We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Ho, ho, hold the Avatar “Three-Disc Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray”, you omnipotent bearded creature of the night. If you’re looking to donate something to my life possessions that is truly special to me, I’ve got a few ideas for you. And sorry, none of them are Batman action figures. That era has passed. It’s all about Blu-rays, Criterion Collections, and a little bit of R. Kelly for me now.
What Blu-ray/DVDs are you most excited about this holiday season?
7. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Recap: One of last summer’s biggest sugar rushes is finally on Blu-ray, and its coming to home theaters with a lot of extras. This specific package has got four commentaries, including a cast commentary featuring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman, Ellen Wong, and Brandon Routh. Extras also include deleted scenes, blooper reels, blogs, pre-production footage, documentaries, visual effects, and more.
Reason: Sure, the new Avatar DVD might be helpful in learning about motion capture technology, but here’s a movie where I really am curious about the entire process. Next to Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World probably had the coolest visuals of the summer, and this Blu-ray/DVD combo looks like it has tons of nuggets about the film’s creation. Also, as I found out this summer, the film is insanely re-watchable (three viewings didn’t seem like enough).
6. Torque (DVD)
Recap: Helmed by music video director Joseph Kahn, this movie about a gang of violent folk who crash into things and each other on crotch rockets surely went into Hollywood trash obscurity not long after its release in 2004. It features the most shameless product placement ever, over-the-top-of-the-top action, and a villain who is dead serious about his mullet.
Reason: I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only recently discovered this movie, but as they say, “better late than never when it comes to having Torque in your life.” I watched it a couple of times (in one day) after first seeing it, and learned quickly that Torque has limitless re-watch value. Some scenes are so incredible that I feel I need them in my collection as point of visual reference to show friends and/or movie colleagues (a Youtube trailer won’t do it justice). Plus, the DVD has a hilarious commentary, which features Adam Scott and Kahn joking about their efforts, while others treat it like they’re doing something for the Criterion Collection (for that, I am hopeful). Torque is also on this list because I want to saddle somebody else with the embarrassment of having to deal with the confused looks at Best Buy.
5. Red Desert (Criterion Collection Blu-ray)
Recap: The first color film by director Michelangelo Antonioni, Red Desert is a near-visual masterpiece. It’s one of those exquisite movies that could do good business at an art show by selling any one of its film frames. This Blu-ray from the highly respected Criterion Collection includes an interview with the director by Jean-Luc Godard, along with dallies from the production. Having the film’s visuals in 1080p is worth the money alone.
Reason: Just like Torque, this is a movie to be shared with fans of film, and also like Torque, it’s a movie of visual wonder. I don’t own DVDs just to fill up shelf space, I own them so that they can be re-explored and continually appreciated. If I could, I’d have a hole in my wall playing this on repeat, so I can observe it like a painting. I’ll just have to do the next best thing, which is study it, and ultimately, cherish its awesomeness.
4. R Kelly: Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-22 (DVD)
Recap: Distributed by IFC Films, this collection of episodic music videos”as sung by the “King of R&B” R. Kelly offers the entire saga of his famous (infamous?) story that exploded from five episodes to twenty-two after it gained a cult following. This DVD includes “special live performances” and a “commentary remix” among other goodies that make this the ultimate package (until a Blu-ray hopefully is released).
Reason: I’m also embarrassed to say that as a fan of R. Kelly’s music I have still not seen all of these episodes. One time, I went to a Halloween party, sat in a corner, and watched a friend’s copy of this by my lonesome in attempts to catch up … but I only made it to episode eleven. Thus, I need to complete the series, and using Netflix just won’t do it. After watching it once, I imagine separation from the DVD would be pretty difficult. And at the same time, I imagine this would be a fantastic addition to my DVD collection.
3. The Man With No Name Trilogy (Blu-ray)
Recap: This three-disc set includes A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Reason: I am very fortunate enough to have in my DVD collection the Clint Eastwood DVD boxset that came out last year, which includes thirty-five films that he directed or starred in. The movies from the “Man With No Name” trilogy is not included in this package, as it’s a different studio. To (unnecessarily) round up my Clint collection, I need to have these three films, and because it’s available, I need to go big. Not just wide-screen big, I mean Blu-ray big. I want to take advantage of Leone’s iconic extreme close-ups and see every drip of sweat on a person’s face. I want Morricone’s score to blow-up my speakers like the bridge at the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
2. The Ingmar Bergman Trilogy (Through A Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence) (Criterion Collection DVD)
Recap: Also called Bergman’s “Faith Trilogy,” these three films are packaged with a documentary called Ingmar Bergman Makes A Movie, a five-part series that was shot during the filming of Winter Light. For those keeping score, Through A Glass Darkly won “Best Foreign Film” in 1962.
Reason: Winter Light is one of my all-time favorite films, simple enough. The other two are high on my list, and are movies that deserve to be studied (along with those in the “Four Masterworks” collection, which I own).
1. Inception (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Recap: Finally, Christopher Nolan’s masterwork has reached Blu-ray/DVD. This particular package comes with exclusive “Making-Of” featurettes, and an extra that has Joseph Gordon-Levitt talking to scientists about dream research. Oh, and it’s the truly incredible Inception on Blu-ray. What more could a movie lover ask for?
Reason: I saw Inception four times when it was in theaters, and I am sure I will be seeing it many more times. Having the film in its highest quality is the closest I can come to re-creating the booming theatrical experiences I had with Inception, and which in turn might help me get my dad to finally watch the damn movie.