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Do You Even Watch Blu-rays Bro?: Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014

Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014I must have had other things on my mind but when I got the text this morning saying that my “Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014” list was due today I had to get into scramble mode fast! I should preface this list by saying that everything listed is from my own personal collection. If you see something on here that you think should have been on here and wasn’t that’ due to me probably not owning a copy of it. You may see more than one edition listed from foreign territories but I am region free, so when it comes to Blu-rays, there are open borders in this household. Anyways, enough yapping, here are my Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014. Take it away!  

 

Please note that some of these Blu-rays are from the UK and Germany. They may or may not be region-free, so you will need a region-free Blu-ray player for proper playback. 2014 really did seem like the year of dual releases. There’s nothing wrong that except for the beating my wallet took but it’s all in the name of art. Let us start from the bottom and work our way to the coveted #1 spot.

 

Cowboy Bebop11) Honorable Mention: Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series – Hey, it’s my list, my rules. This week, and more than 15 years later, FUNimation has released Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series on Blu-ray. The series predates Serenity and Firefly by many years and is one of the last bastions of hand drawn animation. FUNimation released several different retailer sets and I was fortunate enough to snag one of their LP sized release along with a regular version. I was not disappointed. I’d go into more detail but I am currently working on the review for it as of this writing. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

The Ninth Configuration10) The Ninth Configuration – I’m sure some folks are thinking that I started off this list with a potential curve ball but that isn’t so. The Ninth Configuration was writer William Peter Blatty’s directorial debut way back in 1980. The film was based off of his novel: Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane and starred Stacey Keach and many familiars. In some interviews regarding the film Blatty would state that The Ninth Configuration was the spiritual sequel to the first Exorcist film. Sure, there are no exorcisms in The Ninth Configuration but there are plenty of “demons,” if you get my meaning. In fact, one of the characters in The Ninth Configuration was actually in The Exorcist. Previously, The Ninth Configuration has only been available on DVD in a non-anamorphic format. This Blu-ray has upped the resolution, fixed the sound, and added some extras. The Ninth Configuration has finally been enhanced for widescreen televisions and is printed in full 1080p. Yes indeed, justice has been served.

 

 

 Nymphomaniac - Extended Director's Cut 9) Nymphomaniac: Extended Director’s Cut – Lars Von Trier isn’t one to shy or give a crap about what people and governments have to say about his films – the more controversial, the better. Early in 2014 there was a truncated version of his film: Nymphomaniac that was released in limited theaters and on VOD. I watched it and thought it was good. Fast-forward a few months and his magnum opus has now been released in a complete 5 1/2 hour extended director’s cut. Many subplots have been restored in addition to fully uncensored scenes of sexual intercourse. Yes, you will get to see some of your favorite stars having sex on camera. Granted, some scenes are aided with computer technology others don’t seem to be.  Nymphomaniac: Extended Director’s Cut will indeed keep you talking log after the film is over. The fact that the film gets a complete release like this is reason enough for a spot on my Top-10. Go see for yourself what all the fuss is about this holiday season!

 

Das Cabinet of Dr. Caligary8) Das Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (UK Import) – One of the first, if not the first German horror expressionist film to hit the world’s film screens almost 100 years ago. Even people such as Rob Zombie have played tribute to the film (Living Dead Girl music video). On this Blu-ray release the Masters of Cinema: Eureka Films have assembled, from the best footage and elements available, the premiere version of this silent-film classic. Not only does the film look magnificent on Blu-ray they certainly did not skimp on the extras. It’s a fully loaded Blu-ray set along with a booklet filled with essays, interviews, and what went into restoring the classic for high definition consumption. Last year Eureka’s version of Nosferatu was on my list – this year, it’s in good company with Eureka’s version of Das Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. 

 

Phantom of the Paradise UK Import                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Phantom of the Paradise    

7) Phantom of the Paradise (Scream Factory & Arrow Films) – Here’s the portion of the show where we cheat a little bit. I am a Phantom of the Paradise addict and this year we were given two options on Blu-ray. The first release was from Arrow Films, a boutique film label, which releases cult and obscure films (among others) on Blu-ray and DVD, with all the fixings. This year they released Phantom of the Paradise first and it was a fully loaded affair. The video and sound was meticulously restored and featured an epic conversation with Guillermo del Toro and Paul Williams. Mind blown. A few months later Shout Factory under their Scream Factory label released their version of Phantom of the Paradise and it was also great. I scooped them both up. The neat thing, and sometimes the frustrating part, is that the extras on both versions will differ. This was the case for these two versions but the fact that they exist on Blu-ray is no sweat off of my brow. Both versions of this classic Brian de Palma film get the #7 spot on my list.

 

Nightbreed6) Clive Barker’s Nightbreed: Limited Edition – 20 years later and Clive Barker’s director’s cut has finally hit the Blu-ray format in all its disgusting goodness. This is the best version of Barker’s film that has ever existed. Shout Factory under the Scream Factory banner has come in and spent many months restoring the film and locating long thought to have been lost material and putting it all back together again. I was one of the lucky 10,000 folks that was able to secure a “limited edition” of the film, which also had the theatrical cut in tow. Hey, I grew up with the film, so the theatrical cut may mean more to me than some, and I appreciate this deluxe set including it. The set also features tons of material all presented here for the first time. If you’re a horror fan, Clive Barker fan, then you owe it to yourself to add this film to your collection. If you cannot locate a copy of the limited edition set then there’s always the standalone director’s cut version.

 

Sorcerer5) Sorcerer – We’re at the halfway mark on my Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014 list and it would not be complete if the legendary Sorcerer were not on this list. William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) has crafted a masterpiece in this remake of The Wages of Sin – the story of a group of men from very different backgrounds teaming up to transport a truck of very unstable dynamite to an oil well explosion. Yeah, if it were only that easy to transport. Hijinks most certainly ensue. The battle to bring Sorcerer back from its slumber was a 30-year process. Friedkin was given the rights to the film and together with Warner Bros restored the film and sound to its once magnificent glory. It was then released on Blu-ray to critical acclaim. It also played on the big screen here in L.A. at the Cinefamily Theater. I was thoroughly floored when I experienced the film on my home theater system. The picture was crisp and lush and the audio presentation was stellar. It’s a no-brainer having Sorcerer on my Top-10 list of 2014.

 

Werner Herzog Collection

 Werner Herzog Collection4) The Werner Herzog Collection (Shout Factory & BFI) – The amazing and eclectic Werner Herzog has been making films for almost 50 years now and Shout Factory (yes, them again) have brought together a large portion of them to the Blu-ray format. Not to be outdone is BFI releasing their version with a few films there that  do not appear on the Shout Factory set. What does a Werner Herzog uberfan do in a situation like this? Oh, that’s right – get them both! That’s what I did and it was a great decision. Both editions contain tons of extras and come in some fine packaging. This is another case where both editions will share a spot on my Top-10 list. We owe the fans this much, so why not. Please make a note that the BFI Herzog set is region B locked. You will need a region-free Blu-ray player for playback.

 

 

3) The Complete Jacques Tati CollectionCome on you didn’t really think I’d leave Criterion out of the bunch did you? On any other occasion they would have pretty taken up the entire list, so I had to reserve their spot for something very special. The Complete Jacques Tati on Blu-ray collects the French comedian and satirist’s catalog of films long out of print from Criterion themselves and only on DVD and laserdisc for that matter. This set features 6 of Tati’s films completely remastered and restored to their former glory with countless hours of special features. If you’re a fan of French cinema or want to get into French cinema then this Blu-ray set is required viewing, in my opinion. Welcome Mr. Tati, we have been waiting for you.

 

 

Batman: The Complete Series2) Batman: The Complete Television Series (German import) – As you can see I had to scour the Earth far and wide to locate a version that was, dare I say it, low on extras and fluff. Believe me, if money weren’t an object, I would have gotten the U.S. version with all the bells and whistles. I opted for the German Blu-ray set instead, which is complete, English friendly in terms of content (the booklet contained is not, though), region free, and less than $100 shipped from Amazon.de. One of our reviewers, Brandon Peters, made mention that the set looked so sharp it looked like an episode of Mad Men in terms of quality and I have to agree. The show transports you back to the 1960’s and it’s fantastic. It was worth waiting the extra month to have it at this price point and deserves its spot on my Top-10 list.

 

The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug1) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – If you read my list from last year then you know this would not have been a surprise at all. In fact, the #1 spot had already been reserved since then for the second installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. The Blu-ray set some packed to the brim with day’s worth of bonus content and an Extended Cut of the film. If you know me then you know the more Middle-earth the better. The film also looks and sounds absolutely phenomenal on the Blu-ray format and is very much deserving of the championship title on this Top-10 list.

 

 

Another year and another list of Blu-rays later and it don’t stop. The more the merrier, I say! Keep it here on Why So Blu for more Top-10 lists from my fellow writers and stay tuned to our Top-10 Films of 2014, which should be wrapping up at the end of the month.

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

5 Responses to “Do You Even Watch Blu-rays Bro?: Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2014”


  1. Brandon Peters

    Excellent list Gerard! We have a few crossovers, but not as many as I expected. I think the fact that Sorcerer even just HAPPENED on Blu-ray this year is cause for extreme excitement. And what a great transfer that was!

    And way to just fire your list off like that. BAM!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Thanks B.! I couldn’t get the sound Woody Woodpecker makes out of my head, so I had to haul.

  3. Brian White

    I am interested in seeing the Batman set, but I’ll wait until a bare bones series only set when it’s priced right around $49

    More power to you for being able to sit through an extended cut of Nymphomaniac…wow!

    Smaug huh? I never would have guessed 🙂

    Impressive list on said given time crunch today! Bravo!

  4. Brian White

    LMAO at the Woody Wood Pecker crack. Now I know what makes you tick!

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    Lots of cool stuff here!