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Blu-ray Importing: July 2011 Buying Guide

Ben takes a look at the latest and greatest overseas titles.

| Australian Import Guides in HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 30, 2011 11:16 am

 

Since last months 'Guide to Buying Blu-rays from Overseas' the Australian dollar has continued its meteoric rise against the green back, exceeding parity and hovering between $1.05 and $1.09. This week the Aussie battler even hit an all time high against the British Pound, the Euro and the U.S. Dollar. It's a spectacular situation for Aussie importers and definitely time to hit up the likes of Amazon to revel in releases normally denied to Australian fans.

 

So let's jump into the latest instalment of this epic series, covering some of the later titles released only to import, but safe from the horrors of region coding.

 

The Blues Brothers

 

TweakTown image content/4/2/4216_1_blu_ray_importing_july_2011_buying_guide.jpg

 

Studio: Universal Home Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Amazon.com

Region: A, B, C

 

"We're on a mission from God".

 

Whilst The Blues Brothers was generally panned upon release in 1981, it has well and truly become a cult classic which has only grown in stature with every passing year. Its excesses will never be repeated and I can't imagine a big budget studio film featuring an almost exclusively rhythm and blues music as the soundtrack being produced again.

 

With a whip sharp script and a somewhat silly premise executed perfectly, The Blues Brothers is a classic and its Blu-ray release has been eagerly awaited for some time. Whilst the video transfer is a little bit disappointing, arguably reflecting the grungy and grimy look the film has always had and the head scratching decision to include a lossy DTS Audio track, this is still a 'must have' release.

 

 

Jumanji

 

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Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Amazon.com

Region: A, B, C

 

When Jurassic Park proved that computer generated animals could be successfully created, studios scrambled dormant scripts that were now technically feasible - and one of them was this.

 

Whilst Jumanji has aged rather badly in the last 16 years (the CG monkeys especially so), at any rate it's all fairly tongue in cheek which dulls the pain. Sony has ported over the majority of DVD extra features, but other than a BD Java game, there's nothing new to speak of. Still, the new HD transfer is relatively decent and it remains a good all around family film, with a family friendly price.

 

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Legend

 

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Studio: Disney Home Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Amazon.com

Region: A, B, C

 

Director Ridley Scott has had a varied career, with some real stinkers (G.I. Jane) and some real strikes of lighting (Gladiator, Alien). 1985's Legend falls somewhere in the middle, a film that wanted to reach to the status of its namesake, but fails to reach the bar.

 

Despite this, there's enough to enjoy here. Tom Cruise doesn't seem to have aged a day in the intervening 27 years. Both theatrical cut and directors cut have their own pros and cons. If nothing else, it proves how much a film can be changed in the editing room, and with a different soundtrack.

 

The Blu-ray release features both the original theatrical and directors cuts, alongside a nearly hour long documentary.

 

 

The Shadow

 

TweakTown image content/4/2/4216_4_blu_ray_importing_july_2011_buying_guide.jpg

 

Studio: Koch Media

Country of Origin: Germany

Purchase: Amazon.gr

Region: B

 

In 1994 Australian Director Russell Mulcahy took a stab at the pulp 1930's serial The Shadow. Despite some gorgeous cinematography, sets which evoke the period well, and some pure ham from the always dependable Tim Curry, The Shadow was not well loved by critics and movie goers alike. That said, there is still a lot to like in this film and I think it deserves another chance on Blu-ray disc.

 

The now out of print Australian DVD release of the film was very basic with an average quality transfer with no extra features. In comparison, this Blu-ray features a fair amount of extra features along with a very good HD transfer.

 

I managed to decipher enough German to order the Blu-ray from Amazon Germany (hint: all Amazon stores follow the same rough field order) and shipping is fast, but should be for such high cost (around $20 AUD).

 

For now, those high paid analysts say that the USD to AUD conversion of currency parity is likely to continue well into the future, so as we approach the bulk releases of the third quarter, we'll be sure to be back with a few more installments of the series.

 

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