Results tagged “Criterion Collection”

Taste of Cherry Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Not to Everyone's Taste

Iranian classic finally gets a Criterion Blu-ray release.
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Abbas Kiarostami’s understated film won the prestigious Palme d’Or Award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, leading to its initial Criterion DVD release way back in 1999. After being out of print for a number of years, Criterion is finally bringing the film to Blu-ray this week with new cover art and some new special features. While its methodical pace isn’t for everyone, the film’s concept remains intriguing. The film centers on a middle-aged man named Mr. Badii who is shown driving aimlessly around the outskirts of Tehran, taking nearly the first half hour before revealing the plot. He has

Marriage Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Emotionally Brutal and Full of Life

Noah Baumbach crafts a searingly intense and sometimes humorous examination of a very broken marriage.
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I'm not an expert on marriage, but seeing many films about it, I guess I can at least say that from my viewpoint, it can be quite the emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically draining journey. There have been many films, including Faces, Kramer vs Kramer, Shoot the Moon, The Squid and the Whale, and most notably, Ingmar Bergman 1973's masterpiece, Scenes from a Marriage, that have put their own distinctive spin on the subject. I think it's safe to say that director Noah Baumbach's marvelous 2019 film, Marriage Story, is destined to join the ranks of highly accurate and piercingly

Criterion Announces October 2020 Releases

Which ones will you be buying?
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This October, the best houses will be giving out one of the new Criterion Collection releases for Halloween. They are John Berry's Claudine, Henry King’s The Gunfighter, and Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, along with two films given high-definition upgrades: Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou and Stephen Frears’s The Hit. Read on to learn more about them. Pierrot le fou (#421) out Oct 6 Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeois world behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: the tenth feature

The Cameraman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Star Begins to Fade

A stealth double feature of Keaton's last two silent films.
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Although a talented filmmaker, Buster Keaton wasn't a great business man and his box-office struggles caused him to sign on with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Cameraman was his first film in his deal with MGM, a decision he's on record as calling "the worst mistake of my life," the title of a chapter from his autobiography, which is included in the accompanying booklet. Although the studio began to exert control over him and his work, he was still able to turn out an amusing picture. Buster is a tintype photographer and falls in love at the sight of Sally (Marceline Day). Upon

An Unmarried Woman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Bold and Groundbreaking

A still fresh, unapologetically honest portrait of a woman's reawakening.
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As I mentioned in my Pick of the Week recently, the 1970s were a very pivotal time for women. There was the coming of feminism, Gloria Steinem, bras being burned, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. Arguably unlike any other decade, maybe besides the 1980s, women started to have their own say, thoughts, feelings, sexual needs, and boundaries. They didn't let men define them. They were beginning to find themselves. They had careers, children, and independence. They allowed themselves to clip the strings of men and grow their own wings. I think that director Paul Mazursky really took to that seriously with

The Complete Films of Agnès Varda Available on Blu-ray August 11, 2020

Fifteen-disc collector's set includes all 39 features, shorts, and documentaries, 200-page book, and more.
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Press release: We're 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

Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Trips Worth Taking

Fans will appreciate the high-definition presentations and the behind-the-scenes extras.
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I've been a big fan of movies for most of my 50-odd years on this planet and have enjoyed a wide variety from all over the world. I am so fascinated by the medium that alongside my library of movies is a library of books about their making and their makers. I consider myself well versed in the history of cinema, so I was very surprised to discover Czech film director Karel Zeman, a true visionary whose name and work should be as well known as Georges Méliès and Ray Harryhausen, yet I had neither heard of him nor his

Criterion Announces July 2020 Releases

Celebrate United States independence and movies this July.
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With no sports this summer, folks will have more time to watch movies at home, so it's a good thing Criterion has some titles coming to the collection in July. They are the previously reported Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits, Byron Haskin's The War of the Worlds, and Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story. Also given Blu-ray upgrades are Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve and Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry. Read on to learn more about them. The War of the Worlds (#1037) out Jul 7 A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A

The Criterion Collection Tribute to Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits, A Seven-Disc Collectors Set of Five Kung-Fu Classics, Available on Blu-ray July 14

A collection of high-flying classics from the ultimate fighter, whose unmatched persona and influence in cinema live on.
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Press release: 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

Canyon Passage Blu-ray Review: Where the Scalps Fly Like Toupees...Only Not Quite

A moody, colorful western from a director who changed horror movie history.
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If you were to say I would love to see a Technicolor noir western directed by Jacques Tourneur, set in Oregon, I would say you are darn tootin.’ I would love to see it and see it I did. Canyon Passage (1946) is that rarest of things: a good art western disguised as a B-movie, buckling at the seams to beat the revisionist wave of westerns by about twenty cool years. But of course—no such motive existed. Rather, Tourneur delivered a crisp, 92-minute oater that combines several genre elements. Rape, poker, murder, lust for gold, love triangles, Indian attacks, cabin-raisings,

Teorema Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Pasolini's Most Accessible Work

This puzzlingly fascinating masterwork from 1968 gets new life.
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The late director Pier Paolo Pasolini was a very controversial filmmaker to begin with. His often taboo-breaking subject matter didn't exactly sit well with most critics and audiences, not to mention censorship laws. However, that's what made him one of the greatest in film history. He did films his way, with provocative themes, such as sex, religion, philosophy, and art, and how they can sometimes coexist in the same surface. His 1968 subversive classic, Teorema, definitely did just that. The film stars the great Terence Stamp as a handsome, and perplexing figure, known only as "The Guest", who mysteriously appears

Tunes of Glory Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Acting Tour de Force

Alec Guinness (with a Scottish brogue) squares off with John Mills in this military drama.
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I have been on a bit of an Alec Guinness kick of late. He’s an actor I knew and loved from epic dramas like The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia and of course as the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films. It has been a true treat then to dive deeper into his filmography and find so many wonderful performances. He was known to me mostly as a dramatic actor and so it has been a delight finding what a charming comedic actor he also was in films like The Man in the

Criterion Announces March 2020 Releases

Spring brings four additions and two HD upgrades.
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March Madness happens for movies in addition to basketball as Criterion releases six titles. The four new additions to the collection are Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, John M. Stahl's Leave Her to Heaven, James Whale's Show Boat, and Barbra Streisand's The Prince of Tides. Also available will be Blu-ray upgrades of Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes Are Flying and David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin's Salesman. Read on to learn more about them. Salesman (#122) out Mar 10 This radically influential portrait of American dreams and disillusionment from Direct Cinema pioneers David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin captures, with indelible

Old Joy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Quite Reflective and Moving

I have nothing but rave things to say about this terrific film.
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Director Kelly Reichardt has become one of my favorite directors. She is one of the very few maverick filmmakers of landscape and how the supposedly promising aspects of the American Dream can shallow you up. Whether it's women trying to forge their own paths through life (Certain Women), danger for settlers in 1840s Oregon (Meek's Cutoff), a drifter and her dog trying to find their places in the world (Wendy and Lucy), or outsiders fleeing their boring lives but not getting very far (River of Grass), Reichardt has a created a singular body of work that has proven that women

Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire Joins The Criterion Collection Library in 2020

"We couldn't be more thrilled that our first collaboration with The Criterion Collection is Céline's breathtakingly beautiful and utterly captivating Portrait of a Lady on Fire." - NEON
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Press release: NEON and The Criterion Collection are excited to announce the addition of Céline Sciamma’s award winning, Portrait of a Lady on Fire to The Criterion Collection library. The Cannes winner was recently nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Language Film, nominated by the Hollywood Critics Association for Best Foreign Language Film and was awarded Best Cinematography by the New York Film Critics. Matthew St. Clair called it an "immensely well-crafted" film in his review. Set in France, 1760, Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left

Now, Voyager Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Superior Tearjerker

A beloved 1942 Bette Davis classic gets a stellar release from the Criterion Collection.
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With her saucer eyes, unparalled intensity, and unbridled non-vanity, Bette Davis has been and still is regarded as one of the greatest stars in Hollywood history, and rightly so. She always brought her signature style to every role she portrayed, even the lesser ones, with honesty and unapologetic passion. Arguably, her performance in Irving Rapper's celebrated 1942 adaptation of Olive Higgins Prouty's novel of psychotherapy and family dynamics: Now, Voyager, was her at the pinnacle of her gifts, at least until her most cherished role as Margo Channing in All About Eve. She plays Charlotte Vale, a nervous and neurotic

The Circus Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Tramp Plays the Big Top

A delightful romp that finds the Tramp behave in a more enlightened manner as he puts others ahead of himself.
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Made between his classic films The Gold Rush and City Lights, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus presents an entertaining outing for the Tramp who once again finds himself in funny predicaments while saving a young woman from her cruel stepfather. The story behind the scenes is more interesting than the one on screen and is illuminated in the extras Criterion has included. While at a seaside pier, the Tramp finds a wallet and watch has been stashed in his pocket. The crook who placed it there is after him and the police after them both. This leads to not only a

Criterion Announces February 2020 Releases

Five for February.
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In addition to the return of Punxsutawney Phil, February will also see Criterion release some new additions to the collection. They are Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema, Jennie Livingston's Paris Is Burning, and Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman. Also available will be a Blu-ray upgrade of Hiroshi Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudí. Read on to learn more about them. Roma (2018) (#1014) out Feb 11 With his eighth and most personal film, Alfonso Cuarón recreated the early-1970s Mexico City of his childhood, narrating a tumultuous period in the life of a middle-class family through the experiences of Cleo (Yalitza

Polyester Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: John Waters' First Big-Budget Film

Polyester introduced the one-time only Odorama card to offend viewers' sense of smell as well as their sense of decorum.
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Polyester, John Waters’ first big budget, mainstream film, was released by in 1981 by New Line Cinema. Its $300,000 budget may give it a high-rent look, but the low-rent appeal is still there, albeit way toned down from early Waters' films like Pink Flamingos and Multiple Maniacs. Divine plays Francine Fishpaw, a sweet, submissive housewife married to Elmer Fishpaw (David Samson), a porno theater owner with a bad toupee. Their kids are juvenile delinquents. Her daughter Lu-lu (Mary Garington) is a slutty girl who causes havoc with her greaser boyfriend Bo-Bo (Stiv Baters). Her son Dexter (Ken King) is a

The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Gentle Ozu Comedy

Grandmaster filmmaker Ozu's minor, observant comedy about the growing differences between a middle-aged married couple.
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The first thing to get used to in an Ozu film is the camera perspective. He never (or at least rarely) does the normal over-the-shoulder shot and counter shot for conversations. Ozu tends to shoot things from a constant upward angle. It has been analogized to a POV from someone sitting, in traditional Japanese style on a mat, legs folded underneath. The view is tilted slightly upward, never straight on or from above. The second element of Ozu's filmmaking that has to be taken into consideration is the secondary nature of the plot. There are stories in all of his
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