My Two Cents
Thursday, 15 December 2022 13:36

Criterion’s March includes Lynch’s Inland Empire, plus Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 4K from Dark Sky, new Warner Archive Blu-ray titles & more

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We’ve got some breaking release news to cover today here at The Bits, so let’s get right to it...

Criterion has just announced their new March 2023 titles, and fans of David Lynch should be very pleased. The slate includes a 4K upgrade of Michael Curtiz’s classic noir Mildred Pierce (Spine #860 – 4K + Blu-ray Combo) on 3/7, John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry (Spine #1174 – Blu-ray only) on 3/14, David Lynch’s long awaited remaster of Inland Empire (Spine #1175 – Blu-ray only) on 3/21, and Joan Micklin Silver’s Chilly Scenes of Winter (Spine #1176 – Blu-ray only) on 3/28.

We’ve been hoping for an actual 4K UHD release of Lynch’s Inland Empire, but like so many of the other Criterion titles that have been remastered in 4K yet released on Blu-ray first (only to be upgraded later), we suspect that an Ultra HD edition will come in time.

Also coming to 4K Ultra HD from Dark Sky Films on 2/28 is Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre, with Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, and a new documentary called The Legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. [Read on here...]

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We should note that Second Sight in the UK is also working on a 4K Ultra edition of this film.

Meanwhile, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just announced the 3-film Arsène Lupin Collection for Blu-ray release on 2/28, complete with The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (1957), Signed, Arsène Lupin (1959), and Arsène Lupin vs. Arsène Lupin (1962).

Kino Classics will release a 21-film Silent Avant-Garde Blu-ray box set, featuring early experimental shorts (made from 1906 to 1973) by the likes of Robert J. Flaherty, Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Alexandrov, Man Ray, and Orson Welles.

Orion Films and Universal will release Chinonye Chukwu’s Till (2022) on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on 1/17/23.

Our friends at the Warner Archive Collection have announced a slate of five great classic film titles for release on Blu-ray in January, including Fritz Lang’s Rancho Notorious (1952) and Harry Beaumont’s Our Dancing Daughters (1928) on 1/10, followed by Clarence Brown’s Wife vs. Secretary (1936), Vincente Minnelli’s The Long, Long Trailer (1954), and Sam Wood’s Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) on 2/24.

And while I’d planned to have a new 4K review up this morning, despite the breaking Criterion news, I was distracted last night upon learning that Paramount has now made both Dragonslayer (1981) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) available in 4K Digital with HDR on Vudu. (Both should also be available for 4K purchase on iTunes/AppleTV, Amazon, and other Digital retailers very soon if they aren’t already.) So naturally I went down a bit of rabbit hole watching the latter to check out the new 4K remaster.

For the record, it appears that this remaster of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) is not new, but rather was completed in 2016. It’s very good looking, with a modest uptick in detail over the previous Blu-ray, more nuanced and accurate color, deeper shadows, and more life-like highlights. But I would also say that it doesn’t look as good as, say, the recent 4K remasters that Kino Lorber Studio Classics has done of Leone’s Man With No Name Trilogy. Those were each brand new 4K scans, and the difference between a 2021 or 2022 scan vs. one done in 2016 is noticeable. It also appears that whoever supervised the OUATITW remaster employed a bit of noise reduction, not to eliminate grain but to reduce it significantly, which has taken out a little bit of the finest detail in the process. Then again, this is a 4K Digital stream, as opposed to a full-bandwidth 4K disc, so I’d like to wait and see what the final disc looks like before rendering any judgments. But I would definitely encourage Paramount to go back to the raw 4K scan (prior to digital remastering) to use a much lighter hand on the grain reduction dial.

All right, now I’m going to be spending the rest of the day working on disc reviews, so I’ll get those up here at the site as quickly as I can.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for some of the titles mentioned above. Amazon pre-order links will be added as they become available...

Inland Empire (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) The Last Hurrah for Chivilary (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) Mildred Pierce (4K Ultra HD)

Arsene Lupin Collection (Blu-ray Disc) Silent Avant-Garde Collection (Blu-ray Disc) Chilly Scenes of Winter (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

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