Results tagged “Criterion Collection”

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

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
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