“You Wanna Job, Ernie?”

As rendered by Universal’s new Bluray, Brian DePalma‘s Scarface “has, quite simply, never looked better,” according to Bluay.com’s Kenneth Brown. “There are a number of scenes that look quite good, fantastic even,” he says. And yet “edge enhancement has been liberally applied, edge halos and minor ringing are apparent throughout, intermittent noise reduction takes a toll, and crush is a serious issue.”

I need to take a night-school class so I’ll know what Bluray “crush” is. And “ringing” — I need to bone up on that one too. And “edge halos.” And “macroblocking.” And “rimjobbing.” I do, however, know what “edge enhancement” is.

I’m getting my Scarface Bluray on Tuesday morning, and will try to post a review before I leave for Telluride on Wednesday morning.

  • Ray

    CRUSH = one shitty black mush instead of distinct shades of black (you can’t see this on a crappy LCD, but it shows up like crazy on high end plasma)

    RINGING = loss off of fine detail with edge enhancement

    MACROBLOCKING = fast movement scenes pixellate and blur

    EDGE HALOS = a halo effect around people and usually buildings, another side effect of shitty edge enhancement technique

    YOU’RE WELCOME, MOVIE EXPERT.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    All right, thanks. Bluray reviewers have quite naturally & understandably constructed their own terminology so as to create an aura of knowledgability and access. That’s fine.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    You can buttonhole any veteran film critic and ask him/her to give clear, concise defInitions of the above terms, and I’ll give you a $100 bill if they know even one or two of them. Bluray reviewing is its own realm.

  • ModernLifeIsRubbish

    Manohla Dargis’ core readership isn’t a bunch of 40-year-old suburban dads who’ve dropped thousands on home video equipment.

    The only time I’ve been sorely disappointed by a Blu-ray “video transfer” is the U.S. release of Time Bandits. They used a very old, damaged print. Nonstop flecks and other assorted distractions.

  • ModernLifeIsRubbish

    And in terms of the whole leaving the grain structure intact vs. overly sharpening the image debate, I get the feeling a title such as Scarface will always have the home entertainment divisions nervous.

    When, say, Criterion releases, for example, Sweetie, they know they have a niche audience who are hip to the process. But a film such as Scarface or Predator or Aliens or Back to the Future comes down the pipeline, the company in question surely knows a lot of the money is going to come from mainstream film fans who, against all reason, will want these older movies to be practically as sharp and grain-free as How to Train Your Dragon on Blu-ray.

  • The Thing

    @ModernLife

    I don’t see how wanting a classic film without any grain is “against all reason”. Any modern film fan will expect a perfect, grain-free version of their favorite classic film. In this age of digital projection, why wouldn’t you? As a college student, I’m mad when they show a movie in the film version, rather than digital projection, and I’m probably the most snobbiest amongst my friends when it comes to film. Yes, the older generations probably want some grain to older films, because that’s how you remember it. Or even movie Catholics, who view anything mainstream that was made in the last 20 years as “okay”. But to the rest of us, including regular audiences of those 20+, film grain is an annoyance that should be purged with the prominence of the digital age.

    It’s a different style of presentation that counter to what you want.

  • chad_pole

    ModernLifeIsRubbish –

    Time Bandits, if you didn’t notice, was also NOT 1080p.. it was only 1080i. And if you think it’s bad, try checking out Spartacus, or the previous editions of Gladiator or Gangs of NY.

    And these terms aren’t just for blu-ray… they have been around since the DVD days, Jeff.

  • chad_pole

    The Thing –

    It’s sad if you really, truly see it that way. Maybe you should look it from another perspective – how about taking your favorite CD and removing one of the instruments form the band… would that be okay with you? Since grain IS the image, and is what makes up the picture, removing it also removes the picture… therefore, you WON’T get a sharp, modern looking presentation. See how that works? I’m all for noise reduction if it;s used judiciously — and almost all blu-rays utilize it to some degree, even Criterion — but to “expect” every film should look the same (and new, for that matter) is really disregarding the fact that cinema is art. Maybe when you learn how to look at a film, you’ll learn that preserving it as it was shot is not only respectable, but proper.

  • BurnettRM

    The Thing,

    That is, without a doubt, the single dumbest comment I’ve EVER read on this blog.

    Do you know what would happen if you removed all the grain from an image originally captured on film? That’s right genius…THERE WOULD BE NO IMAGE.

    Please refrain from EVER voting. Thank you.

  • Markj74

    Is The Thing really DZ/Kakihara? Or maybe Rashad? It’s the only answer.

  • Glenn Kenny

    Le Chose clearly believes he’s competing in the Olympics of Stupid, and wants to make a big impression right out of the gate. Either that or he’s…oh, never mind.

  • Robert Harris

    It is technically impossible for a film afflicted with the above list of negative attributes to have “quite simply, never looked better,”

    Something is either a replication of the original or it is not.

    Simple.

    RAH

  • markj

    Is The Thing really DZ/Kakihara? Or maybe Rashad? It’s the only answer.

  • George Prager

    Foot fetishists have a lot of jargon too. That doesn’t mean that LexG should know it.

  • George Prager

    I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre once. Too small. Let’s blow up that shit. At least make it 10′ tall. Do it in dayglo paint. My generation has no patience for tiny little paintings that you have to look at carefully with a crowd of strangers. (And wake up at 7:30 in the morning to take a subway to see.) Put it in the entrance.

  • TL

    Prager FTW.

    RAH:”Something is either a replication of the original or it is not.

    “Simple.”

    Indeed, it is.

  • actionlover

    G.P. – I saw that picture of that chick too (bow-wow!, btw), when my college semester abroad class made us go to that dopey museum in Paris. (admittedly my epic hang-over didn’t help things…we’d pulled a late one the night before after hooking up with some Bulgarian immigrant chicks….come to think of it, one of them looked like the gal in the painting…yikes)

    True dat. Everyone made a big whoop about it. I kept waiting for something to happen. Lasers, 3-D, some shit. Whateves. Mona Lisa. That was totally what it was called. I’d make her “moan-a” if I was back in olden times, even though she’s dawg-ish, but I figure most chicks back then were. Bet she had a freaking jungle going on down there, too! (shudders)

  • ZayTonday

    Edge Enhancement, Black Crush and Macroblocking all existed before Blu-ray. They were terms used in the reviewing of DVDs for years too.

  • Mr. F.

    And speaking more broadly: can BD reviewers please cease using the following line in their disc reviews:

    “Simply put, [movie title] has never looked better.”

    It’s in nearly every single BluRay review I’ve ever read. Yes: remastering old library titles and releasing at 1080p tends to make them look good. We get it.

  • The Criterion Guy

    Got my copy a month ago and I dig how it looks. It’s not perfect (funny how the BLOWOUT CC BD looks f’n AMAZING but this one, more well known, less so) but it’ll do.

  • bluefugue

    >Any modern film fan will expect a perfect, grain-free version of their favorite classic film. In this age of digital projection, why wouldn’t you?

    Since the image of 35mm film is actually created out of silver halide crystals, I’ve never understood how you can have a transfer that is “grain-free.” It seems to me like it would be as if you were to want a JPEG that was “pixel-free.”

    You are also presupposing that grain is innately bad. Not just flying mosquitoes grainstorm, but ALL grain. I happen to think moderate grain is quite beautiful. And, I mean, it IS the film. Take it all away, and you must by definition be replacing it with something else, which may not be an improvement. (E.g. waxy Patton blu-ray, etc.)

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