criterion

All posts tagged criterion

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Yesssss! Criterion knocks it out of the park in October, with another David Lynch film (Mulholland Dr., following last year’s Eraserhead — maybe next October we’ll get Lost Highway or Inland Empire) as well as another Cronenberg (The Brood). Add to the mix Kwaidan, a classic ghost story from director Masaki Kobayashi (Samurai Rebellion), some Gus Van Sant movie I don’t care about with Keanu “Whoa” Reeves and River “Dead” Phoenix, and A Special Day, which teams Marcello Mastroianni with Sophia Loren, and you’ve got a pretty damn good month.

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Moonrise Kingdom has apparently been delayed a month, if you’re into that sort of thing. Originally slated for August, but with no box art, it reappeared with this set of releases for September.  Meanwhile, despite losing the rights to older Merchant Ivory films, resulting in some of them (such as Howards End) going out of print, A Room With a View is getting a Blu-Ray edition. There’s also a one-two punch of Bruce Beresford films, both with cover artwork from the great Sean Philips (Criminal, The Fade Out, Fatale), and an early Krzysztof Kieślowski film, pre-Three Colors.

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Directed by Errol Morris.

Directed by Errol Morris.

In the interview with director Errol Morris that’s featured on the Criterion blu-ray of Vernon, Florida (a double feature alongside Gates of Heaven), Morris reveals the unlikely origins of this documentary. Originally intended as an expose on insurance fraud in this small town, known as “Stump City” due to its inhabitants having a predilection for cutting their own limbs off to get some cash, when asking around Vernon, several people persuaded Morris that he might want to look elsewhere. If you get the meaning. He instead decided to just film a selection of people in the town, letting them ramble on about whatever the hell they want. The result is far stranger, and likely far more captivating, than the original story would have been.

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I can’t say I care too much about the individual releases here, other than an early DePalma effort with Dressed to Kill, but hey! A new Eclipse Series set! Already, 2015 will have double the number of Eclipse sets that 2014 saw (the lone Late Ray one) with this and the Keisuke Konishita collection.

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A GREAT MONTH. GREAT! The double-feature of the two most notable The Killers adaptations finally gets a Blu-Ray release, along with Hiroshima mon amour,  Alain Resnais’ postwar cross-cultural love story, and one of Daniel Day-Lewis’ earliest films, My Beautiful Laundrette. Also included, though with no box art so far, is Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, a movie I hated.

No new Eclipse set, unfortunately, but I guess at this point it’s best to not expect them and instead just be pleasantly surprised at their rare appearances.

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This is an odd month, to say the least. Criterion is releasing a Blu-Ray box set of movies, but also putting the two new ones  out individually, something they haven’t done in quite a while. At the same time, Five Easy Pieces also gets a standalone Blu-Ray, even though it’s been available in the America Lost and Found box set for quite a while.  This version apparently features a new transfer, but I doubt I’ll be double-dipping this time.

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With five films set for release in May, Criterion have cooked up a pretty interesting mix. A new Chaplin release is probably the most conventional, with the late-career Limelight, but there are also two new releases from Costa-Gavras — likely best known for Missing. We also get a new Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, The Merchant of Four Seasons. There’s also The Rose, for some reason. I’m not a 40-year-old woman so I don’t quite have the Bette Midler fever. Yet.

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Written & directed by  Rémy Belvaux. Starring Benoît Poelvoorde.

Written & directed by Rémy Belvaux. Starring Benoît Poelvoorde.

In 1992, the mockumentary was still in its relative infancy. Despite This Is Spinal Tap having released 8 years earlier (not that it was the progenitor — Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night, Albert Brooks’ Real Life, and Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run had all seen critical success already), the format had not really taken off.

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It would be hard to follow up March’s fantastic set of titles, but Criterion has done a pretty good job of sticking the landing. A Blu-Ray upgrade of The Friends of Eddie Coyle, starring the great Robert Mitchum, is my pick of the month, but we also get an early film from Le Samourai director Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949’s Le Silence de la Mer. Rounding out the month, which also features entries from Preston Sturges and Jean Renoir, is a new Eclipse set! Featuring three silent films from Yasujiro Ozu, Silent Ozu focuses on a genre he wasn’t known for: crime dramas. Ozu’s most celebrated films, such as Tokyo Story, were usually focused on Japanese family life. So, enough yammering, here’s all the hot phresh deets:

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March is a pretty exciting month, and one thing in particular makes it a notable outlier — in fact, almost a theme month: a heavy emphasis on documentaries. Fully half of the releases are docs, including three from the master of the form, Errol Morris. Plus, we get a classic Bergman, a weird old noir, and a Truffaut film. Pretty great, all told.

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