Written PostThe Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2010 — Part Two!

The Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2010 — Part Two!

Yesterday I began listing my Top 10 DVDs/Blu-Rays of 2010.  Here’s the rest of my list!

5. Batman: Under the Red HoodBruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series knocked me for a loop when I first saw it back in the ’90s, and I’ve been a huge fan of his many DC Universe animated projects in the years since.  The recent series of animated DVDs that he’s been masterminding have been a bit hit-or-miss, but this film (adapting a storyline from the Batman comics written by Judd Winick) is really tremendous.  The story has a GREAT hook: Batman’s life is uprooted when he discovers that the new crime-lord in Gotham City just might be his former partner, Robin.  What unfolds is a surprisingly dark, surprisingly violent tale.  Whenever Mr. Timm returns to Batman, I’m a happy camper, but this grim little film really grabbed me.  I think it’s a particularly great depiction of the Dark Knight Detective.  A superlative voice cast (including Bruce Greenwood, Neal Patrick Harris, Jensen Ackles, Jason Isaacs, and Futurama’s John Di Maggio) is just the icing on the cake.  (Click here for my original review.)

4. Family Guy: It’s a Trap! The folks at Family Guy conclude their trilogy of extended episodes parodying the three original Star Wars films with this warped version of Return of the Jedi. The animation is absolutely gorgeous (it’s shocking that I would write that about an episode of Family Guy, but believe me, it’s true.  These artists have painstakingly recreated shot after shot from Return of the Jedi. Their version of the Battle for the Second Death Star is astounding).  The jokes are very funny.  (I was particularly taken with their depiction of the speeder-bike chase sequence, but on tricycles.)  It’s Family Guy Star Wars.  What more could I ask for?  (Click here for my original review.)

3. Grindhouse (Blu-Ray) — I was very afraid that this would never see the light of day, but at last one can now own the original theatrical version of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double-feature, complete with all of the fake trailers.  I love the extended versions of the two films that were released on DVD a few years back, but I’ve been aching to be able to experience what I saw (and so loved) in theatres back in 2007.  Ignore the nay-sayers — this film is genius, and it is phenomenally entertaining viewing.  It’s not for everyone (there’s a lot of sex and violence), but damn do I think it’s a lot of fun.

2. Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure (Blu-Ray) Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite films.  I didn’t quite understand it the first time I saw it, but there was something that kept drawing me back to revisit the film time after time.  Each time I watched the film, it wormed its way deeper into my heart.  Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece about the Vietnam war is beautiful and horrifying in equal measure.  The film looks staggeringly perfect on Blu-Ray.  This set includes not only the original theatrical version, but also the longer 2001 Apocalypse Now: Redux version (which I love, though I know I’m in the minority on this).  While the Alien Anthology might include the most comprehensive set of special features ever assembled on a film series, this 3-disc set just might be the most comprehensive examination of a single film that I’ve ever seen.  The set includes a wonderful commentary track by Francis Ford Coppola and a wealth of documentary featurettes examining various aspects of the film’s production and post-production.  Most incredible of all, the set includes Hearts of Darkness, the magnificent documentary film on the making of Apocalypse Now that was assembled in 1991 by Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper, based on the wealth of documentary material that Francis’ wife, Eleanor, shot over the course of Apocalypse Now’s production.  I don’t think there has ever been a better record of the making of a film than this incredibly frank, honest documentary.  It was long a dream of film fans that this documentary would one day be packaged with Apocalypse Now — and that day has arrived.  What an incredible Blu-Ray set.

1. The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete SeriesSpeaking of things that I never thought would ever actually see the light of day, we come now to my number one choice: Shout! Factory’s complete collection of The Larry Sanders Show.  Garry Shandling’s HBO series about the behind-the-scenes goings-on at a fictional late-night talk show is without question one of the greatest TV series ever made.  If you’re not already in the cult of The Larry Sanders Show — or if, gasp, you’ve never seen it — then I urge you with all of my might to remedy that situation with due haste.  The series is absolute genius — funny, poignant, and endlessly re-watchable.  In addition to Mr. Sandling as Larry Sanders, the series stars Rip Torn as Larry’s bulldog producer, Artie, and Jeffrey Tambor as Larry’s hapless side-kick, Hank Kingsley.  Artie and Hank are two of the greatest television characters of all time.  (Just come up to me any time and say “it was a back tooth, Hank,” and I guarantee I’ll be doubled over in laughter for minutes.)  Although the complete first season of The Larry Sanders Show was one of the first full-season-on-DVD sets ever released, no further seasons ever appeared on DVD, apparently because of issues with the rights for all of the music used in the show.  I had long-since given up hope that the remaining seasons would ever see the light of day, but then the good folks at Shout! Factory came to the rescue.  I’m still in the midst of making my way through this enormous set (and I’m trying to take my time with it).  The show is absolute perfection, as is the DVD set.  No flipping!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  C’mon back next week for my Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2010 and my Top 10 Episodes of TV of 2010. See you then!

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