The Best DVDs of 2009

by PopMatters Staff

7 January 2010


15 - 11


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Zabriskie Point

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Cast: Mark Frenchette, Daria Halprin, Paul Fix, G.D. Spradlin, Rod Taylor
Review [15.Jul.2009]


Zabriskie Point
Warner Home Video

It is often said that foreign filmmakers do a far better job of capturing the American zeitgeist, no matter the era, than their US counterparts. A perfect example of this proverb arrives in the form of Zabriskie Point. You will not see a better distillation of the entire 1960s and everything it stood for - good, bad, indifferent, insightful—than this uncompromising artistic overview. As a modernist, a moviemaker noted for his disconnected ideals and luxuriant long takes, Antonioni was still capable of contravening expectations. This movie illustrates that perfectly. It may not always succeed, but when it does, it’s more than magical. It’s meaningful. Bill Gibron



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Ally McBeal: The Complete Series



Ally McBeal: The Complete Series

One of the DVD miracles of 2009 was the long desired release of Ally McBeal, one of TV’s greatest and strangest series, with – and this is the heart of the miracle –all of the original music. No series prior to Glee and Eli Stone ever had music so deeply integrated into the core of the show and securing the rights for all of it delayed the release of the DVDs for years. David E. Kelly’s quirky masterpiece was a genuine original that combined comedy, romance, fantasy, and court room drama to create a show that had no predecessors. It is also one of the TV series most deeply analyzed by academics and no series except for Buffy has been as passionately embraced by feminist critics. For most of the past decade it reigned as the series that most demanded release on DVD, a crown it now cedes, perhaps, to Malcolm in the Middle. Robert Moore



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Cast: Edward Asner, Christopher Plumber, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo
Review [29.May.2009]


Walt Disney Home Entertainment

It’s called Up because—well, because what? Because it’s about a desperate old man who ties a couple hundred balloons to his house and embarks on a wild childhood dream? Or because it elevates you above and beyond the mundane emotions and colors and constraints of everyday life? I’d say a bit of both; and if you weren’t moved to tears by the poetic, wordless opening montage, and to laughter by the inane banter between a mechanical-voiced dog (“Squirrel!”) and a squawking bird, then I’m not sure I want to know you. And if you haven’t been marveling at Pixar’s imagination and heart—in only three years, they’ve forged sincere emotional bonds with a curmudgeonly food critic, a post-apocalyptic robot, and now a man more crotchety than the cast of Out To Sea—then you just haven’t been paying attention. Zach Schonfeld



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Director: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Manuel Bronchud, Martha Carbonell, Claudia Font, Vicente Gil


Sony Home Entertainment

For one night, a reporter and her cameraman work the grave shift with two firemen. The simple premise of [REC] doesn’t prepare you for the blinding terror that follows. The firemen respond to an emergency call at an old apartment building where a resident has become insanely violent. The crew has unwittingly entered ground zero of a lethal contagion, where a mutation of the rabies virus is now running rampant. The government immediately quarantines the building, trapping the crew and residents inside. The virus spreads exponentially and the infected become savage and cannibalistic. “Keep the camera running,” the reporter tells her cameraman, and they become our guides, like Dante and Virgil. The dark apartment building with its winding staircase becomes a stark vision of Hell, and those trapped inside, the damned. John Grassi



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The Mighty Boosh: Special Edition DVD Series 1 - 3



The Mighty Boosh: Special Edition DVD Series 1 - 3
BBC Video

The Mighty Boosh has everything you could wish for in a television show. It’s got comedy. It has adventure. It has magic and music, mod-wolves and man-ginas. There’s a shaman and a talking moon, there’s a mirror ball suit and a box full of underwater funk. With The Mighty Boosh: Series 1, 2 and 3, you have Yeti cults, flying carpets and coconuts in drag. Want more? There are Grim reapers driving taxis, green Hitchers playing pianos, a gorilla in the kitchen and Gary Numan in the cupboard. You get good guys, bad guys and Bob Fossil. See? The Mighty Boosh has everything, most importantly, it has imagination. Christel Loar


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