Friday, January 10, 2014

Matt Cummings' Top 10 Blu-ray Releases of 2013

My list includes many 2013 Blu-rays released for the first time, including restored films:


Tom Cruise and Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski team up to create the best Science Fiction movie we've seen in awhile. The twists and reveals are just as perfectly placed as the distopian images of an Earth ravaged by war. Composer M83 rocks out with one of the best soundtrack scores of 2013. The home release was impressive from top to bottom, from the gorgeous video to the pulsing and pounding DTS-HD Master Audio track. Cruise and Kosinski team up for a very informative commentary (an important consideration in all of my choices here), along with other great features that unlocked every aspect of the film's production. Opinion about Cruise these days is decidedly mixed, but this is the kind of film that I hope will resonate with audiences far beyond its petty debate about whether its star is still bankable.


We loved the epic origin story, which addressed our concerns as to whether Superman could kill in a time when audiences expect such things in their movies. Director Zak Snyder's vision is nothing short of extraordinary, and his supporting cast of Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon mixed very well with leads Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. The release on Blu-ray was beyond our expectations, sporting a beautiful video transfer and a thunderous lossless audio track. Supplements featured Snyder doing one of his trademark on-camera commentaries. With a Batman/Superman film now in pre-production, we're excited about DC finally getting its act together, and Man of Steel was a terrific response to Marvel's total ownership of the comic hero genre.


A loud, rambunctious release from Universal, Fast Six was as impressive at home as it was in theaters. Superior audio and video mixed with an excellent supplements package to give us one of the best releases of 2013. We're hopeful about recent news suggesting the franchise will continue after the death of Paul Walker, but until then Fast Six revs up to a checkered flag.


A 25robot fighting a Godzilla-like alien creature? Color it awesome! We loved the imagery, and much like Lord of the Rings, we can't imagine a killer monster flick now without thinking about Jaegers dispensing badass justice. the home release shined with a four-disc 3D edition that included a commentary and a ton of extras. Idris Elba and Charlie Day are terrific, and Director Guillermo del Toro makes all of our manly childhood dreams come true, forever changing our expectations for the genre.


Disney is the unparalleled master of library restorations, and the 2013 release of Mary Poppins is extraordinary. Porting over most of the supplements from the recent DVD anniversary edition and adding a couple of new featurettes, this one is well worth the value, and should keep parents and kids entertained with its toe-tapping songs and unbridled happiness.


Say what you want about the dullness that was the film itself, Peter Jackson delivered in 2013 an impressive and beautiful Extended Edition to homes. Filled with two discs of supplements plus a gorgeous transfer, The Hobbit would have rated even higher had it not been for the snore-fest that was the plot. Still, we'll pay for the extended edition and curse all the way home from the store for letting our weakness get the best of us.


The best Daniel Craig Bond film, and one of the best Bond movies ever, Skyfall was a return to Author Ian Fleming's old-school spycraft. The home release of Skyfall offered stunning video and thumping audio, plus a nice collection of supplements. Congratulations to MGM for making this such a memorable home release.


The film I thought should have won for Best Picture, Dreamworks's brilliant biopic arrived onto Blu-ray sporting reference-quality video and audio, but dropped the ball on its supplements. It wold have rated higher had Spielberg gotten off the couch to record a commentary. Otherwise, it instantly ascended into my top 10 movies of all time.


Tom Cruise is never one to rest on his laurels, and the release of Jack Reacher was as fun at home as it was in theaters. Who cares if they got the size of the actual character wrong, the Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing, with a nice commentary featuring Cruise and Director Christopher McQuarrie. At its current and very affordable price point, this one is a must-have for your collection.


We're big Actor Leonardo DiCaprio fans, but were simply bowled over by Director Baz Luhrman's grand vision of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book. Elegant and utilizing every visual trick to tell its story, Gatsby is as rich with its storytelling and performances as its imagery.
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