The Princess Bride (1987) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

What’s it like? ‘The Princess Bride’. It really is in a league of its own.

Film: 10/10. Yes, a perfect score. ‘The Princess Bride’ is the melding of a multitude of genres into a tale that quite literally caters for everyone. Sword fights, comedy, romance, revenge, true love and the addition of a pitch perfect cast make for one of my favourite films of all time. 98 mins.

Picture quality: 8/10. Considering the disc was released 8 years ago the results are quite good. The master used is in good shape with some very nice detail, vivid colours (the lush grass and Buttercup’s red dress are standouts), a light layer of grain and consistent contrast. Considering it likely wasn’t a fresh scan at the time it’s a good result.

Audio quality: 8/10. The film is accompanied by and audio track capable of ticking all the boxes. Dialogue is always clear, Mark Knopfler’s score is perfectly prioritised and sound effects play around the entirety of the soundstage, making good use of the surrounds when needed. Much like the film, this track has a little bit of everything from some engaging action sequences to some subtle ambience.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: U.S., Studio: MGM, Region: A locked

Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant

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High Fidelity (2000) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

What’s it like? ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ minus the guns and plus a big dose of ‘Almost Famous’.

Film: 8/10. John Cusack fans are in for a treat. It’s not a one-man show but all the supporting characters are there in service in honour of Cusack’s Rob. He’s the focus and it’s the perfect approach as it mirrors the motivations of the character – he’s in things for himself. At its heart the film is a romantic comedy, even if many of the things that happen (of have happened in the character’s lives) are neither funny or romantic – some are quite horrifying. 114 mins.

Picture quality: 6/10. Based on an older master, the quality is decent overall but does show so issues from time to time. Close ups are nicely detailed, contrast is good and colours are mostly accurate. Unfortunately some long and midrange shots lack definition. They get a bit muddy and lack the clarity a newer master would bring.

Audio quality: 7/10. This track comes alive best when the various songs that populate the soundtrack burst from the speakers. Their clarity is excellent and lend the film energy. When there are lulls between songs the dialogue can tend to become slightly flat. It’s never muffled but it doesn’t quite have the dynamics a truly great track needs. John Cusack’s fourth wall talks take on that energy though.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: Australia , Studio: Disney/Buena Vista, Region: Region free

Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet

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Nocturnal Animals (2016) – Blu-ray review

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Synopsis: A wealthy art gallery owner receives a draft of her ex-husband’s new novel, and once she starts reading it she just cannot put it down.

What’s it like? The abstract nature of a David Lynch film meets the ruthlessness of No Country for Old Men encased in a Terrence Malick-like philosophical experiment.

Film: 9/10. Tom Ford weaves two distinct tales (fictional and real world) and draws them together until they combine in a confronting tale of loss. 116 mins.

Picture quality: 10/10. A flawless presentation. Ford creates unique visual styles for each of the main locations in the film and they’re all realised with perfect clarity. Colours, contrast, grain, textures – they all impress.

Audio quality: 9/10. It’s a primarily dialogue driven affair but all aspects of the audio are rendered with amazing attention to detail. The score and atmospheric effects are crystal clear. It’s precision work, even if it’s not the most showy track.

Trailer: YouTube

Disc reviewed: Country: U.K., Studio: Universal Studios, Region: region free

Director: Tom Ford
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher

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