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Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Old 08-20-12, 12:46 PM
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Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Didn't see a thread like this, but I'm new to region-free Blu-Rays and was wondering which existing Region B or C discs offer the biggest improvements over existing Region A discs? The Thing, for example, is known to have a crappy domestic Blu-Ray release, at least in comparison to the HD DVD. Also, this could apply to domestic films that haven't been released on Blu-Ray here yet.
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Old 08-20-12, 04:45 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Kung Fu Hustle - the UK disc is region free (including the extras), and the film is the uncut version that was released on the Axe Kickin' edition.

If you're a horror fan, then a lot of Arrow's releases are worth looking into, since they have interesting extras and packaging, and most of their titles either haven't or won't get a U.S. release.
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Old 08-20-12, 06:26 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

And in a rare case of a French release not being region-locked, I recently got Silent Hill. Typically they're all Region B (at least in the previous French releases I got), so I was pleasantly surprised by a region free release. Silent Hill not only has great picture and sound above the Sony US release, the second disc has a plethora of extras including and hour and a half documentary making of, in HD. There's also an hour long doc (all in English) on the concept of Silent Hill.
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Old 08-20-12, 06:36 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

True, but Kung Fu Hustle still comes with an MPEG-2 encode, so picture quality is not a big upgrade from the DVD.

Yes, lots of Arrow releases are great, give or take. Cine-Asia UK has a lot of great titles, most with exclusive commentaries by Bey Logan.

"The Adventures Of Mark Twain" (Eureka UK) has a lot of extras compared to the MGM US DVD
"Cold Fish" (Tsumetai Nettaigyo) (Third Window UK) has a lot of exclusive extras, US only has a DVD release.
"Coriolanus" (Lionsgate UK) has more extras than the US disc
"Good Morning" (Ohayo) (BFI UK) is much better in picture quality than the Criterion DVD.
"The Italian Job 1969" (Paramount UK) is a huge upgrade over the US DVD in picture, sound, extras
"The Lost Weekend" (Masters Of Cinema UK), includes a 3 hour documentary on Billy Wilder and more
"Melancholia" (Artificial Eye UK) has a Lars Von Trier commentary not on the US disc
"Obsession" (Arrow UK) is much better than the Sony DVD-R from the US
"Repo Man" (Masters Of Cinema UK) is miles ahead of the US DVD
"Rolling Thunder" (Studio Canal UK), better than the MGM DVD-R, lots of extras
"Sling Blade" (Studio Canal UK) has the director's cut
"Witchfinder General" (Odeon UK) has more extras than the MGM US DVD
"The Yellow Sea" (Hwanghae) (Eureka UK) is only out on DVD in the US
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Old 08-21-12, 07:52 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Originally Posted by manicsounds View Post
"The Italian Job 1969" (Paramount UK) is a huge upgrade over the US DVD in picture, sound, extras
I will second this. This is a great release.

Originally Posted by manicsounds View Post
"The Lost Weekend" (Masters Of Cinema UK), includes a 3 hour documentary on Billy Wilder and more
You just convinced me to buy this. Do you have the Double Indemnity disc? I had considered ordering it too, but I think that Universal is about to release that in the U.S., but I don't think that they will bother with TLW.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:36 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Yes, I have the UK "Double Indemnity", as well as the US DVD.

Both releases include the Lem Dobbs/Nick Redman commentary, the making-of, and the trailer.

The US DVD also includes a Richard Schickel commentary (which is a waste of time, by the way), a Robert Osborne intro, and the 1973 TV movie.

The UK BD adds a music & effects track, a 1945 radio adaptation, and a 40 page booklet.

Not really a big upgrade since there are a few losses from the DVD. Same with Masters Of Cinema's release of Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" losing out a few extras from the Fox DVD.
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Old 08-21-12, 11:12 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Thanks for the thread - I wasn't aware Sling Blade had the DC in the UK. Just ordered it.
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Old 08-21-12, 06:38 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

And it's part of the 2 for 10 sale at the moment. Just to say, for some reason, one of the documentaries on Billy Bob Thornton that was on the DVD is gone, and the subtitle option listed on the back is not on the disc.
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Old 08-23-12, 06:29 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Originally Posted by manicsounds View Post
True, but Kung Fu Hustle still comes with an MPEG-2 encode, so picture quality is not a big upgrade from the DVD.
That has no bearing on wether the BD is an upgrade from the DVD. Just look at Crank. It sports an MPEG-2 transfer, looks fantastic, and is a huge leap from the DVD in terms of video quality.
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Old 08-28-12, 10:00 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

I you like Jacques Demy, The French blu-ray for The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les demoiselles de Rochefort) looks incredible. It's also cheaper than the out of print U.S. disc, and will most likely never get released here anyway. Special features are either PAL or 1080/50i though.
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Old 08-28-12, 11:10 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

An update on the UK Sling Blade - it definitely has the longer running time but it is also Region B locked so be warned.

Also, I picked up the Thing and I don't see any difference in PQ whatsoever on my calibrated 61" DLP. There are more extras on the disc though. Some threads at AVS seem to indicate the UK disc does indeed have the same encode. Sounds like the HD DVD is still the best for PQ.
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Old 08-29-12, 06:03 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Aside from a horrible sound mix even with surround, the Bean The Movie blu-ray from the U.K. is a great upgrade. There's a behind the scenes of the second Bean movie and deleted scenes from the first movie. None of this was on the dvd. It was on the special edition VHS, though.
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Old 08-31-12, 12:21 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

The French Phantom of the Paradise disc is worth picking up for fans of the movie. The picture quality is better than the U.S. dvd, and it's very doubtful that Fox will release it on bluray in the states. The movie and menus are region free, but all special features are in PAL, but the 50 minute making of doc is pretty good and worth watching.
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Old 09-03-12, 11:56 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

The Korean import of 'Thirst' is the best one out there. It's got much more footage restored and the color timing is totally different. All approved by Chan Wook Park.
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Old 10-09-12, 11:26 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Psycho UK features lossless original mono instead of lossy mono and the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode missing from the US and Uncle Buck UK also has lossless stereo surround instead of lossy. On that same note, The Last Samurai Hong Kong & Korean releases have lossless 5.1 surround instead of lossy.

Knight and Day UK & HK both include the extended cut not on the US release while Black Rain Japan has Japanese exclusive interviews. Shark Night Thailand has the MVC 3D version of the film but loses a featurette. Japan also has the MVC 3D version but I am not sure on the details of this one.
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Old 10-10-12, 10:03 AM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

"Black Rain" is an upgrade if you understand Japanese, as the interviews are in Japanese and not subtitled. I didn't know about Uncle Buck. Too bad there are no special features on that release though....
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Old 10-27-12, 10:23 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Italian "The Legend of 1900". Longer edition of the movie, and I, for one, liked the extra minutes.
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Old 11-16-12, 01:44 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

The new UK remaster of The Terminator looks great. The U.S. blu-ray is one of the worst looking releases that I've seen, and the disc carries over all the special features from the older blu-ray and it's region free.
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Old 11-17-12, 05:48 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Originally Posted by flansered View Post
The new UK remaster of The Terminator looks great. The U.S. blu-ray is one of the worst looking releases that I've seen, and the disc carries over all the special features from the older blu-ray and it's region free.
But it loses quite a lot of special features on the original DVD.
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Old 11-18-12, 05:35 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Great thread on this at blu-ray.com:

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=179724
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Old 11-19-12, 03:51 PM
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Re: Best international "upgrade" Blu-Ray?

Originally Posted by manicsounds View Post
But it loses quite a lot of special features on the original DVD.
Yeah, but at this point I'll take a improved picture over special features that I will probably only watch once. But the thick UK bluray case is wide enough to hold the old dvd as well, so you could make your own combo pack if you wanted.
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