"No one can see every release during the calendar year - so we hope our lists can introduce and expose some of the many lauded DVDs that surfaced during 2007. Hopefully there are a few interesting surprises. We see no viable reason to discriminate based on regional limitations or broadcast standards. Expanding the borders of your cinema horizons has always been the primary goal of this website. We always appreciate your suggestions and contributions."

DVDBeaver

 

A year where the volume of great releases approach the 'absurd'. DVDBeaver are proud to announce our, often disparate - always passionate, voting results for DVD of the Year - 2007. We feel that we've assembled the best combination of cineophiles and DVD-ophiles on the Internet. As well as many of our astute ListServ members choices this year we are proud to include esteemed journalists Jonathan Rosenbaum, Daryl Chin, plus the staff of Slant Magazine, Masters of Cinema archivist/principals Doug Cummings and Trond Trondsen plus and many more. Big thanks all who participated and to Adam Lemke for his loyalty and painstaking effort of both organization and tallying. 

      

Balloters (click name to access votes):

  Noel Bjorndahl      Tom Charity       Daryl Chin      David Collinge  

Eric Cotenas         Doug Cummings        Stan Czarnecki      Karim Drissi    

   Jerry Gerber      Steven Harrison      Richard Hazeldean

Jeremy Heilman        Rob Janik         Craig Keller        Sean Kelly

  Adam Lampe      Adam Lemke       Chris Long       Irina Lutsky

Tom Mahaffey     Bill McAlpine     Mike Monson    Jason Overbeck

Theo Panayides       Pat Pilon       Luiz de Rocha      

Jonathan Rosenbaum       Bill Routt        Slant Magazine Staff     

Per-Olaf Strandberg     Daniel Stuyck       Mikkel Leffers Svendstrup   

Gary Tooze      Trond Trondsen      Ross Wilbanks      Nick Zegarac

The Totals (click to access)

UPCOMING IN 2008

THE TOP TEN OF 2007              11th - 50th

Selection Comments

Best High-Definition      Best PAL DVDs of the Year

LESS RECOGNIZED FROM 2007

Best Production Design      Best Audio Commentary

Best Transfer    Best Boxset     Best Extras

Best Cult/Horror Release    Best TV on DVD

Best Contemporary release (any film made in the last 2 years)

Discovery         Bad Bad Bad!

 

...BEFORE WE LOOK BACK, LET'S GLANCE FORWARD AT AN EXCITING START TO 2008!

 

(CLICK COVERS for more info)

 

 

 

Noel Bjorndahl
Winmalee, Australia
 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Funny Face (Stanley Donen, 1957) Paramount; R1

3. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

4. Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

5. They Live By Night from Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

6. Artists and Models from Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection - Vol. 2 (Various, 3 Discs) Paramount; R1

7. The Winning of Barbara Worth from Gary Cooper MGM Movie Legends Collection (Various, 4 Discs) MGM; R1

8. The Godless Girl + Redskin from Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1

9. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

10. Magnificent Obsession (Douglas Sirk ’54 and John M. Stahl ’35) Carlotta; R2 PAL

 

Comments: There were many exclusions in my 2007 list by virtue of the sheer volume of impressive releases (both individual films and box sets): they have poured out like a continuous lava flow, although one still hopes that someone, somewhere, will finally realize that there’s still practically no Gremillons, Borzages, Boettichers, Sjostroms, Kinoshitas, John M Stahls out there, just to name a few great directors missing in action. Criterion’s down market Eclipse series has been a great boon to collectors - the Samuel Fullers, the Louis Malle documentaries, the Raymond Bernards would all have made my 10 list in another year. And much as I have severe ideological problems with my Hearst-like countryman Rupert Murdoch, I reluctantly concede that the Fox wing of his global empire has produced some box sets of stellar quality, most notably the gargantuan Ford collection, but also many that might have made the mighty 10 in previous years, too: the John Brahm Horror Classics, the Tyrone Powers, the long overdue Alice Faye Collection, as well as a goodish quota of westerns, noirs and musicals which have all been most welcome additions to the collection. Warner Bros, Paramount and even bare-bones Universal boxes have maintained high quality transfers in most instances. It has been a vintage year.

 

 

Tom Charity
Vancouver, BC
 

1. Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL

2. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

3. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

4. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

5. The Documentaries of Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1

6. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

7. Jordan Belson - 5 Essential Films (Jordan Belson, Various) CenterforVisualMusic.org; R0

8. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

9. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

10. Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1951) Criterion; R1

 

Comments: I haven't summoned up the reserves to get buy the Ford At Fox box yet – no doubt it would have featured on this list. The Twin Peaks Gold box is also high on my wish list. Eclipse has been the best news of the year. The Raymond Bernard films were an exciting rediscovery, and hats off to Milestone for doing right by Charles Burnett.

 

 

Daryl Chin
Brooklyn, NY
Daryl Chin is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn, New York who has been on the board of directors of NewFest and Apparatus Productions, co-founded the Asian-American International Film Festival, and began his career as Managing Editor of Film Culture Magazine in 1976-77.

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

2b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

3. Un chant d'amour (Jean Genet, 1950) Cult Epics; R1

4. Jordan Belson - 5 Essential Films (Jordan Belson, Various) CenterforVisualMusic.org; R0

5. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

6. Avant-Garde 2: Experimental Cinema 1928-1954 (Various, 2 Discs) Kino; R1

7. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Kino; R1

8. Jean Renoir 3-Disc Collector's Edition (Jean Renoir, 3 Discs)

9. Nathalie Granger (Marguerite Duras, 1974) Blaq Out; R0

10. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

 

 

David Collinge
Millersburg, OH -- USA

 

1. Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

2. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

3. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

4. The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) Criterion; R1

5. Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962) Criterion; R1

6. Le Silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) MoC; R2 PAL

7. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

8. Diary of a Lost Girl (G.W. Pabst, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL

9. Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) Criterion; R1

10. Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0

 

Comments: I’m limiting this (and all categories) to DVDs I purchased.  (I’m not stationary enough for Netflix.)  Most of the non-Criterion non-MoC DVDs I bought this year were not new releases and thus are ineligible.

 

 

 

Eric Cotenas
Sacramento, CA -- USA

 

1. Performance (Donald Cammel/Nicolas Roeg, 1970) Warner; R1

2. Peking Opera Blues (Tsui Hark, 1986) Joy Sales; R0

3. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

4. Viol du Vampire [Limited Edition 2 DVD Release] (Jean Rollin, 1967) Encore; R0 PAL

5. Bullet in the Head [2 DVD Special Edition] (John Woo, 1990) Joy Sales; R0

6. Les Enfants Terrible (Jean-Pierre Melville & Jean Cocteau, 1950) Criterion; R1

7. Yojimbo/Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, 1961 + 1962) Criterion; R1

8. Horror Rises from the Tomb (Carlos Aured, 1972) BCI; R1

9. Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) Criterion; R1

10. 10:30 P.M. Summer (Jules Dassin, 1966) MGM; R1

 

Comments: At this point, any disc of Performance is welcome.  In spite of a transfer that is stretched from 1.66:1 to 1.78:1 (not cropped), Viol du Vampire looks beautiful and has extensive extras including a commentary and interviews and a great production booklet (not just an insert).  10:30 P.M. Summer is barebones but a revelation as a motion picture and a beautiful transfer.  Horror Rises from the TombB is a beautiful, complete transfer and goes the extra mile with bonus features.  Bullet in the Head allows integration of deleted scenes and the alternate ending.  Not as many extras as hoped for on the Teshigahara set but cheaper than the combined cost of the three separate R2 releases. 

 

 

Doug Cummings
Los Angeles, CA
Masters of Cinema, Filmjourney.org

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Blade Runner - The Final Cut  (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

3. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

4. Class Relations (Daničle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub) Editions Filmmuseum; R0 PAL

5. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL

6. Palms (Artour Aristakisian, 1993) SecondRun; R2 PAL

7. Nuri Bilge Ceylan: The Early Works: Kasaba / Clouds of May (2 Discs) Artificial Eye; R2 PAL

8. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

9. Why Has Bodhi-Darma Left for the East? -- Director’s Deluxe Edition (Yong-Kyun Bae, 1989) Milestone; R1

10. Jordan Belson - 5 Essential Films (Jordan Belson, Various) Center for Visual Music.org; R0

 

Comments: As usual, I restricted myself from voting for MoC titles.  My choices are a mixture of DVD quality, my love for the film in question, and sometimes its rarity on home video. I wish I had room for Treasures III, Lionsgate’s Jean Renoir Collector’s Edition, Gaumont's Histoire(s) du Cinéma, Criterion’s Mouchette (with its excellent Bresson documentaries), Facets’ Architecture series, and even the barebones Muriel from Koch Lorber, among many others.  For me, Ford At Fox’s scale trumped Blade Runner’s lavish extras, partly because the latter so heavily favored fandom over critical appreciation.

 

 

Stan Czarnecki 
Munich, Germany

 

1a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

1b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

2. Hitler: A Film from Germany (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Facets; R1

3. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

4. The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1

5. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

6. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1 - Also valued - Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, 71) Criterion; R1, Sans Soleil + La Jetée (Marker, 62/83) Criterion; R1, Mala Noche (Van Sant, 85)

Criterion; R1

7. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985, 4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book) MoC; R2 PAL

8. Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 3 Discs) Tartan; R2 PAL

9. Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963) Koch; R1

10. Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1

 

Comments: The order of this list is more or less arbitrary. 2007 proved to be a great year for avant-garde cinema and the German New Wave. The work of the DVD companies listed above on those particular titles is nothing less than heroic. I applaud both the usual suspects (Criterion, Masters of Cinema), as well as the underrated but highly ambitious lesser-known companies (Fantoma, Filmgalerie 451, Cinéart) for their remarkable efforts.  As for 2008, I already look forward to Criterion’s Pierrot le fou, Kino’s Paradjanov set and AE’s The Devil Probably with impatience and enthusiasm. My biggest wishes and hopes for the next year are Godard’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and more Brakhage from Criterion as well as Rivette’s Out 1, Resnais’ Providence and the films of Jack Smith and James Benning.  

 

 

Karim Drissi
Sacramento, CA, USA

 

1. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

2. Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1

3. Bigger than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956) BFI; R2 PAL

4. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion; R1

5. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

6. House of Games (David Mamet, 1987) Criterion; R1

7. Overlord (Stuart Cooper, 1975) Criterion; R1

8. Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1

9. The Jazz Singer: Three-Disc Deluxe Edition (Alan Crosland, 1927) Warner; R1

10. August Underground's Penance [Snuff Edition] (Fred Vogel, 2007) Toe Tag; R1

 

 

Comments: The Criterion selections speak for themselves, with Wilder’s best film topping the list with an absolutely stellar DVD presentation.  Also, the 2-disc DVD edition of Lynch's Inland Empire (Absurda/Rhino), which features over three hours of bonus material, is a staggering descent into cinematic otherness.  To be sure, 2007 was a great year for Narusians.  Specifically, three more films from Naruse's canon were released on DVD this year, with both Criterion and BFI delivering solid editions of some of Naruse's best work.  The other selections on my list are equally swell, but special mention must be made of Fred Vogel and his team of cohorts at Toe Tag Pictures.  With cinematic endeavors such as August Underground's Penance, Toe Tag’s films are at the fore of the American underground horror movement.  More to the point, their continued excellence -- in not only creating great horror films, but also releasing said films themselves with DVD presentations comparable to the home video output of Hollywood -- should be cause for celebration amongst bold horror film aficionados.  Overall, the contrast between Old Cinema and New Cinema could not be more distinct in terms of the films on my list.  On the one hand, there is the poignant cinematic richness of Naruse and Wilder; on the other hand, there is the audacious digital zeal of Lynch and Vogel.  In the end, every selection is a wonderful piece of cinematic entertainment.  All one need do now is climb to the nearest hilltop and proclaim: "Le cinéma est mort.  Vive le cinéma!"  P.S. While the main feature is rather genteel in its mediocrity (offensive blackface sequences and timeless musical numbers notwithstanding), Warner's 3-disc DVD edition of The Jazz Singer is listed primarily because of its exceptional extras.

 

 

Jerry Gerber
New York City

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Alexander Kluge - The films for cinema (Alexander Kluge, 16 Discs) Edition Filmmuseum; R0 PAL

3. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

4a. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

4b. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Second Sight; R2 PAL

5. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

6. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

7. Marketa Lazarova (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0

8. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

9. Wim Wenders’ Road Movies (Wim Wenders, 3 Discs) Madman; R4 PAL

10a. Diary of a Lost Girl (G.W. Pabst, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL

10b. Hitler: A Film from Germany (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Facets; R1

10c. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

10d. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL

 

Comments: As always, what’s been missing and what is now available is my major criterion for the choices. I always feel I left something out…but that’s the nature of this game. Currently, I long for Borzage and Ophuls and Gremillon (as well as more pre-nouvelle vague) and more Japanese films other than Ozu, Naruse, Mizoguchi and Kurosawa. I appreciate the appearances of Bunuel’s Mexcian films, the pre-codes from Warner, the noirs from Warner and Fox. I think Eclipse has been a grand addition from Criterion.

 

 

Steven Harrison
Greensboro, NC

 

1. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

2. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

3. Jan Svankmajer - The Complete Short Films (Jan Svankmajar, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

4. Talking Silents: The Downfall of Osen & Tojin Okichi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1935 & ‘30) Digital Meme; R0

5. Le Silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) MoC; R2 PAL

6. Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1951) Criterion; R1

7. The Party and the Guests (Jan Nemac, 1966) Second Run; R2 PAL

8. Black River (Kobayashi Masaki, 1956) Wild Side; R2 FR PAL

9. Inn at Osaka (Gosho Heinosuke, 1954) Kinokunya; R2 JP

10. Battle of Okinawa (Okamoto Kihachi, 1971) AnimEigo; R1

 

Comments: This was probably the best year for film on DVD yet.  So many rare gems, it really warrants a top fifty or so rather than a top ten.  All sorts of amazing short film collections from Europe, small label releases of obscure genre filmmaking, and a ton of outstanding, and sadly unsubtitled, Japanese releases must go unnamed.  Again, I value DVD for getting out rarities that wouldn't otherwise stand a chance of exposure.

 

 

Richard Hazeldean

Brisbane, Australia

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

3. The Documentaries of Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1

4. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985, 4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book) MoC; R0 PAL

5. The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1

6a. Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

6b. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

7. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

8. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

9. Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0

10. Jan Svankmajer - The Complete Short Films (Jan Svankmajar, 3 Discs) BFI Video; R2 PAL

 

Comments: It is tough selecting individual titles when box-sets offer so much.  Nos. 1 & 2 are pretty firm, with the ‘Ford at Fox’ Collection nudging the 1st spot from ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’, mainly due to scope.  The Louis Malle set gets No.3 for ‘Phantom India’, while the remainder could be ordered differently depending upon my mood at the time.

 

 

Jeremy Heilman
New York, NY -- USA

 

1. Un chant d'amour (Jean Genet, 1950) Cult Epics; R1

2. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

3. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

4. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion; R1

5. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

6. Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948) Cinema Epoch; R1

7. The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set (Alfred Hitchcock, 3 Discs) Lion’s Gate; R1

8. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

9. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

 

Hi-Def

1. Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA

 

Comments: The R1 arrival of Un chant d'amour and Kenneth Anger's influential shorts made it a landmark year for short films on DVD. The release of Bernard's epic Les Misérables and Fassbinder's mammoth Berlin Alexanderplatz made it equally noteworthy for long movies. The stuff in-between wasn't half-bad either...

 

 

Rob Janik
Boston, MA USA

 

1. Alexander Kluge - The films for cinema (Alexander Kluge, 16 Discs) Edition Filmmuseum; R0 PAL

2. Pistolary! Films and Videos by Peggy Ahwesh (Peggy Awesh, 3 Discs) Video Data Bank; R1

3. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

4. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Second Sight; R2 PAL

5. The Documentaries of Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1

6. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

7. Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL

8. Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1

9. Thomas Koerfer Edition Box (Thomas Koerfer, 8 Discs) Koerferfilm.com; R0 PAL

10. Japanese Anime Classic Collection (Various -- 55 Films, 4 Discs) Digital Meme; R0 NTSC

 

 

Craig Keller
Princeton, NJ -- USA

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985, 4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book) MoC; R0 PAL

3a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

3b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

4. Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1

5. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

6. Hitler: A Film from Germany (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Filmgalerie 451; R0 PAL

7. Alexander Kluge - The films for cinema (Alexander Kluge, 16 Discs) Edition Filmmuseum; R0 PAL

8. Class Relations (Daničle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub) Editions Filmmuseum; R0 PAL

9. Eloge de l'amour + Notre musique + Pričre pour refuzniks 1+2 (Jean-Luc Godard, Various) Cahiers du cinema; R2 FR

10. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

 

 

Sean Kelly
Norwich, UK

http://www.criticalflicker.org.uk

 

1. Tabu: Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, 1931) MoC; R0 PAL

2. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

3. Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1

4. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

5. Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962) Criterion; R1

6. Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1

7. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

8. Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0

9. Early Bergman (Ingmar Bergman, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

10. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL

 

 

Adam Lampe
Darwin, Australia
 

1. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

2. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

3. If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) Criterion; R1

4. Jan Svankmajer - The Complete Short Films (Jan Svankmajar, 3 Discs) BFI Video; R2 PAL

5. Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962) Criterion; R1

6. Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947) Criterion; R1

7. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

8. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

9. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion; R1

10. W.C. Fields Comedy Collection, Vol. 2 (Various, 5 Discs) Universal; R1

 

Comments: Vol. 4 of Warner’s film noir collections was their best yet: a rich vein of obscure treasures such as Andre De Toth’s searing Crime Wave and Jack Bernhard’s completely bonkers Decoy, with strong transfers and great commentaries. It was Criterion’s year, though, with their Eclipse line getting into full swing. The Late Ozu box was manna from heaven, but the other Eclipse sets, especially number 4, the Raymond Bernard set, were all essential purchases in 2007. There was also a torrent of Criterion deluxe editions to cope with, including Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole and two superb Jean-Pierre Melville releases, Les Enfants Terrible and Army of Shadows, which would make 11, 12 and 13 on my list. There was also a range of excellent Region 2 releases in 2007, including BFI’s definitive and lovingly compiled Jan Svankmajer - The Complete Short Films and the French release of Godard’s mind-blowing Histoire(s) du Cinéma. Indeed, surrealists are advised to check out BFI’s compilation of naturalist Jean Painleve’s short films, also released in 2007, the instructive and intensely weird Science Is Fiction/The Sounds of Science.

 

 

Adam Lemke
Syracuse, NY
http://www.moviemiser.com

 

1. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion; R1

2. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

3. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL

4a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

4b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

5. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

6. Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1

7. The Monster Squad [2-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition] (Fred Dekker, 1987) Lionsgate; R1

8. From Beyond (Stuart Gordon, 1986) MGM; R1

9a. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 (Mario Bava, 5 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

9b. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2 (Mario Bava, 6 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

10. The Free Will [2-Disc Special Edition] (Matthias Glasner, 2006) Arthaus; R2 PAL

 

Best Hi-Def

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner; USA

Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; USA

 

Comments: I’ve left out the Classic Sci-Fi Collections Vol. 1 + 2 (Best Buy Exclusives), all four of the Warner Cult Camp collections, the Shuji Terayama set, the BFI Naruse set, and even Berlin Alexanderplatz. Filmmakers like Charles Burnett, Lindsay Anderson, and Kenji Mizoguchi all came into light on DVD this year and they inexplicably are absent! Loads of MGM double features highlighting lesser-known genre works (MGM for the record had a vintage year) and dozens of crazy horror cinema PAL releases purchased at XploitedCinema could have made the list.  Criterion’s Eclipse series is also absent, even though I strongly believe they were amongst the best releases of the year by any company in any part of the world, but since I have yet to view any of them in their entirety, they too didn’t make the cut. Now that’s one hell of a year.  

 

 

Chris Long
 

1. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

2. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

3. Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984) Criterion; R1

4. Edvard Munch: Special Edition 2-DVD Set (Peter Watkins, 1974) New Yorker; R1

5a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

5b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

6. La Jetee/Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1962 and 1983) Criterion; R1

7. The Three Stooges Collection, Volume One: 1934-1936 (Various, 2 Discs) Sony; R1

8. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

9. Emperor's Naked Army Marches on (Kazuo Hara, 1987) Facets; R1

10. Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) Criterion; R1

 

Comments: Virtually every DVD I get is Region 1, so I didn’t even try to factor in anything else.  My list is inevitably dominated by Criterion: I could also have included Sansho the Bailiff and Ace in the Hole.  They’re not the only great R1 studio, but they are the best.  Edvard Munch, however, would have been #1 if not for the fact that New Yorker released the film (in a shorter cut) last year.  I consider both releases must-owns, one for the 174-minute version, 1 for the 220-mintue version of one of the greatest films ever made.   

 

 

Irina Lutsky
Chicago, USA

 

1. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion; R1

2. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

3. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

4. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

5. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

6. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

7. The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948) Criterion; R1

8. The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) Criterion; R1

9. Les Enfants Terrible (Jean-Pierre Melville & Jean Cocteau, 1950) Criterion; R1

10. Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947) Criterion; R1

 

 

Tom Mahaffey
Troy, Michigan

 

1. Nachtblende (Andrzej Zulawski, 1975) New Entertainment; R2 PAL - Excellent acting by all. You can’t go wrong with a movie starring Romy Schneider and Klaus Kinski

2. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1 - Wonderful storytelling by a master of Japanese Cinema.

3. Diary of a Lost Girl (G.W. Pabst, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL - Great packaging plus you get Louise Brooks

4. Ecoute le Temps (Alante Kavaite, 2007) Dogwoof; R2 PAL - An original murder mystery with Emilie Dequenne of Rosetta fame.

5. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer [2 DVD SPECIAL EDITION] (Tom Tykwer, 2006) Pathe; R2 PAL - Kept my attention from start to finish with an interesting storyline and some beautiful visuals.

6. Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974) MoC - R2 PAL - Another A+ job by Masters of Cinema.

7. Fox Family (Lee Hyeong-Gon, 2006) MK Pictures; R3 - Very cool Korean comedy-musical

8. Reincarnation (Takashi Shimizu, 2006) Tartan; R2 PAL - An intelligent and well crafted horror film.

9. Madeinusa (Claudia Llosa, 2006) Film Movement; R1 - A gem of a film, with great scenery, plus I like the idea of having a couple of days a year where God cannot see your sins.

10. Angel-A (Luc Besson, 2005) Optimum; R2 PAL - Great chemistry between Rasmussen and Debbouze.

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA

2. Transformers (Michael Bay, 2007) Dreamworks

3. Disturbia (D.J. Caruso, 2007) Dreamworks

4. An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981) Universal

5. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) Universal

 

 

Bill McAlpine
Ontario, Canada

 

1. Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

2. If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) Criterion; R1

3. O Lucky Man! (Lindsay Anderson, 1973) Warner; R1

4. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

5. The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1

6a. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 (Mario Bava, 5 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

6b. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2 (Mario Bava, 6 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

7. The Sergio Leone Anthology (Sergio Leone, 8 Discs) MGM; R1

8a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

8b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

9. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1

10. The Threepenny Opera (G.W. Pabst, 1931) Criterion; R1

 

 

Mike Monson

Colma, CA -- USA

 

1. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985, 4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book) MoC; R0 PAL

2a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

2b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

3. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

4. Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1

5. Straight Time (Ulu Grosbard, 1978) Warner; R1

6. Un chant d'amour (Jean Genet, 1950) Cult Epics; R1

7. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

8. Fox Horror Classics Collection (John Brahm, 3 Discs) Fox; R1

9. Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968) MGM; R1

10. The Jazz Singer: Three-Disc Deluxe Edition (Alan Crosland, 1927) Warner;

 

 

Jason Overbeck
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.bentclouds.com

 

1. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 (Mario Bava, 5 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

2. The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2 (Mario Bava, 6 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1

3. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

4. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

5. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion; R1

6. If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) Criterion; R1

7. Who Can Kill a Child? (Narciso Ibáńez Serrador, 1978) Dark Sky; R1

8. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1976) Criterion; R1

9. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

10. Straight Time (Ulu Grosbard, 1978) Warner; R1

 

 

Theo Panayides
Cyprus

 

1. Early Bergman (Ingmar Bergman, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

2. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

3. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1

4. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

5. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

6. Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

7. The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938) Criterion; R1

8. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

9. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1

10. Jean Renoir 3-Disc Collector's Edition (Jean Renoir, 3 Discs) -- Bargain of the Year!

 

Comments: I’ve read some grumbling here and there, so let me say this as loudly as I can: I think Eclipse is great, the best thing that’s happened to DVD in years! Partly this is down to personal temperament, since I’m not a massive fan of ‘contextual’ extras that go behind the scenes, i.e. makings-of and career documentaries. Some context is fine and necessary, but too much tends to leach the magic of the films themselves; personally, I much prefer extras to include another, minor film with some connection to the main feature, as on Criterion’s “Lady Vanishes” disc or MoC’s Mizoguchi series. Or of course Eclipse itself, which acts as a footnote to Criterion as well as blazing its own path. I find myself looking forward to their releases more than I do the parent company’s.

One more comment: I wish European countries – especially France, Spain and Germany – would release more of their oldies with English subtitles. I assume it’s down to rights issues, but it’s still infuriating to have so many classics theoretically ‘available’ without any way of actually understanding them!

 

 

Pat Pilon
Ottawa, Canada

 

1. The Sergio Leone Anthology (Sergio Leone, 8 Discs) MGM; R1

2. I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK (Park Chan-wook, 2006) CJ Entertainment; R3

3. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

4. Yojimbo/Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, 1961 + 1962) Criterion; R1

5. Ultimate Versus 3-Disc Set (Ryuhei Kitamura, 2000) Media Blasters, R1

6. The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) Warner; R1

7. Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa, 1948) Criterion, R1

8. Casino Royale [uncut] (Martin Campbell, 2006) Sony (Korea), R3

9. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion; R1

10. Pan's Labyrinth -- Two-Disc Platinum Series (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) New Line; R1

 

Best Hi-Def

1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Special Package) [Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 1977) Sony; All Region

2. Hairspray (Two-Disc Shake & Shimmy Edition) [Blu-ray] (Adam Shankman, 2007) New Line; All Region

3. Heroes - Season 1 [HD DVD] (2006, 7 Discs) Universal; USA

4. Ratatouille [Blu-ray] (Brad Bird & Jan Pinkava, 2007) Walt Disney

5. Transformers (Michael Bay, 2007) Dreamworks

 

Comments: Sadly, my DVD watching has been R1 heavy this year.  Fortunately, there have been some great releases, most notably the Sergio Leone set, which earns my top spot thanks to the nice restoration and thoughtful extras.  For the horror/cult fans, Media Blasters was very nice releasing Ultimate Versus and re-releasing Ichi, The Killer, which comes in the best packaging I've seen in a while.  The year was very nice, and hopefully next will will be the same and hopefully my list will include other regions!

 

 

Luiz de Rocha

Săo Paulo, Brazil

 

1. Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1

2. Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (Various, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1

3. Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy - Eclipse Series 6 (Carlos Saura, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

4. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

5. Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

6. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse Series 3; R1

7. Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970) Criterion; R1

8. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1

9. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1

10. La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) Criterion; R1

 

Comments: There are some other great releases that could be in this list, but the lack of English subtitles make them difficult to compete with Criterion, MoC, and other labels. I am happy with Criterion's releases this year and I believe that such classical and poignant movies packed with such care and substantial supplements to accompany them are hard to ignore on a Top Ten list.

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Tartan, UK

2. Jin-Roh (Hiroyuki Okiura, 1998) Bandai, Japan

3. Ghost In The Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995) Bandai, Japan

4. Avalon (Mamoru Oshii, 2001) Bandai, Japan

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977) Sony, USA

 

Comments: I thought Blade Runner would certainly make into this list, but the VC-1 transfer is disappointing and the package is quite simple. Since Sony made a real beautiful package for "Close Encounters" (one of the best packages for blu-ray to date) with a nice quality booklet, a good AVC transfer and a pack of extras, I can't just ignore all the care put into this release, even though I don't care much about the movie...

"Seventh Seal" is in my opinion is the best hi-def release. It is the first true classic released on Blu-Ray and the quality is good, coming with the SD DVD for comparison as well. But in this case the film value is most relevant.

 

 

 

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Chicago, Illinois

 

1. Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL

2. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

3. Martin Arnold: The Cineseizure (Martin Arnold, 4 films) Index; R0 PAL

4. Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1

5. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

6. Discovering Cinema (Learning to Talk & Movies Dream in Color) Flicker Alley; R0

7. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Kino; R1

8. Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) Criterion; R1

9. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

10. Five Dedicated to Ozu (Abbas Kiarostami, 2004) Kino; R1

 

Comments: Although I just discovered it came out last year, I'd still like to give a special mention to Ken Jacobs' long awaited and finally completed Star Spangled to Death.

 

 

Bill Routt
Melbourne, Australia

 

1. Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1

2. Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1

3. Coffret Douglas Sirk (Douglas Sirk, 8 Discs) Gaumont; R2 PAL

4. My Way Home (Miklós Jancsó, 1965) Second Run; R2 PAL

5. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

6. The Story of the Kelly Gang (Charles Tait, 1906) National Film & Sound Archive, Madman; R0

 

Comments: My last vote is for an Australian box containing a DVD and a book which I co-authored. The set appears to be available only in Australia and has not been covered on DVD Beaver.

 

 

Slant Magazine Staff
NYC, New York
http://www.slantmagazine.com/index.asp
 

1. I Am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964) Milestone Film; R1

2. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

3. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

4. Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Charles Burnett, 2 Discs) New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque; R1

5. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for DVD (Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, 2007) Turner; R1

6. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1976) Criterion; R1

7. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse Series 3; R1

8. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Kino; R1

9. The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1

10. The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA

 

 

Per-Olof Strandbeg
Helsinki, Finland

 

1. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse Series 3; R1

2. Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961) Criterion; R1

3. Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

4. Cría Cuervos (Carlos Saura, 1976) Criterion; R1

5. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

6. Jean-Luc Godard Box Set (Jean-Luc Godard, 11 Discs) Universal; R2 PAL, Nordic

7. Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970) Criterion; R1

8. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1

9. Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1

10. Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) Criterion; R1

 

 

Daniel Stuyck
Texas

 

1a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

1b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1

2. Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL

3. Me and My Brother (Robert Frank, 1968, w/ Book) Steidl, R0

4. Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL

5. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

6. La lit de la virge (Philippe Garrel, 1968) re:Voir; R2 PAL

7. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL

8. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion; R1

9. Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) Criterion; R1

10. Blade Runner - The Final Cut - Ultimate Edition (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner; R1

 

 

Mikkel Leffers Svendstrup
www.DVDsnak.topcities.com
Odense C Denmark

 

1. Jřrgen Leth Collection 1 – Anthropological Films (Jřrgen Leth, 5 Films) Danish Film Institute; R0 PAL

2. Blade af Satans Bog (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1921) Danish Film Institute; R0

3. Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1

4. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Kino; R1

5. The Boss of it All (Lars von Trier, 2006) Nordisk Film, R2 PAL

6. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

7. No Room to Die (Sergio Garrone, 1968) Raro Video, R2 PAL

8. Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1951) Criterion; R1

9. Track of the Cat (William A. Wellman, 1954) Paramount; R2 PAL

10. Yankee (Tinto Brass, 1966) Koch Media; R2 PAL

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner; USA

2. Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner; USA

3. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006), Universal; UK

4. Army in the Shadows (Jean Pierre Melville, 1969) Universal; DK

5. The Big Lebowski (Coen brothers, 1998) Universal; DK

 

Comments: In 2007 I’ve spent a lot of time with the new HD formats! And regardless of the format war, the best release this year was Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in glorious High Definition. The best SD DVDs of the year were the two Danish Jřrgen Leth boxsets from The Danish Film Institute (they are English friendly).

 

 

Gary Tooze

Toronto, Canada

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1

2. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL

3. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1

4. Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1

5. Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL

6. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1

7. Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970) Criterion; R1

8. Berlin Alexanderplatz (R.W. Fassbinder, 1980) Criterion; R1

9. Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL

10. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) Sony; R1

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner; USA

2. Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Ridley Scott, 1982) Warner; USA

3. Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA

4. Spiderman High Definition Trilogy (Sam Raimi) Sony; USA

5. Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete First Season (Various, 10 Discs) Paramount; USA

 

Comments: Another overwhelming year where there are so many deserved DVD packages left off my list – the Chantal Akerman, Kenneth Anger(s) and Jodorowsky boxsets, Criterion’s Army of Shadows (and their Sansho… and Eclipse's Early Fuller set), BFI’s Theorem, MoC’s Le Silence de la mer and Bellissima, Milestone’s Killer of Sheep and I Am Cuba, Second Run’s Marketa Lazarova, Some of the new Kubricks etc. etc… I also loved a lot of the campy stuff like Sam Katzman 'Icons of Horror', the Cult Classics boxsets or Robinson Crusoe on Mars. I think Fox's The Verdict is an extremely underrated film but the 2-disc CE still missed my cut. There are so many that stick in my mind - Jeopardy from the Stanwyck Collection, Jim Thorpe from the Lancaster one - I LOVED Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life of Words - ditto for TV's First Season of The Fugitive (David Janssen). I could go on and on... I'm overjoyed that important directors (as those in my top 10 selections) have been treated exceptionally well on DVD in 2007. 

 

 

Trond Trondsen
Calgary, Alberta -- Canada

Masters of Cinema

 

1. Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984) Criterion; R1

2. Kamome Diner (Naoko Ogigami, 2006) Tae Won Entertainment (Korea); R3

3. Frans Zwartjes: The Great Cinema Magician (1968-74, 2 Discs) Filmmuseum; R2  PAL

4. Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2005) Kino; R1

5. The Bothersome Man (Jens Lien, 2006) Film Movement; R1

6. Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, 2007) Art Service Korea; R3

7. Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1

8. Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0

9. Into Great Silence (Philip Gröning, 2005) Zeitgeist; R1

10. Radiant City (Gary Burns & Jim Brown, 2006) Alliance; R1

 

Best Hi-Def Disc

1. Blade Runner - The Final Cut(Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Ridley Scott 2007) Warner, USA

2. Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA

3. Babel (Alejandro González Ińárritu, 2006) Paramount, USA

4. Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005) Universal, USA

5. The Host (Joon-ho Bong, 2006) Magnolia, USA

(Blu-ray is region-coded, HD-DVD is not. I therefore avoid Blu-ray)

 

Comments: Comments: Other highlights this year were The Films of Kenneth Anger, (Fantoma, R1) and the Ken Loach Collection (Sixteen Films, R2). I have refrained from voting for our own Masters of Cinema releases, but personal favorites there were Shoah (Lanzmann, 1985) and Sansho Dayu (Mizoguchi, 1954).  Some main wishes (and likely releases) for 2008 are Belle toujours (Manoel de Oliveira, 2006), Wise Blood (Huston, 1980), Dutch Harbor (King and Moya, 1998), Providence (Resnais, 1977), Crossroads (Kinugasa, 1928), as well as proper R1 presentations of the incredible Ohikkoshi (Shinji Sômai, 1993) and the brilliant, and vastly underrated, Barking Dogs Never Bite (Joon-ho Bong, 2000)... and anything else with Bae Doo-na in it, for that matter.

 

 

Ross Wilbanks
Charlotte, North Carolina
 

1. Alexander Kluge - The films for cinema (Alexander Kluge, 16 Discs) Edition Filmmuseum; R0 PAL - For the overpour of a little-seen & important film-maker.

2a. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 (Kenneth Anger, 5 Films) Fantoma; R1

2b. The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (Kenneth Anger, 6 Films) Fantoma; R1 - For complete collections of an important film-maker with beautiful transfers.
3. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1 - Other key sets offering swaths of a film-maker’s oeuvre include: Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Gaumont PAL), Jean Renoir (Lion’s Gate; R1), The Mario Bava Collection Vol. 1&2 (Anchor Bay; R1), The Looney Tunes Collection: Volume 5 (Warner; R1) for the Robert Clampett disc, Hiroshi Teshigahara: 3 Films (Criterion; R1) for the shorts

4. Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (Various, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1 - For stitching together pieces of history.  Two other sets that do this are:  Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (Milestone/New Yorker; R1), The Chantal Akerman Collection (CineArt; R2 PAL)

5. Class Relations (Daničle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub) Editions Filmmuseum; R0 PAL - Other key films released:  When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Criterion; R1), Early Spring (inside the Late Ozu Boxset) (Eclipse; R1), Berlin Alexanderplatz (Criterion; R1), Theorem (BFI; R2 PAL), Army of Shadows (Criterion; R1)

6. Cocorico monsieur Poulet (Jean Rouch, 1974) Editions Montparnasse; R2 PAL - Thin transfer but I am grateful for the inclusion of Cemeteries on the Cliff & Hippopotamus Hunt on the disc. Other key films released:  Wittgenstein (BFI; R2 PAL), Distant Voices, Still Lives (BFI; R2 PAL), Nathalie Granger (Blaq Out; R0), Angel Face (Warner; R1), Ace in the Hole (Criterion; R1) 

7. Invisible Adversaries (Valie Export, 1977) Index; R0 PAL - Other unearthed films:  Marketa Lazarova (Second Run; R2 PAL), Overlord (Criterion; R1), Kisses (Yume; R2 PAL), Tattoo (Yume; R2 PAL), Le Silence de la mer  (MoC; R2 PAL)

8. The Third Part of the Night (Andrzej Zulawski, 1971) Second Sight; R0 PAL - Other films unearthed due to their great transfers:  Threepenny Opera (Criterion; R1), Arabian Nights (Universal; R1), Cobra Woman (Carlotta; R2 PAL), Hot Blood (Universal; R2 PAL), Nosferatu (thanks for not using a PAL port) (Kino; R1)

9. Harry Partch: Enclosure 8 (Harry Partch, 2007) Innova; R0 - Other themed collections of note:  Soviet Propaganda (Jove Films; R1) (despite the horrible menu navigation), Experiments in Terror 2 (Other Cinema; R0), As She Likes It (Female Performance Art from Austria) (Index; R0 PAL), American Slapstick (Image/AllDay; R1), Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (National Film Preservation Foundation; R0)

10. Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 3 Discs) Tartan; R2 PAL - Other film-maker collections of note:  Esther Williams (Warner; R1), Louis Malle Documentaries (Eclipse; R1), Which Way to CA? (Index; R0 PAL) (‘bad home movies’ and more from Kurt Kren, plus an excellent documentary on him No Danube)

 

 

Nick Zegarac

Windsor On. Canada

 

1. UA 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection (Various, 110 Discs) MGM; R1 – an epic array of the studios most respected catalogue titles packaged to perfection inside a handsome fold out sleeve

2. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1 – everything the master craftsman did at the studio neatly bundled into one utterly memorable set

3. James Bond Ultimate Collector's Set (Various, 42 Discs) MGM; R1 – deluxe repackaging of the restored Bond titles making this the ultimate franchise collection of the year

4. Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; R1 – it’s about time; all the various versions of this sci-fi classic available in one attaché with a barrage of extras to boot

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition) (Steven Spielberg, 1977) Sony; R1 – minor edits, major benefits plus a refurbished transfer for improved clarity on all versions.

 

 

THE WINNERS

 

        

 

First Place with 144 pts – is Fox's; Region 1, 21-disc package of 24 John Ford classics. He is often regarded as the most influential director of sound films and his legacy is best noted for a long string of successful westerns that revolutionized and uplifted that genre to respectable heights. Many great directors list John Ford as their most influential including Martin Scorsese, Bernardo Bertolucci and Akira Kurosawa (who worshipped Ford). During extensive work in the silent era (70 films) Ford eventually perfected his 'modus operandi' of storytelling using a detailed and subtly pure brand of simplicity. This beautifully packaged collection also includes the documentary 'Becoming John  Ford', an exclusive hard-cover book which features rare, unpublished photographs from Ford’s career, lobby card reproductions and production stills.
 

 

Second Place with 90 pts – is Fantoma's Region 1 collection of The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2. Cinematic magician, legendary provocateur, author of the infamous Hollywood Babylon books and creator of some of the most striking and beautiful works in the history of film, Kenneth Anger is a singular figure in post-war American culture. Covering the second half of Anger's career, from his legendary Scorpio Rising to his breathtaking phantasmagoria Lucifer Rising, Fantoma should take great pride in completing the cycle with this long-awaited final volume of films by this revolutionary and groundbreaking maverick - painstakingly restored and presented in wonderful DVD package.

.

                                 

 

 

Third Place with 81pts – is Fantoma's The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1. Restored by the UCLA Film Archive, Kenneth Anger's clandestine early films are meticulously presented on an NTSC, Region 0 DVD (under Anger's supervision) with revealing optional commentaries by the director. Film fans have lived through decrepit VHS DUP's of these works for long enough and they now look better than ever before. Kenneth Anger's filmic vision shows a stylized expression that can both repel and allure. Watching these selections will only justify his timeless contribution to the world of cinema.

.

                   

 

 

Fourth Place with 74pts – is Criterion's Berlin Alexanderplatz directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It's a controversial, fifteen-hour-plus Magnum Opus, based on Alfred Döblin's great modernist novel, and was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic, restored in 2006 and is now available on DVD. It follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to "become an honest soul" amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time.

                   

 

 

Fifth Place with 65pts – is BFI's magnificent package of three highly important Mikio Naruse films. Supplementing the Masters of Cinema Mikio Naruse Vol. 1 boxset, followed by Criterion's When a Woman Ascends the Stairs - we have only the third ever DVD release of Naruse films for English friendly audiences. Almost unanimously they are considered to contain his most important works. Mikio Naruse demands a certain deserved reverence with film fans. His non-judgmental cinema creates a kind of pragmatic balance between compassion and sensitivity... steeped in subtly deep melodrama but frequently with an overall bleak and pessimistic outlook.

         

 

 

Sixth Place with 64pts – is the Eclipse Series 3 Boxset Late Ozu. Master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu directed fifty-three feature films over the course of his long career. Yet it was in the final decade of his life, his “old master” phase, that he entered his artistic prime. Centered more than ever on the modern sensibilities of the younger generation, these delicate family dramas are marked by an exquisite formal elegance and emotional sensitivity about birth and death, love and marriage, and all the accompanying joys and loneliness. 

               

 

 

Seventh Place with 56pts – is Warner's fourth volume of their Film Noir Classics Collection which boasts ten unheralded gem titles on five double-sided discs. Black cinema auteurs Anthony Mann and Nicholas Ray lead the way with some debatable Noir B-classics rounding out the package. Many of the films include professional commentaries, including contributions by Drew Casper, Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward, James Ellroy and Eddie Muller and Audrey Totter (on Tension). As a primer on the Dark Cinema or simple vintage entertainment this Classic Collection delivers in spades.

                  

 

 

Eighth Place with  54pts – is the 2-disc, Region 1 Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection from New Yorker Video/Milestone Cinematheque. A masterpiece of African American filmmaking and one of the finest debuts in cinema history, Killer of Sheep was chosen for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. In the Los Angeles community of Watts, Stan, a sensitive dreamer, is growing detached and numb from the toll of working at a slaughterhouse. Frustrated by money problems, he finds respite in moments of simple beauty: the warmth of a teacup against his cheek, slow dancing with his wife, holding his daughter. Combining lyrical moments with neorealist style, Burnett unfolds his story with compassion and humor. Killer of Sheep's haunting images and extraordinary soundtrack are a revelation in this new high-definition transfer from the UCLA Film & Television Archive's brilliant 35mm restoration.

.

                   

 

 

Ninth Place with 53pts – is Paramount's Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box directed by David Lynch. The highly anticipated complete series of one of the most acclaimed events in television history finally comes to DVD in one glorious complete package. This definitive Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition has been carefully supervised by Lynch and includes, for its digital debut, the original and European versions of the pilot. This 10-disc groundbreaking series features all 30 newly re-mastered episodes, all-new 5.1 Surround Sound and is loaded with exclusive featurettes, new interviews, introductions and much much more!

.

                   

 

 

Tenth Place with 48pts – is the Criterion Collection's treatment of Kenji Mizoguchi's immortal classic Sansho Dayu (Sansho the Bailiff). Based on an ancient legend, as recounted by celebrated author Mori Ogai (in his short story of the same name, written in 1915), and adapted by Japanese master director Mizoguchi. Sansho Dayu is both distinctively Japanese and as deeply affecting as a Greek tragedy. Described in its opening title as “one of the oldest and most tragic in Japan’s history”, Mizoguchi depicts an unforgettably sad story of social injustice, family love, personal sacrifice, and fateful tragedy.

                   

 

   

Comments: Multi-film packages spoke very loudly in 2007 and made their presence known in every single DVD collection in the relatively small world of cinephilia. We joyously welcomed Criterion's new sub-label - Eclipse and competition remained heavy in the DVD production circles of 2007. Surprisingly Criterion (sans Eclipse) only surfaced in 2 of our Top 15 picks this year (how is that possible?). Fantoma and Kenneth Anger received deserved justice as fans stood to applaud while Giallo lovers linked arms supporting Mr. Bava. Lindsay Anderson triumphantly attended the party with Lady Akerman on his arm. Japanese cinema again influenced our community this year with Naruse, Ozu and Mizoguchi works rallying into the top 10. Magnificent.

The new-formats, HD and Blu-ray, continue to expand their respective databases of films-to-DVD and it seems inevitable that they will soon become the norm. This relates to another interesting problem - as with many things in modern life our difficulty is not in obtaining, but rather - choosing. We have a glut of important cinema to select from - and even more on the horizon. It remains the best time in the history of mankind to be a serious film fan and to own, and relish, a home theater. We have a cornucopia of standard DVDs that remain a few clicks away... or the blossoming vividness of the new 1080 resolution formats to mesmerize.  

Gary W. Tooze

 

As somebody who belongs to several listservs which discuss DVDs, attends at least one major film festival a year, reads the magazines and online journals, frequently trades hard to find titles with various people on different continents to add to his already overblown collection of approaching 6000 discs, I can confidently state that very few DVD releases of much importance sneak by me… that is until every year when I help to tabulate this poll. If there is one thing that can come close to the sensation of watching an incredible film, it is the promise of seeing an incredible film. That is why I value lists so much. Their ability to bring into light some unsung gem that you would have never even heard of otherwise is beyond invaluable. And let’s face it… none of us are ever going to possibly get the chance to see ALL the films we want to see before we die, so somebody or some “list” might as well help us narrow the choices down. Here in no particular order are some of my favorite ‘eccentric’ choices from various ballots that have piqued my adventurous curiosity. Happy viewing!
 

-Adam Lemke

Arabian Nights (John Rawlins, 1942) Universal; R1
August Underground's Mordum [Snuff Edition] (Various, 2003) Toe Tag; R1
The Bothersome Man (Jens Lien, 2006) Film Movement; R1
Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Mario Bava, 1959) No Shame; R2 PAL
A Cottage on Dartmoor (Anthony Asquith, 1930) Kino; R1
Discovering Cinema (Learning to Talk & Movies Dream in Color) Flicker Alley; R0
Magnificent Obsession: Frank Lloyd Wright's Buildings and Legacy in Japan (Karen Severns and Koichi Mori, 2005) Facets; R0
Inglorious Bastards (Enzo G. Castellari, 1977) Another World Entertainment; R2
Jordan Belson - 5 Essential Films (Jordan Belson, Various) CenterforVisualMusic.org; R0
Kamome Diner (Naoko Ogigami, 2006) Tae Won Entertainment (Korea); R3
La lit de la virge (Philippe Garrel, 1968) re:Voir; R2 PAL
Last House on the Beach (Franco Prosperi, 1978) Sazuma, R2 PAL AU
Science Is Fiction/The Sounds of Science (Jean Painleve, 2 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL
Yankee (Tinto Brass, 1966) Koch Media; R2

 

11th - 50th

 

11.  Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL - 46pts

12.  Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; R1 - 46pts

13.  Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL - 44pts

14.  Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1 - 44pts

15.  Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL - 42pts

16.  Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1 - 41pts

17.  Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951) Criterion; R1 - 39pts

18.  Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1 - 38pts

19.  Alexander Kluge - The films for cinema (Alexander Kluge, 16 Discs) Edition Filmmuseum; R0 PAL - 36pts 

20.  Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) Criterion; R1 - 33pts

21.  When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion; R1 - 32pts

22.  The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1 - 28pts

23.  The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 (Mario Bava, 5 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1 - 27pts

24.  The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Samuel Fuller, 3 Discs) Eclipse; R1 - 25pts

25.  Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL - 25pts

26.  The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2 (Mario Bava, 6 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1 - 25pts

27.  Un chant d'amour (Jean Genet, 1950) Cult Epics; R1 - 25pts

28.  If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) Criterion; R1 – 24pts

29.  Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion; R1 - 23pts

30.  The Documentaries of Louis Malle (Louis Malle, 6 Discs) Criterion; R1

31.  Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 (Various, 4 Discs) Warner; R1 - 22pts

32.  Yojimbo/Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, 1961 + 1962) Criterion; R1 - 21pts

33.  Jan Svankmajer - The Complete Short Films (Jan Svankmajar, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL – 20pts

34.  Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1 - 19pts

35.  Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (Various, 4 Discs) Criterion; R1 - 19pts

36.  The Sergio Leone Anthology (Sergio Leone, 8 Discs) MGM; R1 - 18pts

37.  Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0 – 18pts

38.  Class Relations (Daničle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub) Editions Filmmuseum; R0 PAL - 18pts

39.  Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion; R1 - 18pts

40.  Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984) Criterion; R1 - 18pts

41.  Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962) Criterion; R1 – 18pts

42.  Le Silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) MoC; R2 PAL – 17pts

43.  Diary of a Lost Girl (G.W. Pabst, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL - 15pts

44.  Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Kino; R1

45.  Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970) Criterion; R1 - 14pts

46.  Tabu: Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, 1931) MoC; R0 PAL -14pts

47.  Jordan Belson - 5 Essential Films (Jordan Belson, Various) CenterforVisualMusic.org; R0 - 14pts

48.  Who Can Kill a Child? (Narciso Ibáńez Serrador, 1978) Dark Sky; R1 - 13pts

49.  I Am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964) Milestone Film; R1 - 12pts

50.  Hitler: A Film from Germany (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, 1978) Facets; R1 - 12pts

 

 

Best High-Definition Releases

 

           

 

Winner: Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA received 5 votes.

Runner-up --- Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition (Ridley Scott, 5 Discs) Warner; USA - 4 votes

Honorable Mentions:

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Warner; USA - 3 votes

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977) Sony, USA  - 2 votes

The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) Tartan, UK  - 2 votes


 

 

BEST PAL DVDs of the YEAR

 

1. Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL - 175pts
2.
Le Silence de la mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) MoC; R2 PAL - 126pts
3.
Marketa Lazarová (Frantisek Vlácil, 1967), Second Run, R0 - 80pts
4.
Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) MoC; R2 PAL - 70pts
5.
Sansho the Bailiff/Gion Bayashi (Kenji Mizoguchi, 2 Discs) MoC; R2 PAL - 70pts
6.
Chantal Akerman Collection (Chantal Akerman, 5 Discs) Cinéart; R2 PAL  - 45pts
7.
Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985, 4 Disc Set & 184 Page Book) MoC; R2 PAL - 42pts
8.
Histoire(s) du Cinéma (Jean-Luc Godard, 4 Discs) Gaumont; R0 PAL - 33pts
9.
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terrence Davies, 1988) BFI; R2 PAL - 24pts
10.
Tabu: Story of the South Seas (F.W. Murnau, 1931) MoC; R0 PAL - 24pts


 

PART OF OUR CELEBRATION SHOULD INCLUDE THIS SHORT LISTING OF APPRECIATED DVDs THAT CAME OUT IN 2007... BUT RECEIVED ZERO VOTES (OR JUST ONE VOTE) IN OUR ABOVE POLL:

 

(CLICK COVERS for more info)

 

 

 

Best Production Design:

 

Winner: 48% of the vote --- The Criterion Collection (Breathless as a standout) -- over 9 different titles from the company received votes.

Runner-up --- Blade Runner Case

 

Criterion's Breathless Package


Best Audio Commentary

 

  

Winner: 28% of the vote --- “I don’t listen to commentaries…”

Director: 25% of the vote Alejandro Jodorowsky on The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (3 Films, 5 Discs) AnchorBay; R1

Scholar: 25% of the vote Tim Lucas on The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 1 (Mario Bava, 5 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1 & The Mario Bava Collection, Volume 2 (Mario Bava, 6 Discs) Anchor Bay; R1


 



Best Transfer

 

SD Winner - To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955) Paramount; R1
HD Winner -
Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (4 Discs) Warner/BBC; USA


 


Best Box Set

 

1. Ford At Fox - The Collection (John Ford, 21 Discs) Fox; R1 - 11 votes
2.
Late Ozu (Yasujiro Ozu, 5 Discs) Eclipse; R1 - 9 votes
3.
Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (Various, 4 Discs) National Film Preservation Foundation; R1 - 7 votes
4.
Mikio Naruse Collection (Mikio Naruse, 3 Discs) BFI; R2 PAL - 6 votes
5.
Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Various, 5 Discs) Warner; R1 - 6 votes

  

Best Extras

 

Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1 - OVERWHELMING WINNER with 28% of the vote mentioning an array of extras.


 


Best Cult/Horror release

 

1. Who Can Kill a Child? (Narciso Ibáńez Serrador, 1978) Dark Sky; R1 - 19% of the vote
2.
Fox Horror Classics Collection (The Lodger / Hangover Square) (John Brahm, 3 Discs) Fox; R1
3.
From Beyond (Stuart Gordon, 1986) MGM; R1
4. A Lizard in a Woman's Skin [remastered] (Lucio Fulci, 1971) Shriek Show; R1
5a.
Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968) MGM; R1
5b.
Arabian Nights (John Rawlins, 1942) Universal; R1

 



Best TV on DVD

 

Winner: Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box (David Lynch & various, 1990-92) Paramount; R1 - 28% of the vote
Runner-up:
Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete First Season HD DVD (executive producer Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1967) Paramount; USA

 


Best Contemporary release (any film made in the last 2 years)

 

Winner: Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006) Absurda/Rhino; R1 - 9 votes
Runner-up:
Into Great Silence (Philip Gröning, 2005) Zeitgeist; R1 - 4 votes

 

 

Discovery

 

Raymond Bernard - Eclipse Series 4 (Raymond Bernard, 2 Discs) Eclipse; R1 - Overwhelming winner, rest of the votes too scattered to even bother with a runner-up.

 

 

 

BAD BAD BAD (general but valid rants - in no order)

 

• Excessive security tab packaging (usually on the cheapest MGM discs!)

• Mislabeled discs (ex. Forbidden Hollywood, Bunuel box etc.)

• In Australia, the policy of releasing Shirley Temple films only in colorized versions
• The bare bones stripping away of extras in many of the R2 and R4 equivalents of many studio box sets including WB and the fact that Lucky Me (admittedly not a significant film), released in correct OAR in the R1 Doris Day set, was released as 1:33/1 in Oz. What breathtaking cynicism and contempt for the Antipodean collector!
• Many R2 releases of middle to late 50s UK films in incorrect OAR eg I Was Monty’s Double (Guillermin)
• The appalling travesty of releasing Magnificent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows in 2:00/1 ratios ion the UK Douglas Sirk set. Thankfully, Carlotta corrected these barbarous goings-on with the release of their marvelous Sirk set later this year.
• The majority of films released on HD-DVD are by and large worthless contemporary films that lack cinematic merit (e.g. Ocean's Thirteen et al).
• Films with an OAR greater than 1.37:1 being released on DVD without anamorphic enhancement (e.g., Sátántangó; 1.66:1).
• Boosting contrast in order to get better picture detail is not only a cop-out, but it is also flat-out wrong.
• yellow subtitles.
• picture-boxing.
• Forced piracy warnings et al.
• Pointless animated segues between, for instance, the main menu and the film that further waste the viewer's time
• Kubrick’s Aspect Ratios…
• The WB scattering their Looney Tunes shorts as extras on barely related movies.
The Bells of St. Mary’s (Rainbow Films 1946) Maple Video, Region One – perennial holiday classic in a perennially BAD transfer – despite being acquired and repackaged by a new distributor and with back packaging that suggests a ‘complete digital remaster(ing)’ effort.
White Christmas: Special Edition (Michael Curtiz, 1954) Paramount, Region One – no remastered VistaVision or added extra features from Paramount’s original release; just different cover art! WHAT A SHAM!
Susana - Facets (n'uff said)
• Criterion’s continued practice of windowboxing
• 1.85:1 films reformatted to 1.78:1 (including Criterion)
• Worst irritation: the unabating HD/Blu-Ray head to head.
• Maybe not bad, but unfortunate: Cinema Epoch releasing a bunch of Chinese classics – including
Spring in a Small Town – in sadly sub-par editions. Could more have been done? I don’t know, but it’s still a shame.
• HD Format Wars
• Unrated DVDs
• Lack of 70s Bresson

 

Incidental Reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 




 

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