While the countless streaming services out there offer a bevy of options, there’s still something special about a good piece of physical media. Blu-rays and their 4K equivalents give you what streaming can’t: higher-quality visuals and sound, reliability if the Wi-Fi is on the fritz, and in-depth special features if you feel like learning more about the movie you just watched. Plus you don’t have to worry about whether a movie you love is streaming if you own a copy of it.
There’s never been a better time to beef up your film library, and thankfully the genesis of streaming has led distributors to put more effort into their blu-ray and 4K releases. Here are some of the best 4K Ultra HD and standard HD Blu-rays and you can pick up for your next stay-at-home movie night.
Think of Arrow Video releases as the Criterion Collection for cult films. From underseen gems like The Loveless and The Day of the Jackal to well-known ones like An American Werewolf in London, the distributor puts a ton of love and care into crafting appealing rereleases of films begging for rediscovery or just your 100th revisit. Perhaps their most impressive release so far is the Robocop box set they put out last year, which features a stunning restoration you can’t find on streaming sites as well as a rich library of special features.
The set also includes a book of writing on the film and set photography and a great bunch of package art. If you need a reminder as to why picking up a physical copy of a movie is a necessity sometimes, this’ll get it done.
One of the more underrated installments in the legendary Spike Lee’s filmography, Bamboozled is a profoundly uncomfortable and challenging satire on the relationship the media industry has with race shot in jarring low-fi digital visuals. You’ve probably seen Do The Right Thing and BlackkKlansman but this is one of the more stellar deep cuts in Lee’s rich filmography. Criterion has given it the restoration it deserves and you can’t go wrong if you’re looking to discover some new gems during your stay-at-home movie nights.
Adam Sandler’s tour-de-force performance in the Safdie Brothers’ newest film, Uncut Gems stands out as one of the best that 2019 had to offer (if not the absolute best). It’s also a very recent home media release, meaning it isn’t available for streaming everywhere quite yet. But why let that stop you? Revisit this absolute adrenaline rush of a movie whenever you want—or catch up on it if you missed it during the theatrical run—by picking up a copy on Blu-ray.
Studio Ghibli mastermind Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography isn’t exactly rife with movies that contain Uncut Gems levels of anxiety, but even for a Miyazaki film there’s something wonderfully low-key about Kiki’s Delivery Service. It’s an easy watch with a lovely score and low exterior stakes—the arc of the film is almost entirely tied to the titular girl witch Kiki’s growth. More than that though, Kiki’s is maybe the most relevant film of Miyazaki’s when viewed in a modern context. It’s all about the gig economy and the pains that come with making a living out of doing what you love.
Studio Ghibli films remain a streaming non-entity (until the debut of HBO Max, at least) so if you want to enjoy any selections from their filmography, you’ve gotta pick up a physical copy. Kiki’s is as good a place as any to start if you’re unfamiliar with their work, and it remains a rewarding rewatch if you’ve already experienced what it has to offer.
For fans of the James Bond franchise, the sting of No Time To Die’s release date getting moved may still be fresh. Ease the pain with the Skyfall 4K restoration. The film is already inarguably the best-looking Bond film of all time thanks to the work of cinematography legend Roger Deakins. The 4K disc only makes that beauty even more sharp and vibrant. If you’re going to experiment with 4K for the first time, this will sell you on the format easily.
Plot. What is it good for? Sometimes all you need is stunning nature photography and footage in crystal-clear 4K high definition.
Look, maybe a movie about two men trapped in a purgatorial lighthouse for an undetermined period of time is going to hit too close to home for some these days. But for those looking for catharsis through cinema, The Lighthouse is untouchable during these strange times. A beautifully shot fullscreen black and white fable, the film follows two men played by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as they tend to a mysterious lighthouse in New England in the late 1800s. From cursed birds to mermaids to murder, this movie has it all. You aren’t going to prepared for how weird it gets - which may serve as the cabin fever antidote you didn’t know you needed.
It’s rare for an action franchise to become a vehicle for individual auteurist visions but Mission: Impossible is no ordinary action franchise. Each film, save for 5 and 6, features a different director bringing a different unique visual flair to the world of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. Even the worst film in the franchise is still pretty fun while the best stand out as some of the best blockbuster cinema of all time. Check them out in stunning 4K HD and you’ll feel like you’re right there with Tom Cruise as he hangs from the top of the Burj Khalifa (a stunt he performed in real life because he’s a crazy person).