H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

 

Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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Interview with the Vampire [Blu-ray]

 

(Neil Jordan, 1994)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Video: Warner Video

 

Discs:

Region FREE

Feature Runtime: 2:02:33

Chapters: 13

Feature film disc size: 20.3 Gig

One single-layered disc

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 7th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Audio:
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, DUBs: French: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 1.0

Subtitles:
Spanish, English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
 

Supplements:

• Director’s Commentary with Neil Jordan
• Featurette: “In the Shadow of the Vampire” (29:43)
• Introduction by Anne Rice, Neil Jordan and Antonio Banderas
• Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

 

 

Product Description: The undead are among us and livelier than ever when Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a talented group of young bloods star in Interview With The Vampire, the spellbinding screen adaptation of the Anne Rice bestseller./Award-winning and box-office favourite Cruise stars as the supremely evil and charismatic vampire Lestat. Pitt is Louis, lured by Lestat into the immortality of the damned, then tormented by an unalterable fact of vampire life: to survive, he must kill. Stephen Rea, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and newcomer Kirsten Dunst also star. One lifetime alone offers plenty of opportunities for the savage revelries of the night. Imagine what an eternity can bring. Hypnotically directed by Neil Jordan, Interview With The Vampire offers enough thrills, shocks and fiendish fun to last a lifetime, and beyond....

 

 

 

The Film:

Although one of the characters in "Interview with the Vampire" begs to be transformed into a vampire, and eagerly awaits the doom of immortality, the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness. That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they'd gotten away with something. But the first great vampire movie, "Nosferatu" (1922), knew better, and so does this one.

 

 

 

The movie is true to the detailed vision that has informed all of Anne Rice's novels, and which owes much to the greater taste for realism which has crept into modern horror fiction. It is a film about what it might really be like to be a vampire. The title sets the tone, and in the opening scenes, set in San Francisco, the 200-year-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) submits to an interview by a modern journalist (Christian Slater), just as any serial killer or terrorist bomber might sit down to talk to "60 Minutes." His story begins in the late 1700s, in New Orleans, that peculiar city where even today all things seem possible, and where, after losing his wife and daughter, he threw himself into a life of grief and debauchery. His path crossed that of the vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise), who transformed him into a vampire, and ever since he has wandered the world's great cities, feeding on the blood of his victims. 

 

  Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE
 

Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

An unusual production in that it utilizes a lot of natural looking light (mostly from many candles and often fire) - hence the image quality is quite dark for much of the film. It doesn't report a lot of detail in the image but grain is very visible and I tend to believe this was the intent of DP Philippe Rousselot.  This exports a fairly unique look and is a great mood setter. Personally I really liked this 1080P image as I felt it was very accurate to original. Those expecting the usual Blu-ray vibrancy may be disappointed but for those who have seen it in other digital forms, I'm guessing this appearance will be somewhat of a revelation. Hopefully the expandable captures below will give you an idea of how it will look on your system.

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
Some may be a bit disappointed in the standard 5.1 track (that is actually eclipsed by SD- that was in DTS). Separation exists but not nearly as dynamic as it could have been. It's an unusual decision by Warner, but probably won't be a reason to avoid this release. The soundtrack includes a nice mix with some classic (Handels' "Terpsichore and Harp Concerto in B Flat", Haydn's "Sonata in E Flat Adagio E Cantabile") and "Sympathy for the Devil" written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. I didn't find Elliot Goldenthal' score overly memorable or impacting but it maintained the mood without undue diversion.  Dialogue, is clean and clear and subtitles are available in the standard Warner options
.

 

 

 

Extras:
S
upplements are all carried over from the previous SD release. I enjoyed the director’s commentary with Neil Jordan - he's a smart guy and has some strong creativity to his work. There is a half-hour featurette: “In the Shadow of the Vampire” with bits and pieces on production and multiple sound bites - but nothing extensive. There is an introduction by author Anne Rice, Neil Jordan and Antonio Banderas and finally a theatrical Trailer.

 

Bottom line:
I've grown to appreciate this film much more than when I first saw it. Warner has done a competent job with the
Blu-ray transfer and it really is, now, the only way to see it your home theater. The SD just couldn't bring to the table the eccentricities of the lighting. Fans of the principle actors or 'vampire cinema' should definitely indulge. This is the type of film that may be looked on years from now as a bit of a misunderstood masterpiece.

Gary Tooze

September 25th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 





 

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