HD DVD Reviews – Clearance Edition

P11028098 HD DVD Reviews   Clearance Edition

With HD DVD getting its ass kicked by Blu-Ray, some stores are having fire sales. One store in particular is Hollywood Video, selling their HD DVD’s for about $10 a piece or if you have a coupon 2/$15. So I went on an HD DVD binge and bought 6 movies, even ones I didn’t really like at the theatre. Yes, addiction is bad for you. Here we go:

1) Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix

Movie Rating: B +
This was the first time I saw it. Didn’t care much for the previous four but enjoyed this one. We get to see the wizards’ city, and a great chemistry between the actors. Best part was the epic battle, about time we got to see Dumbledore fight. Some of the CGI were hit and miss.

Video Rating: A
Almost 3d-like since the depth of the colors were vibrant. One of the best transfers.

Audio Rating: A
Dolby True HD is awesome. Surround was very dynamic and the sub had a good workout

Overall Rating: A

2) American Gangster
Movie Rating: C
Bought it hoping I would change my mind on this movie since everyone I talked to enjoyed this film. Watching it the second time made me realize why I didn’t enjoy this film: The inconsistency. We see Denzel shoot his rival in the middle of lunch on a busy street and he doesn’t care about the witnesses. The next scene, he bitches at his brother for being flashy. Yeah that’s believable.

Video Rating: B-
Transfer is better than the DVD counterpart but I wasn’t too pleased with it. It looked somewhat flat

Audio Rating: B
Bass is good and dialog is very clear. Pretty much a front heavy track.

Overall Rating: C

3) Zodiac
Movie Rating: B
Pretty interesting movie about a killer in the San Francisco circa 1970 that was never caught. It’s nearly three hours long but it kept me fascinated. Some scenes could have been cut but I get the director’s(Fincher of Se7en and Fight Club fame) intent. Many people thought the special effects were seamless in this movie but I noticed them right away. I guess it was meant to be seen in the silver screen.

Video Rating: A
Again, awesome transfer. Fincher’s style really stands out on HD and looks great.

Audio Rating: B+
Very dialog driven film but the suspenseful scenes makes good use of the speakers.

Overall Rating: B+

4) Babel
Movie Rating: B
Crash-esque storytelling about a tourist getting shot in Morocco and the lives it affected. I didn’t really enjoy it the first time I watched it but the second time I saw it, I appreciated it more. Great performances by the cast.

Video Rating: B
Very grainy film but the detail is still surprisingly good.

Audio Rating: B
I was surprised with the audio as well. For a low budget movie, the sound design is well done, especially the gun shots.

Overall Rating: B

5) Stardust
Movie Rating: B-
The movie is edited inconsistently. Some scenes are too long and some scenes need more explanation. I think this would have been better if they made it about 30 minutes longer. It starts out slow but it becomes a fun ride towards the end. The message of the movie isn’t what I expected from the previews and that’s a good thing.

Video Rating: B-
Paramount did a half ass job with this release. A lot of scenes are grainy when it shouldn’t be. Disappointed with the transfer since the cinematography was great.

Audio Rating: B
Sounds compressed for an HD DVD audio but still better than SD(standard DVD). Bass is still tight but the surrounds could have been livelier.

Overall Rating: B-

6) Blade Runner
Movie Rating: C+
First time watching it and although I was impressed with Ridley Scott’s vision, the movie dragged. Story consists Harrison Ford hunting down robots in the near future. I read a lot of reviews that said it should be watched more than once to appreciate it. I think I’ll wait at least a year to watch it again.

Video Rating: A
Watching it HD would make you think the movie was released 6 months ago, not bad for a movie that was released more than 25 years ago. This is the most impressive transfer because the film source is old yet it’s so sharp and detailed.

Audio Rating: A
The audio is as impressive as the video. It was remastered and the track is very active from beginning to end.

Overall Rating: B+

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