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Stalker's Top Ten: Ian Smith's Top Ten DVD's of 2007

10FSReel.jpgThe Filmstalker Top Ten lists for 2007 are taking a little turn here as Ian Smith has given us his top DVD's released this year, and some of them are interesting and surprising choices.

The list includes top rated shows, old shows, old and new films, and some cracking boxsets, it even looks at all formats, standard or high definition. It's a really good list.

Ian and I do share one belief, he mentioned in his email that the quality of U.S. television series are growing and growing, and indeed are surpassing films, even when budgets are tightening. I totally agree and think that some of the storytelling expertise and style should be applied to film. Perhaps we'd get a more films with depth and real excitement to them.

So now, onto Ian Smith's list of the best DVD releases of the year, whether they be standard DVD, HD-DVD, or Blu-ray. Thankfully there are no format discussions in this one!

1. Heroes Series 1 (USA HD-DVD boxed set)
Wrote off two weekends and got very little sleep watching one episode after another in rapid succession. At last, well-written and "deep" superheroes with one thing the new Who has foolishly abandoned - great cliff-hangers. High def presentation is fantastic.

2. BladeRunner (The Final Cut) (USA HD-DVD / USA Blu-ray boxed set)
Ridley Scott’s masterpiece finally gets the release it deserved with his “Final Cut” being superior to the versions that have previously been issued. Glitches in the original versions have been cleaned up, even to the point of reshooting scenes, and the presentation in high definition is superb. Five discs (four of them HD-DVD, one of them, containing a 3 hour documentary on the making of the film standard region free DVD) give you every version and oodles of deleted scenes and extra’s, with the “briefcase” edition adding in all manner of toys and memorabilia to the basic disc set.

3. Battlestar Galactica Season 1 (USA HD-DVD boxed set)
Includes the mini-series and the first season of the best television science fiction series for the last 20 years. Not a great advert for high def because of its deliberately grungy/grainy crushed blacks look and in the case of the mini-series there’s little to no difference between this and the standard DVD. But when a show's this well written and acted what's not to celebrate? The "picture in picture" feature comparing blue screen shots with final results are a real revelation. Unfortunately the packaging is cheap and nasty and arguably the worst that’s ever been produced in the history of the shiny disc.

4. Days of Glory (UK Blu-Ray)
Moving War film. Like "Private Ryan" but without the overdose of Spielberg sacharine. Full of human interest, sadness, heroism and even humour. So powerful a movie it changed French law on pension rights.

5. Space 2001 (USA HD-DVD / USA Blu-ray)
Not necessarily one of my favourite films (it’s a bit too slow and the final “journey” scene looks dated and goes on far too long), but the presentation is so stunning on high def disc this has to be included. Looks better here than it can ever have looked, even in cinemas on its original theatrical release. Blemish free and visually stunning.

6. Lost Season 3 (UK DVD, also available on Blu-Ray but only for USA Blu-Ray players as it’s region locked)
According to reviewers this show has officially "gone off the boil". I beg to differ: people are just too impatient these days and want answers the second they ask a question. The show's still great, beautifully written, questions do get answered, albeit with new ones then being raised, and is internally consistent. The season finale rates as arguably the best head-f*** twist ever!

7. The Bourne Boxed Set (UK HD-DVD boxed set)
I'm cheating on this as I'm still waiting delivery (due any day now) but I've got the first film in the trilogy on HD-DVD, the second on DVD and saw the third one at the movies. They're all great films and would have rated even higher if Paul Greengrass had just bothered to buy himself a tripod ;-)!

8. The Golden Door (UK DVD)
Visually stunning, emotionally moving and informative at the same time. The story of one Sicilian family's emigration to America in pre-War times. May be too slow-moving for some, but it's cinematic poetry and a thing of beauty – a film I can happily watch over and over.

9. Hairspray (UK Blu-Ray 2 disk set)
I'm not a big fan of musicals but if you're not smiling all the way through this fun-filled set then you need to check to make sure you still have a pulse. Guaranteed to leave a big grin on your face when it's finished.

10. Friday Night Lights Season 1 (UK DVD boxed set)
An innovative and highly praised film, ostensibly about American football, but actually about characters and the problems of life, has now been made into an even better American drama TV series. Gripping and proof yet again that when it comes to character-driven drama the Americans know best. If you’re missing “Dawson Creek” or “The O.C.” this is a more adult, and more believable alternative.

Two Shiny Discs I’m Most Looking Forward To in 2008:

1. Lust, Caution
Ang Lee’s most personal film is also his best. Sexually explicit, but not gratuitously so, this powerful combination of melodrama and film noir was the standout film of 2007 for me.

2. The Kite Runner
Marc Forster (“The Monster’s Ball”, “Finding Neverland”, “Stranger than Fiction”) give us his strongest work yet. A powerful, incredibly moving story about story-telling, guilt, honour, betrayal and loyalty, set in Afghanistan and San Francisco. That sniffling at the end was NOT me crying, I’ve got a cold, OK?! ;-)

3. No Country for Old Men
The Coen Brothers back at the top of their game. Unique, gripping and with cast performances to die for.

Huge thanks to Ian for his lists, and if he wants to do his films too, I won't complain! If you'd like to have your own list up here, rather than have me rant mine at you, just drop me with them, what name you want to go by, and a link back, and I'll get them posted up.

So what do you think of Ian's top DVD releases of the year? I'm pleased someone is recognising Battlestar Galactica.

Update: Apologies to Ian, I printed the list that was missing a few corrections. I just realised as I went to post the next one!



If I can correct my own submission then I need to point out that the BladeRunner HD-DVD set is actually THREE (not four) HD-DVD discs and TWO (not one) standard DVD disc.

Also want to add a plug for "The Kite Runner" which I saw the evening after I submitted my Top 10, and was blown away by. Can't wait for the shiny disc on that one!

Thanks for the heads up on The Kite Runner Ian, as I was also looking forward to see that soon.

As I don't have telly & a DVD player to play either an HD or Blu-Ray DVD I really can't comment on your recommendations, maybe a regular DVD will also have the same review?

Checking pulse now as instructed. :)



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