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Gerard’s Top 10 Blu-rays of 2011

Once again, the wrecking crew here at Why So Blu have come together to bring you our top 10 favorite Blu-rays of the year. Please keep in mind that we’re in the second week of December, so we will not be including Blu-rays that are scheduled to come out in the next two weeks. We would also like to remind folks that this is our personal list of favorites, so please don’t take offense if you don’t see something you like. My top 10 Blu-ray list of films range in topics that consist of horror, pain, suffering, and the human condition. Life isn’t always lollipops and rainbows, but the redeeming quality of the subject matter is that all of the films that I have picked have an entertainment factor to them. That’s the criteria that I’ve used in picking my favorite Blu-rays of the year, and some are also imports, so if you have a region free player then you can snag some of these Blu-rays and enjoy them immediately. Have fun and stay tuned for my top 10 films of 2011 coming next week!  

 

 

 

 

10. Julia’s Eyes (UK Import) – My first film in the top 10 list is something you have probably never heard of. It’s a Spanish film produced by Guillermo Del Toro called Julia’s Eyes (Los Ojos De Julia). It’s the story of a woman who is on the verge of going blind due to an inherited ocular disease. It all goes down hill when she is being stalked by an “unseen” intruder who toys with her at her most vulnerable state. The viewer is literally in the dark throughout the film and it’s that level of terror that the viewer is put it through that elevates the film above the normal slasher genre. You are forced to empathize with the character, because as she starts to go blind, so does the audience. That’s where the real terror begins. Julia’s Eyes is not currently available in the states, so if you’re region free then please take advantage of this great thriller on Blu-ray.

 

 

 

9. The Silent House (UK Import) – The Silent House or La Casa Muda as it’s known outside of America makes the list not because the Blu-ray is Earth shattering spectacular. It’s on the list, because the film is Earth shattering spectacular. The film was made for only $6,000 dollars, shot with one camera, and all done in one long single take. The results are fantastic! American filmmakers need to take note from world filmmakers, because they can use a lesson in creativity. The Blu-ray is currently not available stateside, but the DVD is available and I believe it’s available for streaming depending on who your service provider is. If you’re region free then do yourself a favor and import this bad boy now!  

 

 

 

8. John Carpenter’s The Ward2011 marked the triumphant return of the Master of Horror John Carpenter. After a few false starts the fans finally got some true John Carpenter greatness with the release of The Ward. It was originally slated to be released in the spring over in the UK on Blu-ray, but a pressing blunder canceled those plans, so we were forced to wait until a Fall release here in the states. Needless to say it was all worth it. John Carpenter’s The Ward marked the master’s return to film in ten long years. Justice has been served.

 

 

 


7. A Serbian Film (UK Import) – Here’s one of the most controversial films to be released this year on the Blu-ray format. It’s a metaphor of a film that will shock, repulse, and disgust the average viewer, but I’m not your average viewer. I give A Serbian Film props for telling the story it wanted to tell and not giving a crap about the consequences. People forget that film is art and that all forms of art are subjective. That’s what art is all about. If someone doesn’t like it, because it offends their delicate sensibilities then they can turn away or not watch it altogether. I chose the UK import of A Serbian Film, because it’s got a full DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround track that the U.S. version doesn’t have. It also has an introduction by the director and an extended scene. A Serbian Film is one of those films that needs to be seen to be believed.

 

 

 

 

6. Dazed and Confused (Criterion Collection) – I can only imagine what it was like growing up in the mid 1970’s and going to high school in that time period. The bad hair and clothing. The one or two upsides would’ve been the women and the music. Dazed and Confused is Richard Linklater’s tale of kids graduating high school with no place to go. The film gets the superb Criterion Collection treatment – no expense was spared in restoring the film to its former majestic glory. Not only that, but you get an awesome collector’s book and full blown DTS-HD MA 5.1 to boot;  the tunes have never sounded this good. It’s a pretty great film in its own right, but this Criterion Collection Blu-ray is where it’s at.  I’m getting nostalgic just thinking about it.

 

 

 


5. Lord of the Rings – Extended Editions – After several years of wishing and waiting one of the most epic trilogies of all time was finally released on Blu-ray and was received by a mixed bag of people. I won’t go into the whole non-issue of the infamous green tint nonsense, but will say that the wait was worth it. With The Hobbit being filmed as we speak, it was only fitting that this trilogy of champions finally be released in high definition. The Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray feature near reference picture and offer reference lossless sound for all three films. It’s the definitive way to enjoy Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth adventures. Accept no substitutions.

 

 

 

 

4. Once Upon A Time In The West – The baddest of the bad and the lowest of the low duke it out in Sergio Leone’s classic western about a man with no name who has come to seek vengeance no matter the cost. Once Upon A Time In The West is a CLASSIC western film that is borderline perfect. The Blu-ray actually gets it perfect with all of the stuff that was packed into the disc. You get two versions of the film, a PG-13 and Unrated cuts, along with several audio commentaries by film historians and several from a few great directors like John Carpenter, Alex Cox, and John Milius. Charlie Bronson is the ultimate badass in Once Upon A Time In The West and the Blu-ray lives up to that character.

 

 

 

 

3. Pulp Fiction – I’ve had one of the many region free imports of Pulp Fiction on Blu-ray for a while now. This version is on my list if only for justice. The Blu-ray Gods answered the calls of the faithful and granted the U.S. an official Blu-ray with all the trimmings that were originally on the special DVD and ported them over to this high definition release. Not only  that, but they added brand new special features exclusive to the Blu-ray. I’m happy that Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece was granted the honor of said extras. The video and audio are also incredible. You wanna know what else is incredible? The price. It’s still only $10. Seriously? 😉

 

 

 

 

2. Taxi Driver – Earlier this year I got the chance to finally experience Taxi Driver on the big screen in a beautiful restored edition and a couple of weeks later was able to get my hands on the shiny new Blu-ray version. It was like watching it back on the big screen again. The film was meticulously restored to Martin Scorsese’s specifications and loaded up with a ton of extras which included the now legendary audio commentaries by Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader taken from the old Criterion Collection special edition on laser disc. It’s what the fans had been clamoring for all these long years. Well, it did not disappoint. Taxi Driver is a masterpiece and the Blu-ray cements itself as one of the best releases of 2011.

 

 

 

1. The Last Circus – And to finally wrap up my top 10 Blu-ray list of 2011 we have The Last Circus which is a very disturbing tale about clowns that wield machetes, automatic weapons, and the extremely gorgeous women who love them. It’s a modern-retro masterpiece that has gained cult status since it’s extremely limited stateside release in the summer and the Blu-ray release a few weeks ago. I blind bought the film and fell in love with the madness. I’ve probably watched the film at least five times since I got the Blu-ray. I’ve always found something new with each viewing. I will no doubt continue to champion the film and show it to as many people as I can, so here’s hoping that it plays on the big screen at some point, because if I had known about it sooner I would have totally seen it then. The Last Circus is my favorite Blu-ray of 2011.


 

Honorable Mentions: Tron Legacy, Buster Keaton: The Short Films, Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Chillerama, Zombie, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Jackie Brown, Scarface, Das Boot, Rango, Sucker Punch, True Grit, The Fighter.

 

And that’s a wrap! Another year of Blu-ray magic gone by. Time flies when you’re having fun, but we’re looking forward to the bountiful slate of releases scheduled for the 2012 new year!

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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

12 Responses to “Gerard’s Top 10 Blu-rays of 2011”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I’m surprised you listed so many family comedies…

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Exactly Aaron!

  3. Will Santana

    Nice list G.. i would have a few differences and a few movies swapped around but everyone has a different opinion.. i know Sucker Punch and LOTR would not be nowhere near my list though.. Cant stand watching either

  4. Gregg

    I thought you were going to list Star Wars in each of the ten spots on your list.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Will, Sucker Punch gets an honorable mention, because it’s a great Blu-ray; the film sucked, though.

  6. Sean Ferguson

    Well we share Lord of the Rings and Pulp Fiction but you’ve lost me on the rest with the exception of Once Upon a Time in the West which is on my list to see.

  7. Will Santana

    i still havent seen A Serbian Film.. still sealed and unopened.. keep pushing it off after i saw Salo.. might have to wait til after Xmas to see it, dont want to ruin the holiday mood in the house lol

  8. Brian White

    I think I’m the only person in the world who can’t appreciate Taxi Driver. 🙁

    I still NEED to watch Last Circus.

    Hmmm…I don;t think I could ethically put A Serbian Film on my Top 10 list…LOL

    Glad to see Pulp Fiction!

    Looking at this, I probably will be in the minority not having LOTR Extended editions on my list, huh Aaron?

  9. Aaron Neuwirth

    @Brian I couldn’t remember if you were a LOTR fan Brian, so I wasn’t sure if you just forgot about it or didn’t get to watch it in time…

  10. Brian White

    @aaron
    I am a fan, but I don’t think I have the patience to sit thru anything longer than the theatrical editions, therefore I never checked them out. I wasn’t aware Gerard owned them or I would have camped out at his house.

  11. Lauren Winston

    Hmm. A Serbian Film…. I don’t even know what to say. I still haven’t and won’t see the Human Centipede so I suppose Serbian will always be held in wonderment.

  12. Gerard Iribe

    Brian, if you’ve seen the regular theatrical editions, we can just show you the stuff that was added back to the longer cuts. It’s not like you have to sit through 3hrs+ for the first two films and 4hrs+ plus for the third film.