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‘Round Midnight Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Perhaps the Greatest and Most Compelling Jazz Film Ever Made

The late, great Bertrand Tavernier wasn't just a highly influential film critic/writer, he was also an incredible filmmaker with vast ...
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Bringing Up Baby Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Bone up on a Comedy Classic

Directed by Howard Hawks and based on Hagar Wilde's short story, which Criterion includes in the booklet, Bringing Up Baby ...
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The Piano Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Jane Campion’s Sublime Masterpiece

Despite all the accolades and acclaim, director Jane Campion still seems to be continuously undervalued and taken for granted. That's ...
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High Sierra Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Raoul Walsh Tells a Story Twice

Based on W. R. Burnett's second novel, director Roaul Walsh's High Sierra (1941) is a captivating crime drama notable for ...
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The Learning Tree Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Semi-Autobiographical Story from Gordon Parks

There have been so many films about growing up where characters (mostly youth) deal with first love, family issues, peer ...
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Throw Down Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Brawl Room Blitz

Johnnie To’s Throw Down is a titular double entendre. Not only is it a film about martial arts (kind of); ...
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The Incredible Shrinking Man Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Giant-Sized Fun

I wonder what it is about stories of humans being shrunk down to tiny size or living in a land ...
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Ratcatcher Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Definite Punch to the Gut

Despite only having four feature-length films and a handful of shorts, filmmaker Lynne Ramsay has crafted a compelling body of ...
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Love & Basketball Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Love Story That Feels Fresh

There are so many cinematic tales of young love that spans time that are riddled with clichés. They usually have ...
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Mona Lisa Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Neo-noir with a Mystic Smile

The first time I remember seeing Bob Hoskins was as Eddie Valiant the hard-boiled, yet ultimately soft-hearted detective working for ...
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The Damned Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Demonstrative Descent into Family Destruction

In almost every family, there is, arguably, a hidden sense of evil. When the soul gets twisted and corrupted, so ...
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Beasts of No Nation Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Not Soon Forgotten

I may have used the phrase "War is Hell" in one my previous reviews, but you can't describe war as ...
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Ashes and Diamonds Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Polish Masterpiece

A little over a decade ago my wife and I lived in Shanghai, China. At the time, and probably still ...
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Deep Cover Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review: Neo-Noir with a Message

Russell Stevens (Laurence Fishburne) is a good cop. He's also a black man. And a good, black cop is exactly ...
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Pickup on South Street Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Sam Fuller Blends Film Noir with a Cold War Spy Thriller

Samuel Fuller directed and wrote the screenplay for Pickup on South Street, a movie that blends film noir with a ...
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Visions of Eight Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Octathlon of Olympic Shorts

I'm not what you'd call an enthusiast of sports. Honestly, I don't like, watch, or play sports. I've never been ...
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World of Wong Kar Wai Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: What a Wonderful World

Wong Kar Wai burst into the international film scene in the 1980s and has remained an icon ever since. While ...
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Trances Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Beautiful Audiovisual Journey

During a four-month period, filmmaker Ahmed El-Maanouni followed the politically and peace-minded avant-pop band Nass El Ghiwane on their tour ...
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Flowers of Shanghai Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mise-ry en Scene

This Taiwanese movie was based on a novel about “flower houses” of 19th century Shanghai, high class establishments where courtesans ...
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Fast Times at Ridgemont High Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Standout Comedy

Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High was written by Cameron Crowe, who went undercover at a San Diego high ...
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Masculin Feminin Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Tres Chic

Jean-Luc Godard’s study of young love in Paris pulses with style but doesn’t have much of a story. The film ...
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Irma Vep Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Great Milestone in Olivier Assayas’s Body of Work

There have been so many films about the often chaotic circumstances and behind-the-scenes drama about the making of a film. ...
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The Furies (1950) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Fascinating Film of Familial Conflict

Based on Niven Busch's 1948 novel of the same name, which Criterion has included in paperback, Anthony Mann's The Furies ...
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Memories of Murder Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The South Korean Zodiac

A woman has been brutally raped and murdered. Her body was shoved into a drain ditch. Detective Park Doo-man (Song ...
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History Is Made at Night (1937) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Love Crosses the Atlantic

Director Frank Borzage, who grew up with Hollywood, making (and acting in) silents from 1916 and remaining active up to ...
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Secrets & Lies Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Cinema at Its Best

Legendary British director Mike Leigh is one of cinema's greatest and most profound humanists. He crafts beautifully painful portraits of ...
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Céline and Julie Go Boating Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Long, Strange, Riveting Film

Julie (Dominique Labourier), a young woman with big, curly red hair, sits on a park bench distractedly reading a book ...
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Touki bouki Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Deserves to be Seen and Discovered

I must admit that African cinema usually goes way over my head. I mostly gloss over it in favor of ...
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The Parallax View Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Second Entry in Pakula’s Political Paranoia Trilogy

Based on Loren Singer's 1970 novel of the same name, Alan J. Pakula's The Parallax View is the second entry ...
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Smooth Talk Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Teen’s Roller Coaster Ride from Innocence to Harsh Reality

1985's Smooth Talk, directed by Joyce Chopra (Murder in a Small Town, The Lemon Sisters, Blonde), follows restless teenager Connie ...
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Chop Shop Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Miracle of Independent Cinema

With his wonderful 2005 Man Push Cart, filmmaker Ramin Bahrani beautifully captured the grim circumstances of being an immigrant in ...
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Man Push Cart Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Essential Cinema

Foreigners in a foreign land express the often grim, depressing, but sometimes hopeful studies of immigrants desperate to survive a ...
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Mandabi Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Unexpected Money Leads to Lots of Problems

One of the things that Ousmane Sembène’s second feature film does that so few films do is, take lesser-known actors ...
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Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour was in support of his album Desire, released January 5, 1976 between the two ...
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The Ascent Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Larisa Shepitko’s Masterpiece

The Ukranian-born Larisa Shepitko (one of the greatest female filmmakers of all-time) had only made a few features and short ...
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Three Films by Luis Buñuel Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Don’s Swan Songs

As Luis Buñuel neared the end of his life, he swore each time he made a film that it would ...
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Crash (1996) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Anti-Erotic Film

"Prophecy is dirty and ragged", says Vaughan, while complaining about the cleanliness of the tattoo he gets on his chest. ...
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Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

As a passionately dedicated lover of film, I really enjoy that not every film has to be a cliche, meaning ...
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Mouchette Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: So Beautiful, So Sad

The opening scene to Mouchette, Robert Bresson's 1967 drama, finds a young man tying little loops of wire to branches ...
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The Irishman (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Welcome Addition to Martin Scorsese’s Filmography

Martin Scorsese's epic The Irishman makes a fitting bookend to his gangster films as one mobster tells his story while ...
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The Hit Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Gem of Film by Stephen Frears

The action film always comes with cliches, meaning that they usually contain car chases, explosions, and non-stop action. Sometimes these ...
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Parasite (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Rich Fam, Poor Fam

One of the hardest things for a filmmaker to do is blend multiple genres together and do it so seamlessly. ...
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The Gunfighter Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Price of Fame

Set in the Southwest Territory of the 1880s, a Texan named Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) was known the fastest gun. ...
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Claudine Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Ahead of Its Time

In the 1970s, the blaxploitation genre of film exploded, and it was usually centered on stories of masculine black men, ...
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Pierrot le Fou Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Still Feels Modern and Fresh

The legendary and unclassifiable filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is reaching his 90th birthday this year (in just two months from now), and ...
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Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 3 Criterion Collection Box Set Review

Legendary writer/director and noted film buff Martin Scorsese established The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project in 2007 to restore and ...
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Christ Stopped at Eboli Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Emotionally Captivating

Listed as one of the 1,001 movies you need to see before you die, Christ Stopped at Eboli is a film of ...
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Beau Travail Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Mysterious, Haunting, and Transformative

The great and visionary director Claire Denis is one the greatest cinematic poets of our time. She's a provocative and ...
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Toni Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Influential French Drama

In 1934, acclaimed French director Jean Renoir left the studio in Paris and headed for the countryside in the south ...
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Town Bloody Hall Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Verbal Battle of the Sexes

Documentaries, more than any other category of film, successfully (or sometimes unsuccessfully) captures reality at its most uncomfortable means. Whatever ...
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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Angela Winkler Is Sensational

In today's uncivilized world where humanity comes second (or dead last) to politics and where the police take the law ...
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Taste of Cherry Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Not to Everyone’s Taste

Abbas Kiarostami's understated film won the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, leading to its initial ...
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Marriage Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Emotionally Brutal and Full of Life

I'm not an expert on marriage, but seeing many films about it, I guess I can at least say that ...
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Burning Bright

Writer/director Celine Sciamma's latest film is both exhilarating and depressing: spellbinding because of its absolute excellence and disheartening because it ...
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The Cameraman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Star Begins to Fade

Although a talented filmmaker, Buster Keaton wasn't a great business man and his box-office struggles caused him to sign on ...
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An Unmarried Woman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Bold and Groundbreaking

As I mentioned in my Pick of the Week recently, the 1970s were a very pivotal time for women. There was the ...
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When We Were Kings Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous Time Capsule of Muhammad Ali in 1974

Leon Gast's When We Were Kings documents the "Rumble in the Jungle," the legendary boxing match between undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman ...
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Matewan Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Labor Pains

John Sayles' Matewan is a dramatization of the Matewan massacre (1920), a battle that took place in the town of Matewan, West ...
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Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Trips Worth Taking

I've been a big fan of movies for most of my 50-odd years on this planet and have enjoyed a ...
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Antonio Gaudí Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Tone Poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and Art

Antonio Gaudí, a film by Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara (1927-2001), is a tone poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and art - ...
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Teorema Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Pasolini’s Most Accessible Work

The late director Pier Paolo Pasolini was a very controversial filmmaker to begin with. His often taboo-breaking subject matter didn't ...
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Polyester Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: John Waters’ First Big-Budget Film

Polyester, John Waters' first big budget, mainstream film, was released by in 1981 by New Line Cinema. Its $300,000 budget ...
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The Magnificent Ambersons Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Flawed Masterpiece, but Still a Worthwhile Film

Before getting into the history of the film: the mangling by the studio, the likely deliberately destroyed edited footage, and ...
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A Raisin in the Sun Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Wonderfully Acted Film

While some movies about the African-American experience are embarrassing and downright stereotypical, there are others that realistically transcend the bad ...
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Festival (1967) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Better Than Woodstock

In the early part of the 20th Century, various folklorists, including John Lomax, wandered about the country documenting the songs ...
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The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Stealth Double Feature

The Criterion Collection's release of Alfred Hitchcock's third feature, The Lodger (1927), is actually a stealth double feature of Hitchcock ...
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Cameraperson Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: No Better Film Experience Last Year

When it comes to human honesty, there is no better genre of film stronger than the documentary. In a time ...
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Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Glimpses into the Heart of the Artist

By the time Bob Dylan toured England in the Spring of 1965, he’d released five albums (two of which went ...
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It Happened One Night Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Original Runaway Bride

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time in cinematic history when romantic comedies were extremely rare. That ...
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Things to Come Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Overly Didactic Technical Marvel

The Film An impressive technical achievement, even if its didacticism threatens to overwhelm all other elements, H.G. Wells' Things to ...
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Things To Come (1936) Criterion Collection DVD Review: An Unforgettable Piece of Cinematic History

Written by Greg Barbrick H.G. Wells has had a number of books turned into classic films, including The Island of ...
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Repo Man Criterion Collection DVD Review: Punk All Over

Written by Greg Barbrick The seamy underbelly of Los Angeles has been explored in numerous films over the years. A ...
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Being John Malkovich Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich

In Being John Malkovich, the brilliant feature-film debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze, an unhappily married couple ...
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Two-Lane Blacktop: Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Monte Hellman’s Masterpiece

Written by Luigi Bastardo As anyone who has ever experienced a truly awkward moment of puberty is well aware, growing ...
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The Last Days of Disco Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Witty Look at the End of an Era

The Film There’s not a hint of irony in Whit Stillman’s 1998 film The Last Days of Disco despite there ...
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The Samurai Trilogy Criterion Collection DVD Review: Mifune in His Physical Prime

Japanese screen legend Toshiro Mifune is most closely associated with the directorial efforts of fellow legend Akira Kurosawa, and yet ...
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Carlos (2010) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Tale of the Jackal

Carlos is a fascinating docudrama about the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, whose most notorious ...
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Gray’s Anatomy / And Everything is Going Fine Criterion Collection Blu-rays Review: A Spalding Gray & Steven Soderbergh Double Feature

The extraordinarily talented monologist Spalding Gray gets a pair of releases from the Criterion Collection this month. Both films are ...
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Shallow Grave (1994) Criterion Collection DVD Review: Boyle’s Debut Shows Promise and Little Else

Written by Jordan Richardson Directed by Danny Boyle, written by John Hodge, and available now thanks to Criterion Collection, Shallow ...
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The Gold Rush Criterion Collection DVD Review: One of Chaplin’s Most Acclaimed Films

Written by Greg Barbrick Although Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character remains so iconic, people all over the world are still ...
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Shallow Grave (1994) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Exceptional Film

Danny Boyle’s first film Shallow Grave is a disturbing and extreme examination of the consequences of one’s actions. I love ...
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Harold and Maude Criterion Collection DVD Review: Timeless Classic Has Never Been More Appropriate

Written by Greg Barbrick The oddest couple in cinematic history have got to be the 20-year old Harold (Bud Cort) ...
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The Lady Vanishes (1938) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: All Aboard for Entertainment

Though it was Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film made in Britain before producer David O. Selznick brought him to America, the ...
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Summer Interlude Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Formative Bergman Picture Gets the High-Def Treatment

With Summer Interlude, Swedish master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman began to lay the foundation for some of his most memorable pictures. ...
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The Gold Rush Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Charlie Chaplin Strikes Gold

The Criterion Collection has a problem. It’s the best kind of problem to have though. They have the rights to ...
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Summer with Monika Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review: Bergman in Love

This early success from director Ingmar Bergman follows a completely straightforward and conventional path to its obvious conclusion, offering little ...
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Certified Copy Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Review: Certified Original

An esteemed English author named James Miller (William Shimell) has written a book on the value of copies versus original ...
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Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave DVD Review: Gems Indeed

You never really know what to expect from the more “arty” contributions the world of international cinema has to offer ...
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3 Women Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: 2 Actresses Can’t Save 1 Film

Writer/producer/director Robert Altman’s 3 Women is powered by the standout performances of Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall playing two offbeat ...
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Island of Lost Souls (1932) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Of Monsters and Men

The first of many adaptations of H.G. Wells’ novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, Erle C. Kenton’s Island of Lost ...
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La haine Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Seething Portrait of a Vicious Cycle

The Film Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 triumph La haine doesn’t pull any punches — it’s right there in the title, which ...
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A Hollis Frampton Odyssey Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Essential Collection of Avant-Garde Treasures

The Films There isn’t much experimental film represented within the Criterion Collection library, but when the good folks there do ...
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The Organizer Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Relevant in Today’s Political Climate

Written by Lisa McKay The Organizer, a 1963 film from Italian director Mario Monicelli and one of this month’s new ...
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Late Spring Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Moving Look at a Family’s Season of Change

Writer/director Yasujiro Ozu is widely regarded as one of the most important Japanese directors of all time, generally second only ...
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A Night to Remember (1958) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Stunning Presentation for a Genuine Classic

“I don’t think the Board of Trade regulations visualized this situation.” —Capt. Edward John Smith (Laurence Naismith), upon learning his ...
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The War Room Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Men Behind the Man from Hope

It takes a lot to out-charisma Bill Clinton, but legendary political strategist James Carville does it in The War Room, ...
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David Lean Directs Noel Coward Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Four Distinctly British Films From a Fruitful Partnership

Before his name became synonymous with the widescreen epic, David Lean began his directorial career working closely with playwright Noël ...
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Dazed and Confused Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Authentic, Evocative Slice of Life

Set on the last day of school on May 28, 1976 in Austin, Texas, writer/director Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused ...
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A Night to Remember Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Best Film about the Titanic Disaster

Written by Greg Barbrick The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic will be April 14, 2012, and it ...
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David Lean Directs Noel Coward Criterion Collection DVD Boxset Review: Box of Delights

Although best remembered for his widescreen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, and The Bridge on the River ...
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Letter Never Sent Blu-ray Criterion Collection Review: A Survival Flick from Russia?

A survival flick from Russia? Well, I suppose if there was one civilization that has learned to adapt, it was ...
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Anatomy of a Murder Criterion Collection DVD Review: Anatomy of a Classic

Surprisingly, during all those years that I spent sitting in front of my television as a kid, watching one classic ...
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Letter Never Sent Criterion Collection DVD Review: Kalatozov’s Take on Man Vs. Nature

Written by Jordan Richardson Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov and cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky only worked together on three films, but each ...
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The Last Temptation of Christ Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Still Controversial

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, famed director Martin Scorsese sparked a firestorm of controversy via the release of ...
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Beauty and the Beast (1946) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Jean Cocteau Creates Magic

Jean Cocteau, a renaissance man of the arts, appears to be the first filmmaker to bring Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de ...
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Vanya on 42nd Street Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Timeless Theatrical Experiment

Seemingly random individuals are filmed roaming the streets of New York’s Broadway area before separately converging on a dilapidated theater. ...
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Vanya on 42nd Street Criterion Collection DVD Review: Chronicling the Last Days of Multiple Eras

Written by Greg Barbrick As it turned out, Vanya On 42nd Street (1994) was the final film completed by legendary ...
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Tiny Furniture Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: One Character in Search of a Relationship

It’s important to start off with a confession. I love “coming of age” films. It’s a genre that never seems ...
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World on a Wire Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Nature of Unnatural Reality

Two business colleagues at a supercomputer research facility are enjoying a pleasant conversation before one of them declares that he ...
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World on a Wire Criterion Collection DVD Review: A Superb Piece of Science Fiction

Written by Greg Barbrick What if everything you thought you knew was nothing but a fabrication? This is but one ...
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Three Outlaw Samurai Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Genre-Defining Samurai Film

The Samurai genre and the Western are so closely tied by themes and storylines that it’s amazing the great Japanese ...
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Godzilla (1954) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The King of Monsters is Back

In 1954 one of the world's biggest monster movies was released to the big screen. Created and directed by Ishiro ...
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Three Outlaw Samurai Criterion Collection DVD Review: Three is the Magic Number

When peasants stage an uprising against their greedy local magistrate, they find an unlikely ally in the form of a ...
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If…. Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Portrait of the Student as an Angry Young Man

Director Lindsay Anderson’s If…. is a film that catches the viewer off guard when its true intention is revealed and ...
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The Moment of Truth Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Heady Symphony of Sound and Image

The Film Francesco Rosi doesn’t waste his time on extraneous details in The Moment of Truth, a lean symphony of ...
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Godzilla (1954) The Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Legendary Monster Makes its Debut

In 1954, Japan was still reeling from the effects of the World War II atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ...
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Belle de Jour Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: How Severine Got Her Groove Back

A young, wealthy housewife goes for a horse-drawn carriage ride in the idyllic French countryside with her dashing husband. So ...
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Traffic Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Thrilling and Uncompromising Look at the War on Drugs

The Film One of the predominant narratives used in describing Steven Soderbergh’s career is that he’s a director capable of ...
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Sabu! Criterion Collection DVD Review: Adventures With The Immensely Charming Child Star

Plucked from obscurity as an elephant handler in southern India and vaulted to international stardom largely by the efforts of ...
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Design For Living Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Pre-Codiest of the Pre-Codes

When I was a guest on the Turner Classic Movies podcast last fall, I engaged in a bit of premeditated ...
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Solaris (1972) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Explorations in Outer and Inner Space

Director Andrei Tarkovsky used Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 science fiction novel Solaris as the basis for his story about a man ...
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Branded To Kill Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Legendary Piece of Cinema You Should Not Miss

I was born in 1967. And in the tradition of all petulant teenagers – I grew to have disdain for ...
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Kiss Me Deadly Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Pulp Science Fiction

When Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer debuted in I, Jury (1947) he was possibly the hardest of hardnosed detectives there was, ...
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Design for Living Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Delightfully Risque Pre-Hayes Code Romp

”It’s amazing how a few insults can bring people together in three hours.” ”It was certainly good to hear all ...
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America Lost and Found: The BBS Story Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

The story told in Criterion’s The BBS Story box set is a major chapter in the output of producers Bob ...
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Tokyo Drifter The Criterion Collection DVD Review: A Blast of Swinging Tokyo

Written by Greg Barbrick Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter (1966) is a delirious Pop Art explosion. Working under the yoke of ...
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Tokyo Drifter Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Style Over Substance

Iconic director Seijun Suzuki’s film isn’t very impressive from a story standpoint, but is packed with wall-to-colorful-wall visual flair. It’s ...
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Branded To Kill Criterion Collection DVD Review: Suzuki’s Absurd Deconstruction of Yakuza Crime Films

Written by Greg Barbrick There has never been a crime film quite like this. Director Seijun Suzuki’s Branded To Kill ...
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Three Colors Trilogy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Forever

Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy is a series of three films that were released in 1993 and 1994. ...
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The Rules of the Game (1939) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Jean Renoir, Je T’aime

I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can’t expose my guests to your ...
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12 Angry Men Criterion Collection DVD Review: Explosive Drama in the Jury Room

Written by Greg Barbrick The stifling, claustrophobic feeling director Sidney Lumet perfected in films such as Dog Day Afternoon (1975), ...
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Identification of a Woman Criterion Collection DVD Review: Searching for a Way out of the Fog

Identification of A Woman is the story of Niccolo Farra (Tomas Milian) a middle-aged Italian filmmaker who is searching for ...
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Rushmore Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Wes Anderson’s Best Film Dazzles in High-Def

The Film By and large, there’s been quite a backlash against the films of Wes Anderson, and even though I’m ...
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Dazed and Confused Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Celebrating Being Caught Between Dreaming and Adulthood

Can one film ruin a genre? I guess you can look at it from two angles. Did Titanic ruin the ...
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Fanny & Alexander Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Bergman’s Documentary Trumps Feature Film

As a newcomer to Fanny & Alexander, I was surprised to learn that the original format of the project was ...
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Cinema Sentries

Identification of a Woman Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Futile Search for Romantic Fulfillment

The Film Among those disinclined to enjoy films without a clear story arc, well-defined conflict, and a resolute conclusion, the ...
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Kuroneko Criterion Collection DVD Review: Expressionistic Horror in Feudal Japan

A spooky, poetic Japanese ghost story, Kuroneko is the kind of film that captivates you by virtue of an astonishing ...
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Smiles of a Summer Night Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: All’s Well That Ends Well

Though legendary director Ingmar Bergman is well known for creating films that deal with serious subjects about life and death, ...
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The Four Feathers (1939) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Offers Quite a Bit of Excitement

The A.E.W. Mason classic adventure book The Four Feathers (1902) has been adapted into at least seven films directly. The ...
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Island of Lost Souls (1932) Criterion Collection DVD Review: Are We Not Men?

Written by Greg Barbrick ”Do you know what it means to feel like God?” asks the fiendish Dr. Moreau (Charles ...
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The Killing Criterion Collection DVD Review: A Day at the Races

The Criterion Collection has scored big again with the DVD release of The Killing, Stanley Kubrick's 1956 film noir classic. ...
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The Four Feathers (1939) Criterion Collection DVD Review: One Man’s Journey of Redemption

Harry Faversham (John Clements) comes from a long line of heroic officers in the British army. But ever since he ...
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Criterion Collection Eclipse Series #29 DVD Review: Aki Kaurismaki’s Leningrad Cowboys

Written by Greg Barbrick Not since the likes of Sigue Sigue Sputnik have a band with so little to offer ...
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Kuroneko Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Things That Go Bump In The Night

Although classified as a horror film, Kuroneko isn’t very scary. Instead, it delivers atmosphere and oddities, making it more akin ...
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Cinema Sentries

Harakiri Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The Samurai Condition

When a bedraggled masterless samurai, or ronin, approaches the estate of a large warrior clan and asks for permission to ...
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Buy the Disc, Take the Ride

First appearing in the pages of Rolling Stone, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas details the drug-fueled ...
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Cinema Sentries

My Life As a Dog Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Boy’s Eccentric Journey to Manhood

When you further categorize the films that I love the most, you’ll find that the majority of them speak to ...
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The Phantom Carriage Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Spooky Silent Cinema That Transcends Genre

The Film Victor Sjöström’s intensely atmospheric, technically brilliant The Phantom Carriage was highly influential on the career of Ingmar Bergman, ...
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Cinema Sentries

Le Beau Serge and Les Cousins Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: The True Origins of the French New Wave

The Films The French New Wave evokes thoughts of two films above all others — François Truffaut’s and Jean-Luc Godard’s ...
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Carlos (2010) Criterion Collection DVD Review: An Extraordinary Movie

Written by Greg Barbrick From the opening explosion of a car bomb in Paris, through the anti-climactic, somewhat pathetic ending ...
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The Phantom Carriage Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Impressive Ghost of Cinema Past

I don’t spend much time watching silent films, especially foreign silent films, but The Phantom Carriage has me rethinking that ...
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The Phantom Carriage Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Pinnacle of Swedish Silent Filmmaking

Written by Greg Barbrick Swedish director Victor Sjostrom’s (1879-1960) The Phantom Carriage (1921) is a profoundly emotional film, and was ...
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Cinema Sentries

Orpheus Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Cinematic Magic from a Familiar Tale

The Film Jean Cocteau had a knack for applying a distinct surreal stamp to familiar tales. He did it in ...
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Cul-De-Sac Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Roman Polanski Leads Down a Dead End Road

With new releases from The Criterion Collection, the ones I look forward to the most aren’t always the major works ...
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Cinema Sentries

Topsy-Turvy Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: It Is the Very Model of a Modern-Day Blu-ray Release

After five films, Mike Leigh took a break from modern-day kitchen-sick dramas and created Topsy-Turvy, a marvelous historical biopic about ...
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The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara DVD Review: Diverse Dispatches from the Japanese New Wave

Watching the five films in Criterion’s latest Eclipse offering, The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara, one gets the sense that ...
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Cinema Sentries

Orpheus Criterion Collection DVD Review: Jean Cocteau Constructed a Masterpiece

Written by Greg Barbrick ”Look at yourself in a mirror all your life and you will see Death at work,” ...
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Blow Out Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Hearing Is Believing

Brian De Palma’s Blow Out is an intriguing political thriller that plays with the ideas of perception and cinema. These ...
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Secret Sunshine Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Secret No More

After an interminable four-year delay, Secret Sunshine has finally reached U.S. shores thanks to the fine folks at Criterion. The ...
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Cinema Sentries

The Killing Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Meet Me at the Racetrack

The Killing is a fine little film on its own, and yet I couldn’t help but compare it unfavorably to ...
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Cul-de-Sac Criterion Collection DVD Review: Not Your Garden Variety Thriller

Written by Lisa McKay The tragedies and controversy swirling around director Roman Polanski’s personal life have frequently overshadowed his reputation ...
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Cinema Sentries

The Mikado Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Dated but Has its Charms

The Mikado is the ninth opera created by the tandem of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. It debuted in London ...
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The Battle of Algiers Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Political Powder-Keg

The Film The Battle of Algiers doesn’t simply tack on a cinema verité veneer to achieve a sense of realism; ...
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Cinema Sentries

Leon Morin, Priest Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Sex and Religion on the Mind

The Film Léon Morin, Priest is a somewhat atypical film for director Jean-Pierre Melville and star Jean-Paul Belmondo, at least ...
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Cinema Sentries

High and Low Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Kurosawa and Mifune: The Gold Standard

Master director Akira Kurosawa and his acting muse Toshiro Mifune teamed up once again for this kidnapping drama set in ...
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Life During Wartime Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Alternative Happiness

Writer/director Todd Solondz has forged a cottage industry out of exploring the foibles of odd suburban characters, popping in every ...
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Naked Criterion Blu-ray Review: Anti-Hero’s Odyssey Through Thatcher’s London

In Mike Leigh’s 1993 UK film, Naked, I don’t think a main character has turned the audience against him quicker ...
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Au revoir les enfants Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Louis Malle’s Remembrance of Things Past

Writer-director Louis Malle’s childhood informs Au revoir les enfants, a story about two boys at a Catholic boarding school in ...
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The Music Room Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Solitary Man

Right from the opening shot of this film, it’s evident that viewers are witnessing the work of a masterful director. ...
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Black Moon (1975) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Gloria Steinem Meets Lewis Carroll

I don’t know the exact definition of a “black moon” just as I’m not exactly clear on the definition of ...
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Insignificance Criterion Collection DVD Review: There is Significance in Everything

Written by Greg Barbrick In 1954, four of the most famous people in the world were Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, ...
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People on Sunday Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Lazy Sunday

People on Sunday is a fascinating historical document of late 1920s Germany, offering a glimpse into the fashion, architecture, and ...
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Kiss Me Deadly Criterion Collection DVD Review: Endlessly Entertaining

Written by Greg Barbrick Appearing at the tail end of the classic era of film noir, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) ...
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The Makioka Sisters Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: No Joy No Luck Club

Director Kon Ichikawa’s late career work centers on the relationships between four adult sisters as they run their family kimono ...
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Criterion Collection Eclipse Series #27 DVD Review: Raffaello Matarazzo’s Runaway Melodramas

Written by Greg Barbrick Raffaello Matarazzo (1909 – 1966) was an Italian director who specialized in some of the most ...
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The Great Dictator Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Most Courageous Act of His Remarkable Career

Written by Greg Barbrick Charles Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) is undoubtedly his most controversial film. It is also one ...
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The Great Dictator Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Charlie Chaplin Still Gives Hope Today

When we last saw Charlie Chaplin in 1936 at the end of Modern Times, The Tramp and his muse, “the ...
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Cinema Sentries

The Times of Harvey Milk Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: History in the Making

The Times of Harvey Milk is an outstanding documentary that presents an important chapter in the United States civil rights ...
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Diabolique (1955) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Crime and Punishment

There’s a clear point part way through this French classic where it drops its conventional nature and morphs into an ...
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Diabolique (1955) Criterion Collection DVD Review: Influential Horror that Stands the Test of Time

Written by Greg Barbrick Henri-Georges Clouzet’s Diabolique (1955) is a classic suspense/horror film. Although Clouzet was maligned as “old guard” ...
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Cinema Sentries

Army of Shadows Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Different Kind of Spy Thriller

Writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (1969) opens with a powerful image: an extended take of a long line of ...
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Cinema Sentries

Something Wild Criterion Collection DVD Review: Jonathan Demme’s Vision of a Yuppie Nightmare

Written by Greg Barbrink ”It’s better to be a live dog, than a dead lion.” So says Charlie Driggs (Jeff ...
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Cinema Sentries

Something Wild Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Jonathan Demme’s Film is a Wild Thing

The Criterion Collection is on a serious roll this Spring. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing White Material (a superb ...
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Cinema Sentries

Pale Flower Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Essential Japanese New Wave

Although this is a Japanese film, the words that immediately come to mind to describe it are largely French: a ...
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Cinema Sentries

Sweetie (1989) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Wonderful, Symbolic-Laden Story

I recently was able to sit down and review White Material (2009) – a film directed by a female director ...
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Cinema Sentries

White Material Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Presages Current Events

Claire Denis makes movies that almost seem commissioned by The Criterion Collection. The French filmmaker shoots in long, beautiful, quiet ...
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The Complete Monterey Pop Festival Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous Time Capsule

During the Summer of Love, the weekend of June 16-18, 1967 to be specific, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival ...
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Seven Samurai Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Cinematic Masterpiece of Epic Proportions

The premise of Seven Samurai is a simple one: a group of farmers hire seven samurai to deal with bandits ...
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Cinema Sentries

Le Cercle Rouge Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Short on Plot, Long on Mise en Scene

At first glance, Le Cercle Rouge seems like a fairly conventional crime drama, a perception that is upheld by the ...
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Cinema Sentries

Fish Tank Criterion Collection DVD Review: The Struggle to Escape Family Traditions

Written by Greg Barbrick. After viewing the Criterion Collection edition of Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009), I cannot imagine a ...
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Cinema Sentries

Fish Tank Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: An Andrea Arnold Primer

British writer/director Andrea Arnold won the 2009 Cannes Jury Prize and 2010 BAFTA (Outstanding British Film) for this gritty coming-of-age ...
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Cinema Sentries

Amarcord Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Parade of Unforgettable Characters

Federico Fellini’s films are widely perceived as an acquired taste, with their odd flights of fancy, peculiar characters and avoidance ...
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Cinema Sentries

Still Walking Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Most Personal Film

In the aftermath of his own mother’s death, director Hirokazu Kore-eda crafted his most personal film to date, a quiet ...
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Cinema Sentries

Still Walking Criterion Collection DVD Review: A Masterpiece of Japanese Cinema

Written by Greg Barbrick. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking (2008) has just been issued as part of The Criterion ...
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