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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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Bong Joon Ho’s Universally Loved PARASITE Available on Blu-ray 1/28

A volatile, symbiotic relationship between the uber-wealthy and the have-nots comes into full display in PARASITE, arriving on 4K Ultra HD Digital January 14, 2020, and Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand on January 28, 2020, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and NEON. Proclaimed as “wickedly clever” (GQ) and “the definition of a must-see experience” (The Atlantic), PARASITE is a riveting, genre-bending thriller that combines masterful filmmaking with a fresh look at class discrimination, making it “a flat-out masterpiece” (Deadline). Hailed as “the best work yet from master filmmaker Bong Joon Ho (OkjaSnowpiercer)” (Awards Circuit), who directed and co-wrote the film alongside Han Jin Won (Okja), fans can now delve deep into the mind of Bong, and the symbolism behind PARASITE with an exclusive Q&A bonus feature with the acclaimed director. The captivating PARASITE has made history as the first Korean film to be nominated for an Oscar.  It has garnered six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film, Best Production Design and Best Editing, a 2020 SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and was the winner of the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.  Additionally, the film has racked up over an astonishing 100 award nominations to date.

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Aaron’s Most Anticipated Films of 2020 – A Month By Month Look

I’ve assembled my list of Most Anticipated Films for 2020. It’s always fun to take a look at what’s going to be hitting theaters in the coming year. Sure, there are a lot of films that aren’t even on my radar yet, but I’m still plenty happy at seeing all of the current potential. Plus, with Disney having gone for a monster 2019, it feels like there’s just more room for some fresher ideas beyond massive live-action remakes and super sequels. Sure, there are some films of that nature to anticipate, but nothing is seemingly hogging up the atmosphere. Regardless, this is a month by month look at what movies I am looking forward to seeing this year (links for trailers where available). Feel free to name the films you look forward to in the comments. Continue reading ‘Aaron’s Most Anticipated Films of 2020 – A Month By Month Look’

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FORD v FERRARI VROOMS onto 4K and Blu-ray February 11

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in this “thunderously exciting” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) film based on the remarkable true story about Ford Motor Company’s attempt to create the world’s fastest car and take on Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. Certified-Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, critics and fans alike have raved about this epic underdog tale that will keep your heart pounding from start to finish. Add FORD V FERRARI to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere January 28 and buy it on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD February 11 to add a piece of history to your film collection.

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Don’t Make WAVES, But Watch It On Blu-ray February 4

“An epic family drama bursting with life” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post) comes home when Waves arrives on Digital January 21 from A24 and on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD February 4 from Lionsgate. Featuring award-winning and up-and-coming talent, Waves stars Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lucas Hedges. Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (LuceMonsters and MenIt Comes at Night), Taylor Russell (“Lost in Space,” Escape Room, “Falling Skies”), Alexa Demie (Mid90s, “Euphoria,” “Ray Donovan”), and Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry (“Altered Carbon,” “The Good Wife,” “One Life to Live”). Learn more about this great film and its upcoming release.

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Aaron’s Outstanding Top Ten Films of 2019

Here it is, my Top Ten Films of 2019! After plenty of viewing and consideration, I have put together my list of year-end favorites. This was another incredible year for film, and having watched around 200 2019 releases theatrically, as well as on various streaming services (though Netflix had another banner year), there was a lot to narrow down from. Some films were instant favorites, others stuck with me and only managed to grow on me over time. All of that in mind, the following is the list of films that resonated with me most, complete with runner-ups, honorable mentions, and more. (Reviews are linked when available. As per usual, I’ve also linked some fun Easter Eggs in all of the pictures. Enjoy!)

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Super-Sized Top Ten: Aaron’s Spectacular Blu-ray Picks For 2019

“Next year I’ll narrow it down a little more.” Yeah, that’s what happened… Okay, so I thought I was going to make a simpler top ten Blu-ray list this year, but there’s a lot out there to enjoy, and I, apparently, just find it easier to go overboard. As it stands, Why So Blu’s Brian, Brandon, and Adam have their 4K setups, and Gerard has his region-free player for some imported choices to check out as well. As usual (see: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), this list has some rules. I have to have watched the movie for the sake of assessing the video and audio quality. Checking out the special features is essential as well. One last thing, I like to keep films that may appear on my upcoming “Top 10 Films of the Year” list separate from this one. All of this helps keeps this list interesting, and it all comes after plenty of bonus sections. So, here we go!

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Spike Lee, Streisand & More Coming to The Criterion Collection March 2020

Next March, John M. Stahl’s singular Hollywood masterpiece Leave Her to Heaven– a stunning Technicolor melodrama infused with the darkness of film noir and graced with a chilling performance by Gene Tierney- will join the Criterion Collection, making its Blu-ray debut in a new 2K restoration. Spike Lee’s provocative satire Bamboozled, a scathing indictment of racism in American pop culture, will also appear on Blu-ray for the first time. Irene Dunne and Paul Robeson star in James Whale’s beloved screen version of Show Boat, Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern’s classic American musical, featuring Robeson’s soul-shaking rendition of “Ol’ Man River.” Director-producer-star Barbra Streisand’s The Prince of Tides, an emotionally wrenching adaptation of Pat Conroy’s best-selling novel, will appear in a new 4K restoration. And that’s not all: the Maysles brothers’ Direct Cinema classic Salesman and Mikhail Kalatozov’s visually exhilarating Soviet-cinema landmark The Cranes Are Flying will arrive on Blu-ray, newly restored.

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Blu-ray Review)

How does Quentin Tarantino deal with getting older? Based on his many interviews in recent years, it’s pretty simple; he plans to retire. Much has been made about Tarantino’s thoughts on hanging up his director spurs after he’s completed ten films. With his 9th film, the utterly compelling Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, I’m starting to understand why. Here’s a film serving as a tribute to the end of Hollywood’s golden age and its innocence. It tackles the relevance of aging stars and filmmakers through rose-colored glasses when considering the sordid history of Tinseltown. The result is a funny, incredibly well-filmed ensemble movie, highlighted by three central performances, and serving as another historical fantasy only Tarantino could deliver. Now the film arrives on Blu-ray for all to enjoy, including additional scenes and other behind-the-scenes looks.

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