4: [REC] Collection (Scream Factory) / Blu-Ray
The Zombie film and TV Series may be on the brink of being dead but that shouldn’t stop anyone from purchasing or giving credence to the very best of the genre. The [REC] series represents the best in the Zombie subgenre and the ‘Found Footage’ filmmaking technique (like Animation it is not a GENRE but a filmmaking style, get it, right people). The Spanish series evolved from film to film giving us eventually fully formed narrative films, losing the Found Footage. Directors Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró have created what can be done when given a little leeway with a series. Rather than giving us the same conventions, each film adroitly changes the setting, characters, and even genres. Scream Factory’s epic box set houses commentaries and in-depth FEATURE LENGTH documentaries on the making of the series.
3: TIE: Five Tall Tales: Budd Boetticher & Randolph Scott at Columbia 1957 – 1960 / Samuel Fuller at Columbia 1957 – 1964 (Indicator Series) / Blu-Ray
Powerhouse/Indicator Series is one of The Movie Isle’s favorite Boutique labels. The UK label formed a few years ago has managed to etch a rather large space for themselves releasing both British-centric films (see their Hammer Horror Box Sets), and US Cult Titles (they released Charlie Varrick on Blu-Ray filled with special features before any of the US Labels even thought of it). The Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott box set gives us some of the best dark studio produced Westerns of the late ’50s. The Sam Fuller box set gives us early era scripted and eventually directed films by the madman. Each film has been lovingly restored. Each disc is filled with an afternoon’s worth of extras to pore over and more importantly represent the kind of work that Indicator does that differs from other labels. The best part of these sets and most of what Indicator produces is that it’s REGION FREE (I mention “most” because there are titles that are not region free so buyers will want to double check, if they don’t have a Non-Region Blu-Ray Player)
2: Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Warner Bros.) / Blu-Ray
Warner Bros. Home Video Division really does love the consumer (e.g. us). Warner Archive, Warner Archive Steaming, Warner Home Video all love and most importantly LISTEN to the consumer. We have a voice in all their choices. Batman: The Complete Animated Series is something we as people who purchase physical media shouldn’t have. Any other studio would have been content with repackaging DVDs and schilling them to the masses. Warner Bros. not only gave us the beloved series on Blu-Ray but they restored every single episode, gave us not just the entire series but each of the Movies they released, all of the extras originally on the DVDs, some new ones too, and most importantly kept the Aspect Ratio the 1.33 window box. Not too shabby for arguably the best-filmed iteration of the Caped Crusader.