Give Dad the gift of movies

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY JOE SZADKOWSKI

With Fa­ther’s Day com­ing soon, here are a few last-minute gift sug­ges­tions for the dad who loves watch­ing movies in his home en­ter­tain­ment palace.

“Un­for­given: 25th An­niver­sary Edi­tion” (Warner Bros. Home En­ter­tain­ment, Rated R, $24.98, 2.40:1-as­pect ra­tio, 131 min­utes). Movie master Clint East­wood’s four-time Academy Award-win­ner from 1992 gets an ul­tra­high-def­i­ni­tion face-lift to of­fer home the­ater-ob­sessed dads a look at of one of the best Amer­i­can Westerns in the his­tory of the genre.

This clas­sic tale of re­venge and re­demp­tion fea­tures a pair of ag­ing, re­tired gun­slingers (Mr. East­wood and Mor­gan Free­man) tak­ing one last job from a dis­fig­ured pros­ti­tute and her friends to kill a pair of abu­sive cow­boys, but a hard-as-nails sher­iff (Gene Hack­man) stands in the way.

The panoramic scenes around the fic­tional small town in Wy­oming (shot in Al­berta, Canada) are daz­zling in 2160p, but the over­all film, even in­jected with high dy­namic-range lu­mi­nos­ity, still main­tains its orig­i­nal gritty style.

That, by the way, is the re­sult of the 4K re­mas­ter of the orig­i­nal cam­era nega­tives be­ing ap­proved by Mr. East­wood to metic­u­lously main­tain the vi­sion and coloring of cin­e­matog­ra­pher Jack N. Green.

No­table extras: While a new op­tional com­men­tary track from Mr. East­wood would have been pre­ferred, own­ers will need to pop in the Blu-ray to get an en­joy­able and fact-filled lecture by film his­to­rian Richard Schickel from 2006.

Also wor­thy of a look are a more-thanhour­long 1997 doc­u­men­tary on the film and a nos­tal­gic full episode from the 1959 TV se­ries “Mav­er­ick” that starred a young Mr. East­wood as a gun­slinger.

“Harry Pot­ter and the Or­der of the Phoenix,” “Harry Pot­ter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows — Part 1” and “Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hal­lows — Part 2” (Warner Bros. Home En­ter­tain­ment, Rated PG-13, $29.99 each, 2.40:1 as­pect ra­tio, 568 min­utes). For 4K-lov­ing pops look­ing for a darker dose of J.K Rowl­ing’s ad­ven­tures about a fa­mous boy wizard, they will ap­pre­ci­ate the re­lease of the fi­nal four Pot­ter films in stun­ning ul­tra-high-def­i­ni­tion.

With Lord Volde­mort grow­ing more pow­er­ful and now ap­pear­ing at will to kill while as­sem­bling a seem­ingly un­stop­pable squad of Death Eaters, Harry’s angst-rid­den con­fronta­tion with the Dark Lord plays out bril­liantly in the de­cid­edly more ma­ture and very se­ri­ous sec­ond half of the film se­ries.

The cast per­for­mances are fan­tas­tic through­out, led by Daniel Rad­cliffe (Harry Pot­ter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Ru­pert Grint (Ron Weasley); and sup­ple­mented by such dis­tin­guished ac­tors as Alan Rick­man (Severus Snape), Mag­gie Smith (Min­erva McGon­a­gall), Michael Gam­bon (Al­bus Dum­ble­dore), Gary Old­man (Sir­ius Black), Ja­son Isaacs (Lu­cius Mal­foy), He­lena Bon­ham Carter (Bel­la­trix Les­trange) and the deliciously evil Ralph Fi­ennes (Lord Volde­mort).

Re­mas­tered from the orig­i­nal 2K source ma­te­rial and en­hanced with high dy­namic range, the re­sults are not rev­o­lu­tion­ary but of­ten stun­ning for all of the films.

Es­pe­cially note­wor­thy is the im­proved vis­ual acu­ity of some of the very de­sat­u­rated color schemes in both “Deathly Hol­lows” and any of the wizard bat­tle scenes such as the ini­tial duel be­tween Dum­ble­dore and Volde­mort in the Min­istry of Magic.

No­table extras: Hours of bonus con­tent loaded on the pair of Blu-rays found in each pack­age are culled from pre­vi­ous high-def­i­ni­tion re­leases, in­clud­ing the cov­eted Ul­ti­mate Edi­tions.

The im­mer­sion in­cludes a fan­tas­tic InMovie Ex­pe­ri­ence for “Or­der of the Phoenix” and Max­i­mum Movie Modes for “Half Blood Prince” and the pair of “Deathly Hal­lows.”

Whether hosted by Mr. Rad­cliffe, Mr. Is­sacs or Matthew Lewis (Neville Long­bot­tom), all present pic­ture-in-pic­ture nuggets of be­hindthe-scenes footage, vis­ual ef­fects fea­turettes, loads of trivia, in­ter­views with cast and crew, read­ings of the Harry Pot­ter books and dozens of op­tional pro­duc­tion- and mythol­ogy-rich vignettes called Fo­cus Points (ac­cessed via an icon that pops up on the screen).

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