The Top Ten DVDs of 2007: from foreign film classics restored to their original glory to wonderful independent films that never made it out of the film festival circuit and special edition box sets for the most discerning cinephile.
, the movie that defined the cyberpunk look long before William Gibson wrote the opening lines to Neuromancer
, has never looked or worked better. Ridley Scott recut, reshot, rescored, and reshuffled to create this ultimate version of his 1982 sci-fi milestone. This spectacular 5-Disc Set includes every version of the legendary film: the definitive Final Cut , three additional versions of the film, and the rare Work Print version - in addition to the in-depth feature length documentary Dangerous Days
, and one complete disc of bonus content including over 80-minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes.
Pedro Almodovar fans should go gaga over this fantastic 9-disc, 8 film collector's box set. From hilarious comedy to pitch perfect melodrama: Sony Picture's packages the best of Pedro in one spectular box: Talk to Her, Bad Education, All About My Mother, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Live Flesh, Flower of My Secret, Matador, and Law of Desire
Jim Jarmusch gave his seal approval to the two-disc Criterion Collection re-release of the independent classic Stranger Than Paradise
(1984). Shot in black and white, with a story that moves at an inscrutably slow pace of the character's own making, the groundbreaking film captures the road trip of Willie (John Lurie), his sixteen year old Polish cousin (Eszter Balint) and pal Eddie (Richard Edson). They drive and smoke, they talk and they don't talk. The soulful music of Screaming Jay Hawkins plays on cousin Eva's tape deck.
The DVD features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, Jarmusch's first full-length feature Permanent Vacation (1980), a German television program about the making of the film, and more.
Jean-Luc Godard's seminal film Breathless (A bout de souffle)
helped launch the French New Wave. The uber hip Jean-Paul Belmondo and then-unknown Jean Seberg starred in the anything-goes crime narrative that helped redefine the rules of cinema. The Criterion special edition double DVD features a newly restored high-definition digital transfer and enough special features to make any cinemaniac swoon.
Not many major movies star bookish, little girls. Guillermo del Toro earned Marcy's heart with the creation of Ofelia. Adolescent actress Ivana Baquero might seem dreamy and fragile at first, but she admirably stands up to her fascist stepfather and an untrustworthy faun in this all-engrossing, adult fairytale. Our number one film of 2006, Pan's Labyrinth
is a film to be watched over and over again. The two-disc release includes several short feature films, including Power of Myth
, The Faun and the Fairies
Set in the midst of golden fields of wheat, Terrence Malick's Days Of Heaven
takes a slow, mesmerizing hold until its inevitably tragic end. Richard Gere and Brooke Adams play young lovers who hide from the law, finding work on a farm. Gere's impish little sister (Linda Manz's husky voice will leave an impression) narrates the group's fall from happiness. With dreamlike authenticity, Malick captures a timeless American idyll while also providing an honest look at turn of the century America.
One of our favorite films of the 2007, Bong Joon-ho's horror satire The Host
was released on DVD in a two-disc collector's edition. With unflappable confidence, Bong ( Memories of Murder
) grafts droll humor and sly political commentary onto the DNA of a classic Hollywood creature feature. The result strikes a perfect balance between broad social satire, comedy, and honest-to-god horror thrills. In case we had forgotten, Bong Joon-ho proves that it's possible to make CGI extravaganzas that entertain without insulting an audience's intelligence. The handsomely packaged DVD comes with director's commentary, making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.
Catherine Deneuve is arguably the most famous, most beautiful actress in all of France. Early films such a Belle Jour and Umbrellas of Cherbeurg are confirmed classics, yet audiences are frequently missing out on Deneuve's recent, lesser known work. This terrific new collection honors French cinema icon, showcasing the actress's astonishing performances in the films Nicole Garcia's Place Vendome
(1998), Leos Carax's Pola X
(1999), Josée Dayan's Dangerous Liasons
(2003), and Arnaud Desplechin's Kings and Queens
You may have heard about mumblecore: low-budget films by and about twenty-somethings talking, checking their email, and learning about life and love. Benten Films released LOL
by Hannah Takes The Stairs
director Joe Swanberg, previously only screened at festivals. A contemporary look at sexuality and the growing influence of technology in our lives, LOL depicts the struggles of three young men who must balance their online obsessions with real life. The DVD, the first title from new distributor Benten Films, is loaded with never seen before shorts, video podcasts, and a terrific commentary track.
First Run Features
Small treasure alert: Diego Lerman's Suddenly
(2002), a 94 minute black and white film out of Argentina which never saw released in US, was put out on DVD. Fans of Jim Jarmusch and Aki Kaurismäki, make sure to watch this small charmer about an overweight shop clerk who goes on the road with two punk lesbians. The brilliant little film was winner of audience awards at 2002 international film festivals in Locarno, Havana, and Buenos Aires.