Archive for the ‘Criterion Collection Blu Ray’ Tag

September Is Shaping Up To Be A Pretty Epic Month For Blu-Ray Releases Starting With Today…   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

The longer any video format in around the obvious lack of great releases begins to set in years after inception. Blu-Ray being in its 6th year already you would think there’s very little to get excited about at this point.  Being a big fan of the format, September 2012 offers one of the best release months for 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and new releases movie in years. Some great old classics, action, comedy films, and there’s also a few discs you might want to buy just to BURN so there is one less copy in the world. I know I will be with one title in particular, but you may absolutely do what suits you.  A few details and box art below, please enjoy.

SEPTEMBER 4th:

Sixteen Candles (1984) director John Hughes-The first movie of only 8 that Hughes directed out of so many he wrote in the 80’s and early 90’s. It still surprises me how many moments I remember so perfectly from this film. I’m not really sure how many times I saw this on either cable or VHS video in the 80’s, but it must have been quite a lot because I still have dialog mesmerized even though I’ve only watched it 3 times in the last 15 years. A true comedy classic,  you see how good Anthony Michael Hall was for the 80’s geek character. Ringwald always had her best work in the Hughes films she did. A really fun film that gets better with time.

Fringe 4th Season(2011-12)- I actually very much enjoyed the 4th season of Fringe. If you’ve been waiting for things to start paying off and being explained, if you make it to the end of this season you most likely will have most of what you want explained straight out for you. After the scare of possibility of  being canceled after season 4 , the creators really got to laying things out in the last 10 episodes here. I am glad that Fringe does get one more full season to wrap things up but it really feels as if they decided to give the fans of the show the things that they were craving to know and see at the end of this season. I hope the 5th season has something in store to end it all with a bang.

Re-Animator (1985) director Stuart Gordon- A great straight out gore fest very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s work. Any fan or student of practical FX work or gore films with find something to love here. A great classic 80’s horror flick all the way round.

SEPTEMBER 10th:

Titanic 3D/ 2D (1997) director James Cameron- Straight in the fire place she goes. The only Cameron film I have zero love for. Saw it twice in the theater and it was two times too many.

SEPTEMBER 11th:

Snow White And The Huntsmen (2012) director Rupert Sanders- I haven’t seen it yet but my Grip friend Shae Vera had seen it on a date and said it he was amazed how shitty it was, so I’ll most likely never bother with a viewing but it you’re into to shit. this might be right up your alley.

Ghosts Of The Abbyss (2003) director James Cameron- This is the one where  James Cameron and Bill Paxton after filming Titanic, travel to the final undersea resting place of the fated ship of dreams. I’d rather watch this shit a hundred times in a row than have to sit though Titanic one more time. Not a bad watch if you haven’t seen it before.

SEPTEMBER 18th:

Indiana Jones Blu Ray Collection (1981-2009) director Steven Spielberg- I think this has a best chance at the best Blu-Ray set of the year. Indy fans can finally rejoice that they can actually see the 3 good Indy films in HD come September 18. I know the wife and I will be picking up a set and watching all 3 back to back immediately. Can’t wait.

Cabin In The Woods (2012) director Drew Godard- Loved this and am glad it got a theater release after sitting on the shelf at MGM for a few years. It’s extremely inventive, fun and gory as hell. This is the direction I love to see Hollywood go with horror films again. Enough PG-13 remakes and shit storms, please take note,  Cabin In The Woods is a fucking awesome film that every horror fan should be rushing out to pick up in September. Come on humans, start supporting Hard R horror again.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986) directors Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener and John Musker- Loving these classic Disney animation releases on Blu-Ray. The format was made for Animation, the way the picture just pops off the screen is beautiful. We picked up The Rescuers two pack a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised by the picture quality again. I’m sure The Great Mouse Detective will look just as good as it did in the theater in ’86.

Supernatural Season 7 (2011-2012)- Really digging this show and the 7th season keeps things rolling strong. Funny, great lore through out all seasons and all the actors walk the line of seriousness and comedy perfectly, a great show to be discovered. I’ll be sad to see it come to an end next year but at least we will have 8 rad seasons total for this cool as hell horror mythos series. The best thing McG will ever be involved in, still can’t believe he is EP. Regardless though, a kick ass series for all horror fans worldwide.

SEPTEMBER 25th:

Avengers (2012) director Joss Whedon- I love me some Avengers, My original review here: https://celluloidpopculturejunkie.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/after-the-avengers-movie-in-imax-3d-i-wanted-to-walk-back-into-the-theater-and-see-it-again-and-again-and-again/.

The Blu-Ray I’m sure will not disappoint being that Disney usually pack there big earners with a ton of bells and whistles. I’m looking forward to watching this a few more times and rewinding the greatest Hulk moments ever put on film. HULK going to SMASH the shit out of records again come September 25. I know they’ve got my loot.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Set (2008-2012)- 6 film set- If you haven’t for some reason bought any of the “Phase One” Marvel Studios movies on Blu-Ray and are suddenly in the mood to splurge,  here’s your chance to own The Incredible Hulk,Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, Captain America: First Avenger and Avengers all in one fancy collectors pack made to resemble the suit case Nick Fury uses to carry the Tesseract cube in the Avengers film, pretty slick fokes.

Dark Knight Returns Animated Part 1 (2012)- 76 minutes- This looks very interesting and the other few DC animations I’ve seen over the last 3 years have been pretty good. I’m expecting very special treatment to be given to this material and hope DC has made a great film here. I will be checking this one out as soon as I get the chance. I hope one of the greatest Batman comics ever has been translated well, otherwise it could be war on DC. Fingers crossed.

Bond Collection “50 years” Blu Ray Set (1962-2008)- 22 movies, 130 hours of special features, 50 years of Bond and this set has them all. There were a few film unavailable on HD till now. I’m glad I waited on the full deal, I like the way they’ve designed the set, looks very cool.  A definite needed up grade to a great series, good or bad all Bonds are a must own classic.

The Game Criterion Collection (1997) director David Fincher- The news of Criterion putting out Fincher’s “The Game” on video have been rumored since the release of the film in the theater. Being my favorite film of the director, I am over joyed to finally have them giving me a Blu-Ray presentation that will be how I remember that first viewing in the theater in the late 90’s. So Happy to finally be getting me some David Fincher’s The Game in stunning Criterion HD. Paint me stoked.

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (1942-1976)-  Saboteur / Shadow of a Doubt/ Rope / Rear Window / The Trouble with Harry /  The Man Who Knew Too Much /  Vertigo / North by Northwest / Psycho / The Birds / Marnie / Torn Curtain / Topaz / Frenzy / Family Plot- 15 films- director Alfred Hitchcock- What more is there to say, 15 Hitchcock films in HD in one set. I pity anyone who doesn’t see the pure awesomeness in this release, so many great classic in one set is unlikely to happen ever again. This would be the perfect set for that young film enthusiast in your life, this is film school in a box if I’ve ever seen it. Pure Ultra Cinema Gold.

So many superb releases to get your hands on this month. I know I’m already lock in for a bunch in this group, some great watching ahead.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

Criterion’s Upcoming August HD Releases Fulfill A Big Hole In My Blu-Ray Collection’s Heart.   Leave a comment

Hey Everybody,

Close to the inception of LaserDisc in the early 80’s Criterion released a number of brilliantly mastered discs of classic and contemporary films alike that continued till 1994 and translated into the Company doing DVD releases with the highest quality of mastering and print recreation from the original negative elements and if possible director’s approval on coloring and picture transfers. A few years ago they released their first releases on Blu-Ray and the results are a mind blowing viewing experience for the classic film geek. The HD transfer of “The Third Man” from 1949 is incredible, I never thought it was possible to beat some of the transfers  from the DVDs of these older titles but the depth of the picture on Blu-Ray from the older slower black and white film of the 30’s and 40’s in nothing short of incredible. It pops off the screen with beautiful grain, perfectly balanced tones and ultra deep blacks. Fritz Lang’s “M” from 1931 is another incredible achievement considering the age of the original film elements at this point, it looks as close to perfection as is possible at this point in time. Just all around Beautiful work Criterion. As the growth of the Blu-Ray format continues so does the Criterion Catalogue of  HD releases.  The August 2011 Blu-Ray titles include Gillo Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers”, Roman Polanski’s “Cul-de-Sac”, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing”, Lee Chang-dong’s “Secret Sunshine”, Jean Cocteau’s “Orpheus”, Lindsay Anderson’s “If….“, and The Complete Jean Vigo collection, which features Vigo’s entire oeuvre—”À propos de Nice”, ” Taris, Zéro de conduite”, and “L’Atalante”.

The Battle of Algiers, If…., and Orpheus are Criterion DVDs receiving the Blu-ray upgrade; the rest are new to the Collection. Of particular interest to me are the special features for The Killing; Criterion has packed a restored edition of Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss in the set, his 1955 film noir previously unavailable on Blu-ray; if the transfer of Murder à la Mod released a few weeks ago on Criterion’s “Blow Out” disc is any indication, the A/V for Killer’s Kiss should prove to be of kick ass quality.

The Battle of Algiers(9 August 2011)

  • High-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
  • Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers,” a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others
  • Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance
  • Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence
  • “États d’armes,” a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion
  • “The Battle of Algiers”: A Case Study, a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts
  • Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence
  • Production gallery
  • Theatrical and rerelease trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War

Cul-de-sac(16 August 2011)

  • New digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Two Gangsters and an Island, a 2003 short documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski, and cinematographer Gil Taylor
  • Interview with Polanski from 1967
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson


The Killing(16 August 2011)

  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New video interview with producer James B. Harris
  • Excerpts of interviews with actor Sterling Hayden from the French television series Cinéma cinemas
  • New video interview with film scholar Robert Polito about writer Jim Thompson and his work on The Killing
  • Restored transfer of Stanley Kubrick’s 1955 noir feature Killer’s Kiss
  • New video appreciation of Killer’s Kiss with film critic Geoffrey O’Brien
  • Theatrical trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Haden Guest and a reprinted interview with Marie Windsor on The Killing

Secret Sunshine(23 August 2011)

  • New digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Lee Chang-dong and cinematographer Cho Yong-kyu (with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New interview with Lee
  • On the Set of “Secret Sunshine,” a video piece featuring interviews with actors Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho, as well as behind-the-scenes footage
  • U.S. theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Dennis Lim


Orpheus(30 August 2011)

  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary by French film scholar James Williams
  • Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown, a 1984 feature-length documentary
  • Video piece from 2008 featuring assistant director Claude Pinoteau on the special effects in the film
  • 40 Minutes with Jean Cocteau, an interview with the director from 1957
  • In Search of Jazz, a 1956 interview with Cocteau on the use of jazz in the film
  • La villa Santo-Sospir, a 16 mm color Cocteau film from 1951
  • Gallery of images by French film portrait photographer Roger Corbeau
  • Raw newsreel footage
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by author Mark Polizzotti, selected Cocteau writings on the film, and an essay on La villa Santo-Sospir by Williams

If….(30 August 2011)

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček and assistant editor Ian Rakoff (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell
  • Episode of the Scottish TV series Cast and Crew from 2003, featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondříček, Rakoff, director’s assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter David Sherwin
  • Video interview with actor Graham Crowden
  • Thursday’s Children (1954), an Academy Award–winning documentary about a school for deaf children, by director Lindsay Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by actor Richard Burton
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein as well as reprinted pieces by Sherwin and Anderson


The Complete Jean Vigo (30 August 2011)

  • New, high-definition digital restorations of all of Jean Vigo’s films: À propos de Nice, Taris, Zéro de conduite, and L’Atalante (with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentaries featuring Michael Temple, author of Jean Vigo
  • Alternate shots from À propos de Nice, featuring footage Vigo cut from the film
  • Animated tribute to Vigo by filmmaker Michel Gondry
  • Ninety-minute 1964 episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps on Vigo, directed by Jacques Rozier
  • Conversation from 1968 between filmmakers François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer on L’Atalante
  • Les voyages de “L’Atalante,” Bernard Eisenschitz’s 2001 documentary tracking the history of the film
  • Video interview from 2007 with director Otar Iosseliani on Vigo
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film writers Michael Almereyda, Robert Polito, B. Kite, and Luc Sante

So that’s August for Criterion and I know there’s a few in there I’ll be picking up for the collection. I’m excited for “The Killing” 1956 ,  it’s finally time to retire my second DVD of the film. Love me some Kubrick.

Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.

J.

Holiday Movie Watch List and Review Day 2 : December 20th 2010   Leave a comment

DAY TWO : DECEMBER 20th 2010

Hey Everybody,

This time of the year for me means constant consuming of movie content all day every day. Now those of you who know me might wonder how this differs from my daily life in any way. Regardless I use the holiday lull to catch up on what I may have missed or re watching my favorite classics, mostly on Blu-Ray this year which is a great joy for me. It’s like re living the first viewing of all my favorites and classics alike. I hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday season and able to get into some good movies on your break.

  1. APOCALYPSE NOW Full Disclosure Edition Blu-Ray (1979-1991-2002) –  To start today is a particularity seminal holiday movie for me. I remember watching this with my dad over the holidays many a year, and really this is a film that only get better with age. The Blu-Ray presentation is stunning, with both versions of the film (1979 original and 2002 redux) and for the first time with the movie set you get the must see documentary HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE filmed by Coppola’s wife during the 5 and a half years of production on the movie. A must own set for all film enthusiasts and a grand holiday film for all.
  2. SCROOGED (1988) director Richard Donner  – Bill Murray at his best (and really he’s never off, is he?), holiday movie bull sh!t at its best and Richard Donner not doing a purely action flick. All and all a great ride and reinvention of a classic story producing classic moment of its own. Always a fun film for all viewers, a great afternoon X-mas treat.
  3. FAWLTY TOWERS ( TV Series 1975-79) The Germans episode 6 – For a show that only had 12 episodes Fawlty Towers produces a immeasurable amount of laughter no matter how many times you watch any of the episodes. Even though you may know which bits are coming and know the outcome of the skit, you can’t help but bust out in joyous laughter every viewing. Instead of describing the episode “The Germans” I’ve posted it above . Enjoy the superb craziness of Cleese and company.
  4. UNCLE BUCK(1989) director John Hughes – The early evening feature stars the lovable and always funny John Candy. With Hughes directing him for the second time (the first being Plane, Trains and Automobiles in 1987) , Candy delivers laughs, drama and warmth to a character that could have been played totally wrong by another actor, he is Buck Russell. John Hughes only directed 8 feature films, writing 40 in total before his death in August of 2009. Every time I watch one of his directorial efforts I always come out feeling good even though I know every line to all of them reciting them aloud sometimes, like I’m sure most of you do as well, but you still want to watch them again and again. Too bad there’s know one like Candy or Hughes around today, both will be sourly missed leaving a legacy on celluloid that will last as long as movies have audiences around to view them. A kick ass movie.
  5. The Criterion Collection SANJURO Blu-Ray (1962) director Akira Kurosawa – And finally the late night feature a Kurosawa samurai classic, the companion piece to 1961’s Yojimbo which is the first time we see Toshiro Mifune play this swaggering ronin samurai with a good heart and fast blade. In this sequel Mifune again gets into great sword play with great lines and a grumpy “fu@k You” attitude to his skills and work. Toshiro Mifune to me is a true world class actor. His presents leaps off the scene, with a slight look or head tilt he conveys more than most actors today can do with lines. With Akira Kurosawa you are always in for a visual treat, a true visual story telling master at work every single film. The long lenses work used on Sanjuro  give it an amazing visual quality that along with the black and white brings out so much detail it is stunning. Criterion’s Blu-Ray presentation is astounding, I love the amount of effort that has gone into the high def releases there. A great way to end the day, Kurosawa, Mifune and one of my favorite endings of any sword play/ samurai flicks, “The Fountain of Blood” …Ouch! That shit might sting a bit in the morning…

TILL TOMORROW. STAY TUNED.

J.

Discs Like Yojimbo/ Sanjuro Blu Ray Set Is Why I Love The Criterion Collection Company.   Leave a comment

Hey everybody
Been watching a few of my favorite samurai movies Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962).  The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray sets picture quality is astounding, for two black and white films shot almost 50 years ago in Japan you expect their age to show in the HD transfer, but just the opposite.

Akira Kurosawa was an amazing film maker,  always the most amazing composition and attention to detail. The picture quality has never been better with these films, the images are super sharp and the depth of the blacks are amazing. The use of almost all long lenses in this film give a sharp focus with little dept of field, still the picture never looks out of focus, a true show case of what a master focus puller can do. Kurosawa always brought out the best in his crew from production design to camera work, all well show cased on these Blu-Rays.

The striking physical performance from star Toshiro Mifune as the ronin samurai Sanjuro is my real reason I love these films and keep coming back to them. Everything from the speed and skill he uses his sword, to the great attitude he embodies as an anti hero of comic book proportions, being able to strike down ten opponents in ten seconds with out taking a hit and making it believable in context of the film.

Yojimbo made Mifune a international star in the 60’s and 70’s going on to do 170 films in his career. He is great as this character making Yojimbo and Sanjuro timeless classics and must see for all film fans and what better time to see them than now when you can see them in the best presentation possible in your own living room with  The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray discs.

Till Next Time.

J.