The 2011 Bi-Annual DVD Haul

With the economy in such a dreadful state and looking to continue, it’s not easy for a DVD collector when the movies you want are foreign or non-mainstream ones you have to get imported, especially if you live in New Zealand. However, twice a year I manage to pool enough money that’s not being used to pay bills and etc. and spend it on DVDs! Last time I did it was in February, and now I’m doing it again. Here are the DVDs I’ve either bought or are planning to buy:

The Big Players:

Dekalog (1988)

Though this can’t really be classified as one movie (thus its absence from my Top 100 movies list), altogether in its ten-part 10 hour glory it has to be one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. Sure it wasn’t revolutionary, or influential, but as a study of humanity it is 100% perfect, and it is a film/films I can happily return to any time and soak in the raw power of Kieslowski’s amazing vision. The best purchase I’ve made this year, undoubtedly, and one of the best DVD purchases I will ever hope to make. At a time before his death, Stanley Kubrick was asked to name as many masterpieces in his lifetime as he could. He could only think of one, and now I’m holding it in my hands. God bless you, Krzysztof Kieslowski. Note: Region 4 DVD also features the biographic documentary about Kieslowski, “I’m So-So.”

The Fire Within (1963)

I’d like to say my film tastes are unique, but I seem to share a lot of film preferences with John over at TDYLF. Indeed it was him who named this his favourite film of all time, and I’m waiting for its delivery in a few weeks. I don’t often take risks like this, but not only do I trust John and his tastes (his other favourite film of all time is Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light (1963), which is also in my Top 10 of all time), it also sounds like a damn good movie, even though there is relatively little critical acclaim. Plus my recent initiation into Louis Malle has proved so far very fruitful, so I trust this will continue the streak of Malle films I’ve been diving into. Note: the reason I had to buy this from Amazon is because no Region 4 copy seems to exist! God damn you, whoever you are that makes Region 4 DVDs!

The Michael Haneke Collection

I have been looking forward to buying this for over a year, and it’s bloody expensive. Seven of Michael Haneke’s greatest films available in one box set. Naturally, I had to have it, and with the price (plus shipping to New Zealand, remember!), you can see why I only do this every six months. The set features his “Glaciation” trilogy, plus Funny Games (1997), The Castle, Code Unknown and The Piano Teacher. Works considerably well when you take into account I own Cache and The White Ribbon, which really only leaves one film left, Time of the Wolf, which wasn’t THAT great anyway. All the Haneke fanboys in the house, say Fick ja Haneke!

The Smaller Players:

Cheap DVDs I bought from New Zealand stores:

Dogville/Manderlay double feature:

Two of Lars von Trier’s best films in a twin-pack DVD. Brilliant!

Blood Simple. (1984)

A Coen film I’ve been waiting a long time to own.

Freeway (1996)

I got this for two bucks in a bargain bin! For fuck’s sake!

Jackie Brown (1997)

The Tarantino that got away.

Seeing the cash just jump out of my hand when I made these purchases was rather daunting, but I’m very happy with it. They’re all great DVDs I’m proud to own.

How often do you buy DVDs? What are some rare or semi-rare DVDs you own? What’s the cheapest you’ve paid for a brilliant film? Let me know your thoughts on these and anything else relevant in the comments below.

Posted on August 6, 2011, in Movies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Ha, I need the karma so I’ll make you a deal, my friend. If (as I’m deathly afraid) I’ve completely overhyped “The Fire Within” and you dislike it, I’ll buy and ship any Criterion selection of your choosing.

    That is one hell of a haul. And I applaud your description of “Jackie Brown” as “The Tarantino that got away”. Also, you can never ever go wrong with owning Coen films, and “Dogville” is the best movie I never talk about.

    • That’s very generous of you, but I don’t think I’ll hate it. It sounds very similar to a lot of films I’ve loved, plus I’ve yet to see a Malle film I’ve disliked, so for me it’s not that big of a gamble. I have a Criterion-addicted friend who doesn’t own it, so if I don’t like it, I’ll give it to him for his birthday. Win-win. Thanks for the offer, I’m sure your karma will pick up.

      Thanks for praising my haul. It took a lot of effort and choosing (the hardest part was turning down the Criterion DVD of Fanny and Alexander for Dekalog, especially considering I haven’t even seen the 5-hour version of F&A), and I’m pretty happy with it. Also, just under an hour ago, I bought a cheap Region 2 DVD of Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” at an indie DVD store I didn’t even know existed, so it’s been a good week (movie-wise) for me.

  2. Can never go wrong with Haneke, as I’ve mentioned. Have you seen “The Castle”?

    • Yes I have. I liked it, and felt it was a bit underrated, but it’s not a particular favourite of mine, sorry. My top five favorites are Cache, The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, The Seventh Continent and Funny Games, in that order (although Code Unknown is rivalling Funny Games for its spot).

      I’ve been watching interviews with Haneke on some of the DVDs, and it’s remarkable how intelligent he is in making film. He has his own specific views and opinions, and his thought-provoking analyses of the problems in modern film is astonishing. The man desperately needs a Lifetime award, there will never be another like him after he has gone.

  3. I had just brought it up because most find it lacking the Haneke touch (keep in mind, I don’t read books on film making; just someone who enjoys movies immensely), and from what I know, there are not many people who’ve seen it, at least over here.

    He definitely deserves more praise. I don’t rank movies myself because some I have seen so many times, they’re more sentimental to me than great, and the excellent ones are always switching around. That’s the beauty of a well made film – you can watch it several times and always catch something new to appreciate.

    • Absolutely, and that last rule applies to Haneke especially. I always catch something new every time I watch Cache, or The White Ribbon, and many of his films (especially 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, which seemed to just whizz over my head) deserve a second watch. No, multiple watches.

  4. i hope youre using at least they offer free shipping to new zealand these days.

    i’m slowly putting together the the 100+ history of film noir for as little as possible whilst still buying actual dvd’s. my favourite is the collectors set of the recent reissue of blade runner, all the discs and the package is just so pretty. the original alien quadrilogy boxset was bought simply because it was so well put together, it was only after buying it that i saw the alien movies for the first time.

    • I have used in the past, but haven’t really had much difference between the both of them. I prefer just by experience, really. I used them for years before trying, and didn’t really want to change. Plus I like Region 1 DVDs more than Region 2 ones.

  5. Well done Tyler! The only films I buy these days are for the sub-teenager crowd (Forgive me if I’m repeating myself). Thankfully, I feel that we’ve entered the golden age of animated films. Thanks to PIxar, all of the studios have stepped up their game.

    • Hehehe, you’re not the only one who loves animated films, mate. I like them, but I prefer to wait for the DVD usually. The most recent animated film I’ve seen is Rango, but if you ask me about things like Tangled, Gnomeo and Juliet or Cars 2, I will be clueless.

  6. Christian Hallbeck

    Regarding movies that are not publicly well known, I strongly recommend you to see “Nobody knows” by Hirokazu Kore-eda. It’s probably the most painful movie I’ve ever seen. And although it is standing somewhere in my bookshelf, I don’t think I will ever watch it again – for the reason that it made such a strong impact in me, that I won’t risk spoiling it by a second viewing. The celebration of the youngest girls birthday, is just emotionally devestating! I have never cried so much during any other cinematic episode. Maby with the exception of the first time I saw the ending of “Wild Strawberries”. That was nearly twenty years ago. Sadly, I don’t cry to this scene anymore. I don’t want the same fate to happen to the episode I just mentioned.


    • Thank you very much for the recommendation, it sounds exactly like the kind of film I’d like to watch. The ending of Wild Strawberries was emotionally effecting to me as well, and I will definitely add Nobody Knows high up on my watchlist.

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