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DVD: Best of 2006

THE INTRO: First thing's f*cking last. I don't care for writing Top Ten lists. Dig reading them, not writing them. Too much sorting and rehashing over the same shit and "oh maybe this belongs here, and that belongs there..." unh-uh. It ain't me, babe, it ain't me. In substitution of that, I rallied the troops at the DVD CLINIC and go over some of our favorite DVD releases of the year. There's no hierarchy, no numbering system, just a collection of DVDs that made us proud to be DVD consumers. And it may not be that way for long.

According to some analysts, 2007 is expecting DVD sales to plummet, due to online movie rental houses, next gen formats like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and the ever so quick and convenient digital downloads. Not to mention the bootlegs you get from the Korean guy down the street for two bucks and half a doobie. For an interesting article on the subject, pop on over HERE.

Now, as Captain Tenneal from MXC would say: Get it on!

Oldboy: Three Disc (SE)

I was a little disappointed with OLDBOY's initial DVD release, delivering only a few nice extras and nothing more. But all is forgiven with this amazing new edition, adding not only a whole 3 discs worth of extras (including commentaries, deleted scenes, documentaries, a complete video diary of the shoot, etc.) but also a kickass tin-case, the first volume of the manga comic (!), and a slick info card concerning Oh Dae-Su and the actor who plays him (complete with a film reel snippet). Talk about loaded! An awesome set for an awesome movie.

If you still haven't seen the movie in question, then check it out ASAP. It's loaded with style, has a terrific story, and includes some absolutely stellar action sequences. Here's hoping the other entries of Park's revenge trilogy get a treatment as nice as this.--Quigles

Buy it HERE!!!

Superman 2: Richard Donner Cut

The mysterious Donner cut of Superman 2 has existed for years, but until recently, having it on DVD was merely a fanboy’s dream. In fact, no one at Warner Brothers was even willing to talk about it, much less consider putting it on video. After they gave the shaft to Richard Donner, and then nearly killed the franchise forever with 3 and 4, you can understand why they would avoid the subject. However, this Donner cut of SUPERMAN 2 means Warner Brothers is taking the right steps to seek forgiveness for all of their comic book movie sins in the past.

Not only is it a great, alternate version of an already fantastic film, but Richard Donner provides a commentary track that brings the adventure of the Donner cut to an end. The track can be sad at times, but it’s great to hear the guy talk about the film after so long and to wonder about what could have been. There are also some deleted scenes and a nice little featurette to top things off.--Sturdy

Buy it HERE!!!

Seven Samurai (Criterion Edition)

I’m not one to promote double dipping, especially when you’re doing DP on a Criterion DVD, but this 3-Disc Remastered Edition is ridonkulous. If you haven’t seen SEVEN SAMURAI, it’s a marvel of filmmaking. Akira Kurosawa sets the standard in terms of storytelling, characterization and action, creating one of the most satisfying experiences you’ll have with a (non-porno) movie. Yes, it’s a long film with subtitles, but it’s worth every second. Trust me, there’s a reason SEVEN SAMURAI has been unsuccessfully ripped off so many times.

In case I was too subtle earlier, this new DVD set is sick nasty. In addition to a brand new high-def digital transfer, Dolby surround track and more accurate subtitles, there’s also critic and scholar commentaries, four hours worth of documentaries, art galleries and an awesome 50 page book of essays and near-masturbatory tributes to Kurosawa. The packaging and cover art is just as great; simple, yet effective. Even if you already own the previous Criterion edition, this is definitely worth paying the extra money. You can always give away your old copy to an impressionable child.--Jason Adams

Buy it HERE!!!

Walk the Line (SE)

There was some trepidation on my part seeing The Man in Black being played by that one dude with the harelip from GLADIATOR. I wasn't buying it. I just couldn't see him pulling off the line, "...kickin' and 'a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer." Boy, was I wrong. Joaquin Phoenix not only pulls off mimicing the voice of Cash, but lends his incredible acting chops to portray a Cash that is struggling with a forbidden love, a drug addiction, and life on the road. When he sings, "..and I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when," you believe him.

The 2 disc special edition is loaded with commentaries, a bunch of deleted scenes, and some really sweet black and white postcards of Phoenix's Cash and "Greasy" Reese Witherspoon's June Carter. The gems of this collection lie in the three documentaries about Cash featuring interviews with musicians Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Tone Loc. One is called, "Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny & June", highlighting the bond between the two country singers that's sure to bring a hint of mist to your eye and if it doesn't, well, I don't think we can be friends anymore. It's not me, it's you.--Johnny Moreno

Buy it HERE!!!

All the President's Men (SE)

The revelation of Deep Throat and the controversial stance of Judith Miller once again turned the spotlight on the Watergate scandal and the subject of ethics in journalism. And no film has covered both better than ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. Chances are good your English or history teacher made you watch this in high school, but if you haven’t seen it since then, it’s definitely a must-own. Redford and Hoffman are in their prime as Woodward and Bernstein and watching these two legends together is a joy in and of itself.

This DVD takes advantage of the headlines, but also offers a great commentary track by Robert Redford and a handful of excellent featurettes. The film has aged well and the DVD explores the relevance of the film in today’s society without being too preachy. Fans of the film were looking for an SE back in 2005 when the news of Deep Throat actually hit, but it’s better late than never. And it was also nice for the younger generation to know that Deep Throat was more than just a character on the X-Files and a porn film.--Sturdy

Buy it HERE!!!

Dazed & Confused (Criterion)

Good ol' Criterion. Always putting out the best DVDs. This one is no different, delivering a beautifully remastered video transfer, a pitch-perfect DTS 5.1 audio track, and 2 discs of special feature bliss (there's interviews, a commentary, auditions, deleted scenes, and a great 50-minute documentary). As if that weren't enough, Criterion has seen fit to produce one of the most beautiful DVD packages in existence. Everything from the cover art to the slipcase to the 72-page booklet... it's all beautiful. It's even got a poster to boot.

I'm sure most of you have seen DAZED & CONFUSED, but for those who haven't, you're missing out. It's the end-all 70's film, featuring a star-studded cast of actors from before they got famous and a nostalgic high school setting that will appeal to just about everyone (regardless of the people you hung out with). It's just over ten years old and I already feel like it's a classic. Thanks to Criterion, this DVD only furthers that feeling.--Quigles

Buy it HERE!!!

The Searchers (SE)

Why THE SEARCHERS isn’t up there with the all-time classics of cinema like CITIZEN KANE, THE GODFATHER and WEEKEND AT BERNIES is beyond me. Johns Wayne and Ford are both at the top of their respective games. Wayne gives an incredibly nuanced performance as a hardened Civil War vet driven by vengeance to find his kidnapped niece. Director Ford pulls off a multi-year epic in under two hours that works visually and emotionally. When the door closes at the end, it closes on not only one of the best westerns ever made, but one best films period.

Despite the masses ignoring it, THE SEARCHERS finally gets the respect it deserves on DVD. It’s almost worth the purchase just for the new transfer, which captures Ford’s amazing cinematography direct from the original VistaVision negative. There are some nice extras spread out on two discs including an informative commentary, tribute love from Martin Scorsese, Curtis Hanson, and John Milius, and some old TV specials from the 1950s. Even better are the physical goodies that come with set: reproductions of the original press kit, a comic book, a set of B&W photos and fancy leather-esque packaging to boot. Think you can do better than this? That’ll be the day.--Jason Adams

Buy it HERE!!!

Clerks 2 (SE)

Kevin Smith fans rejoice. CLERKS II is everything movie buffs could've asked for in a sequel, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Its got more of the same hilarious rants and arguments (such as the ultimate showdown of LORD OF THE RINGS vs. STAR WARS), gross gags (donkey show anyone?), and just plain weirdness (I will never be able to say "Pillowpants" with a straight face). More surprisingly though, the movie's got heart; something noticeably lacking in Smith's past exploits. The DVD also has plenty to offer, most notably a terrific 85-minute documentary titled, "Back to the Well: The Making of Clerks II". In ten years, if Smith still has as much to say as he did here, then I say bring on CLERKS III!--Quigles

Buy it HERE!!!

Road House (SE)

Here at JoBlo.com, we champion our favorite actors/characters. For JoBlo it's Johnny Depp. Arrow's got Rocky. Mike Sampson has Indiana Jones. Jim Law with Bruce Campbell. Jonathan Frey's hallucinogens and Omar Aviles champions any hot, female human species with a pulse (sometimes even that's arbitrary).

Daulton has long been one of my favorites for his unadulterated and unapologetic manliness. You could easily "sub" him in for the Chuck Norris game. Go ahead, try it. ROAD HOUSE enthusiasts have been waiting for a special edition since the day of its initial DVD release. This July we finally got the Deluxe Edition with a commentary from director "Rowdy" Roddy Herrington and a seperate commentary track with fellow RH enthusiasts, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier (I think they were involved with MALLRATS?) and under full disclosure, also sports a sweet JoBlo quote on the back cover. ROAD HOUSE is a movie that you can show your son when he's 9 because of the life long lessons he'll learn, like after you're done banging the hot nurse in your small town, and the boss of the town has his crazy ass henchman with a curly mullet trade fists with you and out of nowhere says, "I used to f*ck guys like you in prison," the most effective strategy here is to rip the f*cker's throat out. Balls, bitch.--Johnny Moreno

Buy it HERE!!!

Arrested Development (S3)

The Wild Bunch (SE)

Brick

V for Vendetta (SE)

Casino (SE)

Dog Day Afternoon (SE)

The 400 Blows (Criterion)

Road House (SE)

All right, all right. Let's be fair. What ROAD HOUSE "Deluxe Edition" would call itself a "Deluxe Edition" without the presence of the great Swayze? Not only should've The Swayze been the first person to be involved with this edition, but his God-like Moose Hair should've had first billing and its own commentary track. Bollocks.--Johnny Moreno

National Lampoon's Pledge This!

You probably haven't seen it, but you already know it's bad. What you don't know is that the director knows nothing about film and somehow managed to make the least sexy T&A film in recent memory.--Sturdy

Scarface (Platinum Edition)/Reservoir Dogs (15 Year Anniversary)

Good flicks that were re-released with miniscule upgrades, obviously just to promote their respective (and equally unnecessary) video games. If you don’t already own these are the versions to get, but out of principle I have to give this trend a thumbs down.--Jason Adams

The Wicker Man

The worst movie of 2006 is now made even worse with its "shocking" alternate ending (including the worst CGI bees you'll ever see). The only redeemable quality is getting to see Nicolas Cage running around in a bear costume while beating up women. No, I'm not kidding.--Quigles

Snatch (DE)

Wow. This is one of the most blatant, double dips of the year. Without any new extras added to this supposed "Deluxe Edition," the whole point of this re-issue was to try to get your hard earned dollars. In the immortal words of Mickey, "Why the f*ck do I want a caravan that's got no f*cking wheels?" Point taken, Mickey. We're asking the same damn thing.--Johnny Moreno

Hard Luck

As if Wesley Snipes didn't supply enough ammunition for people aiming to ridicule him, he actually agreed to star in a film called HARD LUCK. As you might have imagined, poor Wesley just isn't what he used to be and this is a sad and disturbing performance for a once decent actor. Hard luck indeed.--Sturdy

X-Men: The Last Stand

This film isn't even close to being the worst of the year, but it is easily the most disappointing. The DVD is no better, offering little of anything worthwhile in the special features department. No matter how hard I try, I just can't stop being angry about it. Curse you, Brett Ratner! (And Fox too!).--Quigles

It's a Wonderful Life (60th Anniversary Edition)

My last bowel movement got more respect than this rushed cash-in. (Oddly enough, it also had better Special Features.) .--Jason Adams

See you next year!!!

Source: DVD Clinic

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