FIND MOVIES
Movie List
Loading ...
or
Find Theaters and Movie Times
or
Search Movies

Blu Christmas . . . without DVD

Kick your films into hi-def this season with those other shiny silver discs
By BRETT MICHEL  |  December 18, 2009

0912_brocket_main

Ah, yes: the most wonderful time of the year, tinged with muddy snow and the creeping darkness of our most recent Depression. You're probably broke, no money for vacations or a night at the bar, and spending a lot of time on your soon-to-be-repossessed couch. When planning to spend what little money you have left on holiday presents, then, you might want to invest in the gift of movies, which will keep you and yours comfortable at home at relatively low cost.

Like just about everything else this year, the dour economy has affected even those shiny silver discs that replaced the VHS cassette. Which isn't to say that DVDs are going anywhere just yet, but sales have seen a rapid decline, as more and more people are getting their entertainment fix through the ease of digital downloading. Meanwhile, the Blu-ray format, with its superior quality, is holding steady.

With up to 50 gigs of storage space available on a single Blu-ray disc (or "BD"), the sound and image capabilities dwarf anything currently available for download — and certainly anything available for streaming or on cable, with their lower-end definitions of hi-def. Simply put, there's no better way to enjoy movies at home.

Of course, before you rush out to buy the latest movie on Blu-ray for your favorite friend or co-worker, make sure they actually own both a Blu-ray player, which is finally available for under $200 — that mass-market sweet spot — and a hi-def TV, which is not. Even a PlayStation 3, which recently saw its own price drop from $399 down to $299, can play these discs. In fact, the Criterion Collection, a company that's "dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements," uses the PS3 as its playback standard.

Still, BDs — and their requisite top-notch equipment — might strain your already-tight holiday budget. But, trust us, it's worth it. With the rampant poor projection and sound found in most cinema chains, exacerbated by the chatting and texting, this might just be the best way to experience movies, period. Movie-lovers will certainly appreciate your generosity during these difficult times. (And should your unfortunate intended gift recipients have none of the necessary media players, we've also included DVD recommendations.)

Keep in mind that the prices noted below are only the suggested retail prices. In most cases, the discs can be purchased for significantly less online, at e-retailers like amazon.com, or even in locally owned, brick-and-mortar retailers like Newbury Comics. Tell 'em we sent you.

A Criterion Christmas
Staying true to its above-stated mission, Criterion used last Christmas season to launch its first Blu-ray offerings, which included Wes Anderson's debut, BOTTLE ROCKET ($39.95/BD; $39.95/DVD); Wong Kar-wai's icon-making CHUNG- KING EXPRESS ($39.95; $39.95); Nicolas Roeg's David Bowie–headliner, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH ($39.95; $39.95), and Carol Reed's now already (and sadly) out-of-print The Third Man. Since then, it's released a steady offering of the important classic and contemporary films for which it's known.

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
  Topics: Features , Entertainment, Entertainment, DVDs,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRETT MICHEL
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WOMEN WITH SWORDS: KING HU AND THE ART OF WUXIA  |  March 12, 2013
    Decades before women took center stage in the one-two punch of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill , King Hu (1932-1997; the subject of a retrospective at the HFA) put swords in the hands of a soaring heroine in Come Drink with Me.
  •   REVIEW: EMPEROR  |  March 12, 2013
    Yes, Tommy Lee Jones plays the "supreme commander" of the US forces in this historical drama from Peter Webber ( Girl with a Pearl Earring ) that takes place after the Japanese surrender in World War II, and the Oscar winner puts in another towering performance.
  •   REVIEW: 21 AND OVER  |  March 05, 2013
    As one of the Asian stereotypes in this hit-or-(mostly)-miss comedy from writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore says, "Fuck kids these days. Every one of you is drunk, stupid, and fat."
  •   REVIEW: THE LAST EXORCISM PART II  |  March 06, 2013
    Now that the shaky-cam nonsense has been left behind, what remains are textureless, overlit, sub-TV-quality visuals that only accentuate the fact that our protagonist, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), is at least a decade older than the 17-year-old exorcised sect-escapee that she's playing.
  •   REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER  |  March 06, 2013
    Stop me if you've heard this one before: a farm boy dreams of adventure, finds it, and falls in love with a princess along the way. (For everyone's sake, let's just hope she's not his sister.)

 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL