Monthly Archives: May 2013

Sweet Hereafter DVD vs Blu-ray

The Sweet Hereafter 1998 DVD vs Blu-ray

The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 film directed by Atom Egoyan, adapted from a book by Russell Banks. It tells the tragic story of a school bus crash and its impact on a small town. The film drifts backwards and forwards in time, moving forward with an emotional rhythm that is emphasized by Mychael Danna’s haunting score. Ian Holm and Sarah Polley give knockout performances alongside a the troop of Eyogan regulars that includes Bruce Greenwood.

The Sweet Herafter was an early DVD ‘must-have’ released on the New Line Platinum collection, and it was through this that I personally discovered both Egoyan and Banks. Egoyan does some of his best work adapting the book for the screen, he introduces a Pied Piper motif which ties together several of the male (father) characters, and the idea of narrative being used as part of deception.

Alliance Canada have released a Blu-ray edition of the film, and not seeing any reviews online, I decided to take a look.

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"The Wonder" - Mont Saint-Michel in To the Wonder

To the Wonder iTunes HD Review

To the Wonder is the latest film from acclaimed director Terrence Malick, and it is available to rent on iTunes right now, two months before its Blu-ray release. Ben Affleck stars alongside Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams.

Ben Affleck in To the Wonder

Neil (Ben Affleck)

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the film. Beautifully shot and filled with beautiful people it’s certainly pretty to look at. There are certainly plenty of ideas on show about love and faith, but they are wrapped in a somewhat downbeat package. And I found the ambiguity was ultimately frustrating.

This review is going to focus on the film purely from technical point of view.

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Classic Family Movies on Itunes in HD

There are many classic family movies available on Itunes. Many of them in HD, and many of them not available on Blu-Ray yet.

I’ve had a look at some of them and assessed them purely from a video quality point of view, and summarized the results below.

TitleItunes HD Review
Absent Minded Professor, TheGreat: 5/5. Black and white with fine grain throughout at the correct 1.66:1 ratio. A typical Disney studio picture excellently presented. A few compression artifacts present during heavy motion, looks like it could have done with a higher bit rate. Recommended.
Cat from Outer Space, TheGood: 4/5. Grain and minor dust present in non-studio scenes, some minor artifacting.
Darby O’Gill and the Little PeopleGreat: 5/5. Grain and excellent color. Sean Connery and little people, who could ask for more. Highly recommended.
Escape to Witch MountainFair: 3/5. Picture is free of grain and noise, possibly due to the application of DVNR. Not bad, but a little soft.
Herbie Goes BananasFair: 3/5. Very very grainy. TV movie of the week production values give the movie a very washed out and grainy look. However- I'm pretty sure this is how it's supposed to look. Unfortunately the aspect ratio got lost in the post, the film is presented 4:3, and is the shorter 'TCM' cut. Basically this appears to be the same transfer that was used for the 2004 DVD. Definitely the low point of the Herbie series.
In Search of CastawaysGreat: 5/5. Grain present, strong color. Some very minor artifacting.
Love Bug, TheGreat: 5/5. Grain throughout, the jumps in quality between stock footage, effect shot are obvious and delightful. A fantastic presentation. Highly recommended.
Moon-spinners, TheGood: 4/5. Color a little muted in places, but probably reflects the source material. Grain and minor dust present throughout. Some minor artifacting.
Parent Trap, TheFair: 3/5. Compared to a HDTV broadcast I’ve seen, it has obviously been de-grained. Still an improvement on the DVD.
Return from Witch MountainGood: 4/5. Very little noise and some grain. Better than the original, but still a little soft in places.
Summer MagicGood: 4/5. Grain and minor dirt present.

FTC Disclosure: I am an iTunes and Amazon affiliate advertiser, this means that if you click on one of the links above, I get a very small amount of money.