Results tagged “Criterion Collection”

Criterion Announces April 2021 Releases

Something old, something new.
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In April, there will be five releases from The Criterion Collection. The new additions are Frank Borzage's History Is Made at Night, Bong Joon Ho's Memories of Murder, and Olivier Assayas's Irma Vep. Getting high-def upgrades are Anthony Mann's The Furies and Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin féminin. Read on to learn more about them. History Is Made at Night (#685) out Apr 13 Suffused with intoxicating romanticism, History Is Made at Night is a sublime paean to love from Frank Borzage, classic Hollywood’s supreme poet of carnal and spiritual desire. On the run through Europe from her wealthy, cruelly possessive husband,

Three Films by Luis Buñuel Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Don's Swan Songs

Legendary director wraps up a five decade career with three impressive films
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As Luis Buñuel neared the end of his life, he swore each time he made a film that it would be his last, not because he wanted to quit, but because he feared dying before completion. Known as Don Luis to his crews and cast members, he reportedly made his sets welcoming, joyous environments, even as he grappled with his own mortality. Death factors into the plots of each of the films included in this new Criterion box set, but Buñuel’s wry comedic sensibilities ensure that the films never seem morbid, instead seemingly implying that life is but a farce.

Crash (1996) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Anti-Erotic Film

Perhaps David Cronenberg's most controversial film, it details the progressively more dangerous world of car-crash fetishists.
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"Prophecy is dirty and ragged", says Vaughan, while complaining about the cleanliness of the tattoo he gets on his chest. It's of a steering wheel, part of his attempt connect himself, as much as possible, to the object of his sexual gratification, and obsession. He loves cars, but not when they drive. He loves them when they, as the film's title says so simply, Crash. Where Vaughan and his obsessions come from is obscure, but he becomes the central figure in the life James Ballard (James Spader) after he survives a car crash. The driver of the other car does

Amores Perros Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Alejandro González Iñárritu's Greatest Masterpiece

A snarling, ferocious debut by one of today's most innovative and fearless directors.
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The most celebrated and well-known filmmakers of the Mexican New Wave are Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. All of three of them have made incredible and compelling films; they've also become very popular. However, their most impactful creations (for me personally) are the early ones: del Toro with Cronos (1993), Cuaron with Solo con Tu Pareja (1991), and Inarritu with his blazing, unflinching 2000 debut Amores Perros, which is the one that perhaps reinvented Mexican cinema, and many people's reinterest in it. The story is about three characters (played by Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo, and

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

A still strangely intriguing pseudo work about filmmaking and its more emotional follow-up gets a new upgrade by Criterion.
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As a passionately dedicated lover of film, I really enjoy that not every film has to be a cliche, meaning that there are lots of films that don't neatly fit into one particular box; they seem to operate on a much different stratosphere of cinema. These types of cinematic works are so outside the norm that they don't seem like movies; they seem like real life unfolding right in front of you. This is definitely the case with celebrated filmmaker William Greaves' 1968 landmark avant-garde portrait Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, a subtle head-scratcher that showcases the often deep art of moviemaking

Criterion Announces February 2021 Releases

No matter what the groundhog sees, we get to see five new additions to the Collection.
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The Criterion Collection will be presenting five new additions to their roster in February. The quintet are Alan J. Pakula's The Parallax View; Ousmane Sembène’s Mandabi; two by Ramin Bahrani: Man Push Cart and Chop Shop; and Joyce Chopra's Smooth Talk. Read on to learn more about them. The Parallax View (#1064) out Feb 9 Perhaps no director tapped into the pervasive sense of dread and mistrust that defined the 1970s more effectively than Alan J. Pakula, who, in the second installment of his celebrated Paranoia Trilogy, offers a chilling vision of America in the wake of the assassinations of

The Hit Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Gem of Film by Stephen Frears

A highly overlooked crime drama full of delicious slow burns and ideas.
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The action film always comes with cliches, meaning that they usually contain car chases, explosions, and non-stop action. Sometimes these elements can taint and drag films of the crime drama category into the realm of familiarity and unoriginality. Thankfully, this is not the case with acclaimed director Stephen Frears' early 1984 effort The Hit, which relies more on character drive and often offbeat palpability. Inspired by a true story of an armed robber turned stool pigeon, the film stars Terence Stamp as Willie Parker, a gangster's henchman turned "supergrass" (informer) who rats out his fellow mobsters. Ten years later, while

Parasite (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Rich Fam, Poor Fam

Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning drama gets the Criterion treatment.
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One of the hardest things for a filmmaker to do is blend multiple genres together and do it so seamlessly. The balance of tone and mood can drastically shift once it makes its way from one focus to another, and that tends to lead some films on a downward spiral. But the way Bong Joon-ho handles his latest film, Parasite, is so unique. The blending of dark satire and tense drama is masterful. Bong takes a topic with which he’s familiar (class inequality) and turns it into something that is wonderfully helmed and feels like new territory. Parasite tells the

The Gunfighter Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Price of Fame

A film deserving of recognition thanks to a story that could be told in any genre and a great leading performance by Gregory Peck.
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Set in the Southwest Territory of the 1880s, a Texan named Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) was known the fastest gun. While this designation has earned him respect, it also causes some to fear him and others to test the legend, a burden that The Gunfighter carries in Henry King's taut western. While en route to Cayenne, Ringo stops off at a saloon. A kid named Eddie (Richard Jaeckel) starts running his mouth. Ringo tries to avoid a confrontation but is forced to kill him. Even though he was in the right, it is suggested he leave town because the kid

Criterion Announces January 2021 Releases

Something to look forward to next year.
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The Criterion Collection will be releasing four--er, make that six titles to welcome in the new year. New titles are Larisa Shepitko’s The Ascent, Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. Blu-ray upgrades are being given to the three final films by Luis Buñuel collected in a box set: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty, and That Obscure Object of Desire. Read on to learn more about them. Three Films by Luis Buñuel (#102 / #290 / #143) out Jan 5 More than four decades after he

Claudine Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Ahead of Its Time

An excellent and truthful depiction of African American life and love that still feels all-too modern.
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In the 1970s, the blaxploitation genre of film exploded, and it was usually centered on stories of masculine black men, fighting against 'The Man', where women were always the side pieces or sexual playthings who were just along for the ride. However, there was a gender reversal where strong black women got revenge against the higher powers that be. This all changed with once-blacklisted director John Barry's marvelous Claudine, a remarkable 1974 portrait of society on hard times, which was one of the very first films to depict, with honesty, the way life treated people, especially African Americans, with a

Pierrot le Fou Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Still Feels Modern and Fresh

Jean-Luc Godard's violent and unpredictable 1965 road movie comes back to Criterion.
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The legendary and unclassifiable filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is reaching his 90th birthday this year (in just two months from now), and I think that this is a good time to celebrate early by reviewing a film from his past. Although some of the premises of his film are relatively thin, there is enough style, visuality, and of course, politics, to make you forget how unmemorable they actually are. This is the case for his 1965 satirical landmark, Pierrot le Fou, which not only remains one of his most accessible, but also one of the most influential films of the now-bygone

Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 3 Criterion Collection Box Set Review

Scorsese guides viewers through little-known gems from around the world.
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Legendary writer/director and noted film buff Martin Scorsese established The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in 2007 to restore and present classic films from around the world that are little known to U.S. audiences. The latest collection brings together five black-and-white films and one color film that have been painstakingly restored from the best possible elements, a Herculean effort considering their origins in countries with little care for preservation or even outright scorn for cinema. In the case of the film Downpour, the Iranian government purposely destroyed all original elements and known copies of the film, leaving only the director’s

Christ Stopped at Eboli Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Emotionally Captivating

A beautiful film about living in exile and discovering an unknown way of life.
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Listed as one of the 1,001 movies you need to see before you die, Christ Stopped at Eboli is a film of which I wasn’t aware prior to the Criterion Collection announcing it being one of the latest releases they were adding to their catalogue. And that’s a miss on my end, because this is a truly mesmerizing achievement. Apparently, this original, 220-minute television version had been hard to come across for some time, and the only option to watch the movie was to go for the 150-minute cut. It’s a good thing I waited to see the movie as

Criterion Announces December 2020 Releases

Two pairs to close out the year. Something old, something new.
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The Criterion Collection will be releasing these memorable titles to close out a year worth forgetting. New titles are David Cronenberg's Crash and Alejandro Iñárritu's Amores perros. Blu-ray upgrades are being given to Robert Bresson's Mouchette and Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes by William Greaves. Read on to learn more about them. Crash (#1059) out Dec 1 For this icily erotic fusion of flesh and machine, David Cronenberg adapted J. G. Ballard’s future-shock novel of the 1970s into one of the most singular and provocative films of the 1990s. A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (James Spader), and an

Beau Travail Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mysterious, Haunting, and Transformative

Claire Denis' 1999 masterpiece of jealousy, erotic/repressed desire, and personal destruction makes it's long-awaited debut to the Criterion Collection.
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The great and visionary director Claire Denis is one the greatest cinematic poets of our time. She's a provocative and original filmmaker who has crafted an extraordinary oervue of films that offer richly observed and perfectly tuned portraits of cultural alientation and emotional/physical tension. Whether contemplating a father/daughter relationship (35 Shots of Run), the harmful awakenings of women (White Material, Let the Sunshine In), or erotic body horror (Trouble Every Day), she continues to be a singular voice of not just for female filmmakers, but for cinema as a whole. However, her second film, 1999's Beau Travail, is considered to

Brute Force & The Naked City Criterion Collection Blu-ray Reviews: A Jules Dassin Double Feature

Two classics film noirs from Jules Dassin get the Criterion treatment.
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There are over 1,000 movies in the Criterion Collection, these are two of them. Jules Dassin has five films thus far in the collection with Brute Force and The Naked City receiving a Blu-ray upgrade this week. Between 1947 and 1950, Dassin made four film noirs, three of which are considered some of the best in the genre. These two are on that list. I came to Jules Dassin via Rififi his classic heist film (also in the Criterion Collection) from 1956. It is one of the greatest robbery films ever put to celluloid. It was made in France and

Toni Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Influential French Drama

Jean Renoir's realistic portrayal of migrant workers in the South of France helped influence the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism.
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In 1934, acclaimed French director Jean Renoir left the studio in Paris and headed for the countryside in the south of France. There, he hired non-actors and inexperienced ones to shoot Toni, a naturalistic melodrama about immigrants, their work, their lives, and their romances. He used mostly natural lighting and filmed mostly on location. The actors didn't use makeup and spoke in regional dialects. It did poorly at the box office but was beloved by the French New Wave and helped create Italian Neo-Realism (Luchino Visconti, one of that movement's greatest directors, was an assistant on Toni). It is, in

Town Bloody Hall Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Verbal Battle of the Sexes

An often funny, manic, and sometimes raunchy document of the continuous discussion of gender politics.
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Documentaries, more than any other category of film, successfully (or sometimes unsuccessfully) captures reality at its most uncomfortable means. Whatever the topic is, such as interesting, controversial, and often timely topics on all sides of humanity, you're obviously going to be exposed to different points-of-view, especially in terms of debate. And speaking of debate, the neverending theme of gender politics (whether sexual or otherwise) is always going to come up, at some point. This is the case with Chris Hededus and D.A. Pennebaker's brisk 1979 documentary Town Bloody Hall, which captured for a moment in time, the sometimes toxic elements

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Angela Winkler Is Sensational

A disturbingly relevant thriller that feels eerily modern to today's skewered politics.
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In today's uncilivilzed world where humanity comes second (or dead last) to politics and where the police take the law into their own hands and drag people through the mud just because they believe they can, the media sometimes can be the bad guy too and try to smear people for their own gain. Volker Schlondroff and Margarethe von Trotta's exhaustingly searing 1975 thriller The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, take these elements one step further...closer to reality. It's tale of misued power, individual freedom under fire, and innocent lives lost hasn't dulled its edge one bit. Adapted from a
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