10 DVD Recommendations

In no particular order, here are 10 movies I happened to rewatch this past year that are just as good, if not better, than most of the theatrical releases I saw in 2005. In my house, at any rate, they’ve held up nicely to more than one viewing. (Each DVD title is linked to a review from DVD Talk.)

Never Cry Wolf
The tundra’s less-epic version of “Dances with Wolves.” Kinda slow, but recommended for those who like the idea of living in the north. The main character (or Farley Mowat) eats mice (yup), and they look like real mice to me.

Terminator III: Rise of the Machines

You might think I’m smoking dope, but this is arguably the best of the Terminator movies. The performances from Claire Danes and Nick Stahl make this movie. It’s basically one long chase sequence, but it works.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Special Edition
The best western ever made, and a whole lotta fun to watch. Unbeatable direction and cinematography. Over the top and magnifiicent. If you’ve only seen the full-screen VHS version (which I remember as being slow and boring), then you haven’t seen this movie.

Finding Nemo

Fully-drawn characters (no pun intended), each of them perfectly voiced. Amazing renderings of underwater life, and a script that doesn’t just give you a bunch of neat stuff to look at, but actually tells a worthwhile story. Great for kids and adults, even if you only watch a few scenes from it now and again.

Eyes Wide Shut
Artsy-fartsy, weird and pretentious. I hear you. With Tom Cruise. Yeah, I hear that too. But I still think it’s Kubrick’s best-directed film. And, as with most of his movies, it requires more than a single viewing to fully appreciate it.

Three Colours: Blue and Red
Any single minute of either of these films is more satisifying than most of the 2005 movies I saw put together (these are perhaps the best two films from Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trilogy). The subtlety of Kieslowski’s direction and his attention to detail is incredible. Everything on the screen — including the little things you don’t consciously notice — is there for a reason. Kieslowski is my favourite director. Watching either of these movies is like drinking fresh spring water right out of the ground.

Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers

This is the peak of Wallace and Gromit, better than the recent theatrical release. Funnier, creepier, moodier, ominous, and a good time all around. The penguin is pure evil.

Dances with Wolves
I’m not a fan of Kevin Costner, but this is a good movie. I doubt a better portait of Native North American life has ever been filmed. You feel like you’re there with them out on the plains. The dragged-out love story is its only downfall. The leisurely pace of the movie otherwise is just right.

Sidewalks of New York
I don’t think of this as Ed Burns‘s homage to Woody Allen; it’s just a talky New York movie about relationships. From the DVD Talk review: “[Burns has] made characters that we can care about and see as believable people who do and say things that don’t seem cliched and brought enough wit and intelligence to the screenplay to make us laugh and care.” I agree.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

5 Replies to “10 DVD Recommendations”

  1. Guess i can give Eyes Wide Shut another try. I think Kubrick was the foremost director of our time, but very hit or miss. No amount of extra viewings could improve Barry Lyndon.

  2. “Eyes Wide Shut” is probably the most challenging movie on the list, but I love the way the camera moves, among other things.

    Most of the movies on my list are pretty mainstream, not too challenging to a general audience (I don’t think so, anyway).

    I tried to watch “Barry Lyndon” a few years ago, and couldn’t get through the first 20 minutes. That was on VHS. Someday when I have nothing better to do, I’ll try it again on DVD.

  3. I watched “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” again last night, the special extended edition. I compared it to the previous shorter version that’s been around for the past 30 years. When I first saw the special edition, I thought it improved on the movie by explaining things that didn’t make a lot of sense before. But now I can see why those original cuts were made — they speed up the movie, get to the good stuff quicker. And those cuts didn’t really take away anything essential. I like the new cut of the movie, but I think I prefer the old version.

  4. Have you seen Snatch, or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels? Both directed by Guy Ritchie. Both those films had some great dialogue. His latest two, Swept Away, and Revolver, I haven’t seen. Not planning on seeing Swept Away (cause I have heard nothing good) but I will give Revolver a shot.

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