Michael 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.
Archive for the 'The Criterion Collection' Category
This 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 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman’s revolutionary study of a woman’s work.
This 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.
In February, Criterion will put out the first-ever box set of Richard Linklater’s The Before Trilogy, a three-part romance and meditation on cinematic time featuring intimate performances by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. And that’s just one release in a month filled with extraordinary releases, including beloved films by two cinema giants: Pedro Almodóvar’s Academy Award-nominated Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a raucous, screwball battle of the sexes starring Antonio Banderas and Rossy de Palma that announced the director to the world; and Ermanno Olmi’s Palme d’Or-winning The Tree of Wooden Clogs, an absorbing and sensual film that faithfully captures the rhythms of a now lost way of life in rural Italy at the turn of the twentieth century. All this plus Michael Curtiz’s noir masterpiece Mildred Pierce, starring Joan Crawford in a career-defining role (which earned her an Academy Award); and, fresh from an acclaimed theatrical run, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, the noted cinematographer’s deeply personal examination of what it means to train a camera on the world, which the New York Times has called “transfixing” and “unlike anything you’ve seen before.”
Criterion will ring in 2017 with a diverse lineup of films, including three whose directors are joining the collection for the first time. January will feature the films His Girl Friday, Fox and His Friends, Something Wild, and Black Girl. All of these releases will come replete with the treatment and features we have come to expect from the Criterion Collection. Start to make some new year’s resolutions to watch great films as you check out all the juicy details below. Continue reading ‘Criterion Collection January 2017 Blu-ray Releases Have Been Announced’
The Criterion Collection will be releasing a number of films this December and below you can see the list of what great, important, beloved, or underappreciated films they have coming to Blu-ray. December’s releases are pretty much a film-lover’s treat, with directors Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, Laurie Anderson and John Huston all getting releases. See all the details about special features and release dates here. Continue reading ‘Check Out the Criterion Collection Blu-rays Coming in December!’
Newly released on Blu-Ray by The Criterion Collection comes The Immortal Story, the first color production directed by Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil). As can be expected by the curators at Criterion, this release has been cleaned up, freshly transferred and given a ton of love by way of commentary, interviews, an included documentary about Welles, and an essay on the film. If, like myself, one is met with the thought “The Immortal Story? I have never heard of that,” then what a delightful opportunity to discover something worth treasuring we have been given. Continue reading ‘The Immortal Story – Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’
The kitchen sink realistic play comes to the living room screen. “A Taste of Honey”, the 1961 British classic from Tony Richardson, finally makes it’s Blu-ray debut. Thanks to the folks at Criterion, “A Taste of Honey” has been digitally restored and remastered. Completely unapologetic in its’ depiction of life for the poor living in industrial Manchester, “A Taste of Honey” cuts to the bone in a way so few films capture. Where so many films and dramas aim to capture a story with a clear and resolute ending, A Taste of Honey does something different. There is no happy ending, only happy moments, tucked away among the clutter of reality. Continue reading ‘A Taste of Honey (Criterion Collection)’
Coming July 19th from The Criterion Collection, Muriel, or The Time of Return. Directed by Alain Resnais and written by Jean Cayrol, Muriel is a lost 1963 french classic incorporating themes of time, memory, war, and unrequited love. Starring Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Pierre Kérien, Nita Klein, and Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée, Muriel revolves around four souls as they attempt to navigate life shortly following the troubled resolution of the Algerian War. Continue reading ‘Muriel – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’
Likely no surprise to anyone who has previously seen the work of Charlie Chaplin, The Kid, recently released on Criteron blu-ray, is an outstanding and groundbreaking cinematic achievement. One of the only ways to give a film this superb a worthy blu-ray release would be for Criterion to handle it. The combination of care, research, attention, and quality that is presented within the small plastic case is a testament to Criterion recreating the same values that Chaplin brought to his own films when he was making them. It should already be clear that this release is a must-have for anyone fond of silent film, comedy, Chaplin, The Criterion Collection, pathos, or film history, but in case more convincing is needed, let’s take a closer look at The Kid. Continue reading ‘The Kid (Criterion Collection Review)’
An American classic, The Graduate is restored in glorious 4k resolution thanks to the folks at Criterion. Chronicling the purgatorial existence of post-graduate Benjamin Braddock(Dustin Hoffman), The Graduate dives into the heady waters of adulthood, sexuality, love, and maturity with unrestrained breadth. Timeless in its’ portrayal of early adulthood and the minefield of social interactions, The Graduate strikes a chord that has resonated for nearly 50 years. Criterion proudly brings Mike Nichols‘ masterpiece to the digital world of high definition, and bolsters the presentation with a wonderful assortment of extras. Criterion, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you? Continue reading ‘The Graduate (Criterion Collection)’
So few directors can infuse the story of a struggling, down on his luck musician with so much unapologetic dark humor and persistent optimism. The Coen Brothers achieve just that with Inside Llewyn Davis. Oscar Isaac delivers an incredibly stirring performance, delivering deep soulful ballads that will leave the viewer entranced. Living a squanderous life of some notoriety and virtually no pay, Llewyn Davis wanders New York desperately seeking his big break. Unable to afford his own place, Llewyn couch surfs and depends on his various acquaintances to shelter him from a particularly troubling winter. Centered around the folk revival scene of the 1960’s, the film’s plot follows a pattern closely resembling folk songs and has fun with the cyclical nature of music. The end result is a finely crafted love letter to some of the unsung heroes of the pre-Bob Dylan folk scene in Greenwich Village. Continue reading ‘Inside Llewyn Davis (Criterion Collection)’
Umbrella sword in hand, the titular Lady Snowblood carves a bloody path to blu-ray at last. Masterfully reproduced in all it’s gloriously vibrant violence, Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance serve as wonderfully entertaining, timeless, and influential stories of fate, lineage, strife, revenge, exploitation, and ultra-violent retribution. Heavily inspiring Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, Lady Snowblood is a bountiful well of beautiful cinematography, masterful storytelling, and powerful music. Even the theme song, sung by Lady Snowblood herself (Meiko Kaji), is done with such succinct self-awareness and grandiosity that it’s difficult to understand why Lady Snowblood was never propelled into a full-fledged film series similar to Zatoichi. Continue reading ‘The Complete Lady Snowblood – Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’
This year I decided to go big with my list for the best Blu-rays. Kicking off my Top 10 year-end lists for 2014 is an article devoted to what I consider to be the best the Blu-ray format has had to offer for this year. These are films that I have been able to really dig into and see them as easy recommendations for anyone with the greatest home media format currently available. Much like the previous years, I stayed true to some rules; I have to have actually watched the movie on Blu-Ray, recognize it for the quality of their video and audio transfers, delved into the special features, and attempt to keep off any film on this list that may also be on my “Top 10 Films of the Year” list,” which basically means no LEGO Movie. I followed these rules for the sake of keeping my list interesting, along with creating some extra sections to provide even more highlights of the year, so here we go:
It’s my turn! No need for a preamble as to what goes into the generalities of crafting these Top 10 lists as the gents before me all did a fine job of explaining. 2012 provided what seemed like all the remaining “Must Have” box sets, leaving 2013 seeming kind of empty handed on the surface. Now there have been new sets, but many just prove to be repackagings of the older discs and calling them “new” (like the new Star Trek box set, The Exorcist 40th and the Hitchcock Essentials Collection). Universal would have had #1 on this list at “Hello” had they released a 2nd volume companion to last year’s Classic Monsters Collection (Yes, I’m still whining about that). 2013 was no slouch though, as there were still a set or two to release and plenty of titles that have never been on Blu-ray before finally making the jump. What I love about this period we are in now is that so much of the big name films from yesteryear seem to be out that others and many cult items are getting their turn at the plate and that makes things even more exciting as these are the ones people watch all the time and have been double dipping format to format on for years. Continue reading ‘Brandon’s Bodacious TOP 10 Blu-rays Of 2013!’
American director Joshua Marston broke out in 2004 with his jolting, Oscar-nominated Maria Full of Grace, about a young Colombian woman working as a drug mule. In his remarkable follow-up, The Forgiveness of Blood, he turns his camera on another corner of the world: contemporary northern Albania, a place still troubled by the ancient custom of interfamilial blood feuds. From this reality, Marston sculpts a fictional narrative about a teenage brother and sister physically and emotionally trapped in a cycle of violence, a result of their father’s entanglement with a rival clan over a piece of land. The Forgiveness of Blood is a tense and perceptive depiction of a place where tradition and progress have an uneasy coexistence, as well as a dynamic coming-of-age drama.