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To Die For Blu-ray

United States
Image Entertainment | 1995 | 106 min | Rated R | Nov 08, 2011

To Die For (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: LPCM 2.0
Note: Case is incorrect...

English SDH, Spanish

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region A (C untested)

List price: $17.97, Price history

Amazon: $11.48 (Save 36%)
New from: $9.72 (Save 46%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 3.8 of 53.8
Audio 2.5 of 52.5
Extras 1.5 of 51.5
Based on 1 user review

Movie appeal 

To Die For


To Die For Blu-ray offers solid video and mediocre audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

Suzanne Stone wants to be on television and she is willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she refuses to let anything or anyone stand in her way.

For more about To Die For and the To Die For Blu-ray release, see To Die For Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Buck Henry
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Matt Dillon, Illeana Douglas, Dan Hedaya, Casey Affleck

» See full cast & crew

To Die For Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

To Die For is one of the catalogue titles that Sony has licensed to Image Entertainment, and Image has produced a respectable 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray that effectively represents Gus Van Sant's typically low-key imagery. (The cinematographer was Eric Alan Edwards, who shot several features for Van Sant in the Nineties, as well as films for Larry Clarke, before moving on more recently to studio comedies like Knocked Up and The Change-Up.) Even when he's doing a period piece like Milk, Van Sant has never tried to draw attention to the photography in his films, which is an intriguingly "old school" quality in a director long considered counter-cultural. Still, television is the subject of To Die For; so, just as Sidney Lumet instructed his cinematographer in Network to "corrupt the camera" by gradually making the lighting more artificial, Van Zant has Edwards light many of the interior scenes with an extra dose of pizzazz. This helps them blend more easily with the TV interview footage, and it also establishes a marked contrast with the wintry New Hampshire (actually Ontario) outdoors, which reflects the dull reality Suzanne wants to escape.

I've sometimes been accused of "making excuses" for a disc when I say it doesn't "pop", but that's really just my way of telling the demo disc crowd that this isn't their kind of Blu-ray -- or movie. I rate this transfer highly, because it accurately reproduces the film's look without any obvious effort to freshen, update or "improve" it to resemble a contemporary digital production, a big-budget Technicolor extravaganza, or any other style of filmmaking that some viewers might find preferable. The Blu-ray's image has subtle, excellent detail on clothing and other fine textures, which is especially important for Suzanne's array of tasteless but attention-grabbing outfits. Everything in Suzanne's life has been borrowed from a glossy magazine, and the better you can see that, the better you understand Suzanne. Black levels are very good, and the film's grain patterns are stable and natural-looking.

Fine detail suffers on just a few occasions from minor aliasing noise, and a shot of Lydia near the end appears to have an unstable background, but since the problem is limited to that one shot, it's presumably a flaw in the original element. The final shot of Jimmy in the prison interview room exhibits some minor edge ringing, which would be a concern if it were pervasive throughout the transfer, but it isn't. These issues aside, I saw no signs of high-frequency filtering, transfer-induced ringing or other inappropriate digital tampering, nor did I spot any compression artifacts.

To Die For Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  2.5 of 5

On the audio front, the news is somewhat perplexing. Anyone following Disney's catalogue releases through Mill Creek is familiar with the disappointment of having films released to theaters with a 5.1 soundtrack issued on Blu-ray with only stereo surround. But Image and Sony have been very reliable about supplying original audio mixes -- until now.

To Die For was released in 1995, two years after discrete multi-channel formats appeared in theaters, and its credits feature the "SDDS" logo for Sony's proprietary multi-channel format at a time when Sony owned the Loews theater chain and was making a much greater effort than now to promote that proprietary format for delivering digital sound in theaters. But, more tellingly, when Sony released To Die For in 1998 on the still-new DVD format, the DVD had a 5.1 soundtrack in Dolby Digital. Why wasn't that soundtrack provided to Image?

What we get on the Blu-ray is a PCM 2.0 surround track (and not, as the back of the case indicates, a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track). Now, don't get me wrong: It's a fine-sounding track. Voices are clear, sound effects are fully rendered, there's a decent sense of ambiance from the surround decoder, and the score by Danny Elfman (the ideal composer for a satire of this nature) sounds musical and lively. A 2.0 track was also included on the DVD, as was standard for Sony in the format's early days, and one can reasonably assume, given the slow rollout of new hardware that is typical of penurious theater owners, that many patrons in 1995 never heard the 5.1 mix, because their local theaters hadn't yet invested in the new decoders.

Still, that was sixteen years ago. Today, even a low-end receiver can decode DD and DTS. Why couldn't Sony just dig up that 5.1 mix for To Die For from the vault and ship it to Image? If Sony couldn't find it, why not just rip the 5.1 off the DVD (which would be better than nothing)?

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To Die For Blu-ray, News and Updates

To Die For Blu-ray in November - August 4, 2011

Image Entertainment have revealed that they will release on Blu-ray award winning director Gus Van Sant's To Die For (1995), starring Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix, and Casey Affleck. Technical specs and region coding status for this release are unknown ...

To Die For Blu-ray

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