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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Black Christmas [Blu-ray]

 

(Glen Morgan, 2006)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Video: TVA Films

 

Discs:

Region FREE

Feature Runtime: 1:30:05

Chapters: 24

Feature film disc size: 20.5 Gig

One single-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 28th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Audio:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles:
Feature: None
 

Supplements:

What Have You Done? - The Remaking of Black Christmas (28:03)
May All Your Christmas Be Black (26:32)
Deleted Scenes (7:41) / Alternate Endings (12:18)

 

Product Description: A handful of sorority girls remain at the house after the school shuts down for Christmas break. An ominous snowstorm blows in isolating them. At the same time a killer--who in this remake version escapes from a mental institution to return to his former family home--breaks into the attic and begins making terrifying phone calls to the girls (led by Kate Cassidy Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert) before killing them off one by one. SCTV veteran Andrea Martin who portrayed a victim in the original returns as Ms. Mac the house mother. ices of the demented, terrifying, but hilarious "bioexorcist,"...

 

 

 

The Film:

Actually, this sorority-house slasher flick is a remake of the granddaddy of the genre, 1974's "Black Christmas," which was directed by Bob Clark before he went on to fashion a proper holiday classic in "A Christmas Story." The original starred a young Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, and Andrea Martin before the latter went on to comedy fame as a founding member of SCTV, and was notable for a killer who was never identified.

 

 


All right, history lesson's over. How's the new one? About what you'd expect from a director, Glen Morgan, who wrote the "Final Destination" movies: silly, obvious, clumsy, and just gruesome enough to keep jaded genre fans from angrily throwing popcorn at the screen.

Excerpt from The Boston Globe located HERE

 

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

Firstly, this is also from Quebec-based TVA films (as was the interlaced La Vie En Rose Blu-ray). It is recognized on Amazon.com as an 'import' with a release date on November 18th, 2008. The cover is incorrect and the correct one is above. Black Christmas (the 2006 remake - not, unfortunately the '74 original) on Blu-ray supports some decent image quality. Far in advance of the film content - I must say. It often appears to me to have been shot on DV but I can only find references that it was 35mm. It's clean - fairly strong in the abundant dark scenes and although noise exists it is easy to differentiate from a typical SD-DVD. It is not particularly detailed but I can see some film grain and it has a vintage 'look' as if an homage to the original - or they just had baser production funds. It never climbs the heights that some may expect from this new format but it undoubtedly has a competent and consistent appearance. Technically it is single-layered with the feature size being a reasonable 20 Gig. I don't see strong evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. As far as the video quality goes - this is shade better than expected.

NOTE: the killer here is supposed to have a greenish look (in his eyes and skin) as he supposedly has a rare liver disease. Uh Huh.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
I samples both the TrueHD and 5.1 Surround options and I couldn't really tell much difference. It sounded okay, but the mix is not nearly as dynamic as could have been to benefit this lackluster film. Only the most bombastic and aggressive of effects make there way to the rear speakers. Overall it is very clean and dialogue clear but nothing to extol in any great detail. Despite being region-free there are no subtitles at all.

 

Extras:
We have a little better than your average featurettes - What Have You Done? - The Remaking of Black Christmas is about 30 minutes worth of mish-mash production, preparation and the like with director Morgan giving input as well as some of the cast and crew. May All Your Christmas Be Black is yet another 30 minutes of focusing primarily on the guts of the shooting. There are some Deleted Scenes (7:41) and an Alternate Endings (12:18). The film certainly doesn't deserve these extensive extras and if you are not into them (as I wasn't) it can seem like a lot of glad-handing and fluff.
Still it is better than nothing If you are at all interested in indulging.

 

 

Bottom line:
Some day we'll figure out why there is so much crap on
Blu-ray. It must be a monetary thing and this film was made begging for an audience and some revenue. They have taken a decent concept and turned it into an absurd caricature. This isn't a film you need to see on Blu-ray or any other format for that matter. Despite the production description - it's not even so bad that it's funny - it's so bad that it's a ridiculous waste of time. I'd love to give it a thumbs-down but the imperfect 1080P image is not too bad. If you simply must see it as a fan of the original then this Blu-ray will give you a decent enough presentation. 

Gary Tooze

October 26th, 2008

 

 

 

 





 

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