H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs 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







Hors de prix aka Priceless [Blu-ray]


(Pierre Salvadori, 2006)



Review by Gary Tooze


Studio: Studio Canal / Samuel Goldwyn Films

Video: First Look Pictures



Region: 'A'

Feature Runtime: 1:45:53

Chapters: 12

Feature film disc size: 17.6 Gig

One single-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 18th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1


French: TrueHD 5.1, French (2.0)

Feature: English (sdh), Spanish, and none


Deleted scenes (16:29, 18:48) - no subtitles

Outtakes - Bloopers (5:21)  - no subtitles
Making of... (26:56)  - no subtitles

Trailers for Transsiberian, Sukiyaki Western Django, War Inc., Paris je T'aime


Product Description: On the French Riviera, nothing comes cheap. And when it comes to men, Irene has very rich taste. One very confusing night, she is duped at her own game. Her knight in shining armor turns out to have no shine at all. Irene, however, is the woman of Jean's dreams. The only way to win her heart back is to turn the tables on her. Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code, Amelié) stars in a romantic comedy that proves true love is PRICELESS...




The Film:

Priceless, in my opinion, is just that – absolutely priceless! Audrey Tautou plays Irène, who flits around the world with older, richer men, moving on when she finds a man wealthier. Bored and restless one night while her current beau sleeps, she ventures alone to the hotel bar, where she finds the be-suited bar man Jean (Gad Elmaleh) asleep on the job. She mistakenly assumes that he is a wealthy patron and turns on the charm, ending up in bed with him. When she is busted by her beau, she discovers that her new hope is a fraud. As he desperately tries to win her affection, he stumbles into the same gold-digging game.



I adored Audrey Tautou in Amelie, she was so sweet and unassuming. Here she plays an utterly determined, yet completely unsuccessful gold-digger, but despite this, you can’t help but feel for her character. I think it is those big, sad, Bambi eyes. She is an incredibly talented actress, and even as Irène acts the gold-digger to teach Jean, you are utterly taken in by her performance. She is never too much...

Excerpt from Katy Carter's review at Eye For Film located HERE


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

The Blu-ray transfer okay. I wouldn't say anything is exemplary and does have some weakness. It's acceptably clean, bright colors, pretty crisp, moderate to strong detail - about what most would expect from a high-definition transfer in those areas. I wouldn't say it underwhelms but there isn't a ton of depth but I expect this still looks as faithful as one might anticipate from the theatrical. It certainly doesn't hurt the look that the cast are all great looking people and the location is the French Riviera. Background noise and artifacts are the big culprit appearing more prominent than purists may appreciate. This probably has to do with compression as the feature takes up limited 17 Gig.  I don't see evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. I don't have any strong complaints - aside from the noise, and the image quality falls far short of perfection although I expect this is the best treatment it will be getting. A final observation is about Audrey Tautou - who has so much camera appeal that her eyes alone improve this Blu-ray presentation. I was reminded of Audrey Hepburn - and that's about as big a compliment as I can give (and, goodness, is she sure skinny too!).


















Audio & Music:  
TrueHD 5.1, in French, with a 2.0 channel included as an option. The film has no dynamic action sequences - it's all center channel dialogue and Camille Bazbaz's quaint score from the mains. I don't recall noting any effects or audio permeating to the rear channels (maybe some door knocks and car sounds) and the mix remains fairly limited. Dialogue is very clear and there are optional subtitles offered in
English or Spanish.


Now, there are some extensive deleted scenes and short outtakes but neither are offered in English (French with no subs) and although seemingly inaccessible from the Menu system - I was able to view a 25-minute 'Making of...' through my computer - although it too is English unfriendly. So, nothing really although I did get a kick out of the 5 minute bloopers (outtakes.)



Bottom line:
I thought this film was a very entertaining love story and although the
Blu-ray rendering is nothing special it surely beats out SD-DVD for overall presentation. If you are keen on the film, then this is a genuinely sexy way to watch it - just keep your expectations in-check
as to the transfer highs. Most who venture here probably won't be too picky as to the weaknesses.

Gary Tooze

November 8th, 2008





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