Your Favourite Disks of 2011

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD discs' started by richard_t, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. richard_t

    richard_t
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    Well yet another year is drawing to a close and so it's time we celebrated our favourite disk releases of the year. Here I what I consider to be my favourites in no particular order...

    Le Quattro Volte
    Like I said in my original post about this film earlier in the year, a film with virtually no dialogue and who's main 'characters' are an old goat herder, a baby goat, a tree and a charcoal pit isn't going to be everybody's 'cuppa tea' but I loved this. Fantastic film that I still find myself thinking about on an almost daily basis.

    Taxi Driver
    This has been a favourite of mine for a long long time and so was thrilled to bits when such a beautiful film like blu-ray was released. Just the sort of release that makes me shake my head in disbelief that we're able to buy our favourite films in such great quality for just a few pounds. We've never had it so good.

    A Man Vanishes
    I came to this film blind but after loving all everything else by Shohei Imamura that I'd seen (largely thanks to the Masters of Cinema label efforts in releasing them) buying this was a no brainer. I've watched it a couple of times now and I'm still far from sure what's real and what isn't. If you like films that make you think about their construction as well as their themes then you'll do far worse than to give this a go.

    Once Upon A Time In The West
    Like Taxi Driver there's not a great deal to say about this other than it's the type of release that makes your heart warm as a film lover / collector. A disk that really should be in any self respecting collection.

    Before The Revolution
    A brilliant second film from Bernardo Bertolucci and another top notch Blu-ray release from the British Film Institute. A film that I'd not seen prior to this disk release but one that will always now be within my favourites. Stunning direction / cinematography (even if it does feel just like something from the French New Wave) and a beautiful young Adriana Asti are a winning combination. An advert for incest if ever there was one.

    Lord Of The Rings Extended Trilogy
    I've had a difficult relationship with the LOTR films over the years. I really disliked them at their time of release finding them very bitty and drawn out to say the least. I've watched them again a couple of times over the following years and have gone from quite liking them to just being disinterested. I'd never seen the Extended releases though and so thought this was a good opportunity to take another look. I'm not familiar enough with the films to know what the majority of the changes are but they have in my opinion improved the films greatly. Both myself and the missus were pretty much enthralled from beginning to end. Not only that but they also provided many hours of entertainment reading all the crying and whinging about the 'green' tint.

    Citizen Kane
    I've not actually watched my copy yet, but it's a great film and people who's views I trust say it's a fantastic disk. Got the US '70th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition' which is gorgeous.

    An Autumn Afternoon
    If someone were to ask me which film by Yasujiro Ozu they should watch first 'An Autumn Afternoon' would have to be my recommendation. For my money this is the Ozu film that's the most accessible to modern western tastes and so if you're looking to get into his films for the first time then this is a great starting point. Another great release from the BFI too although make sure you get one of the later pressings since the initial copies were replaced due to the video being encoded at too low a bit rate.

    Honourable mentions...

    The Three Colours Trilogy
    Kind Hearts And Coronets
    All About Eve
    Once Upon A Time In America
    La Signora Senza Camelie
    Boudu Saved From Drowning
    Bicycle Thieves
    Midnight Cowboy
    Rififi
    Deep End
    Lavender Hill Mob
    Breakfast At Tiffany's
    Last Tango In Paris
    The Skin I Live In
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  2. HugoFJH

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    Have to mention (or whisper) Star Wars

    Its finally out on BR, and the original trilogy looks and sounds fantastic (even if Im REALLY hopping mad about a couple of the BR changes lol).

    Jurassic Park

    Original film looks brilliant and sounds even better, and I watched the whole film with a wide smile on my face. III was good, II was ok - but I would have been exstatic to buy the trilogy JUST for the original.

    Kind Heart and Coronets / Breakfast at Tiffany's
    Known about these classics for a long time, and even loved the latter since I was much younger - absolutely wonderful films, and cant wait to get some more classic black and whites in my BR collection (when they are released of course)

    Cant justify LotR EE currently but when I can Im dying to see them again.
     
  3. Pecker

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    If you want to combine the quality of the film, the quality of the transfer and the quality of added extras, I think Taxi Driver wins.

    Steve W
     
  4. bosque

    bosque
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    I was pleased to see Before the Revolution in richard_t's list, a very bracing slice of anti-populist 1960s cinema and a work which helps you to understand auteur Bertolucci's later cinema (especially Last Tango and The Conformist).
     
  5. Batdog

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    As good as Taxi Driver is, I reckon that the jaw dropping quality of Ben Hur just pips it into first place.
     
  6. wdw75

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    Beat me to it!! Ben Hur is unbelievable, and really shows what Blu Ray is capable of.

    Taxi Driver is class, but BH is just in another league.
     
  7. mikehb

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    If you think BH is good you should try getting your hands on this its stunning
     

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  8. Jim Di Griz

    Jim Di Griz
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    Having bought taxi driver on release and watched ben hur on rental a few weeks ago, taxi driver beats ben hur every time for me. Totally different films though of course. Taxi driver gets a 10 from me, ben hur gets an 8
     
  9. The SMF

    The SMF
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    Jurassic Park set
    Nightmare On Elm Street set

    funnily enough, the only releases i've ever pre-ordered and i think the only ones i've bought this year that were released this year (excluding a few bits i currently have on the way in the post)
     
  10. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow
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    Meet Me in St Louis
    Barry Lyndon
    Zombie
    The 10th Victim
    Blue Velvet
    In a Glass Cage
    The Woman
    3 Women
    World on a Wire (French release)
    Les Aventuriers
    People on Sunday
    The Complete Jean Vigo
    Amer
    Dressed to Kill
    Blow Out
    Deep Red
    Daughters of Darkness
     
  11. DICKIEDUVET

    DICKIEDUVET
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    Taxi Driver
    Blow Out
    Dressed To Kill
    Zombie
    Violent City
    The Mechanic (Bronson)
    Mr Majestyk
    The Conversation
    Midnight Cowboy
    Once Upon A Time In The West
    Little Big Man
    A Man Called Horse
    Silent Running
    True Grit (Wayne)
    JP Trilogy
    SW Trilogy (Originals)
    LOTR EE Trilogy
     
  12. featherhall

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    Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy hands down the best release for me of all time. Absolutely stunning in every way. The remastered Fellowship put the theatrical version to shame. The fact the films are each spread over 2 discs didn't bother me in the slightest. The extras on the dvds didn't bother me. The fact that these stunning films were available to enjoy in full blown 1080p.

    Other notable belters for me were
    Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary at the Albert Hall being a fan of this production, and not being hugely impressed by the 2004 film, i was completely blown away by this. it is stunning with performances to die for from the 2 leads. Picture and sound are incredible and already I have watched this 3 times in the 2 weeks I have owned it.
    Ben Hur absolutely no introduction or review needed for this transfer.
    Fast 5 these films are my guilty pleasure. No brains required, but truly demo material.
    The Lion King for me one of Disneys best. I couldn't wait and imported the french release in advance. Quality
    Limitless this was a blind buy for me and it was a great suprise. The soundtrack and visual style employed blew me away. Really enjoyed this movie.
    Scarface again, brilliant film from the 80's given a top drawer transfer.
     
  13. BrynTeg

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    Had a lot of nice releases this year, my highlights of 2011 include
    Lord Of The Rings Extended Boxset
    Star Wars Boxset
    Tron Legacy
    Taxi Driver
    inception
    Predators
    Alien Anthology Boxset

    These are the discs that stood out for me
     
  14. irascian

    irascian
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    Seen so many Blu-rays this year (I really do need to get out more) but looking through the list of purchases this year my "based on poor memory gut feel" Top 10 reads as follows based on the film rather than the Blu-ray (eg the Blu-ray of "The Kid" is truly dreadful picture quality and was apparently just as bad in its theatrical release form)

    1. Animal Kingdom (Australian)
    2. Little White Lies (French)
    3. A Separation (Iranian)
    4. Never Let Me Go (British)
    5. Source Code (American)
    6. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (American)
    7. Buried (Spanish)
    8. The Town (American)
    9. The Kid (British)
    10. The Social Network (American)
     
  15. Jim Di Griz

    Jim Di Griz
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    Didnt Apocalypse Now (UK) come out not long ago? Certainly in 2011 anyway. Funny how noone has mentioned it so far. That's definitely in my top 5 and Im glad I held out for the UK one.
     
  16. featherhall

    featherhall
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    I would of mentioned it but i got the US full disclosure set which was October 2010
     
  17. irascian

    irascian
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    Got it a good 10 months before it came out here as a US import (ie not in 2011), otherwise it would have definitely been on my list.
     
  18. pRot3us

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    Winter's Bone
    A Day In The Life
    The Complete Humphrey Jennings - Volume One: The First Days
    Blow Out
    Kes
    Mean Streets
    Taxi Driver
    Midnight Cowboy
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    Once Upon a Time In The West
    True Grit
    13 Assassins
    Das Boot
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    Naked
    Ben Hur
    Brazil
    The Phantom Carriage
    The Killing
    The Conversation
    Source Code
    Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    Tokyo Drifter
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    I dare say there are more that are in the unwatched pile.
     
  19. quarry2006

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    I bought a Blu-Ray player last year for one reason only: Star Wars. So, as far as I'm concerned there was only one notable BR release in 2011:)
     
  20. Doctor Hades

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    Off the top of my head:

    Ben Hur (in a word: stunning)
    Toy Story 3 (it's Pixar, it's Toy Story, it looks and sounds astounding: what more needs to be said?)
    The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition (good transfers, awesome movies but I do wish all those DVD extras had been packed onto fewer BDs as it feels cheap a BD boxset having more DVDs than BDs)
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (great movie and transfer but the picture-in-picture stuff and extras are also terrific)
    Jurassic Park Trilogy (slightly disappointing transfers but still great to have on BD at last)
    Prison Break (great to finally have on BD albeit it was very expensive)
    Stargate Atlantis (entertaining series that looks and sounds wonderful on BD. Superb extras too [US edition])
    Star Wars Boxset (another series that is wonderful to have on BD though the transfers are a mixed bagged and I personally would have liked to have had all the extras from the DVD editions as well)
    Das Boot (get the US version though as it has the theatrical as well as the director's cut)


    I could probably add dozens more to be honest. My only disappointment with BD releases in 2011 was the tendency of some publishers (e.g. Disney!) to shift extras onto the 3D versions, a format I have no interest in as I can't see them properly anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  21. vader100

    vader100
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    Rango was one of my favourites. PQ and AQ stunning but also was a great film to watch.
     
  22. Jim Morrison

    Jim Morrison
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    All the President's Men
    Apocalypse Now
    Ben Hur
    Black Swan
    Blow Out
    Blue Velvet
    Conan the Barbarian (Arnie)
    Dressed To Kill
    Fast & Furious 5
    If....
    The Killing
    The Man Who Would Be King
    Obsession
    The Rocketeer
    Rushmore
    The Social Network
    Stand By Me
    Super 8
    Taxi Driver
    Touch of Evil
     
  23. Jim Di Griz

    Jim Di Griz
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    Das Boot - any point in getting the theatrical cut as well? UK one is very cheap right now. I take it that the directors cut is longer?
     
  24. pRot3us

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    No point having the theatrical cut really, too much trimmed off and it misses the great DTS HD-MA 5.1 track of the Director's cut.
     
  25. Doctor Hades

    Doctor Hades
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    There's no reason the theatrical cut of Das Boot couldn't have been included with the UK version though as it is still two discs with the second only containing a few extras. The US version includes the theatrical cut on that disc as well. For completionists it's nice to have the theatrical version even if I'll generally choose to watch the the longer director's cut.

    Interestingly enough, even at 209 minutes, the director's cut is still not the complete version according to Wikipedia as there's a 300 minute version too: Das Boot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. There's the original uncut version at 293 minutes and a 300 minute version which the BBC showed in 1984 (I think). That's another movie length portion that I haven't seen so I'd love to get hold of the longer cut. What made Das Boot so engrossing and brilliant to watch was that it captured the tension and claustrophobia of a german U-boat perfectly and allowed plenty of time to get to know the crew so even more of that could only strengthen the movie I reckon. I thought the movie did a wonderful job of making you care for the crew even though they were fighting against us. At the end of the day though, those men were just following orders and weren't the real enemy anyway; the captain even expressed an admiration and respect for the British forces.

    Terrific movie, highly recommended. Transfer is good too apart from a few seconds of very bad grain near the start when the crew are driving past some drunk sailors who are messing around and peeing onto the road. After that the transfer looks remarkably solid with no banding or ugly compression artifacts which I half expected to see during the murky underwater scenes. Audio is awesome too. Previously, I'd only seen U-571 which was also good but it's not a patch on Das Boot IMO.
     
  26. irascian

    irascian
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    I used to have the BBC series on VHS tapes. Not a film but an episodic miniseries and to my mind by far the best version. Pretty sure it was quite a lot longer than the director's cut. Seem to remember the director saying the original source material for the miniseries was lost or of too poor quality for DVD which seems incredible given how big the original TV series was ( the movies came later)
     
  27. moody41

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    You can get the miniseries version on dvd although at 282 mins long.

    Amazon.co.uk: Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004]: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May, Heinz Hoenig, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Claude-Ol
     
  28. Jim Di Griz

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    Thanks. Thats what I was thinking. I wouldnt watch the shorter one anyway and 5.1 dts hd clinches it. Uk it is then!
     
  29. lucasisking

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    Taxi Driver
    Rise of The Planet of The Apes
    Star Wars Saga (especially Revenge of the Sith)
    Fast 5
    Tangled
    The Incredibles
    Wonders of the Solar System
    Limitless
    Blitz
    The Fighter
    Ironclad
    The Social Network
    Piranha
    Let Me In
    Stand by Me (slightly disappointed with the picture- but a great disc nonetheless)

    Tron Legacy was also a demo-disc but i thought the film was dull as dishwater.
     
  30. Pecker

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    Just a quick word on the mini series.

    The running time is slightly different for the DVD of the mini series to its actual length as the episodes were edited together, meaning the opening titles (apart from for Episode 1) and closing credits (apart from those at the end of the last episode) are edited out. You also have PAL speed up on the DVD, too.

    The film was originally shot with the idea that it would be shown in two versions - a TV mini series and a shorter theatrical cut for the cinema. Indeed, the theatrical release was the original version, with the TV cut only coming along later. The TV version was originally shown in the UK as 3 x 100 minute episodes, and Germany as 6 x 50 minute episodes. Running times vary slightly, as some of these episodes contained exposition at the start to explain what had happened previously.

    After the success of the film the director was allowed to re-edit the film for a longer cinema version. He had originally wanted the theatrical version to be longer, but the distibutors felt that 140 minutes was more than enough. They relented over a decade later after the film had been a worldwide hit and it was time for a re-release. The director was allowed to go back and re-edit the footage as he'd originally wanted.

    The VERY APPROXIMATE running times are:

    Original Theatrical Cut 140-150 minutes (just under two and a half hours)
    Original TV version 300 minutes (usually just under that)
    Director's Cut ('97) 210 minutes (around three and a half hours)

    It is incorrect to call either of the theatrical versions 'butchered' or 'censored' (as I've seen elsewhere) as the film was scripted and shot to be show in both long and short versions.

    My own preference is for the Director's Cut. I personally find too much missing from the shorter version. The mini series version is great to watch as such, but not great viewing if you try to take it all in one viewing, as the way they've edited the episodes together on the DVD pretty much forces you to do.

    And finally, in relation to irascian's comments, I believe it's the original sound elements to the cuts other than the Director's Cut which are missing, which is why you inly ever find these cuts in stereo or dolby surround. This is a shame, as the sound design is an extremely important part of the experience, particularly when in the sub waiting for an attack, and when bolts start popping all around you.

    It's a great film, whichever way you watch it.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve W
     

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