Notwithstanding bills and life’s essentials, I spend money on three things: nights out with friends where alcohol takes prominence, cereal and milk, and DVDs/Blu-Rays. I like it when films I enjoy not only get superb audio and visual treatment on home video, but when the supplemental material accompanying them is also worth the price tag. 2010 saw several top class Blu-ray releases, and here are the ones that blu me away.
5- The Dragon Dynasty releases. A strange choice, a-because this is a home video studio, not a film, and b-some of their transfers are simply not up to par with what Blu-ray can give us. Why do I include it? Fist of Legend, Kill Zone, Legend of the Black Scorpion are fantastic entertainment and look great. They all, however, have loads of interesting interviews with the cast and directors of the movies, and feature audio commentary and Asian film guru Bey Logan. Lastly, the price. New releases are often only 15$. Not a lot of Blu-Rays get that price immediately upon release.
4-Vengeance trilogy. The transfers are great for each of Park Chan-Wook’s unforgettable episodes, with the video quality of Lady Vengeance really taking the cake and the 7.1 surround track for Oldboy receiving top honours in the audio department, but the amount of bonus features is exhaustive to say the least. The Oldboy disc has a 3 ½ hour long video diary, and that’s one of the bonuses for that movie.
3- Night of the Hunter. Charles Laughon’s storytelling and visual masterstroke gets the Criterion treatment, which is honestly the treatment it deserved. This haunting tale looks stunning and has a second disc with a behind-the-scenes documentary similar in style to that on the Oldboy disc mentioned above. You enjoy fine cinema and have and enjoy spending afternoons digging into your Blu-rays, this is a must.
2-Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. One of the most wildly entertaining films of 2010 got one of the wilder Blu-rays of 2010. Four audio commentaries, a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, alternate scenes that basically show more jokes, pre-visualization features, audition tapes, makeup and costume tests, a motion comic, etc. I spent three evenings going through these and I still have a couple audio commentaries to get through and some visual goodies that I probably overlooked.
1-Alien Anthology. Had this set only included Alien and Aliens, I would not necessarily have complained, but having Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection completes the saga at least. I love the grainy texture of Aliens and Alien, my god, it truly looks as though Ridley Scott filmed it two weeks ago. It’s insane. The bonus material for each film is equivalent to what we got on the Scott Pilgrim Blu-ray, but we have four films, so…it’s like that but times 4. Go buy it.
Honourable mentions: Seven Samurai for its transfers, but the bonuses, while new to me because I didn’t own the previous DVD, are apparently all re-hashed from that earlier release.
The Complete Metropolis
The Thin Red Line