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The Dark Knight Rises / L'Ascension du chevalier noir (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
The Dark Knight Rises / L'Ascension du chevalier noir (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Price: CDN$ 9.99
31 used & new from CDN$ 5.49

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Ends, Dec 4 2012
The Movie itself:
A lot has been written & said about Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy so I am will keep this short, sweet and simple. The trilogy as a whole is perhaps one of the best ever made, it emphasized on Bruce Wayne as much as it did on Batman. His struggles, his rise and fall and his inner demons made him the superhero we came to love. Nolan’s batman movies are not just comic book movies, they can also be viewed as a drama or a character study of sociopathic villains or a commentary on our extensively flawed society.
Now on to the fun stuff...
The Video:
Back in 2008 when The Dark Knight Blu-ray came out, it was the biggest release at the time. I think to this day, it’s the highest selling Blu-ray of all time. Some also feel that The Dark Knight Blu-ray for the first time showcased the true calibre of this new media type. Nonetheless, it had its flaws and Warner was extensively bashed by the fans. Today, Blu-ray is a staple in our homes, like a television or a refrigerator and Warner Bros. took the time to ensure that they correct all that they did wrong with The Dark Knight Blu-ray.
The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray arrives with perfect MPEG-4 encode, the colours are deep, rich and vibrant and the video showed no signs of excessive anti-aliasing and/or halos. Let me warn you though, the video switches between 2.40:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratio to mimic its IMAX presentation. Please note that IMAX footage has been cropped from 1.43:1 to 1.78:1 to perfectly fit our widescreen HD television sets. While the switching aspect ratio might be an issue for some, its not for me. For me, the movie is so immersive that I never really paid any attention to its switching aspect ratio. Its near reference quality material and a treat to watch.
The Audio:
This disc features a 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack and packs a lot of wallop and is loud and bombastic , all the channels are clear, all the sounds of crashes, gunshots and individuals are superb. Hans Zimmer’s score has never sounded better, its like visiting an opera. If you love LFE and Bass, this is a treat for you, this will shake the room, raise your friends’ eyebrows and yes your neighbours will call the cops if you play it middle of the night. This soundtrack is demo quality material and you will pat yourself on the back if you are a proud owner of a surround sound system. I can nit pick but I don’t know what to, its perfect.
Final Words:
The Dark Knight Rises is an epic movie, and its anticlimactic ending is a fitting conclusion for most of us. Batman Begins ended with a Joker card, we knew there was another coming. The Dark Knight ended with Batman on the run, declared a vigilante and we knew there was another one coming. After this, there will be no more. But the movies will sit in our collection for years to come and will entertain us many times over.
Highly Recommended.

Life  (original UK version) [Blu-ray]
Life (original UK version) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ David Attenborough
Price: CDN$ 63.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better, June 9 2010
The Movie itself:
No one is even close to BBC's Natural History Team's dedication, cinematography and expertise when it comes to Nature & Wildlife filming. The team that gave us The Blue Planet (2001) & Planet Earth (2006) return to us with perhaps their most daunting adventure. If you thought they couldn't top Planet Earth's filming & beautiful orchestras, well they did exactly that. Approximately 3,000 hours of shooting with specialized slow motion cameras specifically designed for the task, transform on the screen to some of the most magical footage I have ever witnessed on my television.
The Video:
1080p video is simply spectacular. There is only one word to describe it. Some of the close up shots of little insects and coral reefs are so vividly coloured that it made me wonder, is this really true? Or BBC's Cg team has done some marvellous work and they are marketing it as a Nature Documentary. There are some shots under the water, which suffer a little and appear to be soft. But that's understandable given that chasing "The Heat Run" of Killer Whales was considered impossible before this video.
The Audio:
If I didn't like one thing about Planet Earth, it was the lack of HD Audio. Well BBC certainly went on to fix that in this series. DTSHD-MA audio is as filling as the video. The channels are very perfectly balanced and LFE/Subwoofer kicks in precisely when it needs to add the extra punch. Narration is fully dedicated to centre channel with David Attenborough's soothing voice giving it the final touch.
Final Words:
A lot has been said about the two different versions of this documentary available in US & Canada. The discovery channel version is narrated by Oprah Winfrey while the original BBC version (this one) is narrated by David Attenborough. Sir Attenborough is a living legend in his own right, so why replace him? I could think of only one reason, all the references to weight, temperature, measurement are in Metric system, which the vast majority of Americans don't understand. Either way, it seems like a poor marketing decision. Do yourself a favour and pick up this version narrated by David Attenborough; you will watch it time and again for years to come. HD TV sets and Blu-Ray were made for this type of content. Must Have, Highly Recommended.

Public Enemies [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Public Enemies [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Price: CDN$ 11.93
47 used & new from CDN$ 3.35

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality moviemaking, Jan. 7 2010
The Movie Itself:
Michael Mann has a reputation of paying great attention to detail and camera angles, after all it was he who brought us the greatest gunfight sequence in recent cinema history (Heat). With Public Enemies Mann tries to re-create some of that magic. Everyone is familiar with the story of John Dilinger, who became a hero to people while he was most wanted by lawmen. His story isn't just a story of another modern day robin hood, it also marks the era when America came out off European shadows and became the industrial juggernaut that influenced the entire world. That brought surplus money to the country, which brought corruption, mob and ofcourse the organized law enforcement to counter all of that. Dilinger is played by Johnny Depp and his arch rival in a way is FBI agent Melvin Purvis played by Christian Bale. The story skews away from reality and Mann has shuffled the sequence to make the story more exciting. Dialogues are catchy, acting is wonderful and direction is superb.

The Video:
It may not be the best transfer but its definitely right up there in terms of quality. Michael Mann shot the entire movie with HD cameras and the beauty of HD is very obvious in its clean and sharp transfer. VC-1/1080p encode is near perfect, I enjoyed the rural scenes as much as the ones in Chicago. Some scenes are so crisp that the image seemed to be glowing out of my HDTV set.

The Audio:
DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is pristine. The escape from prison scenes gave my surround sound speakers a workout, the sub level is very nicely controlled and the bass isn't overly done. While gun shots were being fired all across my living room the audio was nicely balanced and I could clearly understand the dialogue being sent through the centre channel. I love Blues' so the Otis Taylor songs were really icing on the cake for me. I will be enjoying its soundtrack for years to come.

Final Words:
Public Enemies isn`t for everyone. I recall some folks coming out of the theaters disappointed. I must say I perhaps enjoyed it more than my friends. My only gripe is that while Dilinger`s character was very well established in the movie, no insight was offered to Melvin Purvis and he seemed to be just thrown in there without a preface. Introducing the viewership to his character in a little greater depth would have been nice. If you are a fan of this genre, this is a solid release, movie has decent replay value and audio, video components are second only to perhaps the Pixar titles. Recommended.

Up (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (Bilingual)
Up (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Ed Asner
Price: CDN$ 39.97
24 used & new from CDN$ 17.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pixar did it again!, Nov. 10 2009
The Movie Itself:
When I first watched this movie in theaters, I was thrilled. It was a movie meant for everyone. The novelistic first quarter, with Carl Fredericksen & the love of his life, Ellie, their fantasized story made us adults cry. The next two quarters were intriguing and kept pace with adults and kids like, made us laugh in way only Pixar can, and set us up for an ending that was perhaps most suited for kids but was satisfying for all generations. Pixar has a track record that is unparalleled by any other studio. With "Up" they have proven to us once again that there is more left in their tank to surprise us with.

The Video:
Pixar Home Videos are reference quality discs and this one is also perfect. The MPEG4 AVC 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 aspect ratio is breathtaking. Colours are spectacular, flesh tones are natural, blacks and whites are vibrant, the motion and detail is extraordinary and leaps out of the screen. Okay I have run out of words so I hope you all get the idea.

The Audio:
As impressive as the video is the DTS HDMA 5.1 track. You can actually feel the atmosphere through the speakers. The control of the channels is perhaps the best I can recall in recent memory. Heck I could even feel the wind blowing through the house when its lifted up in the air. The balloons rubbing against each other and the briefest of sounds were clear. It really is a treat and its one of those few times when my surround sound investment seems to be worthwhile.

Final Words:
Up has it all, its perhaps the best release of the year if considered as package. Its presentation is second to none and its a movie that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages including some of us who think they are too old for everything. I hope everyone picks it up and enjoys it for years to come. Highly Recommended.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Shia LaBeouf
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 66.91
19 used & new from CDN$ 1.99

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just a popcorn flick, Oct. 26 2009
The Movie Itself:
Revenge of the fallen is perhaps the most anticipated title of the year and therefore has been released in numerous versions (exclusive to different retailers) to milk the cash cow. I really don't have many words to explain this movie as its not the kind of material that can be analyzed based on performance and/or storyline. Its purely flash, computer generated graphics, extremely loud noise and thrashing sound effects, and yes everything has reflection leading to more of the same. It's meant to entertain the audience on the big screen and I think it does exactly that. Audience doesn't have to think or process in their minds what's being shown on the screen, they simply watch and enjoy the sounds, effects, graphics and crash! boom! bang!

The Video:
The transfer on this Blu-ray is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4. Its definitely not reference quality material but its up there in terms of sharpness, colour saturation and detail. The scenes shot in IMAX exhibit great level of detail and are worth watching a few times. Beware though, IMAX scenes were cropped top and bottom and the entire movie was presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

The Audio:
Its a very typical Michael Bay track. Its loud, it pumps all the channels and thumps a lot of bass through the sub. The audio encode is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and leaves very little to be desired. The dialogue, music, sounds behind action sequences are perfectly leveled/balanced and I didn't have to adjust volume over and again to bring it to appropriate levels.

Final Words:
I guess if you are fanboy you probably have purchased this already. If you are reading this, you are undecided so for those who are, this is a rental at best. If on a given Friday evening you cant get a movie of choice you can definitely give this one go.

Fast & Furious [Blu-ray]
Fast & Furious [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Vin Diesel
Offered by Movies R' US
Price: CDN$ 14.50
31 used & new from CDN$ 4.93

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a masterpiece but a lot of fun, Aug. 15 2009
This review is from: Fast & Furious [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Movie Itself: Well we are familiar with Fast & Furious franchise.. street racing, the girls, the colours & the prize. This is part 4 of the franchise and it attempts to recreate the original. Vin Diesel is back along with Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez & Jordana Brewster thus assembling the original cast. In my opinion, that's really what the franchise needed and it's good to see that it went back to its roots. The movie is on a bigger scale and involves hot pursuits across the borders and on a more uneven terrain. Nothing new and its not like its never been done before but the special effects are awesome and provide incredible entertainment.

Video: VC-1 1080p transfer with with 2.40:1 aspect ratio is gorgeous. Yes the lights, colours and textures are more amazing than they ever were before. Really an eye candy for those boasting large LCD panels with BD players. Be warned, some scenes look artificial and animated in HD but it's not the disc's or transfer's fault. Its because the Cg is not up to the level of some other Hollywood mega budget movies.

Audio: Audio track is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and comes packed with wonderful use of all five channels. Engines, wheels, tires screeching, gunshots being fired & stick shifts, you name it and this track has it. It doesn't miss any of them and you will be highly entertained.

Final Words: Its by no means a masterpiece or the biggest summer blockbuster of the year, but its a lot of fun. Its action packed and offers beautiful picture and sound. If you liked the original you will find this to be a treat especially with the gorgeous BD treatment and sacks of supplements. All others, you might want to rent it before making a decision on its permanent place in your library. Recommended.

Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray]
Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Daniel Craig
16 used & new from CDN$ 4.76

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly good but not the best, March 25 2009
The movie itself: Quantum of Solace is the sequel to critically acclaimed "Casino Royale". Its certainly not as good as its prequel but it's definitely not a let down either. While the story lacks the twist the movie is essentially a jam packed thriller that has nothing in common with the James Bond movies we got accustomed to before the turn of the century. I am a little hesitant to say it but I felt the movie was heavily influenced by Bourne Trilogy and trying to replicate that, James Bond lost its own niche.

Video: Quantum of Solace's 1080p/AVC transfer is clean and considerably sharper than Casino Royale. The grain is deliberate and is kept that way to match the rough and tough theme of the movie itself. The pallet is very clean & skin tones seemed very natural. I wouldn't rate it as high as reference quality material but it's one of the better transfers out there.

Audio: The audio is lossless (DTS-HD) and does it pack a punch. The rear channels blew my ears when they had to and subwoofer channel did its part when it was needed. I really can't complain about anything here, as its one of the best audio tracks I have come across in a while.

Final Words: If you enjoy straight out of the box no BS thrillers, the movie is a good buy for you. However, if you are someone who enjoyed the original James Bond you will probably be left with a sour taste in your mouth. As I mentioned above James Bond didn't really seem like James Bond, he seemed like a "Jason Bourne Wannabe". Hardcore Bond fans will probably bash me and send me hate mail for it, but I am here to give my honest opinion and that's what it felt like. Rent it first and then make up your mind if it warrants a purchase.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 [Blu-ray]
Kill Bill Vol. 1 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Uma Thurman
Price: CDN$ 14.99
34 used & new from CDN$ 4.30

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Tarantino's best, Jan. 18 2009
The movie itself: Kill Bill is all about Tarantino being at the top of his game. Uma Thurman plays the bride who's entire family is killed before her eyes and she's out to get revenge and believe me when I say this, that's exactly what she gets. In my opinion, Kill Bill is Quentin's tribute to old spaghetti westerns & martial arts movies that have inspired him for so long. The movie is one awesome adventure as we accompany "the bride" in her journey to avenge herself.

The video: The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 presented in movie's actual theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is almost as good as some of the demo material on Blu-Ray disc. Although there is heavy DNR applied to the movie which has been topic of discussion by some, I really don't see a problem with that.

The Audio: The brightest spot of this disc is its uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio which to this day serves me as demo material for testing 5.1 theater systems. The dialogue is crystal clear and the action sequences have so much thump and such amazing use of rear channels that you might want to keep it down a little if you don't want your neighbours to call the Police. The soundtrack doesn't need any mentioning as it has been used by lots of sports stations and broadcast networks so we are all familiar with that.

Final Words: Quentin Tarantino fan or not, its a must have for all western/martial arts movie fans. A true work of art that showcases a masterful director at his best. Do yourselves a favour, and pick this one up along with its part 2 (which is not really a sequel but the second chapter of the story as the movie was too long to be shown as a single episode).

The Shawshank Redemption (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
The Shawshank Redemption (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Morgan Freeman
Offered by torontomediadvd_com
Price: CDN$ 39.88
10 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, Jan. 11 2009
The Movie itself: The Shawshank Redemption is not just another movie, its not another movie adaptation either. Its a tale of hope & redemption. Its rated No.1 on IMDB by users, and often ranks amongst top 5 movies on other internet ranking sites. Often dubbed as a modern classic, this movie has developed a cult following and is considered as best on screen adaptation of a Stephen King story. I can go on typing pages about how good this movie is and how absorbed I am in it every time I see it, but I think you all get the point, so let's move on to the fun stuff.

Video: I have owned this movie in all the formats ever released, the original DVD, the 10th Anniversary Edition and now this one. Yes this one by far is the best. The helicopter shots of the prison and its yards are simply gorgeous. I found the picture to be a little too smooth in some close up shots but sitting 6-10 feet away I doubt if anyone will notice that. The colors pallet is very consistent and gives us very little to complain. Warner's 1080p/VC-1 encode presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio is a wonderful upgrade for the previous owners of the movie who have upgraded to HDTV sets.

Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is perfectly balanced. From the dialogue to sobbing, screams & whispers the sound is crystal clear. There are no action sequences and Bourne Trilogy type chases in this movie, so the soundtrack and the level of its loudness leaves very little to be desired.

Final Words: From "When those bars slam home, you know its for real" to "Get busy livin' or Get busy Dyin'" this movie is what true Hollywood cinema is all about. From being a box office failure to a moderate success (when it got 7 academy nominations) this epic has turned in to a must watch movie in Home Video history. Blockbuster and Netflix still rank this movie as one of the most rented movies in their database and there is a good reason for it........ its a brilliant movie with a huge replay value, one never gets tired of it. Highly recommended.

Batman Begins [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Batman Begins [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Christian Bale
Price: CDN$ 7.96
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, Jan. 11 2009
The movie itself: Batman Begins is different from the Batman movies previously made, Nolan's Batman is darker, quieter and in my opinion closer to the comic book hero. Batman Begins gives you a much better understanding of the two sides of Bruce Wayne/Batman character than previously portrayed and also gives us a different insight as to what Batman thinks and feels like when he is not Batman and what he does as Batman sometimes doesn't agree with his principles but he does it to save the wonderful city his father helped build. Christian Bale is perfect as Batman, some have complained about the voice transition but in my opinion its great, since he keeps his identity completely secret unlike Spidey or Iron Mans of the movies who tell the entire world about who they are and collect awards.

The Video: Presented in 2:40 widescreen and 1080p/VC-1 video the transfer is breathtaking. Colours are very rich & vivid. The picture appears to be completely saturated even in the darker shots (yes there are a lot of them, this is a REAL Batman movie after all). I have seen this movie on DVD as well, and this Blu-Ray transfer is a HUGE improvement over the SD-DVD version. The transfer is so pristine that it can also be a demo disk for your 1080p sets.

The Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/16-bit) included is a high quality track which offers superb mixing and full use of rear channels. The ice scene with Liam Neeson & Christian Bale, and the Highway car chase is where you can really feel the thump. No complains, Warner did an amazing job porting this soundtrack and utilizing BD's high disc capacity.

Final Words: Batman Begins is a must see movie, almost everyone on this planet has seen its sequel The Dark Knight at least twice but some I know haven't seen this one. To those, I only have this to say, its a must see Prequel and there are moments when you feel that between the two this probably takes the cake (at least from a character development and storytelling point of view). Nolan's Batman starts his adventure here, and believe me he's here to stay for years to come (in our libraries). Highly recommended.

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