Quantcast

Archive for the 'The Criterion Collection' Category

The Kid with a Bike: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Kid with a Bike - www.whysoblu.com

Twelve-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father (Summer Hours’ Jérémie Renier). He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha (Hereafter’s Cécile de France), the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but deeply imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, The Kid with a Bike is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Rosetta), masters of the empathetic action film.  Continue reading ‘The Kid with a Bike: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’
Share

Ivan’s Childhood: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Ivan's Childhood - www,whysoblu.comThe debut feature by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood is a poetic journey through the shards and shadows of one boy’s war-ravaged youth. Moving back and forth between the traumatic realities of World War II and serene moments of family life before the conflict began, Tarkovsky’s film remains one of the most jarring and unforgettable depictions of the impact of war on children.   Continue reading ‘Ivan’s Childhood: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Rosetta: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Rosetta - www.whysoblu.comThe Belgian filmmaking team of brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne turned heads with Rosetta, an intense vérité drama that closely follows a poor young woman struggling to hold on to a job to support herself and her alcoholic mother. It’s a swift and simple tale made revelatory by the raw, empathetic way in which the directors render Rosetta’s desperation, keeping the camera nearly perched on her shoulder throughout. Many have copied the Dardennes’ style, but few have equaled it. This ferocious film won big at Cannes, earning the Palme d’Or for the filmmakers and the best actress prize for the indomitable Émilie Dequenne.  Continue reading ‘Rosetta: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Purple Noon: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Purple Noon - www.whysoblu.comAlain Delon (The Leopard) was at his most impossibly beautiful when Purple Noon (Plein soleil) was released and made him an instant star. This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by the versatile René Clément (Forbidden Games), stars Delon as Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf (Elevator to the Gallows’ Maurice Ronet) back to the United States; what initially seems a carefree tale of friendship soon morphs into a thrilling saga of seduction, identity theft, and murder. Featuring gorgeous on-location photography in coastal Italy, Purple Noon is crafted with a light touch that allows it to be suspenseful and erotic at once, while giving Delon the role of a lifetime.  Continue reading ‘Purple Noon: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Eating Raoul: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

A sleeper hit of the early 1980s, Eating Raoul is a bawdy, gleefully amoral tale of conspicuous consumption. Warhol superstar Mary Woronov and cult legend Paul Bartel (who also directed) portray a prudish married couple feeling put upon by the swingers who live in their apartment building; one night, by accident, they discover a way to simultaneously realize their dream of opening a little restaurant and rid themselves of the “perverts” down the hall. A mix of hilarious, anything-goes slapstick and biting satire of me-generation self-indulgence, Eating Raoul marks the end of the sexual revolution with a thwack. Continue reading ‘Eating Raoul: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Le Havre: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

In this warmhearted comic yarn from Aki Kaurismaki, fate throws the young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (Andre Wilms), a kindly old bohemian who shines shoes for a living in the French harbor city Le Havre. With inborn optimism and the support of his tight-knit community, Marcel stands up to the officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic French cinema of the past, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight and one of the Finnish director’s finest films.  Continue reading ‘Le Havre: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

The Last Days of Disco: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Last Days of Disco, from director Whit Stillman, is a cleverly comic look at the early 1980’s Manhattan party scene from the vantage point of the late nineties. At the center of the film’s roundelay of revelers are the icy Charlotte (Kate Bekinsale) and the demure Alice (Chloe Sevigny), by day toiling as publishing house assistants and by night looking for romance and entertainment at a Studio 54-like club. Brimming with Stillman’s trademark dry humor, The Last Days of Disco is an affectionate yet unsentimental look at the end of an era. Continue reading ‘The Last Days of Disco: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Summer with Monika: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

I told you we’d be back with some more Ingmar Bergman madness, didn’t I? Well, up next we’ve got Summer with Monika, Bergman’s film about the joys and innocence of romance. Wait, I did say this was a Bergman film, right? Okay, throw in some drama and despair, and you’ve got yourself a Bergman stew. If Summer with Monika sounds familiar that’s probably due to his recent film that was shot a couple of years prior to this one. That one was called Summer Interlude, and you can read our review HERE. How will Summer with Monika stack up to that previous film? Keep reading after the jump to find out. Here’s hoping that Criterion keeps the Ingmar Bergman train going. We need more Bergman on Blu-ray! Continue reading ‘Summer with Monika: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Summer Interlude: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

It’s about time we got some more Ingmar Bergman (Seventh Seal, rules!) on Blu-ray, but we’re taking it back a few years and focusing on his dramatic efforts with regards to love. Yeah, you might be saying that love and Bergman don’t mix, but they do if you add the components of death, despair, and so forth. Summer Interlude is no different and it marks the celebrated director’s TENTH film. He had yet begun to define himself, as some would say. Criterion Collection has done a great thing by bringing Summer Interlude to the Blu-ray format. Keep reading after the jump to see if Summer Interlude is worth owning. Also, keep it here, because we’ve got more Bergman on the way with Summer With Monika. See, I always take care of our readers. 😉  Continue reading ‘Summer Interlude: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

The Organizer: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

In turn-of-the-century Turin, an accident in a textile factory incites workers to stage a walkout. But it’s not until they receive unexpected aid from a traveling professor (Marcelo Mastroianni) that they find their voice, unite, and stand up for themselves. This historical drama by Mario Monicelli, brimming with humor, and honesty, is a beautiful and moving ode to the power of the people, and features engaging, naturalistic performances; cinematography by the great Giuseppe  Rotunno; and a multilayered, Oscar-nominated screenplay by Monicelli, Agenore Incrocci, and Furio Scarpelli.  Continue reading ‘The Organizer: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

David Lean Directs Noel Coward (1942-1945) (Blu-ray Review)

All the great directors have to start somewhere, right? Well, David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago) and famous English playwright Noel Coward would team up for four films in three years. How’s that for plowing through? David Lean was an editor and he and Coward teamed up to create some film magic so to speak. The Criterion Collection has brought us a beautiful boxed set of these early Lean/Coward films for our enjoyment. They come fully restored and fully loaded in terms of extras. How will they stack up to scrutiny? This review will be a doosy, and for all intents and purposes, the overall grading system will be for the films themselves as whole as opposed to rating each individual film separately. The same for the technical specifications. It’s easier that way since I’m reviewing a complete set and not just one film. I hope this makes sense. Let’s get to it!   Continue reading ‘David Lean Directs Noel Coward (1942-1945) (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Certified Copy: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

I’m all for a good love story or two especially when they’re of the unconventional kind. Certified Copy comes to us from famed Iranian filmmaker (and jack of all trades) Abbas Kiarostami. The film stars the very lovely and talented Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) and baritone opera singer, in his big screen debut, William Shimell. The Criterion Collection has seen fit to bring out all the stops with regards to the Blu-ray; it even features one of Abbas Kiarostami’s forgotten films, in its entirety, as part of the supplements package. Seriously, when one of the special features is a feature length film, you’ve already gotten a great start. Let us see if Certified Copy makes the grade.  Continue reading ‘Certified Copy: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

¡Alambrista!: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

¡Alambrista! is our next Criterion Collection Blu-ray review, which tackles that pesky subject of immigration and those coming over to make a better life for themselves and their family. If memory serves me correctly, ¡Alambrista! was the first film released theatrically to cover the subject. That would have been in 1977. Whether it remains relevant or not is another question. Then again, it’s in the Criterion Collection vaults for a reason, so I’ll let you take a wild guess on its relevancy. How does ¡Alambrista! stack up 35  years later? I will do my best to shed some light on the film – it’s subject matter I’m too familiar with. Let’s do this.  Continue reading ‘¡Alambrista!: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

La Haine: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

La haine (Hate) is French actor-director-writer Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 film that deals with race, riots, police brutality, and class warfare seen through the eyes of young people in the ghettos of France. Criterion Collection has, at long last, brought this important film to the Blu-ray format. The original DVD was also released by Criterion back in 2006 to coincide with its 10 year anniversary at the time. Now 17 years later (the film was released in 1995 theatrically), high definition enthusiasts can see what all the praise is about on Blu-ray. La haine is fully loaded and looks to nail the viewer right between the eyes. Stay sharp!   Continue reading ‘La Haine: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

The War Room: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verité filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop) and Chris Hegedus (Startup.com) closely followed the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton’s crack team of consultants—especially the folksy James Carville and the preppy George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning. Fleet-footed and entertaining, The War Room is a vivid document of a political moment whose truths (“It’s the economy, stupid!”) still ring in our ears. Continue reading ‘The War Room: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

A Night to Remember: The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg.  In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking with it more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers.  In his unforgettable rendering of Walter Lord’s book of the same name, A Night to Remember, the acclaimed British director Roy Ward Baker (Don’t Bother to Knock) depicts with sensitivity, awe, and a fine sense of tragedy the ship’s final hours.  Featuring remarkably restrained performances, A Night to Remember is cinema’s subtlest, finest dramatization of this monumental twentieth-century catastrophe. Continue reading ‘A Night to Remember: The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

Letter Never Sent: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

We’re back once again bringing you the latest in Blu-ray coverage and this time out we’ve got Letter Never Sent from The Criterion Collection. Letter Never Sent is a Russian film that was released in 1959 by famed Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov. Criterion has brought us a film that has been given the TLC treatment which they’re famously known for. How will Letter Never Sent stack up to the recent crop of Criterion Collection releases? Will it be spilling over from the excess special features or will it be a movie only version? This and more is what we’re here to find out.  Continue reading ‘Letter Never Sent: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share

The Moment of Truth: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Moment of Truth (Il momento della verità), from director Francesco Rosi, is a visceral plunge into the life of a famous torero – played by real-life bullfighting legend Miguel Mateo, known as Miguelín.  Charting his rise and fall with a single-minded focus on the bloody business at hand, the film is at once gritty and operatic, placing the viewer right in the thick of the ring’s action, as close to death as possible. Like all of the great Italian truth seeker’s films, this is not just an electrifying drama but also a profound and moving inquiry into a violent world – and it’s perhaps the greatest bullfighting movie ever made. Continue reading ‘The Moment of Truth: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)’

Share