even the slightest knowledge of linguistics (or minimal trial and error) will steer you through without any troubles, as all the features and special features play with English soundtracks by default.

BONUS FEATURES:
Now, on to those extras: The French set contains every bit of extras released for Bond 1: Dr. No through Bond 20: Die Another Day, as well as Quantum of Solace. The only missing parts are the third disc of the Casino Royale Deluxe Edition (I recommend you pick that up ASAP) and the Blu-Ray exclusive features from Skyfall. As you may have read elsewhere, the exclusive bonus disc from the Blu-Ray edition is hardly worth the upgrade. As an added bonus, the French version of Casino Royale included here, is the uncut version, unlike the UK set, which has been censored in one scene.

PACKAGING:
Packaging is another great reason to buy the French set - despite the text on the box being in French, the packaging is far better than UK version. The set opens like a chest, with the the attached on top. Inside all the movies are stored in individual slimcases, with two discs in each, except for Skyfall, which is in a standard-size keepcase, with a single disc. The whole thing is wrapped inside a slipcover, going all the way around the case, explaining the contents (again in French) on the back. It's a beautiful, glossy (but not shiny or indented) box that you will enjoy displaying. The one downside to the box is that to take out one movie, you'll have to take out each DVD on top, as they are stacked rather than lined up inside.
However, on the whole, the horizontal display and the individual cases inside, make this set far preferable over the cramped artwork and impractical packaging of the UK edition. If all else fails (or when the next Bond movie comes out in 2015), you can always take out the cases and display them side-by-side on your shelf.
The UK edition has a slot for Skyfall, but does not include it.

RECOMMENDATION:
French edition: Highly recommended for the collector, 5 stars.
UK edition: Equally highly recommended, if you only care about the movies, 4 stars.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED:
Apart from this box set, two more Bond movies exist: Casino Royale from 1967 and Never Say Never Again from 1983. These movies are official James Bond movies, but were produced by other companies than the rest of the series. I recommend that you go out and buy these elsewhere. If you can play Region 1 DVDs, I'd recommend you buy both in their recent Collector's Editions from America. If not, get the standard edition of Casino Royale from the UK and the German or French version of Never Say Never Again, in order to get the uncut movie.
Furthermore, you may want to get the new 2012 documentary Everything or Nothing from the UK. It's a great watch for any long-time fan of the series.
NB: Casino Royale is censored in the UK version and you have to buy Skyfall individually for the UK set as well.

Happy watching!


A Royal Affair [DVD] [2012]
A Royal Affair [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Mads Mikkelsen
Price: £3.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, distracting subtitles., 29 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Royal Affair [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie. It has great visuals, which are perfectly represented on this DVD. Mads Mikkelsen is phenomenal, as is the rest of the cast. The bonus features are interesting albeit a little short.
The one thing that distracted me from thoroughly enjoying this movie was the fact that the subtitles on this release were burned in. This won't worry English speakers who don't speak Danish, but for someone who speaks Danish as well as English, I found not being able to disable the English subtitles to be an annoyance.


Man of Steel: The Official Movie Novelization
Man of Steel: The Official Movie Novelization
by Greg Cox
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written novel, could have used a spellcheck, 26 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The novelization, initially felt like a complete retread of the source movie. However, as the plot unfolds you get familiar with many characters' points of view, and the writing improves.
You get important characterisation on key scenes, actually improving on the movie in some spots.
The novel also helped clear up/ retcon a few of the things I initially disliked about the movie.
The novel does however suffer from some lacking language skills, that could have easily been corrected by an spell-checker. General errors of note include double usage of wording, article missing, article unnecessary and a few cases of words missing a single letter. This however, does not subtract from the story, if only from the novel's otherwise substantial pull.
Well worth reading for any fan of the movie, as well as for the doubting soul.
All will be explained!


Man Of Steel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Limited Deluxe Edition) [Soundtrack]
Man Of Steel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Limited Deluxe Edition) [Soundtrack]
Price: £14.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Great soundtrack, lesser packaging, 1 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
*This review is for the Limited Deluxe Edition*

I purchased this before watching the movie, but I only received it after coming back from holiday, having already watched the movie three separate times. It wasn't until the third watch or so, that some of this soundtrack stuck with me, and I started looking forward to getting home to listen to the soundtrack.

When I finally received it, my first thought was disappointment at the packaging: The sticker on the front (and in the description) says "Contains: LIMITED EDITION Steel Packaging. As such, I was expecting a steel book or tin case deal, but the album is actually a glossy cardboard foldout, with a raised \S/ symbol and lettering on the front. Once I had gotten over this fact, though, the overall impression of what I did get was rather good, and I think it simply should have been stated somewhere that it was a "steely design" or whatever, rather than actually being made from steel.

The soundtrack itself is brilliant, as the true test of any soundtrack is whether it brings you back into the movie, and boy did it. Certain key scenes played back in my inner theatre, and every musical beat is there. It was great listening to the bonus tracks available on "Disc 2: Experiments from the Fortress of Solitude", giving you an insight into how close Hans Zimmer was the first time around, before going into recording. "Flight", arguably the main theme of the movie is a brilliant, not too dark listen, logically also the title of the first disc.

Overall, a great soundtrack and a great edition for the Man of Steel fan. Considering that it's not much more expensive than getting the download, this is definitely the set to get.


Vuzix 329T30011 Wrap 920 Video Eyewear
Vuzix 329T30011 Wrap 920 Video Eyewear

4.0 out of 5 stars Wrap 920 is better than I dared hope, 3 Dec 2012
I purchased the Vuzix Wrap 920 refurbished via the official Vuzix EU online store. I bought it as an alternative to the ridiculously expensive Sony HMZ Personal Viewer. Knowing that it would of course not be that product, I have played around with it a bit and here are my thoughts about it:

About the fit: The fit of the Wrap 920 was quite good for my eyes, and after tweaking each screen individually for each eye (I have 20/20 vision, and the 920 offers a refraction difference for people with low prescriptions, so you can wear it without your glasses), I found that the distance between my eyes must be what Vuzix have deemed to be average; I am small of build, but my eyes are somewhat far from each other. In the beginning I had some troubles fusing the two images, but after receiving the Wrap Lightshield, blocking out all but my most peripheral vision, the image fused beautifully.
Take some time to adjust the Wrap 920 to sit well on your nose, with both screens in view. The nose bridge is adjustable, and it is worth taking the time to adjust. I found, especially after adding the lightshield, that lying down was most comfortable, but even sitting up, the rather light package (about three-four times a normal pair of sunglasses) didn't slide on my face much.

About size and distance: Vuzix claims the the Wrap 920 offers a 67 inch screen as viewed from 10 ft. (3 metres). This doesn't seem completely off when viewing it without the lightshield on, but it is somewhat about perception; if you watch with a wall 10 ft. away in your peripheral vision, the screen will seem quite large (maybe not exactly 67", but close to). With the lightshield on, I felt as if though sitting in a small cinema, with especially the small distance between lens and screen feeling like small 10 ft., and lending somewhat more clarity to the images.

About clarity: It has been argued that the Wrap 920 does not offer enough clarity to watch movies with subtitles or read text as on a monitor. Though Vuzix makes it quite clear, that the Wrap 920 is not a monitor replacement, I found that setting your screen to the 920's native 640x480 allowed as clear subtitles as any SD display, and a quite clear screen. I however wouldn't recommend the Wrap 920 for reading, not because of clarity, but because the clearly interlaced image will strain the eye at reading (like any other interlaced screen). Overall, the 920 gives a feeling of a small but clear cinema screen.
I did experience nausea one time, but that was after extended use, and then quickly getting up and about afterwards, so that could be attributed to the motion sickness just as well (me moving, but my surroundings do not) thus not the fault of the device.

About 3D: The Wrap 920 handles 3D quite skillfully, and especially an input of side-by-side 3D gives good results, with full colour (still up to 24bit as with the 2D setting), but with the negative of having only 320x480 per eye. The end result does not disappoint here.
What probably did disappoint me most about the 920 was the way it handles red and blue (or red-green etc.) Instead of using a digital filter (i.e. showing an image where the red has been removed for one eye, and an image where the blue has been removed for the other, the device simply shows a red filter on one screen and a blue filter on the other, giving the impression (and ghosting) of using red-blue 3D glasses.
A positive (and very necessary feature) for all the 3D settings, however, is the inclusion of a direct-eye vs. cross-eyed view so that you don't depend of the source material having the image for the right eye in the right side.

About sound: The audio aspect of the 920 is generally high quality; the stereo sound is delivered by two (removable but not interchangeable) earplugs. The quality is high, but the right plug did make a humming sound when playing low to no sound. A minor distraction to be sure. The earplugs are noise-cancelling.

About the interface: The interface is generally nice to use, and the battery icon shows whenever you bring up the menu, or turn up and down the volume. The battery icon stays on the screen (minor distraction) once 20% or less of the battery is left.
The interface itself is very simple, however it took me a little while to figure out what was selected in menus with only two settings.
The control module has a plus and a minus button on the vertical axis and a left and a right button on the horisontal axis. That the volume is controlled by left-right seems right, but I think horisontal buttons should have been the plus and minus buttons.

About battery life: Here on Amazon they claim a battery life of 6 hours per two batteries, however the box in which the Wrap is delivered, no more than 3 hours is promised. A funny thing about this: I purchased a few standard batteries, and a whole bunch of rechargeable batteries, and actually the rechargeable batteries were the only one to last 3 to 3½ hours, whereas the standard AA batteries only gave me a maximum of 2½ hours at best.

About connectivity: I knew the Wrap 920 would come with connections for iphone/ipod (neither of which I own) as well as a component connection. I bought my own s-video to component video converter and headphone-jack to red-white audio converter to connect my PC and it worked flawlessly. The highest resolution I could get from my PC to the 920's 480i display was 1024x768, and only the native 4:3 ratios functioned.


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