DVDBeaver are proud to announce our voting results for Blu-ray and 4K UHD of the Year - 2020 Poll. I would like to give a very appreciative thank you to those 146 individuals who participated. Everyone's votes were counted in the totals and, like last year, we are adding occasional quote comments!

This Year's Poll is dedicated to... our Patrons - with great thanks. We would not exist without their support! To those that are unfamiliar, Patreon is a secure/verified third-party service where users can agree to a small monthly donation via credit card or PayPal by clicking the button below.

 


What a horrible year! Luckily most of us are in possession of a diverse digital library to help cope with the unprecedented circumstances.

 

This year we welcomed a few new labels and an expansion of films to both Blu-ray and 4K UHD. The latter format is gaining significant popularity with more independent production companies embracing and producing content in 3840 X 2160 resolution - with HDR. The playing surface is levelling on Blu-ray with Criterion, Kino Lorber - and their prodigious content and numerous audio commentaries - Indicator (the 'Criterion of Region 'B'), Arrow, Warner Archive, Shout! Factory and notably Eureka (and their sub-label 'Masters of Cinema') creating consistently impressive home video releases.

 

The major focus of many comments?:

 

1) When is Criterion going 4K UHD? What will be their first title?

 

2) Praise for Imprint with previously unreleased classic titles to Blu-ray - often with new commentaries 

 

3) Boxsets, Boxsets, Boxsets...

 

NOTE: This year we didn't publish the vote # totals - it just complicated our already bloated formatting. If there were 'ties' (and they were only a handful) we simply placed the alphabetic-ordered titles first - with both receiving the same 'count' amount in the overall totals.

 

For a change this year - as opposed to using the ballot tallies to determine the 'Favorite Label' - we used the specific category question itself as so many people made a concert choice. Using the old method, Criterion was the winner followed by Kino with their extensive volume of releases.


BIG thanks to Colin Zavitz our top-notch reviewer and our own, and accurately labeled, 'Czar of Noir' Gregory Meshman (take a back seat Eddie) who continues to support us with content lists, updates - Film Noir, Giallo and Hammer) and more... also our growing friendship with Matt Paprocki over at DoBlu - a super guy and great reviewer! Eric Cotenas continues to contribute with comments and corrections - and we thank him.

 

Let's dive in!


The Totals (click to access)

THE TOP TEN BOXSETSs OF 2020

TOP TEN Blu-rays OF 2020

 

11th- 50th Place Blu-rays of 2020

 

Gary's 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' list

TOP TEN 4K UHD

Favorite Commentaries

 

LABELS

 

Best Cover Design

'Black' and Blu (Film Noir on 2020 Blu-ray)

'Yellow' and Blu (Giallo on 2020 Blu-ray)

Hammer Time (Hammer Studios on 2020 Blu-ray)

Notable TV on 2020 Blu-ray of 4K UHD

Banner Guessing CONTEST

 

DVD - 'Will Never Die'

Uncensored Rants and Praise

 


THE WINNERS - BOXSETS
 

     

     

     

     

1) First Place, Criterion's Essential Fellini. 14 films from the maestro of Italian cinema together for the first time. 15-Blu-ray special edition box set.

One hundred years after his birth, Federico Fellini still stands apart as a giant of the cinema. The Italian maestro is defined by his dualities: the sacred and the profane, the masculine and the feminine, the provincial and the urbane.

He began his career working in the slice-of-life poetry of neorealism, and though he soon spun off on his own freewheeling creative axis, he never lost that grounding, evoking his dreams, memories, and obsessions in increasingly grand productions teeming with carnivalesque imagery and flights of phantasmagoric surrealism while maintaining an earthy, embodied connection to humanity.

Bringing together fourteen of the director's greatest spectacles, all beautifully restored, this centenary box set is a monument to an artist who conjured a cinematic universe all his own: a vision of the world as a three-ring circus in which his innermost infatuations, fears, and fantasies take center stage.

"It's not enough to call Fellini a filmmaker - he was a maestro . . . He was cinema. Fellini's work is like a treasure chest; you open it up and there's a world of wonders - sparkling visions of beauty, terror, absurdity - where the ancient and the modern become one, where all the barriers between reality and fantasy just shatter before your eyes." - Martin Scorsese

"In the troubled year of his 100th anniversary, this is simply the most beautiful release I've ever seen in more than 20 years in the history of dvds and blu-rays. A stunning, magical set that collects the major works of the greatest director in Italian cinema history, made with love in each single detail (Criterion released also a digital "faux cover" for each title in the set) and notable because, differently from the Bergman, Varda and Godzilla sets (all made possible mainly because of the license from one major rightholder), this time the essential filmography has been re-built title-by-title from a jungle of different owners. Last but not least, the inclusion of the moving and monumental documentary-film "Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember", autobiography and testament from his great collaborator and friend, just on the top of a massive bunch of extra-features. A milestone." - Alfredo Santoro

"For me, this Fellini set is the premier release and highlight of 2020!" - Schwarkkve

"As for Criterion's collection  -  which, curiously, omits I Clowns and Ginger and Fred  -  it beautifully, thoughtfully, presents gorgeous transfers that improve matters for every known iteration of these films." - Leonard Norwitz

"There are questions about incompleteness and rushed planning here: why Criterion couldn't get Warner's Ginger and Fred; the L'Immagine Ritrovata look of Amarcord; the missing English track of Satyricon; the inability (?) to get rights to I Clowns; but its value as a blu-ray set is so inestimable as to make these otherwise serious issues pale in significance. I'm particularly happy about the ‘original' English track to La Strada!" - Peter Yacavone

"Just marvellously pleasurable films to watch and brilliant restorations. The box's playful carnival design gets it so right- not 'action' but 'Come on in, to the tent Fellini & enjoy!'" - Billy Bang

2) Second Place is Universal's The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K UHD. Recognized as the Master of Suspense, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock directed some of cinema's most thrilling and unforgettable classics. This Boxset features four iconic films from the acclaimed director's illustrious career including Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds in stunning 4K resolution. Starring Hollywood favorites such as James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Rod Taylor, this essential collection features hours of bonus features as well as the original uncut version of Psycho for the first time ever.

"I would have preferred this collection be subtitled, "Volume 1," since there are so many great Hitchcock classics made prior to these four that likewise are deserving of 4k transfers, especially those from the 1940s: Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound and Notorious; and 1950s: Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much and North by Northwest. The titles including in the current collection are all deliciously transferred." - Leonard Norwitz

"New extras would have seemed appropriate and Universal lose marks for the packaging (I've had to wipe my own fingerprints off 1/2 a dozen times.) But these are The Master's most beloved films and this is the best they can look in your home theatre - for that much can be forgiven, or at least overlooked for now. Plus many want to see the Uncut bits from Psycho. Once you pop 4K UHD of Vertigo in your system, you'll be too mesmerized by the credits alone to feel slighted about the package weaknesses and lack of new supplements, imo." - Gary Tooze

   

     

3) Third Place is Indicator's Columbia Noir #1. Six tough, no-nonsense noirs from six of the genre's toughest, no-nonsense directors: Budd Boetticher's Escape in the Fog, in which a nurse and a war veteran take on Nazi spies in San Francisco; Joseph H Lewis' The Undercover Man, inspired by the real-life case against Al Capone; Richard Quine's Drive a Crooked Road, which finds Mickey Rooney moving away from comedies and musicals to a tougher persona; Phil Karlson's 5 Against the House, starring Kim Novak as a nightclub singer embroiled in a casino heist; Vincent Sherman's The Garment Jungle, from which Kiss Me Deadly director Robert Aldrich was famously fired; and Don Siegel's police procedural The Lineup, based on the radio and television series, and as brutal a film as he ever made.

"DVDBeaver loves Film Noir. I am delighted to now have The Undercover Man and Drive a Crooked Road on Blu-ray. I love them both, but especially the latter. The Lineup is one of the more coveted Noirs in this boxset. But the huge bonus are the extras and new commentaries. One day these may get released on individual  Blu-ray by Indicator but with the valued supplements - this limited edition is a must own for those who are addicted to the 'Dark Cinema'. Our highest recommendation!" - Gary Tooze

"Indicator are fabulous - what a brilliantly procured boxset - par-excellent transfers, commentaries and I loved the inclusion of the Three Stooges shorts..." - Davey P.

4) Fourth Place is Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 3. Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project has maintained a fierce commitment to preserving and presenting masterpieces from around the globe, with a growing roster of more than three dozen restorations that have introduced moviegoers to often-overlooked areas of cinema history. Presenting passionate stories of revolution, identity, agency, forgiveness, and exclusion, this collector's set gathers six of those important works, from Brazil (Pixote), Cuba (Lucia), Indonesia (After the Curfew), Iran (Downpour), Mauritania (Soleil O), and Mexico (Dos monjes). Each title is a pathbreaking contribution to the art form and a window onto a filmmaking tradition that international audiences previously had limited opportunities to experience.

  

5) Fifth Place is Kit Parker Film's Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations. New 2K and 4K digital restorations from original 35mm nitrate, Laurel and Hardy's classic comedies are here in the best quality since their first release! Two features and 17 shorts, including the legendary pie-fight silent film The Battle of the Century, making its video debut and nearly complete for the first time in over 90 years!

Restorations by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress. Using careful photochemical and digital techniques, these classic films are restored to pristine condition. In these stunning new transfers, they look and sound as beautiful as they did when they were first released.

     

6) Sixth Place is Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington / Lawrence of Arabia / Dr. Strangelove / Gandhi / A League of Their Own / Jerry Maguire)

     

"It is easy to forget that this 4K restoration and transfer of Capra, Lean, Kubrick, etc., arrived only months ago. The second volume, God willing, promises to be even better." - Peter Yacavone

"There are four classics and two also rans here, the latter being Jerry Maguire and A League of Their Own  -  enjoyable, yes; classics, not in my universe. The remaining four span the decades: Mr Smith Goes to Washington, whose transfer didn't do all that much for the film; Dr Strangelove, which looks great but I can't really say the improvement is standout; Lawrence of Arabia, now we're talking!; and Gandhi, ditto! Next time, I hope Columbia will give more consideration to the "classics" concept instead of merely selling out to popular appeal. Like what, you ask? Like Picnic, From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Gilda, The Sting, His Girl Friday, The Last Emperor, To Die For, Tess, Only Angels Have Wings, Born Yesterday, Groundhog Day, Tootsie, The Man Who Would Be King, Lost Horizon (1937), In a Lonely Place, The Last Picture Show, You Were Never Lovelier, Sense and Sensibility, Das Boot, Modern Times, The Big Heat, Silverado, Kung-Fu Hustle, The Wild One, The More The Merrier, The Remains of the Day, and Seven Samurai (!)" - Leonard Norwitz

7) Seventh Place is Cinema of Conflict: Four Films by Krzystof Kieslowski. Few names are as synonymous with Polish cinema as that of Krzystof Kieslowski, the renowned auteur responsible for the Dekalog and Three Colours trilogy. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and his subsequent creative and critical success in France, Kieslowski plied his trade within the confines of the Eastern Bloc, capturing the realities of everyday life under Soviet rule. This collection gathers his four earliest narrative feature films, encapsulating the years 1976 1984.

In 1976's The Scar, a well-intentioned Party loyalist is charged with overseeing the construction of a new chemical plant in the face of fierce resistance and is forced to confront the conflict between his good intentions and local opposition. In 1979's Camera Buff, a family man and amateur filmmaker experiences a dramatic change in fortunes when his newfound hobby opens up new horizons but also results in deep marital and philosophical conflicts. Blind Chance, completed in 1981 and denied a release in its native Poland until 1987, presents three possible outcomes to a single, seemingly banal event a young medical student running to catch a train and, in the process, explores the relationship between chance and choice. Finally, in 1984 s No End, a recently bereaved translator juggles the conflicting demands of her work, caring for her son and her continued visions of her late husband, all against the backdrop of a Poland under the grip of martial law.

As socially conscious as Kieslowski's earlier documentary shorts, this quartet of films covers a tumultuous period in Polish and Eastern European history, shot with unflinching realism by a filmmaker of distinction.

"Collecting together 'The Scar', 'Camera Buff', 'No End', and 'Blind Chance', Arrow's latest Kieslowski box set matches the quality of their definitive release of Dekalog (and other TV works) from a few years back." - Calvin MacKinnon

"And finally let's not forget this earlier box just as our first lockdown got underway. 'No End', as bleak as it is, is among my very favourite Kieslowski films- belongs very much with the 'Dekalog' that soon followed. 'Camera Buff' was also a revelation. 'Blind Chance' of course is also available in a Criterion edition." - Billy Bang

8) Eighth Place is Shout! Factory's Universal Horror Collection: Volumes 4, 5 and 6. Universal Horror Collections include tales of terror from the archives of Universal Pictures, the true home of classic horror. These last three collections include Night Key (1937), Night Monster (1942), The Climax (1944), House of Horrors (1946), Captive Wild Woman (1943), The Monster and the Girl (1945), Jungle Woman (1944), The Jungle Captive (1945), The Black Castle (1952), Cult of the Cobra (1955), The Thing That Couldn't Die (1958) and The Shadow of the Cat (1961)

"As the Universal Horror Volumes rise in number - the films seem to lessen in quality with mostly lovable 'B' pictures remaining. I'm not really complaining - to have these vintage, sometimes fun, horrors of the 30's and 40's on Blu-ray with commentaries is very appealing. I can turn the lights down and throw one of these on at any time and get an hour's worth of enjoyment. Fans know what to expect by now and Shout! Factory's Blu-ray package is recommended to the vintage-era horror fans who appreciate these gems of a time long gone by. In many ways, I wish those days would return."

"Three nicely presented box sets for completists and aficionados of Universal horror." - Schwarkkve

"I wasn't very keen on Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 but I loved Volume 6. I was always big on Cult of the Cobra for Faith Domergue and brief David Janssen. The Thing That Couldn't Die certainly evokes 1961's Tormented with the severed heads. The Black Castle has Boris Karloff, Rita Corday and, briefly, Lon Chaney Jr. - great shadows! Also I have always loved this description of Shadow of the Cat; "A normally placid pussy turns into a ferocious feline hell-bent for revenge against the treacherous trio who murdered her mistress in this interesting horror film." Lovely. So the Shout! Factory package of four Blu-rays is absolutely recommended - weak films totally embraceable. Nostalgia value through the roof. Fans of these gems shouldn't hesitate. Very rewatchable for this reviewer." - Gary Tooze

 

 

 

 

        

   

        

9) Ninth Place is The Complete Films of Agnes Varda. A founder of the French New Wave who became an international art-house icon, Agnes Varda was a fiercely independent, restlessly curious visionary whose work was at once personal and passionately committed to the world around her. In an abundant career in which she never stopped expanding the notion of what a movie can be, Varda forged a unique cinematic vocabulary that frequently blurs the boundaries between narrative and documentary, and entwines loving portraits of her friends, her family, and her own inner world with a social consciousness that was closely attuned to the 1960s counterculture, the women's liberation movement, the plight of the poor and socially marginalized, and the ecology of our planet. This comprehensive collection places Varda's filmography in the context of her parallel work as a photographer and multimedia artist - all of it a testament to the radical vision, boundless imagination, and radiant spirit of a true original for whom every act of creation was a vital expression of her very being.
"Criterion released several box sets this year so it's easy for this to get lost in the shuffle, but Varda should be acknowledged as a pioneer in cinema. The packaging is not the best, but the contents of the discs themselves show what an important filmmaker Varda was." - Tim Kline

"Essential Fellini and The Complete Films of Agnes Varda, which are wonderfully complete encapsulations of those filmmakers and will fit snugly next to their Bergman box set on my shelf." - Jason Overbeck

"I already had the Cine Tamaris DVD box (Varda's own label), then the Artificial Eye boxes (DVD and then Blu Ray), so this was my 4th Varda box! It is of course the most complete and arrived a year from her passing to serve as a beautiful summation! It is like all things Criterion- a exquisitely presented box (with a firm outer cover this time). Every disc brims with supplements- long before DVD's and Blu Rays came into existence- Varda was supplying her own supplements to the main menu with side trips, and revisits and shorts. She is very much a film maker of the future too!" - Billy Bang

"Criterion was in "complete" mode this past year - more or less - with Bruce Lee, Federico Fellini, and this comprehensive Agnes Varda set with newly restored transfers covering 1954-2019, brimming with mouth-watering, brain-exercising extra features. A set for all time." - Leonard Norwitz

"The scope of this release is mind-boggling." - Schwarkkve

"Criterion's most comprehensive box set to date was focused on one of my favourite filmmakers. " - Calvin MacKinnon

10) Tenth plaice is Severin's The Al Adamson Masterpiece Collection. For the first time ever, experience the complete legacy of writer / producer /director Al Adamson, with 31 remastered films on 14 Blu-ray discs, plus the award-winning documentary BLOOD & FLESH: THE REEL LIFE & GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON. This set is also filled with a huge collection of special features, including trailers, featurettes, commentaries, outtakes, and 126-page book! Exhaustively compiled for the first time ever, Adamson's oeuvre spans a wild beyond-belief world of bloody brains, vicious cowboys, naughty nurses, decrepit actors, sexy stewardesses, mad scientists, brutal bikers, Blaxploitation mayhem, kung fu killers and "scenes so SICK the Movies could never show them before!"

   

The life and career of B-movie maverick Adamson - known for such low budget classics as SATAN'S SADISTS, DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN and THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES (as well as his own grisly 1995 murder) - reveals perhaps the most bizarre career in Hollywood history.

"Because anything this ambitious must be honored" - Gabriel Neeb

"Al Adamson's movies are not exactly ideals of cinema, but the breadth of genres covered and the undeniable perseverance shown make this a great addition for exploitation cinema fans. Bonus points for the documentary that does an excellent job of showing both the process of making these films and the bizarre circumstances surrounding his later life and death." - Tim Kline


NOTABLE BOXSETs in 2020 (but not in our Top 10) - in alphabetical order:

 

 

 -  Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection [Blu-ray] (Fando Y Lis, El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Psychomagic: a Healing Art) (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1968-2019) Arrow UK

"Never thought my Tartan Video box set would be pushed back to the second row - it has now! Devoured every frame of this..." - Neil Williams 

 -  ALICE GUY BLACHE Volume 1: The Gaumont Years [Blu-ray] - Kino Lorber

 -  ALICE GUY BLACHE Vol. 2: The Solax Years [Blu-ray] - Kino Lorber

 -  Alastair Sim's School for Laughter: 4 Classic Comedies [Blu-ray] (The Belles Of St. Trinian's, School For Scoundrels, Laughter In Paradise and Hue And Cry) Film Movement

 -  The Apu Trilogy [Blu-ray] - Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) 1955, Aparajito (The Unvanquished) 1957 and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) 1959 - Criterion UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Audie Murphy Collection [Blu-ray] [The Duel at Silver Creek/Ride a Crooked Trail/No Name on the Bullet] Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy [4K UHD Blu-ray] - Universal

 -  Barbara Stanwyck Collection [Blu-ray] [Internes Can't Take Money / The Great Man's Lady / The Bride Wore Boots] Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz [Blu-ray] (Whirlpool, Vampyres and The Coming of Sin) Arrow (BEAVER REVIEW) (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  The Bolshevik Trilogy - Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin [Blu-ray] (Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, Storm Over Asia) (Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1926-1928) Flicker Alley (BEAVER REVIEW)

"The Bolshevik Trilogy -Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin (Flicker Alley) - Although sometimes a bit ragged qualitywise, these three masterworks are essential must have world cinema." - Schwarkkve

 -  Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits [Blu-ray] (The Big Boss / Fist of Fury / The Way of the Dragon / Enter the Dragon / Game of Death) Ctiterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - "Criterion released so many excellent boxsets this year that it was hard to choose only one. There have been so many Bruce Lee collections in the past and they all have their own unique extras and qualities. For the first time in America, Criterion gathered all of Lee's leading films including "Enter the Dragon" together with a stacked amount of extras and excellent transfers." - James-Masaki Ryan

 -  Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] - Kino Lorber

 -  Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Collection [Blu-ray] - Warner Brothers (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 2) [Blu-ray] (The Navigator, Seven Chances, Battling Butler) (Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton, 1924-1926) UK Eureka

 -  Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) [Blu-ray] (Our Hospitality, Go West, College) (Masters of Cinema) Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxed Set

"A further volume of digital restorations does justice to the artistry of Buster Keaton as both performer and director. One acknowledged comedy classic, Our Hospitality, gets its due in a stack of extras while Go West and College are also well served and demand greater appreciation." - David Redfern

 -  The Buster Keaton Collection - Volume 4 [Blu-ray] (Go West / College) - Cohen Media Group

 -  The Captain's Paradise | Barnacle Bill [Blu-ray] (Alec Guinness Double Feature) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Carole Lombard Collection I [Blu-ray] [Fast and Loose / Man of the World / No Man of Her Own] - Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Cary Grant Collection [Blu-ray] (Ladies Should Listen / Wedding Present / Big Brown Eyes) - Kino Lorber

"Thank god that Kino exists to do this work on behalf of the cineaste. What could be more desirable than Cary Grant's early films?" - Peter Yacavone

 - The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection [Blu-ray] (Orgasmo, So Sweet... So Perverse, A Quiet Place to Kill, and Knife of Ice) Severin Films

 -  Ealing Studios Comedy Collection [Blu-ray] (Whisky Galore!, The Maggie, Passport To Pimlico, The Tiitfield Thunderbolt) - Film Movement Classics (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)
 -  Eric Rohmer 100 - Comedies and Proverbs [Blu-ray] (The Aviator's Wife, A Good Marriage, Pauline at the Beach, Full Moon in Paris, The Green Ray, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend) RB UK Arrow

 -  Essential Film Noir: Collection 1 [Blu-ray] Framed (1947), Alias Nick Beal (1949), Detective Story (1951) and The Garment Jungle (1957) - Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Film Noir: The Dark Side Of Cinema II [Blu-ray] [Thunder On The Hill / The Price Of Fear / The Female Animal] - Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III [Blu-ray] [Abandoned / The Lady Gambles / The Sleeping City] - Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema IV [Blu-ray] [Calcutta / An Act of Murder / Six Bridges to Cross] - Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Friday the 13th Collection [Blu-ray] (all 12 films in the franchise) Shout! Factory

"The full Friday the 13th collection (including the remake) all in one set, along with a ton of extra information, two posters and a great package. Scream Factory's best effort yet." - Tim Kline

"Shout! Factory's mammoth boxset collected all the Jason films good and bad with an almost endless amount of extras plus multiple versions of some of the films." - James-Masaki Ryan

 -  The Fu Manchu Cycle 1965-1969 [Blu-ray] (The Face of Fu Manchu, The Brides of Fu Manchu, The Vengeance of Fu Manchu, The Blood of Fu Manchu, The Castle of Fu Manchu) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Gamera: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] (12 films including Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, Gammera The Invincible etc.) Arrow US

"Arrow managed to one-up Criterion in the kaiju department. Tons of extras (both on discs and physical) combined with excellent restorations of the full Gamera collection make this the boxset of the year." - Tim Kline

"The "Godzilla" box was good, but felt a little lacking altogether. The lesser loved "Gamera" series on the other hand received an incredible box from Arrow which packed it with incredible extras new and old for all the films in the series." - James-Masaki Ryan

"Arrow's Gamera set is a true labor of love with improved encodes of all of the feature films starring the giant turtle along with extras both on-disc and physical. It is hefty!"

- Calvin MacKinnon

 -  Hammer Films - Ultimate Collection [Blu-ray] - The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1963), These Are The Damned (1962), The Old Dark House (1963), The Gorgon (1964), The Snorkel (1958), Maniac (1963), Die! Die! My Darling (1965), Scream of Fear (1961), Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961), Never Take Candy From A Stranger (1960), Cash On Demand (1961), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Terror of the Tongs (1961), The Pirates of Blood River (1962), The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964,) The Camp on Blood Island (1958), Yesterday's Enemy (1959), and Creatures the World Forgot (1971) - Mill Creek

 -  Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit [Blu-ray] (Visa to Canton, The Pirates of Blood River, The Scarlet Blade, The Brigand of Kandahar (Various, 1960-1965) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW) (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection [Blu-ray] - Sting of Death (1966), Death Curse of Tartu (1966), The Hooked Generation (1968), The Psychedelic Priest (1971), The Naked Zoo (1971), Mako: Jaws of Death (1976) and Whiskey Mountain (1977) - Arrow US

 -  The Hobbit: Motion Picture Trilogy [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Extended & Theatrical) - Warner Brothers

 -  The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema [Blu-ray] (The Dybbuk, Mir Kumen on, American matchmaker, Overtires to Glory, Tevya, The Yiddish King Lear, Her Second Mother, Moteal the Operator, Eli Eli, Three Daughters) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  John Ford at Columbia, 1935-1958 [Blu-ray] (The Whole Town's Talking, 1935 - The Long Gray Line, 1955 - Gideon's Day, 1958 - The Last Hurrah, 1958) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Hits and Curiosities from John Ford here on stellar Region B transfers, smartly packaged and loaded with informative extra features." - Leonard Norwitz

"Ford's films made for Columbia Pictures were not his most popular or his most acclaimed. But the fine team at Indicator/Powerhouse gave all the films a lavish treatment with very insightful extras and new transfers." - James-Masaki Ryan

"Indicator's set would be worth it just for the gorgeous restoration of The Long Gray Line, Ford's first CinemaScope production and one of his best films, but it also has The Whole Town's Talking, Gideon's Day, and The Last Hurrah in equally splendid presentations." - Calvin MacKinnon

"Without doubt an excellent year for Fordians. A handsome package of eclectic titles with excellent upgrades of previous DVD releases and given Deluxe treatment with a cornucopia of extras. More bang for your buck." - David Redfern

 -  Lightning Over Braddock and Collected Shorts: The Films of Tony Buba [Blu-ray] (Tony Buba, 1972-2019) Zeitgeist Films / Kino Lorber

 -  Lord of the Rings, The: Motion Picture Trilogy [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Extended & Theatrical) - Warner Brothers

 - Maya Deren Collection [Blu-ray] (Meshes of the Afternoon, At Land, A Study in Choreography for Camera, Ritual in Transfigured Time, The Private Life of a Cat, Meditation on Violence, The Very Eye of Night, Divine Horsemen) (Maya Deren, 1943-1979) Kino Lorber

 -  Merchant Ivory Boxset [Blu-ray] (The Europeans / Quartet / The Bostonians / Howard's End) - RB UK Artificial Eye

 - One Missed Call Trilogy [Blu-ray] (One Missed Call, One Missed Call 2, One Missed Call Final) (Takashi Miike, Renpei Tsukamoto, Manabu Aso, 2003-2006) Arrow US

 -  Pink Films Vol. 1 & 2 [Blu-ray] (Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (aka Dutch Wife in the Desert), Gushing Prayer) (Atsushi Yamatoya, Masao Adachi, Haruhiko Arai, 1967, 1971) UK Third Window

 -  Pink Films Vol 3 & 4 [Blu-ray] Abnormal Family / Blue Film Woman - RB UK Third Window Films

 -  Reginald Denny Collection [Blu-ray] (The Reckless Age, Skinner's Dress Suit, and What Happened to Jones?) - Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Rita Hayworth - Ultimate Collection [Blu-ray] - Music in My Heart(1940), You'll Never Get Rich (1941), Tonight and Every Night (1945), Down To Earth (1947), The Lady from Shanghai (1948), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952), Salome (1953), Miss Sadie Thompson (1954), Fire Down Below (1957), Pal Joey (1957) and They Came to Cordura (1959) - Millcreek

"This was a surprise. Thanks to a ridiculous bargain price, I stumbled into a number of Rita's movies I was unfamiliar with, most worth a viewing despite their bad rap: I'm thinking here of Salome and The Loves of Carmen (the latter featuring a disturbingly miscast Glenn Ford). But standing opposed to the execrable Miss Sadie Thompson and the grippinglessness of Fire Down Below, we get several very watchable musicals in which the dancing talents of this budding talent are on display: Music in My Heart (1940), You'll Never Get Rich (1941) and Tonight and Every Night (1945), which also features the talents of a real ringer, the underused Marc Platt. Down to Earth gets off to good start, but collapses in on its weight and the weightlessness of its leading man, Larry Parks. Affair in Trinidad (1952), in which Ford and Hayworth reprise some of Gilda's iconic chemistry, would have made a better impression but for its being such an obvious clone of Hitchcock's Notorious. Both You'll Never Get Rich and Pal Joey receive very good transfers, as good as those that already exist, nothing to complain about there. I didn't dare check out Lady From Shanghai. They Came to Cordura (1959) is a pretty good movie that does not rely so much on Rita as a sex symbol; in fact, it's quite a performance." - Leonard Norwitz

 -  Rock Hudson Collection [Blu-ray] [Seminole / The Golden Blade / Bengal Brigade] - Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Scorsese Shorts [Blu-ray] (Italianamerican, The Big Shave, , What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? and It's Not Just You, Murray!) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Sergio Leone Westerns - Five Film Collection [Blu-ray] - A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) - Kino Lorber

 -  Shaft 1-3: Shaft/Shaft's Big Score!/Shaft in Africa [Blu-ray] - Warner Bros UK

 -  Short Sharp Shocks [Blu-ray] (Lock Your Door, The Reformation of St Jules, The Tell-Tale Heart, Death Was a Passenger, Portrait of a Matador, Twenty Nine, The Sex Victims, The Lake, and The Errand) - RB UK BFI

 -  Six Moral Tales [Blu-ray] (The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne's Career, My Night at Maud's, La collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, Love in the Afternoon) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films of Shinya Tsukamoto [Blu-ray] 4-Disc Special Edition Collector's Set (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, Tokyo Fist, Bullet Ballet, A Snake of June, Vital, Kotoko, Killing, The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo, Haze) - Arrow

"Tetsuo the Iron Man alone is enough to make this set worthwhile, but having a large swath of this filmmaker's output in one set is icing on the cake. An essential own for anyone interested in the uniquely gonzo realm of Japanese extreme cinema." - Tim Kline

"Not a complete retrospective of Tsukamoto's career but certainly a great overview that collects together eight features spanning from his breakthrough 'Tetsuo: the Iron Man' to his latest, 'Killing.'"- Calvin MacKinnon

 -  Stray Cat Rock Collection [Blu-ray] (Delinquent Girl Boss, Wild Jumbo, Sex Hunter, Machine Animal and Beat '71) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

"My new guilty pleasure" - Neil Williams

 -  Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura [Blu-ray] - The Ballad of Narayama (1983), Zegen (1987) and Black Rain (1989) - Arrow US

 -  Sweeney! | Sweeney 2 - Double Feature [Blu-ray] Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 -  Takeshi Kitano Collection [Blu-ray] (1989-1993 - Violent Cop, Boiling Point and Sonatine) RB UK BFI

"Collecting three of Kitano's early works as a director and actor, this release has a special place for me personally as I was able to contribute a little for the extras in the package." - James-Masaki Ryan
 -  Their Finest Hour: 5 British WWII Classics [Blu-ray] (Went The Day Well, The Colditz Story, The Dam Busters, Dunkirk, Ice Cold In Alex) Film Movement

 -  Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi [Blu-ray] (Murders In The Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Very good transfers of Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat and The Raven backed by informative commentaries from such capable experts as Samm Deighan, Kat Ellinger, Lee Gambin, Greg Mank, Kim Newman and Gary Don Rhodes. Eureka spiced up this release by installing an Easter Egg on one disc. Perhaps conceived initially for release on Halloween rather than during the summer." - David Redfern

 -  The Vincent Price Collection [Blu-ray] - The Fall of House of Usher a.k.a House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Witchfinder General (1968) and The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Great to have this fine collection back in print for those of us who missed it the first time." - Schwarkkve

 


BLU-RAYs OF THE YEAR
 

1) First Place, Second Sight's (UK) Blu-ray of Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout. Very few films achieve a kind of subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure. Considered a cult favorite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film--about two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young aborigine. Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Roeg had always intended it to be a cautionary morality tale, in which the limitations and restrictions of civilization become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the aborigine's assistance. They become primitives themselves, if only temporarily, while the young aborigine proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilization. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation.

"For the 4K restoration and three softcover books."

- Jeff Heinrich

"Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout is one of the most memorable and iconic films of - not just the 70's - but of all time. Roeg communicated volumes with unique editing, sound and mise-en-scene. Seeing it in this new 4K-restored transfer - I fell in love with it on an even deeper level - the uncompressed mono audio, new commentary, and new interviews plus booklets make it extremely desirable. It is a limited edition box set of only 3,000 units. If you like the new HD 4K-restored presentation then this Blu-ray seems a must-own for cinephiles. An absolutely glorious presentation."

- DVDBeaver

"With a gorgeous new 4K restoration of Nic Roeg's masterpiece, excellent new extras and three (yes, 3!) books, Second Sight's release of Walkabout is one of the most impressive home video packages ever put together around a single film." - Calvin MacKinnon

"Very few films achieve a kind of subliminal greatness with cross-cultural impact, but Walkabout is one of those films--a visual tone poem that functions more as an allegory than a conventionally plotted adventure. Considered a cult favorite for years, Nicolas Roeg's 1971 film--about two British children who are rescued in the Australian outback by a young aborigine--was originally released in the U.S. with an R rating, edited from its European length of 100 minutes. In 1997, the film was fully restored to its director's cut, and in its remastered video and DVD release, it's now wisely unrated (as Roeg had always intended) but still suitable for viewers of all ages. For parents this is a rare opportunity to treat well-supervised children (ages 5 and over) to an adventure that won't insult their intelligence, presenting scenes of frontal nudity and the hunting of animals in a context that invites valuable discussion and introspection. Through exquisite cinematography and a story of subtle human complexity, the film continues to resonate on many thematic and artistic levels. Roeg had always intended it to be a cautionary morality tale, in which the limitations and restrictions of civilization become painfully clear when the two children (played by Jenny Agutter and Roeg's young son, Lucien John) cannot survive without the aborigine's assistance. They become primitives themselves, if only temporarily, while the young aborigine proves ultimately and tragically unable to join the "family" of civilization. With its story of two worlds colliding, Walkabout now seems like a film for the ages, hypnotic and open to several compelling levels of interpretation."

- Jeff Shannon

2) Second Place, Warner Archive's Blu-ray of 1933's Mystery of the Wax Museum. Bodies are mysteriously disappearing all over town, and a new wax museum has just opened. Is there a connection? But of course! In this horror classic, Fay Wray (King Kong) stars as the intended next victim of a mad wax sculptor obsessed with her resemblance to one of his prior creations. Glenda Farrell plays a quintessential wisecracking newspaper reporter, and noted actor Lionel Atwill is the deranged artist who loses his studio to a fire set by his partner. Filmed in the early Two-Color Technicolor process, The Mystery of the Wax Museum was considered a lost film for decades, until a well-worn print was discovered nearly 50 years ago. Thanks to the meticulous new restoration presented on this disc, the film can now be experienced as intended.

    

"Much anticipated digital restoration of a glorious Warner pre-code shocker with 2-strip Technicolor visuals and soundtrack given a splendid facelift. Looking forward to Warner Archive's current restoration of Dr X (hopefully with the surviving alternate black-and-white version)."

- David Redfern

3) Third Place, Warner Archive's Blu-ray of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1. There were several masters of animation during Hollywood's golden era. Of the top two geniuses, one created elaborate fairy tales and ornate feature-length fantasias -- the other guy was Tex Avery. He just wanted to make you laugh. Having already been integrally involved in the development of Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny for Warner Bros., Avery moved to MGM in 1941 to create a set of comedy masterpieces that defined a new slapstick style for animation, inspiring cartoonists, comedians and filmmakers for decades to come. Avery's unit at Metro Goldwyn Mayer was all about breaking the fourth wall, shattering expectations and making audiences fall down with laughter. His one-shot masterpieces, including Bad Luck Blackie, Red Hot Riding Hood and Symphony in Slang, have proven themselves pure gold. And continuing characters like Droopy, Screwball Squirrel and George & Junior -- not to mention Spike, Red and The Wolf - remain unforgettable comic personas among the top rank of cartoondom. Avery's cartoons were ahead of their time -- and their time has come. Finally committed to Blu-ray, this first collection of restored Technicolor shorts feels fresh and new, and is funnier than ever. This set will delight young and old - and will amaze a new generation ready to laugh again. - Jerry Beck, Animation Historian

   

"All of the cartoons in this release are undeniable classics, and this is the best they've ever looked in a home release. Very glad this sold well enough to keep future volumes coming."

- Tim Kline

 

"One year ago I wished for "Greed", "The Wind" or "The Devils" and none of them had a proper release this year in the Warner Archive collection. But with a stunning move, Warner opted for a long-awaited release of Tex Avery crazy wonderful cartoons in glorious HD and, finally, uncensored."

- Alfredo Santoro

4) Fourth Place, Eureka (UK)'s Blu-ray of Vaclav Marhoul's The Painted Bird. Featuring a staggering central performance from the young Petr Kotlar alongside a star-studded international ensemble including Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard, Harvey Keitel, Julian Sands and Barry Pepper. The Painted Bird has won ecstatic acclaim, with The Guardian's Xan Brooks describing the film as "a monumental piece of work" rewarding the film with a five-star review. The film follows the journey of a boy, entrusted by his Jewish parents to an elderly foster mother in an effort to escape persecution. Following a tragedy, the boy is on his own. Wandering through the desecrated countryside, the boy encounters villagers and soldiers whose own lives have been brutally altered, and who are intent on revisiting this brutality on the boy. When the war ends, the boy has been changed, forever. Shot in crisp black and white 35mm - Vaclav Marhoul's The Painted Bird does far more than simply depict the horror of war. It is an unflinching examination of the very worst of humanity.

  

"Flinch, cringe, marvel, watch the making-of."

- Jeff Heinrich

"The Painted Bird" is a paradox of a film, shot with such utter brilliance (each frame is more or less a painting) and yet the story wallows in such misery that it is hard to watch in one sitting. The picaresque of the grotesque will not be for some, but if you can stomach the film, it is worth watching for the gorgeous imagery alone."
- Colin Zavitz

5) Fifth Place, Criterion's Blu-ray of Byron Haskin's 1953 sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds. A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing - neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) - can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells's end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War-era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, The War of the Worlds is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.

 

"The George Pal/Byron Haskin classic makes it to Blu-ray in a new 4K digital restoration that, in my opinion, elevates it from iconic workhorse status to that of Hollywood masterpiece. The destruction of Los Angeles still holds up, looking better than ever, and comparable to the work of Ray Harryhausen."

- Schwarkkve

"It's hard to choose from Criterion's fantastic line-up this year (Ghost Dog, Holiday, Irishman, Teorema, Comfort of Strangers etc.). This is a populist choice, but given Paramount's lateness into the BD game, this may have been the most wished-for disc by the largest number of people for a decade. Iconic visuals indeed. Criterion (and Paramount) should be lauded."
- Peter Yacavone

6) Sixth Place, Indicator's (Powerhouse - UK) Blu-ray of Richard Franklin's Ozploitation essential Road Games. Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) star in Richard Franklin's 1981 Australian horror classic, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Read Window. Keach plays Quid, an American trucker who, with the help of Curtis's hitchhiker, tracks down a serial killer active on the long, empty roads of southern Australia. This deluxe, extras-laden edition boasts an all-new 2020 restoration from a 4K scan of the duplicate negative, produced exclusively for this release.

"This is easily the definitive digital edition of the Ozploitation gem Road Games - leaving no stone unturned and in a beautiful, complete, Blu-ray package. Indicator separate themselves from the crowd... again. Road Games is an above-average murder-thriller with its own genre-appeal. It has plenty of undisclosed details (Jamie Lee Curtis as an heiress hitchhiking in the middle of the desert?) but Keach was a great, final, choice for the lead and it has some engaging suspenseful sequences. Strongly recommended!"

- DVDBeaver

7) Seventh Place, Criterion's Blu-ray of Claire Denis' Beau Travail. With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor, Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Gregoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten.

Denis and cinematographer Agnes Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism's legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.

   

"Claire Denis' masterpiece never seen better in more than 20 years. A wonderful restoration for a movie that had stood the test of time."

- Alfredo Santoro

"Beau travail" is just as moving today as it ever was, and Criterion's transfer is perfect."

- Colin Zavitz

"I voted for BEAU TRAVAIL as one of the best discs of the year"

- Jason Overbeck

"It has taken a long long time to arrive on Blu Ray, and Criterion has done it's release right. The film is like a dream you had in a fever. A dream about 'masculinity' if you like- of male bodies, power, violence, cruelty and sex. The Jenkins - Denis lockdown supplement was a nice feature."
- Billy Bang

"Claire Denis' Beau Travail has both a powerful and ethereal quality to it. I think I could watch Denis Lavant in anything and the marriage of lonely desert scenery, impacting music and subtle interpersonal conflict builds to a unprecedented moving climax. I don't know a lot of cinema this art-based that works so effortlessly in reaching its audience. Truly a special work that still deserves its celebration 2 decades later. To have it on Criterion's stellar 4K restored Blu-ray visuals, tight uncompressed stereo audio and valuable interviews, visual essay and booklet is a reason to rejoice for cinephiles. It seldom gets this good - maybe a few times a year. Our highest recommendation!"

- DVDBeaver

 

8) Eight Place, Masters of Cinema's (Eureka) Blu-ray of Robert Siodmak's "Criss Cross". Illicit passion, greed, robbery, and murder collide in Criss Cross, a crime suspense tale from a true master of the genre, Robert Siodmak (The Killers.)

Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) is a hardworking armoured car driver with a fatal attraction to his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne DeCarlo), who's now married to notorious hoodlum Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Unable to stay away from her, Steve has a secret tryst with Anna ... only to be discovered by Dundee. To cover up their affair, Steve convinces Dundee that he only met with Anna to get Dundee's help in robbing an upcoming payroll shipment he will be driving. The hood falls for the ruse, which triggers a series of harrowing events that ultimately lead to violence and death.

"Upgrade of a previous DVD from Universal which was adequate in picture and sound with just a trailer. End of story. The new Masters of Cinema edition blows the DVD out of the water with a premium 4k restoration, two audio commentaries, radio adaptation, trailer and booklet. A Blu-Ray definition of the ridiculous to the sublime."
- David Redfern

"I'm so pleased with this release after being under-whelmed by the Shout! Factory Blu-ray. It wins in all categories and I also love the cover as the best of those in this comparison. PREMIUM Noir! - the Martin and Gambin commentaries add even more value and we endorse with with our highest recommendation. Don't hesitate!"

- DVDBeaver

9) Ninth Place, Masters of Cinema's (Eureka) Blu-ray of Masaki Kobayashi's "Kwaidan". After more than a decade of sober political dramas and social-minded period pieces, the great Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi (The Human Condition) shifted gears dramatically for this rapturously stylized quartet of ghost stories. Featuring colorfully surreal sets and luminous cinematography, these haunting tales of demonic comeuppance and spiritual trials, adapted from writer Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folklore, are existentially frightening and meticulously crafted.

"Should be waved in front of the eyes of anyone who writes an article about 'The Death of Blu Ray.' Entrancing."
- Neil Williams

"Kwaidan is just... ravishing - the segments have become iconic; The Black Hair, The Woman of the Snow, Hoichi the Earless and In a Cup of Tea. It is one of the most unique and beautiful 'ghost' stories ever put to film. It was an ambitious undertaking for director Masaki Kobayashi and his film anthology has equal parts minimalist Japanese folklore, history and the chilling supernatural. The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray package is also brilliant and has our strongest recommendation!"

- DVDBeaver

"While we wait for an obviously needed 4K UHD presentation, this one from Eureka, replete with sweet special features is the one to get."

- Leonard Norrwitz

"A stunning set."
-William Leitch

"The special edition soon sold out, but forget the packaging it's the pixels that count! Stunning picture quality elevates a ravishing deployment of colour photography designed to give four ghost stories a deep sense of legend and trepidation. It's like watching music come to life."

- David Redfern

10) Tenth Place, Second Run's (UK) Region FREE Blu-ray of Tsai Ming-Liang's "Goodbye, Dragon Inn". "This 4K restoration of Tsai Ming-Liang's "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" (or at least the 2019 Venice festival screening) was approved by the director himself, according to the included interview. The visuals on display put the older SD DVD releases to shame. Fans of the film (myself included) can appreciate the even better sound mixing, here in both the surround Audio and stereo. The extras are few but precious, as the interview with Tsai is worth the price of admission alone. This Blu-ray is highly recommended to fellow 'slow cinema' fans."
- Colin Zavitz

11th - 50th TOP Blu-rays of 2020


11)
Roma [Blu-ray] (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"The first Netflix feature released by Criterion marks the first time ever a Criterion title has been released in Europe outside UK: released thru Warner Home Entertainment, and with the inclusion of subtitles in several languages, Criterion edition of "Roma" has seen the light in France, Germany and Italy too!"

 - Alfredo Santoro

"A unique, different kind cinematic experience wherein, although a lot happens, it appears to be antidotal, the movie seems to go nowhere. That is because the main character, the one who is the focus of our attention, the one who literally deals with life and death and other existential crisis in the course of the narrative, is a humble servant of little consequence to the general populace, who, although loved by the family she serves, goes largely unnoticed as a person, an individual, at the margins in that world of discreetly charming bourgeois."

 - Schwarkkve

12) CzechMate: In Search of Jiri Menzel [Blu-ray] (Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, 2018) UK Second Run

"A marathon of a film celebrating not just Menzel but the entire family of Czechoslovakian film makers whose films from their own New Wave still astonishes and delights. And who better than Second Run to put this out ! They have been putting these treasures on DVD and now Blu Ray for some time now. Dungapur's film has not just talking heads but wonderful (and restored) clips of films that are yet to see release for the home market. No doubt Second Run will be getting many of these out for us in time to come!"

- Billy Bang

- "A deep-dive into the New Wave."

- Jeff Heinrich

13) Eva aka "Eve" [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1962) UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Described as a "film maudit" - existing in multiple, doctored, versions, Joseph Losey's Eve (aka "Eva" or "The Devil's Woman") remains... a fascinating work by the lauded, and often enigmatic, director. I was frequently reminded of Antonioni as I watched Eve. As usual, Jeanne Moreau commands the screen, Stanley Baker pushes his acting chops successfully, and there is good support from the likes of Virna Lisi, Lisa Gastoni and others. Indicator have gone above and beyond (again!) with this incredible Blu-ray edition."

- DVDBeaver

14) Show Boat [Blu-ray] (James Whale, 1936) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"James Whale's often overlooked masterwork gets the Criterion treatment and a setting that gives context for understanding and appreciating the film."

- Schwarkkve

15) The War of the Worlds [Blu-ray] (Byron Haskin, 1953) Region FREE Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

"If votes for this title were combined (Criterion and Imprint), it likely would have been in the TOP 3 this year. With the Imprint you get the two additional commentaries and the handsome slipcase package"

- Gary

16) The Cameraman [Blu-ray] (Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton, 1928) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)
"A masterpiece that truly needed Criterion (and Cineteca di Bologna, and someone at Warner) to be saved. Another super edition with two oter main features: the subsequent 1929 feature "Spite Marriage" and "So Funny It Hurts", from Kevin Brownlow and Christopher Bird."

- Alfredo Santoro

"Surely one of the most fervently awaited restorations and/or BD releases ever. Certainly mine." - Peter Yacavone

17) Come and See [Blu-ray] (Elem Klimov, 1985) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Stark portraiture by Jaxon Northon."

- Jeff Heinrich

"War! What is it good for? ... Blu Ray. Watched it three months ago and still imprinted on my psyche."

- Neil Williams

"Saw this at the Scala, in King's Cross London, a couple of times in 1988. Once seen, you carry its images, of beauty and madness and horrors in your head forever. Repeated viewing don't diminish its power. Criterion's presentation is as pristine as it can get. The cover art work alone (by Jaxon Northon) can take the place of a whole essay. Alexi Kravchenko's performance is every bit as iconic as Renee Falconetti's."

- Billy Bang

18) Raining in the Mountain [Blu-ray] (King Hu, 1979) RB UK Eureka (BEAVER REVIEW)

"...great commentary (see below) on one my favourite films of all time, which I saw at the World Film Festival, on 35mm in 1979 (but not as great a restoration as normal by the Taipei Film Institute"

- Peter Rist

19) The Cranes Are Flying [Blu-ray] (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"And so are the crane shots. Criterion provides a stellar edition of Mikhail Kalatozov's 1957 film, an archetypically Russian story and a landmark of Soviet Cinema."

- Schwarkkve

20) The Pillow Book [Blu-ray] (Peter Greenaway, 1996) Region Free UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

- "The director's fans should snap this Indicator Blu-ray up - another unique, and visually memorable film from Greenaway. easily the best package for the film. Strongly Recommended!"

- DVDBeaver

21) Spring Night, Summer Night [Blu-ray] (Joseph L. Anderson, 1967) R0 UK Indicator / Flicker Alley (BEAVER REVIEW)

"I am very happy for my buddy Peter Conheim and his extensive effort in helping bringing this project to fruition. It is because of releases like this that I love both film and Blu-ray. This is something to revisit for years . It will have a special place in my digital disc library."
- DVDBeaver

22) Crash [Blu-ray] (David Cronenberg, 1996) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"David Cronenberg's Crash is one of the most fascinating large-budget films ever made. Some say it is akin to driving by a car accident... and slowing down. I applaud the director's bravery and love all his films for their uniqueness and bold, emotionally wrenching, expressions. My ex-girlfriend was an editing intern on Crash. I loved revisiting this in the image resolution of HD. The score is and effects are especially effective in the lossless. It's such a curious film that it is ultimately rewatchable over the years. I'm very happy with the Criterion Blu-ray for both the 4K-restored, director approved a/v and the fabulous extras including the invaluable commentary, Q+A and press conference."
- DVDBeaver

23) The Curse of Frankenstein [Blu-ray] (Terence Fisher, 1957) Warner Archives (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW)

"An unexpectedly lavish release of the best film ever made in Britain by someone other than Hitchcock. Period."
- Peter Yacavone

24) Distant Journey [Blu-ray] (Alfred Radok, 1950) RB UK Second Run (BEAVER REVIEW)

"In 1998, Czech film critics voted on their country's greatest films. The oldest film in the top 10 was Alfred Radok's Distant Journey (Daleka cesta), which was the only film unavailable in the UK - until Second Run's essential release this year. Distant Journey really is a remarkable work from a director who would never do anything like it again and, despite almost an entire genre of cinema on the subject of the Holocaust that would follow, nobody else has really came close either."

- Calvin MacKinnon

25) Quai des Orfevres [Blu-ray] (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1947) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Quai des Orfevres is a crime-thriller masterpiece from one of the greats; Henri-Georges Clouzot. I really enjoyed my viewing in HD. Nothing diminishes upon revisitation - in fact, it tends to improve. The Kino Blu-ray with the Pinkerton commentary has essential value. World cinema fans need to own this. Your collection is weaker without it."
- DVDBeaver

"This 4K restoration of Clouzot had a prior, British, release; but Kino's Region A edition, with commentary added, shouldn't get lost in the shuffle." - Peter Yacavone

26) Black Angel [Blu-ray] (Roy William Neill, 1946) Arrow Academy UK / US (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Black Angel is a gem of the noir cycle. Please stay tuned here as to the eventual 'fixed' Arrow Blu-ray - where we will post more information. I don't think the skewed aspect ratio was distributed to the public (or only a few) so the current links may be for the accurate transfer."
- DVDBeaver

27) Taste of Cherry [Blu-ray] (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"A flawless masterpiece. Relevant to everyone who has despaired, it is hauntingly sad but suffused with grace. Each encounter the middle aged driver has- with 3 men at different stages in their lives- are like stations of the cross. The coda that ends the film will irritate many- but how else was the Islamic Republic going to allow a film about suicide to end? Not with a black empty screen!"
- Billy Bang

28) The Great Escape [Blu-ray] (John Sturges, 1963) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"one step closer to having all the Laser Disc Criterions on disc"
-Gabriel Neeb

"One of the most re-watchable 'escape' films of all time. It hasn't lost any of its entertainment value seeing all the young stars in supporting roles. The Great Escape has contained set pieces and it works with immense suspense (Sturges' strength.) The new Criterion Blu-ray with superior 4K-restored video, finally the option of authentic mono audio, the two commentaries and valuable Michael Sragow piece - gets a very strong recommendation! If you love the film - as many of us do - this is the home theatre issue to own. "
-DVDBeaver

29) Portrait of a Lady on Fire [Blu-ray] (Celine Sciamma, 2019) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"A visually and emotionally beautiful movie. This Criterion package does have some flaws, but the quality and impact of the film itself more than make up for them."
-Tim Kline

"Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire is gorgeous, deeply emotional cinema. It doesn't spell out details - but shows them in inference (and the character's eyes) via frequently impressive visuals - from close-ups to painterly landscapes. There are revelatory echoes of Bergman's Persona and a high degree of sexual tension and lust floating in every latter scene. It's a stunning films and one to treasure on Blu-ray. A fabulous film experiences - our highest recommendation! "
-DVDBeaver

30) Lonely Are the Brave [Blu-ray] (David Miller, 1962) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Stunning quality restoration of Kirk Douglas' personal favorite."
- Schwarkkve

31) Satantango [Blu-ray] (Bela Tarr, 1994) RB UK Artificial Eye

"Long overdue on BR. Long. In my top two of all-time faves."
- Neil Williams

32) Roman Holiday [Blu-ray] (William Wyler, 1953) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Paramount's new line of "Paramount Presents" has been questionable, with not so good transfers on some and not porting over all the previous extras on others. Cinema favorite "Roman Holiday" got it right with an excellent transfer of the 4K restoration with all the relevant DVD-era extra carried over, and adding one short new extra."

- James-Masaki Ryan

33) Phase IV [Blu-ray] (Saul Bass, 1974) RB UK 101 Films (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW)

"I loved Phase IV. It was more an intellectual creature-feature - evoking sci-fi gems like The Andromeda Strain, breaching the sterility of the lab to face a new enemy (kinda). With Bass at the helm, Phase IV is a very visual film - not so much effects as interesting eye candy way beyond simple close-ups of menacing ants. Very cool - good pace, tension and suspense."
- DVDBeaver

"Thanks to 101 Films, we finally have a definitive release of Saul Bass' directorial works."

- Calvin MacKinnon

34) Long Day's Journey Into Night [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1962) UK Eureka BEAVER REVIEW)

"...underappreciated works from the great Sidney Lumet "

- Alfredo Santoro

35) The Beast Must Die [Blu-ray] (Paul Annett, 1974) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Paul Annett's The Beast Must Die was the last horror by Amicus. After this the studio did The Land That Time Forgot (1975), At the Earth's Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977.) The Beast Must Die is a great historical 70's artifact of the genre and studio. A cracker of a werewolf-mystery - goofy but very cool on many levels. It's a film that has greatly benefited by transfer to Blu-ray from Indicator and the extras make it a worthwhile purchase."

- DVDBeaver

36) I, Monster [Blu-ray] (Stephen Weeks, 1971) RB Indicator UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Stephen Weeks' I, Monster is not Hammer, but Amicus (only a stone's throw away) with favorites Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It has many of the genre conventions that fans love and I thought the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde angle was well done. Weeks' new commentary really helped me garner more appreciation."
- DVDBeaver

37) La Haine [Blu-ray] (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) RB UK BFI (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW)

"Undoubtedly one of the best films ever made, with excellent characters in the leads, a visually astonishing look, and a fresh yet timeless feel that only becomes more relevant in the more recent years with its social message. The BFI's release is an excellent one with a superb transfer of the 4K restoration with a great selection of new and vintage extras."
- James-Masaki Ryan

"relevant and powerful."
- William Leitch

"Stunning package - took me back to the mid-90s, sat bolt upright in the Lumiere Cinema in Shaftesbury Avenue."
- Neil Williams

38) The Strange One [Blu-ray] (Jack Garfein, 1957) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

"The Strange One has an intentional uncomfortable-ness surrounding it. I thought the history discussed by Pinkerton about Jack Garfein and the whole production increased my appreciation by quite a lot, although I already liked the film. Certainly the upgrade to Blu-ray is a welcome one what with the lackluster DVD - and with the inclusion of the new supplements makes this very easy to recommend. Tons of value here. "
- DVDBeaver

39) Leave Her to Heaven [Blu-ray] (John M. Stahl, 1945) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Stahl's only true Film Noir. Visually the film almost seduces you with it's beauty, even beyond Gene Tierney, steering you to dark melodramatic secrets.  An absolute must-own in the best a/v presentation available for this lush Technicolor masterpiece of cinematography. Imogen Sara Smith's video piece adds immerse value. Must own, imo."

- DVDBeaver

40) Five Graves to Cairo [Blu-ray] (Billy Wilder, 1943) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Billy Wilder's Five Graves to Cairo is an brilliant, subtle, war-thriller. The storyline has some sneaky moral shifts (helping the war effort), great characters and I think it has been unjustly neglected and distanced from Wilder's more lauded works - possibly because of the propagandized conclusion. Yes, the Kino has much more grain, richer black levels, no cue-blips (reel change marks - see last capture) and looks like a legitimate 4K restoration. It wins the HD image presentation hands-down. "
- DVDBeaver

41) Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [Blu-ray] (Jaromil Jires, 1970) Region Free UK Second Run (BEAVER REVIEW)

"With the difference in the video presentation and addition of two commentaries makes this Second Run Blu-ray just as desirable and to even double-dip on this important title. This is a package I will cherish "
- DVDBeaver

42) Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai [Blu-ray] (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"...much needed transfer upgrade"
- Gregg Ferencz

43) This Gun for Hire [Blu-ray] (Frank Tuttle, 1942) Eureka (BEAVER REVIEW)

"....distinctly different for the commentaries but Eureka have the two radio plays and 24-page booklet with photos and essay. If forced to choose one - it would be this Eureka Blu-ray, although it seemed to take me forever to receive it here in Canada. This film, Ladd's break-out role, is a must-own for 'Dark Cinema' aficionados, and having it on Blu-ray is also strongly recommended to everyone."
- DVDBeaver

44) The Golem [Blu-ray] (Carl Boese, Paul Wegener, 1920) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

"So, that's it - another release of this essential, seminal, horror, offering a different video presentation, all the previous three audio score options and a new commentary by our favorite Tim Lucas PLUS the 22-minite comparisons, narrated by him. I think that's enough of a sales job for me. I encourage others to indulge - this is deeply ensconced intro 'must own' Blu-ray territory. "
- DVDBeaver

45) The Man Who Laughs [Blu-ray] (Paul Leni, 1928) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

"The most notable difference is in the supplements. Masters of Cinema also include the 14-minute visual essay by film historian and author, John Soister, on Leni's work at Universal during this period... and also a rare images stills gallery. They do add new extras though; a dozen minute interview with author and horror expert Kim Newman - who is always a pleasure to hear from - and brand new 1/2 hour video essay by David Cairns and Fiona Watson that is impressive. In their handsome package Master of Cinema also include a collector's booklet featuring new writing by Travis Crawford, and Richard Combs. This is a beautiful package and, imo, the definitive one. With the superior image transfer and valued new supplements including the booklet it has our highest recommendation! "
- DVDBeaver

46) Blood on the Moon [Blu-ray] (Robert Wise, 1948) Warner Archive

"Robert Mitchum and Barbara Bel Geddes star in this taut Western thriller about a gunslinging drifter who realizes hes been hired to be a villain."

47) Made in Hong Kong [Blu-ray] (Fruit Chan, 1997) RB UK Eureka Entertainment (BEAVER REVIEW)

"I was blown away by Fruit Chan's Made in Hong Kong. What an amazingly layered piece of, modestly-budgeted, cinema. Brilliant - I would watch fabulous work like this all the time. Such a beautifully realized film for the Masters of Cinema to bring to 4K-restored Blu-ray with the revealing interviews and the booklet as extras - nice cover and packaging too!"
- DVDBeaver

48) Cisco Pike [Blu-ray] (Bill Norton, 1971) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

"I agree with Drenner in the commentary when he states that Cisco Pike is severely underrated and unjustly forgotten. It's a excellent film and a fabulous choice for Indicator to bring to Blu-ray. The commentary and extras (including booklet) add further value."
- DVDBeaver

49) Sunday Bloody Sunday [Blu-ray] (John Schlesinger, 1971) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

"BFI have advanced on the Criterion with a great package of supplements - commentary, new interviews, shorts, booklet - and the film looking equally as impressive as its US counterpart. Wonderful to revisit this masterwork - brilliantly ahead of its time - with such great performances. Certainly the BFI Blu-ray is worthy of a double-dip. This is a real keepsake package and a film you can watch for the rest of your life. "
- DVDBeaver

50) Husbands [Blu-ray] (John Cassavetes, 1970) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Shot with a lot of his own money, script written by himself, and filmed, often, at his own house - Cassavetes purely defines the 'independent film' with Husbands. He constantly re-edited for over a year. The Criterion Blu-ray is a must-own for fans of the director - the father of US Indie cinema. Husbands a subtly impacting experience - one that stays with you long after it's over... "
- DVDBeaver

 

Gary's 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' list


Some titles come out late in the year and aren't seen, or just get by the collective radar. This is my 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' list of a few Blu-rays and a couple of 4K UHD titles that, I think, deserved a little more love than our poll supplied them. For myself, they are 'keepers' (in alphabetical order):

 

 - All About My Mother [Blu-ray] (Pedro Almodovar, 1999) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- this NOT making the list is one of those rare anomalies - like a hundred year event - a few votes, just not enough to crack the TOP 50

 - All I Desire [Blu-ray] (Douglas Sirk, 1953) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Babs, Babs, Babs...

 - Amores Perros [Blu-ray] (Alejandro G. Inarritu, 2000) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- alive with verite tensions, stark realism, human emotion, love and survivalism... in the intended filmmaker presentation

 - And Hope to Die [Blu-ray] (Rene Clement, 1972) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Ape [Blu-ray] (William Nigh, 1940) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Boris Karloff transforms into a killer ape terrorizing a small town. Nu'ff said 

 - Army of Shadows [Blu-ray] (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Asylum [Blu-ray] (Roy Ward Baker, 1972) RB UK Second Sight (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Attack of the Crab Monsters [Blu-ray] (Roger Corman, 1957) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

- pragmatic 50's 'B' creature-features where the 'monster' visuals are always underwhelming

 - Backlash [Blu-ray] (John Sturges, 1956) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Balcony [Blu-ray] (Joseph Strick, 1963) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Beguiled [Blu-ray] (Don Siegel, 1971) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- this has become a significant part of the cinema conversation in the years since its initial release...

 - The Beyond [Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1981) Shameless UK Region FREE (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Beyond the Door [Blu-ray] (Ovidio G. Assonitis, Robert Barrett, 1974) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Black Gravel [Blu-ray] (Helmut Kautner, 1961) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- evokes Film Noir, Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear with the atmosphere of Carol Reed's The Third Man

 - Black Rainbow [Blu-ray] (Mike Hodges, 1989) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

- religious-based medium played by Rosanna Arquette with psychic predictions of murder...

 - Breezy [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1973) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Brick [Blu-ray] (Rian Johnson, 2005) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

- this Kino Blu-ray is, by far, the best way to enjoy this unique and addictive film experience. Great a/v, commentary and more

 - Brighton Rock [Blu-ray] (John Boulting, 1948) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Brute Force [Blu-ray] (Jules Dassin, 1947) Criterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Candy Snatchers [Blu-ray] (Guerdon Trueblood, 1973) Region Free US Vinegar Syndrome (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Captive Heart [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1946) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Carole Lombard Collection I [Blu-ray] - Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Cat and the Canary [Blu-ray] (Elliott Nugent, 1939) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- good old-fashioned, Bob Hope, fun but I appreciated the fright-fest side of the film more than the humor

 - Christ Stopped at Eboli [Blu-ray] (Francesco Rosi, 1979) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)
"Carlo Levi's book was published in 1947 and translated into English 1948. Right from his first sentence in the brief prologue he evokes in us, through his prose, a nostalgia and fascination for worlds where modernity never arrived. It took 30 years for Rosi to get that on to film, and his fealty to the book is never in doubt. Criterion give us the full 4 hour version which allows the film to be as leisurely as the book. Marvellous supplements too, especially the interview with translator Michael F. Moore. A must buy" - Billy Bang

 - Cobra Woman [Blu-ray] (Robert Siodmak, 1944) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Come Drink with Me [Blu-ray] (King Hu, 1966) RB UK 88 Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Probably THE most influential martial arts films of all time - this is just about perfect in every sense.

 - Confidence [Blu-ray] (Istvan Szabo, 1980) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Cremator [Blu-ray] (Juraj Herz, 1969) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Criminal (aka The Concrete Jungle) [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1960) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Curse of the Undead [Blu-ray] (Edward Dein, 1959) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Dance, Girl, Dance [Blu-ray] (Dorothy Arzner, 1940) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Danger Within [Blu-ray] (Bryan Forbes, 1960) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Day of the Dolphin [Blu-ray] (Mike Nichols, 1973) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Deep [Blu-ray] (Peter Yates, 1977) RB UK 101 Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Dementia [Blu-ray] (John Parker, 1955) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Destry Rides Again [Blu-ray] (George Marshall , 1939) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Devil in a Blue Dress [Blu-ray] (Carl Franklin, 1995) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

- highly enjoyable neo-noir mystery/thriller - Denzel, Tom Sizemore, Don Cheadle, and Jennifer Beals in seedy 40's L.A.

 - Disputed Passage [Blu-ray] (Frank Borzage, 1939) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Diva [Blu-ray] (Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- "There was a European release a few years ago on Blu-ray which, passing all understanding, transferred this aural beauty in compressed audio. KL not only makes that right but gives us a pretty nice image and pissloads of nice bonus features." - Leonard Norwitz

 - Dr. Cyclops [Blu-ray] (Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1940) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Dragnet [Blu-ray] (Jack Webb, 1954) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Dragons Forever [Blu-ray] (Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Corey Yuen, 1988) RB UK 88 Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Endless Night [Blu-ray] (Sidney Gilliat, 1972) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Equus [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1977) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Eyewitness [Blu-ray] (John Hough, 1970) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Face at the Window [Blu-ray] (George King, 1939) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Fail-Safe [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet , 1964) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- a favorite film; "Damn it, Grady, this is the President!"

 - The Flesh and the Fiends [Blu-ray] (John Gilling, 1960) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Frankenstein: The True Story [Blu-ray] (Jack Smight, 1973) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell [Blu-ray] (Terence Fisher, 1974) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Frankenstein Created Woman (Terence Fisher, 1967) RB Germany Anolis (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Metaphysics and Murder and Frankenstein and the Two Faces of Eve documentaries shine brightly against the other two Blu-rays

 - The Fugitive Kind [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1960) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Funeral Parade of Roses [Blu-ray] (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Fury of the Wolfman [Blu-ray] (Jose Maria Zabalza, 1972) Scorpion Releasing (BEAVER REVIEW)

- perhaps the most scattered Naschy 'Professor Daninsky' entry - a total mess - I loved it

 - Gerry [Blu-ray] (Gus Van Sant, 2002) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Gunfighter [Blu-ray] (Henry King, 1950) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the most re-watchable of all westerns. The Gunfighter is western-genre perfection

 - The Great Leap [Blu-ray] (Leni Riefenstahl, 1927) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Great McGinty [Blu-ray] (Preston Sturges, 1940) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Grey Fox [Blu-ray] (Phillip Borsos, 1982) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- "Because it's a Canadian classic, a northern Western, finally on disc." - Jeff Heinrich

 - Hair [Blu-ray] (Milos Forman, 1979) Olive Signature (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Hard Eight [Blu-ray] (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1996) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- PTA. Massive a/v Upgrade. Director commentary.

 - High Noon [Blu-ray] (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) RB UK Eureka (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - High Plains Drifter [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1973) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Hit [Blu-ray] (Stephen Frears, 1984) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Hollywood Horror House [Blu-ray] (Donald Wolfe, 1970) Vinegar Syndrome (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Horrors of Spider Island [Blu-ray] (Fritz Bottger, 1960) Severin (BEAVER REVIEW)

- exquisite trash cinema - right up there with Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory

 - The House by the Cemetery [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1981) Blue Underground (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - House by the River [Blu-ray] (Fritz Lang, 1950) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - I Married a Monster from Outer Space [Blu-ray] (Gene Fowler Jr., 1958) Region FREE Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Inferno of Torture [Blu-ray] (Teruo Ishii, 1969) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - An Inspector Calls [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1954) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Invasion [Blu-ray] (Alan Bridges, 1965) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Invisible Man [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Leigh Whannell , 2020) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - "2020's The Invisible Man is a very good and inventive, modernized take on the H.G. Wells story. Certainly unique advancing beyond Paul Verhoeven's 2000 Hollow Man, which seems pretty sleazy by comparison. I first appreciated the talents of Elisabeth Moss in Top of the Lake (which I highly recommend!) and 2015's Queen of Earth. The Invisible Man is very entertaining with intelligent twists and a genuinely creepy atmosphere. I loved my 4K UHD viewing and we give this a strong endorsement for adopters of the format"
- DVDBeaver

 - Je t'aime moi non plus [Blu-ray] (Serge Gainsbourg, 1976) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Kiss the Blood Off My Hands [Blu-ray] (Norman Foster, 1948) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- absolutely wonderful - a quick, simple dark-cinema gem with two hypnotic stars; Burt Lancaster and Joan Fontaine (NOTE: We've learned more about communicable disease and general hygiene since this film was titled)

 - The Lady Eve [Blu-ray] (Preston Sturges, 1941) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection [Blu-ray] (Orgasmo, So Sweet... So Perverse, A Quiet Place to Kill, and Knife of Ice) Severin Films

 - Let's Scare Jessica to Death [Blu-ray] (John D. Hancock, 1971) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Light at the Edge of the World [Blu-ray] (Kevin Billington, 1971) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Little Joe [Blu-ray] (Jessica Hausner, 2019) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum [Blu-ray] (Schlondorff / von Trotta, 1975) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Lost Weekend [Blu-ray] (Billy Wilder, 1945) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Billy Wilder's film is a subtly escalating film with grim realism peering around every corner

 - Madchen in Uniform [Blu-ray] (Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich, 1931) Kino Classics (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Mademoiselle [Blu-ray] (Tony Richardson, 1966) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- dark with evil, sociopathic, acts by the lead - yet beautifully formulated visually, expressing extensive symbology

 - Man in the Shadow [Blu-ray] (Jack Arnold, 1957) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Man on the Run [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Huntington, 1949) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- key post-war British Noir unseen since the late 1940s

 - Manon [Blu-ray] (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1949) Arrow (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Maroc 7 [Blu-ray] (Gerry O'Hara, 1967) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Max and the Junkmen [Blu-ray] (Claude Sautet, 1971) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Me and You and Everyone We Know [Blu-ray] (Miranda July, 2005) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Mephisto [Blu-ray] (Istvan Szabo, 1981) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- "Kino released three Istvan Szabo films from new restorations this year and all three of them come highly recommended. 'Remembrance of production designer Jozsef Romvari', directed by his granddaughter Sophy Romvari, is perhaps the standout extra of the year -heartfelt, engaging and informative. It is duplicated across all three releases - Mephisto, Confidence and Colonel Redl." - Calvin MacKinnon

 - Mothra [Blu-ray] (Ishiro Honda,1961) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Mouchette [Blu-ray] (Robert Bresson, 1967) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- an absolute masterpiece. It becomes more devastatingly pure with age. A film, and commentary, I can revisit for the rest of my life.

 - My Gun Is Quick [Blu-ray] (Victor Saville , 1957) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Mystery Men [Blu-ray] (Kinka Usher, 1999) RB UK 88 Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

- this formidable comedy gem - with great dialogue and memorable performances - is incredibly rewatchable... even after 20-years

 - The Night My Number Came Up [Blu-ray] (Leslie Norman, 1955) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

- a full-length, British, Twilight Zone episode - magnificent!

 - Night Tide [Blu-ray] (Curtis Harrington, 1961) UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Nights of Cabiria [Blu-ray] (Federico Fellini, 1957) RB UK Studio Canal

- this single edition Blu-ray (as opposed to Criterion Essential Fellini Box) - came out first - from Studio Canal in Europe, has optional English subtitles and the same Fellini 100th anniversary restoration. It deserves mention!

 - The Oscar [Blu-ray] (Russell Rouse, 1966) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Outcast of the Islands [Blu-ray] (Carol Reed, 1951) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Pandora and the Flying Dutchman [Blu-ray] (Albert Lewin, 1951) Cohen Media (BEAVER REVIEW)

- magical and mysterious Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a timeless film. It has Ava Gardner at her most beautiful - captured angelically by Jack Cardiff's camera. The film offers one of the more unique stories of its (or any) era. It stands as a mythological-romance -fantasy of which there are few to compare

 - Passport to Shame [Blu-ray] (Alvin Rakoff, 1958) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- wildly art-driven Brit-Noir with the sexcentric Diana Dors.

 - The Passion of Darkly Noon [Blu-ray] (Philip Ridley, 1995) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Picture Mommy Dead [Blu-ray] (Bert I. Gordon, 1966) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Play Misty for Me [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1971) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Clint Eastwood's directorial debut is a fabulous thriller evoking 'obsession' films like "Fatal Attraction" made 17 years later

 - Pool of London [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1951) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Pray for the Wildcats [Blu-ray] (Robert Michael Lewis, 1974) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- travels to exceedingly dark places - almost Deliverance-esque. We get some acting chops from Andy of Mayberry, Captain Kirk and Mike Brady

 - Puzzle of a Downfall Child [Blu-ray] (Jerry Schatzberg, 1970) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - A Quiet Place [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook (John Krasinski, 2018) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Rasputin: The Mad Monk [Blu-ray] (Don Sharp, 1966) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

- imperfect but unique Hammer - I liked it - so there!

 - Rawhead Rex [Blu-ray] (George Pavlou, 1986) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Return from the Ashes [Blu-ray] (J. Lee Thompson, 1965) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Room at the Top [Blu-ray] (Jack Clayton, 1959) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Seance on a Wet Afternoon [Blu-ray] (Bryan Forbes, 1964) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Secret Ceremony [Blu-ray] (Joseph Losey, 1968) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Shop Around the Corner [Blu-ray] (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940) Warner Archive

 - Shutter Island [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 2010) Region Free Paramount US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Siege of Pinchgut [Blu-ray] (Harry Watt, 1959) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Sign of the Cross [Blu-ray] (Cecil B. De Mille), 1932) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Pre-Code Cecil B. DeMille - Joyzelle Joyner and Colbert encapsulate Roman era sexuality - this is quite an amazing piece of cinema glory

 - Skeleton of Mrs. Morales [Blu-ray] (Rogelio A. Gonzalez, 1960) VCI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- I liked this - a surprisingly 60's Mexican Crime/Horror discovery... with some comedy - impressive cinematographic angles - more like this please

 - The Slasher (aka Cosh Boy) [Blu-ray] (Lewis Gilbert, 1953) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Sorry, Wrong Number [Blu-ray] (Anatole Litvak, 1948) RB Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Square Ring [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1953) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- five different stories collide around one night of boxing - the corruption, heartache, selfish women, occupational hazard injuries, love... this Brit-Noir has the always alluring, doe-eyed, Edith Keeller (Joan Collins) in an early role

 - Summer of Sam [Blu-ray] (Spike Lee, 1999) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Supernatural [Blu-ray] (Victor Halperin, 1933) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Tenant [Blu-ray] (Roman Polanski, 1976) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - There's Always Tomorrow [Blu-ray] (Douglas Sirk, 1955) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- unjustly neglected Sirk film that improves with repeat viewings. There is so much to examine even beyond the melodrama triangle, mid-life crisis and male-female dynamic for with both adults and adolescents

 - The Third Lover [Blu-ray] (Claude Chabrol, 1962) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi [Blu-ray] RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Throw Down [Blu-ray] (Johnnie To, 2004) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Johnnie To's personal favorite of his own films - with dreams, desires, achieving goals, being trapped by your circumstances - humanist subtexts that are very much in line with Kurosawa's cinema

 - Toni [Blu-ray] (Jean Renoir, 1935) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Trick Baby [Blu-ray] (Larry Yust, 1972) Scorpion Releasing (BEAVER REVIEW)

- well-paced action, Blaxploitation crime flic about hustlers trying to get ahead

 - An Unmarried Woman [Blu-ray] (Paul Mazursky, 1978) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - War of the Worlds [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2005) Paramount UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Warning from Space [Blu-ray] (Koji Shima, 1956) Arrow US / UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Waterloo Bridge [Blu-ray] (Mervyn LeRoy, 1940) Warner Archive (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the best, and most beloved of vintage melodramas

 - When Worlds Collide [Blu-ray] (Rudolph Mate, 1951) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the earlier apocalypse films and our beloved niche of 50's and 60's science fiction films. When Worlds Collide is a gem resonating massive nostalgia appeal

 - The Whisperers [Blu-ray] (Bryan Forbes, 1967) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Wildlife [Blu-ray] (Paul Dano, 2018) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Winslow Boy [Blu-ray] (Anthony Asquith, 1948) RB UK Studiocanal

 - The Winslow Boy [Blu-ray] (David Mamet, 1999) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- wonderful and re-watchable film buoyed by Mamet's concise dialogue and the gorgeous art direction

 - X the Unknown [Blu-ray] (Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey , 1956) Shout! Factory (BEAVER REVIEW)

 

 

The Short List of 'neglected' favorites from the above list;

 

 - Black Gravel [Blu-ray] (Helmut Kautner, 1961) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- evokes Film Noir, Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear with the atmosphere of Carol Reed's The Third Man

 - Black Rainbow [Blu-ray] (Mike Hodges, 1989) Arrow US (BEAVER REVIEW)

- religious-based medium played by Rosanna Arquette with psychic predictions of murder...

 - Devil in a Blue Dress [Blu-ray] (Carl Franklin, 1995) RB UK Indicator (BEAVER REVIEW)

- highly enjoyable neo-noir mystery/thriller - Denzel, Tom Sizemore, Don Cheadle, and Jennifer Beals in seedy 40's L.A.

 - Fail-Safe [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet , 1964) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- a favorite film; "Damn it, Grady, this is the President!"

 - Frankenstein Created Woman (Terence Fisher, 1967) RB Germany Anolis (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Metaphysics and Murder and Frankenstein and the Two Faces of Eve documentaries shine brightly against the other two Blu-rays

- Fury of the Wolfman [Blu-ray] (Jose Maria Zabalza, 1972) Scorpion Releasing (BEAVER REVIEW)

- perhaps the most scattered Naschy 'Professor Daninsky' entry - a total mess - I loved it

 - The Grey Fox [Blu-ray] (Phillip Borsos, 1982) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- "Because it's a Canadian classic, a northern Western, finally on disc." - Jeff Heinrich

 - The Gunfighter [Blu-ray] (Henry King, 1950) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the most re-watchable of all westerns. The Gunfighter is western-genre perfection

 - Hard Eight [Blu-ray] (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1996) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- PTA. Massive a/v Upgrade. Director commentary.

 - Horrors of Spider Island [Blu-ray] (Fritz Bottger, 1960) Severin (BEAVER REVIEW)

- exquisite trash cinema - right up there with Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory

 - Kiss the Blood Off My Hands [Blu-ray] (Norman Foster, 1948) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- absolutely wonderful - a quick, simple dark-cinema gem with two hypnotic stars; Burt Lancaster and Joan Fontaine (NOTE: We've learned more about communicable disease and general hygiene since this film was titled)

 - The Lost Weekend [Blu-ray] (Billy Wilder, 1945) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Billy Wilder's film is a subtly escalating film with grim realism peering around every corner

 - Mademoiselle [Blu-ray] (Tony Richardson, 1966) RB UK BFI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- dark with evil, sociopathic, acts by the lead - yet beautifully formulated visually, expressing extensive symbology

 - Man on the Run [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Huntington, 1949) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- key post-war British Noir unseen since the late 1940s

 - Mouchette [Blu-ray] (Robert Bresson, 1967) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)

- an absolute masterpiece. It becomes more devastatingly pure with age. A film, and commentary, I can revisit for the rest of my life.

 - Mystery Men [Blu-ray] (Kinka Usher, 1999) RB UK 88 Films (BEAVER REVIEW)

- this formidable comedy gem - with great dialogue and memorable performances - is incredibly rewatchable... even after 20-years

 - The Night My Number Came Up [Blu-ray] (Leslie Norman, 1955) Kino Lorber (BEAVER REVIEW)

- a full-length, British, Twilight Zone episode - magnificent!

 - Pandora and the Flying Dutchman [Blu-ray] (Albert Lewin, 1951) Cohen Media (BEAVER REVIEW)

- magical and mysterious Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a timeless film. It has Ava Gardner at her most beautiful - captured angelically by Jack Cardiff's camera. The film offers one of the more unique stories of its (or any) era. It stands as a mythological-romance -fantasy of which there are few to compare

 - Passport to Shame [Blu-ray] (Alvin Rakoff, 1958) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- wildly art-driven Brit-Noir with the sexcentric Diana Dors.

 - Play Misty for Me [Blu-ray] (Clint Eastwood, 1971) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Clint Eastwood's directorial debut is a fabulous thriller evoking 'obsession' films like "Fatal Attraction" made 17 years later

 - Pray for the Wildcats [Blu-ray] (Robert Michael Lewis, 1974) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- travels to exceedingly dark places - almost Deliverance-esque. We get some acting chops from Andy of Mayberry, Captain Kirk and Mike Brady

 - The Square Ring [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1953) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW)

- five different stories collide around one night of boxing - the corruption, heartache, selfish women, occupational hazard injuries, love... this Brit-Noir has the always alluring, doe-eyed, Edith Keeller (Joan Collins) in an early role

 - Trick Baby [Blu-ray] (Larry Yust, 1972) Scorpion Releasing (BEAVER REVIEW)

- well-paced action, Blaxploitation crime flic about hustlers trying to get ahead

 - Throw Down [Blu-ray] (Johnnie To, 2004) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Johnnie To's personal favorite of his own films - with dreams, desires, achieving goals, being trapped by your circumstances - humanist subtexts that are very much in line with Kurosawa's cinema

 - Waterloo Bridge [Blu-ray] (Mervyn LeRoy, 1940) Warner Archive (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the best, and most beloved of vintage melodramas

 - When Worlds Collide [Blu-ray] (Rudolph Mate, 1951) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the earlier apocalypse films and our beloved niche of 50's and 60's science fiction films. When Worlds Collide is a gem resonating massive nostalgia appeal

 - The Winslow Boy [Blu-ray] (David Mamet, 1999) Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- wonderful and re-watchable film buoyed by Mamet's concise dialogue and the gorgeous art direction

 

 

Labels
 

1.


Indicator received the most 'Favorite Label" votes this year - edging out Criterion. They continue to produce desirable and less-assessable films-to-Blu-ray and boxsets (example; Hammer, Harryhausen, Boetticher, Fuller, Dietrich/von Sternberg, Sinbad, William Castle etc.) - in 2020 notable for
John Ford at Columbia, 1935-1958 [Blu-ray] (The Whole Town's Talking, 1935 - The Long Gray Line, 1955 - Gideon's Day, 1958 - The Last Hurrah, 1958) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), The Fu Manchu Cycle 1965-1969 [Blu-ray] (The Face of Fu Manchu, The Brides of Fu Manchu, The Vengeance of Fu Manchu, The Blood of Fu Manchu, The Castle of Fu Manchu) RB (BEAVER REVIEW) and their highly lauded Columbia Noir #1 [Blu-ray] (Escape in the Fog, The Undercover Man, The Garment Jungle, Drive a Crooked Road, 5 Against the House and The Lineup) RB (BEAVER REVIEW). We can't wait for their Columbia Noir #2 in 2021 with Framed (Richard Wallace, 1947), 711 Ocean Drive (Joseph M Newman, 1950), The Mob (Robert Parrish, 1951), Affair in Trinidad (Vincent Sherman, 1952), Tight Spot (Phil Karlson, 1955) and Murder By Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958)

 

"A great selection of films and high presentations. Their box sets are attractively packaged and hard to resist." - BGM

"Pure Class and loving attention to detail - hands down the best Blu-ray label in existence. I can't wait fore them to adopt 4K UHD" - Davey P.

 

"Indicator - for the tremendous care they take to produce perfect Blu-ray editions of many less known films." - Yakov Varganov

 

"Indicator for high quality, well curated, and often region-free editions." - Leif F.

 

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2.


Criterion is the Gold Standard - with many releases also offered in Region 'B' - and in 2020 branched-out to produce even more boxsets (7 in total!);
Essential Fellini [Blu-ray] (Toby Dammit 1968, Variety Lights 1950, The White Sheik 1952, I vitelloni 1953, La strada 1954, Il bidone 1955, Nights of Cabiria 1957, La dolce vita 1960, 8½ 1963, Juliet of the Spirits 1965, Fellini Satyricon 1969, Roma 1972, Amarcord 1973, And the Ship Sails On 1983, Intervista 1987) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW), Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits [Blu-ray] (The Big Boss / Fist of Fury / The Way of the Dragon / Enter the Dragon / Game of Death) Ctiterion Collection (BEAVER REVIEW), The Complete Films of Agnes Varda [Blu-ray] (15 Blu-rays) - Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), Vagabond (1985) The Gleaners and I (2000) etc. - Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW), Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 3 [Blu-ray] (Lucía - 1968, After the Curfew - 1954, Pixote - 1981, Dos monjes - 1934, Soleil O - 1970, Downpour -1972) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman [Blu-ray] (Journey to the Beginning of Time, Invention for Destruction, The Fabulous Baron Von Munchhausen) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Six Moral Tales [Blu-ray] (The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne's Career, My Night at Maud's, La collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, Love in the Afternoon) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW) and Scorsese Shorts [Blu-ray] (Italianamerican, The Big Shave, , What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? and It's Not Just You, Murray!) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW).

 

Plus many highly appreciated individual releases like; Beau travail [Blu-ray] (Claire Denis, 1999) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), The Cameraman [Blu-ray] (Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton, 1928) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Come and See [Blu-ray] (Elem Klimov, 1985) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), The Cranes Are Flying [Blu-ray] (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai [Blu-ray] (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Mouchette [Blu-ray] (Robert Bresson, 1967) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Roma [Blu-ray] (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Show Boat [Blu-ray] (James Whale, 1936) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), Taste of Cherry [Blu-ray] (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW), and The War of the Worlds [Blu-ray] (Byron Haskin, 1953) Criterion (BEAVER REVIEW).

 

"CRITERION's selections have been more judicious than in past years, and with the addition of their box sets, they have jumped ahead of the unstoppable KINO." - Peter Yacavone

 

"Favorite Label: Of course, for me, it has to be Criterion, especially with their Agnes Varda and Fellini box sets. But Arrow, Kino, and Scream Factory did really amazing work this year as well." - David Hollingsworth

 

"Criterion for their content, transfers and supplements" - Gregg Ferencz

 

"Criterion released several films this year that were very exciting additions to their collection, I voted for BEAU TRAVAIL as one of the best discs of the year but I very easily could have selected COME AND SEE or Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman, which are great releases. They also put out Essential Fellini and The Complete Films of Agnes Varda, which are wonderfully complete encapsulations of those filmmakers and will fit snugly next to their Bergman box set on my shelf. I really wish they would start releasing UHD 4K discs, instead of inevitably making me double dip in a couple of years on titles that will really benefit from that format.  - Jason Overbeck

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3.

 


 

"Another exceptionally strong year from Eureka with the Eureka Classics series and the impressive Masters of Cinema releases. Highlights include The Bride With White Hair [Blu-ray] (Ronny Yu, 1993), Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 2) [Blu-ray] (The Navigator, Seven Chances, Battling Butler) (Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton, 1924-1926), Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Volume 3) [Blu-ray] (Our Hospitality, Go West, College), Criss Cross [Blu-ray] (Robert Siodmak, 1949) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), A Foreign Affair [Blu-ray] (Billy Wilder, 1948) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), Raining in the Mountain [Blu-ray] (King Hu, 1979) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), High Noon [Blu-ray] (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), Ishiro Honda Double Feature: The H-Man & Battle in Outer Space [Blu-ray] - RB (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW)  (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), Kwaidan [Blu-ray] (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW), Long Day's Journey Into Night [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1962) UK Eureka BEAVER REVIEW), Made in Hong Kong [Blu-ray] (Fruit Chan, 1997) RB UK Eureka Entertainment (BEAVER REVIEW), The Man Who Laughs [Blu-ray] (Paul Leni, 1928) RB UK Masters of Cinema (BEAVER REVIEW), Mr. Vampire [Blu-ray] (Ricky Lau, 1985) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), Mothra [Blu-ray] (Ishiro Honda,1961) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), The Painted Bird [Blu-ray] (Vaclav Marhoul, 2019) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), Rio Grande [Blu-ray] (John Ford, 1950) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), This Gun for Hire [Blu-ray] (Frank Tuttle, 1942)  (BEAVER REVIEW), Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi [Blu-ray] (Murders In The Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), Throw Down [Blu-ray] (Johnnie To, 2004) RB (BEAVER REVIEW), and Waxworks [Blu-ray] (Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni, 1924).


"Seemingly granted a windfall by the releases of martial arts films from Jackie Chan and others (of very high quality despite not making my lists), they are now pursuing more releases from Buster Keaton and King Hu in 2021 (plus much more yet to be announced if their quality this year is maintained). Add consistent customer service and an entirely positive site redesign and they get my vote." - Oliver Kingdon

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4.


In terms of Blu-ray volume, Kino are alone in first place... by a wide margin. They add commentaries to most releases... and they are venturing to 4K UHD! They cover all genre from silent to vintage, noir to foreign and arthouse, from 70's and 80's to modern film. They produce Blu-rays of titles directed by Robert Siodmak, Rian Johnson, Sergio Corbucci, William Wyler, Preston Sturges, Fritz Lang, Bryan Forbes, Arthur Hiller, Robert Aldrich, Franklin J. Schaffner... and that was just in January of 2020. This page is littered with their appreciated content - and we hope they never stop!

 

"Kino. An amazing year of restored silent and sound releases. There were about twenty-five titles from Kino alone to choose from for my "best of the year" lists. Plus, great releases from Criterion, Eureka, Cohen, Flicker Alley, etc." - David T. Steere Jr.

"In my controversial opinion, KINO LORBER have surpassed CRITERION and ARROW as the world's best distributor/producer of BDs (particularly with their acquisition of Studiocanal titles to follow Universal, Fox, and Disney). Despite famous missteps, they now release an incredibly diverse selection of incredibly high quality films in reliably excellent transfers. Even their humbler releases are often terrific." - Peter Yacavone

 

"Kino Lorber. They must have released 300 Blu-rays in 2020. Most are quality films that nobody else would ever bother with. And so many of them come with intelligent and incisive commentaries done by film scholars and preeminent experts." - Gary Slatus

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5)


 

Arrow Films is a leading independent entertainment distribution company, established in 1991. Operating in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, United States of America and Canada, Arrow Films is dedicated to supporting upcoming and established filmmakers of dynamic new cinema and developing an enviable slate of quality films that enjoy a lasting legacy across its award-winning branded labels, channels, and platforms.

 

Arrow Films is widely considered to be the global market leader in the Premium Home Entertainment market, fuelled by passionate and expert curation, aligned with state of the art in-house film restoration - resulting in highly sought after bespoke Blu-ray editions of classic, cult and horror films, across its Arrow Video and Arrow Academy branded labels. Beloved by collectors, these ever-expanding brands continue to delight their growing international fan base with regular interactive live events, festival sponsorship and retail stand presence. Our offering extends to truly Limited Edition box sets as well as associated spin-off products, now including books and vinyl records.

 

"Favorite Label: Arrow (Mostly because of their Japanese output)"

- Rasmus Bjerre Pedersen


"Arrow, for giving incredible treatments to classic films, cult favorites, under-seen films, and many other works from around the world. Great solo releases, boxset releases, and most recently UHD releases as well." - James-Masaki Ryan

 

"ARROW continues to carve a niche for new restorations of old favorites." - Peter Yacavone

 

"Arrow, mainly for their caution to the wind adoption of the 4K UHD format. Their licensing of Inglorious Basterds and Wolf of Wall Street - titles that would've been seen as off limits to an independent boutique label only a year ago - is a huge deal. In a short space of time, they already seem well placed to be the market leaders in the physical UHD format by this time next year." - James Laycock

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6)

 


"While Criterion, Masters of Cinema, Arrow Films and BFI continue to offer substantive Blu-ray editions, often packed with informative supplemental material, the winner, for my money, in terms of sheer numbers of neglected classics in good, often restored transfers, is Warner Archive Collection, once the black sheep of the Blu-ray universe. It's not that WAC has released sterling, reference quality examples of the medium, but that they have taken some pains to do some generally appropriate restoration for some long overdue classics, Building on the success of the previous year's The Thin Man and The Letter, 2020 brought us: The Pirate (which I think is a reference Technicolor restoration), The Shop Around the Corner, The Harvey Girls, Libeled Lady, The Mortal Storm, Mister Roberts, Young Man With a Horn, Waterloo Bridge, Sunrise at Campobello, Sergeant York, the 1940 Pride and Prejudice, Dodsworth, Strike Up the Band, Romance on the High Seas, A Little Romance, The Reluctant Debutante, and Girl Crazy, some with bonus features and commentaries. 'Nuf said!"

- Leonard Norwitz

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7)


Shout! Factory maintain their niche with consistent Hammer Studio entries to Blu-ray, their Universal Horror packages and a mixture from Polanski, 80's horror and more modern film.


"I have to go with Scream! Factory for all the great Hammer releases, but it's a tie between them and Indicator." - Doug Finton

 

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8)

 

"Welcome to the brand new premium Blu-ray label Imprint. Bound to excite movie collector's everywhere, delivering a library of "must have" films of long requested & previously unreleased classics in stunning High Definition. All first pressings of each release will have strictly limited edition deluxe packaging along with new transfers, audio commentaries, exclusive bonus features & more."

 

"Have to give Imprint a nod for "Rookie of the Year". Imprint's releases in 2020 were fabulous. Fine films with outstanding extras." - Gary Slatus

 

Loved there 2020 Blu-rays Sorry, Wrong Number, Framed, War of the Worlds, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, When Worlds Collide, Hard Eight, David Mamet's The Winslow Boy, A Place in the Sun, Alias Nick Beal

 

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The rest (no order):

 


In our community, Second Run are know as the good guys... for legitimate reasons. They are good guys and produce some of the most unique fan-favorite content in the Blu-ray sphere. Specialties include Czech new Wave and European content, plus directorial rarities and less-seen documentaries. There release are almost exclusively region FREE and we love to help expose their product to the entire world.

 

Favourite label: "Second Run. Small-scale, big impact. Czech films, some Quebec too - right up my street" - Jeff Heinrich

 

"Favourite Label: SECOND RUN (UK), for bringing out very rare, and important, sometimes great films on BluRay. Also a nod to KINO LORBER for being the leading producer of discs in North America, who often include fine commentaries." - Peter Rist

 

"Second Run (because they do great editions of great movies and go Region Free)" - Gabriel Neeb

 

Their important releases in 2020 include:

CzechMate: In Search of Jiri Menzel [Blu-ray] (Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, 2018), Goodbye, Dragon Inn [Blu-ray] (Ming-liang Tsai, 2003) (BEAVER REVIEW), Distant Journey [Blu-ray] (Alfred Radok, 1950) (BEAVER REVIEW), and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [Blu-ray] (Jaromil Jires, 1970) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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"Unlike most film distribution companies, the name of our company describes the kinds of films we are looking to distribute. Artsploitation connotes - to me anyway - that perfect blend of genre/exploitation films with traditional art cinema. We are far from a horror film distributor - that's too easy! We look for odd, challenging, fun, even difficult films - some are more art than genre and others are just genre fun but they all share in common an approach to filmmaking that we love.

So be they international thrillers, blood-spurting horror, art house dramas or just plain weird and wonderful, they are all part of the Artsploitation Films family. You may not like all of what we present but we hope you'll be at least be intrigued into watching one of our offerings.- Raymond Murray, President"

 

2020 Releases include Beasts Clawing at Straws [Blu-ray] (Yong-Hoon Kim, 2020) Artsploitation (BEAVER REVIEW) and We [Blu-ray] (Rene Eller, 2018) Artsploitation.

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Founded in 2013 as an expansion of the mission of our critically-acclaimed short film distribution wing, The World According To Shorts, Big World Pictures is dedicated to bringing the best in world cinema to film enthusiasts across the United States. Their notable 2020 release; Zhangke Jia's Still Life [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Camera Obscura are an niche genre label out of Germany / Austria. Camera Obscura started releasing many English-friendly Blu-rays in 2014. There transfers are par-excellence. There release from 2020 include Mysterious Skin [Blu-ray] (Gregg Araki, 2004) (BEAVER REVIEW), Night of Death [Blu-ray] (Raphael Delpard, 1980) (BEAVER REVIEW) and Poliziotto sprint [Blu-ray] (Stelvio Massi, 1977) (BEAVER REVIEW). I look forward to their Ozploitation Blu-ray of Fair Game (Mario Andreacchio, 1986).

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Mill Creek Entertainment is the home entertainment industry's leading independent studio for Blu-ray, DVD, and digital distribution. With direct sales pipelines to all primary retail and online partners, Mill Creek Entertainment licenses, produces, markets and distributes a dynamic array of film and television content to over 30,000 retail stores and thousands of websites reaching millions of customers across North America.

 

In 2020, they continue with funky content like Andy Sidaris films, genre double feature packages; Hollywood Story and New Orleans Uncensored [Blu-ray]  and The Man from the Alamo / They Came to Cordura [Blu-ray], effective thrillers like The Pledge [Blu-ray] (Sean Penn, 2001) and impressive boxsets; Rita Hayworth - Ultimate Collection [Blu-ray] - Music in My Heart (1940), You'll Never Get Rich (1941), Tonight and Every Night (1945), Down To Earth (1947), The Lady from Shanghai (1948), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952), Salome (1953), Miss Sadie Thompson (1954), Fire Down Below (1957), Pal Joey (1957) and They Came to Cordura (1959) and Hammer Films - Ultimate Collection [Blu-ray] - The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1963), These Are The Damned (1962), The Old Dark House (1963), The Gorgon (1964), The Snorkel (1958), Maniac (1963), Die! Die! My Darling (1965), Scream of Fear (1961), Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961), Never Take Candy From A Stranger (1960), Cash On Demand (1961), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Terror of the Tongs (1961), The Pirates of Blood River (1962), The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964), The Camp on Blood Island (1958), Yesterday's Enemy (1959), and Creatures the World Forgot (1971).

 

They have transformed into an exciting label that we hope for continued great things in 2021.

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We have often criticized VCI in the past for their transfer practices but there is a definite synergy with our follower's genre preferences.

 

They are the oldest surviving U.S. independent home video company and a leading distributor of classic and eclectic entertainment content for DVD, Blu-ray, TV, Cable and Digital platforms. The VCI Film Library contains over 4000 titles, consisting of feature films, episodes and short subjects.

 

They expanded their repertoire in 2020 with a host of Mexican titles like El bruto [Blu-ray] (Luis Buñuel, 1953) and Skeleton of Mrs. Morales [Blu-ray] (Rogelio A. Gonzalez, 1960) (BEAVER REVIEW) as well as continuing with serials on Blu-ray like Lost City of the Jungle [Blu-ray] (Lewis D. Collins, Ray Taylor, 1946) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Vanishing Shadow [Blu-ray] (Lew Landers, 1934) (BEAVER REVIEW) and The Mysterious Mr. M [Blu-ray] (Lewis D. Collins, Vernon Keays, 1946).

 

We encourage them to continue to expand their Blu-ray catalogue.

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Via Vision Entertainment (VVE) is a boutique, independent, Australian based DVD label taking premium DVD and video content to major retailers Australia and New Zealand wide.

VVE's strategic alliance with Dainty Group provides access to one of Australia's media and entertainment powerhouses and thereby delivers unrivaled marketing strength and media presence for the business.

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Wicked-Vision produce their own Blu-ray content - Blaxploitation, Jean Rollin, Pete Walker, VHS Retro Editions, Mediabooks, steelbooks - they have publishing partners like Donaufilm, Anolis Entertainment etc. We have reviewed some of their titles over the years, if none in 2020; Freddie Francis's The Deadly Bees and Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, David Cronenberg's The Brood, Mario Bava's Hatchet for the Honeymoon and 1932's The Most Dangerous Game (although that might be Camera Obscura).

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Umbrella is a 100% Australian owned and operated distributor of filmed entertainment that specialises in a wide range of content for theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, TV broadcasting and online download platforms. Since its inception Umbrella has amassed a catalogue of over 1,500 titles and has one of largest collections of remastered classic Australian films and TV programs on DVD in the country.

At Umbrella we really love our films and TV, We value our relationships and our deep connections to our customers, we take pride in our ability to nurture our films and look forward to working with you to bring more vital important stories to our screens and to our DVD's.

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Second Sight Films is a UK DVD,
Blu-ray and On-Demand distributor, specialising in classic and cult film and TV series from around the world. An independent company established in 1994, we have built a reputation for the quality of our releases which often include new restorations and bonus features, audio commentaries, archive material, special limited packaging and much more.

 

Breakout year for Second Sight Films with their Blu-ray of the year Walkabout [Blu-ray] (Nicolas Roeg, 1971) (BEAVER REVIEW) and their 3rd place 4K UHD of the year Dawn of the Dead [4K UHD Blu-ray] (George A. Romero, 1978). Other notables; Magic [Blu-ray] (Richard Attenborough, 1978) (Blu-ray REVIEW) and X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes [Blu-ray] (Roger Corman, 1963) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW). Incredible!

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101 Films is one of the UK's fastest growing independent entertainment labels, acquiring new films of all genres for the UK. We committed to releasing the best cult and classic catalogue titles, featuring brand new extra content, newly commissioned artwork and restored masters.

 

Important releases this year for them include The Deep [Blu-ray] (Peter Yates, 1977) (BEAVER REVIEW) and Phase IV [Blu-ray] (Saul Bass, 1974) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW).

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Taking its name from the ironic moniker for late 1960s and '70s New York, Fun City Editions is a new boutique label focused on reissues of maverick repertory cinema and music that can best be described as works that exist "outside of their time." Spanning an array of genres, artists and countries, but with a unifying focus on forgotten and overlooked treasures, each Fun City release, be it a Blu-ray or vinyl LP, will present new restorations and comprehensive extras which contextualize and illuminate the artistic and historic value of the piece.

 

Exciting initial release in 2020 were I Start Counting [Blu-ray] (David Greene, 1969) Fun City Editions (BEAVER REVIEW) and Alphabet City [Blu-ray] (Amos Poe, 1984) Fun City Editions (BEAVER REVIEW).

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"FILM DETECTIVE has in fact expanded with a new series of Wade Williams Releases. Please get on Facebook and encourage a 2021 release of D.O.A., Champagne for Caesar, and Captain Kidd!" - Peter Yacavone

 

The Film Detective is a one-stop source for Classic Feature Films as well as many Cult Movie Classics and hundreds of hours of Classic TV from the 1950s and 60s - with titles now available in HD!

Their archive includes Classic Westerns, Horror, Mystery, Family, Martial Arts, Film Noir, Religious Programming, Cult Classics, Silents, Classic Cartoons, Shorts, Documentaries, and many rarely and seldom seen Lost Classics.

The Film Detective founder Philip Hopkins has channeled his life-long passion for film collecting into the leading purveyor of classic film restoration and distribution of broadcast-quality, digitally-remastered material. Since launching services in 1999, he has distributed his film library into the home video market and through leading broadcast platforms such as Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, NBC, Hulu, Amazon, and EPIX HD.

 

Their important release from this year was The Sin of Nora Moran [Blu-ray] (Phil Goldstone, 1933) and we can't wait for their Giant from the Unknown [Blu-ray] (Richard E. Cunha, 1958) and Hercules And The Captive Women [Blu-ray] (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1961) in 2021.

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New UK distributor ANTI-WORLDS sees a collaboration between Andy Starke, Producer and co-owner of Rook Films, Powerhouse Films' Sam Dunn (co-founder of the INDICATOR Blu-ray label), Creative Director of Manchester's HOME cinema Jason Wood and Publicist Zoe Flower. The company has announced its first films for 2019, including the UK premieres of Richard Kovitch's PENNY SLINGER - OUT OF THE SHADOWS, Aaron Schimberg's Chained for Life [Blu-ray] (Aaron Schimberg, 2018) (BEAVER REVIEW) Holiday (Isabella Eklöf, 2018) Anti-Worlds UK (BEAVER REVIEW). Go Anti-Worlds!

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88 Films is an all rights multi-platform distributor of feature films. They specialise in releasing some of the most varied content from around the world to UK customers. This includes Martial Arts / Wushu films:

Come Drink with Me [Blu-ray] (King Hu, 1966) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter [Blu-ray] (Chia-Liang Liu, 1984), (BEAVER REVIEW), Dragons Forever [Blu-ray] (Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Corey Yuen, 1988) (BEAVER REVIEW) etc.

Giallo:

Paranoia aka "A Quiet Place to Kill" [Blu-ray] (Umberto Lenzi, 1970), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids [Blu-ray] (Umberto Lenzi, 1972) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), The Devil's Honey [Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1986) (BEAVER REVIEW)

80's schlock:

Moon in Scorpio [Blu-ray] (Gary Graver, 1987) (BEAVER REVIEW)

and even Poliziotteschi:

Brothers Till We Die [Blu-ray] (Umberto Lenzi, 1978) (BEAVER REVIEW)

 

We will continue to support them in 2021!

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Here at DVDBeaver, we are so happy that Network out of the UK have taken the plunge into Blu-ray. We have reviewed many of their DVDs over the years and the titles definitely have a strong appeal for DVDBeaver.

 

Since 1997, Network has made this single line of dialogue from Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film - the inspiration behind the company name - our mission statement. Mining the vaults of TV companies and film studios, unearthing original films from visionary directors on the fringes of mainstream cinema and beyond, Network’s catalogue is the perfect blend of new and nostalgic.

Experimental, passionate, diverse, and more committed than ever…

All content has been handpicked and lovingly curated by our team of archive film and TV experts who, through their work with ITV, BBC, Rank, ITC, Thames, FremantleMedia, Studiocanal and many others, have brought back a wealth of material that would otherwise have been left unseen. Their encyclopaedic knowledge of archives and library content continues to take us in exciting new direction.

 

Some of Network's catalogue this year: The League of Gentlemen [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1960), Seance on a Wet Afternoon [Blu-ray] (Bryan Forbes, 1964) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Lady with a Lamp [Blu-ray] (Herbert Wilcox, 1951), The Square Ring [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1953) (BEAVER REVIEW), Station Six-Sahara [Blu-ray] (Seth Holt, 1963) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW), Contraband Spain [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Huntington, Julio Salvador, 1955) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW), Some Girls Do [Blu-ray] (Ralph Thomas, 1969) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Fast Lady [Blu-ray] (Ken Annakin, 1962) (BEAVER REVIEW), Home at Seven [Blu-ray] (Ralph Richardson, 1952), The Count of Monte-Cristo [Blu-ray] (David Greene, 1975), Cottage to Let [Blu-ray] (Anthony Asquith, 1941), Passport to Shame [Blu-ray] (Alvin Rakoff, 1958) (BEAVER REVIEW), Man on the Run [Blu-ray] (Lawrence Huntington, 1949) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Railway Children [Blu-ray] (Lionel Jeffries, 1970), The Intruder [Blu-ray] (Guy Hamilton, 1953), The Card [Blu-ray] (Ronald Neame, 1952), The Man in Grey [Blu-ray] (Leslie Arliss, 1943) (BEAVER REVIEW), Who Done It? [Blu-ray] (Basil Dearden, 1956), Invasion [Blu-ray] (Alan Bridges, 1965) RB UK Network (BEAVER REVIEW), Ring of Spies [Blu-ray] (Robert Tronson, 1964) (BEAVER REVIEW), Maroc 7 [Blu-ray] (Gerry O'Hara, 1967) (BEAVER REVIEW), Danger Within [Blu-ray] (Bryan Forbes, 1960) (BEAVER REVIEW), Eyewitness [Blu-ray] (John Hough, 1970) (BEAVER REVIEW), and The Siege of Pinchgut [Blu-ray] (Harry Watt, 1959) (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Synapse Films releases new, digitally remastered films in the Horror, Science Fiction, Cult and Independent genres on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD. This would be a landmark year with their stellar release of Dario Argento's 1977 Suspiria on stellar 4K UHD. Like everyone else, all we can say is 'Wow'. They deserve some special recognition and our continued support. I can't wait to see what they produce in 2021! After 2019's exciting
Suspiria [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Dario Argento, 1977) Synapse Films (BEAVER REVIEW) Synapse Films has had a slowish year in 2020.

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"The BFI releases up to 30 new titles a year on Blu-ray and DVD. We’re dedicated to releasing classics of world cinema, rarely seen British film and TV, expertly-curated British documentary and archive collections.

All BFI releases are mastered from the best quality film materials available, often held at the BFI National Archive, and most are accompanied by extensive, illustrated booklets."

 

This fruitful for BFI year produced: Bait [Blu-ray] (Mark Jenkin, 2019), Cosh Boy (aka The Slasher) [Blu-ray] (Lewis Gilbert, 1953) (BEAVER REVIEW), Judgment at Nuremberg [Blu-ray] (Stanley Kramer, 1961) (BEAVER REVIEW), Cyrano de Bergerac [Blu-ray] (Jean-Paul Rappeneau, 1990), Beat the Devil [Blu-ray] (John Huston, 1953) (BEAVER REVIEW), Sunday Bloody Sunday [Blu-ray] (John Schlesinger, 1971) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice [Blu-ray] (Yasujiro Ozu, 1952) (BEAVER REVIEW), Funeral Parade of Roses [Blu-ray] (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) (BEAVER REVIEW), Tokyo Story [Blu-ray] (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), The Good Die Young [Blu-ray] (Lewis Gilbert, 1954) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Guinea Pig [Blu-ray] (Roy Boulting, 1948), Little Joe [Blu-ray] (Jessica Hausner, 2019) (BEAVER REVIEW), Maborosi [Blu-ray] (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), Equus [Blu-ray] (Sidney Lumet, 1977) (BEAVER REVIEW), Mademoiselle [Blu-ray] (Tony Richardson, 1966) (BEAVER REVIEW), Pocketful of Miracles [Blu-ray] (Frank Capra, 1961) (BEAVER REVIEW), Dementia [Blu-ray] (John Parker, 1955) (BEAVER REVIEW), La Haine [Blu-ray] (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), Short Sharp Shocks [Blu-ray] (Lock Your Door, The Reformation of St Jules, The Tell-Tale Heart, Death Was a Passenger, Portrait of a Matador, Twenty Nine, The Sex Victims, The Lake, and The Errand), and Polytechnique [Blu-ray] (Denis Villeneuve, 2009) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW).

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Vinegar Syndrome rival Criterion and Arrow as having the most loyal niche fans support.

 

"Vinegar Syndrome is a film restoration and distribution company that specializes in "protecting and preserving genre films"[1] by licensing and releasing them on home video. Founded in 2012 in Bridgeport, Connecticut by Joe Rubin and Ryan Emerson, the company's first home video release—first made available in 2013—was The Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, a DVD and Blu-ray release containing three films directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, each of which were previously thought to be lost.

Since 2013, Vinegar Syndrome has released over 300 films on DVD and Blu-ray. Their catalog includes cult and exploitation films in a number of different genres, including pornographic films, horror films, and action films. They have also released vinyl records of film soundtracks. Vinegar Syndrome has been favorably compared to the Criterion Collection, another film restoration and distribution company, and has received praise for the selection and quality of their catalog
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Part of their interesting and unique content from 2020 includes: Tammy and the T-Rex [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Stewart Raffill, 1994) (BEAVER REVIEW), Unmasked Part 25 [Blu-ray] (Anders Palm, 1988), The Candy Snatchers [Blu-ray] (Guerdon Trueblood, 1973) (BEAVER REVIEW), Flesh-Eating Mothers [Blu-ray] (James Aviles Martin, 1988), Zombie Island Massacre [Blu-ray] (John N. Carter, 1984), Hollywood Horror House [Blu-ray] (Donald Wolfe, 1970) (BEAVER REVIEW), Xtro 3: Watch the Skies [Blu-ray] (Harry Bromley Davenport, 1995) (BEAVER REVIEW), Malabimba [Blu-ray] (Andrea Bianchi, 1979), Olivia [Blu-ray] (Ulli Lommel, 1983) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), Patty Hearst [Blu-ray] (Paul Schrader, 1988), Old Dracula [Blu-ray] (Clive Donner, 1974), Perfect Strangers [Blu-ray] (Larry Cohen, 1984), Grave Robbers [Blu-ray] (Rubén Galindo Jr., 1989), Cemetery of Terror [Blu-ray] (Rubén Galindo Jr., 1985), and The Severed Arm [Blu-ray] (Tom Alderman, 1973).

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"Flicker Alley was born out of a passion for cinematic history and a desire to bring filmmakers and films from out of the past to new audiences and renewed recognition. The company was founded in 2002 by Jeffery Masino who drew on a lifelong enthusiasm and fascination with silent film as well as classic, experimental and independent cinema. A goal of Flicker Alley is to contribute to the on-going interest in our film heritage through the creation of new, high-quality digital editions for broadcast, steaming and home video distribution.

Each Flicker Alley DVD and
Blu-ray is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research, digital restoration, graphic design, music composition and scoring. Collectively, they reflect the creativity, expertise, and shared passion of many talented collaborators. The Flicker Alley brand has grown to enjoy national and international critical acclaim and is regularly featured in annual "Best Of" lists. The company is a three-time National Society of Film Critics Film Heritage Award recipient for publishing "rare early U.S. and foreign silent film" (2009, 2010, and 2011). The name "Flicker Alley" was the nickname of Cecil Court, London W.C.2., the business center of the British film industry during the silent film era."

 

From 2020: The Bolshevik Trilogy - Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin [Blu-ray] (Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, Storm Over Asia) (Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1926-1928) (BEAVER REVIEW), 3-D Rarities, Volume II [Blu-ray] (BEAVER REVIEW), Spring Night, Summer Night [Blu-ray] (Joseph L. Anderson, 1967) (BEAVER REVIEW), The City Without Jews [Blu-ray] (H.K. Breslauer, 1924) (BEAVER REVIEW), and Waxworks [Blu-ray] (Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni, 1924) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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Severin get BIG Kudos for two impressive boxsets appealing to their genre niche - they are dedicated to rescuing, restoring and releasing the most controversial and provocative features from around the world. Included this year was their stellar The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection [Blu-ray] (Orgasmo, So Sweet... So Perverse, A Quiet Place to Kill, and Knife of Ice) and their massive Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection [Blu-ray] with Blood Of Dracula's Castle, Blood Of Ghastly Horror, Brain Of Blood, Carnival Magic, Cinderella 2000, Death Dimension, Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, Dracula's Castle, Five Bloody Graves, Girls For Rent, Half Way To Hell, Hell's Bloody Devils, Horror Of The Blood Monsters, Jessi's Girls, Lost, Mean Mother, Nurse Sherri, Nurses For Sale, Psycho A-Go-Go, Satan's Sadists, Sunset Cove, The Dynamite Brothers, The Fakers, The Female Bunch, The Fiend With The Electric Brain, The Naughty Stewardesses, Uncle Tom's Cabin) and the 'so bad it's good' fan favorite; Cruel Jaws [Blu-ray] (Bruno Mattei, 1995) which sparked this poll comment:

"I'm not sure how this was even released considering the amount of blatant rip-off content it has, but it is a surprisingly enjoyable example of Italian genre copying that I'm very glad exists." - Tim Kline

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Scorpion Releasing is a leading home video distribution label that specializes in all kind of different films. Scorpion has something for every fan! From midnight movies, film noir, tongue-in-cheek comedies, to exploitation films, classic cinema, and slasher flicks -we've got it all, and it's yours for the taking!...

Notable from 2020 was their vastly superior The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea [Blu-ray] (Lewis John Carlino, 1976) (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Code Red is an independent American home entertainment company based in Glendale, California specializing in retro exploitation genre films. The company originally began releasing films on DVD in 2008, and later began re-releasing titles on Blu-ray.

"We're committed to bringing these movies out of the dark and back into your life where they belong!"

 

Their 2020 releases include: Jungle Holocaust [Blu-ray] (Special Edition) AKA Last Cannibal World / The Last Survivor / Ultimo mondo cannibale (Ruggero Deodato, 1977) (BEAVER REVIEW), Slave of the Cannibal God [Blu-ray] (Sergio Martino, 1978) (BEAVER REVIEW), Conquest [Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1983) (BEAVER REVIEW), So Sweet, So Dead [Blu-ray] (Roberto Bianchi Montero, 1972) (BEAVER REVIEW), Panic [Blu-ray] (Tonino Ricci, 1982), and Cry of a Prostitute [Blu-ray] (Andrea Bianchi, 1974) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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Cult Epics is a film distribution company, originally founded in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1991, specializing in controversial art films with a cult following. Cult Epics is based in Los Angeles and continues to release rare cult films, both the sought-after and the unknown, the mainstream and the underground, for a new generation of hardcore fans.

 

Their 2020 releases include: P.O. Box Tinto Brass [Blu-ray] (Tinto Brass, 1995) and Death Laid an Egg [Blu-ray] (Giulio Questi, 1968) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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CultFilms is a British independent label distributing the finest world cinema and the best cult classics on Blu-ray, DVD as well as online. You can find our films on Amazon Prime, Apple iTunes and featured on the best online channels like BFI, CHILI, CURZON, FILMDOO, MUBI among others…

"We have a brilliant collection of some of the greatest cult and classic films and we aim to release world famous Art-House titles and little known gems to discerning audiences everywhere. All our Blu-rays and DVDs are accompanied by exclusive extra content: presentations from directors, conversations with film stars and academics, in-depth interviews and commentaries. The extras and the bonus features we produce are valued and cherished by film lovers and contribute to a more involving experience and appreciation of the films we publish.."

 

Their 2020 releases include: Django [Blu-ray] (Sergio Corbucci, 1966), P.O. Box Tinto Brass [Blu-ray] (Tinto Brass, 1995), Story of a Love Affair [Blu-ray] (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1950) (BEAVER REVIEW), Death Laid an Egg [Blu-ray] (Giulio Questi, 1968) Cult Epics (BEAVER REVIEW), and The Night Porter [Blu-ray] (Liliana Cavani, 1974) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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Back in 2007, ClassixFlix was the only rental and retail site dedicated to the classics. Now, in 2017, they've started our own home video label with a focus on restoring and releasing long neglected classics on
Blu-ray and DVD.... exclusively devoted to classic films & TV shows made before 1970.

 

Africa Screams [Blu-ray] (Charles Barton, 1949)

 

"Africa Screams (1949) ClassicFlix - A terrific labour of love from Bob Furmanek of 3-D Film Archive and the folks at ClassicFlix for a title that has been languishing too long in the hell that is public domain. Next up a 4k restoration of Jack and the Beanstalk. Bring it on!" - David Redfern

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"Blue Underground is an American company specializing in releasing authoritative editions of cult and exploitation movies on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

It was originally formed as a shell company to oversee 'making of' documentaries during founder William Lustig's time at Anchor Bay Entertainment, but became an independent entity in late 2002. The company has released a broad range of cult movies to disc, but leans toward European (particularly Italian), Asian and Brazilian horror and exploitation. Blue Underground goes to great lengths to feature restored transfers from original vault elements (a process that occasionally leads to substantial delays with their releases, given the age and obscurity of some of the titles they select), and to include extensive extras (such as commentary tracks and new documentaries) whenever possible. Each title is released unedited and with a choice between the original audio track and usually a lossless 7.1 remix.

As of October 2009, Blue Underground had issued more than 160 DVDs, and in 2008 they started to release films in High Definition on the Blu-ray Disc format."

 

The House by the Cemetery [Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1981) (BEAVER REVIEW), Maniac [4K UHD Blu-ray] (William Lustig, 1980), Zombie [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1979) (BEAVER REVIEW), Cecilia [Blu-ray] (Olivier Mathot, 1983), The House by the Cemetery [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1981) (BEAVER REVIEW), The New York Ripper [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1982), Daughters of Darkness [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Harry Kumel, 1971) and Vigilante [4K UHD Blu-ray] (William Lustig, 1982)

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Oscilloscope Laboratories is a Brooklyn-based film distribution company. We distribute unique, independently produced films in theaters, on TV, DVD, internationally, and via osmosis. They produced some Blu-ray content in 2020, including The Infiltrators, Clementine, We Are Little Zombies, All I Can Say and Jack Henry Robbins' VHYes.

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Formed in 2009, the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in Austin, Texas. AGFA exists to preserve the legacy of genre movies through collection, conservation, and distribution. Our archive counts among its advisors Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League, filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson, Anna Biller, Frank Henenlotter, and Nicolas Winding Refn, musician RZA, exploitation film savior Lisa Petrucci, and genre film superheroes Zack Carlson and Lars Nilsen. Housing over six thousand film prints, a 4K film scanner, and theatrical and home video distribution arms, AGFA will never rest until genre movies rule the world. In 2020 we covered their Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things [Blu-ray] (Thomas Casey, 1971) (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Cauldron Films describe themselves  as "Conjuring New Media For Your Collection - Horror, Giallo, Western, Crime, Action, Exploitation, and Cult Films on disc." In 2020 we covered their Abrakadabra [Blu-ray] (Luciano Onetti, Nicolas Onetti, 2018) (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Dark Force Entertainment is a lesser known boutique Blu-ray label. For those who do not know about boutique Blu-ray labels, they specialize in releasing certain films on Blu-ray with all sorts of special features, cool packaging, of course new restorations etc.

 

Here are some of their 2020 Blu-ray titles: The Loners + Dragon Vs Needles Of Death (Drive-in Double Feature #7) [Blu-ray] (Sutton Roley, 1972 / Kou Hung Chong, 1976), Cop Killers + Project: Kill (Drive-in Double Feature #5) [Blu-ray] (Walter R. Cichy, 1977 / William Girdler, 1976), God's Bloody Acre! + So Sad About Gloria (Drive-in Double Feature #4) [Blu-ray] (Harry Kerwin, 1975 / Harry Thomason, 1973), Kill or Be Killed (aka Karate Killer) [Blu-ray] (Ivan Hall, 1976), Teenage Hitchhiker [Blu-ray] (Ted Post, 1979), Gates of Hell + Psycho From Texas (Drive-in Double Feature #6) [Blu-ray], The Giant Spider Invasion [Blu-ray] (Bill Rebane, 1975) (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW), Primal Scream [Blu-ray] (William J. Murray, 1987), Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century [Blu-ray] (Gianfranco Parolini, 1977) , Chinese Hercules [Blu-ray] (Ta Huang, 1973) + Bruce's Ninja Secret (Joseph Velasco, 1988), Death Rage [Blu-ray] (Antonio Margheriti, 1976) and Hollywood High + Teenage Mother [Blu-ray] (Drive-In Double Feature #9)

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Wild Side Video in France stand out as having the most impressive books included in their extensive Blu-ray box sets. I've never seen anything like them in all my years of reviewing - most have hundreds of stunningly beautiful full page photos and (relatively, very little) French text. It is amazing. They are, unfortunately, contractually obligated to have mandatory French subtitles (for English, or other) languages in their packages. So they are exceedingly French-friendly but we love seeing what they are coming out with as the packages themselves border on being 'art'. Can't wait to see what they release in 2021!

 

Here are some of their 2020 Blu-ray titles: The Man Who Would Be King [Blu-ray] (John Huston, 1975), The Children's Hour [Blu-ray] (William Wyler, 1961), Willard [Blu-ray] (Daniel Mann, 1971), Two for the Road [Blu-ray] (Stanley Donen, 1967) (BEAVER REVIEW).

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Announcement: "Screen Archives Entertainment is very grateful to Twilight Time co-founders Brian Jamieson and the late Nick Redman for allowing us to continue the Twilight Time brand with two new selections to be announced soon. Mike Finnegan and others who help Brian and Nick produce the Twilight Time blu-rays were a first-rate team. We have been fortunate to secure Mike's services to ensure we match the earlier titles quality. We have changed the final package only slightly, as many of you will recognize the outstanding graphics of designer Jim Titus. We have additional titles in various stages of production now, and hope to accelerate our release schedule in the future. Even though we started with the last release under Brian and Nick, the lead time for the production of each blu-ray is several months, made even slower under COVID. There are many complexities involved in acquiring the materials, licensing, checks, double-checks, and rechecks regarding quality before authoring and compression. And captioning. Finally, we had to find a provider to press the discs and print in the quantity that we are licensed to produce." The two, initial, new Blu-rays coming out in early 2021 are The Dragon Flies (1975) aka The Man from Hong Kong and The Legend of Spider Forest (1971) aka Venom. Great news!:

 

 
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Another independent producer, Mondo Macabro has some of the most provocative world cinema content 1969's Greek prisonsploitation The Wild Pussycat, 1971's French Gothic sex/horror The Devil's Nightmare, 1975 Spanish Horror Killing of the Dolls, the South Korean oddity Woman Chasing the Butterfly of Death, and the unbridled perversity romp Emanuelle in America. Not every world cinephile's cup-of-tea but we encourage them to expand their content and we will help them reach new audiences in any way we can. This is stuff you aren't likely to see anywhere else!

 

Here are some of their 2020 Blu-ray titles: An Ideal Place to Kill [Blu-ray] (Umberto Lenzi, 1971) (BEAVER REVIEW), Satanico Pandemonium [Blu-ray] (Gilberto Martínez Solares, 1975), Seven Women for Satan [Blu-ray] (Michel Lemoine, 1976), Sins of the Flesh [Blu-ray] (Claude Mulot, 1974) and Dangerous Cargo (aka Anomalo fortio) [Blu-ray] (Kostas Karagiannis, 1977) (BEAVER REVIEW)

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Founded in 1999, Anolis Entertainment has become a well-known independent video & DVD producer by releasing classic and new movies from all over the world. In 2003 Anolis founded its production arm and co-produced their first feature film "Tears of Kali". We love their release including this year's Frankenstein Created Woman [Blu-ray] (Terence Fisher, 1967) (BEAVER REVIEW), The Human Duplicators [Blu-ray] (Directors: Hugo Grimaldi, Arthur C. Pierce, 1965) (BEAVER REVIEW), and Roger Corman's 1962 Tales of Terror (BEAVER REVIEW)

 


Favorite Commentaries of 2020:

 

 

There was no shortage of great commentaries in 2020. Kudos to Kino, Indicator and Imprint for their consistent inclusions. Criterion, the pioneer of the feature, still appears to be distancing themselves from new commentary track supplements, with Kino taking up the mantle.

 

When I start naming names I run the risk of forgetting someone - so I will apologize for that immediately. I also didn't hear every commentary made in 2020, but I did listen to over one hundred. I appreciate and respect commentarists very much. We trust you never feel it is a thankless job. We will always support your efforts.

 

Some individuals that come to mind on discs I reviewed in 2020;  Alan K. Rode (Sorry, Wrong Number, Framed etc. - Imprint), Tim Lucas (The Flesh and the Fiends, but... everything he does), Tony Rayns (Raining in the Mountain - Masters of Cinema,) Elijah Drenner (Cisco Pike), Barry Forshaw / Kim Newman (War of the Worlds, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, When Worlds Collide - Imprint), Imogen Sara Smith (All I Desire, also everything she does), Samm Deighan (I Start Counting - Fun City, Mephisto - Kino), Kat Ellinger (The Day of the Locust - Imprint, Room at the Top - Kino), Joseph McBride (Billy Wilder's Five Graves to Cairo,) Toby Roan (Dragnet, The Duel at Silver Creek - Kino) Alex Cox (notably 'pasta' westerns,) Eddie Muller (Alias Nick Beal,) Troy Howarth (Trauma - Vinegar Syndrome, Fury of the Wolfman - Scorpion Releasing, Tintorera: Killer Shark with Rod Barnett - Kino), Steve Haberman / Constantine Nasr (Kiss of the Vampire - Shout!), Olaf Möller on Black Gravel (Kino), revisiting Paul Thomas Anderson's on Hard Eight (Imprint), David Del Valle, C. Courtney Joyner, Michael Brooke, Lee Gambin / Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Sweet Charity (Indicator), Nick Pinkerton on The Strange One (Indicator,) Ulzana's Raid (Kino), the audio commentary from 1997 featuring David Cronenberg on Criterion's Crash. etc. etc. etc..

Memorable ones from 2020 include:

 

 - Revisiting Tony Rayns on Mouchette (Criterion)

 - Frank Djeng on Throwdown (Masters of Cinema)

 - Tim Lucas on Joseph Losey's Secret Ceremony (Kino)

 - Kat Ellinger on Dementia (BFI) and Room at the Top (Kino)

 - Jenni Olson on Madchen in Uniform (Kino)
 - Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson on Picture Mommy Dead, The Light at the Edge of the World, Endless Night, Lonely are the Brave (all Kino)

- Samm Deighan on The Devil's Honey (88 Films) and There's Always Tomorrow (Kino)
- Daniel Kremer and Bill Ackerman on Puzzle of a Downfall Child
- David Mamet (and cast members - originally from 2007) on 1999's The Winslow Boy (Imprint)
- Adrian Martin on Mademoiselle (BFI), This Gun for Hire (Eureka Classics) and Criss Cross (Shout! Factory)
- Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson - And Hope to Die (Kino) and othders from the trio!

 

THE WINNER:

 

Receiving the most votes was Tony Rayns commentary for Raining in the Mountain (Masters of Cinema.)

 

Some Comments of personal favorites:


Tony Rayns (Night Tide) - Indicator Ltd. Edition

- Anthony Dugandzic

____________________________________________________________

One last thing, while being holed up alone for most of 2020, I can't express how lovely some of the commentaries have been this year, whether it is Tim Lucas, Kat Ellinger, Samm Deighan, Lee Gambin, or many others..... I feel like there is somebody there with me watching a movie (how novel!) I wish nothing but the best for everyone in 2021!

 

- Colin Zavitz
____________________________________________________________

Jodorowsky - Holy Mountain - pure artistry

-Doug Finton
____________________________________________________________

Anything with Samm Deighan, Kat Ellinger but I'm also excited that they are adding podcasts to commentary tracks, like Projection Booth.

- Jason Overbeck
____________________________________________________________

Jeremy Arnold, Sudden Fear, Cohen Film Collection (came out in 2016)

- Jonathan Rosenbaum
____________________________________________________________

Tony Rayns commentary for Raining in the Mountain - RB UK Eureka

- Yakov Varganov
____________________________________________________________

Lee Gambin for Kino Lorber's "Killdozer". Gambin is always able to pack a huge amount of information in his commentary tracks and this one for an obscure 70's television film is no different.

- James-Masaki Ryan
____________________________________________________________

Anything by Tim Lucas, Imogene Sara Smith, Samm Deighan, or Toby Roan.

It was nice to see Eddie Muller return to doing commentaries on Imprint's "Alias Nick Beal" after a hiatus of several years.

- Gary Slatus
____________________________________________________________

Blind Chance by Michael Brooke, Hagazussa by Kat Ellinger, Gamera vs. Viras by Carl Craig and Jim Cirronella.

- Ilannguaq Petrussen
____________________________________________________________

The Amazing Tony Rayns for a two hour, apparently unscripted, sometimes improvised, and brilliant, informative commentary for RAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS - peerless. (Also, I wish that Eddie Muller would do film noir commentaries the way he used to do.)

- Peter Rist
____________________________________________________________
 

Satanico Pandemonium by Kat Ellinger

- Gabriel Neeb
____________________________________________________________
 

Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jeff Goldblum, and Kent Jones - The Grand Budapest Hotel

- David Hollingsworth
____________________________________________________________

Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966) by critic Kim Newman, screenwriter / writer Robert Shearman, and actor/writer Mark Gatiss.

- Harvey Clarke

____________________________________________________________

 

SCOTT MCQUEEN Mystery of the Wax Museum Warner Archive Collection
Not only a thorough insightful guide to the film's production history but also intriguing details of how the film was considered lost and then the long journey to pull it back from oblivion. The commentary also employed a well-structured use of archival recordings from cast members Fay Wray and Glenda Farrell. Hope McQueen can supply a commentary for a future Blu-Ray release of Dr X. now undergoing digital restoration.
JOSEPH MCBRIDE Straight Shooting and Hell Bent Kino Lorber
A premier Fordian scholar who shares many insights including his encounter with Ford.

 

- David Redfern
____________________________________________________________

Ghost Dog Criterion: Q&A with Jim

- Gregg Ferencz

 

 

 

Film Noir on Blu-ray

It's been another great year for fans of classic film noir - boxsets with many titles reaching 1080P for the first time.

'Dark Cinema' (Noir or Noir-related) released on Blu-ray in 2020:
 

- Abandoned (Joseph M. Newman, 1949) Kino Lorber
- An Act of Murder (Michael Gordon, 1948) Kino Lorber
- Alias Nick Beal (John Farrow, 1949) R0 Australia Imprint
- Black Angel (Roy William Neill, 1946) Arrow Academy
- Blood on the Moon (Robert Wise, 1948) Warner Archive
- Brighton Rock (John Boulting, 1947) Kino Lorber
- Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947) Criterion
- Calcutta (John Farrow, 1947) Kino Lorber
- Calling Dr. Death (Reginald Le Borg, 1943) Mill Creek
- Cloak and Dagger (Fritz Lang, 1946) RB UK Eureka Video
- Contraband - Spain (Huntington / Salvador, 1955) RB UK Network

- The Criminal (Joseph Losey, 1960) Kino Lorber
- Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949) RB UK Eureka Video
- Dead Man's Eyes (Reginald Le Borg, 1944) Mill Creek
- Dementia aka Daughter of Horror (John Parker, 1955) RB UK BFI
- Detective Story (William Wyler, 1951) R0 Australia Imprint
- Dragnet (Jack Webb, 1954) Kino Lorber
- Drive a Crooked Road (Richard Quine, 1954) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- Escape in the Fog (Budd Boetticher, 1945) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- The Female Animal (Harry Keller, 1958) Kino Lorber
- 5 Against the House (Phil Karlson, 1955) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- Framed (Joseph M. Newman, 1947) R0 Australia Imprint
- The Frozen Ghost (Harold Young, 1945) Mill Creek
- The Garment Jungle ( 1957) RB UK Indicator / R0 Australia Imprint
- The Good Die Young (Lewis Gilbert, 1954) RB UK BFI
- Hollywood Story (William Castle, 1951) Mill Creek
- House of Horrors (Jean Yarbrough, 1946) Shout! Factory
- The Intruder (Guy Hamilton, 1953) RB UK Network
- An Inspector Calls (Guy Hamilton, 1954) Kino Lorber
- Home at Seven (Ralph Richardson, 1952) RB UK Network
- Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (Norman Foster, 1948) Kino Lorber
- The Lady Gambles (Michael Gordon, 1949) Kino Lorber
- Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945) Criterion
- The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- The Lost Weekend (Billy Wilder, 1945) Kino Lorber
- The Man in Grey (Leslie Arliss, 1943) RB UK Network
- Man in the Shadow (Jack Arnold, 1957) Kino Lorber
- Man on the Run (Lawrence Huntington, 1949) RB UK Network
- My Gun Is Quick (Phil Victor, George White, 1957) Kino Lorber
- The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948) Criterion
- New Orleans Uncensored (William Castle, 1948) Mill Creek
- Outcast of the Islands (Carol Reed, 1952) Kino Lorber
- Passport to Shame (Alvin Rakoff, 1959) RB UK Network
- Pillow of Death (Wallace Fox, 1945) Mill Creek
- A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951) R0 Australia Imprint
- Pool of London (Basil Dearden, 1951) Kino Lorber
- The Price of Fear (Abner Biberman, 1956) Kino Lorber
- Ring of Spies (Joseph M. Newman, 1964) RB UK Network
- Room at the Top (Jack Clayton, 1959) Kino Lorber
- Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes, 1964) RB UK Network
- The Siege of Pinchgut (Harry Watt, 1959) RB UK Network
- Six Bridges to Cross (Joseph Pevney, 1955) Kino Lorber
- The Slasher aka Cosh Boy (Lewis Gilbert, 1952) Kino Lorber / RB UK BFI
- The Sleeping City (George Sherman, 1950) Kino Lorber
- Sorry, Wrong Number (Anatole Litvak, 1948) R0 Australia Imprint
- The Square Ring (Basil Dearden, Michael Relph, 1953) RB UK Network
- Strange Confession (John Hoffman, 1945) Mill Creek
- This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle, 1942) RB UK Eureka Video
- Thunder on the Hill (Douglas Sirk, 1951) Kino Lorber
- The Undercover Man (Joseph M. Newman, 1949) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- Weird Woman (Reginald Le Borg, 1944) Mill Creek
- Yield to the Night (J. Lee Thompson, 1956) RB UK StudioCanal

 

 

Giallo on Blu-ray in 2020

 


The term "giallo" (translated literally as "yellow") refers to a particular cinematic form of, mostly, Italian-produced murder mystery films that can blur the line between art and exploitation. There are new Giallo Blu-ray releases this past year:..

(in chronological order)

 

- Death Laid an Egg (Giulio Questi, 1968) Cult Epics
- Paranoia (Orgasmo) (Umberto Lenzi, 1968) Severin
- So Sweet...So Perverse (Umberto Lenzi, 1969) Severin
- A Quiet Place to Kill (Paranoia) (Umberto Lenzi, 1970) Severin / RB UK 88 Films
- An Ideal Place to Kill (Oasis of Fear) (Umberto Lenzi, 1971) Mondo Macabro
- The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971) Severin
- The Dead Are Alive (The Etruscan Kills Again) (Armando Crispino, 1972) RB Germany Pidax
- French Sex Murders (Ferdinando Merighi, 1972) Vinegar Syndrome
- Knife of Ice (Umberto Lenzi, 1972) Severin
- My Dear Killer (Tonino Valerii, 1972) Vinegar Syndrome
- Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi, 1972) R0 UK 88 Films
- So Sweet, So Dead (Roberto Montero, 1972) Code Red / Kino Lorber
- The Killer Is One of Thirteen (Javier Aguirre, 1973) Vinegar Syndrome
- The Girl in Room 2-A (William Rose, 1974) RB Vinegar Syndrome
- The Police Are Blundering in the Dark (Pasquale Elio Palumbo, 1975) Vinegar Syndrome
- Trauma (Violacion fatal) (Leon Klimovsky, 1978) Vinegar Syndrome
- Macabre (Lamberto Bava, 1980) RB UK 88 Films
- The New York Ripper (Lucio Fulci, 1982) UHD Blue Underground
- Aenigma (Lucio Fulci, 1987) Severin
- Sleepless (Dario Argento, 2001) Scorpion Releasing
- The Card Player (Dario Argento, 2004) Scorpion Releasing
- Abrakadabra (Luciano Onetti,Nicolas Onetti, 2018) Cauldron Films

 


 

Hammer Studios on Blu-ray in 2020

2020 saw 25 Hammer titles get released on
Blu-ray! Shout! Factory took the 'bull by the horns' or rather 'the vampire by the throat' this past year with 13 separate Hammer Studios Blu-ray editions loaded with commentaries and supplements. Thankfully 2020 also had the wildly popular Indicator Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit [Blu-ray] RB UK Indicator boxset with rare titles like Visa to Canton, The Pirates of Blood River, The Scarlet Blade, and The Brigand of Kandahar. However the biggest boxset, by a wide margin, came from Mill Creek with their Hammer Films - Ultimate Collection [Blu-ray] - The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1963), These Are The Damned (1962), The Old Dark House (1963), The Gorgon (1964), The Snorkel (1958), Maniac (1963), Die! Die! My Darling (1965), Scream of Fear (1961), Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961), Never Take Candy From A Stranger (1960), Cash On Demand (1961), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Terror of the Tongs (1961), The Pirates of Blood River (1962,) The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964), The Camp on Blood Island (1958), Yesterday's Enemy (1959), and Creatures the World Forgot (1971) with six commentaries, a new booklet and more. Phew!

(in chronological order):

 
- X the Unknown (Leslie Norman, 1956) Shout! Factory
- Quatermass 2 (Val Guest, 1957) RB Germany Anolis
- The Curse of Frankenstein (Terence Fisher, 1957) Warner Archive

- The Camp on Blood Island (1958) Mill Creek

- The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)  Mill Creek

- The Snorkel (1958) Mill Creek
- The Ugly Duckling (Lance Comfort, 1959) Sony Pictures

- Yesterday's Enemy (1959) Mill Creek
- The Brides of Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1960) Shout! Factory

- Never Take Candy From A Stranger (1960) Mill Creek

- The Stranglers of Bombay (1960) Mill Creek

- The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) Mill Creek
- Visa to Canton (Michael Carreras, 1960) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)

- Cash On Demand (1961) Mill Creek
- The Curse of the Werewolf (Terence Fisher, 1961) Shout! Factory

- Scream of Fear (1961) Mill Creek
- The Shadow of the Cat (John Gilling, 1961) Shout! Factory

- Stop Me Before I Kill! (1961) Mill Creek

- The Terror of the Tongs (1961) Mill Creek
- The Phantom of the Opera (Terence Fisher, 1962) Shout! Factory
- The Pirates of Blood River (John Gilling, 1962) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)

- The Pirates of Blood River (1962) Mill Creek

- These Are The Damned (1962) Mill Creek

- The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1963) Mill Creek
- The Kiss of the Vampire (Don Sharp, 1963) Shout! Factory

- Maniac (1963) Mill Creek

- The Old Dark House (1963) Mill Creek
- The Scarlet Blade (The Crimson Blade) (John Gilling, 1963) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- The Evil of Frankenstein (Freddie Francis, 1964) Shout! Factory

- The Gorgon (1964) Mill Creek

- Sword of Sherwood Forest (1964) Mill Creek
- The Brigand of Kandahar (John Gilling, 1965) RB UK Indicator (Powerhouse Films)

- Die! Die! My Darling (1965) Mill Creek
- The Nanny (Seth Holt, 1965) RB France BQHL Editions
- Dracula: Prince of Darkness (Terence Fisher, 1966) RB Germany Anolis
- Rasputin the Mad Monk (Don Sharp, 1966) Shout! Factory
- Frankenstein Created Woman (Terence Fisher, 1967) RB Germany Anolis
- The Mummy's Shroud (John Gilling, 1967) Shout! Factory
- The Anniversary (Roy Ward Baker, 1968) RB France BQHL Editions
- The Lost Continent (Leslie Norman, 1968) Shout! Factory
- Creatures the World Forgot (Don Chaffey, 1971) RB France ESC Editions

- Creatures the World Forgot (1971) Mill Creek
- Demons of the Mind (Peter Sykes, 1972) Shout! Factory
- Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (Brian Clemens, 1974) Shout! Factory
- Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (Terence Fisher, 1974) Shout! Factory

 


TV (on Blu-ray or 4K UHD)

 


DVDBeaver doesn't often venture to the the many Dr. Who sets, endless Japanese Anime, Animated Superheros (Batman, Teen Titans etc.), etc. etc. but our niche, who tend to have a nostalgic view on things, and are beginning to appreciate vintage (and some modern) TV on Blu-ray, in the form of complete broadcast series, Mini-series and the occasional 'Made-for-TV' Movies. Titles mentioned:

(CLICK COVERS For More Info)

 

   

   

   

 


-
30 Rock - The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Mill Creek

- The Captains Collection [Blu-ray] (Shout! Factory)

- "An odd choice amongst the panorama of World Cinema, but anyone with even a passing interest in Star Trek will find this incredibly significant. Chaos on the Bridge is a compelling achievement, on a non-existent budget, that gives us the unauthorized, hilarious, painful, Shakespearean story of Roddenberry and the birth of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The standard edition is fine, while the SE is only available from the Shout Website, for far too much; but for those who can afford it, a must". - Peter Yacavone

- Chernobyl Mini-Series [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Craig Mazin, 2019) Warner Brothers (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Creepshow Season 1 [Blu-ray] - Image Entertainment

- The Day of the Triffids [Blu-ray] (Ken Hannam, 1981) RB UK BBC

- "This is a fabulous adaptation." - Peter G.

- The Flintstones: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Warner Brothers

- Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection [4K UHD Blu-ray] - HBO

- Ghost Story (Aka Circle Of Fear): The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Via Vision

- An anthology of suspense dramas concentrating on individuals confronted with supernatural occurrences.

- Hammer House of Horror: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Imprint (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Warner Archive

- Marseille: The Complete Series (2016-2018) [Blu-ray] - Kino Lorber

- Mission: Impossible: The Original TV Series [Blu-ray] - Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

- I'm enjoying the heck out of these Blu-rays. The plots are well-written and are great hour-long spy-like adventures that you can throw on and get away any time. The effects can be dated but the super cast is a big part of the enjoyment. It's inventive, well-acted and superb escapism.

- Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] Network US (BEAVER REVIEW)

- one of the most desirable and nostalgic comedy shows of all time... now offered in the US

- Paranoia Agent [Blu-ray] (Satoshi Kon, 2004) Funimation

- Perry Mason: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] (2020) - HBO (BEAVER REVIEW)

"Except for brief detours to the tranches of WWI - wrong-headed for several reasons - an absorbing, noirish telling with a pitch-perfect cast, of the Perry Mason origin story. Yes, the narrative hits those PC notes we come to expect these days (racism, homosexuality, feminism) but melds them into the story as if they belong there instead of tacked on to serve the PC universe. By the way, have ever noticed a resemblance between Tatiana Maslany and Giulietta Masina?" - Leonard Norwitz

- Play for Today: Volume One [Blu-ray] - BFI

- 50 years on from its first transmission, the BBC's Play for Today anthology series remains one of British Television's most influential and celebrated achievements. Between 1970 and 1984, plays which combined some of the era's finest writing, acting and directing talents were broadcast direct to living rooms, regularly challenging viewers and pushing the boundaries of the TV drama.

- Police Squad: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] - Paramount

- Pray for the Wildcats [Blu-ray] (Robert Michael Lewis, 1974) Kino (BEAVER REVIEW)

- The Professionals: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (1977) RB UK Network

- Smiley's People [Blu-ray] - BBC

- Television's Lost Classics Volume One [Blu-ray] - R0 UK VCI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- Television's Lost Classics Volume 2: Rare Pilots [Blu-ray] - R0 UK VCI (BEAVER REVIEW)

- The Twilight Zone: Season One [Blu-ray] (Simon Kinberg, Jordan Peele, Marco Ramirez, 2019) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)
-
Twin Peaks: The Television Collection [Blu-ray] (29 original episodes and 18 part Limited Event Series) Region Free UK Paramount

- Westworld: Season Three: The New World [4K UHD Blu-ray] - Warner Bros.

- incredible Dolby Atmos soundtrack" - Gregg Ferencz

- Wonder Woman: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (1975 - Lynda Carter) - Warner Brothers



The new 4K UHD format requires both a 4K TV and 4K UHD Player. Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are incompatible with existing Blu-ray players, although the 4K UHD Players are backwards compatible (The Oppo Digital UDP-203 will play 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, and CD.) The format currently supports three disc capacities, each with their own data rate: 50 GB with 82 Mbit/s, 66 GB with 108 Mbit/s, and 100 GB with 128 Mbit/s. There is content available from Sony, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. 20th Century Fox, Paramount Home Media Distribution,Walt Disney Studios and now many independents. It destroys streaming in terms of quality, this format is Region FREE playable worldwide plus more broadcast is going the 4K route - notably for live sports. This is different from 4K-restored Blu-ray transfers which are becoming more common from Criterion, Kino, Arrow and others. As stated, in 2017 DVDBeaver has purchased a OLED65 LG TV with Dolby Vision + HDR (increasing the color depth to 10-bit per color) plus a versatile Oppo Digital UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Late 2020 / 2021:

 


Hopefuls....

 

 

The 4K UHD - the format is continuing with improved support and our Poll had more selections compared to last year and we have reviewed (with screen resolution captures!): Cinema Paradiso, The Bourne Legacy Full Metal Jacket ,  Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, VertigoSpartacus, Jaws, The Invisible Man, Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie , 2004's Van Helsining,  The Shallows , The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Deer Hunter,  The Elephant Man, A Quiet Place, Easy Rider, Suspiria, Pan's Labyrinth The Wizard of Oz, The Shining, Batman Returns, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Lucy, They Live,  Shutter IslandThe Matrix, Alien, Toy StoryA Few Good Men, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Schindler's ListThe Neon DemonDawn of the DeadSaving Private RyanSuspiriaThe Texas Chain Saw MassacreThe Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend.

 



The TOP 10 4K UHD vote-getters for 2020:
 

1) First place (despite only being available - at present - in The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K UHD) Vertigo received the most votes as the top 4K UHD disc this year. "Hitchcock's most memorable and haunting film of obsession wrapped in a surrealist plot of desperation and genuine edge-of-seat thrills. This is a film benefits greatly from the most pristine viewing available to help reveal its true grandeur. It is too easy to be swallowed whole by Hitchcock's eerie feel and majestic vision, pounding with Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable score. A tale that mocks our own perceptions of superficiality and inconclusive aspects of love... and why we cannot recreate it."

   

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is an unequivocal masterpiece and seeing it in 4K UHD seems essential for serious cinephiles. The major theme of obsession unfolds in one of the most visually beautiful films ever made. It's a must-own and has already on our Desert Island selection.

2) Second Place is Universal's Jaws 45th Anniversary Limited Edition. Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, Jaws set the standard for edge-of-your-seat suspense, quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon and forever changing the movie industry. When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town's chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again. Featuring an unforgettable score that evokes pure terror, Jaws remains one of the influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history.

   

Being honest most people know Jaws ridiculously well (the scenes, the dialogue, Quint's lines, the singing - Show Me The Way To Go Home, Spanish Ladies, I Love to Go Swimming With Bow-Legged Women... etc.) - probably better than they do any other film. Jaws is a cultural phenomenon. It has been watched and re-watched possibly more than any film... ever.

On my system the 4K UHD viewing was a step up - far better than I have ever seen the film before (I was considered too young to see it in the theatre.) So, this is a fantastic package. The best image, audio and extras (booklet) yet available.  

3) Third Place is Second Sight Film's Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition 4K UHD. With the U.S. in the grip of a zombie apocalypse, four desperate survivors find refuge in a shopping mall. But the flesh-eating hordes, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, are drawn to the same destination. What follows is a nail-biting fight for survival.

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead remains one of the greatest horror films ever made, often imitated but never equalled, and is now presented in a brand-new restoration.

  

"...hands down, the most anticipated release of 2020" - Anthony Dugandzic

"A film I love and have owned in every format since VHS. This release is definitive and glorious with three edits of the film, four audio commentaries, tons of interviews, several documentaries and two books. This is an incredible release and I know it's somewhat hard to come by in the US, but I hope anyone interested will make an effort to get it because you will not regret it." - Jason Overbeck

"Even though there have been so many released of "Dawn of the Dead" on home video already, this mammoth Second Sight 7-disc release has both quality and quantity at the highest level for one of the best and most influential films of all time." - James-Masaki Ryan

"A pricey box set of a single film it may be; but we should wish this kind of care and lavish attention on every major horror film and filmmaker." - Peter Yacavone

"Not content with putting out just one of the most impressive home video packages around a single film this year, Second Sight released an incredible, almost overwhelming 4K UHD set for George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead." - Calvin MacKinnon

4) Fourth Place is Sony's Lawrence of Arabia. Despite only being available, presently as part of the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection received many votes. Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1962, Lawrence of Arabia stands as one of the most timeless and essential motion picture masterpieces. The greatest achievement of its legendary, Oscar-winning director David Lean (1962, Lawrence of Arabia; 1957, The Bridge on the River Kwai), the film stars Peter O'Toole - in his career-making performance - as T.E. Lawrence, the audacious World War I British army officer who heroically united rival Arab desert tribes and led them to war against the mighty Turkish Empire.

     

"Dr. Strangelove and Lawrence Arabia alone are worth the price of the set" - Gregg Ferencz

5) Fifth place is Universal's 4K UHD of Spartacus, the genre-defining epic from director Stanley Kubrick, is the legendary tale of a bold gladiator (Kirk Douglas) who led a triumphant Roman slave revolt. Restored from large format 35MM original film elements, this action-packed spectacle won four Academy Awards including Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. Featuring a cast of screen legends such as Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons, John Gavin and Tony Curtis, this uncut and fully restored masterpiece is an inspirational true account of man's eternal struggle for freedom.

     

Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus is an unequivocal masterpiece and seeing it in 4K UHD seems essential for serious cinephiles. The major theme of personal freedom will always remain universal. It's a must-own and already on our Desert Island selection. This is one package I hold tightly with two hands. It has our highest recommendation! 

6) Sixth place is Studio Canal's 4K UHD of The Elephant Man. With this poignant second feature, David Lynch brought his atmospheric visual and sonic palette to a notorious true story set in Victorian England. When the London surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) meets the freak-show performer John Merrick (John Hurt), who has severe skeletal and soft tissue deformities, he assumes that he must be intellectually disabled as well. As the two men spend more time together, though, Merrick reveals the intelligence, gentle nature, and profound sense of dignity that lie beneath his shocking appearance, and he and Treves develop a friendship. Shot in gorgeous black and white and boasting a stellar supporting cast that includes Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, and Wendy Hiller, The Elephant Man was nominated for eight Academy Awards, cementing Lynch's reputation as one of American cinema's most visionary talents..

  

  

"I was blown away by The Elephant Man the first time I saw it and my appreciation has only grown with my recent 4K UHD viewing. It remains one of the most impactful and fascinating biographical dramas ever made. A stunningly beautiful transfer of a masterpiece. Our highest recommendation to those who have adopted this new format." - DVDBeaver

7) Seventh place is Arrow's 4K UHD of 1996's Crash. Technology and sexuality meet in a head-on collision in Crash director David Cronenberg's controversial adaptation of writer J.G. Ballard s hugely transgressive 1973 novel starring James Spader and Holly Hunter.

Spader stars as James Ballard, an advertising executive whose deviant sexual desires are awakened by a near fatal automobile accident with Dr Helen Remington (Hunter). Soon the pair, alongside Ballard's wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), are drawn into an underground world of car crash fetishism presided over by renegade scientist Vaughan (Elias Koteas). Danger, sex and death become entwined as eroticism and technology join together in a disturbing, deadly union.

Awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival for originality, daring and audacity, Crash remains an incredibly subversive and confrontational piece of cinema Cronenberg himself describes it as a dangerous film now newly refurbished in a stunning 4K restoration.

"There was a pile-up of releases for Cronenberg's Crash this year but the Arrow is the one to go for thanks to its excellent 4K encode and smorgasbord of extras, including Crash! (Cokeliss, 1971) which stars J.G. Ballard himself."

- Calvin MacKinnon

8) Eighth place is Arrow's 4K UHD of 1990's Tremors. A pulse-pounding love letter to 1950s creature features that delivers horror and humor in equal measure, Tremors is a bonafide cult classic that has grabbed audiences' affections ever since its release and spawned a successful franchise that continues to this day. Good-ol'-boy handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are sick of their dead-end jobs in one-horse desert town Perfection, Nevada (population: 14). Just as they're about to escape Perfection forever, however, things start to get really weird: half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a plucky young scientist shows evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Something is coming for the citizens of Perfection... and it's under the goddamn ground! Bursting with indelible characters, quotable dialogue and jaw-dropping special effects, Tremors is back and bigger than ever in this 4K-restored and fully loaded collectors' edition.

  

9) Ninth place is Kino's 4K UHD of 1979's Mad Max. From George Miller comes this post-apocalyptic masterpiece starring screen legend Mel Gibson. In the ravaged near-future, a savage motorcycle gang rules the road. Terrorizing innocent civilians while tearing up the streets, the ruthless gang laughs in the face of a police force hell-bent on stopping them. But they underestimate one officer: Max (Gibson). And when the bikers brutalize Max's best friend and family, they send him into a mad frenzy that leaves him with only one thing left in the world to live for - revenge!

  

"Sourced from an immaculate, spotless print, a generous 4K master reels in detail galore. Mad Max was never this textured before. Things like facial definition show with outstanding purity. But, it's the environments that sell this disc and presentation. Asphalt, grasslands, storefronts, crowds - all of those display dazzling definition."

- Matt Paprocki at DoBlu HERE

10) Tied for tenth place (despite only being available - at present - in The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection 4K UHD) Psycho received many votes.

   

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is groundbreaking with elements from horror to Film Noir, and is many fans favorite from 'The Master'. The 4K UHD is a revelation for video purists (grain, grain, grain), but not audio purists (the missing original mono.) Along with absent mono, is the frustrating packaging (cardboard sleeves where you must slide the, tightly held, discs out) making this set exasperating for some... but, in my opinion, the value outweighs the flaws. I have had to eject and wipe the discs over a dozen times - I will be moving them to my own, homemade, standard packaging. If you intend on watching them a lot (you will!,) I suggest doing similar.

   
10) Also tied for tenth place is Arrow's 4K UHD of  Cinema Paradiso. A winner of awards across the world including Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, 5 BAFTA Awards including Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Score, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more.

Giuseppe Tornatore's loving homage to the cinema tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the highs and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.

The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K UHD. This edition also includes the expanded Director's Cut, which delves deeper into Salvatore's backstory on Blu-ray.

   

"A love letter to the cinema, both as an art form and a shared experience, the re-release of Cinema Paradiso could not be more timely. When it comes to home viewing, Arrow provides a stunning presentation that might place even higher on this list if they also included the director's cut in 4K and not just on a supplemental Blu-Ray."

- Calvin MacKinnon

OTHER NOTABLE 4K UHD Release from 2020:

 

 

 - 300 [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Zack Snyder, 2006) Warner

 - 300 [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Zack Snyder, 2006) Warner UK

 - 1917 [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Sam Mendes, 2019) Universal Pictures

 - 2001: A Space Odyssey [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook - Warner Bros UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Baby Driver [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Edgar Wright, 2017) Sony

 - Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy [4K UHD Blu-ray] - Universal

 - Beauty and the Beast [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 1991) Walt Disney

 - Beauty and the Beast [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Bill Condon, 2017) Walt Disney

 - Beetlejuice [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Tim Burton, 1988) - Warner Brothers

 - Beverly Hills Cop [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Martin Brest, 1984) Paramount

 - Blade [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Stephen Norrington, 1998) Warner Brothers

 - The Blues Brothers [4K UHD Blu-ray] (John Landis, 1980) Extended Edition - Universal Pictures

 - Braveheart [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook (Mel Gibson, 1995) Paramount

 - A Bug's Life [4K UHD Blu-ray] (John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, 1998) Disney

 - Le Cercle Rouge [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970) RB UK Studiocanal

 - Collateral [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Michael Mann, 2004) Paramount

 - Color Out of Space [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Richard Stanley, 2019) Region Free US Image Entertainment

 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Ang Lee, 2000) Sony

 - The Deer Hunter [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Michael Cimino, 1978) Shout! Factory (ALT-BEAVER REVIEW)

 - District 9 [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Neill Blomkamp, 2009) 4K UHD Sony Pictures

 - Daughters of Darkness [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Harry Kumel, 1971) Blue Underground

 - The Equalizer 2 / Equalizer [4K UHD Blu-ray] - Sony

 - Escape from New York [4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook] (John Carpenter, 1981) RB Studiocanal

 - The Fifth Element [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Luc Besson, 1997) Sony

 - Flash Gordon (40th Anniversary) [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Mike Hodges, 1980) 4K UHD Collector's Edition - UK Studiocanal

 - Flash Gordon [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Mike Hodges, 1980) Arrow US

 - The Fog [4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook] (John Carpenter, 1980) RB Studiocanal

 - Full Metal Jacket [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) Warner US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Full Metal Jacket [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) Warner UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Gladiator [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook (Ridley Scott, 2000) Paramount

 - Harley Quinn [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Cathy Yan, 2020) Warner

 - Home Alone  [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Chris Columbus, 1990) Walt Disney UK

 - The House by the Cemetery [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1981) Blue Underground (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Hunt for Red October [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook (John McTiernan, 1990) Paramount UK

 - Ip Man The Complete Collection [4K UHD Blu-ray] Ip Man (2008), Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster, Ip Man 3 (2015), Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019) - Well Go USA

 - The Invisible Man [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Leigh Whannell , 2020) Universal (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - It's a Wonderful Life Steelbook [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Frank Capra, 1946) Paramount

 - Joker [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Todd Phillips, 2019) Region Free US Warner Bros.

 - Joker [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Todd Phillips, 2019) Region Free UK Warner Bros.

 - Kubrick 3-Film Collection [4K UHD Blu-ray] (The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket) Warner (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)  (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - The Ladykillers [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Alexander Mackendrick, 1955)  - Studiocanal

 - Maniac [4K UHD Blu-ray] (William Lustig, 1980) Blue Underground

 - Monsters, Inc. [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Pete Docter, David Silverman, 2001) Disney

 - Monsters University [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Dan Scanlon, 2013) Disney

 - The New York Ripper [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Lucio Fulci, 1982) 4K Blue Underground

 - Parasite [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Bong Joon Ho, 2019) Universal

 - Prince of Darkness [4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook] (John Carpenter, 1987) UK Studiocanal

 - Psycho [4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook] (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) Universal Pictures UK

 - Parasite [4K UHD Blu-ray] (B&W & 4K) (Bong Joon Ho, 2019) Limited Edition Steelbook - Curzon Artificial Eye

 - Pineapple Express [4K UHD Blu-ray] (David Gordon Green, 2008) Sony Pictures

 - A Quiet Place [4K UHD Blu-ray] Steelbook (John Krasinski, 2018) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Requiem for a Dream [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) Lionsgate

 - Shutter Island [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Martin Scorsese, 2010) Region Free Paramount US (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Tammy and the T-Rex [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Stewart Raffill, 1994) Region Free Vinegar Syndrome (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Tenet [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Christopher Nolan, 2020) Warner US

 - Tenet [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Christopher Nolan, 2020) Warner Bros UK

 - They Live [4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook] (John Carpenter, 1988) RB Studiocanal (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Top Gun [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 1986) Paramount

 - Top Gun [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Tony Scott, 1986) Paramount UK

 - Total Recall [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Paul Verhoeven, 1990) Artisan / Lionsgate

 - Total Recall Steelbook [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Paul Verhoeven, 1990) UK StudioCanal

 - Underworld [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Len Wiseman, 2003) Sony

 - Up [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Pete Docter, Bob Peterson , 2009) Disney

 - V for Vendetta [4K UHD Blu-ray] (James McTeigue, 2005) Warner Brothers

 - Vigilante [4K UHD Blu-ray] (William Lustig, 1982) Blue Underground

 - War of the Worlds [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2005) Paramount (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - War of the Worlds [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Steven Spielberg, 2005) Paramount UK (BEAVER REVIEW)

 - Whiplash [4K UHD Blu-ray] (Damien Chazelle, 2014) Sony

 

 

 

 

OUR BANNER CONTEST:

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)


Kudos to the winner David Hollingsworth who got the most (all of them?):

TOP ROW (left to right):


(CLICK to ENLARGE)


1) All About My Mother
2) Curse of Frankenstein
3) So Sweet, So Dead
4) The Beyond
5) The Way of the Dragon
6) The Lost Weekend
7) The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema
8) La Strada
9) Nights of Cabiria
10) Le Cercle Rouge
11) The Face at the Window
12) Ulysses
13) The H-Man
14) Ghost Dog
15) Play Misty for Me
16) The Brides of Dracula
17) The Beguiled
18) The Castle of Fu Manchu
19) The Face of Fu Manchu
20) The Gunfighter
21) Eve
22) Dementia
23) Pierrot le Fou
24) The Elephant Man
25) The Shining
26) Full Metal Jacket
27) This Gun for Hire
28) Roman Holiday
29) Beau Travail
30) Doctor Who and the Daleks
31) The Tenant
32) Bruce Force
33) The Birds
34) Psycho
35) Vertigo
36) Rear Window
37) When Worlds Collide
38) Walkabout
39) The Thing that Couldn't Die
40) Cult of the Cobra
41) Spartacus
 

SECOND ROW (left to right):

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)


42) The Devil's Sleep
43) She Should Have Said No
44) Taste the Blood of Dracula
45) Diva
46) The Man Who Laughs
47) The Comfort of Strangers
48) Cleo from 5 to 7
49) The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
50) The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (again)
51) Murders in the Rue Morgue
52) Taste of Cherry
53) The War of the Worlds
54) Madchen in Uniform
55) Supernatural
56) The Gorgon
57) Army of Shadows
58) Inferno of Torture
59) The Flesh and the Fiends
60) Hair
61) The Gorgon (again)
62) Knife of Ice
63) Come and See
64) The Beast Must Die
65) Earth vs. The Spider
66) Criss Cross
67) The Cameraman
68) Sorry, Wrong Number
69) Jaws
70) The Female Bunch
71) I Married a Monster from Outer Space
72) The Deer Hunter
73) The Shining (again)
74) Funeral Parade of Roses
75) Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
76) The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
77) X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
78) Kwaidan
79) Secret Ceremony
80) The Golem
81) Phase IV
82) Kansas City


THIRD ROW (left to right):

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)


83) Frankenstein: The True Story
84) The Cranes Are Flying
85) The Cranes Are Flying (again)
86) House of Horrors
87) Night Key
88) Beat the Devil
89) Anatomy of a Murder
90) High Noon
91) The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter
92) Quai des Orfevres
93) The Pillow Book
94) Endless Night
95) The Deadly Trap
96) The Candy Snatchers
97) X the Unknown
98) Teorema
99) The Light at the Edge of the World
100) The Day of the Dolphin
101) Shutter Island
102) In Fabric
103) Summer of Sam
104) The Oscar
105) Night Tide
106) Let's Scare Jessica to Death
107) Fail Safe
108) Black Angel
109) The Whisperers
110) Seance on a Wet Afternoon
111) Seance on a Wet Afternoon (again)
112) Room at the Top
113) House by the River
114) The Great McGinty
115) The Good Fairy
116) The Fugitive Kind
117) The Specialists
118) Holiday
119) Brick
120) Chained for Life
121) Cobra Woman
122) Doctor Cyclops
123) Mouchette

 

CONGRATS DAVID!

Thanks to all who participated!



Best Cover Designs:

Another year for impressive artistic covers whether from new inventive artists or replicas of vintage posters! Arrow, Criterion, Kino, Masters of Cinema, Indicator and a few other labels getting a fair share of votes. So many inventive covers, often chosen from extensive, artistic, old poster designs.

Comments:

"Anything by Mark Maddox" - Doug Finton

"War of the Worlds (Criterion) An excellent graphic design captures the theme of war and destruction, both serious and sensational, on an epic scale. There is a formal simplicity in the composition, the colors and the lettering that suggests classic war propaganda posters." - Schwarkkve

"Nick Wrigley, once more with feeling the best cover designer of all: his work of reshaping of original materials to fit the covers is the best (see the elegance of his Indicator box-sets)" - Alfredo Santoro

"The several Shout Factory Hammer Collector's Editions with the Free Rolled Posters (by Mark Maddox)" - Harvey Clarke

 

Many are collectable in their own right. (Mostly in alphabetical order! - each received 3 or more votes!)
 

 

"The box itself has a great artwork, The covers of the discs are amazing: The Scar, Camera Buff, Blind Chance, No End." - Ilannguaq Petrussen




 

"Reports of the death of DVD are greatly exaggerated"

 

Briefly, we only had a few DVDs selected this year but the format is far from dead. I am watching more DVDs than in previous years as I am always finding new films I want to expose myself to... that aren't yet, and may never be, on Blu-ray. Comments were mostly represented with:

"Purchased plenty of older DVDs, but none that were issued in 2020."
- Anthony Dugandzic

"To be honest, I haven't watched any DVDs at all this year. It's only been Blu-rays. I don't necessarily collect DVDs that much anymore, although I still love them."

- David Hollingsworth

"Favourite DVD of the Year: Didn't buy one"

- Harvey Clarke

 

Endorsing:

 

"What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael" - MVD - A tarnished icon of film criticism gets the last word. Quote: "The worst thing about movie-making is that it's like life: nobody can go back to correct the mistakes.
- Jeff Heinrich

 

"I forgot to include my choice for Favorite DVD of 2020.
Marie Doro Lost and Won / Castles for Two (1917) Kickstarter, 2020.
(this title is likely to be put out in 2021 by Grapevine but the timing is uncertain)
"

- David Steere

 

"My favourite DVD of the year is also a huge miss hard to understand: Italian CG Entertainment had the chance to fill the gap in Fellini's filmography with "Ginger and Fred" and, despite having the newly 4K restoration in their hands, they only published a DVD edition. Which is stunning ("Ginger and Fred" never had such a video presentation) and is full of beautiful extras (on the top: "La Fellini" a recollection of fake TV-commercials directed and created for the film by Fellini himself and never used): but it's just a DVD in a landscape in which there are no Blu-ray edition of this movie in the world." - Alfredo Santoro

 

"Tormented came out in 2013, but I didn't review, or discover, it till 2020 - a hokey Bert I. Gordon gem that we strongly recommend" - Gary


(CLICK COVERS for more information)

 

     

      and  


Notable Rants and Praise
 

 

RANTS AND PRAISE: Nick Wrigley, once more with feeling the best cover designer of all: his work of reshaping of original materials to fit the covers is the best (see the elegance of his Indicator box-sets).

Alfredo Santoro

____________________________________________________________


Rants and Praise: In a year that could only be described as tragic, how fitting that most of the 'best' releases (best transfers/best bonus features) were of films that I couldn't care less about. I'm not such a grinch that I'll list them here, or anywhere (art is subjective, no?) That being said, I've been constantly reminded of certain physical media releases that I will always cherish, guilty pleasures that I will also not disclose here (for there are too many to mention, but rest assured I have watched Criterion's phenomenal release of "Night of the Living Dead" more than once this year, and it's almost too painfully on the nose). I will say that for once, I can't for the life of me think of a company that won the 'physical media' wars this year. I will only say that "Bacurau" is an appropriate 2020 film, a difficult, perplexing, angry film that I won't be able to shake for years (much like "Nocturama" and "Zama" from the last few years).

Colin Zavitz

____________________________________________________________


Hidden Gem Pick of the Year (Feb 2020): Grosse Fatigue aka Dead Tired Blu-Ray (Blanc) Gaumont [France, English Subtitles]

Comments: I wish the survey would have allowed for more boxset picks (10 rather than 5). It was difficult to omit The Alfred Hitchcock Collection 4K, Dawn of the Dead 4K ("...hands down, the most anticipated release of 2020" - Anthony Dugandzic ), Eric Rohmer: Six Moral Tales, The Complete Films of Agnes Varda, Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman, The Bolshevik Trilogy: 3 Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin, John Ford at Columbia, Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits, Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project: Volume 3, Survivor Ballads: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura, and finally, all those handsomely packaged boxsets by Kino Lorber, devoted to the stars of Hollywood's "Golden Age."

Ditto for the "Favorite Label" category. Presently, there are no fewer than 20 important labels issuing high-quality products to cineastes the world over, continuing the trend that film collecting just keeps on getting better and better with each passing year. And with the gradual waning of theatrical screenings worldwide due to Covid-19, those who've amassed a physical media film library, and possess a big screen TV or projection system with good sound, have taken on a far more substantial role as "film programmer" for their friends, family and community; of course, streaming platforms also afford film buffs the ability to watch boutique titles.

Well, that's the only silver lining I can summon up in these surreal times we inhabit. Ironically, it's allowed us to be holed up in our homes, binge-watching our favorite films........often times while pretending to check in with work remotely on the computer.

Anthony J. Dugandzic

____________________________________________________________


Praise

Thank you Paramount for opening up the vault. All is forgiven.

Warner Archive continue to pleasantly surprise me with their range of titles. Would like to see some more noir and the rest of the Thin Man series.

Well done to Kino for the volume of their output and range of titles.

Great to see a new label hit the market in the form of Via Vision's Imprint label. There have been some great releases so far.

Rants

Will we ever see the prepared Blu-ray release of Nightmare Ally?

I wish labels would stop putting their logo within the cover art work (Shout Select)

BGM

____________________________________________________________


Rants and Praise: Another stellar year for the UK and the rest of the world, even under these exceptional circumstances. Indicator are yet again showing everyone else how it's done with consistent packages of lesser-known delights, but there are still several labels nearing their standard of output with just as interesting titles and excellent editions - Eureka, Arrow, BFI, Second Sight, Second Run, and even Criterion. Lots to look forward to in the New Year, but I've actually been working solidly through multiple lockdowns so have plenty to catch up on!

Benedict Keeler (aka rapta)

____________________________________________________________


Thanks for everything you do to keep reviews and information coming -- hoping that 2021 continues to bring you new Patreon supporters and more great content!

Thanks!
Tim Kline

____________________________________________________________

 

Raves


- DVD Beaver - preservation of culture and psyche in a difficult year
- The pleasure of finding obscure discs and waiting months to arrive - GO GO TALES was a particular pleasure. Abe Ferrara box set please. ..

Neil Williams

____________________________________________________________


Best thing about 2020:
Lots of down time to get caught up watching movies at home.

Schwarkkve

____________________________________________________________


Rants and Praise:
Praise - Arrow's 4K releases were very exciting and can't wait to see what they have
planned for 2021 in UHD.
More importantly, just the great service all the labels offer in giving us these products
on physical media, especially during lockdown conditions.

William Leitch

____________________________________________________________

 

Rants and Praise


- re: Criterion, who doesn't hope for The Other Side of the Wind and Okja out of the Netflix catalog?
-I don't know why Criterion no longer releases Japanese films. Not a good year for Japanese Cinema on physical media in the US and Britain (despite Arrow's continued efforts).
-I worry about INDICATOR's turn to All Region-2 releases. Yes, we shouldn't be imperialist about Region A; but to have gone from a Region Free label (for Sony releases) to Region-locked in this day and age is unfortunate, to say the least.
-On the whole, a brilliant year for physical media despite everything.

Peter Yacavone

____________________________________________________________

 

RANT: The discs of the "Essential Fellini" set are without question marvelous, but the packaging is simply ridiculous, seemingly designed by a jejune art student who proudly displays what he/she considers to be 'creating outside the box'. Are we supposed to display the set on a coffee table, or create a little shrine, perhaps with a spotlight on the box? The inner sleeve containing the 14 discs requires any sensible person to re-package into replacement multi-disc cases - to the tune of $30 in my case(s). The two booklets in the package are well done, but their different widths and heights do not go well with standard cases and shelves. Criterion has managed to make an even more cumbersome package than their Bergman set (whose discs are also wonderful). By contrast the two Arrow Kieslowski and Jodorowsky boxsets are integrate discs and documentation in single outer cases suitable for sensible storage.

Louis Irwin

____________________________________________________________

 

RANTS AND PRAISE:

In previous years, I've commented on the absence of subtitles or SDH subtitles on English language releases. The situation seems to be improving somewhat with Olive Signature and Warner Archive Blu ray releases including such assistance for the hard-of-hearing. There are still many "bad actors" out there, such as Network from the UK. Please, listen so that we can listen!

Several releases in December were received too late to evaluate for the choices above: THE WINSLOW BOY (1948) Studio Canal, SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) Warner Archive, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR (1993) Eureka, etc.

David T. Steere Jr.

____________________________________________________________


Rants and Praise:

 

Ugh. Packaging blu rays in cardboard pockets. My Fellini set arrived with five loose and scratched discs. If there's a high chance of damage to the contents if you move it more than twenty metres maybe go with different packaging.

Tim Leggoe

____________________________________________________________

 

Rants and Praise:

I am really conflicted when it comes to Warner Archives. They've denied that their release selections are based on a chimpanzee throwing darts at a list of their back catalog. In fairness to them, 2020 saw a stream of quality products released throughout the year. Dodsworth, Rachel and the Stranger, Blood on the Moon, Mystery of the Wax Museum, Pat and Mike, Mortal Storm, Shop Around the Corner, Curse of Frankenstein. All stunningly breathtaking restorations.

However, when you consider some of the third-rate junk that has dribbled out of there over the years, you have to at least consider the possibility that maybe there is a chimpanzee involved somehow. And it is discouraging to consider that we may all be long dead before films such as Freaks. Gunga Din, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Bringing Up Baby, Winchester '73, the Naked Spur, Rancho Notorious, 7 Men From Now, Prince of the City, Captain Blood, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Hill, Land of the Pharaohs, Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll, Blackboard Jungle, and several dozen classic noirs come out on Blu-ray.


GARY SLATUS

____________________________________________________________

 

RANTS AND PRAISE:


Trend that needs to continue: Criterion Director sets
Trend that needs to stop: Criterion omitting English language tracks on foreign releases
Laziest release: Criterion's Six Moral Tales blu-ray upgrade
Most apropos release: Masque of the Red Death - Shout Factory

Leif F.

____________________________________________________________


Rant:


Bad HDR, No longer releasing BLU-RAY 3D (The death of 3D)

Ilannguaq Petrussen

____________________________________________________________


Rants (and a little praise): Warner Bros. no longer distribute to Canada, and in any case, they aren't what they used to be during the DVD era, when they came out with amazing box sets, only doing no frills BluRay copies on demand, now, it seems. Criterion are overpriced and overrated but they did an amazing job with the Fellini and World Cinema Project box sets. I didn't include the Fellini, because I am not the director's biggest fan, and I assume it didn't need my vote.

Peter Rist

____________________________________________________________

 

RANTS AND RAVES

- You what's awful? Stacking discs on top of each other. Spend the extra 25 cents so each disc has its own holding.

-Glad to see Paramount remembered their own library. Encouraged by this, but they still have a ways to go. Still, I'm pulling for them.

-Good to see Netflix putting discs out. But still a few of their movies are streaming only. Would love to see DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, APOSTLE, and BUSTER SCRUGGS for starters.

-Warner Archive had a great year of releases. They'll continue to set the standard, right?

-I love THE MANDALORIAN but everytime I watch an episode I KNOW I'm missing the fine detail I could get from a blu or a 4K disc.

-Anyone else disappointed by the STAR WARS nine-film set? I mean, would it have killed them to do new transfers?

-Kino' silent releases were awesome.

-Olive and Cohen Media seem to be taking a breather. We like you guys, stay with us, please.

-Fun City. Welcome. Good start and hope to see more from you guys.

-I'm glad Shudder is putting its movies on disc, but the subtitles on its foreign language disc don't need sound effects spelled out. We understand what dripping water sounds like (no, this is in the subtitles- not the closed captions)

-I love Indicator but could you go to Region Free again?

-I know why we don't get Criterion teases, but I miss those little cartoons
Gabriel Neeb

____________________________________________________________

 

Rants and Praise: I continue to wonder why Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) still has yet to be released on Blu-ray or DVD. I'll never stop wanting that film in my collection. There's also Bringing Up Baby, Adam's Rib, Martin (1977), Onibaba on Blu-ray, Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray, etc.

David Hollingsworth

____________________________________________________________

 

RANT


MINEFIELD
Should I go ahead and import Criterion Region A releases or sit tight and hope they come to Region B? Ditto Flicker Alley (The Man Who Laughs, Waxworks, The Last Warning) and Shout Factory (Lugosi Box set) from Masters of Cinema. Thank goodness DVDBeaver is there to take out some of the indecision!
 

PRAISE
 

YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT
Despite carrying out meticulous Blu ray restorations Warner Archive are often accused of little in the way of substantive extras. In the case of Mystery of the Wax Museum rather than porting over extraneous cartoons and archival shorts, substantive thought has been given to these supplements. A welcome restoration demo, an informative audio commentary from archivist Scott McQueen and an interesting interview with Fay Wray's daughter Victoria Riskin. Oh, and clear English sub captions provided in white font rather than the previous egregious yellow. This sets the bar. More please in a similar vein.

TOP DIGITAL RESTORATIONS:
STRAIGHT SHOOTING (Universal, Jack Ford, 1917) Kino Lorber
MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (Warner Bros., Michael Curtiz, 1933) Warner Archive Collection
AFRICA SCREAMS (Massour Films, Charles Barton, 1949) ClassicFlix

David Redfern

____________________________________________________________


Best Cover Design Nominations: The several Shout Factory Hammer Collector's Editions with the Free Rolled Posters (by Mark Maddox)

Harvey Clarke

____________________________________________________________

 

Disappointments- Diva- Jean- Jacques Beineix, 1981 (Kino Loeber) Another long wait for a Blu Ray of one of my favourite films, but even for a non technical person like me- for such a visual movie, where colours are half the story- was this not a less than a stellar transfer? The supplements from on older DVD were done out of pure fan love- but on a limited budget. For years I had hoped Criterion would pick this up for Blu Ray.

Also sadly could not get my mitts on Goodbye Dragon Inn- Tsai Ming Liang, 2003 (Second Run). It's release in the UK has been pushed back to December 20th,2020. Too late for this list but I see it has had solid votes in the BFI year end poll.

Billy Bang

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Rants and Praise: My biggest complaint is that Criterion is not putting out 4k discs yet. Because of this I picked up alternate releases in 4k of some titles when normally I'd automatically pre order the Criterion edition. Elephant Man and Parasite are two examples. The Irishman can be streamed on Netflix in 4k but the Criterion release is Blu Ray and DVD only. At least they upgraded the soundtrack to Dolby Atmos. I hope Criterion makes the switch soon so I won't be tempted to double dip as I already do too often.

Kudos to Universal for their excellent work on Steven Spielberg's movies and to Warner Bros. for their excellent work on Stanley Kubrick's films.

Gregg Ferencz


 

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