Thursday, December 10, 2020





 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: Region-Free/A
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 178/228, 179/235, 201/263 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD 7.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR 2160HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett

I have never read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings but I grew up on the wonderful animated series of films and have always treasured them. When it was announced that Peter Jackson (Dead Alive) would be directing the film adaptation of the series I was on-onboard from the get-go, having been a fan of Jackson's early splat-stick horror comedies as well as the coming-of-age thriller Heavenly Creatures. I took my son to all three films in the franchise and even saw the extended cut re-releases at the cinema, I was a huge fan and I treasure the series. The scope and breadth of the live-action franchise was breathtaking and my memories of seeing them on the big screen are still among my favorite at-the-movie experiences to this day, they are truly epic and glorious films. This new 9-disc UHD set offers a 4K restoration of the series supervised by Peter Jackson who set out to make the series look more uniform and in-line with The Hobbit. It does look crisp and sharp, but there's a softness to detail that creeps into certain scenes, the result of some heavy-handed DNR having been applied throughout, in that process wiping away fine detail and texture. The digital smoothing is not uniform but it is there, plus we get a ton of edge enhancement that once seen cannot be unseen. On top of that Peter Jackson's re-imagined color-grading attempts to make it look a lot more like The Hobbit trilogy, which I did not care for. Not disappointing in anyway is the Dolby Atmos audio, I was having ear-gasms with all the immersive sound design with plenty of low-end on it. The three theatrical versions are each  presented on a single UHD while the longer extended cuts are spread across 2-discs each, but sadly this is a bare-bones collection with no extras whatsoever, though WB have announced an extras-laden deluxe edition coming in 2021. The 9-disc set arrives in a oversized keepcase with a flimsy slipcover, inside there is a redemption code for digital 4K copies of both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film. 


Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: Region-Free/A
Rating: PG-13, PG-13, R
Duration: 169/182, 161/186, 144/164 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD 7.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR 2160HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher

Coming a decade after the The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) we had The Hobbit trilogy. The look and feel was a bit different and while I was a huge fan of the previous trilogy I didn't buy into the Hobbit quite as much as I did the former. However, I sort of chalk that up to a mix of LOTR burn-out after many re-watches, and a bit of unrealistic expectation, re-watching it now on UHD I have warmed up to the trilogy considerably. Martin Freeman is fantastic as Bilbo Baggins, he's a charmer as the reluctant pint-sized hero, but his entourage of middle-earth crusaders is what I think put me off, this new fellowship does not have the vibrancy of the former. I love having Ian McKellan back as Gandalf, and I loved all the scenes of the gold-mongering dragon Smaug, but these flicks do not hit the sweet spot for me the way the LOTR did, but again, watching it this time around I was more into it. The three films arrives on a six-disc UHD set, with both the theatrical and extended versions each getting their own dedicated UHD disc, unlike the  LOTD extended editions The Hobbit extended editions are shorter and still only require a single UHD disc. The 4K UHD images are comparable to the LOTR  discs in that the HDR color-grading is again exquisite but we have the same issues with aggressive DNR scrubbing away texture and detail leaving features waxy with plenty of  unsightly edge enhancement. Again, this is barebones with no extras whatsoever, we do not even get a commentary track, so if extras are your jam you're gonna want to hold off until they release the deluxe edition in 2021. The six-disc set arrives in a oversized keepcase with a another flimsy slipcover, inside there is a redemption code for digital 4K copies of both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film. 


Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: Region-Free/A
Rating: R
Duration: 120 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD 7.1, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR 2160p UHD Widescreen (2.39:1) 
Director: Stephen Norrington 
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Udo Kier

Blade (1998) in my opinion is a bit underrated in that it was the film that set-up future Marvel movies, coming a few years before either X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002). I was a huge Marvel Comics kid but I never really got into the Blade the Vampire Hunter character, I knew about the half mortal, half-vampire, but that was about the extent of my knowledge. Because of that I was not super excited to learn that a movie adaptation was on the way in the late-90s, even less so when I heard that Wesley Snipes would be portraying the daywalker, I was just not into him as actor. That said, I was in the cinema on day one to watch it, at the time we were not getting a ton of superhero films the way we would just a few short years later, and I wanted to support Marvel, it also didn't hurt that the trailer was pretty kick-ass for the time. While I am still not a Snipes fan I am a fan of him as the bad-ass vampire hunter Blade, and I dig him in all three films, though my favorite is easily Guillermo de Toro's Blade II. Blade on 4K UHD looks solid, the HDR color-grading brings new life to the colors, particularly the red in the opening scenes at the night club turned human slaughterhouse, and the reds that punctuate the rest of the film look great. Additionally the black levels are deep and multi-layered with some excellent shadow detail. Overall the film is a solid upgrade from the previous Blu-ray, but there is some digital-scrubbing and edge enhancement evident, though not as egregious as what we saw with LOTR and The Hobbit trilogies. The Dolby Atmos upgrade is more complimentary, it's aggressive and fun, delivering dialogue crisply and cleanly,  the opening club scenes with the throbbing low-end of 90's techno sounds superb, and the roar of Blade's souped-up muscle-car is more proof of an impressive audio upgrade. Extras are carried over from the previous Blu-ray, we get over an hour's worth of featurettes plus a pair of audio commentaries, including an isolated score track. The only extras on the UHD are the commentaries and isolated score, everything else is on the accompanying Blu-ray.  The film arrives in a standard keepcase with a slipcover featuring the same artwork, inside there is a redemption code for digital 4K copy of the film.

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentary with Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, David Goyer, Theo Van De Sande, Kirk M. Petruccelli & Peter Frankfurt
- Isolated Scored with Audio Commentary by Composer Mark Isham
- La Magra (14 min)
- Designing Blade (23 min)
- Origins of Blade: A Look at Dark Comics (12 min)
- The Blood Tide (20 min)
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min)

TENET (2020)

Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: Region-Free/A
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 151 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p UHD Widescreen (2:2:1) & (1.78:1) 
Director: Christopher Nolan 
Cast: John David Washington,
Robert Pattinson,E lizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh

Tenet (2020) is very much Christopher Nolan doing a version of 007 film a mind-bending sci-fi touch that had me scratching my head for a large chunk of the flick the first time I watched it. In it we have a no-name protaganist (John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman) working as an operative for the CIA who discovers a secret organization that is out to stop the end of the world. The threat comes by way of relics from the future that have ended up in the present, these relics have an "inverted" entropy that allows them to move backwards through time... it's an intriguing of befuddling bit of physics, and all of it over my head the first time around. It's only after diving into a YouTube info search that I can sort of wrap my head around it now, and even still I might need a bit of the good weed before I fully wrap my head around it and and how it works within the plot mechanics of this film. At a certain point my first go around with it I just made the active decision to stop attempting to unravel what exactly inverted entropy entailed and just enjoyed this flick it's broader spy-thriller  attributes, being an action-packed Nolan flick that definitely smacked of 007 with twist. Nolan's films have always had a Kubrickian detachment about them, an emotional coldness to them, and it has never bothered but I felt the detachment here more than ever before, finding it hard to root for the unnamed protaganist. There's a lot of eye-candy here by way of action set-pieces and well-staged skirmishes, but that the mind-bending physics are never fully explained to my satisfaction hurts it a bit in my opinion. Having seen it twice so far I am comfortable saying that it is my least favorite of the Nolan films, but even still I thought it was an entertaining watch with dazzling visuals and a mind-bending sci-fi slant, and it seems like a film that might take a few re-watches to fully appreciate. As you would expect of a Nolan flick on 4K UHD the visuals are enthralling and the lensing is phenomenal, switching between 2.2:1 and the 1.78:1 IMAX format throughout, the IMAX scenes are potent and make great use of the format. The HDR color-grading is phenomenal with the scenes drenched in blue and red lighting looking luminescent. The blacks are solid throughout with exceptional shadow detail, it's a reference looking image. Nolan being Nolan he has again opted to forgo the Dolby Atmos for the theatrical DTS-HD MA 5.1 with optional English subtitles. I do not pretend to know the reason why he has not bought into Atmos technology, it's a Nolan-thing, but the DTS audio is a potent with plenty of bombast and layered sound design. Extras come by way of trailers and a 13-part making-of documentary that runs about sixty-five minutes and touches on the many facets of the film, but doesn't dwell enough on the mechanics of the timeline and of the physics of the film.  The three-disc UHD/Blu-ray release includes a slipcover and redemption code for a digital 4K copy of the film.  

Special Features: 
- Looking At The World In A New Way: The Making of Tenet (65 min)