Despite continuing rumblings about the demise of movies-on-disk, numerous companies continue to produce excellent editions on disk of a vast range of movies covering the entire history of cinema. Once again in 2018 there were far more releases than even an obsessive viewer could keep up with.
I’m a sucker for sales and recently spent a lot on-line buying stacks of Blu-rays from Arrow Films and Severin at discount prices, adding a lot of titles to my backlog. In recent weeks, I’ve started making my way through the new Arrow titles, which include an assortment of genre offerings, some completely unknown, others old favourites.
Indicator’s Blu-ray finally does justice to The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), Dr. Seuss’ nightmarish musical plunge into childhood anxieties.
A round-up of recent reviewing across multiple genres – western, black comedy, musical, animation, road movie.
The ambitious and very expensive early sound-era musical King of Jazz, featuring Paul Whiteman and his band, gets a spectacular restoration which makes the most of the original two-strip Technicolor process on Criterion’s extras-packed Blu-ray.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.
Sex runs through the history of the movies as both spectacle and disrupter of narrative; Russ Meyer reveled in it, while Charlie Kaufman finds in sex poignant emotional depths.
After a two year hiatus, the BFI has revived the Flipside series with three notable releases: Val Guest’s musical satire Expresso Bongo, Edmond T. Greville’s juvenile delinquent exploitation movie Beat Girl, and Jose Ramon Larraz’s “lost” horror film Symptoms.
Three fascinating rediscovered movies suggest once again that the demise of DVD and Blu-ray isn’t happening anytime soon, even if the major distributors are shying away from the format; passionate smaller boutique companies are keeping it alive for those of us who who still care.
England’s Arrow Video, while still largely focusing on genre titles, is rapidly becoming the equal of the BFI and Criterion in the quality of their releases, including extensive, informative supplements on many disks.