Paramount Blu-Rays for May
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Enemy at the Gates
Last month, Paramount released a crap load of big titles on Blu Ray so I just popped ‘em in one after another to check them out.
Paramount's May Titles on Blu-Ray
Enemy at the Gates – Very good warzone detail in close-up. Landscape shots get soft and grainy. What colors there are on the battlefield pop out of the otherwise green/gray rubble. You can see scratches on the glass of the sniper scopes so I guess that’s the coolest thing you can hope for on a Blu Ray of this movie. Otherwise, it’s 50/50 whether it’ll be sharp and crisp or soft and grainy.
Fatal Attraction – Very crisp and clear restoration of this film. Some scenes look like brand new modern day film. You can see Glenn Close’s freckles. Some scenes get soft or grainy in trickier settings, but there are lots of good sequences. That elevator sex scene is full of gritty detail, if you’re looking around the action there. Alex’s loft, the subway, the office, all clear, as if this were one of the films they really cared about preserving.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Well, I haven’t seen this all time favorite look so clear in my life. Of course I can’t vouch for my memories of the theatrical viewing but it couldn’t have been this sharp. Most of the film is just a tad higher than film grade, with some hints of grain from ‘80s film stock, but views of Chicago are like you’re hanging from a helicopter in the safety of your living room. Colors are bright if not totally surreal, and there’s shine off fancy cars and elegant restaurants. A few interiors may be soft and/or grainy, more on close-ups and character dialogue. The travelogue stuff goes full Blu Ray.
Grease – Amazing. This is one of those restoration deals where they go back and make a classic look better than the movies of today. You see all the detail in dinged up cars and all the clarity in locations that look like you could go visit them right now. Of course it’s super colorful.
Indecent Proposal – There’s a certain grain to this transfer that makes it look aged. I guess 1993 is aged. Sometimes it gets super grainy, sometimes it’s clear. It seems like the lighting was such that it exposed a lot of grain and didn’t capture a lot of detail. There’s not a whole lot of detail but it looks like a clean film print.
The Machinist – A super crisp, highly detailed presentation of this creeper. In dark lighting, everything is distinct. The centerpiece visual is Christian Bale himself, with Blu Ray allowing us to see close up just how sickly he looked. Then all the detail in the factory… This is Blu Ray is a full onslaught of oppressive visuals.
Major League – A somewhat soft look to the film, but clear. Perhaps the softness smoothed out the grain, unless we’re talking about the sky. It doesn’t look like real life but it sure looks like nice film. Lush colors on the field pop with some detail in the dirt. Those empty red seats offer a sharp contrast to the green on the ground. Not a lot of exotic visuals but it does the job on an HDTV.
Paycheck – Generic sci-fi action looks a little grainy, but it’s sharp grainy, like the film is so crisp, even the molecules are visible. It’s sharp, shiny, colorful and honestly makes you notice the scene more than you would if you just half-watched the DVD. Certainly Paycheck fans should be happy with this presentation. Days of Thunder fans didn’t have it this good.
Saturday Night Fever – There are some overlit sequences, particularly the opening strut, that wash out all the color, but when it gets inside, and when the sun goes down, you see Blu Ray quality visuals. The streets glisten with detail, the fashions shine and the lights flash all sorts of colors around the screen. Some of the nightclub scenes wash out portions of the frame but that’s ‘70s disco lighting for you. It looks like it’s supposed to, and unreal for a 30-year-old film. Now, where’s my <B>Stayin’ Alive</b> Blu Ray?
3 Days of the Condor – This film definitely looks of its era. It’s slightly faded and washed out like that ‘70s film stock. It’s totally clear and sharp, but what’s sharp is a lot of grain filling in the background. So this Blu Ray preserved a film aesthetic of the time in which the film was made.
Wayne’s World/Wayne’s World 2 – These look good. Not stunning, but good. They’re faithful to the movie so they don’t go into the surreal, but they’re really good movie transfers. You’ll see some grain in some backgrounds, and you won’t see extreme detail in sequences like the desert dreams or the classic basement set, but it’s sharp and vibrant. Yet you will in the street hockey scene, and you will see glowing neon pastel along the Aurora streets.
Sources: Image property of respective holders
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