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Scorsese, Lynch, Dassin & More Coming to The Criterion Collection September 2020

This September, Claire Denis’ long-unavailable, ravishingly sensual masterpiece Beau travail will join the Criterion Collection in a new, restored 4K digital transfer. Turning forty this year, David Lynch’s atmospheric, Oscar-nominated The Elephant Man, stars John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins in the poignant true story of John Merrick. Never before available on home video, the full version of Francesco Rosi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli is a revelatory humanist epic set in the dark days of fascist Italy. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 3 will gather six newly restored gems from around the world: Héctor Babenco’s Pixote, Humerto Solás’s Lucía, Usmar Ismail’s After the Curfew, Bahram Beyzaie’s Downpour, Med Hondo’s Soleil Ô, and Juan Bustillo Oro’s Dos Monjes. And that’s not all: two hard-hitting noir classics from genre master Jules Dassin, Brute Force and The Naked City, will make their Blu-ray debuts in new restorations.

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Watchmen: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)

The initial announcement of a Watchmen television series was intriguing to hear. Arriving ten years after Zack Snyder’s (pretty good) attempt to bring the groundbreaking graphic novel series from creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons to life, would HBO be able to deliver the deluxe treatment in a manner similar to what Game of Thrones was able to accomplish? Would it be the novel again, but stretched out into a weekly series? Was the plan to take the name ‘Watchmen’ and do something else entirely? As it turns out, creator Damon Lindelof had some bold plans up his sleeves – a tangential sequel series designed to carry on many of the ideas presented in the original graphic novel, but continue going down that rabbit hole in a manner fit for today’s society. The result was one of the best self-contained seasons of television I can recall seeing in recent years. Now you can enjoy the whole season and more in this complete package. Continue reading ‘Watchmen: Season 1 (Blu-ray Review)’

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Renoir, Schrader, Varda & More Coming to The Criterion Collection August 2020

This August, Paul Schrader’s seductive thriller The Comfort of Strangers– adapted by Harold Pinter from the novel by Ian McEwan- will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K restoration. A landmark of poetic realism that went on to influence the French New Wave, Jean Renoir’s Provence-set drama Toni will make its first appearance on Blu-ray and DVD. Also debuting on home video is Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s Town Bloody Hallan electrifying record of second-wave feminism and its discontents that captures a legendary 1971 debate between Norman Mailer and four prominent female thinkers and activists. Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta’s urgent political thriller The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum will also debut on Blu-ray. Plus, our previously announced fifteen-Blu-ray box set The Complete Films of Agnès Varda will collect the life’s work of an artist who never stopped expanding the notion of what a movie can be.

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This August – The Criterion Collection Celebrates THE COMPLETE AGNÈS VARDA, A 15-Disc Collectors Set

The Criterion Collection is celebrating the boundless creative vision of Agnès Varda with a comprehensive collection of her genre-blurring, culture-shaping films. Bringing together all thirty-nine of her features, shorts, and documentaries for the first time, this fifteen-Blu-ray box set also contains extensive special features- many created by Varda herself- including introductions to the films, interviews with and tributes from family and friends, once-banned and unfinished works, behind-the-scenes footage, archival programs, and more. The edition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated 200-page book, with notes on the films and essays on Varda’s life and work, as well as a selection of her photography and images of her installation art. The Complete Films of Agnès Varda captures the restless curiosity and radical imagination of a true original who invented a new cinematic language.

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Streets of Rage 4 (Video Game Review)

It has been a week, and I’ve received immense satisfaction from playing Streets of Rage 4. Growing up, my initial video gaming console was the Sega Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog (specifically Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles) received their share of devoted playtime, but Streets of Rage 2 was where it was at for me. I know TMNT: Turtles in Time and River City Ransom have their share of fans, and who can forget the hundreds of quarters spent on The Simpsons and X-Men arcade console games, but SOR2 was the defining beat ‘em up game for me, as it perfected a formula. Now, over 25 years later, Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games have done what they needed to develop a game that keeps what worked intact while modernizing Streets of Rage for today.

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Marriage Story, War of the Worlds & More Coming to The Criterion Collection July 2020

This July, Byron Haskin’s genre-defining sci-fi classic The War of the Worldsan Oscar-winning adaptation of H. G. Wells’s influential novel, will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K restoration. One of the most acclaimed films of 2019, Noah Baumbach’s bittersweet Marriage Story will make its home-video debut in an edition featuring behind-the-scenes footage and extensive interviews with the cast and crew. The battle of the sexes takes a breezier turn in Preston Sturges’s screwball classic The Lady Evestarring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, which will appear on Blu-ray for the first time. Also making its Blu-ray debut is Abbas Kiarostami’s Palme d’Or-winning masterpiece Taste of Cherrya gorgeously complex meditation on mortality. And that’s not all: our previously announced Blu-ray box set Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits will collect five kung-fu classics starring the international martial-arts legend, along with a dizzying array of supplemental features.

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The Criterion Collection Tribute to BRUCE LEE: HIS GREATEST HITS, A 7-Disc Collectors Set of Kung-Fu Classics

The Criterion Collection couldn’t be more excited to announce our tribute to the life and work of the iconic Bruce Lee with five dazzling, action-packed kung-fu landmarks starring the international martial-arts legend. Capturing Lee at the height of his artistry and superstardom, this seven-disc Blu-ray box set is loaded with special features, including alternate versions of the films, interviews with Lee’s collaborators and admirers, documentaries about his life and philosophies, commentaries, promotional materials, and so much more! Coming this July, Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits is a collection of high-flying classics from the ultimate fighter, whose unmatched persona and influence in cinema live on.

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Me and You and Everyone We Know – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Back in the 00s, after years of short films and performance art, Miranda July wrote and directed her first feature film, Me and You and Everyone We Know. The offbeat comedy-drama was met with a lot of acclaim, including a win for the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It has since held a lot of respect for arthouse film fans, while July has continued producing films and being involved in various projects. The Criterion Collection now has a Blu-ray upgrade for the feature, complete with a set of extras that include some of July’s shorts, and more.

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Sciamma, Keaton, Mazursky & More Coming to The Criterion Collection June 2020

This June, Elem Klimov’s long-unavailable masterpiece Come and See, a harrowing child’s-eye vision of World War II, will join the Criterion Collection in a new 2K restoration. Céline Sciamma’s ravishing romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, one of the most acclaimed films of 2019, will appear on home video for the first time. Buster Keaton will join the Collection with The Cameraman, a riotous farce that finds the silent-screen legend at the peak of his slapstick powers, appearing in a landmark 4K restoration. Jill Clayburgh embarks on a journey of self-discovery in Paul Mazursky’s heartfelt character study An Unmarried Woman, making its Blu-ray debut. And that’s not all: Tokyo Olympiad, Kon Ichikawa’s visually astonishing documentary about the 1964 Olympic Games, will appear on Blu-ray in a stunning 4K restoration. Continue reading ‘Sciamma, Keaton, Mazursky & More Coming to The Criterion Collection June 2020’

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Bamboozled – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

If ever there was a movie ready for re-examination, it’s Spike Lee’s Bamboozled. A theatrical bomb with audiences, and the recipient of mixed reviews from critics, there’s no denying a lack of ambition on Lee’s part with a film satirizing racism in American pop culture, but was the film ahead of its time or a misguided way to tackle the system? Lee has a way of taking big swings and landing them every so often. Perhaps The Criterion Collection putting out this film now is a way of showing audiences what Lee was up to back in 2000, showing just how tapped into the continued issues of the day he was aware of. Of course, being aware of certain problems doesn’t mean putting them on display automatically makes the film great. Still, it’s hard to ever say Lee isn’t trying.

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Cold War – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

In considering how to adequately express my admiration for director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of epics. From a general sense of the term, classifying this Polish romantic drama as an epic would disregard some of the typical elements of this categorization. Cold War is half the length of a standard epic, with a budget that would hardly cover the catering for Middle Earth. However, the span of time covered in this film and the sweeping nature of the romantic bond shared between the two lead characters feel like more than enough reason to place this film in that realm. There’s also the backdrop of the Cold War in Europe, which is never removed from the narrative. Regardless, even if one wants to justify calling Cold War a piece of science fiction, it doesn’t take away from just how stunning a feature this is. Now The Criterion Collection has put out a terrific release for one of my favorite films from 2018.

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Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Blu-ray Review)

I consider myself a fan of Kevin Smith. He made a couple of films in the 90s that I consider some of my favorites and has since spent time delivering his unique voice in a variety of ways, including more features, podcasts, and in public forums. With Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the prospect of watching Smith once again utilize two of his most popular characters in a story that’s both nostalgic and a commentary on today’s culture (Hollywood and otherwise) seemed like a fun way for the writer/director to stretch a bit with ideas relevant today blended with the fun of the old. Alas, for all the good faith found in the cast Smith has assembled, I can’t say I found much to latch onto.

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When We Were Kings – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

I was elated when The Criterion Collection announced When We Were Kings as an upcoming entry, complete with a brand-new restoration and extras to go with it. It is one of my favorite documentaries, as it does a great job tracking a meaningful event in sports history. The film puts some of what made Muhammad Ali the man that he was on display and adds in plenty of interviews from those who knew him and had thoughts on his legacy. There’s a lot to take in, and even with so many documentaries that have since covered the legendary heavyweight champion, this 87-minute documentary is both incredibly entertaining and full of insight.

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Local Hero – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

I suppose I have a bit of a Scottish blindspot (at least with older Scottish films). I was not aware of Local Hero until The Criterion Collection announced it. By all accounts, it’s a well-regarded film that many celebrate writer/director Bill Forsyth for, but it went unknown to me until recently. Fortunately, I found a lot to like about what this quaint film had to offer, beyond the idea of seeing Burt Lancaster, Wedge Antilles, and a young Peter Capaldi in a movie together. It’s a story about culture clashes, small-town life, and 80s greed all coming together in a lovely way.

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Fail Safe – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Cold War period allowed many filmmakers to experiment with storytelling, filmmaking styles, and social commentary in their movies. Fail Safe is the sort of Cold War thriller that banked on cultural paranoia as much as it did skilled filmmaking and intense performances. The Criterion Collection has finally brought more justice to Sidney Lumet’s tense picture, providing a spectacular new release, restoring its cinematic quality. This will ideally give many a chance to revisit a film that seems to be regarded more for its similarity to another feature than the quality it contains.

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The Great Escape, Scorsese, Wildlife & More Coming to The Criterion Collection May 2020

This May, John Sturges’s World War II adventure classic The Great Escape, with a stellar ensemble cast led by Steve McQueen, will join the Criterion Collection. Scorsese Shorts will collect five newly restored short films by Martin Scorsese, including the intimate documentaries Italianamerican and American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince and three student films that illuminate the artistic development of one of our greatest directors. Feminist trailblazer Dorothy Arzner, the only woman of her time to work as a director in the Hollywood studio system, joins the Collection with Dance, Girl, Dance, a subversive backstage melodrama starring Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball. Husbands, John Cassavetes’s fearlessly honest portrait of American manhood in crisis, and his first collaboration with stars Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk, will make its Blu-ray debut. Paul Dano’s acclaimed directorial debut, Wildlife, anchored by a revelatory Carey Mulligan performance, will appear on home video for the first time. And that’s not all: Eric Rohmer’s wildly influential series Six Moral Tales will return to the Collection on Blu-ray.

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Watch The Watchmen: An HBO Limited Series Out On Blu-Ray 6/2

Tick tock. Fans can dive even further into the alternate world that has captivated audiences since its debut when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Watchmen: An HBO Limited Series on Blu-ray and DVD, June 2, 2020. Featuring all nine riveting one-hour episodes – plus over 90 minutes of bonus content, including two never-before-seen special features exclusive to the Blu-ray and DVD. Created for television and executive produced by Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers)Watchmen drew 1.5 million viewers in its series premiere, becoming the second-highest rated HBO original series debut of the past three years, only behind Big Little Lies. The show is also currently “certified fresh” with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own. Continue reading ‘Watch The Watchmen: An HBO Limited Series Out On Blu-Ray 6/2’

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Wes Anderson, Miranda July & More Coming to The Criterion Collection April 2020

This April, check in to The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s extravagantly nostalgic caper, widely hailed as one of the greatest films of the 2010s, will join the Criterion Collection. Miranda July’s playful and transgressive Me and You and Everyone We Know, one of the most original debut features in recent memory, will make its Blu-ray debut. A marvel of studio craftsmanship, Destry Rides Again pairs Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart for a boisterous comic western, presented here in a new 4K restoration. Juraj Herz plumbs the horrors of fascism in the black-as-ashes comedy The Cremator, a macabre marvel of the Czechoslovak New Wave, long unavailable on home video. And that’s not all: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows, widely hailed as the summit of the director’s career and the greatest film ever made about the French Resistance, returns to the Collection.

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