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Peter’s Top 10 Films of 2020

Sooooo, 2020 amirite? I’ve never been happier for a year to end. Of course, with the pandemic still ongoing and awaiting a vaccine to reach millions, this was the first time I haven’t seen 70-100 movies in theaters since…. I dunno, the 90s? I have loved reviewing theatrical releases for this site and hope to do so again before 2021 ends. Were there great films in 2020? Of course. Did I miss a ton of them? I did. This past year, in lockdown, I spent more time with games than cinema. So by December, I found myself perusing other best-of lists to see what I missed. So, while the following shows that there was a lot to love creatively, I really miss seeing these films on the big screen. I did see a few like Birds of Prey and Emma. pre-lockdown, in actual theaters, but the art of the movies overall was appreciated via VOD and streaming services this time around.

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Honest Thief (Blu-ray Review)

At this point, seeing Liam Neeson as the lead in an action film only inspires so much confidence in the quality. Honest Thief, even when getting something that can make movie fans feel closer to normal in an odd year, is not one that’s bringing much new to the table. Despite a strong supporting cast and 19(!) producers that believed in this film, the film ends up playing largely as a low-rent version of what one of these Neeson films can offer, and it just happens to star the man himself. Now Honest Thief arrives on Blu-ray with a decent enough presentation, despite having little else to offer.

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Aaron’s Expansive Top Ten Films of 2020

Even in a year where the theater-going experience was compromised by an ongoing pandemic, I found no shortage of quality releases for my list of the Top Ten Films of 2020. Between streaming services and films available on VOD for less than the price of a movie ticket, studios may have been challenged when it came to the box office but could still lean on the many smaller-scale options available for release. If anything, given the ease of watching even more new films this year (250+ by my count), I can only hope putting a spotlight on less commercial releases can open some eyes to the many ambitious filmmakers out there who absolutely want to contribute something fresh to the world of cinema. So, here is my full list of favorites for the year 2020, with plenty of runner-ups and honorable mentions, followed by the top ten. Enjoy! (Reviews are linked when available AND, as per usual, I’ve also linked some fun Easter Eggs in every picture you see.) Watch Small Axe!

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Brandon’s 10 Favorite Films Of 2020!

I’ll spare you the “What a crazy year this was!” jargon as you already know. You lived through it, too. Like every cinephile, I sure do miss going to theaters and oddly not having that option made me feel like I saw a lot less “important stuff” or “contenders” this year. Yet, at the same time, I kind of did? There were many films at the time of this writing I wasn’t able to get to, didn’t have access too, or hadn’t ponied up $20 for VOD rental or whatnot. Plus, at the start of 2020 I was making a concentrated effort to not cram down films/television so much as I have in years past. Take my time, relax, not hurry. Let the ones I do watch soak up and think about them more. For better or for worse, I’d like what I take in to keep some staying power in my brain. I’m older, I have small children and my short term memory isn’t always what it used to be. However, when crafting my list I was very happy with it in the end, and I do have strong feelings toward every single one of the films on it (plus many of the ones cut) quite a bit. Despite many big films getting moved, the year was still littered with great material. A lot of which, I wish the opportunity to see it in the theater would’ve been an option. Then again, I have some rather against the grain picks this year and I’m pretty satisfied with that. Continue reading ‘Brandon’s 10 Favorite Films Of 2020!’

Gregg’s Top Five Films of 2020

I certainly don’t need to go into detail on how upended this year was. TV and film production came to a grinding halt which effectively shut down cinemas across the country as well. That being said, this will be my first ‘best films of the year’ article that isn’t the normal top ten. Rather, with the abridged film viewing in the dumpster fire known as 2020, the following will present my top five favorite films of the year. It is just an unfortunate combination of less content to watch and not being overly thrilled with a lot of what was out there. On the bright side, I did discover Schitt’s Creek this year and thoroughly loved it, but with it being a show and not a film, it won’t find a home on this list. I really want to say without further ado let’s skip all of this and just get to 2021, but there were still a number of great projects to watch this year.

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Adam’s Top Ten 4K Blu-rays of 2020!!

Ah, 2020. Has anyone had a banner year this year?  Has there been many an opportunity for growth, change or prosperity? Not quite.  But one thing that someone like me has been loving and supporting is the wealth of 4K Blu-rays coming out this year.  This is one trend I truly hope will continue.  I know for myself it has been amazing revisiting some classics, unexpected releases and the odd new, often reference grade material in the format.  The hardest part of this particular article for me is that I’ve forced myself to only choose ten titles.  There has been a wealth of great new 4K Blu-ray goodness bestowed upon us to keep me writing and discussing forever.  But alas, I’ll save you all from my rambling and keep it (hopefully) to a tidy list of ten! Read about each choice below and click the paid links along the way if you haven’t picked up copies of these excellent 4K discs! Enjoy!

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Amores Perros – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Bursting onto the scene in 2000, after spending years as a radio DJ, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s first film, Amores Perros, is an exceedingly confident debut, which melded together three stories, all linked by one defining moment, and greater themes connected to life, along with the presence of dogs. The Criterion Collection has done all they could to deliver a release fitting of the power Iñárritu’s crime drama hold, complete with a brand new 4K digital restoration, a new 5.1 lossless soundtrack, and a great collection of extras. Those who own or love dogs will still have a lot of stress to concern themselves with (though none were actually harmed), but Amores Perros is an excellent film given a proper Criterion upgrade.

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The Beach House (Blu-ray Review)

Beach House Blu-rayHoping to reignite their relationship, college students Emily and Randall arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home but, after an indulgent night of partying, they’re awoken to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. A mysterious airborne microbe has infected the water and it’s making its way to the house…. The Beach House is available on Blu-ray now! Continue reading ‘The Beach House (Blu-ray Review)’

The Best Comics of 2020

Covid-19 may have stopped the movies in 2020, but it didn’t stop comic books. Sure, things were delayed for a bit when comic book distributors pumped the brakes in getting product from the warehouse to your local comic book shop, but that was short-lived, though it felt like an eternity when it occurred. Nevertheless, here we are in December and there were a number of fantastic titles the filled the hands of readers everywhere this year. Though most of us cannot wait to escape 2020, let us take our annual trip down comic book memory lane and see who topped the charts in each category.

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BRANDON’S TOP BEST FAVORITE BLU-RAYs & 4Ks OF 2020!

I’m not the first person to tell you 2020 has felt like forever and a day and then forever again. We were fortunate to have still been given a constant flux of new 4K Ultra-HD and standard Blu-ray releases despite the global pandemic. Heck, When charting back for this list, I was stunned at some of my contenders, having them feel like they came out last year because it felt so long ago. In a positive perspective for 2020, in regards to home video collecting, the year has relieved and renewed my faith in studios to keep delivering and finding new ways to build excitement with collecting. Disney aside, every studio has shown new strategies and refreshed dedication in backing physical media. Warner Bros has continued sub licensing, but also seems to be putting a little more effort into the bonus materials for Warner Archive. Paramount has released the Presents line as well as just shooting out some bare bones releases of stuff never on the format before with new regularity. And that’s not even to begin discussing the continued excitement from the likes of Shout! Factory, Blue Underground, Vinegar Syndrome, Severin Films, Arrow Video and more as they all have invested in 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. In other words, it was a pretty damn good outing for physical media in 2020, even if it wasn’t for the health of the global population. Continue reading ‘BRANDON’S TOP BEST FAVORITE BLU-RAYs & 4Ks OF 2020!’

Super-Sized Top Ten: Aaron’s Awe-Inspiring Blu-ray Picks For 2020

“But if I just focus on a top ten, and then add some honorable mentions, that will save me some time.” Famous last words… This year’s top ten Blu-ray list didn’t get any more streamlined, but there’s a lot out there to enjoy, so get ready to go on a tour of physical media from my point of view. The good news is, I have joined my fellow Why So Blu writers in the world of 4K (in addition to a region-free player), allowing me the optimal viewing experience to go along with these terrific releases. As usual (see: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), this list has some rules. I have to have gone through the disc to assess the audio and video quality, along with the special features. It’s also important for me to separate films that may appear on my upcoming “Top 10 Films of the Year” list, though given the unexpected twist regarding this year’s theatrical films, that’s not so much an issue. Regardless, this ideally keeps the list interesting and comes with plenty of bonus sections. So, here we go!

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‘Mindwarp’ on Blu-ray February 22, 2021!

Mindwarp Blu-rayIn the future, life will be a dream. And reality a nightmare. In a post-apocalyptic world, one woman (Marta Alicia) relies on computer fantasies to entertain herself, but a glitch sends her to a far-off wasteland to deal with monsters called Crawlers. She is saved by a young rebel (Bruce Campbell; the Evil Dead franchise, Bubba Ho-Tep), but the pair are later captured and brought underground by the Crawlers. There, an overlord called the Seer (Angus Scrimm; the Phantasm series) presides over the kingdom and tries to make life miserable for his captives. Mindwarp will be released on Blu-ray February 22, 2021! Continue reading ‘‘Mindwarp’ on Blu-ray February 22, 2021!’

‘Breeder’ on Blu-ray February 15, 2021!

Breeders Blu-rayWomen are being abducted for bio-hacking experiments. Can Mia unravel the nightmare, or will she become the next test subject? A renowned health supplement company, run by a ruthless businesswoman (Signe Egholm Olsen), is selecting and abducting young women as part of an experiment bio-hacking babies DNA to enable her clients to reverse the ageing process.  When Mia (Sara Hjort DitlevsenBorgman) goes to investigate, she finds herself trapped, branded and tortured in a grim underground facility. Familiar faces start to appear, and she realizes that she is not alone in this. Can she somehow find inner strength and escape from the nightmare? Montage Pictures presents Breeder, on Blu-ray February 15, 2021! Continue reading ‘‘Breeder’ on Blu-ray February 15, 2021!’

‘Pulse’ on Blu-ray February 22, 2021

Pulse Blu-rayIn every second of every day, it improves our lives. And in a flash, it can end them. In today s world of modern conveniences, everything we rely on is run by electricity. But what happens if the power we take for granted turns against us? Old man Holger knows. He claims electricity is a living presence, whose voice can only be silenced by getting rid of anything that can hear it. Bill Rockland (Cliff De YoungShock TreatmentFlight of the Navigator) however, refuses to believe him. It must have been an accident when an electric spark ruptured the gas pipe that nearly killed Bill s son (Joey Lawrence). And it s surely a coincidence when his wife (Roxanne Hart) is severely scalded by their electric water heater. But when his own power tools attack him and an electrical fire turns their home into a blazing inferno, Bill realizes Holger may have been right after all, and perhaps the time has come to finally pull the plug! Pulse will be released on Blu-ray via Eureka Classics February 22, 2021! Continue reading ‘‘Pulse’ on Blu-ray February 22, 2021′

‘The Last Warning’ on Blu-ray February 15, 2021!

Last Warning Blu-ray EurekaThe final film from one of German cinema’s great filmmakers, The Last Warning, from a 4K restoration on Blu-ray, arrives February 2021. Adapted from Thomas F. Fallon’s 1922 Broadway play of the same name, The Last Warning is based on the story The House of Fear by Wadsworth Camp and centers on an unsolved murder that occurs during a live Broadway performance. When the victim’s body goes missing, the death remains unsolved and the theater is condemned. That is, until years later when a suspicious new “producer” arrives to re-stage the play with the original cast and crew. Part of Universal s ongoing silent restoration initiative, The Last Warning honors the studio’s rich film history that has spanned more than a century. Universal’s team of restoration experts conducted a worldwide search for The Last Warning s available elements, ultimately working with materials from the Cinémathèque française and the Packard Humanities Institute Collection in the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The Masters of Cinema series is proud to present the completed 4K restoration on Blu-ray, the first time the film has ever been available on home video in the UK.  The Last Warning is presented on Blu-ray from a 4K restoration on home video for the first time in the UK February 15, 2021! Continue reading ‘‘The Last Warning’ on Blu-ray February 15, 2021!’

Chernobyl 4K Blu-ray Review

Chernobyl made its 4K UHD Blu-ray debut at the beginning of December. However, as Lethal Weapon character Martin Riggs would say “It’s the silly season” and with my day job and other commitments keeping me busy I wasn’t able to watch thee miniseries as quickly as I’d like. But no worry, as I have for you here my in depth look at Chernobyl. Be sure to check for the paid link below to order your copy

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Paramount Presents The 50th Anniversary Of LOVE STORY! On Blu-ray February 9th!

The timeless classic LOVE STORY celebrates its 50th anniversary with a brand-new Blu-ray in the Paramount Presents line, debuting February 9, 2021 from Paramount Home Entertainment. Newly restored from a 4K film transfer, this new presentation beautifully captures the highs and lows of young love in a film that remains as impactful as ever.  Based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel, LOVE STORY was nominated for seven* Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, and became a cultural phenomenon, earning over $100 million at the domestic box office.  In 2002, the AFI named it as #9 on its list of the 100 greatest love stories of all time.

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Secrets & Lies, Defending Your Life & More Coming to The Criterion Collection March 2020

For their final new-release announcement of the year, The Criterion Collection has unveiled upcoming editions of a satirical afterlife comedy by Albert Brooks, an enigmatic ode to friendship and imagination from Jacques Rivette, the Palme d’Or–winning family drama that made Mike Leigh one of the world’s most beloved auteurs, and Djibril Diop Mambéty’s convention-shattering debut feature. Plus, there is also their recently announced seven-film World of Wong Kar Wai box set!

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