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Archive for the 'The Criterion Collection' Category

Election & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in December 2017

This December, Alexander Payne’s caustically funny Election, a biting satire of political hubris set at an Omaha high school, will join the Criterion Collection in an edition featuring a new, restored 4K digital transfer and new interviews with Payne and Reese Witherspoon. Politics get even uglier in Barbet Schroeder’s General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait, an unsettling encounter with the murderous, charismatic Ugandan dictator, in a new, restored 2K digital transfer, and on Blu-ray for the first time. Plus, fifty years after the Summer of Love, a new Blu-ray collector’s edition of The Complete Monterey Pop Festival celebrates a watershed moment in music history. In addition to D. A. Pennebaker’s classic concert films Monterey Pop (in a new 4K digital restoration), Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey, the box set contains new supplements and every available complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew. And as previously announced: 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012, a landmark collector’s set featuring fifty-three films from a century of Olympic Games presented together for the first time, as well as a lavishly illustrated, 216-page book.

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La Poison – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Discovery continues to be a large part of why I enjoy sitting down and watching films released by The Criterion Collection. La Poison comes from writer/director Sacha Guitry, someone I was unfamiliar with, but thanks to the collection of extras on this Blu-ray release, along with the film, I have a new understanding of him and the history he was a part of. That in mind, there is also a great, darkly hilarious film here. It takes on the idea of a marriage gone sour, before devolving into an interesting look at French ethics circa 1950. Intelligent and made with a good level of tension to go with the witty humor, La Poison was an interesting film to catch up with, and it’s now available from Criterion.

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Hopscotch – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Hopscotch was a great film to catch up with. It’s a spy movie where action and thrills are hardly the point. While The Criterion Collection has a huge selection of films spanning decades of cinema and coming from all over the world, some may characterize the selections as stuffy dramas. That’s hardly the case and what better way to see that than by taking on a globetrotting spy comedy starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson. Hopscotch was an early entry into The Criterion Collection (it arrived on DVD in 2002), but it has now been given a Blu-ray update resulting in an excellent way to see and hear this forgotten cold war comedy gem.

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The Philadelphia Story, Le Samouraï & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in November 2017

This November, golden-age Hollywood’s wittiest romantic comedy will join the Criterion Collection: The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart, all at the height of their dazzling charms. Our edition will feature a new 4K restoration, along with new supplements exploring the film’s production, which launched Hepburn back to stardom thanks largely to her own shrewd orchestrations. Next up, Donna Deitch’s swooning love story Desert Hearts – a landmark in queer cinema and a triumph of independent filmmaking – will appear in a special edition featuring a new, restored 4K digital transfer and interviews in which the cast and crew revisit the film’s production and discuss its impact three decades later. Terry Gilliam stepped out from the ranks of Monty Python for his solo-directing debut, Jabberwocky, which stars Michael Palin as a clueless bumpkin traipsing through a medieval kingdom terrorized by a fearsome dragon. Our edition marks the film’s first appearance on Blu-ray, in a new 4K restoration with special features including new interviews with the cast and crew. And that’s not all: Jean-Pierre Melville’s ice-cold gangster classic Le samouraï, starring Alain Delon, will now be on Blu-ray in a new high-definition digital restoration.

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L’argent – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Money serves as a symbol of success and has said to be the root of all evil. It is also fittingly the meaning of the French term L’argent, which happens to be the title of writer/director Robert Bresson’s final film. L’argent captures Bresson’s minimalist style, as it tells the tale of how one counterfeit bill affects the lives of many. Now a part of The Criterion Collection, plenty can now see just how well this film holds up. The film won the Director’s Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and showed just what kind of cinematic power can come from presenting life as it is in this dramatic feature that takes characters down a sorrowful hole mostly met with despair.

 

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Barry Lyndon, Twin Peaks, Personal Shopper & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in October 2017

This October, Stanley Kubrick’s breathtaking period epic Barry Lyndon will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K restoration. Our edition will feature a host of supplements that explore how Kubrick and his team brought the eighteenth century to life with unprecedented achievements in cinematography and production design. Then, it is happening again: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the centerpiece of David Lynch’s newly revived Twin Peaks saga, receives its first standalone Blu-ray release, featuring ninety minutes of deleted scenes and new interviews with members of the film’s cast and crew. And in time for Halloween: Vampyr, the hallucinatory horror masterpiece by Carl Theodor Dreyer, on Blu-ray for the very first time; The Lure, a flesh-eating mermaid musical hot off its theatrical run; and Personal Shopper, a genre-bending ghost story from Olivier Assayas that features the magnetic Kristen Stewart in her most mesmerizing performance to date.  And there’s more: Orson Welles’s towering Shakespeare adaptation Othello, in an edition featuring two versions of the movie, and now including Filming “Othello,” the great filmmaker’s last completed feature.

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Ugetsu – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Here’s a tale of love, family, and ambition set during a time of war. That would seemingly be the kind of film anyone would be able to relate to. I am admittedly less familiar with Kenji Mizoguchi, compared to other acclaimed Japanese filmmakers, but Ugetsu was a movie with a level of acclaim I could hardly avoid hearing about over the years. Winner of the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1953, this new release from The Criterion Collection provides an update from the DVD edition, allowing the film to look and sound better than ever, in addition to its presentation of an excellent archival documentary that goes over the life of Mizoguchi. Cinephiles will be happy to see this upgrade.

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Haneke, Hitchcock & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in September 2017

In September, Murray Lerner’s Festival will join the Criterion Collection in time for its fortieth anniversary. The era-defining documentary caught the crest of a musical movement at the Newport Folk Festival from 1963 to 1966 and includes performances by giants like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and the Staples Singers; the Criterion release’s special features will showcase rare additional footage from the festivals. Austrian maestro Michael Haneke strikes a jagged chord in The Piano Teacher, a twisted psychological study dominated by a steely performance from Isabelle Huppert, whose collaboration with Haneke will be explored in a number of special features on our release. Alfred Hitchcock entered a bold new phase of his legendary career with his first American film, the Oscar-winning gothic melodrama Rebecca, appearing in a stunning new 4K restoration in an edition packed with special features that illuminate the Master of Suspense’s transition to Hollywood. And there’s more: three of contemporary cinema’s greatest actresses share the screen in Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, which stars Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart alongside revelatory newcomer Lily Gladstone in a keenly observed triptych of stories set against the lonely backdrop of rural Montana. Plus: David Lynch: The Art Life, fresh from its theatrical release, offers an intimate portrait of the famously elusive director of Eraserhead and Twin Peaks.

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Dheepan – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

While I’ve mainly tackled reviews of Criterion Collection films that reflect the past, it is neat to deal with something more modern. Dheepan is a 2015 French film that won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of Tamil refugees reconstructing their lives in France. The film comes from writer-director Jacques Audiard, who has made several films, but caught my attention with the prison crime-drama A Prophet and followed that up with also great romance drama Rust and Bone. While Dheepan draws from some other notable films, it still serves as a new step for Audiard, which can be explored further, now that it is available on this involving Criterion Blu-ray.

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Sid & Nancy, Hopscotch and More Coming to The Criterion Collection in August 2017

In August, Criterion will take you into uncharted waters with the Hollywood master Michael Curtiz’s unsung classic The Breaking Point – a white-knuckle Hemingway adaptation starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal – on Blu-ray for the first time. The films of Sacha Guitry have long been celebrated in France, including the late-career black comedy La poison, the writer/director’s first collaboration with wildly expressive performer Michel Simon, making its home video debut. Mike Leigh’s Meantime, appearing in a new 2K restoration, was a revelation in 1984, exposing filmgoers to the character-based social realism Leigh had honed working in British theater and television, as well as to two young actors whose electrifying performances heralded incredible careers: Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. The latter was soon to co-star alongside Chloe Webb in Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox’s crash-and-burn punk romance, which we’ll present in a new 4K digital restoration. Finally, Walter Matthau exudes wily charm in the lovable cat-and-mouse spy comedy Hopscotch, on Blu-ray in a new 2K digital restoration.

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Get ready for a colorful and musical delight with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This Criterion Collection release has actually already been available in 2014’s The Essential Jacques Demy Blu-ray box set. However, it would seem the resounding success of the Oscar-winning La La Land led to a separate release, as that film is so indebted to both ‘Cherbourg’ as well as Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort, which also received a separate release. There’s also the matter of ‘Cherbourg’ being simply one of the well-regarded musicals of its time, placing it as a highlight among the French New Wave and serving as an ambitious inspiration for many films that followed. So yes, for those who can’t afford the full Demy Blu-ray box set, Criterion at least has you covered for one of the major highlights of his filmography.

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Brooks, Bresson and More Coming to The Criterion Collection July 2017

This July, Criterion will travel to the Zone with Andrei Tarkovsky’s hypnotic, philosophical sci-fi masterpiece Stalker-making its U.S. Blu-ray debut in a new 2K restoration, with special features that explore this endlessly mysterious film’s production and significance, including interviews with the crew as well as a new conversation with author Geoff Dyer. Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty drop out of society and hit the road in Lost in America, a hilarious satire of yuppie dreams and delusions written and directed by Brooks, featuring new interviews with the cast and crew. Robert Bresson presents a world stripped of illusion in his final film, L’argent, an unsparing tale of crime and corruption adapted from a Tolstoy novella, on Blu-ray for the first time in a new, restored 4K digital transfer. And there’s more: the neorealist landmarks of Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy-intensely humane portraits of resistance, mourning, and hope filmed in the rubble of the Second World War-will arrive on Blu-ray in new restorations.

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Blow-Up – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

I was actually surprised to learn that Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up was not already in The Criterion Collection and simply making its Blu-ray debut. This 60’s classic tells a great story that defies convention by subverting the plot any viewer was expecting to see, while also presenting a good look at Swinging London. The result is a film still held up its style, direction and contemplative nature. Not hurting is how exciting the film is to watch. There may be a character facing a sort of existential crisis at its center, but this is a hip film that has now come to Criterion, looking better than ever and featuring plenty of extra content.

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Being There – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The sublime comedy Being There has finally made its way to The Criterion Collection, further cementing its status as a true classic. The film received multiple awards and other acclaim, including a Best Actor nomination for star Peter Sellers and a Best Supporting Actor win for Melvyn Douglas. This praise was well-earned, as the Hal Ashby-directed film presented a wonderful satirical tale of how an anxious and delusional society could fall prey to a simple man’s charms. Previous releases have kept this film from falling out of the public conscious, but this Criterion Blu-ray easily provides the ultimate experience in enjoying the film and providing further insight in regards to its legacy.

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Straw Dogs, Hitchcock’s The Lodger and More Coming to The Criterion Collection in June 2017

This June, Criterion will bring three of the most beloved classics of French cinema to Blu-ray for the first time with a newly restored edition of Marcel Pagnol‘s Marseille Trilogy, a sweeping saga set in the author’s native Provence that tracks the lives and loves of its characters over the course of a generation. A legend is born in The Lodger: A Story of the London Fogthe silent serial-killer thriller that Alfred Hitchcock considered his true debut, which is accompanied in our release by Downhillanother variation on the “wrong man” theme that the Master of Suspense returned to throughout his legendary body of work. Nicholas Ray kicked off his own renowned career with They Live By Nighta lyrical film noir that would be imitated by decades of lovers-on-the-run thrillers to come, now on Blu-ray for the first time. Dustin Hoffman stands his ground in Sam Peckinpah‘s notorious shocker Straw Dogspresented in a new 4K transfer with extensive features that explore the film’s production and controversies. And not to be missed: Kenji Mizoguchi‘s Ugetsuan indisputable classic of world cinema and perhaps the finest achievement of the master whom Jean-Luc Godard called “quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers.”

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Mildred Pierce – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

mildred pierceMichael Curtiz, the acclaimed journeyman director of films such as Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Yankee Doodle Dandy, finally finds one of his films as a part of The Criterion Collection with Mildred Pierce. An ambitious mix of film noir and melodrama, this acclaimed 1945 film marked a career comeback for Joan Crawford, who would go on to win a Best Actress Academy Award. Based on the hardboiled James M. Cain novel, the film is now heralded as a classic for its handling of Crawford’s character, the strong casting choices, blend of domestic drama with murder mystery and many other elements. Now everyone can dive into this Criterion Blu-ray release and revisit this story of maternal sacrifice.

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GHOST WORLD, OTHELLO and More Coming to The Criterion Collection in May 2017

GHOST WORLDThis May, Criterion will present a special edition of Orson Welles’s Othello, featuring two different versions of this visually astonishing Shakespeare adaptation as well as a host of special features chronicling its tumultuous production. Our second World Cinema Project collector’s set will feature restorations of hard-to-see classics from the Philippines (Insiang), Thailand (Mysterious Object at Noon), Soviet Kazakhstan (Revenge), Brazil (Limite), Turkey (Law of the Border), and Taiwan (Taipei Story), along with introductions by Martin Scorsese and interviews with renowned film figures including Hou Hsiao-hsien, Pierre Rissient, and Walter Salles. For the title character of Dheepan and his makeshift family, the flight from war-torn Sri Lanka to the banlieues of Paris is just the beginning of a dramatic, genre-bending story brought viscerally to life in Jacques Audiard’s 2015 Palme d’Or winner. Yasujiro Ozu’s wistfully comic Good Morning presents a gentler portrait of family life in postwar Japan, reworking the scenario of his silent classic I Was Born, But . . ., also included in this release. Bringing it all back home, our edition of Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World – a cult favorite sketching the coming-of-age foibles of two sardonic teens (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) against a backdrop of all-American kitsch – features new interviews with the cast. Plus: a Blu-ray upgrade of Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 BruxellesChantal Akerman’s revolutionary study of a woman’s work.

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UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, RUMBLE FISH and More Coming to The Criterion Collection in April 2017

rumble fishThis April, Criterion is serving up a special edition of Tampopo, Juzo Itami’s delirious, genre-bending “ramen western,” fresh from its theatrical run. The kitchen becomes a battleground in Woman of the Year, where Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play journalist spouses with different ideas about what makes for a successful marriage. There’s also Francis Ford Coppola’s feverish “art film for teenagers,” Rumble Fish, whose stunning black-and-white cinematography weaves expressionistic shadows around an all-star cast, including Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, and Dennis Hopper. Another unforgettable ensemble is the title act of Buena Vista Social Club, Wim Wenders’ exuberant portrait of the performers who made Cuban music an international sensation. And for an encore: Jacques Demy’s color-drenched musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (a big inspiration for current awards favorite La La Land) and The Young Girls of Rochefort step into the spotlight, in new stand-alone editions.

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