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Blu-ray Highlights: Week of Oct. 13th, 2013 – Fantasy and Microchips, Shooting from the Hip, Something Different…

This week brings us some science that is quite weird indeed. Giant robots, deranged surgeons, slutty cyber-vixens, clones and teleportation all prominently feature in the latest batch of Blu-ray releases. My creation, is it real? It’s my creation, I do not know.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (10/15/13)?

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New Releases

Guillermo del Toro’s gonzo ode to mecha anime and giant monster movies, ‘Pacific Rim‘, is like a 10-year-old boy’s favorite dream re-enacted with a gargantuan budget. Depending on whom you listen to, it’s either the most awesome thing in the history of awesomeness, or a shallow and pointless waste of time. At the very least, it’s sure to make some tremendous home theater eye candy, especially in 3D.

No, ‘The Heat‘ is not a remake of Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’, just in case you were confused on that point. ‘Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig reteams with his star Melissa McCarthy for another extremely crass comedy. This one’s about a slovenly, abrasive Boston cop (McCarthy) and an uptight FBI agent (Sandra Bullock, essentially reprising her character from ‘Miss Congeniality’) forced to work together on a case. The movie is exactly what you’d expect from that description, and hits every single beat in the buddy-cop action-comedy manual, but I have to admit that it’s also really damned funny.

If ‘Captain Philips’ has left you hungering for more high-seas piracy adventure, the 2012 Danish thriller ‘A Hijacking‘ covers a lot of the same ground (or water, as the case may be). Reviews and word-of-mouth were quite strong.

In light of the new comedy concert special ‘Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain‘, perhaps someone can explain to me why Kevin Hart is considered funny. I’ve never quite understood that.

Catalog Titles

While in the midst of reissuing a lot of back catalog as part of the so-called “Best of the Decade Collection” (all of which are just repackagings of old discs), Universal also offers the Blu-ray debuts of the R-rated ’80s comedies ‘Weird Science‘ and ‘Slap Shot‘, as well as the Clint Eastwood Western ‘High Plains Drifter‘.

Bizarrely, although the 10th Anniversary Edition of the rom-com ‘Love Actually‘ promises an “all-new digital restoration” on the packaging, the disc inside actually looks identical (or at least virtually indistinguishable) from the prior Blu-ray released back in 2009. The supplements are the same too, except for the addition of a Christmas ornament in the box. The only actual difference is the replacement of two songs on the soundtrack. The 2009 Blu-ray represented the movie’s UK theatrical cut in this regard, while the new Blu-ray represents the North American theatrical cut.

If you’re already in a Halloween frame of mind, you might want to check out Robert Wise’s classic ghost house thriller ‘The Haunting‘, Criterion’s issue of Georges Franju’s surreal French shocker ‘Eyes Without a Face‘, or John Carpenter’s Lovecraft homage ‘In the Mouth of Madness‘.

Orson Welles reportedly stated that his film noir ‘The Stranger‘ was his least favorite of the movies he directed. Ironically, it’s also the only movie he directed that was a box office hit during its original release.

Elsewhere, Shout! Factory gives us a Collector’s Edition of John Sturges’ final film, the WWII thriller ‘The Eagle Has Landed‘.

Desperately trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, Fox has reissued Doug Liman’s sci-fi flop ‘Jumper‘ in a new quickie 3D conversion. Sadly, the 3D software can’t retroactively rewrite the lousy script or recast Hayden Christensen with a better star.

Television

After acquiring LucasFilm, one of the first things that the new owners at Disney did was to cancel all outstanding projects with other studios, including the hit animated series ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘. As a result, Warner Bros. (the distributor) is now releasing that show’s fifth season in conjunction with a Complete Series box set. However, before that can even hit the streets, ‘Clone Wars’ producer Dave Filoni has announced that at least a partial sixth season has been completed and should be released sometime in 2014, making this week’s “Complete Series” box a lot less complete.

Other notable TV offerings this week include the first seasons respectively of Syfy’s dopey ‘Defiance‘ and the History Channel’s ‘Vikings‘ (which I didn’t even know existed until now), plus the second season of Charlie Sheen’s wretchedly awful FX sitcom ‘Anger Management‘. I believe I reported that last release a month ago, but apparently it was delayed.

Nickelodeon also has a ‘SpongeBob SquarePants‘ Christmas special for the very young children and/or stoners in your life who still watch that show.

This is a pretty busy week. I didn’t catch ‘Pacific Rim’ in theaters, but will do so on Blu-ray. I’m in the processing of reviewing the new release of ‘Love Actually’ as I write this. I will also add ‘The Haunting’, ‘Eyes Without a Face’, ‘High Plains Drifter’, ‘The Stranger’ and ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ to my wish list for later purchase.

What grabs your attention this week?

40 comments

  1. Pacific Rim, hands down. Maybe Weird Science if for no other reason than nostalgia….but even then only if they did a good job on the transfer.

    Fg666

    PS Pacific Rim in 16×9 just as in theaters! I feel bad for those with CIH. ;-)

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          A sampling of movies released this week that were shot at 2.35:1:

          Cinderella Man
          The Colony
          The Eagle Has Landed
          The Fast and the Furious
          The Haunting
          The Heat
          High Plains Drifter
          In the Mouth of Madness
          Jumper
          Maniac (2012)
          Notting Hill
          Love Actually
          Pride & Prejudice
          Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins & Inception (from the Christopher Nolan Director’s Collection)
          Collateral & Days of Thunder (from the Tom Cruise Triple Feature)
          Tropic Thunder (from the Jack Black Triple Feature)
          Shooter & The Fighter (from the Mark Wahlberg Triple Feature)
          Fatal Attraction & Disclosure (from the Michael Douglas Triple Feature)

          All of these movies are ideally suited to being projected on a Constant Image Height screen.

          Funny how you won’t see Freakyguy mentioning any of these.

      • The screen size will be substantially reduced. Pac Rim is meant to be see as large as possible, which is why most preferred to watch in imax. With CIH, you are forced to crop the left & right sides thereby reducing the size of the screen.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          No, that is not how Constant Image Height works. No cropping is involved. Please read my previous articles on this subject, such as this one:

          http://www.highdefdigest.com/blog/constant-image-height-refresher-2013/

          The point of CIH is to install as large a 16:9 image as you want, and then go even wider for 2.35:1. Pacific Rim will be the same size in a CIH home theater as it would be in a 16:9 home theater. However, 2.35:1 movies will be properly displayed as they were intended, rather than artificially reduced in height, as they would be on a 16:9 screen.

          • Not true. If you take your 8′ wide CIH screen vs an 8′ wide 16×9 screen, your CIH screen would display PAC Rim in a substantially smaller area than the 16×9 screen. Just simple math.

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            You’re looking at this backwards. You should compare screen height, not screen width. An 8-foot wide CIH screen is not comparable to an 8-foot wide 16:9 screen.

            Let’s pick an arbitrary number and say that you want to watch Pacific Rim on a 100″ 16:9 screen. That screen would be 87″ wide x 49″ tall (rounded figures). This is a big, immersive picture that you’re happy with. Those giant robots look suitably gigantic as they fight the giant monsters.

            Now let’s say that you decide to install a Constant Image Height 2.35:1 screen. The comparable CIH screen would be 115″ wide by 49″ tall, for a diagonal of 125″. Same height, different widths.

            Pacific Rim on that CIH screen would be the exact same 87×49″ that it would have been on the 100″ 16:9 screen, but 2.35:1 movies will be even wider. Pacific Rim is not reduced in size at all. It’s precisely the same size you wanted it before. Only other movies are affected.

            100″ isn’t big enough for you? Make it 200″. Make it 400″. Hell, install your own personal IMAX theater and make it 50-feet tall. Whatever you want, make it as monstrously huge as you could ever possibly want Pacific Rim to be, such that it’s simply impossible for you to imagine watching Pacific Rim even one centimeter larger than you have it. It’s the end-all/be-all, 100% ultimate Pacific Rim experience. Guillermo del Toro himself could come to your theater and bow down at the perfection with which you have rendered his movie.

            Then take that same screen and make it wider. Assuming that you have two eyes, your peripheral vision should take in a wider field of view than 16:9.

            That’s how Constant Image Height works. The math is not that complex, but you have to look at it from the perspective that relative size is actually based on height, not on width.

          • freakyguy666

            Again, you are basing your point on an antiquated point of view. While in the past 2.35 may have been intended to be the largest format possible, that is not longer the case. To wit, when directors want “Bigger” then don’t go to 2.35, they go to IMAX.

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Huh, that’s funny. You might want to tell that to the makers of IRON MAN 3, FAST & FURIOUS 6, MAN OF STEEL, THE CROODS, WORLD WAR Z, OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, THE WOLVERINE, G.I. JOE RETALIATION, THE HANGOVER PART III, THE GREAT GATSBY, NOW YOU SEE ME, THE CONJURING, OBLIVION and ELYSIUM.

            That would be 14 of the top 20 highest-grossing blockbusters released this year, all photographed at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Since you’re obviously not very good at math, that’s 70%. In fact, if you look through the entirety of cinema history, more than 70% of the Top 100 blockbusters of all time were likewise photographed and projected at 2.35:1.

            Now let’s take a look at the top three movies that dominated the box office this past weekend: GRAVITY, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2. Well well well, would you look at that, they’re all 2.35:1.

            Someone really ought to tell the makers of all these BRAND NEW 2013 BLOCKBUSTER MOVIES that the format they’ve chosen to photograph in is “antiquated,” because some dipwad trolling this blog said so.

            Lord knows the director of GRAVITY never intended his movie to be seen on a large screen, right? GRAVITY, that micro-budgeted art film…. You’re probably not even supposed to watch that one on a big screen anyway. That’s just as good if you watch it on your phone, right? Huh, isn’t it? Isn’t that right? Huh?

            I don’t know what type of mental blockage you suffer that compels you to continue trolling this blog to start arguments on this topic that you will always, 100% of the time, be wrong about – and not just a little bit wrong either, but astoundingly, spectacularly, so very obviously wrong – but you’re on my last nerve here. Go find someone else to harass, or better yet, find something more productive to do with your time – like go to the movie theater, where you can see dozens of brand new movies projected at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

            Opening this weekend in 2.35:1: CARRIE, ESCAPE PLAN, THE FIFTH ESTATE, and 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

          • Once again, your defensive nature is clouding your ability to comprehend the English language.

            I will try to spell it out for you in a way your brain may be able to process it: If someone installed a 10′ wide 16×9 screen they would not lose ANYTHING versus a 10′ wide 2.35 CIH screen. However, when watching a movie like Tron Legacy, or Pacific Rim, or Avengers, or Dark Knight (Rises), the directors SPECIFICALLY intended these films to appear “larger-than-life” and what did they do to achieve this? They went to 16×9–not 2.35. When producers of concert films want to immerse their audience in the production, they go to 16×9. When producers of nature documentaries such as Planet Earth or North America want to immerse their audience in their production’s visuals, they choose 16×9–not 2.35.

            The “look” of 2.35 has an inherent “cinematic” feel and many directors simply like that aspect ratio because of that “feel”. However, as pointed out in my recent posts, when the director really wants to immerse the audience in the imagery, they move toward 16×9. That is why THE DIRECTORS of Oblivion, Tron Legacy, Dark Knight (Rises), Transformers 2, and Skyfall open up their aspect ratios when presenting in IMAX.

            Again, I’m not arguing the beauty and aesthetics of 2.35, but clearly modern film and video media is moving to 16×9 when the director’s intention is a “bigger” image.

            As such, your “opinion” that 2.35 should be bigger than 16×9 is, in fact, antiquated.

            And knowing is half the battle!

            Cheers,

            FG666

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Right, because the makers of GRAVITY, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, IRON MAN 3, ELYSIUM etc. etc. et-frigging-cetera didn’t intend to “immerse the audience in the imagery.” That’s the argument you’re making? Really? Have you put even one millisecond of thought into this before you spoke? Perhaps you should try.

            What aspect ratio are Skyfall and Oblivion presented in on Blu-ray? Oh, that’s right, 2.35:1.

            The plain, indisputable fact of the matter is that, when directors want to “immerse the audience in the imagery,” more of them choose a 2.35:1 aspect ratio than any other aspect ratio. This has been true since the 1950s, and it is still true today, literally right at this very goddamn second if you open your eyes and look at it. What is the #1 big, epic, monumental, “immersive,” absolutely-need-to-see-this-on-big-screen spectacle movie that has ruled the box office for the past two weeks? GRAVITY. And what aspect ratio is GRAVITY? Look at that, it’s 2.35:1.

            You are completely wrong in this argument, and every time you troll this blog picking a fight on this topic, you just look more and more ignorant. It’s time for you to let it go.

          • freakyguy666

            You are really making a fool of yourself by continually listing movie titles rather than answering a simple question:

            Why would filmmakers opt to open up the aspect ratio when presenting films on the IMAX screen if they believed that 2.35 is intended to be largest presentation???

            Once again, there is nothing that says 2.35 should be bigger than 16×9. Just the voices in your clouded head.

            The fact is when directors want more immersion they either go to 3D or open up the aspect ratio.

            OBLIVION DIRECTOR QUOTE “In IMAX it is that much more immersive. It really fills your field of vision.”
            “To utilize the larger IMAX screens to their full advantage, the IMAX version of Oblivion is presented with a larger aspect ratio. This means most of the letterboxing (black bars at the top and bottom of the image) have been removed. While most Hollywood films only use 60% of the IMAX screen due to the standard theater letterboxing, Oblivion is shown with minimal letterboxing, presenting an image that fill 80-85% of the entire screen.

            SKYFALL DIRECTOR QUOTE: “The imagery is more immersive in IMAX.”
            “The Imax is the most well perfected version.”

            I could add quotes from James Cameron, Michael Bay, Chris Nolan and many others indicating that by opening up their aspect ratios their films became MORE immersive–not less as you suggest…but I have a feeling that even if these directors told you to your face that there is no rule that says 2.35 is intended to be the “biggest”, you would still stick your head in the sand and say that they are fools…all because of something you read about cinemascope decades ago.

            If ignorance is bliss…you must be in heaven!

            Cheers!
            FG666

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Is Gravity playing in IMAX theaters? Yes.
            What aspect ratio is Gravity in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Is Captain Phillips playing in IMAX theaters? Yes.
            What aspect ratio is Captain Phillips in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Did Iron Man 3 play in IMAX theaters earlier this year? Yes.
            What aspect ratio was Iron Man 3 in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Did Man of Steel play in IMAX theaters earlier this year? Yes.
            What aspect ratio was Man of Steel in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Did World War Z play in IMAX theaters earlier this year? Yes.
            What aspect ratio was World War Z in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Did Elysium play in IMAX theaters earlier this year? Yes.
            What aspect ratio was Elysium in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1.

            Will Ender’s Game play in IMAX theaters next month? Yes.
            What aspect ratio will Ender’s Game be in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1

            Will Thor: The Dark World play in IMAX theaters next month? Yes.
            What aspect ratio will Thor: The Dark World be in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1

            Will The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug play in IMAX theaters in December? Yes.
            What aspect ratio will The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug be in IMAX theaters? 2.35:1

            What aspect ratio is Skyfall on Blu-ray? 2.35:1.

            What aspect ratio is Oblivion on Blu-ray? 2.35:1.

            What aspect ratio is Star Trek into Darkness on Blu-ray? 2.35:1.

            Do I really need to go on? For every 1 movie you can name where the filmmaker chose a narrower ratio for his “immersive” event movie, I can raise you literally HUNDREDS more where the filmmakers chose 2.35:1 for the most immersive experience.

            More directors choose 2.35:1 when they want a big immersive viewing experience than those who choose narrower ratios. This is a stone cold fact that you cannot refute.

            If the directors of Skyfall and Oblivion believed that the narrower aspect ratio was better for their movies, why did both movies play in the majority of theaters at 2.35:1? Why are both movies 2.35:1 on Blu-ray? If you cannot accept that these are 2.35:1 movies, how do you watch them at home? If you admit that Skyfall and Oblivion are intended to be big immersive viewing experiences, why would you shrink them down to an inferior letterbox size on your home theater screen?

            I do not shrink a movie like Pacific Rim in size at all on my screen. That movie will be projected as tall as it can possibly fit on my wall. It will as big as Pacific Rim could ever be in my home theater. Had I decided to install a 16:9 screen instead, it would have been the exact same height that I have now, but narrower. I am not sacrificing one iota from the Pacific Rim experience. However, had the director shot the movie at a 2.35:1 ratio, it could be wider on my wall. That’s his loss.

            You, meanwhile, are intentionally shrinking and compromising Blu-rays like Oblivion, and Skyfall, and World War Z, and Man of Steel, as well as every single one of the Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Matrix, or Lord of the Rings movies and MANY THOUSANDS MORE, down to a deliberately inferior size, even though they could be larger in your home theater had you gone CIH, due to nothing more than your own stubborn ignorance.

            You will always lose this argument, because the numbers and the facts are simply not on your side, and never will be.

          • freakyguy666

            The limitations of your room not withstanding, you have FAILED to prove that 2.35 is intended to be BIGGER than 16×9. Simply showing how most films are shot does not indicate, much less prove, that. It simply shows that it is the way many directors have presented films. You are making a leap in logic in assuming that means 2.35 is intended to be bigger. The fact is that when presented with a larger screen like IMAX, it would not make any sense to say that the image would be more immersive by limiting the presentation to 2.35. Even though the screen goes wall-to-wall and basically fills your horizontal field of vision, the black bars above and below are still in your field of view. By extending the image vertically to fill your field of view vertically as well as horizontally, the filmmakers achieve a more immersive experience. There is no disputing that! And I already listed quotes from the filmmakers that reinforce this.

            When it comes to the limitations of the home, I agree that your screen is fine for your conditions–but most home theaters don’t have such a low ceiling. My 14′ screen, for example, is basically wall to wall so I could not extend it much further. As such, I had a choice to make: go with a 2.35 and essentially waste the headroom, or go with the 16×9 and take advantage of it. I chose the latter.

            But I digress…to me your view that in modern cinema 2.35 is intended to be the biggest picture, is an antiquated view. There is just too much proof of that from what leading filmmakers are saying and doing currently. Again, I do enjoy the cinematic beauty of a scope film and many filmmakers choose to present their features in this now-classic aspect ratio for this reason and others (i.e. additional cost for editing films for different aspect ratios, availability of larger format equipment, availability of larger format screens/prevalance of 2.35 screens in most theaters around the world, or simply their aesthetic preference for scope vs anything else)–but in modern cinema, that is just a choice in style for the filmmaker–not proof that the filmmaker believes 2.35 is intended to fill your field of view better than another aspect ratio. That, my friend, is simply not true anymore.

            FG666

            Cheers!

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            You are a ridiculous person. The fact that the overwhelming majority of directors who make big epic “event” movies photograph them at 2.35:1 doesn’t clue you in that 2.35:1 is meant to be a so-called “immersive” viewing experience? Really? What would prove it to you then?

            You don’t think that any of the movies I’ve listed off to you were intended to be “immersive”? You think Gravity is meant to be shrunken in size so that it’s smaller than an episode of As the World Turns on your screen? That’s how the director of Gravity wants you to watch his movie? That’s really what you think?

            You have a tiny handful of examples you keep repeating to make your case. I have THOUSANDS of other movies on my side, made throughout the history of cinema and more currently in production right at this very second. You would deliberately compromise the immersiveness of all those thousands of movies for the benefit of… How many? A dozen? Probably less.

            You quote the directors of Skyfall and Oblivion, yet both those movies are 2.35:1 on Blu-ray. Why did you dodge my question about how you watch Skyfall and Oblivion at home? If you shrink them down to be watched letterboxed on your screen, you have destroyed that immersiveness you praised them for.

            If you have two eyes in your head, your field of vision is wider than it is tall. This is a biological fact. 2.35:1 movies fill more of your field of vision than 1.85:1 movies do. When you watch 2.35:1 movies smaller than 1.85:1 movies, you are not filling your field of vision. The 2.35:1 movies are no longer immersive.

            You think 2.35:1 is an antiquated format. You should tell that to the directors out there right now working to create the big epic event movies that will play on theater screens in 2014. Movies like RoboCop, 300: Rise of an Empire, Divergent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Fast & Furious 7, The Expendables 3, and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Every one of those epic blockbuster event movies for 2014 is currently being filmed at… you guessed it, 2.35:1.

            The evidence is indisputable. By overwhelming majority, 2.35:1 is the aspect ratio of choice for epic “immersive” blockbuster movies.

            16:9 is the aspect ratio of choice for sitcoms, soap operas and game shows. When you install a 16:9 screen in your home theater, you make a conscious decision that The Price Is Right should be displayed larger than all of the Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars movies. That’s your choice to make, but don’t you dare try to justify it by claiming that 16:9 is supposed to be the more immersive aspect ratio, because that is manifestly false.

          • Freakyguy666

            You don’t seem to understand the basic concept of this debate; it isnt which aspect ratio has been utilized most–it is which aspect ratio is more immersive. I think that we could both agree that 3D when done properly is more immersive than 2D. Yet if i were to use your criteria of which format was used more one would believe that 2D is more immersive! But we know that there are factors such as time/money/cinematic style/etc. that play into this decision.

            All you have done is list movie titles saying that the simple fact that they were made in a 2.35 format means the filmmakers believe that 2.35 is intended to fill more of your field of view. You completely ignore other factors for their decision to use 2.35, like the fact that most cinemas are in 2.35 so they would like to use as much real estate as possible. But when the same filmmakers are presented with a larger screen such as the IMAX they have opened up the aspect ratio to take advantage of the screen and they themselves remark that this aspect ratio is the most immersive. That is evidence of the point at hand! You have not listed a single quote from a filmmaker directly addressing their belief that 2.35 is more immersive than a larger format–yet I have supplied many quotes from directors SPECIFICALLY STATING that they see the IMAX aspect ratio as more immersive. You cannot come up with even ONE!

            With regard to how we see, there is actually more evidence that our natural field of view is closer to 16×9 than 2.35. I know that you will not believe this either and you would likely dismiss scientific analysis anyway so I won’t bother to try to educate you. Besides you have already proven that you are basing your opinion on supposition and assumption rather than the testimony of ACTUAL FILMMAKERS.

            Any objective 3rd party coud see that you have lost this debate.

            Cheers!
            FG666

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            I don’t understand the concept of this debate? What a piece of work you are.

            If you have two eyes in your head arranged horizontally side-by-side (as most people do, though I suppose you may be a cyclops or something), your field of vision is wider than tall. This is exceptionally easy to test. Sit in front of your theater screen close enough so that the top and bottom of the screen just fill the height of your vision. Can you see beyond the edges of the sides? Of course you can. Your peripheral vision is wider than 16:9.

            When watching a movie, our eyes naturally scan the image from side to side to follow the action, because human vision has evolved over the millennia to take in a wide horizontal field of view. A movie image that is too tall and forces us to scan vertically up and down quickly becomes uncomfortable to watch, because that’s not the way our brains are wired to take in an image.

            You keep blathering on about the testimony of “actual filmmakers.” I can count the number of filmmakers who have opened up the height of their movies for IMAX on my fingers. Meanwhile, countless other working filmmakers choose 2.35:1 for their epic, immersive blockbuster spectacle movies. In fact, many of the same filmmakers who’ve opened the height of a movie or two for IMAX have continued to make other movies in 2.35:1 – including Christopher Nolan, the patron saint of IMAX, who shot Inception entirely at 2.35:1 between his last two Batman movies. I suppose you’ll tell me that Christopher Nolan didn’t want Inception to be at all “immersive” for his audience?

            You say, “But when the same filmmakers are presented with a larger screen such as the IMAX they have opened up the aspect ratio to take advantage of the screen.” Less than a dozen movies ever made have opened up the aspect ratio for IMAX. Meanwhile, the directors of Gravity, Captain Phillips, Man of Steel, World War Z, The Hobbit, Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, Amazing Spider-Man, etc. etc. have chosen NOT to open up the aspect ratios of their movies. Even when those movies play in IMAX theaters, they are 2.35:1.

            You claim that directors shoot at 2.35:1 only as an unwanted compromise that they’re forced into. This idea is flat-out absurd on its face. Any director working today can shoot his movie at 1.85:1 if he wants. Yet more of them choose 2.35:1 when making epic immersive blockbuster movies. What a coincidence!

            Just for kicks, let’s entertain your notion that directors don’t actually want to shoot at 2.35:1 but are forced to. Even if that were true (which, again, it’s not even remotely true), the fact of the matter remains that they DO shoot at 2.35:1. Those epic immersive blockbuster movies overwhelming exist as 2.35:1. Why would you choose to shrink those many thousands of movies down so that they’re smaller than episodes of Honey Boo Boo on your screen?

            “You completely ignore other factors for their decision to use 2.35, like the fact that most cinemas are in 2.35 so they would like to use as much real estate as possible.” I’m not ignoring anything. You’re making my argument for me. Yes, indeed, MOST CINEMAS SCREENS ARE 2.35:1! Thank you for admitting this. Is not the whole point of home theater to reproduce the theatrical cinema experience?

            “You are basing your opinion on supposition and assumption rather than the testimony of ACTUAL FILMMAKERS.” How about we try to get some testimony in here from actual filmmakers like Alfonso Curaon, Paul Greengrass, Zack Snyder, Marc Forster, Peter Jackson, Shane Black or Bryan Singer about why they have made and continue to make their epic immersive blockbuster movies at 2.35:1?

            I have consistently disproven every argument you’ve made. You’re delusional if you think you’ve won this debate.

          • William Henley

            What I don’t get is if he wants the TALLEST image possible and everything else to be letterboxed, why he doesn’t just install a 4×3 screen

          • William Henley

            Unless…. he had his home designed with a media room with a wall that is 16 feet wide and 9 feet tall and is looking for a floor to ceiling, wall to wall immersion, in which case, yeah, CIH wouldn’t make sense – but then he should be admitting that his media theater was designed with that in mind.

          • Freakyguy666

            By completely ignoring my point about 3D vs 2D you have reinforced my point that your methodology for proving your point is completely wrong.

            Again, by saying that the directors used 2.35 more than any other format proves only that they use that format more. Nothing else! The fact that you are apparently having a hard time comprehending this point speaks volumes about your ability (or inability in this case!) to even try to win a debate.

            Moreover, you have STILL BEEN UNABLE TO PROVIDE ONE SINGLE QUOTE FROM A REPUTABLE FILMMAKER THAT STATES THEY BELIEVE 2.35 is a MORE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE THAN THE IMAX VERSIONS. NONE! Whereas I could give you dozens of quotes from the top directors in the field that PRAISE THE ASPECT RATIO OF IMAX AS MORE IMMERSSIVE.

            Until or unless you are able to contradict these DIRECTORS OWN WORDS with words of other top filmmakers, you have lost. Plain & simple!

            With regard to the human field of vision, it is scientific fact that we see 200 degrees horizontally and 135 degrees vertically when including for eye shift. That works out to an aspect ratio of 1.48. Now it may be true that we scan horizontally more than vertically, but only because we simply cannot view much of the full 200 degrees simultaneously because once you shift your eyes to the left, you lose the rightmost side of your vision and you must shift your eyes to the right to regain the rightmost view–but you then lose the leftmost view. When viewing vertically, however, the need to shift your eyes up and down is LESS NECESSARY as your eyes are both at about the same level vertically so there is LESS need to shift you eyes up or down as there is the need to shift eyes left and right. To wit, the usable view without eye shift is 155 degrees horizontally and 120 vertically. Again, you don’t gain/lose much vertical with vertical scanning as you do with horizontal scanning. That equates to about a 1.29 aspect ratio when you only account for area viewable simultaneously (i.e. without scanning). That was actually the basis for Thomas Edison’s 4:3 format when he invented film.

            The above is why IMAX is at 1.43 for true IMAX films as they attempted to duplicate the full field of vision (which as stated above is 1.48 including scanning/eye shift). With this in mind it is clear that 16×9 or 1.77 is much more immersive as it is closer to the human field of vision. In either case, however, your beloved 2.35 is nowhere close! It is simply a remnant of the 1950′s when the film industry tried to do something to compete with the advent of something called the television. “Hey we have CinemaScope now and you have to go to the theater if you wanna see it larger than life”. It was a selling point at a time when the film industry was losing money to the tv. Similar to 3D today where often times 3D is simply used as a gimmick to differentiate from the home experience. The point is, SCOPE WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BETTER REPLICATE THE HUMAN FIELD OF VIEW!

            Your arguments are done, dead, and buried.

            Cheers to that!

            FG666

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            What a load of bunk. Your field of vision is far wider than 1.48:1, which is easily provable by simply opening your eyes and looking at the world. As human beings, we have evolved to scan our environment horizontally. That’s why our eyes are side-by-side on our heads, not one on top of the other. (At least, I assume yours are. I’m suddenly picturing you as a genetic mutant with a column of eyes running down your face.)

            The original IMAX 1.43:1 aspect ratio was not designed to fill a viewer’s field of vision. It was designed to exceed the field of vision, requiring viewers to actively move their heads up and down to take in the whole picture. All native IMAX movies are composed with tons of empty dead space at the top of the frame. When those movies come to home video, they are significantly cropped (primarily from the top), because that original IMAX framing doesn’t work in the home environment, no matter your screen size or aspect ratio. Even the DVD editions transferred at 4:3 are reframed and zoomed in to lop off big chunks of extraneous picture in virtually every shot.

            If 1.43:1 was such a perfect match for a human’s field of vision, why has even IMAX phased that ratio out in favor of wider screens closer to 2:1?

            I don’t need to quote directors to know that the vast majority prefer 2.35:1 for their epic event movies. All you need to do is look at their bodies of work, and the many thousands of event spectacle blockbusters they’ve made at that ratio. The weight of that evidence is conclusive and damning. You, meanwhile, have barely a dozen movies to make your case with. If you personally favor that tiny fraction of a sliver of a minority of movies over the many thousands of counter-examples, that’s your prerogative as a viewer. But when you try to take some sort of moral high ground stance that your opinion is right and the only correct way to watch movies, you lose, because you are blatantly, astoundingly wrong.

            I’m still waiting for you to answer my question about how you watch Blu-rays like Oblivion, and Skyfall, and Star Trek into Darkness, and Iron Man 1-3, and World War Z in your home theater if you believe that the 2.35:1 aspect ratio is unsuitable for “immersive” viewing. Are they or are they not shrunken to a size smaller than episodes of The Bachelor on your 16:9 screen? Please stop dodging that question.

          • Freakyguy666

            William,

            As stated above, my screen is 14′ wide and it is practically wall to wall. So I had a choice to make. Go 2.35 and waste the remaining headroom, or go 16×9 and make use of the headroom. I suppose I could have gone to 4:3 but there is not much HD content for that, and besides, I’m not sure my pj could light up that size screen. I’m pushing its limits as it is.

            But this debate is about something else…2.35 vs 16×9–which one is more immersive. I believe 16×9 as it is closer to the human field of vision AND top filmmakers have repeatedly praised the larger IMAX aspect ratio as “more immersive”. Pretty simple.

            Cheers!
            FG666

          • William Henley

            Ah, well if you are going wall to wall, that would indeed make sense.

            However, you mention that 16×9 is closer to the human field of vision. I think the human field of vision is closer to 270 degrees, but let’s for the sake of argument say that 16×9 is what we see.

            (BTW, I don’t have CIH, so I am not biased).

            Okay, so in a Constant Image Height enviornment, 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 (16×9) are displayed at the same height. So, 1.78:1 is the human field of vision, according to your augument. So, if we keep the same height and extend the screen outward, to 2.35:1, wouldn’t that give us an image that was greater than our field of vision? Wouldn’t that therefore be MORE immersive?

            So if you argue that anything outside your field of vision is junk information and not needed, this would mean that you do not like IMAX Dome theaters as the idea is to expand the picture all around you so that you cannot possibly see the entire image at once.

            Now let’s look at room sizes. You say that your screen stretches from wall to wall. In this case, it would make sense to go 16×9 over 2.35.

            But let’s say your room is wider, and you can install a screen from floor to ceiling. Now, I could have a floor to ceiling 16×9 screen that took up part of my wall, or I could have a 2.35:1 screen that took up more of my wall. Wouldn’t it make sense to go as large as possible? With CIH, they will display at the same size.

            Your arguments seem to come from the impression of your room – as your screen is wall to wall, going from 16×9 to 2.35:1 would indeed mean you would have to have a smaller screen. With people with CIH, their roomsizes are usually different – they have a tall screen, then have the space to go wider, so they do.

            Let’s take your argument that 16×9 is more immersive into account. Now, I have been to some theaters that have fairly small auditoriums, and their screens are 16×9. As such, 1.78:1 movies are taller than 2.35:1 because their screens are a fixed width. In this case, 16×9 would be more immersive.

            However, let’s go to a big screen at a megaplex (Like a CineCapri, XD or Extreme). The screen is pretty much floor to ceiling, and is built at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The curtains are drawn in to show 1.78:1 movies, and are opened up to show 2.35:1 movies. Let’s say I am sitting in the center of this theater. Which is going to be more immersive?

            The augument for going 2.35:1 versus 16×9 would seem to be how big your room is. Most rooms are wider than they are tall, so I say get the tallest screen you can, then go out as wide as you can. If you can only go 16×9, than 2.35:1 will have to play letterboxed, so 16×9 is more immersive as it will fill more of the screen.

            If your room can go wider, go 2.35:1 and install CIH. Your image is still the same height.

            If your projections are limited by height and you have unlimited width, then why install 16×9 if you can go wider? Whether you install 16×9 or 2.35:1, your image is going to be the same height no matter what. So 2.35:1 means bigger screen.

            In other words, your argument is PARTIALLY right, based on the dimensions of your room. But that is not how the format is intended to be seen.

            Let’s go back to IMAX. So we open up the mattes and use the entire height of the screen in select sequences in a motion picture. This is immersive, right? Okay, so let’s say we had the option to keep the same height, but make the screen wider, extend it out around the audience. Wouldn’t this be even MORE immersive?

            I see where you are coming from. And as I said, you are partially right. If the WIDTH of your room means that 16×9 is as wide as you can get, why would you want to install 2.35:1? You would be going with a smaller screen! I get that!

          • Freakyguy666

            William,

            The debate we are having is whether or not 2.35 is INHERENTLY MORE IMMERSIVE THAN 16×9. Josh argues that it is. But as you yourself stated, in order to fill the human field of view the 2.35 image would have to be stretched so wide that the left and right sides would be beyond the field of view–therefore wasted. Using this argument, we could even say that a 3.50 image could be even more immersive if stretched enough horizontally, right? But obviously it would not be practical as we live in a finite world with finite resources.

            Your points about available space speak to the need to be practical in our choices and I believe this supports the case for 16×9 over 2.35 given the spaces available in most home theaters. Take most home theaters and measure the height of the ceiling versus the wall. I would venture to guess that in a typical home the ceiling height is about 8.5 feet. If most home theater owners utilized this space as you say for 2.35 screens, the average screen size would be about 20 feet long. How many people have that? But if you go the full 8.5 in a 16×9 you would be at about 15′. Much more practical wouldn’t you say? And you are not “wasting” space with images that are out of your field of vision.

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Most homes that have spaces suitable for media rooms or home theaters have walls far wider than tall – unless you have cathedral ceilings and have decided to install the theater at the end of a hallway, which would just be weird and impractical.

            Then again, you seem to be a very weird and impractical guy, so I suppose that’d be fitting.

            Your numbers are disingenuous. Very few people who build home theaters install screens that extend all the way from floor to ceiling, because it’s simply not comfortable to watch a movie projected all the way down to the floor unless you sit very far away from the screen. Does your screen go from floor to ceiling? Somehow I doubt it.

          • William Henley

            Hmmm, so it sounds like we have reached a consensus.

            So, if we have the same height, FG claims that 2.35 has a lot of wasted space on the side as its outside of the normal view. So, we could say that it is more immersive? So Josh is correct here.

            (BTW, there are films shot at even wider aspect ratios, My Fair Lady and Ben Hur – for example – were shot at 2.76:1)

            FG’s claim is that for many houses, that if we go higher, we are going to be limited to how wide we can go by the way many houses are constructed – so going with a 2.35:1 screen would result in a SMALLER screen than he could have had if he went 16×9. This is a fair argument.

            Josh and others want CIH to recreate the theatrical experience (it is also possible that they may have those wider walls). This is a fair argument as well – and not everyone may want a screen that is quite that big – floor to ceiling is a bit of an overkill anyways, I was just using that to make an example.

            As to which one is more immersive – that would really depend on which screen you are watching on. Now if we want director’s INTENT as to which one is more immersive, that is easy – just ask the.

            If you guys wish to continue to argue, that is fine, but I think we figured out here why both sides are making their claims, and in my opinion, you both make really good claims (that is, once the namecalling stopped).

            As to which I prefer – I am stuck with an LCD for the time being, and certainly prefer more of the screen to be taken up with the picture, so at this time, I prefer AT HOME 16×9, but when I am at the theaters, I certainly prefer 2.35:1

          • freakyguy666

            William,

            You said that the best way to determine which which format is more immersive according to the filmmakers, we would need to ask them. Well, they have spoken and they prefer the IMAX aspect ratio according to any number of quotes from Chris Nolan, to Michael Bay, to Jim Cameron, to Stephen Speilberg, to Sam Mendes, to Brad Bird. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately JZ believes that their quotes are meaningless since these same directors have and continue to make films in Scope whereas I note that there are many reasons filmmakers would still opt for Scope even though they may believe IMAX is a more immersive format. Reasons for this are stylistic choices (i.e. scope has a certain cinematic “feel”), the limitations of the majority of theaters being designed for scope, budgetary issues with reformatting specifically for IMAX, etc.

            Secondly, you say you would prefer a 2.35 in a theater, but if you had the choice to watch the same movie in a true IMAX screen, wouldn’t say a wider format such as was done with Skyfall or Avatar or Oblivion would be preferred? Or would you still say you would prefer to watch them in 2.35 on the huge IMAX screen?

            Thanks in advance!

            FG666

            PS thank you for bringing civility to this debate!

          • Josh Zyber
            Author

            Freaky, you continue to dodge my question. In your home theater, do episodes of The Biggest Loser dwarf the entirety of the Lord of the Rings saga? Ignoring the question doesn’t mean that it’s been forgotten.

          • Freakyguy666

            JZ,

            It’s apparent that you are a big fan of reality tv shows such as the Bachelor and Biggest Loser…I’m not but given your taste in theater styles it doesn’t surprise me.

            But to answer your question, IF I were forced to watch such shows I would watch them on my iPad or iPhone as they allow me to be mobile and accomplish other things simultaneously. I may even watch them on my 60″ plasma tv while on the couch. But there would never be any circumstances under which I would watch them in my cinema.

            Enjoy your reality tv shows…to each his own I guess!

            Cheers!

            FG666

  2. EM

    I already have The Haunting preordered. It’s one of the all-time Halloween greats.

    Night Tide looks interesting. It’s a ’60s indie black-and-white tale of a mysterious, alluring woman who might truly be the deadly mermaid she portrays in a carnival. I’ll have to check it out.

  3. NJScorpio

    ‘In The Mouth of Madness’ is a must buy. Saw in in theaters, and many time since.

    ‘Eyes Without a Face’ is a purchase I want to make, but I’d rather watch it (if available) through Criterion on Hulu before buying the disc.

    ‘Weird Science’ is a classic, but I’ve seen it so many times, I wouldn’t be compelled to buy it unless under $7.

    I blind bought ‘Pacific Rim’ through Amazon Instant Video…only had a chance to watch half of it…and LOVE it so far! It is so much better than I expected. Part of me wish I waited and bought the Blu-Ray (which would have the UV copy anyway). A bigger part of me wishes I had a 3D projector! This, and Dredd, have me kicking myself feeling that I’m missing out on a big part of the movie watching it in 2D.

  4. Drew

    Can we all just agree that FG666 (Fucked over Git 666) is the biggest fucking moron that has ever had the stupidity to troll any blog that ever existed?

    I’m literally shocked by the level of idiocy he continues to exhibit.

    Josh, I appreciate the fact that you continue to refute his mentally handicapped comments, but I don’t know how you can even continue to do so. I applaud you. Someone has to fight the good fight, especially, when it involves literacy, which is clearly a concept that will always be foreign to FG.

  5. “It’s the end-all/be-all, 100% ultimate Pacific Rim experience. Guillermo del Toro himself could come to your theater and bow down at the perfection with which you have rendered his movie.”

    This made me laugh. Somehow, I can imagine Del Toro actually doing that. Sitting down, next to a fan, taking a bowl of chicken wings (I read in Empire magazine that he liked to eat those during the Hellboy II production and presumably still today) and watching the movie together. And giving a live audio commentary.

    Should be a contest! “Guillermo del Toro will come to your theater and bow down at the perfection with which you have rendered his movie! All you have to do is …”

  6. Lord Bowler

    Definitely will pick up Weird Science!

    Also, I picked up Pacific Rim Limited Edition.

    Possibles include Vikings Season 1, In the Mouth of Madness, Star Wars: Clone Wars Season 5 and maybe Defiance Season 1.

    I may also pick up the Tom Cruise Triple Pack, I don’t have two of these movies and none on Blu-Ray. I really liked Days of Thunder and The Firm, Collateral was ok.

  7. Barsoom Bob

    Freaky guy, you are confusing scale and the precption of scale, with the facts about how our vision works and which FORMAT is more immersive physiologically.

    The IMAX screens are just inherently huge, as large as the old halls in museums, where this format got it’s start, would allow. It impress by scale. And, in the types of scientific, nature content that was being created for it, the narrower field of view favored lots of close ups of singular specific things, that looked so impressive because of the scale of that close up. .

    But that is not how our natural vision works. There is a much wider angle of view to our vision horizontally than there is vertically. You can thank cheeks, cheek bones and forehead ridges for that. We are constantly scanning our environment side to side and much less frequently up and down. This physiology is much closer to Scope vision than a 16×9 format, given equal heights.

    I’m pretty sure the fascination on the part of the quoted director’s, who are favoring using the IMAX format, are doing it for it’s sense of sheer impact because of size, or scale, not that the16x9 format is more immersive or life like.

    I’m sure your nearly wall to ceiling screen has a perceptual impressiveness to it, and you don’t waste all that head room, but what exactly happens when you play a blue ray of a majestic movie like Larry of Arabia, that head room is certainly there, and good old Larry, and the Arabian desert, are smaller on your screen than the people, and sets, on Dancing with the Stars. Not the trade off I, as a movie loving person, would choose to make.