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Topic: What disc did you have in last (and what did you think)? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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William Griffin
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 1:45am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Me too, Greg. I won't watch anything in the wrong ratio (unless it's literally the only way to see it, as with some films that haven't been released in the correct ratio). It's a distraction all the way through the movie.

2001 is a masterpiece to me - the blu-ray looks incredible. The visual effects look slightly more dated than they did on DVD but it doesn't really matter. It's a movie that just floods your imagination. 
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 8:36am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Speaking of aspect ratios; in the early '80s my college dorm played 2001, still anamorphically squeezed into the standard frame size. We pretty much adjusted to that while watching, until one of the last scenes. When Old Dave was in bed, reaching up towards the monolith, his face was so squashed forehead-to-chin, and his upraised finger seemed proportionately longer, someone shouted out, "Eeee Teeee phooone hooome!"
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William Griffin
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

SAW VI: Well... It's become a bit of a soap opera by this point, with all the increasingly convoluted flashbacks and scenes from previous films revisited from a new angle. But I enjoy that aspect (despite the trashy dialogue and acting) more than the traps, which have to get sillier and more disgusting with each go around in order to outdo the previous sequel. 

This time we also get some social commentary on the subject of health insurance, which leads to some blackly comic moments but not much else. Still, at least they're trying. And the cliffhanger is a corker.
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John Byrne
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'm sure this is being done to placate those fool who hate the black bars on their screens...

I've mentioned before, I know, that I have friends of my generation who absolutely cannot comprehend letterboxing. "Why don't you want to see the whole picture?" is the most common question.*

I'm convinced that no small part of it goes back to the days of our youth, when one of the first indications that the ol' cathode ray picture tube was failing was that the image would start to shrink, top and bottom. Letterboxing does look like that, if you don't pay attention to the picture not being vertically squashed.

---------------

* And, no, this is not a reference to those movies that are shot "Academy Ratio" and then matted for a widescreen effect in theaters. One of the great lies of Hollywood -- which is often undone when the video release is presented without the matt. See that microphone bobbing above the actors heads? You weren't supposed to!

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William Griffin
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

People I've known in the past who've complained about black bars on their TV felt like they were being ripped off somehow if the whole of the screen wasn't being filled. They preferred fullscreen versions of movies. This was before widescreen TVs.

Now I know a couple of people who will stretch a full screen picture to fit a widescreen TV! They'd rather watch this distended version than see the movie in its original ratio just so the whole of their screen is being used. It drives me up the wall.

One of the great things about the introduction of DVDs was the availability of just about everything in its original ratio. Pan and scan was the devil's work!
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Pete York
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

This has been running on TCM for years. It's a superb explanation of letterboxing. 'The Last Supper' example is something you could use with anybody and have them understand the process in seconds.
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John Byrne
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 11:18am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

What used to frustrate me on broadcast TV was when they'd "letterbox" the opening credits of a movie with some kind of decorative (and usually contextually appropriate) bars, top and bottom, but then jump to pan&scan the moment the movie proper got started. This was, of course, a rather cruel reminder of how much was being lopped off the sides. It was also a lurch, if action had started under the credits. Jumping from clear longshot to grainy closeup did not enhance my viewing pleasure.
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William Griffin
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER - a bland, inneffective finale to the series. Whatever the deficiencies of the previous films, at the very least they had momentum and a gruesome inventiveness. The last few sequels may not have been strictly necessary but his is the first one to feel entirely pointless. The ongoing plot is played out, the new characters are entirely unmemorable, and the big callback to the first film is just silly.

Its listlessness may be in part due to returning director Kevin Greutert being literally forced to make it; he was dragged off competing movie Paranormal Activity 2 thanks to the Saw producers invoking a clause in his contract. His direction is unimaginative in the extreme, but who can blame the guy? Even the montages seem lazily put together.  It doesn't help that regular DP David Armstrong has gone and taken with him the series' grungy aesthetic, in its place a brightly lit and thoroughly cheap-looking movie. 

When this was at the cinema I was quite excited by the potential in an outdoor trap where the participants are watched by a huge crowd, and by the concept of a Jigsaw survivors group. Unfortunately nothing much is done with either of these ideas and the whole thing has the feeling of a big sigh and 'Well, may as well make another one you guys'. The 3D added nothing and on TV it's flatter than ever. Pffttt.
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William Griffin
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

What used to frustrate me on broadcast TV was when they'd "letterbox" the opening credits of a movie with some kind of decorative (and usually contextually appropriate) bars, top and bottom, but then jump to pan&scan the moment the movie proper got started. This was, of course, a rather cruel reminder of how much was being lopped off the sides.

******
Yes! I forgot they did that. Terrible. And you could see the picture quality degrade when they zoomed in. Dark days, man, dark days.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 11:35am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

What used to frustrate me on broadcast TV was when they'd "letterbox"
the opening credits of a movie with some kind of decorative (and
usually contextually appropriate) bars, top and bottom, but then jump to
pan&scan the moment the movie proper got started. This was, of
course, a rather cruel reminder of how much was being lopped off the
sides.
++++++++++

I still see this happening on some channels, from time to time.
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John Byrne
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 1:06pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I recall one movie -- not sure of the title, but I'm pretty sure it starred George Peppard -- that opened with action under the credits, then went on for a long continuous take. So long they almost had me convinced the whole movie was going to have the "decorative" letterboxing. Then the camera angle shifted and WHAM! it went to pan&scan. It was like being thrown against a wall!
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Kevin Sharp
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Posted: March 03 2014 at 2:11pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

To see movies in the original aspect ratio (other than disc or streaming), your best bets are Showtime, HDNet, & TCM. 

HBO, Cinemax, Starz, etc regularly crop. PPV is a total crapshoot from title to title.

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