ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2012: Best Reissue or Special Edition

Contributor; Seattle, Washington
ScreenAnarchy's Best of 2012: Best Reissue or Special Edition

In 2012, the ScreenAnarchy family has grown even more global. With a line-up of contributors that stretches right around the planet, we've had the means to see a huge proportion of the new films that have emerged in the past 12 months from some of the world's most far-flung regions - and we want to tell you all about them! Whether they be the ones we love, the ones we hate, or all those that fall somewhere in between, we want to share. 

So enjoy ScreenAnarchy's Best Reissue or Special Edition of 2012!


Ryland Aldrich - Festivals Editor

Shut Up and Play the Hits (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

The DVD/Blu release of Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern's LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits (my review) is a release worthy of such a fantastic film. The package includes standard cool extended scenes and interviews, but the real bonus is the second disc with the entire three-and-a-half hour concert. This is a great film even for those unfamiliar with the band, but a must, must, must own for LCD fans.


Kwenton Bellette - Contributing Writer

Love Exposure (Third Window Films)

Just when you thought that it could not possibly get any better, Third Window Films released something I thought would never see the light of day, a Love Exposure Blu-ray that I happily snapped up. This disc was given all the right treatment: it's a given that it looks better than the DVD, despite Sono's original rough look, and the extras are also very interesting. Really though, there is nothing better than owning one of your favorite films ever on the current best possible home format, and Love Exposure has given me this unexpected joy.

Coming in second on the "I thought that would never happen" scale is the anime Serial Experiments Lain Blu-ray boxset; amazing. An honorable mention goes to Drafthouse Films' release of Miami Connection, a film that shocked me back into the dodgy but awesome 80s, it is admirable that even the Blu-ray release looks terrible.


Joshua Chaplinsky - Contributing Writer

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition Blu-ray set (New Line)

I hadn't really watched Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy since the theaters and never really cared to own it on DVD, but a recent Amazon Deal of the Day made it cost prohibitive to not buy this set. And after watching over 30 hours worth of LOTR material in two weeks I have to say: I am amazed by the amount of time and effort that went into making these films, and by the fact that the whole thing didn't get crushed under its own weight. The logistics of the production were staggering. So what if the films aren't perfect? This set makes you appreciate what a cinematic accomplishment they are.


Jason Gorber - Contributing Writer

Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Blu-ray (Sony)

It's been a ridiculous year for home media, the industry finally catching up with releases that have been teased for years. Jaws (my review) looks better than looking at the negative on an editing bay, and this year also saw the Indiana Jones series of films make a mighty splash as well. I'm grateful we finally saw Fox do the right thing and clean up the mess they made with the previous releases of Patton. The film now looks stunning and the disc is a must-have.

Still, the reason I initially bought a BD player half a decade ago was based in part on teases of Lean's Lawrence of Arabia. Sony finally released the set (complete with the Balcony scene!) and the 8K "dry-gate" scan and 4K-based restoration is simply orgasmic. Doesn't hurt that the film image I received in the limited edition set is of the "NO PRISONERS!" scene, flowing purple flag behind El Aurens and Ali.

The stuff of dreams...

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James Marsh - Asian Editor

Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Blu-ray (Sony)

Columbia Pictures' 50th Anniversary release of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia is a marvel of the technology. Every frame of the film sparkles, allowing viewers to revel in Freddie Young's glorious Super Panavision 70mm cinematography, while enjoying one of Cinema's great epic adventures.

Honorable mention: Masters of Cinema's Die Nibelungen - in fact pretty much everything this excellent UK-based label is putting out right now is fantastic, and too-often unfairly overshadowed by Criterion across the pond.


Ard Vijn - Contributing Writer

Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Blu-ray (Sony)

Of all the categories, this was the hardest one for me. The Blu-ray format still manages to blow me away frequently with its quality, and there were many fine releases this year. As for packaging, the age of Korean-style Special Edition pimping might be behind us, never to be seen again, but some of the Western distributors made quite memorable efforts. These ranged from the scholarly, like the fantastic release of The Passion of Joan of Arc (Eureka: Masters of Cinema) to the outrageously gaudy, like that ET spaceship (Universal Pictures).

In between these two extremes there was one release which was both scholarly and gaudy: the utterly brilliant Lawrence of Arabia (Sony). The epic film has been meticulously restored and looks better than ever. On the gaudy part, this release sports one of the largest coffee-table books I've ever seen included in a special edition. It's not just fluff though: the 90 pages are filled with either interesting details about the production, as well as big splashy pictures of it, many of them unique behind-the-scenes material. So my vote this year goes to the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Blu-ray of Lawrence of Arabia.


Peter Gutiérrez - Contributing Writer

Gandu (Artsploitation)

This is a pretty difficult category for me to provide a "best of" opinion, so please bear with me. In terms of the most valuable series of home video titles, I'd have to say that the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection, released by Synapse's Impulse Pictures label, reigned supreme in 2012. Sometimes these films are mildly goofy, sometimes they're surprisingly dramatic and thoughtful, and sometimes they're deeply disturbing and hard to watch; almost all of the time, though, they are better made than one might expect, and having them available via these terrific transfers is an act of cultural reclamation. Sometimes that vital cultural role can play out in the present tense. Case in point: Third Window Films, which by releasing Sion Sono's Himizu and Shinya Tsukamoto's Kotoko outside of Asia in 2012 brought a lot of joy to the Japanophile diaspora. Although both titles have already earned loads of praise at ScreenAnarchy, in this context I'd have to single out the two-disc, supplement-rich Himizu release.

Yet for my top pick, I'm going with the "special edition"-style DVD release of Gandu, the groundbreaking film by Quashiq Mukherjee (aka Q). Released only in December, this presentation of Gandu is generous and top-notch in just about every respect. In fact, the best compliment I can pay is to say that the supplements included with the film are forcing me to reconsider my own critical appraisal of it from a couple of years ago. To be frank, though, I have a not-so-secret agenda in singling out this DVD: I really believe in what Artsploitation, which has made Gandu its very first release, is trying to do overall. I look at its slate of upcoming titles, which includes the very impressive Hard Romanticker, and love that a company cares so much about such easy-to-marginalize films.


J Hurtado - Contributing Writer

The Devils (BFI)

Strangely, in the year 2012, my top home video release of the year is a DVD, not a Blu-ray. BFI's exemplary edition of Ken Russell's incendiary classic The Devils is hard to beat. The film looks as good as it ever has, the supplements are outstanding, the booklet is remarkable, and there is just nothing out there to match it. Sure, it would've been better on Blu-ray, and there's still some footage missing, but the effort that the BFI has put into this release is absolutely noteworthy and the final product is a must-own for any fan of Cinema of any kind. Buy The Devils now.

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