BLU RAY: For A Few Essentials More
We’ve presented you with Part 1 and Part 2 of our furious essentials list, 50 BluRay disc purchases that you cannot go wrong with. But in fact, there are a lot of titles that you should not miss out on, that we could not include in this first batch. So here are 25 more that got taken out, some of them less mainstream than the rest. You might say this is the list some of you have been waiting for, it is a bit more furious even though a few major titles are in there too. So, Happy Shopping, click on the covers to get to Amazon.com.
GRINDHOUSE: 2 Disc Collector’s Edition (2007, Dir: Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez)
Why you need to have it: Long have fans waited to get this extra special double feature in a version to a) own and b) how it was shown in theaters back in April 2007. For most young people this opened the door to discovering the great world of exploitation cinema, double features and drive-in classics. For those old enough to remember it was a great throwback to those good old days. And for the rest it was just a great night at the movies. The BluRay is chock full of extras and kicks some ass. A must have.
CHUNGKING EXPRESS (1994, Dir: Wong Kar Wai)
Special Features include: New, restored high-definition digital transfer/Audio commentary by noted Asian cinema critic, Tony Rayns/U.S. theatrical trailer/Episode excerpt from the BBC Television series, Moving Pictures/New and improved English subtitle translation/PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic, Amy Taubins.
Why you need to have it: The BluRay looks just gorgeous and exposes Wong Kar Wai’s great visuals the way they were meant to be. Chungking Express is a great little gem of a movie, one that stands for a whole style of Hong Kong cinema.
PARIS, TEXAS: Criterion Collection (1984, Dir: Wim Wenders)
Special Features include: New, restored high-definition digital transfer/DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack/Audio commentary featuring Wenders/Interview with Wenders by German journalist Roger Willemsen/Excerpts from the 1990 film Motion and Emotion/New interviews with filmmakers Allison Anders and Claire Denis/”Wim Wenders Hollywood April ’84″/Deleted scenes and Super 8 home movies/Gallery of Wenders’ location-scouting photos/Behind-the-scenes photos by Robin Holland, Theatrical trailer/PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Nick Roddick.
Why you need to have it: Wim Wenders makes great, pastel color, thoughtful movies about America, that explore the depths of the characters, their environment and usually shed a light on parts of the country that tell great stories. The BluRay does the film justice and makes the colors come to life in Wim Wender’s really amazing little story that is Paris, Texas. A human drama that has delighted cinema fans worldwide for many years.
SIN CITY: 2 Disc Theatrical/Recut/Extended/Unrated Edition (2005, Dir: Robert Rodriguez)
Special Features include: Restored Theatrical Version/Special Guest Director: Quentin Tarantino/A Hard Top With A Decent Engine: The Cars Of SIN CITY/Booze, Broads And Guns: The Props Of SIN CITY/Making The Monsters: Special Effects Make-Up/Trench Coats & Fishnets: The Costumes Of SIN CITY/Teaser And Theatrical Trailer/Recut, Extended, Unrated Version/Cine-Explore — Blu-ray(TM) Exclusive/Commentary With Robert Rodriguez And Frank Miller/Commentary With Robert Rodriguez And Quentin Tarantino/Audio Track Featuring A Recording Of The Austin Audience Reaction/KILL ‘EM GOOD Interactive Comic Book — Blu-ray Exclusive/Rodriguez Special Features — 15-Minute Film School; All Green Screen Version; The Long Take; SIN CITY: Live In Concert; 10-Minute Cooking School/How It Went Down: Convincing Frank Miller To Make The Film.
Why you need to have it: When Sin City came out on DVD the first time it was a three-disc bundle that came with an issue of a Frank Miller paperback. The three discs were chock full with amazing extras just like you are used to when dealing with Robert Rodriguez material. All these extras and much more are replicated here and because Rodriguez shoots digital you can make damn sure it looks friggin’ amazing in BluRay.
BASIC INSTINCT (1992, Dir: Paul Verhoeven)
Special Features include: DTS and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, Featurettes, Storyboards, screen tests and theatrical trailer. Audio commentary, unrated cut.
Why you need to have it: Few movies are raunchy in a way that they are still a-movie good, enormously successful and also typical of their time. Basic Instinct put Sharon Stone – back when she was still young, hot and foxy – on the map as the ultimate femme fatale. Playing cops, lesbians, authors, and all sorts of people against each other, doing girls, men and interrogations without underwear, she established a type of femme fatale only few actresses can pull off – in full daring Paul Verhoeven (a furious director!) manner. A movie full of twists, great storytelling, violence and sex and great atmosphere to boot. The BluRay puts a neat touch on all this, but only watch when the kids are in bed. We like it because it is raunchy, wild, furious and daring. A type of movie rarely made. And the sequel sucked like hell (maybe because they used Sharon Stone and some unknown twat as lead actors instead of, lets say, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp). For many it is also nice to see this unrated director’s cut, which has been out on DVD forever but seeing that in BluRay is an extra treat.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (2005, Dir: George Clooney)
Special Features include: Audio Commentary with George Clooney and Grant Heslov/Documentary: Good Night, and Good Luck companion piece/Theatrical Trailer.
Why you need to have it: It was the time when the terror scare was going wild, the Bushites were still in power and the Fox News propaganda machine turned into full fledged neo-McCarthyism. George Clooney showed his political side with this super excellent little movie chronicling the daring actions of Edward Murrow at CBS who confronted Senator McCarthy on his lunacy. A gripping movie, super topical and still highly relevant, with a chilling speech at the end that gives you goosebumps. The movie reminds us of two things a) that the freedoms we take for granted are under attack constantly, from the very system we have created and fueled by fear which makes us blind towards abuse and b) that movies need no colors and black and white movies are still the most powerful stylistic device, so the viewer can concentrate on the substance. Good night, and good luck!
ENTER THE DRAGON (1973, Dir: Robert Clouse)
Why you need to have it: This is a movie that combines the blaxploitation elements popular in the 70s with the kung fu mysticism that had gone mainstream. It is both a James Bond-esque adventure as much as a showcase for Bruce Lee’s philosophies and martial arts. It pits a bunch of unlikely characters and actors against each other and culminates in a fascinating end fight. The amazing score by Lalo Schiffrin does the rest and makes this one of the greatest kung fu movies of all time. Trivia: In Germany, the movie is called (translated) “the man with the death claw”… the BluRay delivers beautiful transfer and all the great extras known from the DVD including the remastered footage from GAME OF DEATH and some very interesting documentaries.
FALLING DOWN (1993, Dir: Joel Schumacher)
Why you need to have it: Schumacher’s D-fens is a modern day Travis Bickle. A man who is sick and tired of it all. He smelled something was rotten and boistered by his own psychological baggage, he goes on a rampage. This vision of LA madness must be enjoyed on BluRay to fully soak it up and feel the fury. Check out a scene from the film
FACE/OFF (1995, Dir: John Woo)
Why you need to have it: This is pretty much the coolest movie John Woo has made outside of Hong Kong when he left the island back in the 90s. He pitted two of the biggest hollywood names against each other on a big screen full of doves, slow motion scenes, akimbo guns and epic music – and he did not stop there, he also switched the characters faces and made it the ultimate meta-John Woo movie. It has 90s written all over it but it still kicks lots of ass, and the BluRay will put you right into the action. For more on why you need this Woo classic read our review
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1994, Dir: James Cameron)
Skynet edition includes: Multiple versions of the film in THX-certified 1080P High Definition, New Lossless English 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Over 8 hours of interactive special features: behind-the-scenes video and multimedia galleries, storyboard-script mode, quizzes and games, Audio Commentary with James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher, Audio Commentary with 26 cast/crew members
Why you need to have it: Really, do we have to spell it out for you? One of the most brilliant sci-fi action movies with groundbreaking special effects. BluRay. Hi-Def. Tons of extras. Still not there? Get it, it’s T2 on BluRay!
DANCES WITH WOLVES: 2-Disc Extended Cut/20th Anniversary Edition (1990, Dir: Kevin Costner)
Why you need to have it: One of the greatest period pieces and movies about the “wild west” and the settling of the west in gorgeous BluRay, this is a movie to bow your head and immerse yourself into. We love this movie dearly, it deserves every award it earned and is a beautiful display of storytelling and drama. Click here to read our blog post on Kevin Costner
LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL (1994, Dir: Luc Besson)
Why you need to have it: Natalie Portman as a kid, a beautiful score, Luc Besson back when he still made cult flix, and a story so original you seldomly see it. The BluRay gives you full joy of the beautiful cinematography and the emotions. This is the international version of the film, the only one anyone should ever watch and it is such a great movie. The theatrical US cut is also on the disc for comparison.
PLATOON (1986, Dir: Oliver Stone)
Why you need to have it: Charlie Sheen used to be a young, up and coming actor, and Platoon is the pivotal film in his career. Oliver Stone’s merciless portrayal of the jungle war is nothing short of furious – and at the same time very autobiographic. The BluRay pulls out all the stops and makes this adventure an experience not experienced since it was out in theaters.
DAS BOOT: Director’s Cut (1981, Dir: Wolfgang Petersen)
Why you need to have it: Also available in an even more amazing TV miniseries version, Peterson’s “Das Boot” (the boat) is probably the ultimate and best submarine movie ever made. With unbelievable realism it captures the struggles and claustrophobic atmosphere of submarine warfare during world war 2. Starring such greats like Jurgen Prochnow and popular German singer songwriter Herbert Gronemeyer, it is an amazing display of acting abilities in confined space and a character study as much as it is a suspense-filled war drama.
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS: Definitive Edition (1992, Dir: Michael Mann)
Why you need to have it: Michael Mann’s movies are always epic and style-heavy masterpieces, and with The Last of the Mohicans he set himself a monument. The material by James F. Cooper had been adapted numerous times, ever since the invention of motion pictures, but Mann brought together some amazing actors in front of the marvelous natural scenery and to goosebump-causing tunes let lose an epic tale of struggle and betrayal at the frontiers, between native tribes, the french, the brits, the settlers and the last of the Mohicans. The BluRay makes this gorgeous and revisited version even prettier and I cannot imagine a better cinematic experience.
CLIFFHANGER (1993, Dir: Renny Harlin)
Why you need to have it: Back when Stallone was like a god, and Renny Harlin hadn’t ruined most of his career, there was Cliffhanger. A movie full of thrills and action on small ropes, up high in the mountain. Muscles, steel, hooks, pick axes… in BluRay you can bring all that alive again, all this sweet 80s action, on the big screen. What is especially great is, that with movies like these, they suffered enormously when watched on tiny tube screens for decades. Now with high def and on big screens, we can really appreciate them again.
PAPILLON (1973, Dir: Franklin J. Schaffner)
Why you need to have it: Based on the true story of Henri Charriere, Steve McQueen stars as Papillon a Frenchman who is falsely accused of killing a pimp and sentenced to prison in the hellish penal colony of Devil’s Island in French Guiana (off the coast of South America). Along the way Papillon meets Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman) an impish white collar criminal who he becomes friends with. The tropical prison atmosphere is especially brutal and savage and Papillon does his best to get through it but his rebellious nature gets him into trouble more often than not. An interesting aspect given the film’s serious subject matter is that Steve McQueen had never been as humorous in a movie as he was in this one. It’s easily one of his finest performances, if not the best. His acting talents were definitely at their peak with this furious adventure tale.
UNFORGIVEN (1992, Dir: Clint Eastwood)
Why you need to have it: Another one of these that need no introduction. Warner always had a problem with quality home entertainment in terms of picture quality and such but the Special Edition DVD that was then released several years back made up for that. Now with the BluRay it is finally possible to watch this landmark motion picture in high definition audio and video.
CASINO (1995, Dir: Martin Scorsese)
Why you need to have it: Scorsese at the peak of its powers made a movie about Las Vegas that is so fast paced and full of energy it puts you on the edge of your seat. The stellar cast and the great soundtrack make this one of my all time favorite movies. To many this is better than Goodfellas and easily the ultimate Las Vegas gangster epic. The gorgeous visuals and the period atmosphere are a blast in high definition. There is a set of special features that was already on the DVD but is definitely a nice addition.
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS: The Criterion Collection (1998, Dir: Terry Gilliam)
Why you need to have it: This was one of the greatest and most feature-filled Criterion DVDs available and now on BluRay it is even greater to delve into bat country. This movie is so wild and crazy, you may not miss it.
HANNIE CAULDER (1970, Dir: Burt Kennedy)
Why you need to have it: One of the few really spaghetti-esque non-spaghetti westerns that are instantly enjoyable, Hannie Caulder easily makes the list of favorite 60s/70s European westerns. Raquel Welch in high definition is the sugar on top of this actually quite brutal revenge story with an all star cast and the classic Spanish landscapes.
BONNIE & CLYDE (1967, Dir: Arthur Penn)
Why you need to have it: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway co-star as the legendary Depression era outlaw lovers who rob banks and live life on the edge of self destruction. This film was not only extremely entertaining but also an influential work, being the first to use FX squibs for its bloody gunfight scenes and it would later inspire Director Sam Peckinpah’s use of slow motion violence in his films like The Wild Bunch and The Getaway. It also was a major example of 60s cinema that broke free from taboos dealing with sexuality being shown on screen. The supporting cast is superb, featuring Gene Hackman as Clyde’s good ol boy brother Buck and Estelle Parsons as his nagging wife Blanche. One of the coolest characters in the movie is Michael J. Pollard as J.W. Moss the duo’s easy going, faithful sidekick/confidant. In a great early film appearance Gene Wilder plays Eugene Grizzard, an innocent shmoe who is kidnapped by the gang along with his girlfriend. This part of the film is extremely fun and shows the freewheeling exhilarating of the outlaw lifestyle. Bonnie and Clyde is a gem from the late 60s and one of the main films which ushered in the “New Hollywood” era of the furious 1970s.
BREATHLESS: Criterion Collection (1959, Dir: Jean Luc Godard)
Why you need to have it: Breathless is a timeless classic and a pivotal French new wave landmark piece of filmmaking. The unique atmosphere and the style of the characters has influenced generations of filmmakers. This is a Criterion Edition so you can bet on Jean Seberg looking as sharp as even possible, over 50 years after this flickered across movie theaters.
POINT BREAK (1991, Dir: Kathryn Bigelow)
Why you need to have it: Few movies are as adrenaline packed and full of cool an fun moments as this one. Jump into the crazy world of Johnny Utah and relive this action classic on BluRay!
FIRST BLOOD (1982, Dir: Ted Kotcheff)
Why you need to have it: Sly Stallone plays John Rambo, a lonely Vietnam Vet who has been drifting across the United States since returning from the war. After paying a visit to his old Army buddy’s home, he finds out he has died from cancer stemming from Agent Orange. A shocked and saddened Rambo makes his way to a town where he is picked up by a police officer (Brian Dennehy) who turns out to be a bully that pushes Rambo to leave. Rambo is dropped off at the town line, in defiance he walks back towards town. He is swiftly arrested and taken into custody. At the jail he is tortured by the sadistic Sgt. Art Gault (Jack Starrett). Rambo then has a violent breakdown due to post traumatic stress and he attacks the officers. Rambo breaks out and flees to the mountains outside the town where he wages a one man war against all who try to capture him. First Blood combines the furious action packed thrills of the revenge, survival and war genres together creating a masterpiece of adrenaline charged cinema set within a personal story about the cruelty and prejudice that was aimed towards the neglected Vietnam veterans. The film had three sequels but this one still remains the most resonant of all of them.
THE TITLES WE WANT TO SEE MOST ON BLU RAY
BRAZIL: Director’s Cut (1985, Dir: Terry Gilliam)
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: (1996, Dir: Robert Rodriguez)
A proper release that includes Full Tilt Boogie documentary.
Pulp Fiction: Royale With Cheese Edition
If you missed them: Browse Part 1 and Part 2 of our Blu Ray lists….
And you? What are your must have titles? Comment below, we might do a readers’ picks series!
One epic list of Blu Rays. A really nice guide for film enthusiasts!