Blu-ray disc news, reviews, opinions and deals. Everything that's fit to print about the world's favourite HD format!

The 85th Academy Award Winners on Blu-ray

The 85th Academy Award Winners on Blu-ray

Hey, guess what? I totally avoided watching the Oscars this year! Yeah! I chose instead to power through a few more episodes of the final season of Fringe (only 2 left!) and I’m happy I did. From the tweets I saw streaming by it looks like the Oscars were something of a shit show. But honestly, that’s nothing new. I could care less about the awards themselves but I’m very keen to learn the Canadian Blu-ray release dates of some of these titles so I can get my grubby hands on them and finally catch up on all the stellar looking films I’ve missed during their theatrical runs. It appears we’ll have most of them available in high-def before too long but I have a feeling that Sony will hold back Amour for a few months more, possibly until August, as they’ve tended to do with their Best Foreign Film nominees in the recent past. Bummer.

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Bond 50 – Blu-ray Boxed set of all 22 James Bond films announced

Bond 50 – Blu-ray Boxed set of all 22 James Bond films announced

This is the news that we James Bond fans have been waiting for – MGM and Fox are finally preparing to unleash the ultimate Blu-ray collection of all 22 Bond films at some point in 2012. That’s right, no firm date has been announced at this point, though retail rumours point to a late-September/early-October release (which would make sense as that’s not only the beginning of the holiday shopping season but right around the release date of the latest Bond film, Skyfall.) The only detail we know about the set, outside of the MSRP of $299 (already available for pre-order on Amazon for $100 off – less than $10 a film) is the fact that it will include all 22 of the currently produced films (I hope they’ve left room in the box for the inevitable Skyfall release) and over 130-hours of bonus content, some of it newly produced and exclusively available here. Fans clamouring to fill out their already existing Bond Blu-ray collection with the 9 previously unreleased films will likely either have to double-dip or wait until 2013 for individual releases.

From the press release:

    LAS VEGAS, NV (Jan. 10, 2012) – In celebration of James Bond’s monumental golden anniversary, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment today unveiled BOND 50, a collectible box-set featuring all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray Disc for the first time in one complete offering. The longest running film franchise of all time, the Bond 50 collection marks the debut of nine James Bond films previously unavailable in high definition Blu-ray. Fans around the world can pre-order now with participating online retailers.

    Acclaimed Bond directors John Glen (five Bond films including For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights & Licence To Kill), Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, Casino Royale) and Michael Apted (The World Is Not Enough) with special guests Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Caterina Murino (Casino Royale) made the Blu-ray announcement today during a Directors’ Panel discussion in the Panasonic Booth at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

    BOND 50 showcases fifty years of Bond neatly packaged into one cool, sleek collectable box-set featuring all six iconic James Bond actors. Produced using the highest possible picture quality and audio presentation, the collection includes all 22 James Bond feature films from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace and more than 130 hours of bonus features including some new and exclusive content.

    “With all 22 feature films available on Blu-ray in one collection for the first time this is a great way for fans to catch up on 007’s epic journey before Skyfall hits theatres next Fall,” said Michael Brown, Senior Vice President, MGM Home Entertainment. “Now viewers can enjoy the intense action of the innovative franchise in the most immersive home experience possible.”

Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection [Blu-ray]


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11 James Bond films on Blu-ray for only $99.99 (UPDATED)

11 James Bond films on Blu-ray for only $99.99 (UPDATED)

Who doesn’t love a good deal? And who doesn’t love a good deal on James Bond Blu-ray discs? Well, this newest offer on Amazon.com is better than a good deal. It’s fracking amazing! All 11 of the James Bond films currently available on Blu-ray for less than $70! At just over $6.00 a film, you’re getting the best, lowest price these discs have ever seen. Interested? Here’s how you get that incredibly low price…

UPDATE: The code seems to only discount the set by $170 now, giving a final total of $99.99. Still an amazing deal, if you ask me!

First, do us the favour of using our Amazon link to click over to the Blu-ray set (Thanks, in advance!):

CLICK HERE


Then use this code:

AMZNBOND

Apply it at the final “PLACE ORDER” screen and Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got the deal and a savings of over $200 $170 on some of the coolest films ever made!

You’re welcome!

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The Man With The Golden Gun Blu-ray Disc Review

The Man With The Golden Gun Blu-ray Disc Review

The Man With the Golden Gun Blu-rayYou know, this movie is really not as bad as I remember it.

Roger Moore returns as Bond in The Man With The Golden Gun, his second outing as British super-spy, 007. I’ve never been a big fan of Moore’s wimpy, jocular characterization but his sense of suave doesn’t seem to get in the way here. This isn’t one of the “great” Bond’s but it far out-performs Moore’s later, geriatric efforts in Octopussy and A View to a Kill. He’s on point. Ready for business. And up against one of the coolest villains in Bond history – Dracula!

All right, I’ll fess up. Any affection I have for this movie comes as a result of being a Dracula fanatic. Christopher Lee, most famous for his portrayal of the undead Count in Hammer‘s series of horror films, cuts a fantastic, villainous figure no matter the film franchise: Evil wizard Saruman in Lord of the Rings, Sith Lord Count Dooku in Star Wars or tri-nippled hitman Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun. The man is legend.

Britt Ekland and Hervé Villechaize round out a fairly strong cast (strangely, they would re-team on the 80s TV show, Fantasy Island) who manage to keep the pedestrian plot from sinking into complete malaise. The Man With The Golden Gun is not great cinema. The script is lazy, falling back on Bond and action/comedy cliches. But somehow, the dynamic personalities on-screen keep me interested. Keep the film alive!

The disc, like most of the FOX/MGM James Bond efforts on Blu-ray, looks better than ever! This isn’t a revelatory transfer, like Dr. No but crisp and balanced in every way. Colours seem true and and there’s a lot of detail to appreciate up on the screen. I would say, it’s so true to the film elements, in fact, that Scaramanga’s third nipple has never looked more fake than on Blu-ray!

Extras on this disc, like the Licence to Kill Blu-ray, reviewed earlier on The Blu-ray Blog are plentiful and echo the previously released DVD:

• Audio Commentary Featuring Sir Roger Moore

• Audio Commentary Featuring Director Guy Hamilton and members of the cast and crew

• Guy Hamilton: The Director Speaks

• Roger Moore and Herve Villechaize – The Russel Harty Show
On Location with The Man with the Golden Gun

• The Road to Bond: Stunt Coordinator W.J. Milligan, JR.

• Girls Fighting Featurette

• 007 Mission control: Interactive Guide into the World of The Man with the Golden Gun

• American Thrill Show Stunt Film
• Double-0 Stuntment: A Look at the Greatest Stunts and Stunt Performers in the Bond Films

• Inside The Man with the Golden Gun – An Original Documentary

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Top 8 Blu-ray Discs to get Dad for Father's Day

Top 8 Blu-ray Discs to get Dad for Father's Day

Father’s day is creeping up on us pretty quickly and, I don’t know about you, but I always have a tough time buying for the old man. So, I thought this year I’d do us all a favour and put together a list of some of the movies that my dad loves, to assist in the gift-hunting frenzy that will no doubt be the coming week. Now, I’m assuming here that everyone’s dad has the exact same taste in movies. Probably not the best idea. But I only know what I know. And this list represents the best of the best on Blu-ray, as my dad would see it.

Just in case he reads this: No dad, they don’t have The Full Monty or The Commitments on Blu-ray yet. Maybe you’ll get them next year.

THE TOP 8 BLU-RAY DISCS TO GET DAD FOR FATHER’S DAY

8. DIE HARD COLLECTION

Die Hard Blu-rayOnce upon a time, Bruce Willis had hair and could take out an office tower full of terrorists while barefoot and bloodied. Those were the days. Relive Willis at his best here, in this box-set featuring all four Die Hard films. As you can imagine, if you recall all the films, you’ll also have the opportunity to relive Willis at his worst. Nevermind. Who doesn’t love a Die Hard film?

The Box set features a couple of lackluster transfers, a couple of great ones and bonus material that deserves an upgrade. On a positive note, you can usually get this thing for a steal! And c’mon, really…who doesn’t love a Die Hard film?

7. GOODFELLAS

Goodfellas Blu-rayMy dad has watched Goodfellas on TV about a hundred times. Rarely from beginning to end as his preference seems to be watching films from the middle onward, but he’s seen it a lot. At least he’s seen the end of it a lot. Needless to say, whenever it’s on the old boob-tube, dad flicks it on. It’s a favourite.

And this Blu-ray disc version of Goodfellas could easily become a favourite as well, what with the spiffy 1080p upgrade and a couple of the better commentary tracks on home video. Not only do you get a nice sit-down with director Martin Scorsese, his cast and crew but you also get a second track featuring the man whose life the film is based upon, Henry Hill and FBI agent Edward McDonald, the man who put him in witness protection. Fascinating!

6. STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES – SEASON 1

Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1 Blu-rayFascinating, indeed! I am simply blown away by this box set (full review coming soon) and anxious to show it to my dad. While not a Trekkie or Trekker, he always had a great appreciation for a good sci-fi show. And Trek ranked among the best in my house, growing up.

Paramount Home Video has gone above and beyond the call of duty in bringing these episodes of the original 60s TV show to Blu-ray. Star Trek has never looked this brilliant, vivid and saturated in lush colour. Packed to the brim with featurettes, commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes footage, you simply can’t go wrong picking up this box-set.

5. ENTER THE DRAGON

Enter The Dragon Blu-rayBruce Lee at his best. I had forgotten how fantastic the man was until watching this film again recently on Blu-ray. This is a quintessential 70s action flik and no doubt a favourite of a lot of fathers.

The Blu-ray edition of Enter The Dragon ports over most of the generous portion of bonus features that Warner had assembled for their four releases of the film on DVD. These extras are amazing! Some might say, better than the film itself. If your dad has ever had any interest in the life of the martial arts master, he’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information packed within the many documentaries and featurettes on the Blu-ray. Oh, and to tempt you further, Enter the Dragon looks great for a 35 year old film. And you can usually pick it up pretty cheap! (Currently, $11.49 at Amazon)

4. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Blu-rayI had to fit a western on here. And what better film than one of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood‘s finest spaghetti westerns, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Mind you, this wasn’t an easy choice. John Ford‘s incredible The Searchers starring John Wayne was a definite contender, with it’s incredible restoration job and low, low price of $7.99 at Amazon. But ultimately I had to go with the film that I would pick up for my own dad. And Clint will always win over the Duke in my dad’s eyes.

While the film itself may not be the ultimate presentation of Leone’s epic shooter in it’s extended cut, with perhaps a bit too much digital processing in the wrong places, the package contains some incredible extras. Not least of which is a brand new commentary track historian and Leone expert, Christopher Frayling that contains more information about the ‘Dollar’ trilogy than you can shake a six-shooter at. All together, a great buy.

3. JAMES BOND FILMS

James Bond Collections Blu-rayI couldn’t pick a single Bond film. Guilty as charged. It’s not that I’m necessarily indecisive. It’s just that there’s really a wealth of Bond-awesomeness to chose from on Blu-ray. Something for everyone, for every budget.

If it’s old-school Bond that floats your dad’s boat, you can find a good selection of the Connery and Moore films on Blu in individual releases. Or if you’re feeling wealthier and your father enjoys the entire series, you can pick up the Bond Collections, which feature 3 films each, chosen in a seemingly random fashion from amongst the eras. Last but certainly not least are the newer, Daniel Craig films, both excellent on Blu. The 2-Disc Casino Royale is currently quite affordable on Amazon at $14.99.

2. THE GODFATHER: THE COPPOLA RESTORATION GIFTSET

The Godfather Blu-rayI don’t know a dad who doesn’t like The Godfather 1 and 2. In fact, I think a devout appreciation of Francis Ford Coppola‘s mob epic is a prerequisite of fatherhood. Also required, a hatred of the much-maligned Godfather Part 3.

If anything can make your dad give Part 3 another go, it’s this gorgeous giftset of the entire Godfather series on Blu. The first two films have undergone a drastic restoration process and have a look that some might find startling. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While not gaining the sparkle of modern films, Godfather 1 and 2 are brighter and more detailed than ever before. Part 3 is well presented and, while the film isn’t the best of the series, it is nice to look at in 1080p. The set is rounded out by a ridiculous wealth of bonus features, including all the extra content from the 2001 DVD edition as well as brand-spanking new HD stuff. Great set!

1. BAND OF BROTHERS

Band of Brothers Blu-rayThis HBO TV series by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks is epic. It’s complex. It’s real. Based on Stephen Ambrose‘s book of the same name, Band of Brothers chronicles the story of the soldiers of Easy Company from basic training to the end of World War II in ten phenomenal, riveting episodes.

The box-set set of the complete series looks and sounds great on Blu and ports over all the bonus content from the DVD set. In addition, each episode features all new, Blu-ray exclusive Picture-in-Picture interviews/commentary with the surviving members of Easy Company. The veterans share haunting memories of WWII and discuss the accuracy of their on-screen representations. As if this wasn’t enough, each of the ten Band of Brothers episodes offer real time trivia, accessible video content, interactive maps, archive footage, and a glossary of WWII military terms, abbreviations, and slang in the feature called In the Field with the Men of Easy Company: Interactive Guides.

I’m going to be honest with you here: I don’t know if my dad has even seen this show. But I’ll tell you this, if I had to rush out and get him a Blu-ray gift that looked and sounded great, had tons of amazing bonus features and offered an incredible value, Band of Brothers would be at the top of the list.

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