Monday, December 19, 2011

Top 10 Blu-ray releases of 2011

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.

1. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) Lionsgate/Miramax

2. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) MGM

3. The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991) Criterion

4. Three Colors Trilogy (Krzysztof Kieslowski - Blue, White, Red) Criterion

5. Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) Lionsgate/Miramax

6. Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997) Lionsgate/Miramax

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

9. 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957) Criterion

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)
Blood Simple
Broadcast News
Certified Copy
The Killing 
The Lady Vanishes
Laputa: Castle in the Sky 
The Lion King
Memento (10th Anniversary Edition)
Taxi Driver 
The Tree of Life