DVD & Blu-ray

The Best DVDs of 2008

Best DVDs of 2008


Every year I usually compile a list of the best films but since I started doing regular DVD roundups it was clear that there was a lot of re-issues and special editions of films worth compiling in an end of year list.

This is my selection of the best films to come out on DVD during 2008 and all of these titles are ones that I would recommend to buy or put in your online rental queue.

When you click on the title of each entry it will take you to my original post on it or the entry in Amazon where you can buy the DVD.







Best DVD releases of 2008








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

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check

> Check out the best selling DVDs at Play
> Amazon US pick their best DVDs of 2008 (these are Region 1 DVDs)


Sight and Sound’s Top Films of 2008

British film magazine Sight and Sound have published their top 10 films of 2008.

They asked 50 critics for their five favourites of the past year and the titles that appeared the most were then selected as their Top 10 of 2008.

Here is the final list (with some ties):

1. Hunger (Steve McQueen, UK)
2. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA)
3. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, USA)
4. Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, Italy) 
=5. A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin, France) 
=5. The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
7. Of Time and the City (Terence Davies, UK)
8. Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, UK)
=9. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/France/Italy/Spain)
=9. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, Sweden).

The January edition of the magazine will have the full choices of each critic and you can also check out their best DVDs of 2008.

Lists like these are always difficult for UK critics as a lot of the best films open in the US during the last months of the year (for award consideration) and only get released in the UK during in January or February.

This means that a lot of US end-of-year lists are out of sync with their UK counterparts. My policy last year was to just list the films I had seen that year and ignore the UK release date.

After all, in years to come, if you look up There Will Be Blood in the IMDb or any self respecting film guide you will see ‘2007’ next to the title and not 2008.

However, I’m slightly puzzled by Sight and Sound’s policy. I thought they had gone with year of UK release policy but The Class (incidentally an outstanding film) is also in there.

It doesn’t get released here until February and won’t even qualify for this year’s BAFTAs as it is coming out in February. Does it get in because it had a public screening at the London Film Festival a few weeks back?

Anyway, whatever the policy, there are some real highlights above and if you haven’t seen Hunger yet then it is a film you really should catch in a cinema.

> Sight and Sound site and their 2002 polls
> My favourite films of 2007
> Metacritic end of year lists for 2007


Film Lists + IMDb Link = A Huge Jump in Traffic

So, a couple of weeks ago I posted an item on a list of ‘the greatest films of all time’ by French film magazine Cahiers Du Cinema.

It was really just a piece commenting on the films they had chosen and the fact that some observers were upset about the lack of British films on it.

However, soon after The Guardian posted two pieces on the same list – one by Marcel Berlins without any links until a commenter pointed to my post and then one by Ronald Bergan on the ‘scourge’ of the greatest film list.

Then the IMDb linked to it on their front page hit list and my traffic went into overdrive. (The page views for yesterday were 27 times over the average number for a 24 hour period).

At one point the site buckled under the pressure, but we got it back up thanks to Matt and the author of the Super Cache plugin (which helped deal with the surge in traffic).

I never expected it to be so popular but all the interest and comments shows there is still a big appetite for debating the best films ever.

Personally, I zone out a little when I see yet another list of ‘the greatest films of all time’ as it is the usual suspects that seem to dominate (Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Star Wars, The Shawshank Redemption).

Perhaps a more interesting exercise would be something like a list of more overlooked films that deserve wider publicity (Ivansxtc, Crumb, Midnight Run, Gattaca, Taxi to the Darkside and Top Secret!).

That said, there is something healthy about debating and analysing what the great films are and why they are still worth watching.

So, I’ve thought of compiling a ‘superlist’ of films you should see.

It wouldn’t be restricted to 50, 100 but would be whatever is important and worth watching. It could be a 1000, 5123 or whatever number it grows to.

The main idea is that it would grow and be debated online – a bit like the IMDb Top Movies, only it wouldn’t be restricted to 250 titles.

As great films come out every year, maybe it shouldn’t even have a fixed number.

I’ll post some more thoughts soon, but if you have any ideas on what the format should be or what films to include then let me know in the comments below.

> The post on the Cahiers List
> IMDb Top 250
> My favourite films of 2007
> Wikipedia section on Films Considered The Greatest Ever

Interesting Lists News

Cahiers du cinéma’s 100 Greatest Films

French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma have compiled a list of the 100 greatest films of all time.

It is published this month in an illustrated book and was put together by 76 French film directors, critics and industry executives.

Here are the 100 films:

  1. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles
  2. The Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton
  3. The Rules of the Game (La Règle du jeu) – Jean Renoir
  4. Sunrise – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  5. L’Atalante – Jean Vigo
  6. M – Fritz Lang
  7. Singin’ in the Rain – Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
  8. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock
  9. Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) – Marcel Carné
  10. The Searchers – John Ford
  11. Greed – Erich von Stroheim
  12. Rio Bravo – Howard Hawkes
  13. To Be or Not to Be – Ernst Lubitsch
  14. Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu
  15. Contempt (Le Mépris) – Jean-Luc Godard
  16. Tales of Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari) – Kenji Mizoguchi
  17. City Lights – Charlie Chaplin
  18. The General – Buster Keaton
  19. Nosferatu the Vampire – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  20. The Music Room – Satyajit Ray
  21. Freaks – Tod Browning
  22. Johnny Guitar – Nicholas Ray
  23. The Mother and the Whore (La Maman et la Putain) – Jean Eustache
  24. The Great Dictator – Charlie Chaplin
  25. The Leopard (Le Guépard) – Luchino Visconti
  26. Hiroshima, My Love – Alain Resnais
  27. The Box of Pandora (Loulou) – Georg Wilhelm Pabst
  28. North by Northwest – Alfred Hitchcock
  29. Pickpocket – Robert Bresson
  30. Golden Helmet (Casque d’or) – Jacques Becker
  31. The Barefoot Contessa – Joseph Mankiewitz
  32. Moonfleet – Fritz Lang
  33. Diamond Earrings (Madame de…) – Max Ophüls
  34. Pleasure – Max Ophüls
  35. The Deer Hunter – Michael Cimino
  36. The Adventure – Michelangelo Antonioni
  37. Battleship Potemkin – Sergei M. Eisenstein
  38. Notorious – Alfred Hitchcock
  39. Ivan the Terrible – Sergei M. Eisenstein
  40. The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola
  41. Touch of Evil – Orson Welles
  42. The Wind – Victor Sjöström
  43. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick
  44. Fanny and Alexander – Ingmar Bergman
  45. The Crowd – King Vidor
  46. 8 1/2 – Federico Fellini
  47. La Jetée – Chris Marker
  48. Pierrot le Fou – Jean-Luc Godard
  49. Confessions of a Cheat (Le Roman d’un tricheur) – Sacha Guitry
  50. Amarcord – Federico Fellini
  51. Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) – Jean Cocteau
  52. Some Like It Hot – Billy Wilder
  53. Some Came Running – Vincente Minnelli
  54. Gertrud – Carl Theodor Dreyer
  55. King Kong – Ernst Shoedsack & Merian J. Cooper
  56. Laura – Otto Preminger
  57. The Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa
  58. The 400 Blows – François Truffaut
  59. La Dolce Vita – Federico Fellini
  60. The Dead – John Huston
  61. Trouble in Paradise – Ernst Lubitsch
  62. It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra
  63. Monsieur Verdoux – Charlie Chaplin
  64. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Theodor Dreyer
  65. À bout de souffle – Jean-Luc Godard
  66. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
  67. Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick
  68. La Grande Illusion – Jean Renoir
  69. Intolerance – David Wark Griffith
  70. A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne) – Jean Renoir
  71. Playtime – Jacques Tati
  72. Rome, Open City – Roberto Rossellini
  73. Livia (Senso) – Luchino Visconti
  74. Modern Times – Charlie Chaplin
  75. Van Gogh – Maurice Pialat
  76. An Affair to Remember – Leo McCarey
  77. Andrei Rublev – Andrei Tarkovsky
  78. The Scarlet Empress – Joseph von Sternberg
  79. Sansho the Bailiff – Kenji Mizoguchi
  80. Talk to Her – Pedro Almodóvar
  81. The Party – Blake Edwards
  82. Tabu – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  83. The Bandwagon – Vincente Minnelli
  84. A Star Is Born – George Cukor
  85. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday – Jacques Tati
  86. America, America – Elia Kazan
  87. El – Luis Buñuel
  88. Kiss Me Deadly – Robert Aldrich
  89. Once Upon a Time in America – Sergio Leone
  90. Daybreak (Le Jour se lève) – Marcel Carné
  91. Letter from an Unknown Woman – Max Ophüls
  92. Lola – Jacques Demy
  93. Manhattan – Woody Allen
  94. Mulholland Dr. – David Lynch
  95. My Night at Maud’s (Ma nuit chez Maud) – Eric Rohmer
  96. Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) – Alain Resnais
  97. The Gold Rush – Charlie Chaplin
  98. Scarface – Howard Hawks
  99. Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio de Sica
  100. Napoléon – Abel Gance

The reaction from some outlets in this country is surprise that there are no British films on the list.

The Telegraph say:

The list in the publication Les Cahiers du Cinema features films from the USA, Germany, Russia, Italy and Sweden but there is no place for some of the biggest British directors including David Lean, Ken Loach and Peter Greenaway.

British-born Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin are both mentioned but only for the movies that they made in Hollywood.

The nearest the British cinema industry comes to a mention is the 17th (equal) place given to 2001: A Space Odyssey, made in 1968, by the American director, Stanley Kubrick, partly with British money and with British technicians.

The 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia came seventh in a recent list of the best 100 movies drawn up by the American Film Institute in Hollywood but is perhaps the highest profile omission.

Jean-Michel Frodon, the editor of Les Cahiers du Cinema, has pointed out that the lack of British-made films was “striking” but not part of any Gallic conspiracy:

“It does not reflect an anti-British bias. It is simply the result of the individual choices of 76 people in the French industry. Each was asked to name their 100 best films and this was the result.

Yes, it is surprising, maybe, that there is no Lawrence of Arabia, or no film by Ken Loach or Stephen Frears (The Queen).

But there are many other national film industries which are also missing. There are no Brazilian films, for instance.”

Some British films that should have made the list would surely include:

That said, if you were to ask me what are the truly great British films of the last 20 years, then I would struggle to come up with one.

In May 1957 a former editor of Cahiers (and later director) Francois Truffaut once remarked:

“The British cinema is made of dullness and reflects a submissive lifestyle, where enthusiasm, warmth, and zest are nipped in the bud. A film is a born loser just because it is English.

Maybe nothing has changed in 50 years.

> The Telegraph on the list
> Official site for Cahiers du Cinema
> Geoffrey MacNab of The Guardian in 2001 on Cahiers du Cinema