Give Dad the gift of movies
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).