Top 10 DVDs and CDs of 2007

S&V's Top 10 DVDs of 2007

1. Pan's Labyrinth (Platinum Series; New Line, 2 discs). • Guillermo del Toro's astonishing tragic fantasy becomes one of the best DVD sets to date, with images of stunning color and detail, immersive DTS-ES 6.1 sound, and cool extras, including an interactive DVD-ROM screenplay. - Sol Louis Siegel • Simply a feast of exotic, well-reproduced imagery and ambitious sound design from beginning to end. One of the most beautiful films I saw last year. - Marc Horowitz • The best, most vivid theatrical movie of 2006 lights up home theater screens. This powerful DVD set comes with an exhaustive commentary by a brilliant director. - Ken Korman

2. Breathless (The Criterion Collection, 2 discs). This dazzling transfer is worthy of such a highly venerated, groundbreaking film. As are the excellent extras, including interviews with Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Jean Seberg, as well as two video essays, an 80-minute documentary, a Godard short, and an 80-page booklet containing François Truffaut's original film treatment and Godard's scenario. - Brandon Grafius

TIE: 3. Planet Earth (BBC/Warner, 5 discs). Our home - like you've never seen it before. The visuals in this TV documentary series are absolutely stunning. The DVD set comes with a 150-minute companion documentary, Planet Earth: The Future, and 2 hours of behind-the-scenes footage. - Brandon Grafius 3. Ratatouille (Disney/Pixar). With its latest creation, Pixar takes animation to a new level. And here, the picture and sound, digitally transferred directly to the DVD, both have amazing resolution. - Rad Bennett

4. Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition (Paramount, 10 discs). All of David Lynch's TV masterpiece in one set - and the auteur finally shows up to talk about it, too. - Ken Korman

5. Heroes: Season 1 (Universal, 7 discs). TV as it should be - with engaging characters, a smart and original story, and impressive special effects - on the DVD set it deserves. Smooth, film-like images with warm colors and very deep blacks are ably supported by crisp, clear 5.1 sound and hours of entertaining and informative extras. - Josef Krebs

6. The War (PBS; 6 discs). Although Ken Burns uses a combination of black-and-white photos, archival footage, and recently filmed interviews for his rhapsodic reconstruction of the American experience of World War II, the overall picture quality of this TV series is excellent. A year was spent on recreating the sounds of battles, and the result is machine-gun fire and explosions that are far more convincing than those in most major movies. - Rad Bennett

7. Army of Shadows (The Criterion Collection, 2 discs). Jean-Pierre Melville's strong, somber drama of the French Resistance has finely detailed images and is fleshed out with terrific extras on both the film's making and the story's historical background. - Sol Louis Siegel

8. Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show (Sony; 4 discs). Helping to illuminate the 23 episodes that star Garry Shandling chose for the set is one of the best collections of extras ever presented on DVD. That's a total of 8 hours of extras, including a feature-length making-of documentary, copious interviews, deleted scenes, commentaries, and footage of Shandling dropping in on guest stars. - Marc Horowitz

9. Lost: Season 3 - The Unexplored Experience (Touchstone; 7 discs). Still the benchmark for writing, acting, and directing for a network TV drama - not to mention its visuals and sound - Lost delivers on every front here, including one of the best season-ending cliffhanger twists ever. This DVD set does it all justice: images filled with lush green jungles, a sound mix that surrounds you with the buzz of nature and the echoing of voices in underground chambers, and an extras cavalcade that others should use as a blueprint. - Mike Mettler

10. 300 (Special Edition; Warner, 2 discs). In brutal scenes depicting the standoff at Thermopylae, every bit of blood, sweat, grit, and grime is reproduced vividly in this A-plus transfer. Equally conveying the heat of battle is the thunderous soundtrack. - Rad Bennett

Individual ballots for DVDs

Rad Bennett Brandon Grafius Marc Horowitz Ken Korman Josef Krebs Mike Mettler Mel Neuhaus Sol Louis Siegel

S&V's Top 10 CDs of 2007

1. Bruce Springsteen: Magic (Columbia). • The Boss's best since Born in the U.S.A. is a fiery, heartfelt set of rockers. There was probably blood on his Telecaster. - Jeff PerlahRiver-style energy meets Tom Joad worldview on an album that may be his best in decades. - Brett Milano • His best since The River. And if you don't get the Iraq War subtext, you're not paying attention. - Steve Simels

2. Radiohead: In Rainbows ( You get what you pay for - and whatever you decide will be worth every cent, as Thom Yorke and crew continue in their ever-surprising, ever-expansive way. As they say: no static at all. - Billy Altman

3. Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet (Atlantic). Aims to be a modern progressive-rock masterpiece. Damn near succeeds. - Brett Milano

4. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (Merge). At last, an indie-rock band that paints on a large canvas with unapologetic ambition. - Parke Puterbaugh

5. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Universal Republic). It's too bad that her trainwreck of a personal life has at least temporarily derailed what started out as a pretty cool musical retro-ride. - Billy Altman

6. The Hives: The Black and White Album (A&M/Octone). Garage rock from a place (Sweden) that obviously has high-end garages. - Steve Simels

7. Sloan: Never Hear the End of It (Yep Roc). For those who just can't get enough of Side 2 of Abbey Road, here's a string of 30 (count 'em!) irresistible pop pearls. - Andrew Nash

8. The White Stripes: Icky Thump (Third Man/Warner Bros.). The power of two: Jack and Meg create the hardest-stomping and most mystical Zeppelin set in years. - Mike Mettler

9. Foo Fighters: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (RCA). For those who continue to rock, we salute you. - Parke Puterbaugh

10. Tori Amos: American Doll Posse (Epic). A 23-room dollhouse full of alter egos: her richest songwriting since Under the Pink. - Andrew Nash

Individual ballots for CDs

Billy Altman Mike Mettler Brett Milano Andrew Nash Rob O'Connor Jeff Perlah Parke Puterbaugh Ken Richardson Steve Simels