Results tagged “Criterion Collection”

A Story from Chikamatsu Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Tale Worth Watching

Criterion continues their welcome attention to the works of director Kenji Mizoguchi with this superb new Blu-ray release.
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When an adulterous nobleman learns that his wife is rumored to be carrying on an affair with a member of his staff, he seeks to punish both of them. Sure, it’s fine for the man to brazenly step out on his wife, but when the smallest hint of initially untrue impropriety is leveled against her, his righteous indignation speaks volumes about the vast gender morality imbalance. There’s also the matter of his continued noble status, as his failure to punish his perceived transgressors carries the risk of loss of his esteemed title. With that setup in place, director Kenji Mizoguchi

Criterion Announces February 2019 Releases

Criterion sets the bar high this month.
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The groundhog says Criterion will add four new titles to the collection. They are Ingmar Bergman’s Shame, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s La vérité, Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice, and Charles Burnett's To Sleep with Anger. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s fifteen-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz is getting a Blu-ray upgrade. Read on to learn more about them. Shame (#961) out Feb 5 Ingmar Bergman’s Shame is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote

Shampoo Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn relive the swinging '60s in the mid-'70s.
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Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this film is Warren Beatty’s glorious hair. Playing a Beverly Hills hairdresser/lothario named George, Beatty wields long locks styled to such excess that they’re seemingly a special effect. Thankfully, the rest of the film is worthy of the majestic mane, delivering a sharply humorous exploration of sexual politics against a backdrop of real politics set during the timeframe of Nixon’s 1968 election. George is a talented hairdresser who dreams of opening his own shop, but lacks the means to make it happen. He has a girlfriend named Jill (Goldie Hawn), but also engages in

Criterion Announces January 2019 Releases

Which of these will you add to your video library in 2019?
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Criterion rings in the new year with few titles that would look good in your collection. They are Abbas Kiarostami 24 Frames, Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky, Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night. Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious is getting a Blu-ray upgrade. Read on to learn more about them. 24 Frames (#956) out Jan 8 For what would prove to be his final film, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami gave himself a challenge: to create a dialogue between his work as a filmmaker and his work as a photographer, bridging

A Raisin in the Sun Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Wonderfully Acted Film

A masterpiece adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's eternal play about the conflicts of Black life.
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While some movies about the African-American experience are embarassing and downright stereotypical, there are others that realistically transcend the bad taste, to tell truthful stories of the issues and obstacles that face people of color. Director Daniel Petrie's brilliant 1961 adaptation of celebrated author/playwright Lorraine Hansberry's eternal play, A Raisin in the Sun, is definitely one of the seminal films of all-time. It takes place mostly in a cramped Chicago apartment that houses the Younger family: Lena (Claudia McNeil), the strong and proud matriach; her son Walter Lee (Sidney Poitier), an ambitious but often reckless man; his wife Ruth (Ruby

My Man Godfrey Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: My Man Powell Strikes Gold

Screwball comedy masks an insightful examination of the class divide in the wake of the Great Depression
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At a glance, My Man Godfrey appears to be a typical formulaic production from Hollywood’s golden age. Headlined by two huge stars and fellow Oscar nominees for this film, William Powell and Carole Lombard, the film focuses on an upper-crust family in New York City, with all their trappings of success and opulent parties on full display. However, this is far from a standard wealthy family, and that’s where the film proves its originality. Based on his novel and featuring a screenplay co-written by Eric Hatch, the film is a comedic social critique examining the class divide between the homeless

Criterion Announces December 2018 Releases

Three new titles are added to the collection as 2018 concludes.
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In December, Criterion is releasing a few titles you might want someone to get you during the holiday season. They are Euzhan Palcy's A Dry White Season, Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns, and Julien Duvivier's Panique, and Ingmar Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel is getting a stand-alone Blu-ray edition. Read on to learn more about them. A Dry White Season (#953) out Dec 11 With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indictment of South Africa’s racist government—and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood

Ocean's 8 is the Pick of the Week

Here's what's interesting in the new Blu-ray releases this week.
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With reboots, re-imaginings, remakes, sequels, prequels, etc. and so forth, it's hard to keep up with all the ways Hollywood takes an existing property and changes it just enough to get us back into theaters (or at least attempt to do that). I get why they do it. You’ve got an established property with a built in fan base, but it's a few years (or decades) past its expiration date so you bring in fresh faces and start over. But it's hard not to be cynical about these things. Ocean’s 8 is an interesting twist in this ever-expanding and changing

Smithereens Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Indie Filmmaking at Its Most Raw and Unpolished

A grainy, authentic look at New York youth during the dying days of Punk.
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Films about women by women are pretty rare these days. These are stories about women taking control of their lives and reinventing themselves. Most filmgoers miss out of the opportunity to see and relate to characters who turn out to be just like them; characters who are just as self-absorbed, rebellious, and determined just like everyone else. Thankfully, there is director Susan Seidelman's landmark 1982 grassroots classic, Smithereens, which shows us what we're missing in film: the feminist touch. It also paints a low-key, but documentary-like portrait of the grim, desparate side of underground New York in the early '80s.

Criterion Announces November 2018 Releases

Cinephiles will be getting quite a bounty of choices this month.
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In November, Criterion is releasing a few titles to be thankful for. They are Kenji Mizoguchi's A Story from Chikamatsu, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, David Byrne's True Stories, Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons and Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, which contains 39 films. Read on to learn more about them. A Story from Chikamatsu (#949) out Nov 6 One of a string of late-career masterworks made by Kenji Mizoguchi in the early 1950s, A Story from Chikamatsu (a.k.a. The Crucified Lovers) is an exquisitely moving tale of forbidden love struggling to survive in the face of persecution. Based on a

Dragon Inn Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Villains Check In but They Don't Check Out

Fans of the genre will do themselves a favor if they plan a stop at Dragon Inn.
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King Hu's second entry into the Criterion Collection is Dragon Inn (1967), his first film after leaving the Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong King and moving to seek greater artistic liberties as a director in Taiwan. Set against a backdrop of political intrigue, writer/director Hu does very well with both job duties, creating visually interesting action sequences that blend into an entertaining story. Set in 1457 A.D. during China's Ming Dynasty, eunuchs led by Cao Shao-qin (Bai Ying), who is “unsurpassed in the martial arts,” seize power. This gives them control over two espionage agencies, the Eastern Depot and the

Criterion Announces October 2018 Releases

A lot of good titles might put a scare in your wallet.
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In October, Criterion is releasing five titles in high-definition. They are Rainer Werner Fassbinder Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, Hal Ashby's Shampoo, and Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride. Getting HD upgrades are Brian De Palma's Sisters and Cornel Wilde's The Naked Prey. Read on to learn more about them. The Naked Prey (#415) out Oct 2 Glamorous leading man turned idiosyncratic auteur Cornel Wilde created in the 1960s and ’70s a handful of gritty, violent explorations of the nature of man, none more memorable than The Naked Prey. In the early nineteenth century, after an ivory-hunting safari offends a

Ingmar Bergman's Cinema in Honor of His 100th Birthday

A 30-disc Collector's Edition box set contains 39 films and a 248-page book available on Blu-ray November 20, 2018.
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Press release: Ingmar Bergman, the visionary storyteller who startled generations of art-house moviegoers with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical questions, was born on July 14, 1918. In honor of the legendary Swedish filmmaker's one hundredth birthday, the Criterion Collection is launching an array of releases and programming to celebrate this incomparable body of work. At the heart of this centennial celebration is Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, a thirty-Blu-ray collector's edition box set, the most comprehensive collection of Bergman's work ever released on home video. Organized as a film festival-with opening and closing nights bookending double

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Portrait of the Artist As a Fascinating Man

Director Paul Schrader crafts a daring, spellbinding biography of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.
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Yukio Mishima carved out a career as an esteemed playwright and author before ending his life by taking over a military facility and performing seppuku, a ritualistic form of suicide. Paul Schrader's daring film traces his life by having actors perform vignettes from some of Mishima's most famous works, painting a brilliant picture of this intriguing man. The film is notable not just for its subject but for its structure. After a brief color intro, it moves to black and white for the story of Mishima's childhood, then shifts to color for multiple vignettes that represent later stages of his

Criterion Announces September 2018 Releases

September is alright for upgrades.
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In September, some Criterion aficinados will have an opportunity to upgrade their favorite films as three of the five titles debut in high-definition. They are Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, Gregory La Cava's My Man Godfrey, and Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev New to the collection are Olivier Assayas' Cold Water and Daniel Petrie's A Raisin in the Sun. Read on to learn more about them. Scenes from a Marriage (#229) out Sept 4 Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne and Johan, tracking their relationship through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent

Criterion Announces August 2018 Releases

See what's coming before the kids head back to school.
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In August, Criterion is releasing five titles. New to the collection are Robert M. Young's The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Susan Seidelman's Smithereens, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's Memories of Underdevelopment and a high-definition upgrade of Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait. Read on to learn more about them. The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (#940) out Aug 14 Forced to run from the Texas Rangers after a heated misunderstanding leads to the death of a lawman, Mexican American farmer Gregorio Cortez sets off in desperate flight, evading a massive manhunt on horseback for days. Producer-star Edward

Criterion Announces July 2018 Releases

These Criterion titles might affect your summer-vacation budget.
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In July, Criterion plans on releasing five new titles. The first is Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood, a six-movie collection featuring work by Josef von Sternberg and actress Marlene Dietrich. That will be followed by Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham; King Hu's Dragon Inn; Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape; and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death. Read on to learn more about them. Dietrich & von Sternberg in Hollywood (#930) out July 3 Tasked by studio executives with finding the next great screen siren, visionary Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg joined forces with rising

Baal Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Unbearable, Unflinching, and Savage

Fassbinder's mythic performance fuels this vicious depiction of West German's social malaise.
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When the legendary Rainer Werner Fassbinder died in 1982 at the age of 37, he really did leave behind an amazing body of work. He lived a hard life of drinking and drugs, but that didn't stop him from making films about human fragility and emotion. Also, he didn't just direct films. He also acted in many of them. His boorish, devil-may-care persona began with his 1969 feature debut, Love is Colder than Death, but it didn't reach its apotheosis until one year later in director Volker Schlondorff's controversial 1970 adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's 1918 debut play, BAAL. Fassbinder brilliantly

Criterion Announces June 2018 Releases

School might get out, but you don't need to stop learning about movies.
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In June, Criterion plans on releasing four new titles and a high-definition upgrade. Joining the collection are Lino Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light, John Waters' Female Trouble, Víctor Erice's El Sur, and Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. Getting an upgrade is Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Read on to learn more about them. Manila in the Claws of Light (#926) out June 12 Lino Brocka broke through to international acclaim with this candid portrait of 1970s Manila, the second film in the director’s turn to more serious-minded filmmaking after building a career on mainstream films he described as

Elevator to the Gallows Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Ruthless People

French director Louis Malle launched his award-winning career with this spellbinding crime thriller.
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Louis Malle’s directorial debut is notable for numerous reasons. He was only 24 years old at the time, fresh off a three-year stint working at sea with famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau where he only had to “direct fish”, as he was frequently fond of recounting. He had no real pull in the film industry, and yet was able to land the already established actress Jeanne Moreau to star, as well as jazz titan Miles Davis to contribute a totally improvised score. His best accomplishment: the resulting film is a resounding success, largely thanks to his sure-handed direction of its mesmerizing
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