If it's crap ... We'll tell you
In many ways, trying to pick out the ten best HD releases of a year, especially this year since there were so many GREAT ones, is harder than picking the top theatrical releases. One has to suss out the balance between quality of presentation, amount of extras, and just plain how jazzed you are about the core content. So, with all that being said, forgive me if your faves aren't included here. A rigorous process of testing and analysis was involved, with a team of experts all weighing in on the pros and cons of various titles....and then I just put in whatever I felt like at the time. Without any further ado, and in no particular order, here are the first five of the top ten Blu-Ray releases of 2010...
The holidays prevented me from giving this gorgeous home release of Christopher Nolan's 2010 blockbuster a proper full review. You should feel cheated if you didn't add this to your Christmas 'WANT' list because of my slacking. This probably will look better on your home screen than it did in the theater; that's how good a transfer this is. That's not all that easy to do with all those blues and blacks Nolan likes to use for the tone of his films. But WOW. Add in a whole 'nuther HD disc full of extras, like a motion comic preview, a 44 minute documentary on the nature of dreaming, a PIP track that can be watched in-film or separately, and tons more, and you've got a disc you'll keep coming back to. I've only had it a few weeks and have already given it several spins. Much like this little top I've got in my pocket...
CLICK HERE TO BUY Inception (Two-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]
You knew this had to be in here, right? Even discounting my rampant fandom for this ABC television series, the complete series package they put together for collectors is effortlessly the best set of its kind. I mean, there's actually cleverly hidden secrets inside the packaging itself. I about splooged. In fact, this is so good, it should come with a splooge guard of some sort. Of course, every season has its own share of hidden easter eggs spread across their discs, and amongst the very healthy selection of these bonus features, only the complete collection came with a special bonus disc of features, including the new 'epilogue' short. So ridiculously full of win, it'd be worth buying even if you already had all the other seasons, just to show it off, if nothing else. WARNING: While the box is sturdy, I still wouldn't recommend sleeping with it in a loving hug. Well, that's what I heard.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Lost: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
I never would have pegged Lionsgate becoming a rival with Criterion in terms of quality home releases, but this year they've made a concerted effort to change that. As if their new deal to release HD titles from the gigantic Studio Canal collection wasn't enough, these folks took what is, to my mind, the greatest war film ever made, and tricked it out so definitively I'd be hard pressed to picture anything else to conceivably add. The set features upgraded versions of not just the theatrical and 'redux' cuts, but of Francis Ford Coppola's wife Eleanor's "Hearts of Darkness" documentary that reveals just how completely insane this shoot really was. SO much stuff here, one hardly would know where to begin. I wish I had a week just to sort through it all.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Apocalypse Now (Three-Disc Full Disclosure Edition) (Apocalypse Now...
I gotta hand it to Universal. Even though this insane video-game influenced action comedy just barely made back half its budget in theaters, they spent some serious cash to pimp out the blu-ray release. I blame the targeted demographic. The super-geeks this movie was intended to titillate might just have waited for the disc, since their home systems are generally better than the local theater anyway. Also, the sizable quotient of folks who have a blind hatred for Michael Cera, despite all the positive hype for the film, stayed FAR away (I understand, really I do, but go watch it anyway). Either way, this Blu-Ray went instantly to #1 the second it was available. Anything this colorful and manic you just KNOW looks brilliant in HD. Tons of clever and occasionally funny bonus features and even an entirely different ending were just the tasty icing on this delicious cake. Nom.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital C...
I only got to review a small portion of the Criterion films that were released this year, and I loved each one SO much, that it was the hardest choice of all to nail down just one to include here. It came down to a showdown between the releases for "M", "House", and this Charlie Chaplin classic...and Chaplin just had the quicker draw. Not just is this 1936 (largely) silent one of the best Chaplin films, it's one of the best comedies, period. The folks at Criterion make it so crisp and clean, you'd almost believe it was just made yesterday. I guess we could go ask Leon to see how close it is to how it looked then. Way more extras than one usually expects with films this old are here, and they're all pretty darn good: Never before seen deleted sequences, explanations of how he did some of the more dangerous looking stunts, interviews with just about everybody you could imagine with even a tertiary attachment to the film, and even an entire other Chaplin film....suffice it to say, a spectacular array of stuff to enjoy after the film is over. I wish all the classic film releases were treated this affectionately.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]