Best of 2015: Top Ten Blu-Ray’s of 2015

| December 29, 2015

brucecampbell

As we move along in technology, physical media is giving way to digital downloads. As a consumer of pop culture I prefer to have physical copies. I have always felt that if it’s a digital copy you don’t truly own it. So as Blu-Ray releases become more and more vanilla I love when some companies reward us movie fans. The best Blu-Rays of 2015 are:

hunch

  1. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1939)

Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame has been one of the most popular stories to adapt to film. In 1923, Lon Chaney starred in a classic silent version, however for my money the best is this RKO production. This is quite a remarkable film filled with impressive sets, hundreds of extras, and stellar make up effects. Charles Laughton plays Quasimodo with incredible amount of depth despite the layers of make-up and only uttering a single word at a time. The movie looks stunning on Blu-Ray. Shot in black and white the textures and backgrounds absolutely pop and show amazing detail. The sound although just mono captures the spirit of Paris and the bell chimes of the cathedral to great effect. The extras are a little light but there is a bizarre Drunk Driver PSA and a great Porky Pig short. Warner Archives did an equally great job last year on The Picture of Dorian Gray and I hope they continue to show the same amount of care for their future releases as well.

beavers

9. Zombeavers

One of the goofiest movies of the year comes with a pretty impressive Blu-Ray. Toxic waste spills into a river infecting a den of beavers turning them into blood thirsty undead beavers. Yes, it’s silly but the filmmakers and the cast are well aware of this and make one really fun movie. Shot digitally, the film looks great on Blu-Ray with bright colors and lots of detail. The sound is top notch with screams, blood splats, and monster moans. Zombeavers was a small release but it is given a lot of extras to bite into. The commentary from the cast and crew is light and fun, but I love that not only is there a making of Zombeavers, but also audition tapes that really help the viewer understand the filmmaking process.

apollo

  1. Apollo 13 20th Anniversary Edition

The harrowing real life story of the Apollo 13 mission is captured brilliantly by director Ron Howard. This is the second release of Apollo 13 on Blu-Ray after the 15th anniversary edition was met with outcry over the video quality. I cannot speak to the quality of the previous edition as I have never watched it, but I can say that this release of the film looks spectacular. The audio blasts off with DTS-HD 5.1 that captures every rumble. The best feature is one that has been ported over from the 15th Anniversary edition, a documentary titled Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13. Clocking in at almost an hour it highlights the real Apollo 13 mission.

babadook

  1. The Babadook Collector’s Edition

My favorite horror film from last year gets a stellar Blu-Ray release by Scream Factory. Blurring the lines between what is reality and what is an insomnia induced hallucination, The Babadook is frighteningly fun. You must get the Collector’s Edition the desk comes packaged in a replica of the book from the film. The best feature is a toss up between director Jennifer Kent’s short film Monster or the over an hour of interviews with cast and crew.

madmax

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller returns to the world he created and does Mad Max deliver. Insane action and wonderful direction carry this film from beginning to end. The video looks spectacular and the sound mix is one of the best of the year. All the features are fun but for my money the best is Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road, a 30 minute trip through the making of the film.

society

5. Society

Society is an insane horror film from the 80’s that gets an insane release from Arrow. Bill is trying to figure out why he feels different from his family and the answers are twisted and sick. This is the first release I have purchased from Arrow and I was not disappointed. The packaging is really cool and it comes with a comic book. The best feature however is the commentary with director Brian Yunza. I can’t wait to get more releases from Arrow.

inside out

  1. Inside Out

Surprise! Pixar does it again. Inside Out is a charming and heart felt film about the emotions of a 12 year old girl named Riley. Pixar yet again pulls on the heart strings while delivering the most tear jerking moments of the year. The picture is absolutely gorgeous, all the colors are vibrant and each emotion comes to breathtaking life. The Blu-Ray has a disc exclusively dedicated to extras and they are all pretty good. The first disc comes with a funny brand new short called Riley’s First Date. The movie and the Blu-Ray are both top notch.

exmachina

  1. Ex Machina

Can a robot love you? And can you love that robot back? Ex Machina asks such questions in the most original movie of the year. One of the biggest highlights of the film is the work of Alicia Vikander, she plays the robot Ava and boy does she deliver. Paranoia creeps through the whole film and there is an uneasiness throughout. The Blu-Ray delivers in spades. Both the audio and picture are stunning. In the feature department be sure to check out Through the Looking Glass: The Making of Ex Machina.

hobbit

2. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies-Extended Edition

The Hobbit trilogy concludes with an action packed finish. Also this extended version is the first Middle Earth adventure rated R. Clocking in at 164 minutes Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t let up at all. The film looks stunning from the opening battle with the dragon Smaug to the epic conclusion. The sound is also some of the best around. Like all of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth extended editions there are too many extras to pick just one but The Appendices parts 11 and 12 take you on a ride from the beginning of production until the end and produced with the same level of class as the previous films.

armyofdark

1. Army of Darkness: Collector’s Edition

Finally! Leave it to our friends at Scream Factory to deliver the ultimate Army of Darkness Blu-Ray. Fans of the film(it’s my most favorite film) have been continuously buying and waiting for a version of Army of Darkness on home video that had it all. And our prayers have been answered. This release contains four different cuts of the film! It ports over all the previous bonus features! And it comes with an excellent new documentary, the 94 minute Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness. The only bummer is Sam Raimi is not in the new documentary but he is well represented on the amazing “old” commentary with Bruce Campbell on the director’s cut and there are some vintage interviews with him as well. All in all this release is Groovy!

About the Author:

As far as nerds go, there are not many reeler than Ryan. His love for movies is unmatched. He also loves comic books. When you combine comic books and movies Ryan is at his happiest. He enjoys all forms of pop culture and prides himself on knowing more then average nerds. Ryan has a couple of characters he prefers over the rest, first and foremost is Spider-Man. He also loves Ash from the Evil Dead. Ryan also enjoys Finishing people in Mortal Kombat and hopping on Goombas. He has attended Comic-Con and several Starfests with his good buddy Brad. He is amazed on how awesome Brad is at designing Reel Nerds pages. But don’t tell Brad he needs to stay humbled. Favorite movie: Army Of Darkness Favorite Genres: Action, Horror, Comic Book, Comedy
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