I was pretty happy with last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, so I thought I’d do it again this year. This year gifts range from $5 books to $250 dollar box sets. I’ve scoured Amazon for the best box sets, as well as added some films and books that have made my year pretty great. I think there’s a little something for everyone here. Treat yourself. Treat the movie lover in your life. Treat your favorite film blogger. Everything you need can be found in this handy, dandy guide. I upped this year’s list from 15 to 20 items because there were just so many great new Blu and box set releases this year!
This morning I sat in on a virtual roundtable hosted by the Blu-ray Disc Association’s chairperson Andy Parsons. He sat down with Ian Harvey who is the Senior Vice President, Advanced Technology for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment about the technology behind converting a film to Blu-ray 3D. The film in question was Fox’s recently re-released i,Robot. Below is a transcript of the chat. Well, most of the chat. I forgot to turn on my recorder and missed most of Parsons’s opening greeting. Also, I took some screencaps so you could figure out what they’re talking about, but a few of the things he’s talking about I didn’t manage to cap, so it might be a little confusing. Whoops.
Earlier this morning I participated in a virtual roundtable/Q&A about film restoration and conversion between Jeff Baker who is the Executive Vice President and General Manager Warner Bros. theatrical catalog, Ned Price who is the Vice President of Mastering at Warner Bros. and Andy Parsons who is the chair of the Blu-ray Association of America. By participated, I mean I watched the livestream of their conversation and asked a question via text after it was finished. Presented after the cut are what I think are the most interesting parts of the conversation, as well as the question I asked. While I am still one of those people who buys most of my films on DVD over Blu-ray (tell me how you screencap Blu-rays you bastards and I’ll switch!) the process behind how films get chosen, etc. is pretty fascinating.
Warner Bros. has this fancy new Blu-ray book release to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Elia Kazan’s masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire. This new Blu-ray edition hits shelves this coming Tuesday, April 10th. They call it a Blu-ray book because the packaging is essentially also a book. This means instead of a booklet or something that comes inside the case, the case itself is the book. It’s kind of an interesting concept.
Essentially, the special features on this new Blu-ray release are the same that are found on the 2006 DVD release:
- Commentary on the feature film by Karl Malden, film historian Rudy Behlmer and Jeff Young
- Elia Kazan movie trailer gallery
- Movie and audio outtakes
- Marlon Brando screen test
- Elia Kazan: A Director’s Journey documentary
- Five other documentaries: A Streetcar on Broadway, A Streetcar in Hollywood, Desire and Censorship, North and the South and An Actor Named Brando
I own that DVD release, yet somehow never watched the special features. Now I have, though! The 75 minute long Kazan documentary is from 1995 and features narration by Eli Wallach and some really great interviews with Kazan himself. It’s a great look at Kazan’s filmography, with insights from the director on the process of making each film. While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Scorsese’s A Letter To Elia, I definitely recommend it to fans of Kazan’s work.
The picture quality of the Blu-ray, however, makes this purchase worth it for collectors and those who enjoy owning their favorite films in the newest formats. The black and white cinematography is so crisp and the contrasts are utterly perfect. Even on my shitty little television that movie looked incredible.
Before you run out and pre-oder this set, let’s take a minute and remain in awe and wonder of Stanley and Stella in the scene deemed too hot by censors in 1951:
And Brando hissing at Vivien Leigh. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review disc given to me by Warner Bros., though the opinions are all my own.
A few weeks ago I did an interview with Stephen Bogart as he was promoting the new Warner Bros. Smithsonian Theater in D.C. The theater’s first showing was a gorgeously restored digital print of Casablanca, which celebrates its 70th Anniversary this year. Last night Fathom Events did a one-night only screening of the classic film in theaters across the nation. I am in North Carolina right now on business (related to this site actually; more info on that coming soon!), so I was able to see the film with my friend Kate. I saw it in theaters once before when I was in college, but it is a film that just gets better and better with each additional viewing.
Next Tuesday Warner Bros. is releasing the swankiest Blu-ray edition ever as part of the film’s 70th anniversary. Not only does it feature a brand-new restored digital transfer, but the set comes with so many fantastic special features and goodies. I have definitely pre-ordered this baby and you should, too!