Curious Call

According to DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze, Criterion’s forthcoming Bluray of Terry Zwigoff‘s Crumb “has bright colors, heavy grain and looks far more film-like than either of the previous Sony DVDs (1999 and 2006 Special Edition). However, I don’t know that it is a film that benefits extensively from the move to Bluray 1080p.”

Wells translation: Who’s running the show over there? They take a funky little film like Crumb and Bluray it? Why?

Back to Tooze: “Although saying that, it is true that much of the comic art and facial close-ups can look surprisingly impressive in the higher resolution.

Wells translation: Well, I have to say something nice about the Bluray upgrade…right? Gotta keep my relationships at par.

Back to Tooze: “Crumb is not a viewing experience that one will recall for its striking appearance but the Criterion HD does support the ‘rustic’ feel of the film’s content. It is dual-layered with a very high video bitrate and colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate. Skin tones seem warm and contrast exhibits healthy black levels. One must surely feel that this Blu-ray exports the most honest original representation of this amusing, thought-provoking and, sometimes, painful portrait.”

Wells comment: In other words, the decision to put out Crumb in Bluray was at best quizzical and at worst pointless. What does it cost to master a film for Bluray? $100 grand? Less? I would have much preferred a Bluray of Downhill Racer over Crumb.

If nothing else I’m guessing that the Crumb Bluray is a way for the Criterion grain monks to flex their muscles, strut their stuff and remind the world what they’re still in the game and not backing off an inch. The Grainmakers!

  • Hip Hop Homey

    Having heard from a few friends who have seen the BD, I’m getting it. I was on the fence until early word came back. the big problem for me is WHY they are releasing the early Zwigoff short doc LOUIE BLUIE as a separate release. Obviously, it’s a money grab, when it would have been a VERY nice bonus feature on any other release. Perhaps it wasn’t worth putting into 1080. Right now, I think the deleted footage is the plum for me. This is a film I can watch endlessly. entertaining, brutal and true.

  • Jack South P.I.

    Everything should be released on Blu-Ray! I dont understand this argument that some movies are ‘worthy’ and some are not. Blu-Ray is a superior format to DVD, as DVD was to LaserDisc, as LaserDisc was to VHS. Someday, when movies can be beamed directly into my cerebral cortex, that too will be superior. But until then, Blu-Ray is the best we’ve got. End of story.

    If you want to debate the merits of indivual transfers, fine. That’s a discusison worth having. Otherwise, this whole ‘argument’ is ridiculous.

  • http://goneelsewhere.wordpress.com Brian

    As obnoxious as your anti-grain ranting usually is, this is doubly so:

    1) You realize, presumably, that CRUMB was shot 16mm, right? How the hell are you going to de-grain that?

    2) The transfer was approved by Zwigoff, meaning that we can reasonably infer that it wasn’t actually supposed to look like a pristine, freshly struck, grain-free 16mm print.

    And it’s pretty easy to explain why it’s on Blu-ray too – Criterion has steadily been increasing their Blu production, to the point where every high-profile release is on Blu if they can make it happen (culminating in their recent October announcements, which are all Blu).

  • Hip Hop Homey

    Not EVERY film, at least to me, looks great on BD (see BUTCH CASSIDY & TSK for a perfect example). I shudder to think what will happen when McCABE shows up with its lush and haunting look.

  • kingofnails

    I thought LOUIE BLUIE was a feature length thing, but it’s a short? I guess I’m gonna have to imdb it….

  • http://twitter.com/carlosgsalicrup Carlosgsalicrup

    You could say the same thing about Criterion releasing Kiarostami’s ‘Close Up” in Blu, with its extensive footage inside a courtroom. Yet I have to say I’m glad they released it, and bought it yesterday after renting it through Netflix.

    By the way, for those of you that want to stock up, the Barnes & Noble, 50%-off Criterion sale ends Saturday.

  • Jack South P.I.

    “Not EVERY film, at least to me, looks great on BD (see BUTCH CASSIDY & TSK for a perfect example).”

    The fail was in the transfer, not the format.

  • Hip Hop Homey

    Still, Jack, you think they’d a caught it.

    Yeah, that B&N sale has been great. Just glad I was in the states when it happened.

  • Ponderer

    “And it’s pretty easy to explain why it’s on Blu-ray too – Criterion has steadily been increasing their Blu production, to the point where every high-profile release is on Blu if they can make it happen (culminating in their recent October announcements, which are all Blu).”

    And every professional film format is going to be more honestly represented by Blu-ray, since they are by definition HD – regardless of the grain structure of the stock.

    Hey Jeff – instead of lobbing hand grenades or quoting other sites, why don’t you try and grab an interview and ask YOUR specific technical questions and have a back-and-forth? I’d be interested in reading that, instead of this scattershot nonsense.

  • Hip Hop Homey

    @KON: LB is 60 minutes long. I guess not really a “short doc,” but still a “shorter” one and CERTAINLY would’ve fit nicely on the BD or even on a 2nd disc.

  • YND

    Exactly — what high definition offers is simply an enhanced ability to transfer film elements to a home video medium, creating a home video experience as close to the original experience of watching a projected film print as possible. It doesn’t mean all high-def transfers are created equally.

  • Thunderballs

    Can’t wait for Downhill Racer to hit BluRay, what a film.

    Would also finally like a BluRay of Last Temptation of Christ.

    And when is Criterion going to get around to acquiring Leaving Las Vegas?

  • bmcintire

    A Criterion LEAVING LAS VEGAS?

    Don’t hold you breath.

  • lazarus

    I’m with Jeff on this one. No offense to documentarians, but who gives a shit about films like this being in Blu-Ray when there are so many other eye-candy Criterion films that haven’t been converted yet? I’m more concerned with seeing HD upgrades of films where the cinematography doesn’t take such a backseat to the content.

    In a perfect world, they would all eventually be available in the superior format, but can we prioritize a little better, please?

  • Eloi Wrath

    Based on its title alone, this Criterion disc sounds right up Jeff’s alley: http://www.criterion.com/films/1344-the-secret-of-the-grain

  • George Prager

    GayLexG says…

    Does this mean that we’ll get a better look at Maxon Crumb’s dirty feet?

  • louisemo

    Excellent dude. I enjoyed the article a lot while reading.Thanks for sharing.

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