Year In Review: DVD

Yes it’s another year in review list.  Actually it’s the first of a series I hope to post intermittently over the next few days, depending on what I feel like talking about.  First up the year in dvd’s, because I couldn’t think of enough tv or films from the past year that I saw and liked enough to put on a top 10 list.

1) Wall-E

A good year for videos with two flawless films battling it out for the best of the year honor. But in the end I think I have to tip the scales in Wall-E’s favor. The movie is the perfect example of all that’s good in both animation and science-fiction. It’s clever, funny, poignant, and just a beautiful film.

2) In Bruges

The year’s second perfect film is a completely different animal from Wall-E. Martin McDonagh’s tale of two hitmen, brilliantly played by Brendan Gleeson & Colin Farrell, laying low in Belgium and occasionally insulting midgets is just a great movie.  Any other year I would have given it the top spot.

3) Spaced the Complete Series

It’s been an equally good year on the tv show front as well, but my top choice here was really never in question. Spaced is the best thing to come out of the BBC after Monty Python and Doctor Who, and it’s the show that gave the world Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost. And after years it finally came out in the US (not counting bootlegs), about damn time.

4) The Wire the Complete Series

On the American front there was the full collection of the Wire, probably the best crime drama to ever air on television. The show should be the text book for all long form narratives to come. For five years it has been the one completely irreplaceable part of my TV viewing.

5) The Dark Knight

This was a huge year for comic based movies (if you’re not the Punisher), and the Dark Knight was the best of the bunch, although not by much. The performances are stunning across the board, which made the fact the Heath Ledger stood out so much, all the more noteworthy. But despite the Joker’s prominence, this is really a Two-Face story, and Chris Nolan & Aaron Eckhart pull it off perfectly.

6) Iron Man

I don’t see this as Robert Downey Jr.’s come back feature in the way it’s been reported (what about A Scanner Darkly and Zodiac last year), but it’s true that he’s amazing here. The movie itself is a fairly standard superhero story, but deserves credit for making an extended origin story engrossing for a full film, and for finding a way to possibly use the Mandarin in sequels without turning him into a racist caricature.

7) Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The one movie that truly surprised me this year. This may actually be my favorite of the Paul Rudd influenced adult comedys that have bombarded theaters in the wake of the 40 Year Old Virgin. My brother and I spent a full week afterwards randomly bursting into the Dracula musical number.

8) Hellboy II: the Golden Army

It’s Hellboy, it’s Guillermo Del Toro, there are no surprises here. But if you enjoy evil fairies, clockwork monsters, Ron Perlman, and somber color palettes than this is the movie for you.

9) Doctor Who the Complete Fourth Series

The worst season of the Doctor Who revival to date, but it’s still Doctor Who and (now that the Wire’s over) is light years beyond the quality of anything else on tv. This year features the returns of the Sontarans and Davros from the old shows, and every supporting character to have appeared on the new one at some point. The highlights though are the first episode in which the Doctor encounters adorable fat creatures (as in they’re made of fat) and Steven Moffat’s 2-part library horror story.

10) Wanted

Leave your brain at the door for this film and you’ll have a ball. Timur Bekmambetov has managed to make a career of taking action scenes and making them so outright ridiculous that they start to become believable again. Wanted pulls this off with more success than his previous films, largely due to the performance of James McAvoy. The film also gets bonus points for being superior to the book it’s based on.

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