Results tagged “Criterion Collection”

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

The Koker Trilogy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Rise of Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami’s mid-career trio of films announced him to the international film community
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This series of Iranian films is a trilogy in only the loosest sense, as they don’t share overlapping casts or themes. Their only real common denominators are their writer/director, Abbas Kiarostami, and their filming location of Koker in a remote, rural area of northern Iran. The later films are influenced by the first film, especially since they explore the effects of a devastating earthquake that occurred after the first film, but there is no narrative throughline tying them together. Taken as a whole, they paint a picture of a region in transition, grappling with modernization and disaster recovery as old

Fists in the Pocket is the Pick of the Week

A darkly funny 1965 slap in the face to family values headlines a week of releases.
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Director Marco Bellocchio's 1965 savage masterpiece, Fists in the Pocket, remains argubly the most definitive portrait of brutal family dysfunction in the history of cinema. It was like a swan dive into a pit of needles and razor wire, as it dealt with subject matter that most of us could actually relate to. Many people (myself included) wish that they could escape the families they were born into. Unfortunately, the impulse of doing away with the folks can sometimes lead to murder and mayhem. This theme occurs as Alessandro (a brilliant Lou Castel), a young epileptic man who tries to

The Koker Trilogy is the Pick of the Week

The late master Kiarostami's influential trilogy rounds out a week of stellar new releases.
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When master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami passed away in 2016, that really shook the film world, because his extraordinary body of work really elevated the endless possibilites of how bold and innovative Cinema can be. His blending of reality and fiction became a touchstone for the depiction of the human condition. From his short films of the early '70s to his final masterpiece, 24 Frames (2017), Kiarostami really changed the face of contemporary Iranian film forever. He never made a bad film, and it's no wonder why critics and film buffs (besides myself) still sing his praises today, and discuss how

Criterion Announces November 2019 Releases

All about the Criterion titles out this month.
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Criterion will leave shoppers thankful this Novermber with five new titles to the collection. They are Greg Mottola's The Daytrippers, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Betty Blue, Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, and Irving Rapper's Now, Voyager. Read on to learn more about them. The Daytrippers (#1001) out Nov 12 With its droll humor and bittersweet emotional heft, the feature debut of writer-director Greg Mottola announced the arrival of an unassumingly sharp-witted new talent on the 1990s indie scene. When she discovers a love letter written to her husband (Stanley Tucci) by an unknown paramour, the distraught Eliza

The Inland Sea is the Pick of the Week

A rather unknown 1991 travelogue with one of film culture's greatest scholars headlines a week of new releases.
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As much I adore legendary film critic Donald Ritchie, I never knew he made a personal travelogue of his trip to Japan. Reading the premise, I actually found The Inland Sea promising, meaning that an individual allows the viewer to take a journey with them to faraway places. You're able to get a life-changing, or at least a spiritual experience that you wouldn't obviously get otherwise. I wish I had more to say, but I have never really heard of this small film until Criterion announced it for this month. It isn't packed with supplements, but the ones on this

The BRD Trilogy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Fassbinder at His Best

With these three films, Rainer Werner Fassbinder tells the history of post-war Germany through the eyes of its women.
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When World War II ended, Germany was due a reckoning. As a nation, they had to come to terms not only with the atrocities of the Holocaust and Nazism but also rebuilding a country wrecked from war. They had to reconstruct the country's infrastructure and economy but its own soul. This new Germany had to decide who it was and what it would become. Of course, they were not alone in asking this question as immediately following their surrender, Germany was split into four districts each ruled by a separate country (Russia, the United States, England, and France). Within a

Godzilla: The Showa Era Films (1954-1975), Criterion Edition #1000 Collects All 15 Films Together for the First Time

This monster of a set will be available October 29, 2019.
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Press release: This October, Criterion celebrates the arrival of spine number 1000, a Blu-ray collector’s set fit for the granddaddy of all movie monsters. This landmark edition gathers for the first time all the Godzilla films from Japan’s Showa era: fifteen kaiju rampages, presented in high-definition digital transfers and accompanied by a slew of supplemental material, including a giant deluxe hardcover book with notes on each film and new illustrations from sixteen artists, new and archival interviews with cast and crew members, and much, much more! It’s a colossal set, and Criterion would have it no other way for their

Criterion Announces October 2019 Releases

Something old, something new.
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It's going to be one more month before Spine #1000 is announced, but here's what will be available from Criterion in October. New to the collection will be Leon Gast's When We Were Kings and John Sayles's Matewan. Getting Blu-ray upgrades are 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg and Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan. Read on to learn more about them. 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg (#528) out Oct 8 Vienna-born, New York-raised Josef von Sternberg directed some of the most influential and stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his later star-making collaborations

Klute is the Pick of the Week

A gritty '70s masterwork leads a week of interesting releases.
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The 1970s was a hugely groundbreaking decade for film. During this decade, Cinema reflected on the aftermath of Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, women's rights, and the uncertainty of more political unrest. Director Alan J. Pakula reflected this with his unofficial 'paranoid trilogy', which included 1974's The Parallax View and 1976's All The President's Men. However, his 1971 neo-noir thriller, Klute, started it all. It's a film about menace, uncertainty, but also a woman's place in the world. That woman is Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda), a self-liberated call girl who's given one trick too many, and finds herself on the wrong

The BRD Trilogy is the Pick of the Week

Fassbinder's classic trilogy stands out during a week of notable releases.
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Legendary director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was one of the most uncompromising observers of human nature that cinema had ever known. He was also a rebel with a devil-may-care attitude, but not unsympathetically towards his characters; characters who were outsiders rejected by society and forced to live their lives the only way they knew how. The three films available in the new Blu-ray upgrade for his famous BRD Trilogy: The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Veronkia Voss (1982), and Lola (1981), showcase strong women who sacrifice their beauty for the things they want in postwar Germany, but not for the most

Swing Time Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Fine Film

A charming film that gets so many things right it's easy to overlook its flaws and just enjoy it.
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Swing Time is the sixth of ten films that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared in together. It has great songs by composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Dorothy Fields, great dance performances by Astaire and Rogers, and a plot that will make you tell others the film has great songs and great dance performances. Swing Time opens with John "Lucky" Garnett (Astaire) about to get married and leave show business for a hometown sweetheart Margaret (Betty Furness), but manager Pop (Victor Moore) and the other fellas in his dance act are against it. They distract Lucky long enough so the

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Criterion Collection Review: Visually Stunning and Aesthetically Engaging

A beautifully curated addition to the Criterion Collection.
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In 2001, writer, director, and star John Cameron-Mitchell and composer and lyricist Stephen Trask took their cutting-edge musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and adapted it for the big screen. The musical which began its journey in the ballroom of the Jane Hotel in New York is now a part of the Criterion Collection. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the story of Hedwig, who is born Hansel and raised as a boy in Berlin, Germany. After Hansel begins a romantic relationship with American, Sgt. Luther Robinson, Hansel starts to see a way to escape the confines of Eastern Germany.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the Pick of the Week

John Cameron Mitchell's 2001 cult classic rounds out a pretty great week of new releases.
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Being that this is still Pride month, I think John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) makes sense as my Pick of the Week. Although I have only seen the first half of the film, I know that it definitely compares to Rocky Horror as the new Midnight Movie, but with more emotional and oddly realistic poignancy. It also captures the spirit of rock and roll and how it connects within the soul of people who really desire their own voice. In terms of today's unholy and misguided transphobia, I think the film stomps the usual stereotypes to

Criterion Announces September 2019 Releases

"Six in September" has a nice ring to it.
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Might not want to blow your budget on summer-vacation plans after seeing these September titles from Criterion. New to the collection will be Ritwik Ghatak's The Cloud-Capped Star, John Waters' Polyester, Ernst Lubitsch's Cluny Brown, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, and Bill Forsyth's Local Hero. Getting a Blu-ray upgrade is Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket. Read on to learn more about them. Fists in the Pocket (#333) out Sept 3 Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions, in this astonishing debut from Marco Bellocchio. Characterized by a

Criterion's Swing Time is the Pick of the Week

An Astaire and Rogers classic headlines a somewhat pivotal week of new releases.
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When it comes to classic cinema, I think that the Astaire and Rogers films have to be mentioned somewhere. While they're short on plot, which means that Astaire and Rogers typically play their usual boy-meets-girl, girl-detests-boy, boy-and-girl eventually fall in love schtick. But when it comes to the dancing and musical numbers, they arugbly cannot be beat as perhaps the greatest duo in Hollywood history. And when you have them directed by one of the most celebrated American directors of all-time, Mr. George Stevens, you have a recipe for movie magic. Hence the point, with the new release of 1936's

Let The Sunshine In Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Love Is...Brutally Human

There's no sunshine in Claire Denis's low-key and bleak anti-romantic comedy about the absurdity of what we do for love.
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For most people, love is a constant slope towards madness and eventual pain. We crave it, but sometimes, when it's not the type that we desire, we throw it away. Basically, adult relationships are messy, complicated, and according to celebrated director Claire Denis' 2017 bleak comedy, Let The Sunshine In, brutally human. With an amazingly complex and subtle performance by the usually compelling Juliette Binoche, Denis paints a frustratingly truthful portait of love that most directors couldn't or wouldn't touch. Binoche brilliantly plays Isabelle, a divorced but successful painter in Paris, whose frequent demands for love belittle her ultimate desire:

Criterion Announces August 2019 Releases

Something old, something new in the seven titles.
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Close out the summer with these August titles from Criterion. New to the collection are Lucille Carra's The Inland Sea, Abbas Kiarostami's The Koker Trilogy, and Yasujiro Ozu's The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice. Getting Blu-ray upgrades are Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table and Douglas Sirk's Magnificent Obsession. Read on to learn more about them. An Angel at My Table (#301) out Aug 6 With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion brought to the screen the harrowing autobiography of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. Three actors in turn take on the

Diamonds of the Night Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Story of Youth Under Fire with a Brilliantly Fractured Eye

A startling and very tense debut from the most unflinching director of the now-ancient Czechoslovak New Wave.
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There are many similarities between Luis Bunuel and underrated auteur/director Jan Nemec. They both use surrealism to dictate the often limitless boundaries of human behavior. When it comes to their films, you don't really know which is reality, and which is fantasy. However, you want to watch their cinema repeatedly to uncover more details that missed the first time around. While Bunuel depicts human behavior with a satirical edge, Nemec directs his films with surrealist details, but which a more serious viewpoint, especially when it comes to war and how it affects people in a certain time and place. This

The Kid Brother Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Comedic Gem

Harold Lloyd's slapstick masterpiece gets a fantastic upgrade from the folks at Criterion.
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I’m not too familiar with the work of Harold Lloyd, and The Kid Brother is actually the first film of his that I’ve seen in its entirety. Of course, now that I’ve finally experienced one of his films, it makes me want to go and seek out what else he has done. The Kid Brother is a hysterical comedy from the silent era, and also one that has a strong emotional core and a few exciting action scenes. It’s the perfect genre blend of a movie, one that is hard to come by in modern Hollywood. Lloyd plays Harold Hickory,
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