Archive for the ‘Criterion Collection’ Category

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox is out on Criterion BLU


    While I got shut out today at Bay St. Video when I went to grab a copy (something about a flux in Canadian distributors) I shall be ordering it online, as I should have in the first place. Here are my kids wanting to remind you all that this Fantastic animated film is very, very, very re-watchable. (And, yes, it is shameless that I post this video so often in these parts…)

  • Criterion’s February Blu Releases


    I’ve waited four years before purchasing Fantastic Mr. Fox; knowing that someday it would hit Criterion. Looks like all the waiting has paid off. We also get a really underrated Steven Soderbergh film that I had the pleasure of seeing late last year. Polanski’s Tess I’m surprisingly not as big of a fan of. However, though Blue is the Warmest Color is currently playing theatrically in my neck of the woods. Seems like another wait for the Blu title to me. Then there are a couple of bonafide classics from Truffaut and Hitchcock.

    Feast your eyes…

    All the details and features are printed at

  • Criterion Collection Flash Sale (50% off everything)


    For the next twenty-four hours at, all in-stock Blu-rays and DVDs will be 50% off the suggested retail price (SRP). Just enter the promotional code FLASHY on your shopping cart page to apply the discount.

    If you need some help deciding what to buy, they’ve created a real-time dashboard where you can see top sellers and what’s running low, plus categories like Oscar winners, horror, sci-fi, comedies, romances, and westerns. And we’ll be adding new themes hourly.
    The code expires at noon EST tomorrow, so don’t delay!

  • The Criterion Blues [December]


    full details for each release beneath the seats…
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Cinephilia Française: Children of Paradise (1945)


    Within the immense gallery of great French films, Children of Paradise stands out like a grand mural painted with many colors, bold brush strokes, and precise attention to detail. Directed by the great Marcel Carné and written by his regular collaborator Jacques Prévert, it is an ambitious feat of cinema; a period piece set in Paris in the 1820s and ‘30s that seemed to have all the odds against its creation. Its production slowly progressed throughout the German occupation of France during World War II, which made film stock and construction material for the sets in short supply. The project served as a fortuitous hiding place for Resistance fighters who worked throughout the shoot as extras while two more central figures, production designer Alexandre Trauner and composer Joseph Kosma, had to made their contributions covertly due to their Jewish roots (in the cut presented on the Criterion Collection DVD, they share a special title card at the end of the opening credits). Following France’s liberation, the film was finally released in 1945, its three-hour running time split into two parts entitled The Boulevard of Crime and The Man in White due to a restriction on film duration at the time.
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Be careful John Woo…Don’t mess with Master Suzuki


    One of the early announcements out of Cannes was that of a new picture on its way from director John Woo. Known for over the top action scenes, fine cheese and crates of doves, Woo will be looking to remake one of the classic films from Japanese movie studio Nikkatsu as part of its centenary celebration. Entitled Day Of The Beast, the film will be an English language take on Seijun Suzuki’s superb 1963 film Youth Of The Beast. Of its many great scenes, one of my favourites is when Jo Shishido’s main character survives being blown up in a house while he’s hanging upside down, manages to swing himself to a gun, fight off two remaining yakuza and then shoot himself free before finishing them both off. How can Woo top that?

    Of course, I’m kidding when I tell Woo to tread carefully. I’m not one to believe that the original film can be wrecked by any attempt to remake it. In fact, any attention a remake can bring to an earlier film is definitely welcomed – especially when it’s something by one of my favourite directors. Though he was a studio director – in other words, he had to film whatever script they gave him with whatever cast they gave him – Seijun Suzuki figured out early on how to keep things interesting even when the scripts were standard B-movie fare. Akin somewhat to Hitchcock in viewing the role of the director to be more technical in nature (where does the camera sit, when does it move, how do I frame things, etc.), Suzuki was able to play with storytelling conventions a great deal by adding subtext and context via his images and visual style while avoiding exposition like the plague. The classic story is that Nikkatsu fired him upon seeing his 1967 film Branded To Kill after having warned him to play by the rules (his previous film Tokyo Drifter wasn’t exactly a straight line narrative either). His methods of telling his story made generic plots into interesting ones and I’ve never seen a film of his that didn’t make me broadly smile at something totally unexpected, make me think “Whoa, that was cool…” and yet still convey relevant information about the story or character.

    So in anticipation of John Woo’s re-imagining of one of the classic yakuza films, here’s just a few examples of Suzuki’s work:


    Youth Of The Beast (1963)


    Gate Of Flesh (1964)


    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Criterion Valentine Sale [50% off everything!]



    Starting at noon EST today, February 14, all in-stock Blu-rays and DVDs will be 50% off the suggested retail price (SRP). Just enter the promotional code SWAK on your shopping cart page at to apply the discount.

    See you in the poor house.

  • Review: Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)


    [Starting Thursday, February 9th, Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox will be presenting a retrospective of French master Robert Bresson's films entitled The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson. To celebrate the event, here is a review of Bresson's second film, which will be playing at the Lightbox on February 23rd and March 5th.]

    Here, in Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, is a story that might have been given an unsatisfactory treatment, like so much melodramatic drivel, and instead is carefully invested with some actual weight. Each of the central characters and their concerns are represented with an admirable amount of depth and conviction, elevating the narrative to nearly grand proportions. This shows how, even at just his second feature film, Robert Bresson had a firm grasp on his craft. That craft would eventually grow into a singular, pure style far more severe than what he uses here, yet Les Dames still certainly deserves recognition as a notable (and entertaining) entry in the great filmmaker’s body of work.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Introducing “My Criterion”


    As if we needed more social media. Even in the movie realm. We already have Get Glue, iTrackmine, IMDb and a whole slew of other apps and sites that let us compile our collections, keep track of lending and brag (or feel inferior) to your friends about all of your awesome titles. Well this maybe more of the same, but it’s Criterion, it’s movie related (generally awesome movies) and looks really nice.

    So I got the notice in my inbox this morning that has launched “My Criterion.” Nothing really special or different from other movie sharing sites; but again, it’s Criterion. So since it makes sense to separate these titles from other DVDs on your shelf, I suppose it makes some sense to differentiate this virtual sect of your DVDs (and Blu-rays) as well.

    You can make lists of films you own, make notes on them and with the Holiday season upon us, I believe I’ll find the “wish list” section particularly useful (or hopefully family members will find my profile useful ;) ). If you’ve already got a Criterion profile, you can get started by simply adding any title to your “own it” list or your “wish” list. I’ve already gotten a start. Come on over, take a look at my wish list and then send whatever DVD is on that list to the RowThree studios at your convenience. I’ll love you forever for it.

  • Criterion Announces Their February Blu-Ray Lineup


    Honestly. I’m still looking forward to Traffic, 12 Angry Men and Rushmore coming in the next two months. Now Criterion has got my pocketbook pretty well tied up for the next 4 months! Ah well, looks to be well worth it. I’ve not seen any of these films, but Fassbinder’s Sci-fi spectacular has got me pretty stoked and since we’re using the Anatomy of a Murder promo poster for our Cinecast, I suppose I’d better actually see the film. Now’s as good of a time as any I’d say. And of course I’m always in the mood for some Julianne Moore. So below is the line-up and check underneath the seats for all of the trailers.


    La Jetée / Sans Soleil double feature (February 7th, 2012) —

    • High-definition digital transfer, supervised by Chris Marker
    • Uncompressed monaural soundtracks
    • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
    • Two interviews with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
    • Chris on Chris, a video piece on Marker by filmmaker and critic Chris Darke
    • Two excerpts from the French television series Court-circuit (le magazine)
    • A look at David Bowie’s music video for the song “Jump They Say,” inspired by La Jetée
    • An analysis of Hitchcock’s Vertigo and its influence on Marker
    • Junkopia, a six-minute film by Marker about the Emeryville Mudflats
    • A booklet featuring an essay by Marker scholar Catherine Lupton, an interview with Marker, notes on the films and filmmaking by Marker, and more

    Three Outlaw Samurai (February 14th, 2012) —

    • New digital restoration
    • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack
    • Trailer
    • New English subtitle translation
    • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri


    Tiny Furniture (February 14th, 2012) —

    • New digital transfer
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
    • Director Lena Dunham talks about filmmaking and autobiography in a new interview with writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron
    • New interview with writer-director Paul Schrader
    • Creative Nonfiction, Dunham’s first feature film
    • Four short films by Dunham
    • Trailer
    • A booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate


    World on a Wire (February 21st, 2012) —

    • New high-definition digital restoration
    • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack
    • Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”: Looking Ahead to Today, a fifty-minute documentary about the making of the film by Juliane Lorenz
    • New interview with German-film scholar Gerd Gemünden
    • New English subtitles
    • Trailer for the 2010 theatrical release
    • A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Ed Halter


    Anatomy of a Murder (February 21st, 2012) —

    • New high-definition digital restoration
    • Two audio options: an uncompressed monaural soundtrack and an alternate 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track
    • New interview with Otto Preminger biographer Foster Hirsch
    • Critic Gary Giddins explores Duke Ellington’s score in a new interview
    • A look at the relationship between graphic designer Saul Bass and Preminger with Bass biographer Pat Kirkham
    • Newsreel footage from the set
    • Excerpts from a 1967 episode of Firing Line, featuring Preminger in discussion with William F. Buckley Jr.
    • Excerpts from the work in progress Anatomy of “Anatomy”: The Making of a Movie
    • Behind-the-scenes photographs by Life Magazine’s Gjon Mili
    • Trailer, featuring on-set footage
    • A booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick Pinkerton and a 1959 Life Magazine article on real-life lawyer Joseph N. Welch, who plays the judge in the film

    Vanya on 42nd Street (February 28th, 2012) —

    • New high-definition digital restoration
    • 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
    • New documentary featuring interviews with André Gregory, the play’s director; actors Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Brooke Smith; and producer Fred Berner
    • Trailer
    • A booklet featuring an essay by critic Steven Vineberg and a 1994 on-set report by film critic Amy Taubin



    check out all the trailers under the seats…
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Three Reasons: The Killing


    Most of us probably only need one reason to watch The Killing: Stanley Kubrick. But Criterion’s gone ahead and come up with three anyway, and none of them are as simple as “Kubrick,” and all of them are very valid. Interestingly, they don’t include the fascinating and in some ways groundbreaking narrative approach of having the main heist action repeat from the variety of viewpoints provided by all the different participants. But that would be one of my reasons. The Killing is now available on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray.

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