- The Washington Times - Friday, June 9, 2017

With Father’s Day coming next weekend, 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 ultra high-definition facelift to offer home theater-obsessed dads a look at of one of the best American Westerns in the history of 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 surrounding 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. Cinemaphiles will relish the permanently preserved result.

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 back in 2006.

Also worthy of a look are an over hourlong, 1997 documentary on the film; and a nostalgic full episode from the 1959 television 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) — 4K-loving pops looking for a darker dose of the J.K Rowling’s adventures about a famous boy wizard will truly 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 enhance 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.

To answer the troll in the entertainment room question, to complete dad’s collection, gift givers will need to wait until later in the year for the release of the first four, more family friendly films to 4K UHD. Sounds like the perfect holiday treat.

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 In-Movie Experience for “Order of the Phoenix” and Maximum Movie Modes for “Half Blood Prince” and the pair of “Deathly Hallows.”

Whether hosted by either Mr. Radcliffe, Mr. Issacs or Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), all present picture-in-picture nuggets of behind-the-scene 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).

Also the final four parts of the mega-documentary “Creating the World of Harry Potter” delivers roughly four hours of viewing that concentrate on the evolution of the films’ visual style, magical effects, story and a spotlight on the young wizards growing up through the films.

Dads with more time on their hands will also find such extras as an hourlong discussion between Miss Rowling and Mr. Radcliffe, television specials, and hours more of featurettes sprinkled through the Blu-ray for each film.

Saturday Night Fever: Director’s Cut (Paramount Home Entertainment, Rated R, $16.99, 1.85:1-aspect ratio, 122 minutes) — John Travolta’s break-out role to super stardom also ignited a disco revolution in this well-received, 1977 film from director John Badham.

As the famed story goes, a young Italian Brooklynite named Tony Manero lives for the weekends and showing off his dance moves at the local disco. The burden of his friends and family make life a daily grind for the 19-year-old until he meets a dancing girl of his dreams.

Owners get two versions of the film, the original theatrical version and the new cut from Mr. Badham (4 minutes longer) boasting a 4K restoration from the original camera negatives.

And, older dads are sure to annoy the youngsters as they crank up the home theater sound system to appreciate the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix delivering the best-selling, award-winning soundtrack starring the Bee Gees.

Notable extras: Culled from the 2002, 2007 and 30th Anniversary releases, viewers get an optional commentary track (theatrical only) from Mr. Badham; an onscreen Discopedia facts track (think VH1’s pop-up video presentation); a near hourlong documentary on the making of the movie; and even dance lessons from celebrity instructor John Cassese.

Heat: Director’s Definitive Edition (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Rated R, $16.99, 2.40:1-aspect ratio, 170 minutes) — Director Michal Mann’s machismo loaded, 1995 crime thriller returns to Blu-ray sporting a new restoration.

Adapted from a true story, the movie focused on police detective Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) in pursuit of a career criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his gang that is looking to pull off one final heist.

Actors Val Kilmer, Ted Sizemore and Danny Trejo as well as Jon Voight as Neil’s fence support the scene-munching performances from Mr. Pacino and Mr. De Niro, while Mr. Mann’s visual style highlights the darker side of Los Angeles.

The restoration won’t win any rewards, though the increase in detail in some scenes impresses.

However, fathers will focus on the unforgettable interaction between the lead characters as they sit down and discuss some of their personal problems before preparing for the ultimate confrontation.

Notable extras: The Christopher Nolan (famed director of “The Dark Knight” and “Inception”) narrates an hourlong discussion with Mr. Pacino, Mr. De Niro and Mr. Mann at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences last year.

The director also gets interviewed for almost an hour at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, and he even provides an optional commentary track (culled from a 2009 release) to satisfy a “Heat” fan.



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