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DVD & Blu-ray

The Best DVD and Blu-ray Releases of 2010

Here are my picks of the DVD and Blu-ray released in 2010, which include Dr. Strangelove, Pierrot Le Fou, The White Ribbon, Dr. Zhivago, The Last Emperor, A Prophet, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Psycho, The Third Man, Se7en, The Exorcist, Carlos and Inception.

Just click on the film title to read the original reviews and the links on the side to buy them.

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FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

NOTABLE IMPORTS

N.B. As I’m based in the UK, all of these DVDs are UK titles (apart from the imports) but if you live in a different region of the world check out Play.com or your local Amazon site and they should have an equivalent version of the film.

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Browse all the cinema releases of 2010
> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009

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Behind The Scenes Images Interesting

Dr Strangelove Set Photos

Stanley Kubrick’s classic Cold War satire Dr Strangelove was shot at Shepperton Studios, just outside of London, during 1963.

This is a collection of photos from the set, some of which are in colour.

[Source: Flickr user Pineapples101]

> Dr Strangelove at the IMDb
> Details on the Dr. Strangelove Blu-ray
> Find out more about Stanley Kubrick at Wikipedia
> Peter Sellers demonstrating his mastery of accents on the set of Dr Strangelove
> Essay on the ‘last secrets’ of Dr Strangelove

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Interesting

Dr Strangelove at The Barbican

Later this month Stanley Kubrick‘s classic Cold War satire Dr Strangelove will be screening at The Barbican in London on April 27th.

Prior to the screening, Sir Christopher Frayling, Professor Ian Christie and veteran production designer Assheton Gorton (Blow Up, Get Carter) will have a panel discussion about production design and its relationship to contemporary design and architecture.

Kubrick’s film is notable for the iconic production design from Ken Adam who made his mark designing the villain’s lair in Dr No(1962).

That brought him to the attention of Kubrick who then recruited him to design the set for his new ‘Cold War comedy’, about the global chaos that could be unleashed if the wrong person pushed the wrong button.

Adam rightly received huge plaudits for his recreation of the Pentagon’s War Room, which has become one of the iconic sets in film history.

For more details on the event just visit The Barbican’s website here.

> Dr Strangelove on Blu-ray
> Dr Strangelove at the IMDb 
> Event details at The Barbican

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

Blu-ray: Dr. Strangelove

Dr Strangelove (Sony): The Blu-ray release of Stanley Kubrick’s classic Cold War satire is one of this year’s major releases on the format.

Released in 1964, it stars Peter Sellers (in a remarkable performance encompassing three roles: US president, the scientist title character and a British RAF group captain), George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden.

Loosely based on Peter George’s novel Red Alert it depicts the chaos that ensues when an unhinged US Air Force general launches a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

With its splendid mix of intelligence, wit and technical brilliance it remains one of Kubrick’s finest works and also one of the truly great films of the 1960s.

This Blu-ray release came out last summer in the US and was based on a 4K restoration by Sony (although sadly no sign of the famously deleted cream pie fight).

There are a couple of visual issues surrounding this release worth noting as they apply to any classic work restored for Blu-ray.

Firstly, the aspect ratio is done in 1:66. As The Digital Bits reported:

The original theatrical presentation varied between 1.33 and 1.66. In recent years however, we’re told that Kubrick’s associates (who manage his estate) have become more comfortable with the 16×9/1.78:1 aspect ratio of HD displays, and they believe that Kubrick himself – if he’d really had the chance to look into it – would have preferred his full frame films to be presented on home video (in HD) at a steady 1.66 to take better advantage of the 1.78:1 frame. So that’s the reasoning for the decision.

The other issue which caused some debate was that of grain. The basic argument here revolves around how much grain should be removed in the transfer process. Purists argue that grain should be preserved as it was part of the original negative, whilst others think that if directors would have removed grain if they had access to modern digital tools.

To complicate the issue, there are some who think that that the whole issue is a non-starter and that grain is an inherent part of the film image.

There isn’t really a definitive answer, as it depends on the film and your viewpoint, but given the heated arguments around such releases of The French Connection and The Third Man, it is likely to remain an issue that crops up in future.

Gary Tooze of DVD Beaver thinks grain was always an important part of the film:

Grain has always been an important part of the visual texture to this film – it’s preserved here nicely without becoming a distraction. This is a great B&W, 1080p presentation. The new TrueHD 5.1 audio mix is also quite good, offering the expected improvements in clarity and resolution. For those who prefer it, however, the original mono audio is here too.

Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere felt badly let down by the grain in the image, describing it as:
…more than a visual disappointment — it’s a flat-out burn. I paid $35 bills for it yesterday afternoon and I’m seething. It’s hands down the worst grainstorm experience since Criterion’s The Third Man because Sony’s preservation and restoration guy Grover Crisp went the monk-purist route in the remastering and retained every last shard of grain in the original film elements.
Glenn Kenny of Some Came Running took a different position, arguing that Kubrick wanted grain in the film:
Of course this brings up all the old arguments as to grain and its place in a motion picture’s image, the rather absurd supposition by some that if dead filmmakers could return from the grave they’d immediately avail themselves of digital technology and erase all the film grain from their oeuvres, etc., etc. I don’t think I’m going that far on a limb to say that Kubrick in particular liked a little grain in his images.
Whatever the debate over the visual transfer it is still an essential film for any collection and the extras are plentiful, including:
  • Coded for all regions (A, B and C), extras are in SD. Features include:
  • 1080P 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • English and Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • English Mono
  • Hungarian, Czech and Polish DD5.1
  • Subtitles (Main Feature): English, English HOH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Slovak, Spanish (Castilian), Swedish, Turkish
  • Subtitles (Extra Features): English, Spanish
  • BD Exclusive: The Cold War: Picture-in-Picture and Pop-Up Trivia Track – Embark on a journey into the very heart of the Cold War exploring, in fascinating detail, the military and political world in which Dr. Strangelove takes place. What did the film get right and where did it take liberties with established military procedures? And just how close were we in the early 1960s to a real atomic exchange? This multimedia experience includes Graphic-in-Picture pop-up trivia and Picture-in-Picture commentary that help shed some light on an era of secrets and heightened paranoia, all of which helped inspire this classic film. Picture-in-Picture interviews include:
  • Thomas Schelling (RAND* Corp. employee during late 1950s and early 1960s – wrote article on novel “Red Alert” that prompted Kubrick’s interest in adapting the book to a film)
  • Richard A. Clarke (Author of “Against All Enemies,” counter-terrorism and command and control systems expert)
  • Daniel Ellsberg (RAND Corp. employee during late 1950s and early 1960s; consultant to JFK admin., Dept. of Defense)
  • George Quester (Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland; expert on nuclear proliferation, deterrence, and nuclear diplomacy)
  • David Alan Rosenberg (Temple University professor; Historian of Nuclear Strategy; ex-military)
  • No Fighting in the War Room or: Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat
  • Inside: Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove
  • Best Sellers Or: Peter Sellers and Dr. Strangelove Remembered
  • An Interview with Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara

Dr Strangelove is out now on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

> Buy the Blu-ray at Amazon UK
> IMDb Entry
> Find out more about Dr Strangelove and Stanley Kubrick at Wikipedia

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 18th Janaury 2010

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DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Dr Strangelove (Sony): The Blu-ray release of Stanley Kubrick‘s classic Cold War satire is undoubtedly one of the major releases of the year on the format. Released in 1964, it stars Peter Sellers (in a remarkable three roles: US president, the scientist title character and a British RAF group captain), George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden. Loosely based on Peter George’s Cold War novel Red Alert it depicts the chaos that ensues when an unhinged US Air Force general launches a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. [Read the full review here]

(500) Days of Summer (Fox): A smart and inventive romantic comedy that explores the failed romance of a couple (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel) in a quirky and non-linear fashion. Directed by Marc Webb and scripted by Scott Neustadter
and Michael H. Weber it became a something of a minor hit back in the summer and has earned plaudits for its unconventional approach to the genre. [Read the full review here]

ALSO OUT

A Challenge for Robin Hood (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
A Perfect Getaway (Momentum) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Bustin’ Down the Door (Metrodome) [Buy it on DVD]
Creation (Icon) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Cry the Beloved Country (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
Doctor Who: Peladon Tales (2 Entertain) [Buy it on DVD]
Dorian Gray (Momentum) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray
Fame Season 2 (Fox) [Buy it on DVD]
Fireball (E1 Entertainment) [Buy it on DVD]
Fright (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
Funny People (Universal) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Gamer (EIV) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Heart of Fire (Metrodome) [Buy it on DVD]
Howling II (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
In Plain Sight Season 1 (Universal Playback) [Buy it on DVD]
It Might Get Loud (Universal) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Night of the Comet (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
Secret People (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
Suspiria (Nouveaux) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
The Green Berets (Warner) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
The High Command (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
The Moonraker (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]
The Queen of Spades (Optimum) [Buy it on DVD]

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The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
UK cinema releases for Friday 15th January including Up in the Air and The Book of Eli

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Amusing Interesting

Peter Sellars does English accents

Whilst filming Dr Strangelove Peter Sellars did this press interview on the phone with a US outlet and demonstrated his incredible mastery of British accents.

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Amusing Interesting

Peter Sellers does various British accents

During the making of Stanley Kubrick‘s Dr. Strangelove (1964) Peter Sellers did a series of phone interviews to promote the movie and demonstrated his amazing ability to mimic British accents:

If you are wondering why he is doing this in make up and costume, back in the 60s actors would give generic answers to pre-scripted questions.

They were actually talking to someone on the set and the media outlet would then edit these into the final interviews.

> Peter Sellers at the IMDb
> Find out more about Dr Strangelove at Wikipedia