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best of 2010

Best of 2010 – DVD & Blu-ray

The Best Movie DVDs

InceptionLeonardo DiCaprio (Blu-ray)

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Video/DVD. Title: Inception

Inception, with its Fantastic Voyage-meets-Dreamscape sci-fi trappings, dazzled most critics while leaving a predictable few nonplussed. Lump us in with the former, as well as the audiences worldwide that made this the must-see summer blockbuster of 2010. With its ambitiously layered narrative and audacious visuals, the movie demands to be replayed. That's a major factor when we rank DVDs & Blu-rays. And it's why Inception tops this year's list. 

The Hurt LockerJeremy Renner (DVD)

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Video/DVD. Title: The Hurt Locker

The first of many Iraq War films to find a big audience, The Hurt Locker also cleaned up at the Academy Awards. Director Kathryn Bigelow's military thriller takes viewers into the battlefield to spin a heroic tale of three soldiers tasked with defusing the insurgency's weapon of choice: improvised explosive devices. It is an unflinching look at modern war, and Jeremy Renner's Oscar-nominated lead turn recalls Steve McQueen at his best.

The Best TV Collection

The PacificJoseph Mazzello (DVD)

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Video/DVD. Title: The Pacific

The year's Emmy-winning TV "event," The Pacific returned Band of Brothers producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks to World War II, and they once again crafted a TV landmark. A riveting, heartbreaking journey through the war in the Pacific, this ten-hour, $120 million miniseries arrives in tin-boxed, 6-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions that come packed with hours of illuminating bonus material.

The Best Kids Pick

Toy Story 3Tom Hanks (Blu-ray)

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Video/DVD. Title: Toy Story 3

Pixar continued its unparalleled hit streak this summer with Toy Story 3, a stunningly affecting coming-of-age film. It has been mused elsewhere, and at some length, about how attached we've become to these characters. Which is why we'll be coming back to this movie for years to come; and also why we like this edition best. It includes the Blu-ray for home, the DVD for the car, and a Digital Copy for wherever we wind up. We just hope it's not Sunnyside!

The Best Classic Film

The African QueenHumphrey Bogart (Blu-ray)

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    Video/DVD. Title: The African Queen

    Hard to believe that we had to wait until 2010 for a legitimate U.S. edition of The African Queen, No. 17 on the American Film Institute's list of history's hundred greatest films and the source of Humphrey Bogart's lone Academy Award. Digitally restored with obvious care, both the gift and standard editions come with the terrific documentary "Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen."

    The Best Blu-ray

    AvatarSam Worthington (Blu-ray)

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    Video/DVD. Title: Avatar

    James Cameron's Avatar sprinted to the No. 1 spot on the all-time box-office list and, with its truly audacious imagery, stands proudly alongside such sci-fi landmarks as 2001, Blade Runner, and Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series. Thanks to this Extended Blu-ray Collector's Edition -- discs worthy of the landmark film, after a no-frills DVD and Blu-ray release earlier in 2010 -- we look forward to visiting Cameron's Pandora frequently for years to come.

    The Best Blu-ray Releases

    LifeDavid Attenborough (Blu-ray)

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    Video/DVD. Title: Life

    Blu-ray proves its value in details, and no release this year affords more fascinating details than the 11-part Life, the follow-up to Planet Earth from the BBC and the Discovery Channel. This outing makes use of new gear and techniques, bringing into incredibly crisp focus critters from all across the globe. Whether you opt for Oprah Winfrey or David Attenborough as your narrator, you're in for 2010's most striking natural images.

    The Best Box Set

    Elia Kazan CollectionElia Kazan (DVD)

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    Video/DVD. Title: Elia Kazan Collection

    This gorgeous package, celebrating the work of legendary Hollywood filmmaker Elia Kazan, seems custom built for honors such as this. The box boasts several exclusives, including the disc debut of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, along with 14 other classics hand-selected from his esteemed catalog by contemporary film giant Martin Scorsese. Throw in the handsome book included in the package, and you're living a cinemaphile's dream.

    The Best DVD Find

    The T.A.M.I. ShowTeri Garr (DVD)

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    Video/DVD. Title: The T.A.M.I. Show

    This legendary concert film from 1964's Teen-Age Music International Show is filled with squeaky clean fun (Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Lesley Gore), Motown magic (Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes) and rock 'n' roll danger (Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones). Still, it's the mesmerizing moves of a young, handsome, gymnastic James Brown that steal the show and make this one of the all-time great concert movies.

    The Best DVD Deal

    TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Astaire and RogersFred Astaire (DVD)

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    Video/DVD. Title: TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Astaire and Rogers

    There's an almost-missionary zeal at play behind the TCM Greatest Films Collections, and this recent addition to the series smacks down a polished, white-tipped cane on that point. Getting the four films alone -- The Gay Divorcee, Shall We Dance?, Swing Time, and Top Hat -- for $25 or less would seem enough. But, like so many of these releases, Astaire and Rogers boasts a bounty of worthy extras, everything from commentaries to cartoons. Now that's entertainment...on the cheap.