HDR’s Best of Blu-ray 2008 Top Ten Sequel

Our third and final Best of Blu-ray for 2008 comes from reviewer Shawn Fitzgerald. He’s broken down his top favorite titles in order of preference below, as well as picked one dubious release for “worst of” honors.

All in all it was a great year for Blu-ray which will be tough to beat in 2009.

Our other two lists, published earlier this week, are still available to check out as well. You can access either through the links below.

10. No Country For Old Men
Last year’s Oscar-winner for Best Picture looks and sounds fantastic. I just wish there was a bit more in the extras department.

9. The Dark Knight
Why is this so low on my top ten list? It certainly isn’t due to the quality of the movie itself, nor is it the picture or audio quality of the disc. A disappointing collection of extras is the culprit here. Perhaps the inevitable double-dip will push Batman and company a bit higher on the list the next time.
8. The Proposition
The Blu-ray bargain of the year, this low-priced release of the 2005 Australian masterpiece has a great transfer and extensive supplements. All of this should run you around $15, or roughly half the price of Dude, Where’s My Car?
7. From Russia With Love
The best of the recent batch of James Bond Blu-ray titles released, this 1963 film looks so damn nice on the new format that you would swear that it was shot yesterday. And oh yeah, the quality of the film’s content hasn’t aged one bit in the past 45 years. Always helps.
6. The Shawshank Redemption
Speaking of great films, Frank Darabont’s modern-day classic comes to Blu-ray housed in classy, hardcover packaging and a rock-solid transfer.
5. Iron Man
Jon Faverau’s highly enjoyable superhero epic is given due respect by Paramount with this two-disc winner. The two-hour documentary on disc two is almost worth the price of purchase alone. Fortunately, you get a great film with it.

4. Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector’s Edition
If you’re a fan of Clint Eastwood’s popular police inspector series, then this set is for you. All five movies have been restored and there is a wealth of interesting supplements to back them up. The only downside is that the set includes 1988’s wretched entry The Dead Pool.
3. The Third Man (Criterion Collection)
The specialty company’s first foray into the Blu-ray format is handled with the utmost of care, porting over practically everything from the DVD and giving us a terrific 1080p transfer for one of the all-time great film noirs.

2. The Godfather Collection
The first two films have been beautifully restored by American Zoetrope and Paramount, a studio that has really stepped up to the plate in regards to the next-generation DVD format. The new extras are okay, but that matters little when you have two of the greatest American films ever made looking as phenomenal as they do.

1. Wall-E
My favorite film of 2008 was complimented by a terrific bells-and-whistles Blu-ray edition that covers the entire production and also includes the terrific documentary “The Pixar Story” as a bonus.

Honorable Mentions
Serenity, The Truman Show, Chungking Express, Band of Brothers, Casablanca, Wanted, I Am Legend (both editions), JFK, Bottle Rocket and Across the Universe.

And the worst release of 2008 for me is…

Gangs of New York. Edge enhancement and excessive DNR kill any hopes one may have had for a decent home video edition of Martin Scorsese’s historical epic. A disgraceful release from an otherwise reliable studio.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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