It was almost impossible to decide on my favorite Blu-ray releases for 2011. Should I rank them in order of enjoyment or importance, or the quality of the release? I decided to go for overall enjoyment and include the releases that made me happiest over the course of the year. I am not fully qualified to judge because I haven’t seen everything that was released, but I can rank what I saw.
7. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Walt Disney Video
8. The King's Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010) Weinstein/Anchor Bay
10. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011) Sony Pictures Classics
The selections were dominated by catalogue releases and only two new films made the Top 10. Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown were long overdue and replaced my import versions. Blue Velvet included almost an hour of lost footage. Perhaps the most beautiful of those I included were the Kieslowski selections. They deserved the Criterion treatment and I was thrilled to pick up all four on release day.
My biggest wish for 2012 is to see a lot more Studio Ghibli releases on Blu-ray. I’m holding off on the imports for now, with the exception of Optimum’s Arrietty Collector’s Edition which will feature a British voice track not available on the eventual US Disney release.
I would like to thank Criterion for another wonderful year and also mention Artificial Eye for offering such good Region B alternatives for many of the same titles.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the other titles worthy of mention from those that I have seen this year:
The Bicycle Thieves (UK import)
The Lady Vanishes
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
The Lion King
Memento (10th Anniversary Edition)
The Tree of Life