Archive for the ‘the criterion collection’ 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 5 : December 23rd 2010   Leave a comment

DAY FIVE : DECEMBER 23rd 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. The Criterion Collection THE RED SHOES Blu-Ray (1948) directors Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger –  One of the greatest films ever made. The achievement in Technicolor picture quality and beauty alone deserve several viewing from anyone who considers themselves a true film connoisseur.  Technicolor founders Herbert T. Kalmus and Natalie Kalmus considered this film the best example of Three-Strip Technicolor process. During the filming, however, Natalie often complained that Jack Cardiff (the director of photography) wasn’t following the rules laid down for Technicolor films and demanded that they re-shoot various scenes. But Michael Powell always backed up Cardiff and they got the film they wanted. Other amazing technical achievements for this film from 1948 are pretty obvious once you make it to the title ballet sequence; Which took six weeks to shoot and employed over 120 paintings by Hein Heckroth. The dancing newspaper was achieved through careful cutting and use of wires.  Being Martin Scorsese’s favorite movie his Film Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive took on the task of  restoring an HD print of the masterpiece. Involving many years of work they went right back to the original negatives, digitally repairing any scratches and misalignment. The restored print was shown at Cannes 2009 to great acclaim and was used for this Criterion Blu-Ray release. if you’ve never seen this one now is your chance to see one of histories great films in mind popping HD. Unforgettable.
  2. MIRACLE OF 34TH STREET Blu-Ray (1947) director George Seaton –  When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. With only day away from the big event the X-Mas movies start to make their way off the shelf and into the daily rotation. And really if your going to do it you might as well do it right with the classics. Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance as Kris Kringle, and when you watch this it’s easy to see why. the whole is film is a great joy even if you hate and loath X-Mas shit. It makes you smile with a tear in your eye, you can’t help but feel good after each viewing of this holiday classic.
  3. The Criterion Collection NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) directors Charles Laughton & Robert Mitchum (uncredited) – Another film that is considered one of the top 5 American movies ever made. It plays more like a early 70’s character piece, much like Welle’s Touch Of Evil far far ahead of it’s time, Robert Mitchum’s seminal role as Harry Powell, Murdering preacher on the hunt. You will love this movie if you’ve never seen it,  Mitchum is beyond creepy and the direction of the kids is a must see for any aspiring directors out there. Flat out brilliance from start to finish. A True American classic, a must must see.
  4. THE BIG SLEEP (1946) director Howard Hawks – Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he’s seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. This is the epitome of film noir and Marlow is my favorite Bogart character. I must have watch this one a dozen times by now and I still am charmed by it every dam time. This is everything I love about a great detective films all rolled into one. SUPERB.

End of another day and we are getting really close now. I hope everyone is having a great holiday.

TILL TOMORROW. STAY TUNED.

J.

Holiday Movie Watch List and Review Day 1 : December 19th 2010…   Leave a comment

DAY ONE : DECEMBER 19th 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. The Criterion Collection NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH(1940) director Carol Reed  – Starting the day off with a great English classic from director Carol Reed (The Third Man). A turning and twisting WWII thriller combining action, comedy and drama in a way only Reed can do. A lightning paced thriller spanning across Prague, England and the Swiss Alps sure to impress viewers with its wit and charm. A great film for those that love the action war thriller which Criterion did a great job on, even if it’s only available on DVD.
  2. THE WIZARD OF OZ  3 disc Emerald Edition Blu-Ray (1939) director Victor Fleming – For the afternoon I choose a really amazing spectacle of a film. I never particularly liked this film as a kid but re watching it now, I really enjoyed the whole lavish production the likes of which are not seen anymore. The Technicolor film process is brilliantly suited for Blu Ray, even if you don’t dig the films content, you can put your ipod on playing Darkside on the Moon and really get into the visuals.  The most amazing thing about the film is that Victor Fleming directed Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind Back to Back. On February 12, 1939, Fleming hastily replaced George Cukor in directing Gone With The Wind; the next day, King Vidor was assigned as director by the studio to finish the filming of The Wizard of Oz (mainly the sepia Kansas sequences, including Judy Garland’s singing of “Over The Rainbow” ). The fact that Fleming was the main force behind OZ and Wind and shot them in the same year is an incredible feet to say the least. With the 6 hour making of documentary and the plethora of content on these 3 discs, this is a must own for any fan of The Wizard of OZ and classic film of any kind.
  3. THE TOWN Blu-Ray (2010) director Ben Affleck – The evening started off with a film  that as much as I want to dislike the director (mostly for personal reasons)  I just can’t. “Gone Baby Gone” was a “punch in the gut” first film really coming out with a bang. I was impressed by what he did with the camera and acting, even if he did stack the cast. Now “The Town” is another tale set in Boston with high dramatic stakes flowing through the whole piece and a stellar cast inhabiting every character in the film. I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. Without giving anything away,  I would recommend checking this one out ASAP. If you have sometime during the holiday pick it up and take a watch, you won’t regret it. A great great f@$king film.
  4. THE TWILIGHT ZONE SEASON 1 Blu-Ray (1959-1960) –  I’ve been ending my evenings lately with a few episodes of the classic Twilight Zone originally airing in 1959-60. I’ve seen quite a few of these on late night TV as a kid but really don’t remember them very well. Seeing them on Blu-Ray is a real treat, the black and white film used on the show really pops on this format.  Last evening I watch episode 11 “And When The Sky Opened”, a trio of astronauts come back from a test flight to soon discover that no one remembers them… as if they never existed. OOOOOOOOOOOO, pretty great stuff. And the last selection of the evening is episode 12 “What You Need”, A small time crook plans to exploit an old street peddler who has the uncanny knack of selling people exactly what they will shortly need. which by coincidence originally aired on December 25th 1959.

TILL TOMORROW. STAY TUNED.

J.