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Best DVDs of 2001
Holly Ordway

Best DVDs of 2001 - Holly Ordway

Holly's top ten DVDs of 2001... that you may not have heard much about

I can think of several well-publicized, popular titles that are bound to make it onto a lot of top-ten lists this year, like the Godfather set and Forrest Gump. But 2001 saw the appearance of many other great DVDs who didn't get as much time in the limelight. With that in mind, my list features the "top ten DVDs of 2001 that you may not have heard much about."

Chocolat: A little gem of a film with a fairy-tale feel, as rich and warm as the chocolate that gives it its title. On top of that, the DVD transfer is flawless, making Chocolat an essential part of my collection.

Memento: An imaginative, polished, and utterly engrossing movie that demands that the viewer pay attention during every moment of the movie... it's no surprise that Memento was made by an independent filmmaker. The DVD's image quality is superb as well, making Memento into a must-have disc.

The World at War: No, it's not a movie; it's a five-DVD, 26-episode documentary about World War II. Offering a truly in-depth, balanced, objective, and sensitive handling of this monumental event, The World at War sets an incredibly high standard for historical documentaries. As a DVD set, it's not too shabby, either, with several bonus episodes and other supporting information included on the DVDs.

What Lies Beneath: Clearly influenced by Hitchcock's suspense films, What Lies Beneath has a style all its own. It's scary even on repeat viewings, and it's also one of the most skillfully-paced movies I've seen, with the plot continuously developing from the first minute of the film to the last. The DVD offers DTS sound and great image quality.

Ben-Hur: In a year that saw even movies of indifferent quality coming out in multi-disc sets, Warner bucked the trend by releasing Ben-Hur as a single disc with a modest price tag. It's what's on the DVD that counts, not how many discs are in the case... and Ben-Hur delivers. The movie is great fun, the transfer shows off the restored image in all its glory, and it comes with an outstanding "making of" documentary.

Rear Window: Collector's Edition: One of several Hitchcock films appearing in Collector's Editions in 2001, Rear Window has been handled the way a classic film ought to be. The restored film looks great in its DVD presentation, and the special features are substantial and insightful.

The Last of the Mohicans DTS: Last of the Mohicans has been available for quite a while on DVD... but it wasn't until 2001 that it received the treatment it deserved. Finally, an anamorphic transfer makes it possible to see the glorious landscapes in all their beauty; we're treated to near-perfect image quality throughout the film. The DTS track is icing on the cake: the perfect finishing touch to a great DVD.

The Princess Bride: SE: Another re-release that is worth getting excited about, The Princess Bride is simply a tremendously fun movie, with a great sense of humor and a high degree of rewatchability. On top of that, it's one of the few movies out there that actually features a fencing scene that's both exciting and realistic (I'm a fencer, so I know). The Special Edition offers an anamorphic transfer and a nice set of extras, too.

Cleopatra: Five Star Edition: No fluff was required to make Cleopatra into a three-disc set: not only is the movie nearly four hours long, the lavish selection of extras includes an fascinating two-hour "making-of" documentary. The film is far from perfect, but it's a great deal of fun, with glittering, colorful costumes, spectacular sets and scenery, and all the energy that's to be found in the machinations of that timeless triangle of Antony, Cleopatra, and Caesar.

The Mexican: A surprising choice? Possibly. But this is an entertaining and extremely funny movie that has been unjustly overlooked. In terms of style, I'd put it on the shelf next to The Big Lebowski, as the two film share a similar quirky, character-based sense of humor. While The Mexican isn't exceptional in its video quality (it's good, just not outstanding), it does offer a DTS track... and given that the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the film, this is a major feature.

- Holly Ordway

DVD Talk Reviewers and Columnists take on the Top DVDs of 2001 :
DVD Talk Main Best of 2001 Page
Aaron Beierle
Brian R. Boisvert
Jason Bovberg
Phillip Duncan
Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
G. Noel Gross (CineSchlock-O-Rama)
Chris Hughes
Gil Jawetz
Matt Langdon
Holly Ordway
John Wallis

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