It’s 2021 and time to look back at the blu-ray and DVD releases from 2020. As has become accustomed we will hand out awards highlighting the good and bad from the years film and television releases. So without further ado here are our Popcorn Cinema blu-ray / DVD Awards 2020.
Popcorn Cinema’s Blu-ray / DVD Awards 2020
Label That Goes The Extra Mile 2020
- Winner: Indicator aka Powerhouse Films
- Runner-Up: Arrow Video
This award is still a straight contest between two fabulous labels. Both are worthy contenders for this award for consistently producing excellent blu-ray releases with excellent picture quality along with a fabulous set of extras.
However it’s the Indicator label that really has impressed us in 2020 for their choice of film, fabulous picture quality and excellent extras. If you need any examples just look at the latest Hammer, Columbia Noir, John Ford At Columbia, 1935-1958 or Fu Manchu boxsets.
The Label With The Most Consistently Interesting Releases
- Winner: Powerhouse Films aka Indicator
- Runner-Up: 88 Films
Powerhouse Films aka Indicator had another strong year in 2020. They released several excellent boxsets including Columbia Noir #1, Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit & The Fu Manchu Cycle 1965-1969. Add to that a whole host of other awesome films such as Cisco Pike (1972), I, Monster (1971) and The Beast Must Die (1974) to name just a few and we have a clear winner.
That said 88 Films really has become a firm favourite with us at Popcorn Cinema. They tend to choose some strange and weird titles from Italian horror many of which turn out to be truly awesome. They also release many well know films such as 10 to Midnight (1983) starring Charles Bronson which arrived in October 2020. Other titles in 2020 included the actor Jackie Chan.
Overall 88 Films blu-ray releases also tend ot be pretty good on the picture quality front too. Many of their films have undergone 2K restorations and look terrific.
- Winner: Studiocanal
Every year Studiocanal seem to release a few gems. 2020 was no different with a couple of fabulous 4K releases such as The Ladykillers (1955) & Total Recall (1988). Oh and we can’t forget their awesome Flash Gordon (40th Anniversary Edition) release!
Favourite Blu-ray Release of 2020
- Winner: Dawn Of The Dead (1978) – Second Sight Films
Second Sight Films really do deserve praise for this excellent of George A Romero’s classic zombie horror. Not only was it a fabulous restoration but it also included just about every extras you could wish for.
Best of the Rest on Blu-ray in 2020
|Beyond Darkness (1990) aka La Casa 5||88 Films|
|Cisco Pike (1972)||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|Columbia Noir #1 (Limited Edition)||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|Cottage to Let (1941)||Network|
|Criss Cross (1949)||Eureka Entertainment|
|Deadly Manor (1990)||Arrow Video|
|Destry Rides Again (1939)||Criterion Collection|
|Flash Gordon (40th Anniversary Edition)||Studiocanal|
|Goodfellas: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (4K)||Warner Bros|
|Hammer Volume Five: Death & Deceit||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|High Spirits (1988)||Final Cut Entertainment|
|I, Monster (1971)||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|Joker (2019)||Warner Bros|
|Macabre (1980)||88 Films|
|North Sea Hijack (1980)||88 Films|
|Rambo: Last Blood (2019)||Lionsgate|
|Tenet (2020)||Warner Bros|
|The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection (4K UHD)||Universal Pictures|
|The Beast Must Die (1974)||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|The Fu Manchu Cycle 1965-1969 (Limited Edition)||Powerhouse Films / Indicator|
|The Ladykillers (1955)||Studiocanal|
|Total Recall (1988) – 4K||Studiocanal|
|Who Done It? (1956)||Network|
|You Should Have Left (2020)||Universal Pictures|
Favourite Television Blu-ray/DVD Releases of 2020
- Winner: Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 14 (Tom Baker) – BBC
Most Disappointing Blu-ray Releases of 2020
- Winner: Radio Parade of 1935 – Network
- Runner-Up: Twins (1988) – Fabulous Films
Both of these titles suffered from a lack of any restoration work resulting in a generally poor viewing experience.
In the case of Radio Parade of 1935, starring Will Hay, there are marks all over the place all the way through the film. This results in a shockingly poor viewing experience for a blu-ray release. Why would they think it is acceptable to release it in this state? The idea of blu-ray is to upgrade the picture quality on older films. If not we may as well just keep the DVD version.
Network state in their remastering notes:
Although additional image restoration work was carried out, the pictures still display some faults including dirt, scratches, density fluctutations, movements and missing frames (amongst other issues).Network
Let’s be clear Radio Parade of 1935 is a poor release. It’s a real shame because Network does frequently release some fantastic titles, many of which have been fully restored. In fact they won our ‘Favourite Blu-ray Release of 2019’ with their excellent Monty Python’s Flying Circus release.
The idea of upgrading from DVD to blu-ray is NOT only better resolution but a clean image. That’s why it’s really annoying when films like Twins (1988), released by Fabulous Films, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger & Danny DeVito aren’t restored.
One film that probably should be on the list is Erik the Viking (Special Edition). Directed by Terry Jones it stars Tim Robbins, John Cleese and Mickey Rooney. There have been lots of reports of poor image quality circulating on the web on places such as Amazon. If those reports and screenshots are indeed correct, and we are yet to confirm this, then shame on Signal One Entertainment/Patriot Films for allowing it to release in such a poor state.
As it only released on the 28th December 2020 we’ve yet to review or watch it so therefore it’s not eligable for our Most Disappointing Blu-ray Releases of 2020 award.
Most anticipated Blu-ray Releases 2021 (So far)
|Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020)||Warner Bros|
|Columbia Noir #2 (Limited Edition)||Powerhouse Films|
|Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 8 (Jon Pertwee)||BBC|
|Demons 1 & 2 (Limited Edition)||Arrow Video|
|Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)||Powerhouse Films|
|It’s in the Air (1938)||Network|
|Land Of The Dead (2005)||Fabulous Films|
|Marlene Dietrich at Universal 1940-1942||BFI|
|The Black Windmill (1974)||101 Films|
|The Man Upstairs (1958)||Network|
|The Valachi Papers (1972)||Powerhouse Films|
|The Valdez Horses (1973)||Powerhouse Films|
|Villa Rides (1968)||Signal One Entertainment|
Popcorn Cinema Blu-ray / DVD Awards 2020 Final Thought
2020 has been very similar to 2019 in that there have been some fantastic releases especially on blu-ray and 4K. However we are still seeing far too many new films only receiving a UK DVD releases. This really needs to stop and give movie lovers the choice of the blu-ray version.
Congratulations to Powerhouse Films / Indicator on another excellent year of releases. May it continue in 2021, it does appear that will be the case judging by their already announced titles for January, February and March.
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