My Two Cents
Thursday, 28 January 2016 18:08

Blu-ray & UHD News – Fury Road in B&W, restored Napoleon (1927), Hunger Games extras, Paramount UHD & more

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We’ve got a few interesting odds and ends for you today...

First up, there’s word from no less an authority than director George Miller (via the Screen Daily website), they there may be a theatrical and Blu-ray re-release of Mad Max: Fury Road in black and white, which was his original intent for the film. [Read on here…]

Also today, the British Film Institute has announced that it’s just completed a years-long restoration of Abel Gance’s 1927 film version of Napoleon. The 5 1/2 hour epic was partially restored in 1980, but the now completed digital restoration will be released theatrical in the UK this fall, and will then be released on Blu-ray and DVD (we’re working to determine if this will be a Region B or Region Free release). This version will include the complete Carl Davis score, which is the longest ever composed for a silent film. From the press release:

“This new version of Napoleon will allow audiences to see the film’s original tinting and toning, including colour combinations which could not be achieved in the existing 35mm print. Integration of sections sourced from a wide range of elements have also been improved by detailed digital image repair and alignment.

The film has been entirely re-graded and received extensive digital clean-up throughout, all of which offers significant improvements in overall picture quality. This is the most complete version of the film available, compiled by filmmaker, archivist and historian Kevin Brownlow who spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954. Brownlow and his colleagues at Photoplay, initially the late David Gill, and then Patrick Stanbury, worked with the BFI National Archive on a series of restorations. The film version has been screened only four times in the UK since the year 2000 at memorable events with full orchestra performing the original score by composer Carl Davis.”

I personally can’t wait to see this. It ranks right up there with the restored Metropolis in terms of rare cinema experiences I’d long wanted to have. Now if only there was a way to see Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace get a proper restoration and Blu-ray release, though I fear that film has crossed into a condition too poor for that ever to be possible. In any case, you can read more on the Napoleon restoration here via the BFI website.

Now then, we’ve had a number of X-Files fans ask us how to determine whether or not they have bad Season 8 Blu-ray Discs. I don’t believe Fox has revealed the disc serial numbers for the bad run, but our friend Brandon Klassen – who runs the fine X-Files Vault website – has posted a series of comparison images on the site that should help you determine if your discs are bad not. You’ll find those here.

A quick bit of Ultra HD Blu-ray news: We’ve yet to hear officially from Paramount whether or not (and if, when) they might support UHD Blu-ray releases with their titles, but industry sources are telling us that the studio has quietly begun preparing titles for release on the format, including Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. We’ll have to wait and see when official announcements are made, but I would expect to see at least a few Paramount UHD BD titles available in time for the holidays.

Here’s a bit of follow up on a piece of Blu-ray release news we posted yesterday: As you know, Lionsgate has set The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection for Blu-ray release on 3/22. We’ve confirmed that the box set will include all previous Blu-ray special features, including the Target exclusive features on the previous films. However, Target also has a retail-exclusive version of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 coming on BD on 3/22, and those extras will not be included in the box. So if you want everything, you have to buy the Blu-ray box set on Amazon and then the Target exclusive Mockingjay – Part 2 Blu-ray. Just so you know.

In other news, Warner Home Video has announced that the SCTV-based comedy Strange Brew (1983), starring Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, is finally coming to Blu-ray on 3/1. The extras will include a preview for The Animated Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie (SD), the How to Stuff a Mouse in a Beer Bottle featurette (SD), and the theatrical trailer (HD). The Blu-ray SRP is just $12.97. Good to see it reach HD on disc finally.

Here’s something cool for horror fans: Synapse Films has revealed that they’re bringing Dario Argento’s 1982 gaillo classic Tenebrae to Blu-ray in a 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD/CD Steelbook limited edition on 2/23 (SRP $39.95). Only 3,000 units will be available, but the set looks to be loaded with extras, which you can check out here at the Synapse’s official website.

Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to promote a project that our very own Jim Hemphill is involved in. He’s produced a 15-minute short film called The Long Arm of the Leprecon, which was written and directed by Kelly Goodner. The film hits on 3/1, and the trailer for it is now available for viewing here on Funny or Die and here on Buzzfeed. Do give it a look and share it on social media if you’re interested.

All right, that’s all for today. Back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)


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