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Profile for M. Udell > Reviews


M. Udell's Profile

Customer Reviews: 7
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Helpful Votes: 47

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M. Udell "I know things about stuff" RSS Feed (Warrenton, VA)

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail [Blu-ray]
Monty Python and the Holy Grail [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Graham Chapman
Price: $12.01
52 used & new from $5.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically Silly Comedy, Llama-ntable blu-ray, September 21, 2012
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The Film: Let's just say that this is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched this film or quoted it throughout my life.

The Video: A nice upgrade from the (horrible) DVD, but still a disappointment overall. The print is cleaned up nicely and the bright exterior shots look decent, but overall the film is too dark, flesh-tones are inconsistent, and its occasionally out of focus (you can see this even more in HD). It's probably the best this film can ever look, but you'll still wish it looked better.

The Sound: It sounds somewhat better than it looks with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio track. Not at all bad for a 40 year old film that was recorded in Mono, just don't expect it to sound like a modern blockbuster.

The Subtitles (yeah, I'm calling out the subtitles): Subtitles are included in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and "Subtitles For People Who Don't Like the Film", which cleverly inserts scenes from William Shakespeare's 'Henry IV: Part 2' in case you just don't find the film all that funny.

Extras: 19 mins of deleted scenes and outakes in HD!. Many are funny but too silly for even this movie.

Overall: One of the silliest and funniest films of all time looks and sounds the best we can probably ever hope for it to be. If you're a fan it's worth it for the upgrade, just know what to expect.

Road to Perdition [Blu-ray]
Road to Perdition [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
Price: $29.99
26 used & new from $3.48

5.0 out of 5 stars There are only murderers in this room!, September 21, 2012
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The Movie: Fantastic acting (from a boatload of talent), award-winning Cinematography, emotionally stirring music, a Grade-A B-movie storyline; The Road To Perdition manages to juxtapose heart-felt drama with moments where it is funny and/or terrifying. Not a perfect movie, but a great one nonetheless.

The Video: While there are occasional dust and small scratches on the print(why?) this is as astounding "filmic" presentation. It literally looks like you are watching a film projected on your HDTV. This is the way to watch movies.

The Sound: Perfect. Demo and Reference quality.

Overall: If you like your movies dark, gritty, violent and tragic, this movie delivers. This film is not for everyone, but for those the material resonates with it is a true gem and a standout blu-ray.

The Green Mile (Blu-ray Book Packaging)
The Green Mile (Blu-ray Book Packaging)
DVD ~ Tom Hanks
14 used & new from $11.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film gets a worthy blu-ray book, January 5, 2012
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Impressive on both the video and audio fronts, this blu-ray represents a significant step up from the DVD (I own both and compared). I personally like the "blu-ray book" format and enjoy the extra information it provides.

Video: Gorgeously shot, richly "honeyed" in that depression-era-film way, strikingly detailed, some minor edge enhacement raises it's head but it never gets in the way. Excellent and consistent grain field.

Audio: The TrueHD mix makes great use of the entire sound field to produce a "you are there" ambiance. Just listen to that thunder rumble in the distance.

Extras: A number of extras that run from the mildly-interesting to the fascinating. I wish the longer making of "Myster and Miracles" was in HD, but it's still excellent. Skip the shorter "Walking the Mile".

Definitely worth the upgrade if you own the DVD, practically a "must-buy" if you don't.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2012 2:21 PM PST

Trading Places: Looking Good, Feeling Good Edition [Blu-ray]
Trading Places: Looking Good, Feeling Good Edition [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Denholm Elliott
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $18.72
21 used & new from $2.64

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected visuals, but a tin ear, January 8, 2009
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I've always liked this movie and remember it as a pleasant surprise when I first saw it in theaters. It features a standout performance by Eddie Murphy (before he became a star in Beverly Hills Cop), a surprising career saver by Dan Aykroyd, and a brief topless scene that changed the public perception of Jamie Lee Curtis from scream queen to sex goddess. All this while skewering American classism (this is a film for the 99%)!

As far as the blu-ray specifics go the video, while not spectacular, features a substantial improvement over the standard DVD. The real problem here appears to be the film itself which, frankly, looks more like it was shot as a TV movie-of-the-week. The print has really been cleaned up, removing all the scratches, dirt and hair that plagued my previous DVD. Thankfully there is no evidence of the rampant DNR or edge enhancement that detract from so many older catalog titles. Overall a solid hi-def upgrade.

On the audio front you get a Dolby Digital 5.1 remaster that sounds both dated and flat. While this is a dialog heavy film, even the classic R&B tunes in the soundtrack sound both tinny and lacking in low-end. Even though it's 5.1 it sounds just like stereo.

As far as suppliments go, you get an upgrade from the previous DVD (which had almost nothing) to a set that is still pretty bare bones overall.

Trading Places still holds up as one of the better comedies from its time period. Its class battle is still relevant, its got a fun cast, and big laughs come regularly throughout the film. All in all it is a fairly solid Blu-ray reissue. While the video is better than expected, the audio is really lacking.

Normally I'd suggest a rental unless you're an avid fan of the film. But at $8.88 here on Amazon if you like the movie at all you should just pick it up.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2012 3:50 PM PDT

Dreamgirls (Two-Disc Showstopper Edition) [Blu-ray]
Dreamgirls (Two-Disc Showstopper Edition) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jamie Foxx
23 used & new from $1.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dream on blu-ray, January 7, 2009
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Dreamgirls was the very first musical I ever had the pleasure of seeing live on Broadway. I loved the story and music then and, with a few reservations, love it nearly just as much now. I won't spend time reviewing the content of the movie beyond saying that Dreamgirls has some truly great musical setpieces, mired in a fragmeted, episodic presentation that I do not remember being so prevalent in the stage production.

As far as this blu-ray release goes, this is 5-star demo material through and through. The source is literally flawless, with colors, contrast and black levels all rock solid. Images are crystal clear with stunning texture detail and depth of field. Like Hairspray, this film appears somehow more colorful than real life. This appears to be the intent of the filmakers and is not a knock against the excellent transfer at all.

Regarding the audio, there is NO HI-RES AUDIO on this disc! This is inexplicable given that it is a musical. However, the included 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is among the best non-hi-res soundtracks I've ever heard. It just makes me wonder how much better it could have sounded in a lossless format (sigh).

In summary, I have some issues with the film overall but would own it anyway for the great music and setpieces. The hi-def video is unadulterated demo material, but the lack of corresponding hi-res audio is a criminal oversight and costs this review one star.

The Untouchables [Blu-ray] (2007) (Special Collector's Edition)
The Untouchables [Blu-ray] (2007) (Special Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Robert DeNiro
Price: $31.99
17 used & new from $3.14

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paramount "Touched" the Untouchables, January 7, 2009
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I've always been a big fan of this movie, which I remember as first marking Brian DePalma as a "blockbuster" director. It's filled with sharp dialog, Oscar winning acting, some inspired (clearly by Hitchcock) camerawork, a dramatic score by Ennio Morricone, and a nostaglic/patriotic retelling of a truly gritty real-life crime drama.

As far as this blu-ray goes, it features a very nice transfer that ups the detail, contrast, color and stability considerably over the previous DVD release. Unfortunately it also introduces nearly constant edge halos and some shimmering - both presumably artifacts of edge enhancement used to make the film look more appealing to modern audiences.

On the Audio front the 6.1 DTS-HD track does a very fine job considering the age of the film. I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range of the score and the use of discrete effects in the Union Station shootout.

Overall, if it were not for the digital retouching, I would have rated this release at 5 stars. Since I can't give 4 and a half I had to downgrade it full star for the botched digital enhancements.

Hopefully someday there will be a untouched version of The Untouchables.

Freakazoid! Season 1
Freakazoid! Season 1
DVD ~ Paul Rugg
Price: $19.99
32 used & new from $7.80

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious show... subpar DVD, October 13, 2008
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This review is from: Freakazoid! Season 1 (DVD)
I'm finding it challenging to accurately "star" this review because I am frankly overjoyed to be able to own this gem of a show on DVD.

THE SHOW: First the good news: The show is hilarious. Rating the DVD on the episodes alone I'd give it a 5 of 5. Some of the humor is decidedly childish, and alot of it relies on a knowledge of the events and culture of the mid-1990s, but when it hits it can be side-splittingly funny. The extended lament on the loss of the aerial tram at Disneyland has made me laugh for over a decade.

The quality of the shows voice acting is consistently excellent, with inspiring performances by Ed Asner, Ricardo Montleban, David Warner, Paul Rugg and others.

The animation quality is on a par with quality Warner TV animation at the time. It comes off as a hypbrid of the styles of Batman: The Animated Series and Animaniacs.

THE DVDs: Now the bad news. This is not a lovingly restored animated show. In fact, compared to a number of other 2-D animated features I own on DVD the show looks downright awful. Noise and artifacting are rampant throughout the discs. It looks worse than a standard def television broadcast of the same material, which is truly a shame.

On a more positive note, the commentary on 3 episodes is very entertaining and the original promotional spots (which I don't remember ever seeing on TV at the time of the shows airing) are a hoot.

SUMMARY: Great show, poor transfer, average special features. I hope it says alot about the quality of the show itself that I will definitely still purchase Season 2 (a meager but rewarding 11 episodes) if/when it is released.

Emmitt Nervend appeared one time in this review

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