Armchair Buyers Guide: Five Home Video Releases To Buy This November

With October now fully behind us, not only are we yet another month closer to the end of 2012, but we are now in full holiday season mode. Black Friday is just around the corner, and in their ever growing hopes of getting the random person to shell out major bucks for a big time home video release studios are continuing to pump out A-list title after A-list title. Summer is also in the books, meaning that we are starting to get a handful of huge blockbusters on home video. All in all, it’s shaping up to be one hell of a holiday season. And we’re here to help you sift through it all. Here the five home video releases you need to pick up this November (as well as a handful of others to keep the keenest of eyes on).

5.Sunset Boulevard (November 6)

Coming straight from Paramount is a brand new Blu-ray of the iconic Billy Wilder masterpiece, Sunset Boulevard. Easily one of, if not the top of the list, greatest film ‘about film’ ever made, the film itself may very well be the greatest film director Wilder ever committed to celluloid. A meditation on stardom and the human idea of impossibly holding onto one’s past, the film features top notch performances from the entire cast, including stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson, and even co-star Erich von Stroheim. Chock full of extras, the film has not only received rave early reviews for its transfer   but it’s one of the bigger releases of the month supplement-wise. Led by a commentary from Wilder scholar Ed Sikov, the release has a cavalcade of in depth looks at the making of the film, it’s impact, and the influences that the film has had on cinema and also took from the medium itself. Ranging from a featurette looking directly at the film’s reception today, all the way to the film’s noir trappings, the features are lengthy and plentiful. Simply put, if you have one release to buy this month, you’d be hard pressed to find a release better than Sunset Boulevard.

Other notable releases?:

Scream Factory bows their much anticipated Blu-ray of They Live this week’¦Your Sister’s Sister arrives on home video’¦Fernando Meirelles’ latest effort, 360, hits home video’¦Kino not only drops their Blu-ray of Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen, but will also give us a collection of Lang’s earlier work this week’¦Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna hits’¦Rec 3 arrives to keep the scares coming into November’¦Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland FINALLY arrives on Blu-ray’¦The acclaimed Paradise Lost trilogy hits home video in its entirety.

Criterion releases:  Rashomon

4.The Otto Preminger Collection (November 13)

When looking at the list of all-time great filmmakers, directors like Otto Preminger would likely be overlooked for much more iconic auteurs. However, getting the deluxe treatment himself, Preminger is now fodder for one of November’s most intriguing releases. From Olive Films comes ‘The Otto Preminger Collection.’ Collecting three of the director’s films, the release includes Hurry Sundown, Skidoo and Such Good Friends, all wrapped up in one of the coolest looking boxes this month. Three of the Criterion-approved director’s lesser known works, Skidoo is likely the best known release here, or at least the most intriguing. Recently released as a stand alone release by Olive, the film is considered something of a cult classic, featuring three different actors from the famous live action Batman series of the ‘˜60s, as well as the likes of Jackie Gleason and even Groucho Marx. One of the most bizarre sounding motion pictures around, this is one that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Preminger is one of the lesser known cinematic giants of his generation, making a handful of truly classic films, without ever getting that auteur status. Hopefully this, and more Criterion releases of his films (hopefully, anyway), will change that.

Other notable releases?:  Kino re-releases various Blu-rays in collected forms thanks to their Selznick Collection and Eisenstein Double Feature releases this week along with their release of D.W. Griffith’s Abraham Lincoln‘¦Pixar not only giving the world Brave, but also a new short film collection‘¦Hollywood comes home with Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 And 2, The Watch, Savages, and even a massive edition of the underrated gem from 2009, Watchmen‘¦Beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series comes in what may be the month’s biggest nerd release’¦Documentary The Queen Of Versailles arrives’¦Nicholas Ray’s We Can’t Go Home Again finally hits shelves’¦Indies 2 Days In New York and the mediocre Todd Solondz picture, Dark Horse, arrive’¦Olive Films release a new film noir box set and also The Postman Always Rings Twice

Criterion releases:  The Trilogy Of Life  and  Weekend

3. Grave Of The Fireflies (November 20)

Too bad this isn’t a Criterion-approved release, but we’ll take what we can get. One of the greatest animated films of all time is coming to Blu-ray this month in the form of Isao Takahata’s brilliant anti-war familial epic, Grave Of The Fireflies. One of the most emotionally devastating films ever made (I’m nearly in tears just thinking about the film superficially), Takahata’s masterpiece is not only one of this writer’s favorite films of all time, but it’s also one of the most talked about animated films within Criterion-nerd circles. Always seeming like a perfect addition to the good old Criterion Collection, particularly since it would be a perfect way to introduce animated features into their ranks, this respective release comes with storyboards, deleted storyboards, a trailer, and an all new English-language dub. Overall, not the most stacked release of the month, this Studio Ghibli masterpiece is one that should fit perfectly on anyone and everyone’s shelves.

Other notable releases?:  November gets explosive with The Expendables‘¦The Tarantino XX box set finally bows’¦The Story Of Film gets cinephiles all hot and bothered this week’¦Kino releases the Pete Walker Collection‘¦TCM gives us a Myrna Loy and William Powell box set.

Criterion releases:  Heaven’s Gate  and  When Horror Came To Shochiku

2.Luck (November 27)

As admitted David Milch nuts here at The CriterionCast, it should come as no shock to anyone that we’d like to shine a light on the newest show from the Deadwood creator. Luck is the much talked about horse racing drama from HBO, and while it would ultimately become one of the more controversial series the network has been behind, it’s ultimate cancellation brought with it waves of support for a show that may have ended a tad too soon. Milch is one of today’s greatest television creators, and with the show now finally available in stores around the US, we all can bask in his glory, once again. Even if it may end all too quickly, due to the much publicized deaths of a handful of the horses that would star in this series.

Other notable releases?:  Really light week’¦MIB3 arrives, along with the likes of Paranorman, Lawless and a complete series set of Cagney And Lacey. That’s about it.

Criterion releases:  

1.Lawrence Of Arabia 50th Anniversary Edition (November 13)

When looking at this month’s major home video releases, there were none (save maybe for the Tarantino XX box set) that caught this writer’s eye like the mammoth box set that is the upcoming Blu-ray release of David Lean’s masterwork, Lawrence Of Arabia. The film has received an all new (and absolutely stunning) transfer, and this release not only features a supplement-filled Blu-ray, but among the cavalcade of artwork, books and other filler, you will also receive (with the deluxe edition) a copy of the film’s all-time great score. It may be a hefty price for one feature film, particularly following a month that has seen giant box set after giant box set released , but take it from me, it’s more than worth it. I had the chance to see the new transfer on the big screen (albeit via a Fathom Events live event), but it looks as crisp and as vibrant as it ever has. One of the truly greatest films ever made, Lean’s masterpiece may very well be the greatest cinematic achievement of the past 50 years.

Other notable releases?:

Criterion releases:

More from Joshua Brunsting

Joshua Reviews Stevan Riley’s Listen To Me Marlon [Theatrical Review]

This new documentary gives us a look deep inside one of cinema's...
Read More