International Blu-ray discs

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: International Blu-ray discs

#351 Post by feihong » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:24 am

I think it helps sales in regions where the actors are popular. They promote the pictures in advance using the actors clout to generate interest, but Wong will always cut the picture mercilessly, regardless. It makes Bird Tongchai McIntyre more of an oddity in the film for people who aren't familiar with him, but I suppose it gets more people into the theater in Thailand? Still, it seems to me like they're setting people up for disappointment. Bird doesn't even have a song in the finished film.

eerik
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#352 Post by eerik » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:31 pm

Divisa (Spain) will release Chaplin's Essanay shorts next month. Similar set was hinted by Flicker Alley.

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Drucker
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#353 Post by Drucker » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:11 am

Drucker wrote:I don't know the best place to put it, so feel free to move.

Everyone in the USA should be keeping an eye over the next few weeks on the Euro and GBP as it might become a really great time to buy Blu-rays with the currency issues going on in the news. The European Central Bank has signaled possible stimulus money may be coming not unlike America has done with quantitative easing. And the GBP took a hit yesterday with the positive polling from Scotland that they are seeking independence.

Anyway, the needle hasn't really moved on this as much as the likes of CNBC would have you believe, but if things keep up in this direction over the next few weeks, there is certainly money to be saved for us in America.
For those keeping score, the exchange rate for dollar to Euro is now about .94. At this rate, it wouldn't surprise me if the dollar is worth more than the Euro in two months, and therefore, the best time ever for Americans to buy European blu-rays.

Apologies to those in the EU looking to buy Criterions though...

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whaleallright
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#354 Post by whaleallright » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:26 pm

Amazon.fr still seems to be calculating the exchange rate at 1.2, not the .94 you mention.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#355 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:29 pm

jonah -- you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope -- the dollar is still worth a bit less than a euro, so a euro is still worth a bit more than a dollar.

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#356 Post by feihong » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:54 pm

Has anyone seen the Korean blu rays of Swordsman or Meals on Wheels yet? I just noticed those for sale at YesAsia...but if they're merely ports of the HK blu rays, then I would rather avoid them. Can anyone speak to the quality of these discs?

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tenia
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#357 Post by tenia » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:08 pm

It is indeed the best time for you guys to import (while in France it's worse than ever) : the Euro lost 22.5% in 12 months (something like this) VS the dollar. And the pound is strong too, on top of that. It has never costed me so much to buy Criterion titles, and now also Arrow and MoC discs.

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Drucker
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#358 Post by Drucker » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:42 pm

This trend won't be reversing anytime soon.

eerik
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#359 Post by eerik » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:12 am

Tarkovsky's Stalker and The Sacrifice scheduled for June release in Japan.

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jsteffe
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#360 Post by jsteffe » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:40 am

I'm so glad to hear that there's an HD master of Stalker floating around!

Apparently there is also a new Japanese Blu-ray of Nostalgia. I wonder how that looks...

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Ashirg
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#361 Post by Ashirg » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:26 pm

20th Century Fox in Japan is releasing a number of titles on blu-ray -
Emperor of the North
Harry & Tonto
Modesty Blaise

easydreamer
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#362 Post by easydreamer » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:58 am

jsteffe wrote:Apparently there is also a new Japanese Blu-ray of Nostalgia. I wonder how that looks...
JP release of Nostalgia looks much better than the US blu, with the newest HD master having more clarity. Did the side by side comparison, playing the JP release on one player and the US one on another, and there is no contest here. The JP release is much brighter and more detailed, with US release being overly dark & too grainy.

The disc has no English subtitles, so one has to know both Italian & Russian to understand the dialog, though.

I'm inclined to think that the upcoming AE release will utilize the same master. Let's wait and see.

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Drucker
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#363 Post by Drucker » Thu May 21, 2015 9:54 am

A Matter of Life and Death gets a subpar blu-ray release from Ascot Elite. I assume the David mentioned in the review, who wrote in, is our own David Hare.

I thought this film had been restored by Film Foundation. Am I mistaken?

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tenia
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#364 Post by tenia » Thu May 21, 2015 11:37 am

It has not, which is why the PQ on this BD (and the French one) is what it is, especially regarding the 3-strips alignment.

David M.
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#365 Post by David M. » Thu May 21, 2015 4:01 pm

I guess they had almost no budget to work with, given that strip alignment errors can be corrected in software now.

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david hare
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#366 Post by david hare » Thu May 21, 2015 7:08 pm

Drucker wrote:A Matter of Life and Death gets a subpar blu-ray release from Ascot Elite. I assume the David mentioned in the review, who wrote in, is our own David Hare.

I thought this film had been restored by Film Foundation. Am I mistaken?
NO it has not been touched since Sony's 2001 photochemical restoration. There was a notion about the joint that it had been remastered but that was a case of maniacal projection of wishful thinking by one or two people who should have known better. They kept insisting the French disc was taken from a new master when it was bog clear from viewing that it wasn't and what that master actually was. You can do a frame for frame with the Sony NTSC DVD and the only difference is resolution.

Considering Sony' older resto is from the three strip negs and with a new 35mm interpos I don't think an excellent quality upgrade to 4K would be all that difficult but the politics are something else. If anybody has the necessary diplomatic skills to make it all happen it could probably only be Thelma.

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#367 Post by feihong » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:18 am

Two blurays of Shaw Bros classics arrived from Germany today: Blood Brothers and Killer Clans.

These are part of a group of Shaw titles released right now. I have a few more of these on the way, including Mad Monkey Kung Fu, Chang Cheh's Shaolin Temple and Invincible Shaolin. Amazon lists the company releasing these films as MVL, but the only company title on the boxes aside from Celestial's branding is in English and reads "Great Movies"––typeset in the most lackluster way possible.

All over the boxes the company proclaims that the content inside is "FULL HD 1080," but very tiny on the specs on the back they read "1080i," and that's just what they are. So the interlacing we saw on the IVL, Image and Dragon Dynasty DVDs and on the WellGo blurays is back. In still shots, especially in closeups, the films look drastically more detailed and better than they've ever looked on home video before now. In motion and in long shots, it's clear that much more detail could have been there. Grain is tight and generally visible. In the still shots, when the interlaced image is better visually resolved, the picture looks quite sharp, with lots of depth, and suggestive of lots of detail. These are not upscaled transfers. If they were progressively transferred they would look really definitive. As they are, they have far more depth, detail and clarity than the extant DVDs of these movies. It is a real shame they ended up interlacing the discs. There are a few shots in each film that still look smeared and jacked-up, but these appear to be the shots restored from heavily–damaged source material.

The discs aren't English-friendly––hell, they're hardly German–friendly, either. They have NO subtitle tracks. There is a 5.1 German dub, a 2.0 German dub, and a 2.0 Mandarin track on each. The films are listed as being in 2.40:1 AR, and that looks to me to be the way they appear. Germans can watch this dubbed in German, or be fluent in Mandarin, I guess. Crazy guys like me can just watch in the original language and try to remember what was being said the first time I saw the pictures. A lot of higher-quality Shaw Brothers blurays have come out of Germany and Japan in the last couple of years, and almost none of it so far has been English-friendly. There are some nice German discs from TVP of Crippled Avengers, the Savage Five, and a couple of Alexander Fu Sheng/Chang Cheh Shaolin movies, which have English subtitles, and I have on order a German bluray of Super Inframan which claims it has English subtitles. These discs, though, aren't spilling over with language options. They are, however, much cheaper than the TVP blurays. The ones I bought were mostly around 8 Euros apiece.

Blood Brothers looks pretty great, but the film I was most looking forward to is Killer Clans, and that film loses a lot to the interlacing––largely because of the way it was shot. The imagery in Killer Clans has so many layers of depth that the softening, vaseline-y look of the interlacing really does it an injustice. Wonderfully, however, the depth is rendered pretty well, and the copious night scenes in the film read more clearly than ever before. The immediate thing that struck me was that the hero's first opponent in the initial scene gives the goofiest grimace as he scoffs at the hero's bravado––a detail not apparent even in the progressive Dragon Dynasty DVD of the film. The fabrics of the clothing in Blood Brothers also read exceptionally beautifully. Chang Cheh's thinner layers of atmosphere––darker background sets, lighter use of smoke, etc., actually register just fine in this bluray––another thing I don't think really registered in DVD versions of Blood Brothers.

Really, I wonder why these companies can't more often include English subtitles on their Shaw Bros releases? It is pretty clear right now that international interest in these movies is on the wane. The U.S. companies don't want to do anything with their rights to these films right now, and you'd think these German companies would able to sell then to the larger world's somewhat depreciated viewing base with some expanded language options? Maybe MVL's rights to the films don't include that option, as TVP's obviously did. Still. It sucks.

On the plus side, while the blurays have super-photoshopped covers, they have flippable interior covers that include original poster art. It's a nice addition. Hilariously, the Photoshopped art for Killer Clans actually comes from the promotional art for Invincible Shaolin. But they have the right original poster inside.

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#368 Post by feihong » Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:40 pm

More Shaw Bros blu rays from Germany arrived yesterday. This time it's Mad Monkey Kung Fu, Chang Cheh's Shaolin Temple and Invincible Shaolin.


These are more from MVL, with the "Great Movies" banner tiny on the back of the box. Like the others I mentioned in the previous post, they have reversible covers, with original poster art on the flippable inside. These are quite nice, except the German original poster for Mad Monkey Kung Fu looks hideous.

Like the other MVL discs, these are 1080i, though they love to emphasize on the box that they are "FULL 1080 HD." The interlacing is not very obtrusive on these discs, but it does occasionally remind one that the discs could have been better. Mad Monkey Kung Fu and Shaolin Temple are very sharp, especially in moments when the camera is still, and in closeups. The long shots in Shaolin Temple of the monks practicing look pretty great. Invincible Shaolin is a little softer of a transfer, all around. Either the film isn't in as good of shape, or there was some kind of error in the telecine, I think? The image looks a little bit mushy and slightly doubled. Just not as sharp all around.

None of the three have English subtitles, but in a new wrinkle, both Shaolin Temple and Invincible Shaolin have optional German subtitles. None of the other MVL discs I've seen so far have German subtitles, opting instead to rely upon German dub tracks.

Mad Monkey Kung Fu has one German 5.1 audio track, and two 2.0 Chinese tracks––one Mandarin, the other Cantonese. Invincible Shaolin and Shaolin Temple offer 5.1 and 2.0 German dub tracks and 2.0 Mandarin tracks.


I had forgotten what a good movie Shaolin Temple is. It's packed with stars and it really has something for everyone. The blu-ray makes it clear just how many Shaw Bros stars and soon-to-be stars were recruited to fill out the ranks of the temple monks, lay monks, and mongol invaders. This one is a treat to behold. Equally, I think I forgot just how savage and cruel a picture Mad Monkey Kung Fu turns out to be. That is a really surprising movie, and I appreciate seeing it in HD most of all, I think. The DVD of MMKF was one of the dodgy-er IVL discs, if I recall it right.

I forgot to mention last time that all the MVL titles are region B blurays. When the player is loaded with a region code that doesn't match, nothing happens; there's just a black screen.

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#369 Post by feihong » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:41 pm

Amazon Japan shows a Luis Bunuel "late Mexico period" blu ray box set coming out August 31st.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%AB%E3%82 ... KF787ZGSWN" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The set looks like it includes Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, and Simon of the Desert. No English subtitles, but exciting nonetheless!

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david hare
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#370 Post by david hare » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:35 am

I would really kill for a BD box of "Early Mexican" Bunuel frankly.

Gimme Subida al Cielo, El, Illusion Travels by Streetcar, Wuthering Heights/Abismos de Pasion and Susana in HD and I'm in fucking paradise.

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#371 Post by feihong » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:14 am

I'd like that, too. I'd be happy to have a blu ray of The Exterminating Angel, though. That seems exciting.


Received a group of Japanese blurays and DVDs today. The first two are blu rays from a company called Content Japan. Both are Kadokawa "classics" from the 80s: Shinji Somai's Sailor Suit Schoolgirl with a Machine Gun and Nobuhiko Obayashi's live–action The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. These are advertised as 4k scans. There are removable Japanese subtitles on each disc. Both have 2 audio tracks: a 2.0 PCM and a 5.1 DTS track.

These look incredibly gorgeous. Sailor Suit Schoolgirl gets the top prize, with huge depth of field, beautifully rendered grain, and rich, rapturous color. I didn't really imagine that the film could look this good. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time looks good as well, but there are a few scenes that look to be in better or worse states of repair. Once in a while a scene appears that's a tad heavy-looking. The majority of the scenes have the same level of clarity, depth and color as Sailor Suit Schoolgirl has. The scene in the chemistry lab with the mist comes across with a little ghosting, making me wonder if it isn't from an inferior source? But these are generally great treatments for these films. I wish Typhoon Club would get the same treatment.

Speaking of films getting the same treatment, there is a booklet in both disc boxes that advertises the Shochiku Best collection blurays. There's a list of films most overseas Japanese film fans could care less about, but some of the films getting blu ray treatment include: The Discarnates, Goke Bodysnatcher from Hell, 226: Four Days of Snow and Blood, and Village of Doom, which is Noboru Tanaka's last film, I believe. Also listed is Castle of Sand.


I also picked up DVDs of The Cherry Orchard and Exchange Students. The Cherry Orchard is a pretty good DVD. Exchange students is awful––not even anamorphic widescreen. Neither disc has english subs.

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Altair
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#372 Post by Altair » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:39 am

Does anyone know if Studio Canal's BD boxset of the Angélique films have English subtitles?

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tenia
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#373 Post by tenia » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:38 am

Altair wrote:Does anyone know if Studio Canal's BD boxset of the Angélique films have English subtitles?
I had a look around and it seems they don't.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#374 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:08 pm

> I also picked up DVDs of The Cherry Orchard and Exchange Students

The original 1990 film or the more recent remake?

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feihong
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Re: International Blu-ray discs

#375 Post by feihong » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:28 pm

It was the original, the 1990 film. The disc is a pretty good anamorphic transfer, looking especially good for being a single-layered disc. I keep hoping it will be released on blu ray in Japan, but I haven't seen anything like that so far.

The Exchange Students disc is of the 1982 film, also, not Obayashi's remake from 2007. I'm starting to re-synch subtitles I found for each film, so I can really watch them again.

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