As we grow close to the Holiday shopping season, it's only inevitable that each week's crop of Blu-ray releases gets better and better. Even with that in mind, there are quite a few stellar releases this week that are worth your immediate attention. However, there is one particular release that I think is a Must Own for anyone with a Blu-ray player: Sherlock.
Yes, in a week that sees the retail release of both Scott Pilgrim and the Criterion Collection of Antichrist, I think the best buy of the week is the first season of a BBC miniseries you've probably never even heard of. I realize that a modernization of Sherlock Holmes probably doesn't sound amazing, but I assure you that it not only is, but that the first episode of it alone will make you forget all about Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie's recent film. Martin Freeman is great as a danger-seeking Watson, but it's Benedict Cumberbatch that steals the show as the funniest, sharpest, most acerbic and delicately unhinged Sherlock yet put to screen.
But more on that below. On to what else is New in Blu!
Top Shelf - Any elaborate collector's editions or box sets. [Note: These aren't necessarily the picks for the best releases of the week, rather they're just the sets that go above and beyond what normal Blu-rays do. Plus, they probably cost more.]
Middle Shelf - Standard releases of fairly well known movies available at a reasonable price.
Bottom Shelf - Titles that are either A) suspiciously cheap or B) being released with very little fanfare.
The Features: An HD transfer supervised by both Lars von Trier and his DOP Anthony Dod Mantle; Commentary from director Lars von Trier and film scholar Murray Smith; several making-of segments and cast/crew interviews; a documentary on its world premiere; a book containing an essay by Ian Christie.
The Movie: If Antichrist doesn't mess you up, you're not a normal human being. To say it's not for everyone is an understatement: It's an (absolutely gorgeous) horror movie for the art house crowd featuring two staggering performances from stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Who Should Buy It: Film students, von Trier devotees, lovers of film as an art form regardless of how harrowing it can be.