Year in Review: The 20 Best DVD Releases of ’07!

2007 was filled with some great films, that’s for sure. However, a great film doesn’t always translate into a great DVD. What makes a DVD release great? Anticipation of the release? Maybe. Awesome special features? Probably. Really cool packaging? Without a doubt. So in honor of all the awesome cinematic gems turned home entertainment collectibles, we’ve compiled our list of the 20 Best DVD Releases of 2007 — distributors of Grindhouse take note, a 6-disc set would have made this list. But you didn’t release one, so it didn’t.

20. Children of Men
I know you might think that the “reluctant to save the world” hero thing is horribly cliche, and in most instances you’d be utterly correct. Children of Men is anything but cliche. As if following an avant-garde handbook, Alfonso Cuaran’s vision plays out like an Aldoux Huxley dream inspired by a Pink Floyd album. The phrase “set in the year 2027? alone conjures up the assumption that a moviegoer might expect to see flying cars or a shiny toy milieu that we would like to call “future.” Simplistic and visionary, the environment created by Cuaran is unconventional in the way that it doesn’t quite fit the model Utopian or Post-Apocalyptic depictions of the future that we have come to know in cinema past. Seeing is believing, and seeing this lucid representation of our future is both frightening and inspiring.
19. Monster Squad
This was one of those “oh my god, are you serious?” releases of the year. I had almost forgotten this gem of the eighties, but due to digital media it is as fresh in my mind now as it was almost 20 years ago. If only riding a 10 speed and smoking cigarettes was still enough to make you look cool.
18. Twin Peaks – The Definitive Gold Box Edition
I was not really old enough to appreciate or even understand the show when it was on television. This box set is something that allows fans of the series, fans of David Lynch’s and young budding cinephiles a chance to experience a landmark series that deserves more exposure to its already buzzing cult fan-base. One of those “finally it is here” type releases.
17. Army of Shadows – Criterion Collection
The United States theatrical release of this gem was in 2006, almost 37 years after its initial release. It was one of the highest critically acclaimed films of 2006 and the 2007 DVD release does not disappoint. Another meticulously perfect restoration that only adds to the reputation of a company that deserves to call itself Criterion.
16. Hearts of Darkness – A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
A documentary that follows one of my favorite all time films Apocalypse Now, and its director Francis Ford Coppola. There have been so many stories circling the production of the film, and maybe now we are able to hear all of them in one place. Like did you ever know that George Lucas was supposed to direct Apocalypse Now? A must buy for fans of the film and Coppola.
15. Fido
The reason why Fido works, is that it takes two completely different molds of films and combines them into one hilarious scenario. On one hand, you have your classic children’s film in which the loner kid gets a fantastically talented pet (Lassie, Beethoven, Air Bud, Dunston Checks In, Harry and the Hendersons). On the other hand, you have a new spin on the old Zombie film, taking a cue from Shaun of the Dead. The twist is that the family that finds themselves warming up to their amazing pet, finds themselves warming up to a flesh-eating zombie instead of a basketball shooting dog. Must have DVD, with a very cool “Zombie Me” feature.
14. Casino Royale
No explanation needed, it’s James Bond people! If I must explain though…The Action, the cars, the girls and the Bond all make this yet another must own Bond title. Daniel Craig gave the franchise a facelift similar to what Christian Bale provided to the Batman films. This is my favoite Bond DVD to date…of course until Bond 22 releases.
13. Pan’s Labyrinth
I awaited this release more anxiously than any of the other Oscar films from 2006. The Departed was great, but what could match the imagination, originality and wonder of Pan’s Labyrinth? I love this film, but just wish that the ultimate edition weren’t only a Region 3 release.
12. Ace In The Hole – Criterion Collection
Criterion takes yet another cult classic and brings it into the spotlight. Kirk Douglas’ finest hour, Ace in The Hole was one of the greatest social commentaries in American cinema. A must see, and a must own.
11. Caligula: Three Disc Imperial Edition
One of my favorite films of all time. Yes, some people call it the highest budget piece of pornographic cinema of all time, but it is also one of the most accurate portrayals of Rome’s madness in cinematic history. Finally this film receives an edition that it deserves. It used to be that the only editions were an Unrated and a Rated edition that you might as well have called out of print. This edition delves into the very depths of the film’s production, history and performances. This is still one of the most shocking films ever made, and looks fantastic in this new transfer.
10. Dexter – The Complete First Season
The most under-rated show on television, period. Tony Soprano can go choke on a calizone for all I care. It is a sinfully irresistible show that deserves to be within the top ten of this years DVD releases.
9. Superbad
Jonah Hill has been like David, walking into high energy comedies and stealing the show from Goliath’s grasp. Who would have ever thought that in a movie like The 40 Year Old Virgin, most audiences would be talking about the goldfish boots kid? He can’t be stopped, and I’m completely convinced that his next step should be a Rodney Dangerfield biopic. Jonah Hill alone makes this a good movie, but its the addition of Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse that make this film unforgettable.
8. Hot Fuzz: 3 Disc Collector’s Edition
I like money, I really do. But I have a DVD addiction that doesn’t allow me to keep much money. With the purchase of this DVD, I now have three different versions of Hot Fuzz (Standard Definition, HD-DVD, and this 3-Disc). Was it worth it? Heck yes it was. This is the ultimate edition for any fan of Edgar, Simon and Nick’s.
7. Close Encounters of The Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition
My first run in with a Blueray exclusive title, but I bought my standard definition DVD and took it like a man. How can you go wrong with this one? More special features and alternate cuts than any fan could ask for, or be forced to watch. My only regret is that I will have to put up with my mortal enemy: Richard Dreyfuss.
6. 300
I love the fact that two special editions were released: One with a spartan helmet, and the other with an immortals mask. Let’s just say that the DVD provides hours of entertainment on and off the screen. Example: kitty cat immortal versus spartan puppy. Yes, I’m serious…this was a DVD to die for this year.
5. Heroes – The Complete First Season
Beautiful packaging, perfect transfer and great entertainment make Heroes one of the best DVD releases of the year. The prospect of hours of Hayden Panettiere makes this a top five pick.
4. Planet Earth
Ever wanted to be surrounded by a school of piranhas? Me either. Planet Earth is one of the single most impressive feats of cinematography ever seen. The series took us to places never traveled, and events never shown with high speed cameras. A feast for the eyes, and a perfect edition to your DVD rack.
3. Stanley Kubrick Directors Series
With films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut how could you go wrong? To compliment the 10 Disc set, a 142 minute documentary about one of my favorite directors of all time is also included. My only gripe: Full Metal Jacket is only a one-disc edition.
2. Blade Runner: Five Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition in Briefcase
Ever heard of a DVD edition packed with so many extra’s that they need their own briefcase? Well say hello to Blade Runner pal. Is it worth it? Yes, but only if you are a fan. But who isn’t a fan of Harrison Ford? Mark Hamill doesn’t count.
1. Transformers
With more special editions than you can count, Transformers was the DVD release of the year hands down. With an edition that came with cute little transformers, an edition that came with a prequel and an edition that had a transforming box, this was sure to be on everyone’s lists. Maybe if Knocked Up had a DVD case the doubled as a bong, it would be on this list.
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