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My favourite region A and B blu-ray purchases for 2016 (1 Viewer)

titch

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Kevin Oppegaard
What another great year it has been for us home cinema enthusiasts, the ones who refuse to let go of physical media! I find myself going less and less to the movie theatre now that so many of the good new releases also have fantastic transfers and sound. Of course, the real pleasure for home cinema for me lies in re-watching old, classic movies, lovingly restored on blu-ray. I’ll watch pretty much anything in any genre, apart from new superhero blockbuster films - I find they are all so repetitive and formulaic. I went and saw Doctor Strange because everyone was raving about it and all I could think of (during the endless fight scenes) was that no reviewer was comparing it to the vastly superior Inception.

Now we finally have the Oppo 4K UHD player, the potential for a projected film picture at home that trumps a movie theatre, without having the screening room budget of Michael Bay, James Cameron or Martin Scorsese, is within reach for many more people. However, only a small fraction of the new 4K UHD titles released this year have held any interest for me. I haven’t yet seen the 4K UHD version of Goodfellas, Argo or the 4K UHD versions of the first three Jason Bourne installments.

I compiled a list of films from both region A and B that I found really stood out. They all had terrific transfers, apart from being films I really enjoyed for their content. Without any doubt: the one title that stands head and shoulders above anything else I have seen this year is the Extended Director’s Cut of The New World from Criterion. The total film experience is almost the best one I have had in my 45 years of movie-going heaven. I don’t think anything will ever beat seeing the newly-restored Lawrence Of Arabia in 70 mm in Oslo in 1989, the 4K restored Blade Runner in Washington DC in 2007 or a new 70 mm print of 2001 in London in 2008. But The New World I saw at home this summer stood right up there with them – that’s how good it is. The absence of any Studio Ghibli titles is due to the fact that I purchased the Japanese versions before 2016.

Two titles (both region B) I found very disappointing: Fabulous Films’ The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (poor transfer, no subtitles) and StudioCanal’s The Assassin (poor transfer - also I had such high expectations, after this landed on all the top-ten critic lists, that it fell far short).


Region A: 131 titles purchased


Best:

1. The New World – extended director’s cut (Criterion)

2. Kubo and the Two Strings (Universal)

3. Hunt for The Wilderpeople (SPE)

4. The Kid (Criterion)

5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 4K (Sony)

6. The Thing (Scream Factory)

7. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Criterion)

8. Johnny Guitar (Olive Signature)

9. Iron Giant (Warner)

10. Chimes at Midnight (Criterion)

11. The Nice Guys (Warner)

12. Everybody Wants Some!! (Paramount)

13. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (Sony)

14. The Lobster (Mongrel Media)

15. Boxcar Bertha (Twilight Time)

16. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer Films)

17. De Palma (Lionsgate)

18. The Witch (Lionsgate)

19. In A Lonely Place (Criterion)

20. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Warner Archive)

21. The Revenant 4K (Fox)

22. Carol (TWC)

23. The Big Sleep (Warner Archive)

24. Bridge of Spies (Disney)

25. Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection (Universal)

26. I Knew Her Well (Criterion)

27. A Brighter Summer Day (Criterion)

28. Captain Fantastic (Universal)

29. Anomalisa (Paramount)

30. Weiner-Dog (Amazon)


Region B: 56 titles purchased


1. Napoelon (BFI)

2. Victoria (Artificial Eye)

3. Ran (StudioCanal)

4. Alphaville from Godard: The Essential Collection (StudioCanal)

5. Jim Jarmusch – The Complete Collection (StudioCanal)

6. Rams (Soda Pictures)

7. The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films 1917-1923 (Masters of Cinema)

8. Deep Red (Arrow)

9. Around The World With Orson Welles (BFI)

10. The Man Who Fell To Earth 40th Anniversary (StudioCanal)

11. Hellraiser Trilogy (Arrow)

12. Donnie Darko (Arrow)

13. Things To Come (Artificial Eye)

14. Bowfinger (Fabulous Films)

15. 45 Years (Artificial Eye)
 
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