Saturday, September 29, 2007

HD DVD Reviews x 3

Black Rain

Released in 1989, Ridley Scott's "Black Rain" is certainly one of the action movies parodied in "Hott Fuzz". You have an exotic setting, a male police friendship that borders on the homosexual, and a climactic fist fight in the rain that culminates the 2 hour and 5 minute running time. But seriously, as for the movie itself, I can't remember why I liked it so much. Maybe because when I first saw it, I was 13? I wonder how this film holds up on VHS or standard DVD because this is a very dark (literally, low-lit) muddled looking film even on HD. Part of the success of HD is the way it deepens the color black so one doesn't get that murky, pixillated feel. That feature pretty much saves "Black Rain". As usual, Ridley lights the entire film through lenses, fog machines, fluorescent lights and neon lights. The HD transfer is very good as it illuminates some of the murky images and allows the shadows of the film to become their own character while giving texture to the neon sets of Hong Kong (which feels like remnants of his "BladeRunner" sets). As for the movie, ehh. But it looks damn good.

Blades of Glory

That same logic goes for "Blades of Glory". I'm sure everyone knows my disdain for Will Ferrell comedies by now,but I will say this is a magical looking transfer. This is probably the crispest and most eye-popping HD DVD film I've seen yet. Too bad there's not much going on as far as entertainment value. You get Ferrell, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler doing their same tired sch tick. Still, the print is gorgeous, detailing individual faces in the backgrounds of the various scenes and really exposing the film's vibrant colors.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

I'm still waiting for the perfectly rendered take on my high school days. The "Dazed and Confused" crowd has their own; the 60's have "Diner" and "American Graffiti". For the 80's not only do you have Judd Apatow's incredibly loving "Freaks and Geeks" saga, but "Fast Times At Ridgemont High". Believe it or not, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" got its own HD DVD transfer. It's been a while since I've seen this, but I can't imagine it looking any better. As with the transfer of most 80's flicks to HD, there's very little upgrade the company can perform on the image itself. HD quality, once again, crispens the background and textures the colors. "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" performs well on the HD format. The detail of the mall is brought out in vivid depictions and it heightens the colors of the characters' wardrobes. But honestly, the one reason to see this is the Phoebe Cates pool scene in HD.

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