BD 181 Cure

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Eureka/Masters of Cinema and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here.
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Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: BD 181 Cure

#26 Post by Lost Highway » Thu May 03, 2018 4:03 am

I'll never understood people confidently stating that Kurosawa's (or Nakata's, or Shimizu's) J-horror films are supposed to look like this, having never seen a theatrical presentation. Going by "feelings" based on poor home video presentations, from masters which are now close to two decades old and looked like crap even on DVD. These films were shot on 35mm and they were distributed that way. How does 35mm film look like that ? Why would an entire generation of Japanese genre film makers shoot their films on 35mm to make them look like SD video, with grey blacks, no shadow detail, blown out contrast and no definition ? It's the type of logic I expect on blu-ray.com but not here.

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tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: BD 181 Cure

#27 Post by tenia » Thu May 03, 2018 4:52 am

M Sanderson wrote:fair enough, but I wonder who would be willing to undertake such restorations when they are likely to make only the most subtle of differences.
I'm not so sure about the subtlety of the differences it would yield, though I suppose it would of course less than some more conventional-looking movies. But still. We've seen older masters we thought were OK get beaten to oblivion by newer restorations.
Lost Highway wrote:I'll never understood people confidently stating that Kurosawa's (or Nakata's, or Shimizu's) J-horror films are supposed to look like this, having never seen a theatrical presentation. Going by "feelings" based on poor home video presentations, from masters which are now close to two decades old and looked like crap even on DVD. These films were shot on 35mm and they were distributed that way. How does 35mm film look like that ? Why would an entire generation of Japanese genre film makers shoot their films on 35mm to make them look like SD video ? It's the type of logic I expect on blu-ray.com but not here.
The same is true in the other way : it's very hard for me pinpointing exactly how unfaithful this might be, because I've never seen theatrically these movies (nor have I seen most of the movies I'm reviewing since my parents weren't even born when most of them had their theatrical run !).

It's not an exact science at all to assess that, but the quality gaps between older masters and newer restorations can be assessed for many other movies, and I'm surprised too by how older HD masters characteristics could be perceived as being actually part of the original intentions. It'd be not very different than thinking that many movies had indeed this thick grain and magenta-push visible on many MGM or Universal back-catalog.
Except we now know much better.

Older HD masters have their typical aspects, with some markers being the thicker grain and the color gradings (especially how the gamma is handled), and these BD releases of Asian movies definitely look like that. Sure, it's easier to pinpoint it for, say, the Fukasaku movies because they probably were graded in a more conventional way, but to me, they're mostly sharing the same limitations. We've seen how these limitations were alleviated during newer restorations, so we kind of can feel how these limitations are unfaithful to how the movies should look.

Now, I don't want to shun off people who are happy with these releases, technically speaking. It might be that indeed, even through the use of dated masters, the results are close enough to the original look of these movies. It's just that I doubt it.


As for blu-ray.com, some of their reviewers are who they are, but they have members I like to read a lot and whose opinions I share more often than not. They're very well able to see through these things and have tackled many legitimate complaints in a concrete and measured way that I'd love to see spread wider around some discussion boards.

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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: BD 181 Cure

#28 Post by JSC » Thu May 03, 2018 8:50 am

This release felt like a bit of a rushed job to me. Apart from the booklet missing
a page, a few things stuck out.

1.) Having watched the film on a projector, the master didn't look new. In fact
I detected some slight frame juddering for the first fifteen minutes or so.

2.) The subtitles were not MOC's standard lettering, so I have to assume they
were ported from elsewhere (they're also incomplete).

2.) The old Kurosawa interview and the US trailer are simply ported from the old
HVE DVD (and both look worse than on the DVD).

3.) The 'Kurosawa on Cure' extra utilizes bits of the interview available on
Arrow's release of Pulse where Kurosawa mostly talks about his early
years as a director, with some random stills from Cure interspersed
throughout.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: BD 181 Cure

#29 Post by M Sanderson » Fri May 04, 2018 3:50 am

Lost Highway wrote:I'll never understood people confidently stating that Kurosawa's (or Nakata's, or Shimizu's) J-horror films are supposed to look like this, having never seen a theatrical presentation. Going by "feelings" based on poor home video presentations, from masters which are now close to two decades old and looked like crap even on DVD. These films were shot on 35mm and they were distributed that way. How does 35mm film look like that ? Why would an entire generation of Japanese genre film makers shoot their films on 35mm to make them look like SD video, with grey blacks, no shadow detail, blown out contrast and no definition ? It's the type of logic I expect on blu-ray.com but not here.
Well, one reason that I raised was because Kurosawa does use interesting aesthetic touches like minimising colour (Cure is almost a monochrome film) and detail (deliberately hiding characters in shadows). Yet, I wasn’t confidently stating. And, yes, there is a nagging suspicion that this could look better.

Even in his more attractive looking films he will play around with detail and colour levels, such as an example I gave in Tokyo Sonata, a scene that began with a murky visual style is subsequently brightened up, revealing gradually more detail.

I believe in Arrow’s booklet for Pulse, they stated that Kurosawa’s visual style is supposed to look like SD DVD, something like that, which has added to the controversy.

In all, I do feel that no one has been entirely happy with films from, take for instance, Metro Tartan’s catalogue released by Arrow (that includes Fonda’s western The Hired Hand, with beautiful colour intact yet marred by edge enhancement). Indeed, few are entirely satisfied with Blu ray releases of any major Asian title, either due to aged masters or controversial colour timing in the ones that are restored... from these two areas, I can only think of Miike’s Audition that has been acclaimed for its restoration work.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am
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Re: BD 181 Cure

#30 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon May 28, 2018 9:08 pm

JSC wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 8:50 am
2.) The subtitles were not MOC's standard lettering, so I have to assume they
were ported from elsewhere (they're also incomplete).
A glaring example of the incomplete subtitles is within a minute of the film where the wife sees the doctor. After she puts down the book, they have an exchange - "What is it?" "Nothing" - which is untranslated. The subtitle track is there but it repeats the previous subtitle that translated the book title. I checked it against the HVE disc where it's translated so it's very annoying to see this error on the MOC edition.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: BD 181 Cure

#31 Post by M Sanderson » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:37 pm

Received my booklet replacement very quickly.

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dadaistnun
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:31 am

Re: BD 181 Cure

#32 Post by dadaistnun » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:18 am

One of my favorite films, this was my first viewing in probably ten years. I like it even more now and was struck this time around by the great script. I always think of Kurosawa as a great visual stylist, but for whatever reason the dialogue, pacing, and plot development/elisions really stood out to me. It reminded me is an odd way of Cronenberg, another "genre" specialist whose work takes a deceptively simple approach while transmitting his themes in a way that lodges them in the brain in a way that's hard to shake. The creepy, ultimately sad and depressing mood of Cure doesn't lift for days.
SpoilerShow
All of the business with Takabe's wife Fumie, from the always-running washing machine, to the way Mamiya brings to the surface the detective's despair and resentment over Fumie's condition, takes the film to an emotional level that really hurts. That final scene in the restaurant is so clever, and rightfully praised, but that shot just a few seconds earlier of Fumie dead and strapped to the laundry cart (?) in the hospital basement just kills me.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: BD 181 Cure

#33 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:36 pm

Kurosawa’s films are never concretely one genre, but here he takes the skeleton of a psychological crime thriller, and plays with the idea to test of the limits of psychology within its bounds to create something truly horrifying as it ventures into a question of supernatural as possible within our own reality. The stale formalist objective long takes are contrasted with dreamlike visions to disturb our sense of stability along with our surrogate detective, though it’s the specific dissection of hypnosis and mesmerism, or animal magnetism, that walks the line between the possible and the impossible. It’s a genius concept for a horror film as Kurosawa plants a foreign condition into a familiar milieu and yet this condition is not ruled out in our own existence. Because there are scientific theories that this can be true without a blueprint, any default skepticism around critical thinking based on what we know as a form of control is void, causing a stir of fright as this film functions as the most startling of horrors, and provoked me into curiously wondering and anxiously fearing the potential of the blending of the psychological and spiritual beyond tangible and current scientific knowledge. What if one could possess these gifts and use them for evil? What if this has happened, is happening, as we speak? I love how even in small ways the man in question is able to draw out information from all he encounters, as many people are able to in real life with either natural abilities or learned techniques (therapists, teachers, counselors, etc) and this aspect of the film was very true to form in my experience, which only made the other leaps it took all the more chilling in their possibilities. The exploration on the human need for control and the deterioration of even the strongest psyches when presented with the limitations of agency in acute mystery is perfectly executed. I liked this the first time but didn’t get what all the fuss was about given its hyperbolic praise, but this knocked me down on a rewatch, and it definitely earns its spot as one of Kurosawa’s best.

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