The best movies on DVD of 2009
1. Pinocchio: Platinum Edition (1940, G)
Jiminy Cricket! Disney’s come up with one of Hollywood’s best face-lifts — on screen or off — in ages. The cover may be premature in celebrating the film’s 70th anniversary, but the Mouse House was meticulous in every other detail: two glorious discs of documentaries on the studio’s merry-prankster animators, interactive games for the kiddies, a commentary, and, of course, a restoration that’s pure eye candy.
2. Woodstock: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (1970, R)
The packaging couldn’t be groovier — a fringed suede box that, for all we know, doubles as a bong. But it’s the three discs inside that will get you high. Michael Wadleigh’s Edenic time capsule starring the Who, Hendrix, and 400,000 blissed-out hippies is arguably the greatest documentary ever made. A bonus disc featuring never-before-seen performances from Creedence and the Dead seals the deal.
3. Do the Right Thing (1989, R)
Spike Lee pulls out all the stops on this two-disc 20th-anniversary edition of what is still indisputably his most powerful film. Not only has the tinderbox tale about race relations on one Brooklyn block never looked better, the director’s brand-new commentary is a ballsy, no-BS look inside how the masterpiece was made, and, more importantly, how it was received.
4. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973, R)
The good folks at Criterion cranked out a lot of great titles this year, but this one was the biggest surprise. Robert Mitchum plays a blue-collar Boston hood who’s facing a stretch in prison unless he rats out his pals. There’s not one phony note in the film, thanks to a roster of ’70s character actors like Peter Boyle and Alex Rocco. A lost treasure that’s, thankfully, not lost anymore.
5. Inglourious Basterds (2009, R)
Quentin Tarantino’s delirious cinema lover’s riff on WWII is an epic return to form after the disappointing Grindhouse. The two-disc special edition is loaded with goodies: alternate takes of scenes, a lengthier version of Nation’s Pride (the Nazi-propaganda film-within-a-film), and a kicky Q&A with Tarantino and Brad Pitt. A QT commentary would’ve been sweet, but when the rest is this good, it’s hard to complain.