Love ActuallyDie Hard
If this fits your profile, you're in need of being brought up to speed on the latest Blu-ray box set releases, each title armed with enough explosive bonus features to keep you pinned on your sofa for days at a time.
For giving or receiving - and, let's be honest, mainly receiving - here are the top 10 Blu-ray treats you need to know about this winter.
Stanley Kubrick – The Masterpiece Collection [£104.99]Considering the great man’s own scrupulous attention to detail, this absurdly rich Stanley Kubrick Masterpiece Collection from Warner Bros is befitting of his legacy. Such was the unique relationship shared Warners and Kubrick, the studio was given full access to his home, props, materials and notes, culminating in a terrific 78-page hardcover photo book laced with never-before-seen archival photos. Couple this with brilliant documentaries and eight Kubrick classics - Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut - and it's a winner.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes: Apes Warrior Collection [£99]Prepare to go suitably ape over this all-encompassing Planet Of The Apes box-set, headed up with a stunning moulded resin bust of Caesar the hairy character at the centre of recent blockbuster smash Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. An accompanying 32-page booklet explains exactly how the scarily well-detailed bust was captured, while you’ll find all 8 films from the franchise (3D Blu-ray of the latest included) in a slip-out drawer underneath the figurehead. Even Tim Burton’s forgettable reboot, which, come those weird sofa-dwelling days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, might well be worth revisiting.
Pulp Fiction 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box [£28]Question: how do you pay tribute to one of the most iconic crime films ever laid on celluloid? Short of a massive sponge cake shaped like a Big Kahuna Burger, the answer lies with this tremendous Pulp Fiction Blu-ray box set, saluting the 20th anniversary with a stunning 1080p transfer approved by QT himself. There's even new cast interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes and Cannes Film Festival footage for nostalgia points. Best of all though, the ‘suitcase’ box-set includes with a Jack Rabbit Slim’s menu, Big Kahuna Burger bag, 20 special bank notes. Oh, and Zed’s key ring, but, as Butch knows all too well, Zed won’t mind…
Studio Ghibli: Hayao Miyazaki [£154.99]With anime fans still reeling from Hayao Miyazaki’s decision to retire just months after serving up yet another classic (Oscar-nominee The Wind Rises) this package could soften the blow somewhat. Packing 11 of Miyazaki’s directed feature films, this colossal box set marks the first time Studio Ghibli has allowed its feature films to be released as a bundle. What’s more, nestled in with the modern mind-bending greats such as Howl’s Moving Castle is the full 90 minute press conference the director gave announcing his departure. Warning: it might make you blub more than the films themselves.
Withnail And I [£41.99]“I assure I'm not [drunk], officer, honestly, I've only had a few ales.” One of the most bare faced lies in cinema history, there. Well, if we said this limited-edition Blu-ray box set was thin on bonuses we’d be even bigger fibbers. For one, it comes with a released 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, supervised and approved by director of photography Peter Hannan, making it Holy Grail for Withnail fans. For another, all four original Withnail Weekend documentaries, first screened on Channel 4 in 1999, have been included, while the exclusive limited edition hardback book is positively brimming with facts your future pub quiz team will thank you for.
The Sopranos: The Complete Series [£88]Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in…You’ll forgive us from paraphrasing Silvio (in turn quoting Michael from The Godfather trilogy) but now, for the first time ever, The Sopranos have arrived on Blu-ray – and the family has never looked better. Cajoling a whopping 28 discs into a box with iconic artwork, you’ll also unearth five hours of bonus material, mapping out the landmark HBO series and James Gandolfini’s patriarch mobster like never before thanks to some new and exclusive featurettes, ensuring that brand new 2015 diary has even less chance of leaving the cellophane.
Breaking Bad Collector’s Edition Tin Complete Series [£54.99]Breaking Bad is so much more than just a TV show. Okay, it’s not quite a way of life – that’d be wrong, but it’s at the very least a televisual masterpiece of the like that may never be seen again, entwining our lives with those of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s pair of unlikely meth-kingpins before unfurling into a full-on Greek tragedy. And fanboys and newcomers should appreciate this new Collector’s Edition tin box-set, comprising all 62 uncut episodes, a 135-minute documentary No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season, and, if the pull of the characters weren't strong enough, a special collection of icon magnets inspired by the series.
Buy it here
Vincent Price In Six Gothic Tales By Edgar Allan Poe [£69.99]Back in 1849, poor Edgar Allan Poe died a literary genius who (obviously) never got to enjoy the big screen adaptations of his work by Roger Corman and Vincent Price - let alone on sparkling Blu-ray, which is the very treatment now handed to this brand new limited-edition box set, loaded with classics such as The Fall of the House of Usher, Tales of Terror, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, The Haunted Palace and The Tomb of Ligeia, all bolstered by a 200-page book on the tales behind each film. There’s even a good smattering of documentaries about Poe himself, to boot, though limited to a run of just 2000 copies, you’ll have to be quick to snap one up.
Twin Peaks – The Entire Mystery [£44]Still to wade into David Lynch’s engrossing if spectacularly odd Twin Peaks? The cult TV series remains more seminal than ever. Especially now the whole series is available on Blu-ray in this brand new box set, allowing fans and newbies alike to pore over the series in style. This said, only true devotees will be able to fully appreciate the rich layer of bonuses which include both international and US versions of the pilot, cinematic spin-off Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and 90 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes from said film, bolstered by extra mystery items assembled by Lynch himself. All that’s missing is some cherry pie and coffee.
Batman: The Complete Original Series [£110]Remember sitting around eating jam sandwiches in front of the telly at your grandma’s house while the original Batman played? Of course you do - how else would you know the correct spelling of ‘thonk’, ‘pow’ and ‘klunk’ other unforgettable words forever reminding us of grown men fighting one another in ill-fitting spandex. With this in mind, and call us overly nostalgic if you will, but this set of 120 original episodes starring Adam West as the Dark Knight really is the kind of nostalgia Gotham deserves. Plus. the additional documentaries and interviews with the cast are unmatched, with the West on West featurette almost making his Family Guy persona seem tame.