Studios frantically put out deluxe edition Blu-ray reissues

With Christmas just around the corner the studios are frantically reissuing everything in deluxe edition Blu-rays. Not that that’s a bad thing as far as quality goes.

AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa (dir. Akira Kurosawa Criterion): Film geeks get ready — 25 films from Japanese master Kurosawa in a super deluxe package. Four of them have never been released on DVD before.

• Angel Heart: Blu-ray (1987 dir. Alan Parker Lionsgate): Parker’s twist-filled neo-noir is as haunting as it is compelling. Mickey Rourke uncovers more than a mystery as a boozy private eye digging deep into the voodoo underbelly of 1950s New Orleans.

• Avant Garde 3: Experimental Cinema 1922-1954 (2009 Kino): As the title suggests this set contains two discs and more than six hours of boundary-pushing short film.

• The General: Blu-ray (1926 dir. Buster Keaton Kino): Keaton’s physical comedy is pushed to the limit as a Civil War train makes its way cross-country and he tries desperately to stay on-board.

• Herb and Dorothy (2008 dir. Megumi Sasaki New Video Group): This documentary peers into the lives of a postal worker and a librarian who became inadvertent curators of underground minimalist and conceptual art of the 1960s.

• Howard’s End: Blu-ray (1992 dir. James Ivory Criterion): Merchant Ivory Productions made plenty of Oscar-worthy low-key period dramas based on dusty old novels but with Vanessa Redgrave Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter in the mix this is one of the best.

• I Love You Beth Cooper (2009 dir. Chris Columbus 20th Century Fox): What should have been a charming comic book adaptation becomes a try-hard over-the-top attempt to recapture the coming-of-age movies of the mid ’80s. Even Haden Panettiere can’t save it.

• Inglourious Basterds ( 2009 dir. Quentin Tarantino Universal): Tarantino turns his lens on the Second World War with this loose remake of an Italian war flick. Less violent and more talky than the premise would suggest this film split audiences but there was no doubt that Tarantino made the story his own.

• Julie and Julia (2009 dir. Nora Ephron Sony): Meryl Streep and Amy Adams re-team in this double foodie biopic that tells the story of Julia Child and the woman who tried to tackle all her French cuisine recipes. Charming and tasty.

• Logan’s Run: Blu-ray (1976 dir. Warner): This seminal ’70s sci-fi may be super cheesy by today’s standards and Michael York’s performance doesn’t help but this man-against-the-machine chase has been copied more times than you can count.

• Lost: Season Five (2009 ABC Studios): J.J. Abrams’s mind-bending time-travelling sci-fi series just keeps getting better. Can you figure out what’s going down on that island without the bonus features? I doubt it.

• Near Dark: Blu-ray (1987 dir. Katherine Bigleow Lion’s Gate): Forget the Twilight saga; Bigelow’s modern low-budget vampire noir is still one of the best films in the genre. Slick stylish and scary.

• North by Northwest: 50th Anniversary Blu-ray (1959 dir. Alfred Hitchcock Warner): Hitchcock’s most accessible film gets loaded up with bonus features new documentaries and commentary tracks but the real joy of this film comes from watching Cary Grant charm his way though a cross-country adventure while trying to figure out why people are trying to kill him.

• Nirvana: Live at Reading (2009 Geffen): You would have thought that the vaults for this epoch-defining grunge band would be empty but somehow they keep finding stuff to release. This concert is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the band’s live career.

• Say Anything: 20th Anniversary Blu-ray (1989 dir. Cameron Crowe 20th Century Fox): Crowe’s post-grad love story has become a modern classic and a pop-culture touchstone thanks to a great script killer soundtrack and career-making performances by John Cusak and Ione Skye.

• Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days (2009 dir. Jim Henson Bob Schwarz Sesame Street): Go behind the scenes of the greatest children’s TV show in the history of the medium. There are more than five hours of rare and unseen footage and more than enough Muppet mayhem for any fan.

• Star Trek (2009 dir. J.J. Abrams Paramount): Spock goes back in time to give the Star Trek series a facelift in what could be the greatest franchise reboot of all time. Bonus points awarded for some of the best casting of the year.

• Thirst (2009 dir. Park Chan-Wook): The director of Old Boy gives a love triangle a horrific twist when a priest falls for the wife of his friend. Did I mention he’s a vampire?

• Up (2009 dir. Pete Docter Disney): The idea of an old man (Ed Asner) going to South America in a helium-balloon-powered house may be pushing a high-concept premise too far but the characters are so endearing that everything in this movie soars.

• Watchman: The Ultimate Cut (2009 dir. Zack Snyder Warner): Sure hope you didn’t shell out when the big screen adaptation of this classic comic first came out on DVD ’cause if you liked it this is the version you need. Over four discs you get a recut version of the film the theatrical cut the motion comic version and three hours of bonus features.

• Wings of Desire: Blu-ray (1989 dir. Wim Wenders Criterion): Wenders’s now-classic story of angels living in Berlin is always worth watching but a new hi-def transfer commentary tracks and documentaries make it even better.

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