As a site dedicated to film and television it’s always great to see classics make it on to Blu-ray providing they are restored to a high standard. So it will come as no surprise that most of our favourite Blu-rays of 2018 were indeed older titles. As has become accustomed its time to dish out a few awards and in doing so highlighting those films and television offerings that are worth picking up. So without further ado here’s our Popcorn Cinema Show Blu-ray Awards 2018 list.
Popcorn Cinema Blu-ray Awards 2018
Label That Goes The Extra Mile 2018
- Winner: Powerhouse Films aka Indicator
- Runner-Up: Arrow Video
PowerHouse Films continues to up its game getting better each year by selecting interesting titles and adding excellent extras. Arrow Video won this award last year and was very close to retaining it. Both companies really do go the extra mile when it comes to releasing films on Blu-ray but there can only be one winner. My hope is other labels will take note and follow their example and to be fair Studiocanal has done just that.
A good example of Indicators excellent work are with their boxset releases such as Hammer Volume Two: Criminal Intent and Hammer Volume Three – Blood And Terror. Both comes packed full of interesting extras whilst the most important thing, the picture quality are flawless.
The Label With The Most Consistently Interesting Releases
- Winner: Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
- Runner-Up: Studiocanal
This award goes to Powerhouse Films Indicator label for continuing to select a varied and interesting set of titles. A few of the more interesting ones released in 2018 include:
- Charley Varrick (1973)
- Night of the Demon (1957)
- The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
- The Old Dark House (1963)
- The Wrong Box (1966)
- Missing (1982)
- Ministry of Fear (1944)
- The Odessa File
- The China Syndrome (1979)
- The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)
Meanwhile the runner-up also deserves a mention with Studiocanal starting off 2018 with Hammer’s To The Devil A Daughter (1976) and proceeding to delight all of us John Carpenter fans by releasing Escape From New York (1981), The Fog (1980) and They Live (1988) on 4K & standard Blu-ray.
However they did make a mistake by failing to recognise the draw of Carpenter by only putting out Prince of Darkness (1987) on Blu-ray. Surprisingly the 4K collector’s edition was nowhere to be seen. Clearly following outcry by fans they decided to rectify this and the 4K collector’s edition is out on the 18th February 2019. That doesn’t help those of us that already bought the standard version, like myself, but it’s good to see them listening to feedback. It’s not like the picture quality is really amazingly better on 4K its more that it’s the collector’s edition that draws me to obtain a copy.
It really has been a great 2018 for Indicator and all of us film fans. Anyway on with the rest of the Blu-ray awards 2018!
- Winner: Network Distributing
Network continues to impress with their film and classic television releases on both Blu-ray and DVD. Having already re-mastered several classic TV series in 2018 the standout title has to be a DVD release. The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection not surprisingly sold very well. 2019 looks like a strong start to with both Sweeney films due for release on Blu-ray in February.
Favourite Blu-ray Release of 2018
- Winner: Night of the Demon (1957) – Indicator (Powerhouse Films)
This is one of those films that is often referred to as a cult classic and one things for sure an awful lot of you bought the limited edtion which ended up being extended to 10,000 copies. Following that sales success Powerhouse released the standard blu-ray edition which you can still obtain from either their website or over at Amazon.co.uk
You can see what I thought of both the blu-ray release and the film in my review
Best of the Rest on Blu-ray (By Label)
|Candyman (1992)||Arrow Video|
|Phenomena (1985)||Arrow Video|
|The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970)||Arrow Video|
|The Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971)||Arrow Video|
|Twelve Monkeys (1995)||Arrow Video|
|Atoll K (1951) Laurel & Hardy)||BFI|
|Breakheart Pass (1975)||Eureka Entertainment|
|The Old Dark House (1932)||Eureka Entertainment|
|Charley Varrick (1973)||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)|
|Hammer Volume Two: Criminal Intent (Boxset)||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)|
|Hammer Volume Three - Blood And Terror||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)|
|William Castle at Columbia Volume One||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)|
|William Castle at Columbia Volume Two||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)|
|Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)||Paramount|
|Blade Runner 2049 (2017)||Sony Pictures|
|Escape From New York (1981) (4K/Bluray)||Studiocanal|
|The Fog (1980) (4K/Bluray)||Studiocanal|
|They Live (1988) (4K/Bluray)||Studiocanal|
|Prince of Darkness (1987)||Studiocanal|
|To The Devil A Daughter (1976)||Studiocanal|
|Night of the Living Dead (1968)||The Criterion Collection|
|The Awful Truth (1937)||The Criterion Collection|
These are some of the other titles that really impressed and I highly recommend you consider (Amazon UK links included).
- Hammer Volume Two: Criminal Intent
- Hammer Volume Three: Blood & Terror
- William Castle at Columbia Volume One
- William Castle at Columbia Volume Two
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
- Night of the Demon (1957)
- The Old Dark House (1932)
- Atoll K (1951)
- Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
- Escape From New York (1981)
- Prince Of Darkness (1987)
- The Fog (1980)
- Charley Varrick (1973)
Whilst this is the Blu-ray Awards 2018 I have decided to include a Blu-ray/DVD category next as a lot of classic television only comes out on DVD.
Favourite Television Blu-ray/DVD Releases of 2018
- Winner: The Goodies: The Complete BBC Collection (DVD) – Network
Who doesn’t love the Goodies? It’s incredibly zany comedy starring Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. If you grew up in the seventies then this is a must have DVD.
Available to purchase at Amazon.co.uk or Network’s website
Most Disappointing Blu-ray Releases of 2018
- Winner: The Barefoot Contessa (1954) – Eureka Entertainment
- Runner-Up: There Was a Crooked Man (1960) – Network
Eureka Entertainment won this award last year and whilst they also have one of my best releases of 2018 with The Old Dark House (1932) which was excellent they seem to release anything they can get their hands on. The issue with this release comes from not releasing a re-mastered version only a high definition transfer with poor picture quality or as I put it in my review:
There are plenty of tiny speckles and the image is far from sharp at times. There’s little doubt The Barefoot Contessa is in need of some restoration, unfortunately this is merely high definition transfer and not a great one.
I’m really disappointed with this release I mean come on it stars Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner.
Meanwhile Network’s Norman Wisdom release of There Was a Crooked Man (1960) also disappointed with poor image quality, you can find out more in my review.
Most anticipated Blu-ray Releases 2019 (So far)
|Horror Express (1972)||Arrow Video||11 Feb 2019|
|Waterworld (1995)||Arrow Video||21 Jan 2019|
|Suspiria (1977) Special Edition||Cult Films||25 Mar 2018|
|Breakout (1975)||Indicator (Powerhouse Films)||21 Jan 2018|
|Sweeney! (1977)||Network||4 Feb 2019|
|Sweeney 2 (1978)||Network||4 Feb 2019|
|Prince of Darkness 4K Collector's Edition||Studiocanal||18 Feb 2019|
|Halloween (2018)||Universal Pictures||25 Feb 2019|
|Key Largo (1948)||Warner Bros||14 Jan 2019|
|The Nun (2018)||Warner Bros||14 Jan 2019|
|Father Brown Series 7||BBC||11 Feb 2019|
|Red Dwarf Series 1 - 8 Boxset||BBC||14 Jan 2019|
Final Thought – Blu-ray Awards 2018
There have been lots of great Blu-ray and DVD releases throughout 2018 and there are still several labels going strong and delivering quality releases. This is incredibly encouraging and whilst there are still too many poor titles landing on Blu-ray for my liking fortunately companies such as Powerhouse Film and Arrow Video are still ensuring quality comes first. I’m of course referring to picture quality and none more than Arrow who commissioned several 4K restorations in 2018. They have shown they are film lovers just as much as we are, in fact you can also add a third label to this list with Studiocanal.
Of course they all realise there still a big market for remastering old classics and putting them out on to physical media such as Blu-ray and long may it continue. There are still several other companies releasing content other than the big studios like Warner or Universal. Eureka Entertainment, Network, Second Sight Films and 88 Films have all put out good or even excellent releases in 2018 but they have also put out some poor ones to. Second Sight Films at least seem to try to put out the best versions.
Retailer HMV Goes Into Administration
One sad event that happened over Christmas in the UK was music and film retailer HMV announcing it was to go into administration. However whilst physical sales continue to decrease there’s still a huge market for them amongst films fans over 35. Special and collector’s editions continue to sell well and there are a lot of film collectors out there who want a disc rather than streaming. In fact I’d still say no streaming service comes close to the clarity of image quality that standard Blu-ray offers. You can forget about streaming at 4K as the variable quality due to download speeds really doesn’t cut it. I’d much rather have the physical version any day and so would many of you it would seem.
I guess there really isn’t an easy way to operate a bricks and mortar store these days and the only way HMV could survive is to be a purely online business. Let’s hope there’s a happy outcome in 2019.
That concludes my Blu-ray Awards 2018 overall it’s been another excellent year for film fans and 2019 already has a few good titles scheduled for release.
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