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Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2017

I can’t believe it has been another year of rocking and rolling here at Why So Blu?. Once again, it is my Top-10 Blu-ray list of the year — some may or may not come as a surprise but most should be no-brainers for the most part. I do not know if I will be crossing streams with my fellow WSB writers, but that’s half the fun. In any event, the following list does not examine film merit at all. It is all about the best bang for your Blu-ray buck. It is all about presentation, special features, and bells & whistles. It’s as simple as that. Without further ado I give you my favorite Blu-rays of 2017. Enjoy! 

 

The following is my Top-10 Blu-ray list of 2017. I think it has a nice balance of independent, cult, and mainstream films.

 

Ronin 

Arrow Video has been a powerhouse in releasing cult and not-so cult films as of late. 2017 was no different.  Ronin was given the deluxe treatment with a brand new remaster and a few brand-new special features. It is the best the film has looked and sounded in about 20 years since it hit theaters. Sheesh, 20 years! Both the U.S. and UK editions featured the same presentation and supplements but for whatever reason the UK edition was always priced lower and was region free for those that were on the fence about it. I went with the UK version. It is a fantastic release.

 

The Lure

Good thing The Lure was released a couple of years ago otherwise it would have made it on my Top-10 film list. Instead Criterion’s edition of this fantastic musical fable gets to crack my Top-10 Blu-ray list. The Criterion Collection edition features stellar reference video and audio, with some very cool special features. It is a Polish musical about a couple of flesh eating mermaids that are made singers at a local nightclub. Yes, it is one whacky film, but the Blu-ray is great.

 

 

Robocop 2

Previously, the only way to have gotten Robocop 2 on Blu-ray was to have bought the trilogy box set, which included Robocop 3Well, the wizards at Shout/Scream Factory heeded the call and released Robocop 2 with a brand new remaster of the film and tons of special features. Sure, most write the film off as trash, but I think it is brilliant trash and one of the most violent and clever films of the early 90’s. Leave to good ‘ol Irvin Kershner (Empire Strikes Back) to give us a piece of grindhouse cinema to munch on. The Blu-ray is stellar.

 

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 

Warner Archive have indeed blessed the fans with Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with not only the feature length film in lossless surround but they even gave us the film presented, for the first time EVER, in two different aspect ratios. We get the film, originally created as a television film in full frame 1.33:1, and the theatrical release in 1.78:1. Whether you’re a film purist, Batman fan, or a general fan of animation – it can be said that Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the best Batman films ever created. It wa since or Warner Archive to come out of left field with this release.

 

 The Handmaiden: Special Edition 

Chan-wook Park is on a creative streak, so to speak. His film The Handmaiden did receive critical acclaim and an even cooler Blu-ray release (limited to the UK). This boxed set contains BOTH cuts of the film. The first version is the theatrical cut that runs 144-minutes and his extended cut that runs 167-minutes. I have been a Chan-wook Park fan for many years and to have this edition is like striking gold. It takes me back to when I imported his director’s cut of Thirst – but the films are completely different genres. If you are region-free then The Handmaiden form the UK is required purchasing.

 

Donnie Darko

It should be noted that this is not the gigantic limited box set that was released at the tail-end of 2016. This version came out at the beginning of 2017 to much acclaim from Arrow Video. It features a 4k remasters of the theatrical cut and Richard Kelly’s director’s cut along with a massive amount of special and supplemental extras. Yes, the film is weird as hell, but it’s a cool kind of weird and remains, if you can believe it, Richard Kelly’s most accessible work.

 

 

Dracula & The Mummy Legacy Collections 

Cracking the To-5 in a double whammy is the Universal Legacy collections of Dracula and The Mummy. The Dracula set features all 6 films including the Spanish language version of the 1931 classic, which is far superior, to the Legosi one, in my opinion. The Mummy set features 6 films, as well, and both sets are filled to the brim with special features. Here’s hoping Universal releases The Invisible Man and Creature From the Black Lagoon sets sometime soon.

 

John Carpenter’s The Thing 

John Carpenter’s The Thing was given massive love by the UK branch of Arrow Video. They stuffed this new edition with a brand new 4k remaster of the film in addition to adding even more exclusive content than ever before. It was released in a limited edition boxed set that quickly sold out and then a non-limited version was released. I was lucky enough to snag both. It does seem that the last few years in film – the home video market has shown lots of love to the John Carpenter library and It is a cool thing that his films continue to endure and show up on my lists.

 

The Before Trilogy

Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy got a whole lotta love from Criterion this year and deservingly so. All three films were remastered and given the deluxe treatment. Having never seen the films in their entirety it was a real treat to do so on Blu-ray. For such “little” films their themes are grand and somewhat epic considering they were shot mostly overseas in Europe — it gives it that bit of grandeur and the presentations are great. One of the these days I’m going to write a Top-10 Criterion Blu-ray list – just wait and see…

 

 

Liquid Sky  

A month or two ago I could not tell you what Liquid Sky was, hell, I can’t even tell you what it is now. I was one of the lucky ones that snagged a copy of one of the most cult films of the 80’s from Vinegar Syndrome. As far as I can tell the film is about good looking young people suffering from identity crisis while partying it up in New York City amidst the new wave scene, dabbling in drugs and alcohol, while dancing to some trippy acid-pop music. Oh, and aliens are possibly invading. Vinegar Syndrome gave this film some of the most tender loving care I have ever seen. The film was remastered in 4k and retains the mono soundtrack. It was shot in 35 mm but the restored image is beyond phenomenal and so are the special features. Even the slipcover is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, Vinegar Syndrome sold out of this limited edition version — rumblings are that there will be a not-so-limited edition in 2018. Until then be warned about the secondary market and the inflated prices. If you know someone that owns it go on over and experience Liquid Sky for yourself. It is beyond insane!

 

There you have it — I wish I had the stamina for a Top-20 Blu-ray list, but this will have to do. Stay tuned for my regular Top-10 Film list of 2017 to be published within the next week.

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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

7 Responses to “Gerard’s Top-10 Blu-rays of 2017”


  1. Brian White

    Man I feel like a deadbeat, which is power for the course for me. BUT I have NOTHING from your list up above. Well done in stumping me 🙂 +1

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Great list G! I gotta see The Lure (Jason’s also been selling me on that one). Ronin!!!

    And it looks like The Before Trilogy may be the Why So Blu Blu-ray pick of the year, now that it’s ranked high on 3 of our lists.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Oh wow, yeah Aaron, just realized that you, me, and Brandon got a little trifecta going with The Before Trilogy. The streams have been crossed!

  4. Gregg

    Yeah I’m surprised Mask of the Phantasm came out on Blu-ray too. I’ll have to revisit that one as I’ve only seen the film once and that was a long while ago.

  5. Brandon Peters

    Hey, NICE! I love seeing the titles you got represented here. We may have only crossed paths on 1, but an additional 6 were in consideration and down to the wire for mine.

    And yea, Liquid Sky! What a trip! What a gorgeous transfer! I’m excited to continue to confuse myself with that movie for years to come.

  6. Jason Coleman

    One great damn list! The Lure (my personal favorite!), Arrow Video selections (viva la Donnie Darko!) and more – I humbly bow sir! (Though realize The Lure was released on Feb. 1, 2017 in the US in theaters hence it IS available for any films of 2017 lists!)

  7. Gerard Iribe

    @Jason — Wow, I did not know it was released in Feb to U.S. theaters — I saw that it had a 2015 year on there (Euro release, I suppose), so figured it was just the port over to home media.