Criterion Collection Titles for May 2015

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The new May releases from the Criterion Collection are loaded with classics from the 70s and a couple of earlier films, but the two most intriguing are from the great director Costa-Gavras. Yes, two wonderful political thrillers: The Confession (1970) and State of Siege (1972), both starring the wonderful European actor Yves Montand. The Confession revolves around a Czechoslovakian dignitary in the 50s, who is captured by Czech Communist’s and interrogated to a terrifying degree. State of Siege delves into the United States’ involvement in South America, mainly Uruguay, and is a political thriller of the highest order. Both of these films were made after the groundbreaking (1969) and I am really looking forward to seeing how these look on Blu-ray. The Confession and State of Siege will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on May 26th.

The next title I am really excited for, and a film I have yet to see, is Charles Chaplin’s late drama Limelight (1952). Chaplin stars as a down-and-out vaudeville star who is now an alcoholic. He meets a beautiful ballerina who lives below him in his London flat and things begin to change. The film is also the only time Chaplin starred in a film with another early comedy legend — Buster Keaton. Limelight will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on May 19th. Criterion is also upgrading, and this is the only upgrade in May, Leo McCarey’s touching, depression-era drama Make Way for Tomorrow (1937). I have read nothing but high praise for this film and need to finally check it out. The film will be released on Blu-ray on May 19th as well.

There will also be two more films from that great decade of the 70s arriving in May. The first is from the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971). Criterion already released The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant () earlier this year and I hope with this release there will be more Fassbinder on the way. The film follows a former policeman and war veteran as he tries to make ends meet for himself, and his family, by working as a fruit vendor. The Merchant of Four Seasons will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on May 26th. And the last film for the month of May is the Bette Midler starrer The Rose (1979). Directed by Mark Rydell and lensed by Vilmos Zsigmond, Midler stars as a rock-and-roll singer dealing with fame and addiction. I have not seen this one yet. The Rose will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on May 19th.

And that is it for the month of May. In all honesty, I cannot wait to revisit the two Costa-Gavras thrillers and finally check out Chaplin’s Limelight. A good month of releases, but I have a feeling June is going to be gigantic. Enjoy!

Photo credits by the Criterion Collection.

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Criterion Collection Wacky New Year’s Drawing

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Happy New Year! And with the beginning of 2015, as with the beginning every year, the Criterion Collection teases at future titles they will be releasing, hopefully this year. Some of the clues are tricky, some are obvious and some could have double and triple meanings. I have looked and read about these clues for a couple of days, and most of my suggestions are based from the great folks over at the criterioncast.com. It will be great to see what gets released this new year!!! Enjoy!!!

Obvious Ones (I think):

  • Man with the guitar case and cat:  Inside Llewyn Davis (delightful surprise and Coen’s)
  • Sun’s, moon and cloud combo:  Two Days, One Night (IFC + Dardenne’s)
  • Moon over house:  Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson always)
  • Man running:  Speedy (Harold Lloyd or any of his films)
  • Hooded figures on bridge:  The Brood (more Cronenberg)
  • King fishing:  The Fisher King (more Gilliam)

Possibilities (I think):

  • Bald man with paper:  A Master Builder (Wallace Shawn & Andre Gregory + Demme)
  • Soldiers marching:  Barry Lyndon??? or Napoleon??? (WB title + Kubrick or Abel Gance)
  • Pyre:  The Passion of Joan Arc (please be true!!!)
  • Car on bridge:  Wender’s road trilogy and/or Kiarostami Koker trilogy (both on the way???)
  • Man pushing cart:  The Merchant of Four Seasons (more Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  • Clock at 1:23:  One, Two, Three  (Billy Wilder film or something else)
  • The ship:  The New World??? and/or And the Ship Sails On (more Malick and/or Fellini upgrade)
  • The eyeball:  One-Eyed Jacks (Brando directing/acting)
  • The snakey cloud:  Clouds of Sils Maria (IFC + Assayas)

Not Sure:

  • The rose:  La vie en rose??? and/or The Rose???
  • The river overall:  The River??? (Jean Renoir film)
  • The bridge overall:  San Francisco/Golden Gate Bridge — Vertigo, Zodiac (doubt it/who knows)
  • The window frame:  A Room with a View??? (James Ivory film)
  • Pool of blood, or whatever it its:  Lady Snowblood??? (not sure/ could be connection with pyre?)
  • Gang with “X” on them:  Cure??? (Kiyoshi Kurosawa film)

I could be correct, but more than likely not, but it is exciting to research and try to decipher these clues. The Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis is really exciting and hopefully this leads to more of their films arriving to the collection — Barton Fink??? Also, could the two sun’s and night be a clue for Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy??? It is more likely the Dardenne’s, but it would not surprise me to see Linklater’s masterful trilogy added to the collection at some point. Fun, fun, fun and all the credit goes to criterioncast.com!!!

Photo credit by Criterion Collection.

 

 

 

Criterion Collection Titles for March

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A slew of documentaries lead the new releases arriving from the Criterion Collection next March. Basically, 2 discs, with three films from Errol Morris, including his groundbreaking The Thin Blue Line (1988). This, along with The Fog of War (2003), are the only two films I have seen from Morris and I really am looking forward to catching The Thin Blue Line, a suspenseful documentary about a wrongful convicted man of murder in Dallas, once it is released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on March 24th. We also get a two film set with Errol Morris’ first two films — Gates of Heaven (1978) and Vernon, Florida (1984). This set will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on March 24th as well.

Criterion is also upgrading one of the most beloved and inspirational documentaries ever made, Hoop Dreams (1994), by Steve James. Being an avid basketball, and in general, sports fan, this film is a must see and must own. It is truly a landmark documentary of the 90s and on that will continue to inspire any one for years to come. Not to mention, it is so well made and delivered with such intensity and heart. Hoop Dreams will be released on Blu-ray on March 31st.

The collection is finally, after years of speculation and anticipation, releasing François Truffaut’s The Soft Skin (1964). I have not yet seen this film, but the premise is very enticing, as the film follows a literary scholar as he becomes involved in an extramarital affair. This is when Truffaut began to immerse himself in the works of Hitchcock and just that fact is enough to make me want to see the film. The Soft Skin will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on March 10th.

The next two films being released during the month of March are the under seen U.S. crime noir from director Robert Montgomery, Ride the Pink Horse (1954), and an upgrade of one of Ingmar Bergman’s many treasures, Cries and Whispers (1972). The former is a puzzle to me, in that this is first time I have ever heard of the film and being a fan of film noir, I am looking forward to seeing. Ride the Pink Horse will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on March 17th. The latter, well, it is Bergman so it is a must. I have not seen Cries and Whispers but I have always seen and heard it has an amazing color pallete, Oscar-winning cinematography from Sven Nykvist and absolutely spectacular performances from Bergman regulars Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann. Cries and Whispers will be released on Blu-ray and DVD editions on March 31st. A big month, especially for documentaries, from the Criterion Collection arriving next March. Enjoy!

Photo credits by Criterion Collection.

Criterion Collection Releases for October 2014

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This Tuesday, the Criterion Collection announced its new releases for October 2014, and although they are light on any horror genre films, they do deliver one of the best months of new releases this year.  For me, Criterion is upgrading and adding new, exceptional, amazing films and the best one, and the one I am the most excited about, is The Complete Jacques Tati. One of the most influential comedic director-writer-actors of all-time, and a French genius. Jacques Tati only directed six feature films, but all of them are beautiful, engaging, political and hilarious. A silent master, seriously obsessive and brilliant comedian. The box set will include all 6 films — Jour de fête (1949), Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953), Mon oncle (1958), Playtime (1967), Traffic (1971) and Parade (1974). The set will also include seven short films and a lot of supplements. This is fantastic and I cannot wait to see Tati’s M. Hulot in action. The film will be released on blu-ray and DVD October 28th.

The other massive announcement is the release of Federico Fellini’s brilliant masterpiece La dolce vita (1960). Fellini was already a huge success and one of the most lauded international filmmakers, and then he made La dolce vita. The film was a stunning critique on fame and popular culture, and skyrocketed Fellini into legendary status. A huge success around the world and one of the most acclaimed and respected films in all of cinema. It made a huge star out of Marcello Mastroianni and is one of the most beautiful films ever shot. Stardom, women, love and  society are all covered in La dolce vita. It could be the greatest Italian film of all time… La dolce vita will be released on blu-ray and DVD October 21st.

Another film that is going to be fantastic, and one I have yet to see and cannot wait to watch, is John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (1946). I have been slowly watching more and more of Ford’s films, my favorite being The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and this is one I am eagerly excited to see. Ford’s vision and take on the shootout at the O.K. Corral, with Henry Fonda playing the legendary Wyatt Earp. It is a Ford film so it will be more than just a shoot-em-up Western and will contain an examination of power, corruption and humanity in the West. And Walter Brennan. An instant buy for me. My Darling Clementine will be released on blu-ray and DVD October 14th.

Criterion was recently averaging about one upgrade a month, but we luckily get two during the month of October. F for Fake (1975), directed by Orson Welles, is something I have been wanting to see for quite some time but never got around to watching it. A free-form documentary that plunges into the boundaries between illusion and truth. This seems like a highly abstract film by the great Welles and one I cannot wait to see. I am just looking forward to seeing what Welles has done here. F for Fake will be released on blu-ray October 21st.

The next film getting not only an upgrade, but a facelift with nifty, stylish new cover art, is George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (1988). An excellent thriller that I have only seen once, but is one hell of a dark, twisted, suspenseful thriller. When a man’s girlfriend goes missing while the two were on vacation, he embarks on a haunting, obsessive search to bring her back. This film contains some truly eerie and powerful scenes and acting. This will look amazing on blu-ray. The Vanishing will be released on blu-ray October 28th.

One of the best months of releases in an already impressive year for Criterion.

Photo credit by criterion.com.