7. Re-Animator – Arrow Video

Thirteen is this release of the Stuart Gordon Cult Classic’s lucky number.  As in thirteen hours of bonus content.  Arrow has gone all out with this Re-Animator in this very luxurious edition.  My thoughts on the film from my initial review: “That is not to say that the film isn’t funny and lives up to its reputation as a raunchy gorefest.  By the time the notorious cat attack scene plays outs the film is running on all cylinders and just ups the gore quotient to an amazing level.  The film occupies a very rare space; slapstick comedy horror.  Even in that rarified sub-genre, the film stands above; Re-Animator’s spiritual cousin (of sorts) Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.  It’s not to take down the Evil Dead sequel.  Not in the least.  Re-Animator is more refined, Billy Wilder if you will.  Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is blunt force trauma, The Marx Brothers if you will.  Both Billy Wilder and The Marx Brothers are amazing filmmakers.  Just one happens to be a little bawdier, where the other is more artful.  That artful refinement is thanks in large part to Gordon.

6. The Apartment – Arrow Video

Billy Wilder’s classic gets the home video release it deserves.  Some would have thought Criterion would eventually release it.  I’m glad they didn’t because we would not have this amazing Arrow Video set.  From my review: “Billy Wilder’s The Apartment does in a little more than two hours what Madmen attempts to do in seven seasons and doesn’t come close to the sharp biting observations that Wilder and IAL Diamond (his co-writer) have overstuffed this comedy classic with.  Wilder’s “rom-com” is definitely a com but not much of a rom… but that isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, The Apartment does not utter that clichéd refrain until the very last moments is a testament to Wilder’s refusal for schmaltz and the film’s enduring nature.  The sour bitter pill that Wilder and Co. make you swallow about corporate America is eased through with the pinch of the sweetness of the burgeoning relationship between Bud ‘C.C.’ Baxter (Jack Lemmon) and Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) at its end.

5. Streets of Fire – Shout Select

Walter Hill was the unofficial Spotlight Director for the B-Movie podcast.  We covered five of his film on the Pod and in this column.  My favorite Hill Joint just happens to be the best release that Shout Factory (through their Shout Select emblem) released.  The disc is armed with hours of bonus features and a beautiful new 2K transfer its aimed at fans and convincing non-fans alike that it’s truly a great film.  From my review: “Streets of Fire is a cult classic of the highest order.  The film has only grown in esteem in the 33 years since its initial theatrical release.  A unique vision of Rockabilly fantasy world, co-writer/director Walter Hill’s own Star Wars/Flash Gordon homage remixed by way of Elvis and Sgt. Rock.  Instead of Space Ships, Blasters, and Lightsabers, Hill gives us Coupes, Nickel Plated .45’s and Pickaxes.  The film is early 50’s era pop culture mashed with Hill’s sensibilities as an action director and visualist. A film set in eternal night, streets dosed in a fresh sheen of rain, lit in neon.

4. Ronin – Arrow Video

Sound and fury.  This release is all about Arrow’s transfer and sound mix.  Ronin delivers in one of the most pleasing transfers and bombastic sound mixes of the year.  And they’ve managed to combine all the special features from all the previous editions along with a few new goodies to make one of the best arguments for Ronin being one of the top three action films of the 90’s.  From my review: “Ronin is Frankenheimer taking the action film to its barest essentials for maximum effect.  The last great film of his career shows the director in a playful mood creating a deconstructionist spy/action film.  Frankenheimer pushes the film beyond the genre trappings aiming for something more polished and refined than your standard action fare.  This isn’t a James Bond style complex plot to destroy the world.  Nor is it Brian De Palma playing an ornate shell game with Mission: Impossible.

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