Monday, 11 January 2010

Some Good Stuff From 2009 (DVD)

John Peel used to say that the best year for music was always the current year, and I feel the same way when it comes to home cinema - 2009 was another great year for releases, with so many labels putting out great stuff in great editions - Criterion (In The Realm of the Senses), Masters of Cinema (the Fritz Lang Mabuse box set), Blue Underground (The New York Ripper BD), BFI (Pasolini's Trilogy of Life BD) Second Run (Daisies), Code Red (Messiah of Evil)...

In 2009 I made more inroads into Italian Cult Cinema, mainly spaghetti westerns (including Ferdinando Baldi's deliriously wacky Blindman) and Italian crime (Milano Calibro 8, Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man). Raro's DVD was less than perfect, but it was cheap. Hopefully one day Blue Underground will do something with Deodato's brutal cop thriller. As well as that, I picked up some Japanese pink films (Wife to be Sacrificed) in preparation for reading FAB Press' definite book on the Japanese Sex film, Behind the Pink Curtain, and a genuine holy grail for collectors of Japanese Exploitation, Horrors of Malformed Men. Also some classic American Hardcore (The Devil In Miss Jones, Neon Nights) which arrived in impressive cleaned-up 2-disc editions. Some great Polish stuff as well - Artificial Eye's Kieslowski collection, and some of the excellent documentary and experimental film collections from the Polish Audiovisual Publishers. I picked up some good boxsets as well, New Yorker's 5-disc The Cinema of Peter Watkins, Blue Underground's Alan Clarke Collection and Artificial Eye's comprehensive 10-disc Michael Haneke collection. Sadly, I missed out on Criterion's whopper AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa - 25 (count 'em!) discs of Japan's greatest film maker.

Blu-Ray was the big deal for 2009. In the face of recession I splashed out on a 42" TV and a Panasonic Blu-Ray player. Seeing recent films like The New World or There Will Be Blood at home but as good as the what was projected on the big screen has been amazing, but what is truly exciting is seeing classic films looking like they were shot yesterday. Some of my best movie watching this year has been with films like The Thing, Mad Max II, 2001... Mad Max II in particular having never seen the film in 2:35. Warners Blu-Ray is a revelation. The BFI's Blu-Ray line has been nothing short of extraordinary - Kenneth Anger's complete works, Pasolini's Salo, Antonioni's Red Desert, and great, newly discovered oddities from the 60's like The Bed-Sitting Room, Herostratus and Pete Walker's ultra-rare Man of Violence. And whoever thought we would see Blu-Rays of The New York Ripper and The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue ? The Cannibal Holocaust BR must surely be around the corner...


  1. Wow - you are delving into areas of movies I've never heard of - and I feel like I know movies at least somewhat. I got to see some Kenneth Anger projected in college; I've seen a couple of Mabuse films. And I have a Blu-Ray player - where I would say "whoever thought we would see Blu-Rays of The Exterminator (1980) and The Toolbox Murders?" In any case, corker post!

  2. I'm one of those people who get's real nervous when I hear reports of the demise of the DVD/Blu format, but then I cheer up when I see Bloodsucking Freaks and Death Bed hitting Blu-Ray - life-affirming I think...