Whether you're building a Blu-ray library or just looking for something cool to watch, here are our top 10 picks for November 2011.
2 November, Via Vision
If you've ever wondered what the ultimate clash between the forces of good, led by reluctant time-travelling retail clerk Ash Williams, and the Deadite forces of evil would look like remastered on Blu-ray HD, now is your chance to find out. It's a bit light on special features — there's a featurette called "Making the Deadites", about the creation of the stop-motion undead hordes; the alternate ending; and a gallery of production stills — but the film itself is worth adding to your library.
Wizards by Ralph Bakshi (more famously known for Fritz the Cat) has become a cult classic. It did something seen rarely: the commingling of fantasy and science fiction in one epic tale, combining the heroic saga of a Lord of the Rings-style motley group with the deadly force of Nazi technology. No, this actually happens.
Watching Daniel Day Lewis on the screen is like watching a force majeure. He somehow has a presence larger than life, without turning into a caricature, and his performance in There Will Be Blood, a story about a ruthless — even sociopathic — oil baron, is magnificent.
Ideologically, it is possible that there are a few things wrong with Sin City, but stylistically it's pretty damned cool. It took film noir, wrung it out and hung the concentrate up on a screen. It's not a direct lift of the comics, but instead takes the first three books and intertwines the storylines, with hard-bitten white knights, glowing damsels in distress and vicious, poisonous villains painted with stark intensity.
If you are that way inclined, there is a lot of joy to be had watching Sam and Dean Winchester being all broody and badass and handsome, but even if you are not, Supernatural is a great deal of fun. The best episodes are the self-contained single-episode stories, especially for the mythology they contain. The overarching story, which involved heaven, hell and one colossal war, is a little bit more ... flexible ... but still pretty damned good TV entertainment.
Some of the Harry Potter films are clearly better than others — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, for example, drags its heels — but, overall, the saga is a grand one. Now that the final film has made its way into the world, the ever-darkening tale is available for the first time in its entirety.
Super 8 is Spielberg like Spielberg used to be: a slow burn of tension and suspense and a mystery that slowly unfolds with a care and respect for its spiritual heritage that will leave you nostalgic for the films of childhood.
The Silence of the Lambs is a good film. It's scary and suspenseful, and charismatic cannibal Hannibal Lecter leaves one hell of an impression. After it came sequel Hannibal and prequel Red Dragon, both of which are quite vastly over the top — but Sir Anthony Hopkins is so delightfully sinister in his role that it doesn't even matter.
Interestingly — and perhaps wisely — prequel-prequel Hannibal Rising has been omitted from this collection.
The new 3D Tintin film from Spielberg isn't quite grabbing us — there's something about 3D and CGI and blockbuster kabooms that feels a little jarring compared to the genteel comic book adventures of Hergé. This feel was more accurately captured in the animated series of the early 1990s. At any rate, whether you are left cold by the film or are simply looking for more, all three seasons are available here on Blu-ray for the first time.