Completely region-free!

Completely region-free!

Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 01:42

03 Mar 2012, 01:46 #1

With THE DEVILS due on R2 DVD and a bevy of Hammers coming to Region B Blu-ray I decided it was time to span the globe. So I bought an Oppo-BDP93, modified to play everything including Victrola records, and I'm off. So: Now what? What's good out there in all the DVD and BD regions? What are the must haves...and the must avoids? Where do you shop online? I'm open to everything (natch!) but thought I'd just post here. Region-free here I come...
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Adam Tyner
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Joined: 25 Oct 2004, 00:07

03 Mar 2012, 02:43 #2

I'll just rattle off a list of the Blu-ray titles I've imported from the UK (that haven't since been released on these shores), and maybe that'll be some inspiration:

The 39 Steps
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
A Bay of Blood
Brief Encounter
The Burmese Harp
City Girl
Eden Lake
The Edge of the World
The Elephant Man
Une femme mariee
Four Flies on Grey Velvet
The Innocents
Junebug
Lifeboat (preordered, at least)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Martyrs
Paranoiac!
Peeping Tom
La planete sauvage
Pontypool
Profound Desires of the Gods
A Separation
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Suspiria
Tokyo Story
Touch of Evil
Transformers: The Movie ('86)

Yikes! I've never written that all out before. Didn't realize the list was that long, and that's not even complete (figured there was no point in listing titles that came out in the U.S. afterwards, and I skipped a few that I really don't think are worth it). Clearly I'm right there with you about Region B being well worth that slight investment in another player.

. . .

Others you might be interested in:

The Conformist
Double Indemnity
The Lost Weekend
Repo Man
Rififi
Rolling Thunder
Silent Running
Two Lane Blacktop

Generally, I'd look at the lists of everything Eureka/Masters of Cinema and the BFI have put out since very, very few of those have found their way to Criterion and the like.

I'm less familiar with what's coming out in France, Germany, etc., but I know that Phantom of the Paradise from amazon.fr has been on my list of things to grab for a while now.

. . .

Personally, I've ordered all the Eureka/MoC titles directly from Eureka (they offer free worldwide shipping) and the rest from amazon.co.uk.
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Brian Camp
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Brian Camp
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 21:39

03 Mar 2012, 03:14 #3

Bob Cashill @ Mar 2 2012, 07:46 PM wrote: With THE DEVILS due on R2 DVD and a bevy of Hammers coming to Region B Blu-ray I decided it was time to span the globe. So I bought an Oppo-BDP93, modified to play everything including Victrola records, and I'm off. So: Now what? What's good out there in all the DVD and BD regions? What are the must haves...and the must avoids? Where do you shop online? I'm open to everything (natch!) but thought I'd just post here. Region-free here I come...
Welcome to my world:

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/jpop/recommend ... oject.html

:D
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 16:26

03 Mar 2012, 03:18 #4

I hear Spirits Of The Dead is amazing. Is that Region B?

If you're still hot for Heisei-era Godzilla flicks, cast your eyes to Hong Kong and Australia. Universe Laser & Video put out an anamorphic DVD of Godzilla Vs Biollante that's bare bones with a Japanese track and combo Chinese/English subs. And possibly OOP. But it looks decent enough and you're not going to find it in Region 1 anytime soon. Australia's Madman Entertainment has an Eastern Eye division that's put out a bunch of Showa and Heisei G flicks. I got an anamorphic Godzilla Vs Destroyah fairly cheap. The Japanese stereo track is a mess, but there's a serviceable mono track and good English subs, plus some extras. I'd consult online reviews and fan forums for opinions on titles.
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 01:42

03 Mar 2012, 14:58 #5

Thanks all. I am looking for Godzilla movies, among other things. Adam's list is...incredible. It's a wide world...

William, I have the SPIRITS OF THE DEAD BD. It's region-free and indeed incredible. My other favorite region-free BD is BFI's DEEP END.

Off to CD Japan, Amazon UK, and Australia shops...other suggestions welcome.
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Alan Maxwell
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Joined: 04 Nov 2004, 22:11

03 Mar 2012, 17:37 #6

I've only seen it on the big screen a couple of times so can't comment on the home viewing package but notice that the BFI have released a DVD/BD pack of their restoration of The Great White Silence, a documentary following Scott's ill-fated journey to the pole and an absolutely incredible experience. Aside from a couple of effects and one scene recreated in the studio (with Scott & companions), it's all footage from the expedition's official photographer. I was amazed there was even film of this to begin with but to see this movie is something else.
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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03 Mar 2012, 17:51 #7

Interesting, thanks. I'm finding a lot of stuff I'd like to acquire...sigh...
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Wade Sowers
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Joined: 19 Oct 2004, 00:29

03 Mar 2012, 19:16 #8

Keep your eye on Masters of Cinema out of England - their deal with Universal has already produced Blus of TOUCH OF EVIL and SILENT RUNNING (mentioned above) - all of these will be Region Locked. Their catalogue is also pretty neat and will set you back a few paychecks. You probably know to check Blu-ray.com as in the International Section of their Forum you will find a list of Region Locked and Region Free Blus for France and the United Kingdom. Regarding France, Gaumont has quite a list of classics they have restored and released on Blu - some are Region Free, some are Region Locked, some have English titles, some do not, some Region Locked films have English titles, some Region Free do not, so it goes - if you click on a title you can find out what is what . . . this is also from Blu-ray.com - you click Movies at the top of Home then down the left side you will see a listing for studios.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies.php?studioid=270
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Yi Lee
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Yi Lee
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Joined: 19 Oct 2004, 08:15

03 Mar 2012, 19:27 #9

Hey Bob (and everybody else),

Two quick recs, one audio and one video.

First, if you're into high end home audio Norwegian outfit 2L and their "Nodric Sound" puts out some superb BD-audio releases that make it sound like one is sitting on stage with the musicians whilst they do their thing.

Second, if you're into Hong Kong entertainment, the seminal 1985 TVB series _The Yang [Family] Saga_ features just about every major TV idol-turned film star of the last twenty years plus was directed by the trio of Johnny To, Raymond Lee (of "Swordsman" [1991] and "Dragon Inn" [1992] fame), and Joseph Siu (probably most well known as a film producer but also co-directed 1984's _The Duke of Mount Deer_ and TVB's 1991 serial _I am Wong Fei-hung_ starring Shek Kin.) The most famous telling of the Yang clan legend is probably Shaw Bros. 1984 "Eight Diagram Pole Fighter" scripted by Ni Kuang, directed by Lau Kar-leung, and starring Lau's adopted brother Gordon Liu alongside the late Alexander Fu who died midway through filming causing the plot to be re-written to focus on Liu's character instead. Video quality is not so hot but it's interesting to see how Shaw's film division and TV division (TVB) tackle the same tale in two different formats and how the two different mediums demand different visual approaches to what is essentially the exact same material.
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 16:26

03 Mar 2012, 19:40 #10

Bob Cashill @ Mar 3 2012, 09:58 AM wrote: Thanks all. I am looking for Godzilla movies, among other things.
Madman Godzilla page

Only box sets now. Maybe individual copies are on eBay.
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Dave Garrett
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Joined: 17 Oct 2004, 22:02

03 Mar 2012, 20:17 #11

Another recommendation for Eureka/Masters of Cinema. It's also worth keeping an eye on the other European Amazon sites (Amazon.fr, Amazon.de) in addition to the UK Amazon site - if you've never ordered anything from them before, your regular Amazon.com credentials will work on all of them, so no need to re-register.

I've also spent more than I care to remember at Network DVD's site - get on their mailing list and you'll be notified when they have a sale. They just had one last month that knocked 50-60% off the regular prices, and the savings were even greater since US customers have the VAT removed as well. The only thing to watch out for is that they tack on a GBP40 (!) shipping surcharge for overseas customers if your order is over a certain number of titles/weight, which means that you'll want to break up a large order into multiple smaller ones (no more than one large box set per order).

Just out of curiosity, where did you get your modded BDP-93? That is almost certainly the same player I'm going to get when I go region-free Blu, but I haven't really done any research yet to determine preferred suppliers.
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 01:42

04 Mar 2012, 01:43 #12

Didn't know you could search by studio on Blu-ray.com. Thanks, Wade.

HK and Network recs also appreciated. May have to try that Nordic sound. Too bad about the Big G, though.

Got it here, Dave. It cost me but it was Christmas cash that I had managed to hang onto. One thing I haven't been able to do is connect wirelessly to Netflix--likely a problem on my end, not Oppo's--but it doesn't matter much to me, as I can do that on my Sony (and I do it very rarely).
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Julian Knott
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Joined: 27 Oct 2004, 02:33

04 Mar 2012, 10:28 #13

There's not much I can add, especially after the blanket recommendations for titles from Masters of Cinema and the BFI. ITV DVD is another label to look out for (BOYS FROM BRAZIL).

As I'm in the UK, it's rare for me to import titles, except from the US.

A French disc of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is something I treasure - not a huge upgrade from the DVD, but a definite improvement, and the bonus features (some not English-friendly) are welcome.

Has Luc Besson's fine fantasy film THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC been mentioned? The UK edition is very nice. The film is only available on DVD in the US.

I think I'm right in saying that Disney animated titles are sometimes released in Europe before the US (and vice versa). Usually they're eventually matched or bettered by US editions, though. Some UK Disney discs are missing bonus features (THE INCREDIBLES, for example), so caveat emptor!

Many box sets are relatively cheap in the UK (ALIEN ANTHOLOGY, DIRTY HARRY, SUPERMAN, etc).

Territories outside the US (inc. the UK) currently have Fox's CLEOPATRA, which I don't think is on the horizon in the US yet. Superb print, and lots of bonus features.

The UK version of Carpenter's THE THING features the behind-the-scenes documentary in its original format (the US disc has it chopped up into pieces, and threaded throughout the movie.

If you're a fan of off-beat British comedy you might like BUNNY AND THE BULL. Nic Roeg's period murder drama EUREKA is available in Australia. Philip Ridley's Faustian fantasy HEARTLESS is available in the UK, as are Oscar-winning romance ONCE; Mat Whitecross' excellent biopic of Ian Dury SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL (starring Andy Serkis); Jee-woon Kim's A TALE OF TWO SISTERS; Vincent Price horror flick WITCHFINDER GENERAL; Euro zombie films [REC] and [REC]2. These are probably available in other European versions, too, but I can't speak to those.

Quite a bit of British TV is probably only available here: Buffyesque monster series DEMONS; the re-make of THE PRISONER; lesbian drama series LIP SERVICE; pitch-black comedy series PSYCHOVILLE (from the creators of THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN); a re-formatted version of Gerry Anderson's puppet series THUNDERBIRDS; the BBC version of WALLANDER (detective series starring Kenneth Branagh, adapted from the Swedish series of novels), for examples.

I imagine that there are quite a few stand-up comedy titles available here, but not in the US.
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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04 Mar 2012, 16:07 #14

Julian, thanks especially for the tip on ONCE, which isn't even available here on BD. (Strange, given that a Broadway production opens soon.) A TALE OF TWO SISTERS would also be a welcome addition.
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Wade Sowers
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Joined: 19 Oct 2004, 00:29

04 Mar 2012, 17:45 #15

If you are going to place an order with amazon.fr one of these days, this is a film by Ettore Scola I found quite remarkable (I had never heard of it) - Region Free (no longer required), beautiful transfer of a film that depends a great deal on its set design, and with Sous-titles Anglais (to say nothing of Emmanuelle Beart and Ornella Muti) . . . it's about the magic of theater as a troup of actors make their way across France on their way to Paris - romantic, funny, sad, wonderful performances, about what you would expect from Scota . . .

http://www.amazon.fr/capitaine-Fracasse ... 871&sr=1-2

Also, the Criterion Forum keeps a list of Masters of Cinema

http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/vie ... 14&t=10619

and BFI titles

http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/vie ... =29&t=9483

which gives you a lits of what is available and some of those on the way in the near future, as well as the Region Codes . . .
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Bill Picard
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004, 03:09

04 Mar 2012, 19:15 #16

Can anyone recommend a somewhat less expensive BR region-free player? I was less wise with my Christmas money than Bob, I guess, and $500 is a bit steep for something I probably won't be playing too many BRs on. I'd been holding off on BR but my Oppo region-free DVD player just died (though my Cyberhome keeps chug-chug-chuggin' along) and I might as well upgrade.
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 01:42

04 Mar 2012, 19:43 #17

Sorry for your loss, Bill. Wade, thanks as always for the tips--are you still having shipping problems from Amazon fr and de?
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Adam Tyner
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Joined: 25 Oct 2004, 00:07

04 Mar 2012, 20:01 #18

Bill Picard @ Mar 4 2012, 03:15 PM wrote: Can anyone recommend a somewhat less expensive BR region-free player?
I use a Sherwood BDP-5004. All you have to do to play region B Blu-ray discs is punch a little code on the remote (973502) before playing. It looks like those are pretty tough to find these days, though. I think I paid around $120 for it. Kinda noisy and can be fussy about getting a disc to play, but once a movie starts playing, I've never had a problem with it.

Insignia players are really cheap and have what looks like a fairly easy way to get around region-coding by putting firmware on a flash drive. They're not the greatest players in the world, but a refurb for $50 probably makes it easy to look past whatever shortcomings there might be.
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Wade Sowers
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Joined: 19 Oct 2004, 00:29

04 Mar 2012, 20:04 #19

Actually, the few things I have purchased from amazon.fr and amazon.de (oh, I highly recommend the Karl May western DER SCHATZ IM SILBERSEE with Lex Barker - beautiful restoration and a fun movie, the first of these I have seen) I used the crazy expensive dispatch service that takes about five minutes and it worked, although I would not recommend it for a single title, not so bad if you are making a large purchase.

By the way, I want to thank you for finally kicking me over to the Region Free world as all of this back and forth has finally pushed me over the edge (that and the thought of those Hammer films) - I note amazon has your machine for less then $500.00 (well, $499.00) so I guess I will pick up some new Blus while in Paris this week and get one of these machines when I return, unless I get into the right cab and decide to stay.

So, is there a code you put in to play various regions on your machine, turn a switch, just put in the Blu or DVD?
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Bob Cashill
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Bob Cashill
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Joined: 20 Oct 2004, 01:42

04 Mar 2012, 20:34 #20

What I paid extra for was the modification, so that the machine can play BDs and DVDs from all regions. You can buy DIY kits for the Oppo to do this, but I don't trust myself.

Have a good trip, Wade. Haven't been to Paris since college. Maybe meet up at midnight with Hemingway and Stein, who'd find your tales of multiregion Blu-rays dazzling for sure.
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