Criterion Collection

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Dan » March 6th, 2015, 1:09 am

Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) hits the Criterion Closet. 8)


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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Dan » March 16th, 2015, 10:40 pm

June Titles

Upgrading to Blu Ray

479. My Dinner with André - 1981, Louis Malle

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New Additions

761. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
1970, Jaromil Jireš
A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders serves up an endlessly looping, nonlinear fairy tale, set in a quasi-medieval landscape. Ravishingly shot, enchantingly scored, and spilling over with surreal fancies, this enticing phantasmagoria from director Jaromil Jireš is among the most beautiful oddities of the Czechoslovak New Wave.

762. A Master Builder
2014, Jonathan Demme
Twenty years after their brilliant cinema-theater experiment Vanya on 42nd Street, Wallace Shawn and André Gregory reunited to produce another idiosyncratic big-screen version of a classic play, this time Henrik Ibsen’s Bygmester Solness (Master Builder Solness). Brought pristinely to the screen by Jonathan Demme, this is a compellingly abstract reimagining; it features Shawn (who also wrote the adaptation) as a visionary but tyrannical middle-aged architect haunted by figures from his past, most acutely an attractive, vivacious young woman (the breathtaking newcomer Lisa Joyce) who has appeared on his doorstep. Also featuring standout supporting performances from Julie Hagerty, Larry Pine, and Gregory, A Master Builder, like Vanya, is the result of many years of rehearsals, a living, breathing, constantly shifting work that unites theater, film, and dream.

763. The Bridge
1959, Bernhard Wicki
The astonishing The Bridge, by Bernhard Wicki, was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation’s first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the war, it follows a group of teenage boys in a small town as they contend with everyday matters like school, girls, and parents, before enlisting as soldiers and being forced to defend their home turf in a confused, terrifying battle. This expressively shot, emotionally bruising drama dared to humanize young German soldiers at a historically tender moment, and proved influential for the coming generation of New German Cinema auteurs.

764. The Fisher King
1991, Terry Gilliam
A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, the magnificent, Manhattan-set The Fisher King, by Terry Gilliam, features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles. Bridges plays a former radio shock jock reconstructing his life after a scandal, and Williams is a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail—which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper West Side. Unknowingly linked by their pasts, the two men aid each other on a fanciful journey to redemption. This singular American odyssey features a witty script by Richard La Gravenese, evocative cinematography by Roger Pratt, and superb supporting performances by Amanda Plummer and an Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl, all harnessed by Gilliam into a humane, funny modern-day myth.

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June will also see the release of a box-set André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films containing My Dinner with André, Vanya on 42nd Street, and A Master Builder. Since the set itself is not numbered, its essentially for those who don't already have Vanya on blu ray (which I do).

There will also be a stand-alone release of Five Easy Pieces, separate from the America Lost and Found: The BBS Story box-set. It looks like, aside from what appears to be the inclusion of a 2009 doc on BBS, there's not much else new to the stand-alone release that isn't already in the box-set release.

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I haven't watched Vanya yet, but I can't wait to watch it because it's such a fascinating project. Master Builder looks to be in the same realm and therefore sparks my interest.

But to see Criterion bring back Fisher King and putting it out on blu... PSYCHED!!!

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Vernadyn » March 17th, 2015, 12:49 am

I'm ashamed to admit that I got my first Criterion release (Rashomon) only recently. I'm especially impressed at the effort they put into the lengthy booklet; not only does it contain an essay on the film and excerpts from Kurosawa's autobiography, but two complete short stories that served as inspiration for the film. I do vastly prefer reading on paper to reading on a screen, so I appreciate that they actually printed this material on physical paper. (I still haven't been able to plow through the extensive reading material on the Alien, Aliens, Terminator 2, and Abyss DVDs, but I certainly would have done so by now if they were in book format.)

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby EricJ » March 17th, 2015, 7:38 am

Lord Akiyama wrote:June will also see the release of a box-set André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films containing My Dinner with André, Vanya on 42nd Street, and A Master Builder. Since the set itself is not numbered, its essentially for those who don't already have Vanya on blu ray (which I do).
I haven't watched Vanya yet, but I can't wait to watch it because it's such a fascinating project. Master Builder looks to be in the same realm and therefore sparks my interest.


Wallace Shawn is a lot more talented than we give Vizzini, Rex the Dinosaur, and the Grand Nagus Zek credit for--
When My Dinner With Andre' came out, he was already a respected off-Broadway playwright and occasional stage actor, and his affable voice and delivery often sneakily covered up a dark intensity in his serious projects.
Vanya and Master Builder basically show us what Wally and Andre' did during their working hours, as Shawn appears in contemporary-language Andre Gregory productions of Chekov and Ibsen, and he's...pretty good at it. :shock:

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Randall » March 17th, 2015, 10:51 pm

Fisher King is the big catch for me that month. I hate that I tracked down the Image Blu-ray just a few months ago (yes, after Robin died), only to see Criterion finally come back to this title. I'm also glad, though, that I didn't pick up the Criterion LD while I was at it--- though I was tempted at the time. The Fisher King had just disappeared from Netflix Canada right when I was about to watch it with my wife, who had never seen it. So happy to see Criterion doing a nice new edition with Gilliam involved.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Ben » March 18th, 2015, 4:57 am

Think it might be time for me to give Fisher King another chance...

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Dan » March 20th, 2016, 12:47 pm

Initially, I was going to bump this thread to express my excitement for Dr. Strangelove being brought back to the Criterion Collection. But then I did a second look at the other titles coming out in June and one of them turned out to be the latest animated feature to be added to the list.

820. Fantastic Planet
1973, René Laloux
Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue natives (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.


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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Ben » March 20th, 2016, 3:20 pm

Not to make the obvious pun, but I have always felt Fantastic Planet draggs as a film. I have to really be in the right frame of mind when one to sit and wade through it, although it's good to see Criterion adding it to their line-up, as it's an obvious animated title for them. Not sure what they can add to a disc presentation, however...I think there's a very nice UK edition from Masters Of Cinema already.

After two DVDs and two BDs for Strangelove, I'll have to see if the new one is worth it (doesn't look so far, most of the features carry over those from before), but it's nice to see Mr Jordan come to Blu-ray, as well as a new edition for The Player, which I never upgraded from LaserDisc.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Dacey » March 20th, 2016, 4:52 pm

I'll admit to having never seen this, but from the looks of things, it's very much one of those "only could've happened in the 60's/70's" kind of films.
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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Randall » March 20th, 2016, 8:17 pm

My UK BD of Fantastic Planet is still in the wrapper, and will likely stand as the best version, based on what I know of it, such as its extras. (I also have FP on a gold LaserDisc!)

So, Mr. Jordan is my pick of this batch.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby EricJ » March 20th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Dacey wrote:I'll admit to having never seen this, but from the looks of things, it's very much one of those "only could've happened in the 60's/70's" kind of films.


Yes, back in the days of "Either Disney, R-rated, or Acid-trip"
Laloux went on to do "Gandahar", aka "Lightyear", in the 80's, and if you remember that weird French one being as static as the animation was, you have some idea of what to expect from this one.

I hadn't seen Planet since cable, so all I can remember is one of the aliens having the same dubbed voice as "Superfriends"'s Batman.
Other articles have suggested more than a few story comparisons with "Battlefield: Earth", and knowing that, it's hard not to see them afterwards.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Ben » March 21st, 2016, 4:48 am

Yep, Rand...that's the BD I was thinking of. I don't know why I haven't picked it up yet, but I do have an off-air of the original French soundtrack and that may be enough for me. Then again I'd be interested to see if I can get into it more with the English dub, so I might bite in future.

However, it could be the MOC disc I go for over the Criterion. While the new disc will have an alternate doc and "archival interviews", the MOC still has a doc and all five Laloux short films as opposed to Criterion's one, plus the hefty booklet. And I'm kind of really not digging that new cover art, which makes it look much more pop-py than the film is, or the description of "cutout animation" in the description (and they don't know where to place their big blue circle - I've seen two variants online and both don't work).

Good to see more animation from Criterion, and this certainly fits their bill, but once again goes to prove that CC are not always the be all and end all of distributors when other editions are available. It's always worth checking out the UK's BFI and MOC titles for very fine alternates.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Randall » May 16th, 2016, 11:23 pm

Coming in August: 2 Orson Welles features, an Altman classic, and more:

https://www.criterion.com/library/expan ... lease_date

Nice lineup! The Welles and Altman discs are enticing for me. And I know that Ben is a big Welles aficionado.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby EricJ » May 17th, 2016, 12:04 am

They just HAPPEN to be showing the Janus/Criterion Chimes restoration at our college-town theater this week, and you know I've gotten a ticket. :D

Welles was no Othello, but he was a perfect Falstaff. Better than Robbie Coltrane, I don't know, but still perfect.

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Re: Criterion Collection

Postby Dan » May 17th, 2016, 8:31 pm

Very much looking forward to picking up the Welles films. Watching his films are always an experience. 8)