THE LOVE ETERNE blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Mandarin: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English, Mandarin









The Love Eterne is the first emotional Shaw Bros film that I have ever seen. Out of all the many films that I have seen from the Shaw Bros, this film is unexpectedly unique for a film from the 1960s. For anyone that knows a little about this film, the movie is like a Romeo & Juliet Chinese musical, which was hugely popular in its day (as like a Chinese version of The Sound of Music) and is considered a classic, which I definitely agree with. The movie is famous for its Huangmei opera style – a particular style of singing, as well as actors being either played by all boys or all girls.

While I do agree that the music in this film is hypnotic and keeps the movie moving at a very good pace, as well as amazing acting from both of the female leads, this movie can be interpreted in many ways. I had read reviews of this film before watching it, and I found out that Ang Lee has certainly been inspired by this film. I’m happy to have known that because with Crouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain in the back of my mind, The Love Eterne is a really interesting film if it’s interpreted from a sexual political, women’s rights standpoint. I watched this film thinking that these were two women in love, not a woman and a man (played by a woman) in love. I felt that the movie is more emotionally powerful watching the film like this in which the movie is about two female lovers fighting society’s closed-minded norms, with so many obstacles preventing them to function or love each other during this time period. Watching the film with that in mind, it makes the story in this movie timeless, as these issues are still apparent today. The main female character dresses up as a man so that she can study in college because she’s an individual, she doesn’t want to be stupid, and doesn’t want to follow her parents traditional strict rules of how a woman should be, etc. And as she is in college, the audience sees a whole slew of other women dressed up like men studying that don’t want to be subservient idiots in a sexist society. She then meets another woman at her college who believes she’s a man even though she was born as a woman (my interpretation). So they both create a bromantic relationship as one is pretending to be a man, while the other one thinks she’s a man, and then they fall in love. It’s actually a pretty bizarre film if you watch it as a same-sex romance film. The Love Eterne is sort of like a better version of Boys Don’t Cry practically! You don’t have to watch this as a lesbian film, but I think it works better as one.

Onto the Region A Hong Kong blu-ray:
Oh…baby…Intercontinental Video are professionals. Period. Wow! Who are these guys? Holy crap, this is the first old Hong Kong movie on blu-ray that is a real blu-ray! A real, restored blu-ray! (Kam & Ronson, I like that you are releasing old Chinese movies too, but come on, learn something from Intercontinental!) If you were impressed with the slew of Shaw Bros movies that they remastered onto DVD, wait till you see this blu-ray. The video is basically perfect. I would have given it a perfect 5 out of 5, but the video sometimes had a very, very slight camera shake to it. I’m not sure if that’s how the original film was, or if that’s something they could have fixed, or if it’s just something that my blu-ray player was doing. But either way, damn this blu-ray looks amazing! The video looks three-dimensional, colors are crisp and eye-popping! You can see good skin tone, textures, clear background, clean video, not a scratch, not a hair, not a speck. It just looks amazing!

The audio is very good too. The Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 does the job well done. It still has a slight hollow claustrophobic sound to it, but what do you expect – 98 percent of the movie was most likely filmed on an indoor set. The audio is solid – it’s clear and sounds excellent during the songs. It’s an audio recorded from the 1960s, not from 2011. It’s perfectly fine and does what expected. It certainly sounds better than any of the audio choices on the K&R blu-rays.

I really, really like Intercontinental for one main reason – the English subtitles! The English subtitles on the Love Eterne blu-ray are practically perfect! Wow, why can’t the rest of Chinese blu-ray companies do that? I can’t take another Hong Kong movie with Chinglish. As I remember now, the Shaw Bros movies released on DVD by Intercontinental always had decent English subtitles. Me likey!

The extras are very nice too – two trailers for The Love Eterne (one original trailer and one 2003 trailer which was probably created for their DVD version), and also trailers for their other blu-rays – The Kingdom and the Beauty and The Three Smiles. There are also two trailers for the One-Armed Swordsman and the New One-Armed Swordsman, which I assume will be their next two blu-ray releases since they are getting advertised on this blu-ray. There is also an interesting English-subtitled documentary about Huangmei opera which runs for about 15 minutes.

The Love Eterne is a very interesting film with a surprising epic climax. I now have two favorite Shaw Bros. films – Come Drink With Me and The Love Eterne. I highly recommend this Shaw Bros. classic and this amazing quality blu-ray!

THE RAINBOW THIEF blu-ray review

Germany Region B blu-ray

1080i Widescreen 1.78:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (original)

German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (dub)


MOVIE: 8.5





I’ve never seen The Rainbow Thief until blind-binding this German blu-ray, and it’s surprisingly an exciting movie starring a bunch of old timers! If no one had told me this was an Alexandro Jodorowsky film, I would have thought it was a Terry Gilliam film.

One of my all-time favorite films is The Holy Mountain, so I was expecting some outrageous weirdness that would need to be interpreted after many viewings. Just the opposite, I felt like I was watching a better version of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, minus the CGI fantasy scenes. The movie is just a nice, slightly wacky Dickens-type story about the adventures of a thief, played with serious intensity by Omar Sharif. Peter O’Toole is good as his usual weird flamboyant self, and Christopher Lee is great in his short crazy role at the beginning of the movie.

The Rainbow Thief is filmed so well and it’s surprisingly one of my favorite edited films now, because Omar Sharif was chugging all over the place as if he was 20 years old. The directing and editing was just amazing because it was really impossible to tell the stunt man from Omar. That’s great editing. If this movie had cast a younger thief copying the style of Omar Sharif’s intense acting, I was thinking that the role could have been played by Robert Downey Jr.

The music was also excellent, great gypsy and classical infused with the funny visuals in the film.

I remember how exciting it was to see DeNiro and Pacino reunite for their Michael Man film, Heat. Well, I feel the same for the reuniting of Sharif and O’Toole in this film, since they played so well together in Lawrence of Arabia. It’s sort of sad watching them old in this film since they were so young in Lawrence of Arabia. But their age does not slow them around in this film – they are just a bunch of old timers chugging around as if on speed. It’s amazing how O’Toole and Sharif still look the same as well – for the past 30 years, they have always looked like they are 65 years old!

I now rank The Rainbow Thief right under The Holy Mountain, then El Topo, and then Santa Sangre. The movie is certainly worth it for the amazingly-filmed rainstorm/flood scene in the climax of the film – it was something like out of a Rolland Emmerich or James Cameron film.

The German blu-ray has perfect video and audio quality. For such an obscure title, Ascot Elite Home Entertainment gave this film a very generous make-over. The well-lit and dark scenes all look equally crisp and clear. Great colors, no DNR – just a perfect video presentation. The English DTS-HD 2.0 is very impressive, especially during the climactic flood scenes. The subwoofer was certainly active in the film, which was a nice surprise. The only extra is the trailer with original English audio.

Very nice film – it’s just a crime that Jodorowsky hasn’t directed more films, because he is a masterful director. It’s too bad he doesn’t direct any of those Euro sci-fi comics he had written over the years. And I can’t wait till The Holy Mountain gets a blu-ray release somewhere in the world.


Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (original)

Mandarin: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (dub)

Subtitles: English, Mandarin








60 Million Dollar Man is recommended for very serious fans of Stephen Chow only. I was happy to see it since I have never seen this movie, but the film is all over the place. But Chow is still funny as hell in it. He has such a gift for humor. I’ve seen better Chow films, but this movie had at least one scene out of all of his films which made me laugh til the tears came – it involved a parody of Pulp Fiction, an injection, and Chow’s crotch – this scene was just pure comic genius!

I loved the special effects in the film though – some may think it’s dated. But I prefer these old school special effects rather than newer films with CGI overkill.

Stephen Chow is just so damn funny and he works his magic in even mediocre films such as this one. I normally can’t stand comedy films from China, but Chow seems to be the only one that can make a good comedy from his native country. He is right up their with comic geniuses such as Peter Sellers, Charlie Chaplin, and Jacques Tati.

As for the blu-ray, I’m going to state my usual disclaimer about Kam & Ronson HK blu-rays:

Lower your expectations. People say that these blu-rays from this Hong Kong company KAM & RONSON are just upconverted DVDs. Maybe so, but they still look and sound better than previous dvd versions, even if the difference is slight and not a huge upgrade. Don’t expect them to be reference blu-ray examples.

This Kam & Ronson blu-ray is fair as expected. The video is full of scratches, dirt, and white specs popping up all over the place, but it looks really good during bright scenes and decent during darker scenes. The colors did pop out and I’m sure this blu-ray looks better than the best DVD version regardless or not if this blu-ray is just an upconverted DVD. I was happier with the video more than with the audio. The audio basically sounded like a 2.1 Stereo soundtrack, only that it sort of had a muffled sound which hadn’t been on previous K&R blu-rays. It didn’t ruin the movie-watching experience though. I was more focused on trying to interpret the English subtitles on this film. Even though there are no spelling mistakes, these were Chinglish subtitles. I don’t think they remastered the English subtitles as I was hoping they would. If the subtitles were translated correctly, I probably would have rated this movie higher because I do sense the movie had a funny screenplay, but I was too distracted by the poor translation. There were tons of witty lines in this movie that did not get translated properly.

The only extra is the trailer to the movie.

If you don’t care about the slight upgrade or if you already own this on DVD, then I wouldn’t buy this blu-ray. But I never owned this movie on DVD before and this blu-ray is selling for 5 dollars more than the DVD, so the blu-ray is worth it then, especially if you love Stephen Chow.

THE BLUE UMBRELLA blu-ray review

India Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

Hindi: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (original)

Tamil: Dolby Digital 5.1 (dub)

Subtitles: English









The Blue Umbrella is an excellent film. Period. Even though there are three songs in this film, I wouldn’t classify this film as a Bollywood film. It’s just a great film from India. The movie centers on two characters, played by a little girl and an elder man, both mesmerized by a Japanese umbrella that found its way into their mountain town. The movie is totally touching as it explores greed, generosity, jealousy, vengeance, and redemption. This film can be enjoyed by everyone and it’s not a “family” film. It’s just a great film. The Blue Umbrella is also very similar to The Gods Must Be Crazy, only that instead of a Coke bottle causing a fuss, it’s this blue umbrella. The direction by Vishal Bhardwaj is first rate – his shots are beautifully filmed and the whole movie moves along at a very nice pace. The young girl and elder man are also excellent in this film. Great, great film!

The Moserbaer Region Free blu-ray is just totally solid. The video quality for the majority of the time is excellent. There are many artistically filmed dark shots, which may be less in video quality, but overall, the video on this blu-ray is just totally pleasing! The DTS-HD Hindi is also very good, with very active surround sounds. The English subtitles are pretty good as well, some spelling and grammar mistakes but nothing that bad nor distracting. The only extras on this blu-ray is the Song Menu.

Also, there aren’t any advertisements or logos that pop up during the film. Just a great solid blu-ray! Moserbaer does a dramatically better job on their blu-rays than on their DVDs!

The Blue Umbrella is one of the best Indian films I’ve seen and I highly recommend blind-buying this film!

WHEALS ON MEALS blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1

Subtitles: English, Mandarin








The most interesting positive aspect about Wheels On Meals is that it’s very similar to the style of a typical French comedy film from the early 1980s starring the likes of Gerard Depardieu, Christian Clavier, or Pierre Richard – but one of the fair ones, not great ones. But other than that, Wheels On Meals is no classic. It’s just a good, not great, film starring the talented Chan, Biao, and Hung. I like that it’s got the pace and style of a European comedy from the 80s, but I would have preferred that the action be spread out evenly during the film instead of saving most of the action towards the end. Eventhough the film is generally entertaining, the majority of the film sort of drags till it reaches its action-packed finale. I was hoping that the comedy element would tide me over till the climax but even the usually funny Chan and Hung are pretty tame in this film. I probably laughed out loud three times during the whole film. Im not saying that the rest of the comic elements were not funny, I just thought it was pretty tame from what one would usually expect from a funny Chan or Hung film. The final action scenes are pretty amazing but I just was sort of tired by the time I got to that point. Another cool aspect about the film was that it was filmed in Spain. My favorite old Hong Kong films are the ones that take place in exotic countries, so it was nice to see the streets of Spain. Another big plus was casting the Spanish Lola Forner, who is as hot as a Bond girl. If the comedy doesnt grab your attention, then Forner will!

I really liked this blu-ray though considering Fortune Star’s past blu-rays of old films. It was generally just a positive experience watching this film because the video was totally clean and colorful. I wasn’t distracted by anything negative – positive video quality, non problematic audio, and here comes the big plus – almost perfect English subtitles! I don’t know how the previous dvd was, but if you dont have the dvd, this blu-ray is just a great way of enjoying this film regardless if it looks like an upconverted dvd or real HD. I’m a bit stricter grading Fortune Star blu-rays nowadays, but if I wasnt that strict, I would have given the video a 4 out of a 5. Of all the 1:85.1 Fortune Star blu-rays, I’m most impressed with the video on this one. The audio is like a 1.1 Dts-HD soundtrack with the subwoofer really kicking in with the big punches.  The extras include a Sammo Hung interview (in English), a Yuen Biao interview (in Cantonese without subtitles) and a trailer.

Wheels on Meals is a solid entertainer with a very pleasing blu-ray. I would recommend only to fans of Chan, Hung, and Biao and fans of movies filmed in Europe!