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Inception

Christopher Nolan's "Inception" is a stunning achievement of the modern blockbuster era. It began mostly as a favor to Nolan from Warner Bros. to keep him happy enough to stick around for a third Batman movie, but what the director did with that one round of backscratching is create the kind of film we may not see for a long time.

"Inception" is an action movie, but it's one based on an idea, which is, — you probably know — is the most resilient parasite. But Nolan's idea for "Inception" wasn't a high-concept, poster-ready elevator pitch. To try to tell someone what "Inception" is about neither does justice to the plot nor really let that person know what "Inception" is about.

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The Departed

In the grand scheme of Martin Scorsese's career, "The Departed" occupies a strange place in the director's filmography. It's the one he won for, definitely not his best — and if you ask some people — far from his best. The director's remake of the Hong Kong crime thriller "Infernal Affairs," despite winning Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, and Director at the 2007 Academy Awards, has failed, in many ways, to earn respect on its own merits.

One of the more ironic achievements of "The Departed" actually occurred in the year's following its release. The success of the Boston-set crime drama kicked off a wave of similar movies set in Massachusetts, many of which also starred Mark Wahlberg. "The Departed" essentially created the Boston crime drama, the genre that would employ Afflecks and Wahlbergs for years to come, but the Scorsese film is the best of the bunch.

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The Matrix

If you don't remember all the way back to the dawn of the DVD (my God...), "The Matrix" from the Wachowskis was the first disc you had to own. It justified the entire medium.

It's only fitting that the "Best of Warner Bros" 50-film box set include "The Matrix," since it is being sold as a way to instantly start a Blu-ray collection, and the magic of popping in the DVD is still present in the present in the HD upgrade.

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The Shining

Throughout the medium's history, a handful of Blu-rays have stood-out as exemplars of what the high-definition disks are capable of, making decades-old movies look like they were made yesterday. The Warner Bros restoration of Stanley Kubrick's seminal horror classic "The Shining" is easily one of them.

The adaptation of Stephen King's novel of a father suffering from writer's block and the strange goings-on at the Overlook Hotel is included in the 50-film "Best of Warner Bros" collection in the same edition that hit the market a few years ago with the rest of Kubrick's work. The clarity of the restoration still stands out and matches the beautiful photography of the original film.

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Superman

Few movies can be credited with setting the stage for the current state of big-budget film making quite like Richard Donner's "Superman." The 1978 adaptation of the Man of Steel starred Christopher Reeve in the role that would define his career, and as the first major superhero film in the post-"Jaws" world of blockbuster films, it created the blueprint for the genre entries that would come after it.

The movie's inclusion on the "Best of Warner Bros" set feels entirely appropriate not only because of its own merits as an inventive, big film, but as a precursor to the superhero revival that would lead to the studio's most recent and biggest hits, Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Trilogy."

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Wizard of Oz

"The Wizard of Oz" has really entered a one-of-a-kind stratosphere of pop culture recognition. There's the ruby slippers, the songs. Even the Wicked Witch of West's musical cue is burned in the brains of the children who grew up on the MGM classic. Most people know it beat for beat, so why is its inclusion on a Blu-ray set worth pointing out?

When that set is the recently released "Best of Warner Bros 50 Film Collection," it's absolutely worth taking note. As the name of the package implies, the collection brings together some of the most beloved films from the studio's 90-year history. Everything from "The Grand Hotel" to "The Hangover" can be found in one box.

So what is an MGM classic doing in the box?

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