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Australian Blu-ray Importing: July 2012 Buying Guide

Ben takes a look at the latest and greatest overseas titles on Blu-ray.

| Australian Import Guides in HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 3:21 am

Since last time we looked at the 'Guide to Buying Blu-rays from Overseas' last month, the Australian dollar has clawed back some points and continues to hover around parity with the US dollar. Additionally, the soft European market has also ensured it remains very strong against the pound. With studios starting to open their catalogues to much anticipated titles, coupled with deep discounting in overseas markets, it's still never been better to import Blu-ray releases.

 

Let's jump into the latest instalment of the series, covering some of the later titles released overseas, but safe for Australian region coding.

 

 

As Good As It Gets

 

TweakTown image content/4/8/4808_1_australian_blu_ray_importing_july_2012_buying_guide.jpg

 

Studio: Sony Home Entertainment / Screen Archives Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Screenarchives.com

Region: A, B, C

 

The 1997 drama As Good As It Gets plays Jack Nicholson as the misanthropic, obsessive compulsive novelist Melvin Udall which sees his finely formed routines challenged when waitress Carol (Helen Hunt) is unable to consistently serve his food at the diner he habitually attends.

 

Nominated for a best picture Oscar, and winning for best actor (Nicholson) and actress (Hunt), the film features some fine performances across the board, with a razor sharp script and direction which refuses to follow conventions.

 

The transfer is in great condition with a very filmic presentation. Whilst no one is going to note the improvements in lossless audio, it's still good to have received a lossless DTS HD Master Audio track. Whilst the disc is light on for extra features, fans of the film will nonetheless want to jump in quick before the disc becomes out of print. Independent distributor Twilight Time has secured a three year exclusive right to the film from holder Sony Pictures Entertainment for a short run of just 3,000 copies.

 

 

Jules Verne's Journey To The Center Of The Earth

 

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Studio: Twentieth Century Fox / Screen Archives Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Screenarchives.com

Region: A, B, C

 

Distributor Twilight Time are on a roll, also securing the rights to the 1959 science fiction adventure Jules Verne's Journey To The Centre of the Earth. It surprises me that Fox didn't release the film directly to honor the films recently passed 50th anniversary, but there you go.

 

The classic adventure has aged, but it wears its heart on its sleeve. Those that grew up watching the film on TV (like me) will marvel at the image quality, flaws and all and while the sound won't challenge your home theatre, it's a nice remastering nonetheless. It's a miracle too, due to the loss of the original negative some years ago.

 

Like As Good As It Gets, Twilight Time has secured a three year exclusive right to the film from holder Twentieth Century Fox to produce a run of just 3,000 copies, which are expected to sell out very soon. They don't get much more limited edition than that, so grab it while you can.

 

 

Blade

 

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Studio: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

Purchase: Amazon.com

Region: A, B, C

 

While Wesley Snipes serves a prison sentence for tax evasion leaving the vampires to presumably roam free, fans of the sc-fi/fantasy series can finally relive the first movie.

 

Blade (Wesley Snipes) guards the streets as a vampire hunter, to vengeance the death of his mother, killed at their hands, assisted by weapons expert and former hunter Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). His latest target; Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) will require all his skills to subdue, to stop the vampire menace from spreading.

 

Whilst Warner hasn't produced any new extra features to accompany the film, they've retained all the previous extra features, bar the isolated score. The newly struck 1080p transfer is a revelation after enduring the muddy DVD transfer. The soundtrack presented in DTS HD Master Audio too sounds suitably improved. Overall, it's a winner.

 

Whilst Warner are also releasing Blade II to the U.S. market in a few short weeks, Australians will have to make do with just the third film in the franchise, Blade: Trinity. Thank God for Amazon.

 

 

Evita: 15th Anniversary

 

TweakTown image content/4/8/4808_4_australian_blu_ray_importing_july_2012_buying_guide.jpg

 

Studio: Disney Home Entertainment

Country of Origin: United States

[u]Purchase: Amazon.com

Region: A, B, C

 

My, how far we've come in 15 years. Evita was one of the first DVD's to be released in Australia in 1997; a flipper disc featuring a pan and scan transfer on one side and a widescreen on another, rife with artifacts and macro blocking. The sound? Dolby Stereo. Extra features? Nada. The price? $49.95.

 

Whilst the DVD is no longer available to purchase locally, Disney have released a beautifully remastered 15th anniversary edition Blu-ray which restores the lavish grandeur of the mid 90's musical.

 

Madonna stars as Eva Peron, the first lady of Argentina, and through song traces her life poverty to spiritual leader of the country. Antonio Banderas co-stars as Che Guevara, whom also narrates the story.

 

The new 1080p transfer is a sight to behold, and the DTS HD Master Audio track is a glorious rendition of the memorable score by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Blu-ray retains the majority of the extra features prepared for the 1997 Criterion Collection Laserdisc, headlined by the fantastic 42 minute documentary; however the audio commentary by Director Alan Parker is sadly missing in action. Despite this, fans should not hesitate.

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