Posted: 01/12/2012

 

The Best Blu-ray/DVD Releases of 2011

by Jef Burnham




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I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. Rather than discuss here the best theatrical releases of 2011, I’ve determined to offer up an extensive list of my favorite Blu-ray/DVD releases of the year. It’s an admittedly much longer (and hopefully more useful) list than my list of best theatrical releases would have been, especially as I didn’t get out to the theaters as often as I would have liked to in 2011. I did see some great films, however, most of which are actually represented in this list. On the shortlist of films I admired from 2011 are Kim Jee-Woon’s I Saw the Devil, Errol Morris’s Tabloid, and Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which I found to be (by far) the most significant film of the year.

Before moving on to my selections for Best Blu-ray/DVD Releases of 2011, I will first explain the criteria by which I evaluated the releases that made this list. As a writer who considers himself equal parts scholar and fanboy, I weighed almost equally the following criteria when making my decisions:

-the historical importance of the release to the study and home exhibition of film and television texts,
-the overall quality of the release with regard to the presentation of the visual and audio elements, especially where older film elements were restored for HD presentation,
-the depth and value of any available bonus content,
-and, more personally, how much I value/enjoy the content of the release.

Thus, must-own releases of classic films find themselves listed here alongside Doctor Who, anime and grindhouse releases, which, to my mind, results in a far more useful list. That said, let us commence with my picks for the 25 Best Blu-ray/DVD Releases of 2011, followed, of course, by a handful of Honorable Mentions.

1. Citizen Kane: 70th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray; Warner Home Entertainment)
2. Yu Yu Hakusho: Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray (FUNimation Entertainment)
3. Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection on Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
4. Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series (Blu-ray; BBC Worldwide)
5. Taxi Driver (Blu-ray; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
6. Queer as Folk: The Complete U.K. Collection (DVD; Acorn Media)
7. MST3K vs. Gamera: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. XXI (DVD; Shout! Factory)
8. FLCL (Blu-ray; FUNimation Entertainment)
9. Captain America / Captain America II: Death Too Soon (DVD; Shout! Factory)
10. Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders (DVD; BBC Worldwide)
11. Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (MGM Home Entertainment)
12. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Blu-ray; MPI Home Video)
13. Summer Wars (Blu-ray; FUNimation Entertainment)
14. Katanagatari: Volumes 1 & 2 (Blu-ray/DVD; NIS America)
15. 3 Women (Blu-ray; The Criterion Collection)
16. Kaboom (DVD; MPI Home Video)
17. Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-ray Edition (A+E Networks Home Entertainment)
18. Arthur / Arthur 2: On the Rocks - 2-Movie Collection (Blu-ray; Warner Home Entertainment)
19. Road to Nowhere (Blu-ray/DVD; Monterey Media)
20. Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology, 1978-2006 (Blu-ray; Warner Home Entertainment)
21. Doctor Who: The Movie (DVD; BBC Worldwide)
22. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo & The Holy Mountain (Blu-ray; Anchor Bay Entertainment)
23. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry / Race With The Devil - Double Feature (DVD; Shout! Factory)
24. Rocko’s Modern Life: Season One (DVD; Shout! Factory)
25. Captain America (1992) (DVD; MGM Limited Edition Collection)

Honorable Mentions
Baka and Test: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray; FUNimation Entertainment)
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (Blu-ray; Severin Films)
Bloody Birthday (DVD; Severin Films)
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (DVD; FUNimation Entertainment)
Captain America: The First Avenger (Blu-ray; Paramount Studios)
I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray; Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Raging Bull: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray/DVD; MGM Home Entertainment)
Robin of Sherwood: Set 1 (Blu-ray; Acorn Media)
Solaris (Blu-ray; The Criterion Collection)
The Alloy Orchestra Plays Wild and Weird (DVD; Flicker Alley)
Bambi: Diamond Edition (Blu-ray; Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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