Top 10 DVDs of 2005
As always, the end of the year brings an obligatory rush of “best of” lists. Everything from last year's hairdos to videogames are being placed into numerical order so that you, dear reader, can be at peace with the knowledge that you were into this stuff back when it first became cool. Not to be outdone, my crack team of trained video monkeys and I have buried ourselves deep in the dark catacombs of Burning Paradise Video compiling the official VideoNasty list of the 10 best DVD releases of 2005. Please feel free to adjust your personal tastes accordingly.
10. DiG! (Palm)--Spanning a remarkable seven years, this rock doc follows the trials and tribulations of The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre as they fall into and out of friendship and drug-induced mania. The two-DVD set includes music videos and live performances.
9. Oldboy (Tartan)--If revenge is a dish best served cold, you'd better pack your parka before you watch this bad boy. Korean genius Chan Wook Park has given us a film so dark and violent it makes Sin City look like an episode of “Sesame Street.” Beautiful shots, brilliant writing and superb performances all the way around make this DVD well worth adding to your collection--and the ending hits you like a swift kick to the nuts.
8. War of the Worlds: Special Collector's Edition (Paramount)--No, not the crappy remake starring a guy who thinks he has aliens grafted onto his brain, but the incredible original. I remember sitting in awe the first time I watched the Martian invaders lay waste to the Earth. And now I get to do it whenever I want to.
7. Danger Diabolik (Paramount)--After languishing in obscurity via bootleg videos, Mario Bava's pop-art masterpiece finally came to DVD. Included are numerous interviews, a commentary track featuring star John Philip Law and even the Beastie Boys' “Body Movin'” music video, which features footage from Diabolik. I defy you not to be entertained by this film.
6. The Warriors: Ultimate Director's Cut (Paramount)--One of my favorite films of all time finally gets the director's cut treatment in this snazzy new DVD release. Of special note are the mini-documentaries, which provide some cool insight into the making of this '70s exploitation classic. I still get chills when Cyrus first belts out “Can you count, suckas?” in one of the movies most memorable scenes.
5. Stink of Flesh (Tempe)--The locally produced film that put Albuquerque firmly on the map of indie-horror was released worldwide to critical acclaim. The DVD features two commentary tracks, a making of featurette and a handful of short films by local writer/director Scott Phillips. Plus, you get to see Alibi Film Editor Devin O'Leary make out with a malformed conjoined twin while yours truly takes a Hot Wheels track across my bare ass! It's fun for the whole family! (Note: Not actually intended for the whole family--unless your family is sick).
4. Revenge of the Sith (Fox)--Gotta go with my inner geek here and admit that I got choked up when Vader's mask was sealed over Anakin's burned visage--and with that, the series I have adored and quoted since my youth came to an end. The DVD, of course, is packed to the gills with extras and behind the scenes goodness. The documentary detailing the work it took to create just a few seconds of the climactic lightsaber duel is fascinating. The force is strong with this one.
3. Kung Fu Hustle (Sony)--With dozens of films under his belt, director Stephen Chow delivers the homerun with his best film to date. Funny, touching and action-packed, Kung Fu Hustle is a visual masterpiece--delivering more action in 15 minutes than your average cookie-cutter Hollywood garbage pulls off in an hour and a half. If you don't know who Stephen Chow is, there is plenty of room left on the bandwagon--I'll hold you a seat.
2. Twilight Samurai (Empire)--Director Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai is not only one of the best DVDs of 2005, it is quite simply one of the finest films ever made. Our hero is a humble low-ranking samurai, dedicated to caring for his two daughters and ailing mother. But when a former love comes back into his life, his actions spark a series of events that change his life forever. You owe it to yourself to watch this film.
1. Make Your Own Damn Movie Box Set (Troma)--This five DVD set released by independent film legend Troma Entertainment is a film school in a box! Covering everything from writing, raising money and shooting to marketing your film, Troma has delivered the best DVD of 2005. If you are interested in making your own films, you would do well to own this set. Bonus features include “Make Your Own Damn Movie Theater” which takes a look at the history of Albuquerque's Guild Cinema, as well as a featurette called “Make Your Own Damn Video Store” about Burning Paradise Video.
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