The Best DVDs of 2009

by PopMatters Staff

7 January 2010

Let's face it, when the content inside is less than meaningful, how better to market your particular movie than with plenty of digital packaging bells and whistles. Many of our 2009 choices reflect this strategy. Others are great all by themselves.
 


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Crank 2: High Voltage

Director: Neveldine/Taylor
Cast: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Reno Wilson, Clifton Collins, Jr.
Review [21.Sep.2009]

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Crank 2: High Voltage
Lionsgate

The pixie-stick cinematics of directing duo Neveldine/Taylor may cram in your craw like the nonstop ramblings of a skate rat adolescent with ADD, but when the results are as ridiculously resplendent as this demented sequel, who really care? Taking the ‘should be dead’ Chev Chelios (Jason Statham’s best… role… ever) and giving him an artificial heart that needs jolting every few minutes is a masterstroke of narrative guise. It allows the pair to do anything, including riffs on Godzilla and public acts of pornography, to illustrate their volt quest strategies. In a different world, were outright chutzpah is championed over grace and subtlety, these two would be Kubrick, Hitchcock, and Spielberg combined. On our planet, they’re just plain nuts! Bill Gibron

 

 


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My Dinner with Jimi

Director: Bill Fishman
Cast: Justin Henry, Jason Boggs, Royale Watkins, John Corbett, George Wendt, Curtis Armstrong
Review [24.Jun.2009]

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My Dinner with Jimi
Micro Werks

Though this film originally appeared a few years ago, it didn’t see DVD release until mid 2009. I can’t imagine why such a thoroughly entertaining, expertly cast and completely madcap re-enactment of a pivotal moment in music history was withheld from a wider audience for that long, but I’m so pleased we can have access to it now. My Dinner with Jimi is composed of Howard Kaylan’s memories from one spectacular summer night in the Swinging London of 1967, in which he met the Beatles, Donavan, Graham Nash, Brian Jones, and Hendrix himself. It’s lovingly, endearingly told, but also authentically set in its time and place. And did I mention it’s uproariously funny? It is. Hilarious! Wonderfully, gleefully, snorting-through-the-nose hilarious! Christel Loar

 

 


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Jeeves and Wooster: The Complete Series

(BBC)

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Jeeves and Wooster: The Complete Series
A&E Home Video

P.G. Wodehouse’s fantastic characters, Jeeves and Wooster, plus Stephen Fry’s and Hugh Laurie’s fabulous characterizations of them, are what make Jeeves and Wooster episodes so entertaining, so enduring, so eminently re-watchable. Somehow, no matter how often you view them (and I do view them often), these stories never grow stale, the dialogue doesn’t fall flat, the inherent joviality is evergreen… the mirth springs eternal. The fact that Jeeves and Wooster: The Complete Series provides almost 20 hours of preposterous predicaments, farcical faces and verbal volleys from these connoisseurs of comic form in one convenient DVD set is simply a tremendous bonus to what is already a treasure trove of comic gems. Christel Loar

 

 


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The Last Horror Film: The Tromasterpiece Collection

Director: David Winters
Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro

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The Last Horror Film: The Tromasterpiece Collection
Troma

Had he lived to see the group grope perspective of the Internet, Joe Spinell would most likely have hundreds of fan pages dedicated to his brilliance, cinematic e-scholarship focused on finding ways of getting his name out among the new breed. In truth, he’s today nothing more than a relic of a twisted time in movie macabre, nothing more than your standard Maniac. Luckily Troma has salvaged his sensational turn in this amazing lost fright film oddity. Even though he’s no longer around to enjoy it, with this truly disturbing star turn, the man’s legitimacy and legacy are secured. Bill Gibron

 

 


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Farscape: The Complete Series

(Sci-Fi Channel)

Review [18.Feb.2010]

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Farscape: The Complete Series
A&E Home Video

Farscape has had a tortured history on DVD, previously available on two different editions, the first among the most expensive DVD sets in the history of the format, the second slightly less costly, but available only briefly. One of the most critically adored sci-fi series ever, Farscape tells the story of American astronaut John Crichton, who becomes stranded on the other side of the galaxy on the living spaceship Moya, along with a small group of escaped prisoners, all of whom like Dorothy are trying to get back home. Although the show was a space opera in the grand tradition, the heart of the series was the epic love story between John and alien hottie Aeryn Sun. Season Three routinely makes lists of the greatest individual seasons in the history of television. Robert Moore

 

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