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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Mother aka Madeo [Blu-ray]

 

(Joon-ho Bong, 2009)

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Coming to the UK September 2010:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Barunson

Video: CJ Entertainment vs. Magnolia

 

Disc:

CJ Entertainment is Region: A + B  /  Magnolia is Region FREE

(as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:01.608  /  2:09:05.779

Disc Size: 47,618,602,721 bytes / 42,040,071,890 bytes

Feature Size: 31,577,849,856 bytes / 32,658,499,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.62 Mbps / 27.97 kbps

Chapters: 23 / 16

Case: Bookstyle case inside a cardboard slipcover - standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 1st, 2010  /  July 20th, 2010

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 2855 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2855 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio Korean 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -1dB

 

DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 3966 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3966 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, Korean, none  /  English, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary (Korean only)

'Interviews', 'Making Of...' etc. - all in Korean with no English subtitles

 

Making of... (1:30:34) - all with English subtitles

Music Score (15:18)

Supporting Actors (14:33)

Cinematography (9:12)

Production Design (11:48)

A Look at Actress Kim Hye-ja (9:23)

Behind the Scenes (6:51)

Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The Host director Bong Joon Ho presents a different kind of monster in a searing, subversive mystery thriller that rips through the facade of small-town Korea. Veteran actress Kim Hye Ja delivers a commanding performance as the devoted mother who goes to desperate extremes to protect her mentally disabled son, played by popular actor Won Bin (Taegukgi) appearing in his first film in five years. Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, Mother opened in Korea to blockbuster reception, proving to be another commercial and critical hit for Bong.
Seemingly normal people and places peel away to reveal an unsettling portrait of small-town Korea gone wrong in Mother. When mentally slow Do Joon (Won Bin) gets arrested for murder, his mother (Kim Hye Ja) faces an uphill battle to clear his name. Everyone including the police are convinced that Do Joon is the culprit, but she knows that her son wouldn't kill. She begins to dig left and right to find the real killer herself, but her sleepy hometown holds many secrets that are best left unturned.

Ultimate Blu-ray Edition comes with audio commentary, making of, interview with Bong Joon Ho, deleted scenes with commentary, cast interview, art and music featurette, photo gallery, trailer, and other special features.

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

The Film:

Bong Joon-Ho’s ‘The Host’ may have rocked the international geek community, but those of us who like our genre movies straight and unfussy found its madcap tonal instability a little hard to stomach. There are no such problems with his follow up, ‘Mother’, a thoughtful, challenging Hitchcockian small-town thriller that treats its plot and characters with nothing less than the utmost respect, and is all the more satisfying for it. The story feels timeless: when ageing acupuncturist Kim Hye-ja’s mentally challenged son is put on trail for murder, she embarks on a relentless quest for justice, no matter the emotional cost. Gorgeously photographed, flawlessly acted and structured like a steel trap, ‘Mother’ is one of the year’s best.

Excerpt from Tom Huddleston review at Time Out located HERE

 

Mother is a story in Hitchcockian vein, tailored for audiences today that like their thrills to contain rather more explicit material and rather more down and dirty human foibles than even those revealed in the old master's most extreme displays of human nastiness. An intellectually challenged young man, goaded by a cynical mate, attempts to accost a young girl walking home alone late at night. Who she is, what she does and what he does form the core of the story which we are led through by the boy's mother, a somewhat hapless figure who makes a living selling herbal remedies and giving illegal acupuncture treatments. She's convinced he's innocent and sets out to prove it. Mothers are like that - always wanting to believe the best about their kids no matter what the evidence. She however is like the rest of the population - cops, crooks, thugs, schoolboys, schoolgirls and more - all just that bit twisted, just that bit tempted to be nasty when they can.

Excerpt from Geoff Gardner at Urban Cinefile located HERE

 

 


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

Buoyed by Kyung-Pyo Hong's (Il Mare) striking cinematography and some adept art direction, Joon-ho Bong's Mother arrives on Blu-ray from CJ Entertainment looking quite gorgeous. Detail is uniformly crisp, colors are rich and true and there is a slight hint of textured grain. Contrast produces some deep black levels and many scenes have notable depth. It has a darker edge to it - never approaching highly glossy, unnatural, visuals. This is an exceptionally strong-looking Blu-ray transfer that has no discernable DNR or digital manipulations.  I hazard to guess this may be the most impressive appearance we have seen so far in 2010 (early in the year, I know) from the Blu-ray format! The dual-layered, with high bitrate, is approaching the best this 1080P resolution has to offer. This image is top-shelf!

 

Firstly, I am well aware that very few of these are EXACTframe matches - in duplicating the manner in which we obtained the CJ Entertainment captures I had some difficulties getting the same frames using the same method (a non-removable timeline appears when pausing in the Magnolia disc).

 

Just like Magnolia's Warlords beside the Asian Blu-ray release - there are some color discrepancies. Although here they seem more directly related to contrast with blues and grays appears as greens, mauve etc. Throughout, the Magnolia is much lighter. Is it more accurate to theatrical? Possibly - but I don't know. Technically there is not much to choose from - roughly the same feature film disc size and bitrate. I think I prefer the CJ Entertainment but I can see how the Magnolia may be more correct - it often shows more detail that is lost in the darker Asian 1080P transfer. It is quite possible that the CJ Entertainment is boosted. In any case I think it may come down to a personal preference until we obtain some concrete data on the original visual source. Let's move on...   

 

NOTE: Bruce sends us this in email: "I'm very disappointed with the Magnolia transfer. Yes, as you pointed out, it's lighter than the CJE transfer but that's not the worst aspect of it. It has at least one glaring example of hideous artifacting, which is completely absent from the CJE disc. If you still have the Magnolia disc, take a look at the scene where the junk dealer is murdered. Just after the murder, there is a long shot of the mother screaming. Look at the net hanging on the wall behind her - as the camera moves slightly, the artifacting is obvious even on my 46" plasma display. (The shot timing is 103' 20".) There's no such problem at all on the CJE disc.

I don't know why this should have happened on the Magnolia disc, as the video bitrate is comparable to that used on the CJE transfer, but this is enough to persuade me that the CJE disc is the one to keep
." (Thanks Bruce!)

 

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

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray TOP vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2855 kbps doesn't have a lot to work with in terms of an aggressive soundtrack but it does support the suspenseful aspects of the film with an encompassing aura that fills the room in certain scenes. It doesn't have over-reaching depth but everything is adeptly crisp and even. I don't know of any other film work from composer Byeong-woo Lee but Mother has some subtleties in the film's music - gently supporting the plot twists and turns. There are adeptly rendered English subtitles that may be a shade précised at times but I noted no grammar or spelling faux pas'. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region A + B disc playable on most Blu-ray machines in the world.

 

The Magnolia track is more robust and some, more sensitive to audio renderings, may be able to identify this more easily from listening during the film. I do *think* I could hear things a shade tighter with some further apparent separations - but it is nothing I could state with certainty. The US release English subtitles may be marginally more complete too - and my Momitsu has identified it as being a totally region FREE disc playable Blu-ray machines throughout in the world.

 

Extras :

Unfortunately, the supplements, including a director commentary, are all in Korean (as are the menus) with no English subtitle options that I have been able to uncover. I'll keep trying but have not had any luck so far.

 

This is here the Magnolia takes the biggest advancement. Aside from the Korean only commentary it appears to have all the featurettes of the CJ Entertainment - but they are now translated into English. Most notably we have an 1 1/2 hour 'Making of..." with many sequences during production. the rest are rounded out with pieces on the Music Score, Supporting Actors, Cinematography, Production Design, A Look at Actress Kim Hye-ja, trailers and more. It comes to another hour making supplements a whopping 2.5+ hours. Great job Magnolia.  

 

CJ Entertainment - Region: A + B Blu-ray LEFT vs. Magnolia - Region FREE Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Despite the lack of English 'friendly' extras, this Blu-ray offers quite a substantial amount with a highly engrossing thriller looking and sounding pristine. It may eventually be released by Magnolia in the US but I doubt it will be as mesmerizing an image quality (I *think* all Magnolia transfers in 1080P have been single-layered up to this point). For those keen to see Joon-ho Bong's film at home, outside of the Festival circuit, this Blu-ray offers the definitive A/V. It may be enough to impress friends as a 'demo' for your system.

 

I suppose this is an easy call if you reside in region 'C' (only the region free Magnolia will play in that region)... but with the extensive extras, more robust audio and, probably, un-manipulated video I think I am leaning to the US release. Let's see if anyone in-the-know chirps in about the video differences - stay tuned! 

Gary Tooze

January 8th, 2010

July 15th, 2010

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Coming to the UK September 2010:


 

About the Reviewer: 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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