DoBlu’s Christmas Blu-ray List

Wondering what holiday themed Blu-ray’s DoBlu has reviewed? Here’s a list of what we have to offer to get you completely into that festive spirit.

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Gremlins

Yes, it counts. Gizmo, that adorable Mogwai, was a Christmas gift after all. Plus, it has a Gremlin attacking Frances Lee McCain by hiding inside the decorated tree, further proof this is a holiday classic. What better way to gather the family by telling them they’re about to see an evil menace popped inside a microwave? What grand-scale holiday memories that would create.

The rather dark film does what it can against Warner’s VC-1 encode, but struggles to avoid artifacting. The grain structure breaks down as well. Much of the action is contained in the front channels, but they’re spaced nicely.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Far more terrifying than Gremlins, this total Ron Howard misfire could not be any more hateful if it tried. Jim Carrey may offer his energy, but inside that weird, creepy suit, the Grinch is more than just spiteful of Christmas. He is flat out evil, giving a kid a saw and telling him to run fast with it. What psycho does that? Thanks for the nightmares Mr. Howard. Universal puts the disc inside a green case so it stands out and all of your friends will know you own this mess.

Like the film, Universal’s Blu-ray is flat and ugly. Black levels are weak, the image lacks depth of any kind, and detail is flat at best. At least the DTS-HD audio mix gives the movie some life, including an active Grinch home, and energetic action scenes.

[amazonify]B001CTA1UW[/amazonify]

Four Christmases

It’s hard to imagine a movie with a plot that is more contrived than this illogical farce, but at least it leads to some laughs. Vince Vaughn plays… well, that guy Vince Vaughn always plays. Along with his wife (Reese Witherspoon), they traverse through four Christmases with their respective families. As expected, plenty of awkwardness ensues, although all of it happens due to some divine intervention that makes it so.

Warner’s low bitrate encode appears processed, but could also be the result of VC-1 codec. As a holiday comedy, Four Christmases only has so much to offer, but does excel in a few scenes, especially a jump-a-round sequence where Witherspoon is assaulted by some kids.

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Nightmare Before Christmas

A Tim Burton masterpiece, it could be stated this is more a Halloween film, but the focus is really on making Halloween Town celebrate Christmas. The film does so with brilliant, detailed, and involving stop-motion animation mixed with lively, clever songs. It may be a bit too dark for those looking for something cheery, but the message is there behind the grim visuals.

This Disney effort suffers from some rather glaring edge enhancement and some likely artificial processing, but the images produced when Jack Skellington enters Christmas Town is spectacular. A full, rich DTS-HD 7.1 mix brings the music to Blu-ray in spectacular fashion, and it adds a layer of immersion into this miniature world that is otherwise missing.

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A Christmas Story

Bob Clark’s warm, sweet tale of Ralphie’s quest to secure an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle is a far cry from his previous horror effort Black Christmas (actually, it’s as far off as you can g0). Nonetheless, the change in in genre resulted in a true holiday classic. Everyone can relate to Ralphie’s quest in begging for that one special item, and the leg lamp? That’s an icon of holiday cinema.

The film was shot with a dream-like quality, so while the video lacks pop, it is nonetheless accurate. A better encode probably wouldn’t hurt, but you take what you can get. A weak, flat 1.0 compressed mono audio effort means you’ll have to strain to hear anything.

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Fred Claus

Vince Vaughn plays… wait, Vince Vaughn again? Sure, but Vince Vaughn is also Santa’s brother, meaning you’re treated to wildly fun interaction between Vaughn and Paul Giamatti who plays the jolly one. The story takes a rather odd turn, but the family aspect of Santa Claus is original and engaging enough to carry this one.

Warner’s hi-def effort is pleasing, with bright, saturated colors. It suits the film beautifully. Sadly, Warner decided to exclude uncompressed audio, and the Dolby Digital result is sub-par.

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