Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Bob Magaw

The Criterion Collection

Recommended Posts

some/many may know about criterion already. if so, this thread can be a kind of clearing house for recommendations (or converse). if not, to recommend the site to your attention. criterion is sort of like a curator, in acquiring rights to add titles to their collection, and they also play an important preservation role through their restoration efforts. they have evolved over the years through different media, first in the laser disc format, than DVD and increasingly to blu-ray. they are known for high quality supplements (making of docs, interviews with production principals, authoritative commentary tracks, etc.)... they also now have a licensing agreement with hulu plus to stream hundreds (800+?) of movies... they already had/have one with netflix... the streaming title distribution arrangement between the two may be exlusive and non-overlapping, but netflix's criterion library available for streaming appears to be far less extensive.. i just signed up at hulu plus (retaining netflix) for $7.99, solely for streaming criterion access... i think you need apple TV, a gaming console, or some type of set top box? the site itself, imo as a layperson, is extremely well designed... http://www.criterion.com/it lends itself to further exploration... the ways you can explore are parsed in different ways... by genre/thematically, by people, even by different top ten lists...http://www.criterion.com/explore/themeshttp://www.criterion.com/explore/peoplehttp://www.criterion.com/explore/top10once you find a movie of interest, you can drill down further, and there are generally one or more literate essays for descriptive/explanatory/interpretive purposes, as well as situating a movie in the context of its time, or perhaps a director's body of work or even cinematic history...i'll get to more general recs later... my favorite director is probably kurosawa, but he is fairly well known, and has been covered within other threads... ditto for kubrick (and hitchcock)... though it is worth mentioning that criterion has emphasized kubrick's earlier work which may not be as well known... their version of the classic caper/heist-noir the killing contains (directly on blue ray, possibly on another disc of bonus content on DVD?) his second but perhaps first "mature" feature, killer's kiss... i thought it had been relegated to his juvenalia period, but it was surprisingly good... BTW, the fractured, non-linear narrative of the killing was likely an influence on tarantino's reservoir dogs, pulp fiction, jackie brown, kill bill, etc... though in turn, the first version of the killERS by siodmak from the mid-40s (based on hemingway short story), with its even more intricate flashback structure, may have influenced both... criterion also has kubrick's classic anti-war movie paths of glory, as well as spartacus (which he somewhat distanced himself from, as he was brought in after anthony mann was fired/resigned in first week, and had nothing to do with casting, original conception, etc.)...as may be evident, i'm a big fan of the noir genre... think of classics like the big sleep, double indemnity, out of the past and the asphalt jungle (latter probable influence on the killing, both starred sterling hayden), or more contemporary neo-noirs, such as chinatown and LA confidential (haven't seen gangster squad yet, but that looks promising)... another criterion noir genre title is the at-the-time pushing the violence envelope and then highly controversial kiss me deadly by aldrich (glowing suitcase another clear influence on tarantino)...further similar criterion titles can be explored under noir and neo-noir...http://www.criterion.com/explore/17-noir-and-neonoiras well as heist...http://www.criterion.com/explore/130-heist-moviesafter exploring within this genre, a recent discovery and personal revelation, and therefor my initial recommendation to the thread/board, is the work of jean-pierre melville (he was a fan of the moby dick author)... http://www.criterion.com/explore/118-jean-pierre-melvilleinterestingly, to me at least, noir began in america (jazz and the western are frequently cited as arguably the two art forms invented/popularized in america, but perhaps noir should be aded to this), but was first identified and categorized in france... exactly who and when somewhat up to debate, but definitely a consensus it happened in france... there are other french directors of noir, but melville was a master of the form, and his best work is imo as good as the best america had/has to offer...my favorite is le doulos... i had actually seen bob le flambeur (bob the gambler), and liked it, but it didn't blow me away... ditto for le samourai a few years ago, though i'm very much looking forward to seeing that again... i had an exchange with bloom recently, and he reminded me of ghost dog (which i have and like), and i forgot at the time to note that le samourai was no doubt a huge influence (jarmusch also borrowed an assasination technique from suzuki's bizarre avant-noir starring surgically augmented, chipmunk cheeked joe shishido, branded to kill)... chronologically, bob le flambeur came first, than le doulos, le deuxieme souffle, le samourai and le cercle rouge (spanning roughly from mid-late 50s to 1970)... i also want to see army of shadows, about french resistance...movies like le samourai and le cercle rouge were unmistakably influences on how john woo directed chow yun fat in the classics hard boiled and the killer... other noir/neo-noir and caper/heist genre recs from criterion (noir and heist not necessarily synonomous, though there does sometimes seem to be a lot of overlap), in addition to already mentioned the killing, kiss me deadly and the killers (the latter title is actually two movies available in an OOP set... if renting from netflix, the siodmak version is imo far superior, though the mid-60s version by don siegel {original invasion of body snatchers} is definitely a contrast in style and may be worth checking out to those interested, starring lee marvin and with villain played by ronald reagan [!!], this was reportedly slated to be the first made-for-TV movie)...proto noir M by fritz lang (called by some THE seminal pre-noir)... after rewatching it last night, it is hard to believe it was made in 1931... it was his first sound film (he had already made about a dozen films starting in 1919), and unlike some clumsy, fumbling efforts in the US, lang seemed to immediately have an impressive mastery and command of the new format... i think this has been called the greatest german film of all time by historians from that country... quasi-noir the third man, directed by carol reed and starring orson welles (best entrance ever?)... this may have in turn been voted best british film ever (and one of best, period, in any country... i think it may have been a co-british/US production)?jules dassin's (sounds french but an american ex-pat forced to work abroad due to HUAC) rififi... the set piece includes a heist in which there is no dialogue for 30 minutes (approx 1/4 of the movie), presumably an influence on melville's le cercle rouge, with a strikingly similar scene... alas, they don't make movies like this any more... he also did the well regarded night and the city in maybe richard widmark's signature role, the influential but dated police procedural naked city (hasn't aged well and imo ruined by the relentlessy obnoxious/goofy omniscient narrator - at least the killing by kubrick is more sparing and tolerable, confined mostly to time keeping in the midst of the intricate flashback structure, and embedded as it is in, imo, a more compelling and well executed story), the prison movie brute force, as well as thieve's highway (i want to see that soon)...some japanese noirs from the 50s-60s (?), part of a recent box set (nikkatsu noir) with different directors from their relatively new eclipse division (cheaper, no frills)... including in order (and reverse chronology), colt is my passport, cruel gun story (seemingly influenced by the killing) and take aim at the police van...* incidentally, the following may be avail for streaming on hulu plus...M and the three japanese noirs cited immediately above...on the bonus plan, for something COMPLETELY different and in an unrelated genre, a bizarre sci-fi horror avail streaming, part of another recent eclipse box set (when horror came to shochiku)... goke, body snatcher from hell...** wages of fear on hulu plus, noir aspects, directed by clouzot, who did the masterful diabolique (also streaming)... he is a master of suspense, rivalling in some ways hitchcock...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

* incidentally, the following may be avail for streaming on hulu plus...

Absolutely LOVE so many from the Criterion Collection and several are available at hulu without the +. Libraries also carry a lot of CC DVD's too. Last flick: "Knife in the Water". Really liked it. Just checked, + is required for that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:blackdot: I have Hulu+ and have seen the Criterion Collection ads. Looking forward to watching Eraserhead again. The last time I saw that was in 1991 or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This reads like a spam e-mail.

unintended...i'm a big fan of criterion*, and i had no idea until about a week ago that hulu plus had hundreds of titles avail, far more than neflix, so this was a revelation to me, and i just wanted to pass it along, for what it is worth...i believe there have been previous threads on netflix streaming titles...they do have some, i'll note some titles avail in my queue...as was mentioned, some of these titles possibly avail at local library, so hopefully no offense about library spam...the overarching theme here, hopefully, is not the particular delivery medium you employ, but to foster a discussion about movies...* to be more precise, i already was a big criterion fan, but have recently become increasingly impressed with their site design and the myriad explorational pathways it engenders/facilitates... as well as having occasion to be reminded of their excellent supplement packages... i'm in the process of converting some of my criterion DVDs to blu-ray (recently, M, third man, 8 1/2, solaris, videodrome), and there are some outstanding new supplements, particularly on M and the third man, not avail on my previous one disc DVDs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"M" is awesome.

indeed. its hard to think of an american movie with comparable content and execution made in anywhere remotely close to that era... decades ahead of its time...one of the most interesting facets to me was to how he implicity compared the police and underworld, and how their respective searches converged despite using different methods...* few reviews...eberthttp://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970803/REVIEWS08/401010339/1023M (1931)Roger Ebert / August 3, 1997 "The horror of the faces: That is the overwhelming image that remains from a recent viewing of the restored version of ``M,'' Fritz Lang's famous 1931 film about a child murderer in Germany. In my memory it was a film that centered on the killer, the creepy little Franz Becker, played by Peter Lorre. But Becker has relatively limited screen time, and only one consequential speech--although it's a haunting one. Most of the film is devoted to the search for Becker, by both the police and the underworld, and many of these scenes are played in closeup. In searching for words to describe the faces of the actors, I fall hopelessly upon ``piglike.''What was Lang up to? He was a famous director, his silent films like "Metropolis'' worldwide successes. He lived in a Berlin where the left-wing plays of Bertolt Brecht coexisted with the decadent milieu re-created in movies like "Cabaret.'' By 1931, the Nazi Party was on the march in Germany, although not yet in full control. His own wife would later become a party member. He made a film that has been credited with forming two genres: the serial killer movie and the police procedural. And he filled it with grotesques. Was there something beneath the surface, some visceral feeling about his society that this story allowed him to express?When you watch "M,'' you see a hatred for the Germany of the early 1930s that is visible and palpable. Apart from a few perfunctory shots of everyday bourgeoisie life (such as the pathetic scene of the mother waiting for her little girl to return from school), the entire movie consists of men seen in shadows, in smokefilled dens, in disgusting dives, in conspiratorial conferences. And the faces of these men are cruel caricatures: Fleshy, twisted, beetle-browed, dark-jowled, out of proportion. One is reminded of the stark faces of the accusing judges in Dreyer's ``Joan of Arc,'' but they are more forbidding than ugly.What I sense is that Lang hated the people around him, hated Nazism, and hated Germany for permitting it. His next film, "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse'' (1933), had villains who were unmistakably Nazis. It was banned by the censors, but Joseph Goebbels, so the story goes, offered Lang control of the nation's film industry if he would come on board with the Nazis. He fled, he claimed, on a midnight train -- although Patrick McGilligan's new book, Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast, is dubious about many of Lang's grandiose claims.Certainly "M'' is a portrait of a diseased society, one that seems even more decadent than the other portraits of Berlin in the 1930s; its characters have no virtues and lack even attractive vices. In other stories of the time we see nightclubs, champagne, sex and perversion. When "M'' visits a bar, it is to show closeups of greasy sausages, spilled beer, rotten cheese and stale cigar butts.The film's story was inspired by the career of a serial killer in Dusseldorf. In "M,'' Franz Becker preys on children -- offering them candy and friendship, and then killing them. The murders are all offscreen, and Lang suggests the first one with a classic montage including the little victim's empty dinner plate, her mother calling frantically down an empty spiral staircase, and her balloon--bought for her by the killer--caught in electric wires.There is no suspense about the murderer's identity. Early in the film we see Becker looking at himself in a mirror. Peter Lorre at the time was 26, plump, baby-faced, clean-shaven, and as he looks at his reflected image he pulls down the corners of his mouth and tries to make hideous faces, to see in himself the monster others see in him. His presence in the movie is often implied rather than seen; he compulsively whistles the same tune, from "Peer Gynt,'' over and over, until the notes stand in for the murders.The city is in turmoil: The killer must be caught. The police put all their men on the case, making life unbearable for the criminal element ("There are more cops on the streets than girls,'' a pimp complains). To reduce the heat, the city's criminals team up to find the killer, and as Lang intercuts between two summit conferences -- the cops and the criminals -- we are struck by how similar the two groups are, visually. Both sit around tables in gloomy rooms, smoking so voluminously that at times their very faces are invisible. In their fat fingers their cigars look fecal. (As the criminals agree that murdering children violates their code, I was reminded of the summit on drugs in "The Godfather.'')"M'' was Lang's first sound picture, and he was wise to use dialogue so sparingly. Many early talkies felt they had to talk all the time, but Lang allows his camera to prowl through the streets and dives, providing a rat's-eye view. One of the film's most spectacular shots is utterly silent, as the captured killer is dragged into a basement to be confronted by the city's assembled criminals, and the camera shows their faces: hard, cold, closed, implacable.It is at this inquisition that Lorre delivers his famous speech in defense, or explanation. Sweating with terror, his face a fright mask, he cries out: "I can't help myself! I haven't any control over this evil thing that's inside of me! The fire, the voices, the torment!'' He tries to describe how the compulsion follows him through the streets, and ends: "Who knows what it's like to be me?''This is always said to be Lorre's first screen performance, although McGilligan establishes that it was his third. It was certainly the performance that fixed his image forever, during a long Hollywood career in which he became one of Warner Bros.' most famous character actors ("Casablanca,'' "The Maltese Falcon,'' "The Mask of Dimitrios''). He was also a comedian and a song-and-dance man, and although you can see him opposite Fred Astaire in "Silk Stockings'' (1957), it was as a psychopath that he supported himself. He died in 1964.Fritz Lang (1890-1976) became, in America, a famous director of film noir. His credits include "You Only Live Once'' (1937, based on the Bonnie and Clyde story), Graham Greene's "Ministry of Fear'' (1944), "The Big Heat'' (1953, with Lee Marvin hurling hot coffee in Gloria Grahame's face) and "While the City Sleeps'' (1956, another story about a manhunt). He was often accused of sadism toward his actors; he had Lorre thrown down the stairs into the criminal lair a dozen times, and Peter Bogdanovich describes a scene in Lang's "Western Union'' where Randolph Scott tries to burn the ropes off his bound wrists. John Ford, watching the movie, said, "Those are Randy's wrists, that is real rope, that is a real fire.''For years "M'' was available only in scratchy, dim prints. Even my earlier laserdisc is only marginally watchable. This new version, restored by the Munich Film Archive, is not only better to look at but easier to follow, since more of the German dialogue has been subtitled. (Lorre also recorded a soundtrack in English, which should be made available as an option on the eventual laserdisc and DVD versions.) Watching the new print of "M,'' I found the film more powerful than I remembered, because I was not watching it through a haze of disintegration.And what a haunting film it is. The film doesn't ask for sympathy for the killer Franz Becker, but it asks for understanding: As he says in his own defense, he cannot escape or control the evil compulsions that overtake him. Elsewhere in the film, an innocent old man, suspected of being the killer, is attacked by a mob that forms on the spot. Each of the mob members was presumably capable of telling right from wrong and controlling his actions (as Becker was not), and yet as a mob they moved with the same compulsion to kill. There is a message there somewhere. Not "somewhere,'' really, but right up front, where it's a wonder it escaped the attention of the Nazi censors." following address audio-visual merits of the blu-ray (i just got, imo outstanding)...hi def digesthttp://bluray.highdefdigest.com/3057/m.htmldvd talkhttp://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/42336/m-the-criterion-collection/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big fan of Criterion, although most of the ones I own are more mainstream movies, if you will. Discovered them through the search for Kurosawa films. Favorites are Brazil, The Killer (which fetched a pretty penny on EBay back in the day), High and Low, Rashomon, Silence of the Lambs and Traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome. I have been losing sleep not knowing what James Franco's top 10 Criterion films were.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome. I have been losing sleep not knowing what James Franco's top 10 Criterion films were.

thanx for sharing...i did like spirit of the beehive and ballad of algiers...some of my favorite favorite lists...peter cowie (film historian and journalist, does a lot of commentary tracks for criterion)...gary giddins (did commentary on paths of glory, articles on sweet smell of success and max ophuls {huge influence on kubrick, particularly in his ingeniously designed, graceful and fluid camera movements} lola montes, maybe the preeminent jazz critic in the US, if not the world)...michael korda (son/nephew of famous korda family), knew many of these directors personally...jonathan lethem (edited library of america's multi-volume philip k. dick entries)...and directors, like...william friedkin (directed french connection, exorcist and the underrated sorceror, based on classic wages of fear)...guillermo del toronicolas roeg (directed man who fell to earth, don't look now, walkabout)actors...joe mantegna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and directors, like...nicolas roeg (directed man who fell to earth, don't look now, walkabout)

Always nicely shot movies that sometimes made little sense to me. Seemed to star his wife in many of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jules dassin's "night & the city" is another superb noir film. widmark was sometimes a hammy actor but it works to his advantage in this role. i believe him in this movie all the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

* incidentally, the following may be avail for streaming on hulu plus...

Absolutely LOVE so many from the Criterion Collection and several are available at hulu without the +. Libraries also carry a lot of CC DVD's too. Last flick: "Knife in the Water". Really liked it. Just checked, + is required for that one.
that was in my queue, thanx for rec*... also on plus (and also by polansky), saw rosemary's baby, i think for first time, i saw part long time ago... one of few horror genre movies i found genuinely unsettling, disturbing, creepy (with roeg's don't look now)... cul-de-sac also avail, haven't seen yet...polanski did previously cited chinatown, one of the best neo-noirs, and appears in it ("nosy" scene with nicholson :) )...* it might have been in one of the attendant essays, but it mentioned knife in the water as an example of another "bad things happen when two men and a woman get in a boat" sun-genre... with the talented mr. ripley (also on plus, i liked better than hollywood remake with matt damon, possibly by same director... original has alain delon, great in le samourai and le cercle rouge for melville), as well as the scary dead calm, with sam neill, nicole kidman and billy zane...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, Criterion stuff is really, really good. And for those who think they just do film-snob stuff, they have Dazed and Confused, Chasing Amy, the Blob, Godzilla, and other stuff. Schlock is important too :)Am interested in the streaming - thanks for the heads up. I have a decent little collection (about 45 of em), but definitely want to see more. My favorites are Solaris, M, Vampyr, Carnival of Souls, Ugetsu, The Virgin Spring... ok, I really like all of the ones I own. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:blackdot: I have Hulu+ and have seen the Criterion Collection ads. Looking forward to watching Eraserhead again. The last time I saw that was in 1991 or so.

ditto, in my case, i think i last saw it in early to mid 80s?definitely a fan of lynch... liked dune (thought it was good, not great adaptation, nearly impossible to do justice to it without something more like two-three movie series)... twin peaks was some of best TV ever... mulholland drive and lost highway were probably my favorites by lynch... also been a while since i saw blue velvet... he hasn't done much lately (kubrick wasn't very prolific towards end, with a seven year gap between arguably his last masterpiece, the shining in '80 and his penultimate, uneven full metal jacket in '87, and another twelve until the for me underwhelming and disappointing eyes wide shut in '99... he didn't live to direct AI, done posthumously by spielberg)... i confess that inland empire eluded me (maybe a second view would be different?), and that was in 2006, so mulholland drive in 2001 was last thing by him i enjoyed, over a decade ago...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big fan of Criterion, although most of the ones I own are more mainstream movies, if you will. Discovered them through the search for Kurosawa films. Favorites are Brazil, The Killer (which fetched a pretty penny on EBay back in the day), High and Low, Rashomon, Silence of the Lambs and Traffic.

somebody made the point down-thread, i think, that while some may associate criterion exclusively with art/foreign movies, that isn't at all the case.brazil was one i had on DVD previously and just converted to blu ray recently... there is a great behind the scenes doc about one of the most contentious, high profile director/studio battles ever (with most of the principals, narrated by a local LA reporter that prominently covered it at the time)... i'm also a fan of gilliam (time bandits and fear and loathing also on criterion), his quirky sense of humor, his talent, but also the guts it took to buck the system, as well as the savvy to use guerilla tactics...the killer (and hard boiled) are great examples, with silence of the lambs and traffic, of the diversity and range of criterion titles (along side the likes of last year at marienbad)... i haven't seen the criterion versions (because it is OOP, but i bet it was worth it... i added the third man and the man who fell to earth on blu ray after they went OOP), but regardless, they were still unforgettable... to me, those two movies were the apex of the deservedly famous collaboration of john woo and chow yun fat...rashomon and seven samurai are two of my favorite movies (with the vastly different blade runner), but high and low is a GREAT example that he didn't only do period piece, historical costume dramas from the samurai era (stray dog another good police related film, and ikiru was a masterpiece)... i got the box set which is very comprehensive and has virtually everything (though no extras/supplements on that) a few years ago when barnes and noble had one of their periodic half off sales around black friday... before that i already had versions with supplements of (in addition to above two) yojimbo/sanjuro, ran, throne of blood and kagemusha...traffic is i think an example of a title avail streaming on netflix and not on hulu plus, which in my queue... i saw it, but it was a while ago, and i don't remember much about it, so i want to see that again soon...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

brazil was one i had on DVD previously and just converted to blu ray recently... there is a great behind the scenes doc about one of the most contentious, high profile director/studio battles ever (with most of the principals, narrated by a local LA reporter that prominently covered it at the time)... i'm also a fan of gilliam (time bandits and fear and loathing also on criterion), his quirky sense of humor, his talent, but also the guts it took to buck the system, as well as the savvy to use guerilla tactics...

I saw that documentary; it is excellent and I was amazed that he actually won out, in the end. I also think "Brazil" is pure genius. Gilliam was absolutely right on with this effort (I do think it would be even greater with someone else in the role of Jill). It is definitely in my top ten.I have the Criterion Collection DVD set which also contains the "Hollywood" version (guess how that one ends).Interestingly, I had read that JK Rowling had wanted Gilliam to direct the first Harry Potter film. That would have been a mistake, IMO. Edited by Bodeine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

some other recommended noir from criterion...blast of silencethe hitfriends of eddie coylekilling of a chinese bookie (cassavetes film starring ben gazzara, but even in a small part, nobody chews scenery like tim carey - see kubrick's the killing and paths of glory)... mona lisapickup on south street and the naked kiss by samuel fuller homicide by david mamet (that and his directorial debut, house of games are both on criterion) is avail in full on you tube...* the essay on classe tous risques was interesting (excerpt below)...http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/519-classe-tous-risques-beautiful-friendships"José Giovanni stepped into this situation and set about renewing the genre. José had firsthand experience of crime and prison: he had been sentenced to death for participating in a racketeering plot organized by his brother and uncle. The scheme had escalated, turned deadly, and although José himself had never killed anyone, he spent several months on death row, attempted a prison break, then waited to be guillotined. (I pushed José to write a script about this period and about waiting for certain death. I helped him write the script and make the film, Mon père, which, sadly, was his last.) He was pardoned by the president of the republic and saved himself from the underworld through writing. His first book, Le trou, written on his lawyer’s advice, described his failed prison break and received an enthusiastic reception from Jean Cocteau, Pierre Mac Orlan, and Roger Nimier. Jacques Becker turned it into a superb film, coscripted by José himself.A few years later, I became José’s press agent and showed him an article by Gilles Jacob, who, before being appointed to the prestigious post of president of the Cannes Film Festival, had been an influential and insightful critic. In the article, Jacob tried to find the link between the three films he declared were the best of the French gangster genre—Le trou, Classe tous risques, and Le deuxième souffle. José answered that he might be the link, given that he had written all three novels, collaborated on two of the scripts, and that Le deuxième souffle was 98 percent faithful to his dialogue and plot construction."giovanni was the unifying thread in the three movies mentioned in the excerpt above... writer of prison break attempt le trou by becker, gangsters on the run noir classe tous risque by sautet and caper/heist noir le deuxieme by melville... so if there is verisimilitude running through these, that is probably in part where it comes from, given his history...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big fan of Criterion, although most of the ones I own are more mainstream movies, if you will. Discovered them through the search for Kurosawa films. Favorites are Brazil, The Killer (which fetched a pretty penny on EBay back in the day), High and Low, Rashomon, Silence of the Lambs and Traffic.

somebody made the point down-thread, i think, that while some may associate criterion exclusively with art/foreign movies, that isn't at all the case.brazil was one i had on DVD previously and just converted to blu ray recently... there is a great behind the scenes doc about one of the most contentious, high profile director/studio battles ever (with most of the principals, narrated by a local LA reporter that prominently covered it at the time)... i'm also a fan of gilliam (time bandits and fear and loathing also on criterion), his quirky sense of humor, his talent, but also the guts it took to buck the system, as well as the savvy to use guerilla tactics...the killer (and hard boiled) are great examples, with silence of the lambs and traffic, of the diversity and range of criterion titles (along side the likes of last year at marienbad)... i haven't seen the criterion versions (because it is OOP, but i bet it was worth it... i added the third man and the man who fell to earth on blu ray after they went OOP), but regardless, they were still unforgettable... to me, those two movies were the apex of the deservedly famous collaboration of john woo and chow yun fat...rashomon and seven samurai are two of my favorite movies (with the vastly different blade runner), but high and low is a GREAT example that he didn't only do period piece, historical costume dramas from the samurai era (stray dog another good police related film, and ikiru was a masterpiece)... i got the box set which is very comprehensive and has virtually everything (though no extras/supplements on that) a few years ago when barnes and noble had one of their periodic half off sales around black friday... before that i already had versions with supplements of (in addition to above two) yojimbo/sanjuro, ran, throne of blood and kagemusha...traffic is i think an example of a title avail streaming on netflix and not on hulu plus, which in my queue... i saw it, but it was a while ago, and i don't remember much about it, so i want to see that again soon...
Thanks! Yeah, the documentary on Brazil is great as is seeing the different versions. If you ever wonder what the studio would have been worried about, check out Lost in La Mancha. I do have Hard Boiled as well and both films are great with great production values on the DVD. Hard Boiled might actually be the better movie now that I think about it. Need to see it again soon. Stray Dog is great and I have Ikiru as well. Really Throne of Blood is near the top as well for me. But you nailed it that High and Low in particular for me showed that Kurosawa could really direct and Mifune could really act. Traffic is a really good movie, IMO. Just an excellent view of the drug trade/war and how much more complicated it is than people sitting in their armchairs think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jules dassin's "night & the city" is another superb noir film. widmark was sometimes a hammy actor but it works to his advantage in this role. i believe him in this movie all the way.

really looking forward to seeing this again soon... i think dassin's last movie in the US was thieve's highway (a sort of trucker/noir mash up based on a novel by a. i. bezzerides, who maybe most famously penned the apocalyptic kiss me deadly screenplay)... he was about to be deported, so they shunted him to their british division and allowed him to do his last movie under the auspices of hollywood before the HUAC blacklistings (which actually extended to europe, where the long arm of US studios were able to bring pressure to bear so dassin couldn't work for something like a half decade, before doing one of the best caper/heist genre movies ever, rififi - but i digress)... anyways, maybe the sense of over the top paranoia and doom in the movie was a parallel to what dassin was feeling at the time, with the external look mirroring and reflecting the directors no doubt turbulent inner life at the time... below is a review by one of my favorite critics, glenn erickson (a.k.a. DVD savant)... he is extremely well informed in general, and clearly knows a lot about noir specifically... he actually did the commentary track for the criterion issue... he earlier contributed a chapter to silver & ursini's first film noir reader, which presumably was drawn from for commentary purposes (he claimed to have bought a night and the city script for research, and it turned out to have come from the studio, replete with notes by studio head zanuck)... http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s1493city.html"Night and the City is a key subject for both film noir and the blacklist period, and also a nice piece of connective tissue between American films set in the underworld of crime and their British counterparts about spivs and other lowlifes. Made in a great hurry to conceal its director from the Fox board of directors, it ended up being completed in two versions. Even though I wrote a chapter on the film for the first Film Noir Reader in 1996, I wasn't aware that there was a different English cut of the film until told by the Criterion DVD producer, Issa Clubb. Restored from the original cut nitrate element 'rediscovered' by Fox in one of its own vaults in 1999, Night and the City looks better than ever before. It's a mesmerizing tale of misplaced ambition, cutthroat business practices and expressionist doom sans redemption. As such, it's a key noir; through it we feel not only the jaded cynicism of its source author Gerald Kersh but also the frenzied anxiety of its director Jules Dassin, who was hounded out of Hollywood and America by the HUAC witch hunt. Synopsis:Club tout Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) has yet another plan to make himself rich, but this scheme requires him to cheat, deceive or swindle everyone he knows in the East End underworld, including his girlfriend Mary (Gene Tierney). Harry's backer is nightclub owner Phil Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan). Harry deals straight with him, but he also makes a secret partner of Phil's ambitious wife Helen (Googie Withers), a move that Nosseross understandably mistakes for a romantic betrayal. But that's nothing compared to Harry's overall scam: he's angling to gain a foothold in the London wrestling racket controlled by the murderous gangster kingpin Kristo (Herbert Lom). Harry's ace in the hole is Gregorious the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko), a legendary Greco-Roman wrestler that he befriends for the sole purpose of keeping Kristo at bay ... he's the gangster's father. Night and the City has more textbook noir attributes than any picture this side of the baroque visions of Orson Welles, but its attitude is easily distinguished from movies that affect a romantic twist on the style. The Third Man makes Vienna look like a bizarre funhouse at midnight, with zither music creating an attractive mood amid all the decaying bomb ruins. Jules Dassin's London is forbidding and hostile. It is the labyrinth described by essayist Paul Arthur, an externalized reflection of Harry Fabian's tortuous quest to "live the life of ease and plenty" without working for it. Harry's ambition is easily understood by anyone hungering for the good life we see all around us. But his plan is to take a shortcut to what he wants even if it means alienating his friends and associates, including the only people who care whether he lives or dies. The movie (especially the American cut) expresses an attitude not found in Gerald Kersh's excellent novel of the sordid Cockney East End of London. In the book Harry is a despicable louse and con man who deceives himself most of all. He doesn't realize that everyone knows he's a ponce living off the earnings of a streetwalker. At the end he's preparing to sell his 'girlfriend' to a white slaver. There's no defending that Harry on any grounds. If society is sick, it's because people like Harry Fabian are in it. The movie shares the anti-capitalist sentiments of 'radical' noirs like Try and Get Me!, Force of Evil and Body and Soul: something is seriously wrong with a system that overburdens honest working people and rewards cheap thugs and sharp businessmen. When push comes to shove, kingpins like Kristo are simply above the law, insulated from prosecution by smart attorneys and armies of toadying underlings. The near-subhuman The Strangler (Mike Mazurki) is willing to commit murder just to regain Kristo's good graces. Harry "just wants to be somebody," 1 and believes his career can be made by a single stroke of bluff and deception. Hugh Marlowe's Adam Dunne calls him "an artist without an art" (another pithy phrase) but Harry is a consummate con artist. If Harry knew how to stay faithful to some key associates he might have gotten somewhere. Instead of building a career out of his relationships, as most of us decide is the way to go, Fabian turns his entire life into a giant con game. He muscles in on the racket of the most powerful gangster in the city, using the gangster's father as a shield. For operating money he steals from his own business partner and his trusting girlfriend. But just as con men always think they're fooling people, Harry is blind to the effects of his own deceptions. He doesn't realize that his partner thinks he's two-timing him with his wife instead of just leading her on. And he's too frantic trying to hold together the loose ends of his scheme, to keep unforeseen events from bringing the whole thing down on his head. Harry's slick 'deal' ends up with those who trust him dead, outraged or heartbroken. Even worse, the entire underworld is mobilized to kill Harry before dawn. Night and the City is beautifully directed and acted, a necessity with a screenplay and characters wrapped up in hysteria and tawdry intrigue. Richard Widmark's best performance is here -- we get the feeling that the range of characters he was given in films was far below his capabilities. Widmark is matched by English actors Francis L. Sullivan (Joan of Arc) and Googie Withers (Dead of Night) as a diabolically dysfunctional husband and wife. They negotiate marital relations over a silver fox fur coat, a scene that speaks volumes about marriage in a material society. Gene Tierney and Hugh Marlowe were jammed into the story at the last minute as a favor to Darryl F. Zanuck, the sympathetic mogul who kept blacklisted Jules Dassin on the payroll by finding him work in the company's London subsidiary. Tierney received most of the abuse in the film's lukewarm critical reception. But almost every reviewer remarked on the great performance by Stanislaus Zbyszko, perhaps not realizing that he was a famous ex-champion wrestler in retirement. Night and the City's ending rivals that of the bleakest films noir: Brute Force, Hollow Triumph, Detour. It tends to be received differently depending on who's watching. My father-in-law, a hardworking insurance agent, thought it was the right ending, that Harry Fabian got exactly what he deserved. The rest of us are dismayed by Harry's lack of ethics but also remember the anxiety of being young and concerned about how to get what we want out of life. The tendency is to feel slightly guilty just for being ambitious; the miserable story of Harry Fabian is almost a psychic punishment for sins not committed. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Criterion's flawless transfer of Night and the City brings extra punch to both the picture and the soundtrack. The only noir I've seen look better on disc is MGM's He Walked by Night. The extras, produced and largely edited by Issa Clubb, are all unusual. Director Dassin is featured in two interviews, a new one about this film made by Criterion and a 1972 French interview where the director gets down-and-dirty in stories about Hollywood. He tells the famous horse-castrating story about mogul Louis B. Mayer and says exactly why the actors, writers and directors betrayed by Elia Kazan don't forgive him. Right up Savant's alley is a dynamite 'soundtracks and versions' comparison between the English and American cuts of the film by Christopher Husted, an excellent narrator who should have gotten credit on the packaging. Besides sampling the English version's (rather limp) score by Benjamin Frankel the comparison shows several key scenes in the English version that do not appear in the standard cut. The alternate opening scene lets Gene Tierney try out a half-hearted English accent and attempts to make Harry Fabian a much softer character; Darryl F. Zanuck's rewrite improves this part of the film greatly by sticking to basics -- Harry has come to Mary's apartment only to steal from her, and their relationship is already threatened by his cheap con-games. The big difference in the British version is that it retains more of the Gene Tierney subplots that were shoehorned into the film. Later on we see a British-only scene where an unpaid hotel manager (played by Edward Chapman of Things to Come and X- The Unknown) comes to collect 280 pounds from Harry. The necessity of paying that debt recasts Harry as more sympathetic, as he makes a sincere speech about his desperate need to succeed. In the English version he has a forger make Helen's fake liquor license to get the money for the hotel. In the American version the money is for other urgent needs. The comparison also shows the morbidly jealous Phil Nosseross catching Harry and Helen kissing outside his window. They're each conning the other for business reasons but Phil misinterprets the scene as wife poaching and resolves to do Harry in. In the American version Phil seems more intelligent, figuring out Harry and Helen's conspiracy on just the evidence of the missing fur coat. Although dropping the kissing scene simplifies the story, the more adult context of the English scene adds to the sordid atmosphere. Elsewhere, the American cut is cleaner and more to the point; the English version retains more material created for Hugh Marlowe and Gene Tierney. Also included is the far softer English ending, which presents Mary and Adam as lovers consoling each other after Harry's untimely exit. For once, the Americans got it right. Savant did the commentary, which jams in everything I could discover about the film and the Kersh novel. I think I'm ready to take in the East End as a tourist now after reading all about the filming of this show, a favorite ever since I was invited to see it on a Steenbeck in the UCLA Film Archive's first offices back in 1971. I bought a script of the film in 1976, which turned out to be a Fox file original with notes by Darryl Zanuck. That unique bit of research led to the chapter in the Film Noir Reader. Paul Arthur contributes a learned insert essay that encapsulates the film's meaning in just a few short paragraphs. The disc also has an original trailer in which the narrator pronounces Googie Withers' first name as "goo-jee." I assumed it was "goo-gee" and cheerfully mispronounce it throughout my commentary. (Note: according to an email (1/30/04) from Rob Ewen of Harrow, UK, the American trailer mispronounces Googie's name ... it is "goo-gee." So I was right after all. Huzzah.) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, Night and the City rates: Movie: Excellent Video: Excellent Sound: Excellent Supplements: Audio commentary by film scholar (!) (!!!) Glenn Erickson, new video interview with director Jules Dassin, Excerpts from a 1972 French interview with Dassin, Two Versions, Two Scores, a look at two different scores composed for the British and American releases of the film. New essay by film critic Paul Arthur Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: January 29, 2004
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Night and the City's ending rivals that of the bleakest films noir: Brute Force, Hollow Triumph, Detour. It tends to be received differently depending on who's watching. My father-in-law, a hardworking insurance agent, thought it was the right ending, that Harry Fabian got exactly what he deserved. The rest of us are dismayed by Harry's lack of ethics but also remember the anxiety of being young and concerned about how to get what we want out of life. The tendency is to feel slightly guilty just for being ambitious; the miserable story of Harry Fabian is almost a psychic punishment for sins not committed.

nice reference. it's one of those seldom seen noir films that is decidedly bleak and almost feels like a future hitchcock project.

that's a great write up and analysis of "Night & the City". i would more or less agree with most of what is put forth there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sword of Doom is near the top of my list. I only wish I knew Japanese so I could pay more attention to the film and less to the subtitles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly recommend Wake In Fright.

i looked for this despite not being a criterion title, but in the dreaded save category at netflix (only trailer at hulu plus)...if it becomes available, sounds like i shouldn't have my pet kangaroo at the screening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and directors, like...nicolas roeg (directed man who fell to earth, don't look now, walkabout)

Always nicely shot movies that sometimes made little sense to me. Seemed to star his wife in many of them.
agreed, his films can be visually stunning...he was a second unit cinematographer on lawrence of arabia (one of the best looking films ever), and cinematographer on the ray bradbury adaptation farnheit 451.i thought don't look now and walkabout (latter avail on hulu plus) were fairly straightforward, though he was employing the fractured, non-linear narrative and intricate flashback structure before some of the more contemporary directors he may have influenced...no doubt, though, man who fell to earth was super weird (made in '76, a year before eraserhead)... i may have read the tevis novel source material in between first and second viewing... the first viewing was pretty disjointed, though i found the sequences with bowie on his home planet strangely compelling... i haven't seen this in a while, and want to check it out again...* a characteristically lucid, literate, eloquent and insightful review of walkabout by ebert...http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/20-walkaboutWalkaboutBy Roger Ebert For many years now, one legendary film has appeared on every list of fine movies that are missing from distribution and home video. That film is Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout, the 1971 drama about a fourteen-year-old girl and her little brother, who are lost in the Australian outback and are saved by a young Aborigine who is, indeed, walking about as his rite of passage into manhood. No one who saw Walkabout has ever forgotten it, and now it has been restored with some additional scenes in a new director’s cut on this Criterion edition.Roeg was a cinematographer before he was a director, and this is one of the best-photographed films ever. It’s also a meditation about living on earth, which finds beauty in the way mankind’s intelligence can adapt to harsh conditions while civilization just tries to wall them off or pave them over. Walkabout is one of the great films. Is Walkabout only about what it seems to be about? Is it a parable about noble savages and the crushed spirits of city dwellers? That’s what the film’s surface suggests, but I think it’s about something deeper and more elusive: the mystery of communication. In the end, lives are destroyed, in one way or another, because two people could not invent a way to make their needs and dreams clear. The movie takes its title from a custom among the Australian Aborigines: At the time of transition to young manhood, an adolescent went on a “walkabout” for six months in the outback, surviving (or not) depending on his skills at hunting, trapping, and finding water in the wilderness. Aboriginal culture has a less linear sense of time than that of a clock-bound society, which the time-line of the movie suggests. Does everything happen exactly in the sequence it is shown? Does everything even happen at all? These questions lurk around the edges of the story, which is seemingly simple: The three young travelers survive in the outback because of the Aborigine’s skills. And communication is a problem, although more for the girl than for her little brother, who has a child’s ability to cut straight through the language to the message. I think the film is neutral about each character’s goals. Like its lizards that sit unblinking in the sun, it has no agenda for them. The film sees the life of civilization as arid and unrewarding, but only easy idealism allows us to believe that the Aborigine is any happier, or that his life is more rewarding (the film makes a rather unpleasant point of the flies constantly buzzing around him). Nicolas Roeg does not subscribe to pious sentimental values; he has made that clear in the quarter-century since Walkabout, in a series of films that have grown curiouser and curiouser: In Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Insignificance, Track 29, Bad Timing, and other films—many of them starring his wife, Theresa Russell—he has shown characters trapped inside their own obsessions, fatally unable to communicate with others; all sexual connections are perverse, damaging, or based on faulty understandings. In Walkabout, the crucial detail is that the two teenagers never find a way to communicate, not even by using sign language. This is in part because the girl feels no need to do so: Throughout the film she remains implacably middle-class and conventional, and regards the Aborigine as more of a curiosity and convenience than as a fellow spirit, ignoring his sexual advances. The movie is not the heartwarming story of how the girl and her brother are lost in the outback and survive because of the knowledge of the resourceful Aborigine. It is about how all three are still lost at the end of the film—more lost than before, because now they are lost inside themselves instead of merely adrift in the world. The film suggests that all of us are the captives of environment and programming: There is a wide range of experiment and experience that remains forever invisible to us, because it falls in a spectrum we simply cannot see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly recommend Wake In Fright.

i looked for this despite not being a criterion title, but in the dreaded save category at netflix (only trailer at hulu plus)...if it becomes available, sounds like i shouldn't have my pet kangaroo at the screening.
Ha, my bad. I know the film was quite recently restored and released on Blu-ray, and due to it's high quality and it being an obscure Aussie film I assumed this was done by Criterion; though a quick google search shows this was not the case. Though the A.V. club apparently agrees with me and calls the Blu-ray Criterion worthy, for whatever that's worth.And yes, I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone who has a pet kangaroo or wallaby...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly recommend Wake In Fright.

i looked for this despite not being a criterion title, but in the dreaded save category at netflix (only trailer at hulu plus)...if it becomes available, sounds like i shouldn't have my pet kangaroo at the screening.
Ha, my bad. I know the film was quite recently restored and released on Blu-ray, and due to it's high quality and it being an obscure Aussie film I assumed this was done by Criterion; though a quick google search shows this was not the case. Though the A.V. club apparently agrees with me and calls the Blu-ray Criterion worthy, for whatever that's worth.And yes, I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone who has a pet kangaroo or wallaby...
no worries, the thread was intended to be primarily about criterion, but any free wheeling, wide ranging discussion about these kinds of films will naturally at times spill across and over such a narrowly circumscribed border as i have suggested (i was just discussing don't look now by roeg, which isn't on criterion, though about four other of his titles are)... and criterion does do horror* (particularly a lot of japanese titles, it seems, though with some of them admittedly being from the artistic side of the spectrum... like the brilliant kwaidan, ugetsu, kuroneko, etc.) and so called cult movies, so who knows, it could be something they add at some point, as you noted... * i just picked up a classic american horror, gothic-type title by criterion (albeit, not always associated with the horror genre) - night of the hunter! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just watched night of the hunter... i don't know if i ever saw it all the way through... always been a big fan of robert mitchum (great in quintessential noir out of the past, also noir farewell my lovely, a remake of the also good murder my sweet, but dick powell didn't bring the world weariness of bogart's phillip marlowe to the role like mitchum was capable of)...the restored criterion blu ray is one of the best looking black and white films i've ever seen (cinematographer wen all the way back to orson welles second movie, and already first troubled production the studio wrested control away from, the magnificent ambersons)... this was an unusual production, representing the only movie legendary actor charles laughton (hunchback of notre dame) ever directed, as well as the only solo screenplay credit of pulitzer prize winning jounalist/novelist/poet/screen writer/film critic james agee, of let us now praise famous men fame (co-writing credit on african queen)...in the below brief, seconds long clip from the movie, as mitchum is chasing children into the river, his howl of rage is an approximation of the sound i make when i run out of beer... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UklDhlsTyUkwhole movie can be viewed here...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyUVRsUWuqQ* great review by glenn erickson, who also writes for TCM...http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/17678/The-Night-of-the-Hunter/home-video-reviews.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just watched night of the hunter... i don't know if i ever saw it all the way through... always been a big fan of robert mitchum (great in quintessential noir out of the past, also noir farewell my lovely, a remake of the also good murder my sweet, but dick powell didn't bring the world weariness of bogart's phillip marlowe to the role like mitchum was capable of)...the restored criterion blu ray is one of the best looking black and white films i've ever seen (cinematographer wen all the way back to orson welles second movie, and already first troubled production the studio wrested control away from, the magnificent ambersons)... this was an unusual production, representing the only movie legendary actor charles laughton (hunchback of notre dame) ever directed, as well as the only solo screenplay credit of pulitzer prize winning jounalist/novelist/poet/screen writer/film critic james agee, of let us now praise famous men fame (co-writing credit on african queen)...in the below brief, seconds long clip from the movie, as mitchum is chasing children into the river, his howl of rage is an approximation of the sound i make when i run out of beer...

whole movie can be viewed here...http://www.youtube.c...h?v=jyUVRsUWuqQ* great review by glenn erickson, who also writes for TCM...http://www.tcm.com/t...eo-reviews.html
awesome awesome flick :thumbup: One of my all-time favorites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, Criterion stuff is really, really good. And for those who think they just do film-snob stuff, they have Dazed and Confused, Chasing Amy, the Blob, Godzilla, and other stuff. Schlock is important too :)Am interested in the streaming - thanks for the heads up. I have a decent little collection (about 45 of em), but definitely want to see more. My favorites are Solaris, M, Vampyr, Carnival of Souls, Ugetsu, The Virgin Spring... ok, I really like all of the ones I own. :)

good point...saw the blob again recently for the first time in a long time...vampyr was very atmospheric, i think this was the only horror movie in his body of work (i associate dreyer more with bergman-like character studies)...yeah, exactly, i'm relatively selective, but i can't think of any i have i don't like (and some as noted have been upgraded to blu ray)...i'd say the kurosawa's are among my favorites, as well as the kubrick's, the noirs (including the eclipse five film box set nikkatsu noir), especially le doulos by melville... hope they add le samourai by melville this year, which has been rumored... the third man, M & night of the hunter (just got latter but found this enthralling, and haven't explored even half the supplements), i got the qatsi trilogy recently (only released last month), and that was great (lot of insightful interviews with godfrey reggio... i was reminded that he was a monk for about half his life and the contemplative lifestyle and the inner quiet that must have conferred served him well on this series... also interviews with glass, in retrospect, this was maybe one of the great director/composer collaborations ever, imo)... the thin red line and days of heaven by mallick are among the most beautifully shot and best looking movies i've ever seen (badlands is coming to criterion in a month or two)... anatomy of a murder, with some great docs on otto preminger, and fantastic score by duke ellington... mr arkadin and F for fake (including a great documentary on his {{many}} unfinished works) by orson welles are not among his best known works, but i found compelling nonetheless... titles like this are one reason criterion exists, i likely wouldn't have seen them otherwise... arkadin didn't exist in a definitive form, but in at least 4-5 versions, and it was fascinating seeing the cinematic archaelogy used to assemble as complete a version as they could that to the best of their ability thought would satisfy welles stated intentions and not be inconsistent with his known working methods and editorial body of work... it had input from close friend, fellow director and maybe his biggest, most important champion, peter bogdonovich... for some off the beaten path, non art film titles... videodrome by croneberg (also rumors scanners could be coming in 2013) and blow out by de palma (easily my favorite by him)... for those that like docs, i found antonio gaudi (wordless until very late, spooky, minimalist electronic score), about the spanish architectural genius by japanese avant garde/surrealist director teshigahara (women in the dunes, etc.) a surprising natural fit, though wouldn't have been obvious to me on the surface...title/s i'd most like to see added to criterion - sorceror by friedkin (also cronenberg's scanners, maybe thief my michael man with cool tangerine dream sound track)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rewatched some blu ray upgrades from my collection, like seventh seal*, 8 1/2, amarcord, solaris...seventh seal and especially amarcord had outstanding commentaries...also rewatched exterminating angel by bunuel... funny, in a surreal way, about a dinner party in which the guests inexplicably can't leave for several days, and the thin veneer of civilization is inexorably stripped away...the pre-disney, live action jungle book by the kordas and starring sabu is a great family film (thief of bagdad also falls into this category) and one of the best looking technicolor films i've ever seen... BTW, i'm not into watching bad movies just because they look good (like a remastered version of gigli), but i take it as a given that most criterion titles are going to be pretty good, and their very inclusion presupposes a vetting by a generally reliable internal selection process (in much the same way i have found ebert to be a usually trustworthy barometer and litmus test for my own tastes and sensibilities)... that said, some movies stand out as being more exceptional looking than others... it is agan a given that nearly all these titles have undergone some level of restoration... naturally, more recent films tend to look sharper with less damage, yet some older films stand out despite their age... had never seen last year at marienbad... i knew some things about it (opinion divided, challenging, etc.)... maybe it was part of the point, but i found it more of a stylistic exercise and overly formal, and, while beautifully shot, the wooden, stilted acting and minimalist, repetitive dialogue made it a bit tedious and pretentious (think the brad pitt chanel commercial expanded to 90-120 minutes - OOF!)... maybe further viewing would change my opinion?i had seen naked prey, watched it again... cornell wilde was director and actor... based on a true story about how jim colter (original mountain man, member of lewis and clark's expedition) was chased by blackfeet indians and had to literally run for his life... for economic reasons, wilde shot it in places like south africa and then-rhodesia, transposing the basic survival story into the african savannah, with no diminishing of its harrowing impact... well done, imo, recommended... BTW, i don't know if there are a lot of stories like this, but it reminded me of the most dangerous game, a pre code horror movie based on a famous short story... also on criterion, and avail streaming on hulu plus, so i watched it first... story held up pretty well, and a good print after presumed restoration (from early 30s)... i suppose i found it worthwhile to check out more out of historical interest... another pre-code horror movie avail on criterion, in which imo the story held up even better, was the island of dr. moreau, with amazing makeup effects for the time...the biggest revelation in past few weeks is a japanese director... everybody knows about kurosawa... scratch a bit deeper, and another couple names that come up are ozu (prolific director, tokyo story scored high in some recent once a decade sight and sound polls) and mizoguchi (sansho the bailiff and ugetsu)... based on the strength of a few movies i've recently seen, masaki kobayashi should be included in a list of greatest japanese directors... i had seen kwaidan (four ghost stories), which was excellent, but i wasn't aware of the director's other work at that time... harakiri had a powerful impact... it is hard for me to evaluate movies without the detachment conferred by time and perspective, but initially, i'd say this is one of the best movies i've ever seen (certainly japanese, but i'm not sure of the need to qualify it in that way, just period)... like paths of glory is actually an anti-war movie, this is more than anything else an anti-samurai movie (very little sword play until the end)... both kwaidan and harakiri won special jury prize at cannes in their repective years (early-mid sixties)... a couple other notes... it was co-written by a screen writer named shinobu hashimoto, who collaborated with kurosawa on some of his best work (rashomon, ikiru, seven samurai, throne of blood, hidden fortress)... the lead actor, tatsuya nakadai, is perhaps not that well known, and was overshadowed (as was nearly every other contemproray japanese actor) by kurosawa staple toshiro mifune... but, he was a great actor... i think he was more of a discovery of kobayashi (starring in earlier three part, 9+ hour epic the human condition), but also appeared in kurosawa's yojimbo (the gun fighter) and high and low (kidnapper), teshigahara's face of another and kill and sword of doom by okamoto... he has a knack for submerging himself into the role, and almost becomes unrecognizable in his diverse roles... through his body language, facial expressions, gestures and other performance nuances, he inhabits his characters like few others i've ever experienced, from any country... mifune was also a master of this (compare him in rashomon and seven samurai, and than high and low, yojimbo/sanjuro, hidden fortress, red beard)...kobayashi also did samurai rebellion, starring mifune, another great movie, though perhaps not as great as harakiri... a common thread running through these two films (and beyond, to earlier works), is a critique of authority... a courageous stance taken in an authoritarian society (one of his earliest movies, the thick walled room, was suppressed by the studio for something like four years, for outspokenly criticizing the fact that lower level military figures were used as scape goats in the aftermath of WW II, to protect higher level figures that were the actual perpetrators)... during his military service, he refused officer candidacy and insisted on being a private...* typically incisive essay by gary giddins on the seventh seal, there go the clowns... :)i was reminded that this film is what launched janus films... also, that watching a movie because you are "supposed to" (because it is historically important, etc.) is the kiss of death... the seventh seal is worth watching because it is straight up a great movie... it is timeless, in the sense that bergman's effortless ability to capture the spirit of the age of the crusades and the black plague (technically there were some historical inaccuracies) and to use that as a mirror of the spiritual angst of modernity is as relevant now as it was over a half century ago... also, i had forgotten about numerous instances of bergman's trenchant wit... http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1171-the-seventh-seal-there-go-the-clowns"In recent years, The Seventh Seal has often been honored more for its historical stature than its prevailing vitality. Those who attended its first international rollout and were changed forever by the experience are now second-guessing their attachment to a work so firmly ensconced in the realm of middlebrow clichés. Its Eisenhower look-alike Reaper, emblematic chess game, and Dance of Death have been endlessly emulated and parodied. Worse, The Seventh Seal quickly assumed, and has never quite shaken, the reputation, formerly attributed to castor oil, of something good for you—a true kiss of death. A movie that’s good for you is, by definition, not good for you. So it’s a relief to set aside the solemnity of cultural sanction, along with the still-frame images that have adorned greeting cards, and return to Ingmar Bergman’s actual film: a dark, droll, quizzical masterpiece that wears its fifty-something years with the nimble grace of the acrobat Jof, who is the film’s true prism of consciousness. Not that its historical importance should be forgotten. As the picture that launched art-house cinema (along with Bergman, leading player Max von Sydow, and distributor Janus Films), The Seventh Seal holds a place in movie annals as secure as that of Battleship Potemkin or Citizen Kane or any other earthshaking classic you care to name.Other imports had found appreciative audiences in the United States before The Seventh Seal passed through customs, including Kurosawa’s Rashomon in 1951 and Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria in 1957. But the effect of The Seventh Seal’s American debut at New York’s Paris Theater in October 1958, reinforced eight months later by the opening of Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, was transformative. With that one-two punch, cinema catapulted to the front line of a cultural advance guard that—shoulder to shoulder with modern jazz, abstract painting, Beat writing, theater of the absurd—sought to undermine the intractable mass taste promoted by Hollywood, television, and the Brill Building.Everything about Bergman’s late-fifties work startled American filmgoers: the high-contrast cinematography and unsettling (endlessly reproduced) imagery; the scorching beaches and bleak glades; the fastidiously blocked compositions and credible invocations of the distant past; the magnificent company of actors; the taut plotting and elliptical dialogue—all handled with psychological astuteness, deft symbols, mordant wit, and equal attention to religious-ethical concerns in a possibly godforsaken universe and familial conflicts in an undoubtedly sexual one. At a time when the films of Carl Dreyer were largely neglected, Bergman advanced a Scandinavian aesthetic that rivaled, and in some respects trumped, that of the eminent novelists Knut Hamsun and Pär Lagerkvist, proving to a generation of eager moviegoers that cinema was a global pursuit of infinite promise, worth living for and talking about late into the night. The Seventh Seal opens with a gorgeously baleful sky and a gliding eagle, almost frozen against the gathering clouds. A fourteenth-century knight and his squire, lately returned from the slaughter of the Crusades only to face the slaughter of the black death, are asleep on the beach. A long shot shows the sea and sky and rocky shore as though uncovering the world for the first time. The grim insinuations of this glossily disarming start are promptly borne out in the appearance of a decomposing face and a recurring skull that could not be more symbolically playful if it had “Memento Mori” stamped on its cranium. As one of the film’s several mischievous artists and performers observes, with archness worthy of Alfred Hitchcock, “A skull is more interesting than a naked woman.” In 1958, American reviewers emphasized the film’s foreignness, its cerebral artiness. In his enthusiastic New York Times notice, Bosley Crowther described it as “essentially intellectual” and “as tough—and rewarding—a screen challenge as the moviegoer has had to face this year,” which evokes all the appeal of an algebra problem or a firing squad. Few called attention to the film’s comic sensibility and its affinity with other movies and cultural strategies of the period, which in retrospect are harder to miss.Bergman uses as his central narrative device one of the oldest and most persistent paradigms in Western culture: the questing, idealistic hero (tall, gaunt, easily awestruck) and earthy, practical lackey (squat, well fed, ironic). The Don Quixote and Sancho Panza template has endured numberless variations, reversals, and buddy-buddy deviations, from d’Artagnan and Planchet to Vladimir and Estragon, from Mutt and Jeff comedy teams to singing cowboys and their dumpy sidekicks. Bergman’s version, as played by the magnetically craggy and prematurely aged Max von Sydow (he was all of twenty-eight) and the square-jawed Gunnar Björnstrand, promises, briefly, to be a conventional riff on righteous master and trusty servant. But a rude scowl from the latter indicates an unbridgeable gulf between them. Their most memorable conversations are not with each other. The knight, Antonius Block, seeks proof of God or the devil, and gets no satisfaction from a strangely clueless Death (Bengt Ekerot), who may be the hardest-working man in eschatology—playing chess to harvest one soul, sawing down a tree to claim another. Block, the chess man, hopes to win his reprieve from Death by beating him through “a combination of bishop and knight,” though he knows better than most how utterly inefficient are the combined forces of religion and the military. “My indif­ference to my fellow men has cut me off from their company,” he laments. Unlike the blithe entertainer Jof (Nils Poppe), whose family he apparently saves by diverting Death’s attention, Block is not permitted visionary glimpses of God’s beneficence, but he sees man’s villainy, cloaked in religious avowal, everywhere. When Death finally arrives to claim him and his group, only Block blubbers in prayer. In contrast, his squire, Jöns, insists on his right as a man “to feel the immense triumph of this final moment, when you can still roll your eyes and wiggle your toes.”Jöns, the caustically plain-speaking singer of bawdy songs, is one of Bergman’s (and Björnstrand’s) greatest characters. Stronger than the knight because he is more secure in his agnosticism, he is not indiffer­ent to man. He is instead contemptuous of military deliverance (“Our crusade was so stupid that only a true idealist could have thought it up”) and religious pageantry (“Is that sustenance for modern people? Do they really expect us to take it seriously?”), and doesn’t need a diversionary ploy to save Jof from the perfidy of men. Jöns gets many of the best lines, which resonate with the kind of verbal incongruities that Samuel Beckett had recently unleashed, especially as he tries to console the cuckolded blacksmith, who tells him, “You believe your own twaddle.” “Who says I believe it?” Jöns replies. “But ask for a word of advice and I’ll give you two. I’m a man of learning, after all.” In the end, Jöns and Block share the same fate, chained hand to hand in the Dance of Death that only Jof can see. He and his wife, Mia (Bibi Andersson), and their child escape the holocaust, after inviting Block to participate in a sacramental meal of milk and wild strawberries. We don’t know for how long they will be spared, but more than any of the other characters, they are us, neither courageous nor craven; they are devoted more to family than to God (or to the gods of war), and consequently live in God’s grace.The angelic Mia is one of five women in the film, of whom only the libidinous, chicken-gnawing Lisa, the blacksmith’s wife, is seen in the Dance of Death. Six centuries before movie magazines, Lisa sets her cap on the closest thing she can find to a matinee idol, the actor Skat, and seduces him while his partners Jof and Mia sing a song about the devil ####ting on the shore. The other women are the knight’s Penelope-like wife, risking plague to welcome him home; an alleged young witch, bound for the stake, who takes the fanatics at their word, embracing the devil they insist lurks everywhere; and the silent maid (Gunnel Lindblom), saved from one rape but perhaps victimized by others. These three do not fear death—the last two welcome it with evident relief—and are absent from Jof’s vision of Death’s humiliating dance. Is it because they embrace death that they are spared that mortification (for they, too, have been reaped; we have seen the witch’s final throes and heard Death’s promise to harvest them all), or are they absent from Jof’s vision simply because it is Jof’s vision? He has never seen the knight’s wife or the witch, and has shown only a benign indifference to the mute maid. Bergman’s religious symbolism, which distinguished The Seventh Seal from his previous films and marked many of those to follow, paralleled a turnabout in the work of his fellow Swede Pär Lagerkvist, a man no less attuned than Beckett to existential paradox. Lagerkvist, whose dramatic work Bergman had directed as recently as 1956, had been Sweden’s most celebrated writer for nearly forty years when, in the 1950s, his concerns took a sharp turn toward religious inquiry in a series of short novels, beginning with Barabbas and The Sibyl. His primary theme must have registered with Bergman: did God create man or did man create God, and does it matter once the bond of faith is accepted? Having lost faith on the eve of apocalypse, Block, like Lagerkvist’s pagans at the dawn of Christianity, needs God to show himself. Bergman acknowledged a correlation between his vision of the Middle Ages and the midcentury fear of atomic devastation. As an ardent filmgoer, he could not have been unmindful of the ongoing welter of end-of-days scenarios, sublime and ludicrous. The Seventh Seal opened in Stockholm in February 1957; in the preceding two years alone, apocalypses, holocausts, plagues, eschatology, and resurrection informed, among many other films, Kiss Me Deadly, Ordet, Night and Fog, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Forbidden Planet, The Wrong Man, Moby Dick, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The End of the Affair, The Night of the Hunter, The Burmese Harp, Land of the Pharaohs, and The Ten Commandments. Dozens more were on the way, including a few about Jesus, the most egregious of them with von Sydow in the starring role.Yet of those films only The Seventh Seal maintains throughout a peculiarly modernistic insistence on doubt. It embraces doubt the way most of the others embrace piety, futility, or melodrama. Only The Seventh Seal achieves uncanny timelessness by convincingly re-creating the time in which it is set. No self-respecting Egyptologist is likely to use a still from The Ten Commandments in a historical study. But in 2008, John Hatcher illustrated his book The Black Death: A Personal History with Renaissance artworks, plus a shot of Bergman’s Dance of Death, which feels entirely appropriate. Nor have the film’s moral concerns dated—its disdain for religious persecution, trumped-up wars, and the deals most of us desperately make with Death to delay the inevitable. Meanwhile, Jof and Mia ride off into the sunset with their infant acrobat-in-training son: for the clowns, there is no final curtain."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have five of these. 3 WomenThe 400 BlowsFear and Loathing in Las VegasLa Jetee/Sans SoleilPicnic at Hanging RockThose first three I like. As for the last two I will never watch them again. "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was a big waste of time to watch. The film looked nice but the story was bad and the ending was pathetic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have five of these. 3 WomenThe 400 BlowsFear and Loathing in Las VegasLa Jetee/Sans SoleilPicnic at Hanging RockThose first three I like. As for the last two I will never watch them again. "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was a big waste of time to watch. The film looked nice but the story was bad and the ending was pathetic.

haven't seen 3 women (or actually very many altman films, though i liked the player)...i don't think i have watched all of 400 blows, and it was a long time ago, i need to add that to my list... i have gotten into melville lately, but want to explore some films by french new wave-types truffaut (who was a student of film in a way that perhaps many other great directors are, like scorcese championing powell and pressburger... he did a famous interview of hitchcock... BTW, william friedkin did one of the best commentaries i've ever heard on my favorite hitchcock movie, vertigo, he clearly has immense respect and is extremely well informed and insightful) and godard (have and need to rewatch low budget sci fi noir alphaville, also want to check out breathless and band of outsiders)...saw F&L, want to rewatch (as noted, gilliam's brazil and time bandits also on criterion)...i liked la jetee, since it was less than 30 minutes, i wouldn't buy it just for that, so i checked out sans soleil (sort of fictional bio-travelogue?) recently... i was admittedly tired, but fell asleep at some point and haven't gone back to finish it... la jetee is avail streaming at hulu plus for those interested... i think chris marker called it a visual novel, it was set to stills, and of course inspired gilliam's later twelve monkeys...i was aware of picnic because of peter weir's probably best known film, the last wave, which i watched again recently, so thanks for the heads up... i sort of liked the last wave, in an atmospheric way, but didn't feel the payoff was worth the long (if not quite, circa-stalker tarkovsky glacial-like) build up... the aboriginal lead in last wave was the same actor that played in roeg's walkabout, which i also rewatched recently, and liked better than weir...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it's every single title or not but for this three day weekend free Hulu is offering more of the Criterion collection than I've ever seen before. Pretty smart on their part imo. Not saying every film is a homerun but many of the titles are so different from the Netflix/Amazon/Crackle variety that the Criterion Collection is almost worth the membership to Hulu+ by themselves(now if they just didn't subject paying members to commercials!) at least until you've seen all the ones you've wanted to see.In any case people should poke around and try one. So many great titles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I see "Criterion Collection" I get angry. They put out an awful DVD of one of my all time favorite films, The Last Emperor. I don't know who was responsible, but they majorly screwed up the the cropping and transfer of this film to digital format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I see "Criterion Collection" I get angry. They put out an awful DVD of one of my all time favorite films, The Last Emperor. I don't know who was responsible, but they majorly screwed up the the cropping and transfer of this film to digital format.

bummer that they bothched one of your favorites...in my experience, not only is that not the norm, but criterion generally does a fantastic job with preservation and restoration of classics...just watched blu rays of tokyo drifter by seijun suzuki (color) and shock corridor by sam fuller (B & W), and they look sensational... shock corridor comes with an hour length doc on fuller, with tim robbins, tarantino, scorcese, jim jarmusch, etc...* on deck - blu rays of naked kiss and branded to kill by fuller and suzuki, also samurai spy, part of four DVD set rebel samurai (includes samurai rebellion, sword of the beast and kill)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a class on Fritz Lang films at USC. My top 5 Lang films are ...

1. Destiny (1921) -- I think this, over Metropolis, was his real silent masterpiece and that it stands up better today. Beautiful, thought-provoking story and amazing special effects for the time. Hitchcock called it his favorite film.

2. M (1931) -- Already been talked about.

3. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) -- The first super villain put on film. His last German film before coming to the U.S. I own The Criterion Collection version.

4. Scarlet Street (1945) -- Great noir film with Joan Bennett running a con on Edward G. Robinson, who gives the best performance of his illustrious career.

5. The Woman in the Window (1944) -- Another noir tale of murder and guilt starring Robinson and Bennett.

Honorable mention to: Metropolis, The Big Heat, Fury, Clash by Night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a class on Fritz Lang films at USC. My top 5 Lang films are ...1. Destiny (1921) -- I think this, over Metropolis, was his real silent masterpiece and that it stands up better today. Beautiful, thought-provoking story and amazing special effects for the time. Hitchcock called it his favorite film.2. M (1931) -- Already been talked about.3. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) -- The first super villain put on film. His last German film before coming to the U.S. I own The Criterion Collection version.4. Scarlet Street (1945) -- Great noir film with Joan Bennett running a con on Edward G. Robinson, who gives the best performance of his illustrious career.5. The Woman in the Window (1944) -- Another noir tale of murder and guilt starring Robinson and Bennett.Honorable mention to: Metropolis, The Big Heat, Fury, Clash by Night.

thanks for the input... a fritz lang class sounds very educational and fun... he was a master, prolific, and as you noted, one of the godfathers of noir...destiny added to queue, my interest is piqued... a few years ago i knew nothing about silent film (and didn't really have desire to find out), but when some were shown on TCM, i checked out some chaplin (gold rush, city lights, modern times MOSTLY silent - first and last on criterion, as well as the dictator) and keaton (the general, sherlock jr., our hospitality, steamboat bill jr., the navigator and seven chances) and really liked them... in the hands of a great director, there is never a time you don't know what is going on... sunrise by murneau was featured on TCM essentials last year... i have to see something by D.W. griffith (birth of a nation, intolerance) and eisenstein (battleship potemkin), both who were said to be instrumental in developing the syntax of film (melies, bio loosely covered in hugo, also a massive contribution even earlier)...i've seen the criterion testament of dr. mabuse... liked it more the second time... it astonishes me how contemporary lang's films seem, rarely dated in any way...i've also seen scarlet street and woman in the window, but it has been a while, and they were in my queue... i remember liking them, and great performances by robinson... i've seen metropolis a few times (awesome) and the big heat... i remember glen ford, gloria graham, lee marvin and a pot of coffee!scarlet street and woman in the window are avail streaming on netflix... so are some other langs, like spies, dr. mabuse: the gambler & woman in the moon (i think latter three silent)... i also have what might be lang's last film, the 1,000 eyes of dr. mabuse, which i intended to check out again...while on the subject of noir (one of my favorite genres), first identified in france, though originated here, it does seem like many of the best films were made by ex-pat european directors (in particular, germany/austria seemed well represented), like billy wilder, who did double indemnity (co-written by raymond chandler, also avail streaming on netflix, and also one of the finest performances of robinson's career) and sunset blvd. certainly there were pre-noirs (langs M arguable THE best example) and post/neo-noirs (notably china town, LA confidential, drive imo a good recent example), but the classic noir cycle usually demarcated by john huston's maltese falcon in '41 (based on the dashiell hammett novel) to orson welles touch of evil in '58 (i was just reading that some critics think double indemnity is one of the best early examples, from '44)... personally, i thought maltese falcon had a lot of misdirection but not really that much was actually happening, and i liked howard hawks the big sleep with bogart a lot more (based on chandler's novel, though made in '46)... as i've said before, i find jacques tourneur's out of the past (with robert mitchum and one of the first roles by kirk douglas) the quintessential noir... jane greer imo the greatest femme fatale role in noir... some of my other favorites (in addition to those already mentioned above by lang, wilder, etc.) include huston's asphalt jungle (fronted by the great sterling hayden, who kubrick used to great effect in the noir the killing, avail from criterion, as well as dr. strangelove), edward dmytryk's murder my sweet (based on chandler's farewell my lovely, with dick powell taking turn in the philip marlowe role immortalized by bogart... one of the best marlowe's was turned in by robert mitchum in the remake, which kept the original novel title), otto preminger's laura, robert siodmak's the killers (more than don siegel's remake, both avail on a double feature from criterion), robert aldrich's kiss me deadly (avail criterion), jules dassin's night and the city (criterion), sam fuller's pickup on south south street (criterion - as are, and on blu ray, shock corridor and naked kiss), and if you count hitchcock's vertigo* as noir (has a lot of the classic elements), that would definitely qualify as it is one of my favorite movies period... two non-american noirs i like a lot and discovered recently... melville's le doulos, and suzuki's youth of the beast, both with the requisite intricate plotting.* vertigo was #1 in the latest (once a decade), 2012 sight and sound poll of greatest movies... it overtook notorious, which had been the hitchcock critical darling for several preceding decades... http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been wanting to see the 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse just to see what Lang does with Mabuse, even though it isn't rated nearly as highly. I've seen those other silent films you mention. I think the Chaplin/Keaton films come off better than the stuff by Griffith and Eisenstein. Slapstick comedy comes through better than drama. But you can appreciate the editing of Eisenstein and the grandiose of Griffith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have five of these. 3 WomenThe 400 BlowsFear and Loathing in Las VegasLa Jetee/Sans SoleilPicnic at Hanging RockThose first three I like. As for the last two I will never watch them again. "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was a big waste of time to watch. The film looked nice but the story was bad and the ending was pathetic.

haven't seen 3 women (or actually very many altman films, though i liked the player)...i don't think i have watched all of 400 blows, and it was a long time ago, i need to add that to my list... i have gotten into melville lately, but want to explore some films by french new wave-types truffaut (who was a student of film in a way that perhaps many other great directors are, like scorcese championing powell and pressburger... he did a famous interview of hitchcock... BTW, william friedkin did one of the best commentaries i've ever heard on my favorite hitchcock movie, vertigo, he clearly has immense respect and is extremely well informed and insightful) and godard (have and need to rewatch low budget sci fi noir alphaville, also want to check out breathless and band of outsiders)...saw F&L, want to rewatch (as noted, gilliam's brazil and time bandits also on criterion)...i liked la jetee, since it was less than 30 minutes, i wouldn't buy it just for that, so i checked out sans soleil (sort of fictional bio-travelogue?) recently... i was admittedly tired, but fell asleep at some point and haven't gone back to finish it... la jetee is avail streaming at hulu plus for those interested... i think chris marker called it a visual novel, it was set to stills, and of course inspired gilliam's later twelve monkeys...i was aware of picnic because of peter weir's probably best known film, the last wave, which i watched again recently, so thanks for the heads up... i sort of liked the last wave, in an atmospheric way, but didn't feel the payoff was worth the long (if not quite, circa-stalker tarkovsky glacial-like) build up... the aboriginal lead in last wave was the same actor that played in roeg's walkabout, which i also rewatched recently, and liked better than weir...
"3 Women" is a strange film. It moves along very slowly and the characters are odd. Then something happens very late in the film and you say, "What the hell was that?". It ends a few minutes later. You then say, "That was actually pretty good.""Picnic at Hanging Rock" was stunningly bad. Obviously, there are people who like this film. If you want to give it a shot, go ahead but you have been warned. :)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flash Sale going on

Thanks!! Got Harakiri and Stagecoach.
harakiri is great... i just taped stagecoach on TCM last week (oscars month)... seen it before, but a long time ago, looking forward to seeing it again... ford and wayne had a long and storied working relationship, but i think this was when ford made wayne a star (first movie together?), and when he turned westerns into the stuff of myth and legend... :)i'll echo the thanks for the heads up... I was initially disappointed, as I noticed my first choice, rashomon blu ray (wanted to upgrade DVD) was sold out... Plan B was sansho the bailiff by mizoguchi, arguably one of the greatest movies ever from any country, as it just came out on blu ray today (don't have this even on DVD), but alas, it was also sold out...i was going to just get gimme shelter blu ray, but added complete monterey pop box set blu ray (free shipping over $50)... monterey contains "complete" hendrix (on audio, and a lot though not all on video) and otis redding sets (latter backed by Booker T and the MGs with the Memphis horns, though a short set at about 20 minutes), not the sampling as in other groups (and some excluded entirely, for instance the dead refused to authorize filming)... these are arguably two of the top three or so concert films ever, nice to have these alpha and omega social/cultural/musical historical documents given the criterion treatment, and on blu ray...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flash Sale going on

Thanks!! Got Harakiri and Stagecoach.
Debating going back to order Stagecoach now...I ordered M and Paths of Glory, a couple of movies that I watched many times on VHS back in the day. I never got around to getting them on DVD, but thought I'd go for the blu ray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

criterion seems to be a fan of the movies of jim jarmusch, one of the greatest independent american directors in the last three decades...

while they don't have two i have seen and liked, ghost dog and dead man, they have his first five movies (including his first four)...

1 - permanent vacation (avail as extra on his second movie)...

2 - stranger than paradise

3 - down by law

4 - mystery train

5 - night on earth

stranger than paradise was his breakout film, won an award at cannes (as did mystery train), ebert had a glowing review... it is a stylistic exercise, with a formal structure (something like 67 shots, with no cuts within a shot, separated by fades to black)... i will watch again, but it is mostly about three people not doing anything...

my favorites so far are down by law and mystery train (first non-low budget production, and probably related, first color film), both avail on blu ray and shot by robby muller (he also did ghost dog and dead man, as well as some of wim wenders films such as american friend and paris, texas ((also avail as blu ray on criterion)) and to live and die in L.A. by billy friedkin)... even when action takes place in louisiana bayou swamps (down by law) or run down sections of a memphis ghetto (mystery train), they are beautifully shot...

down by law has interesting cast, with tom waits, john lurie (founder of the lounge lizards, also stars in stranger than paradise, and scored several of jarmusch's films) and then unknown, pre-life is beautiful roberto benigni... great music...

mystery train also casts musicians, in this case, sceaming jay hawkins (i put a spell on me) and joe strummer, and also has steve buscemi...

jarmusch seems to be big on the number three... stranger than paradise and down by law have three main characters, mystery train has three intertwined stories (not necessarily that interconnected, stay at same hotel, some off screen action like a gun being fired heard by different characters, etc.)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in honor of kurosawa's birthday (3-23), all his movies on hulu (24) avail through sunday 3-24 even to non-subscribers (with ads, though)...

* all of jarmusch's films may also be avail this weekend to non-subscribers (?)... see post immediately above, i'd recommend down by law and mystery train on criterion/hulu... also ghost dog and dead man, which aren't on criterion, but avail netflix streaming...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if anybody is a fan of the zatoichi series (blind swordsman), criterion is releasing a box set around thanksgiving (barnes and noble in past have had half price sales that weekend)...

it was supposedly the longest running series of its kind in japanese history...

the set is nearly complete, with 27 discs (i think nine blu ray, containing nearly all the original 25-26 movies, and 18 DVDs?)... there was a much later movie, and there may have been one they couldn't rights to (?), not included...

watched the first one on hulu plus last night... i think 10-15 are there, not sure about netflix or youtube...

if people like kurosawa's samurai movies, they might like it... interesting character, guess it would have to be to sustain such a long running series...

i'm guessing this has to be one of the best box set releases in any genre this year (i think it comes out same day as breaking bad set - it is a good time for a release)...

two noteworthy titles coming out in jan '14...

its a mad (X 4) world, one of the best comedies ever...

thief, michael mann's first and one of best features (with manhunter), one of james caan's best roles, and also one of tangerine dream's best, most hypnotic and riveting scores (with sorceror)...

speaking of sorceror, though not getting criterion treatment, billy friedkin (french connection, exorcist, to live and die in LA - one of william peterson's best with manhunter) said that after being tied up with studio rights issues (several principal potential rights holders actually didn't know who had ownership) for years, a restoration has been completed, and a blu ray release sounds if not imminent, coming out in near future ('14?)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too love Kuwosawa, especially when he teamed up with Mifune. :thumbup:

I am checking out John Woo's films this month. I really liked the tea house shoot out in Hard Boiled. I will be watching another one, "A Better Tomorrow" later today...

I never saw the Searchers until after Breaking Bad, and that ending scene was pretty amazing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXUz-Nntyks

Edited by Rohn Jambo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too love Kuwosawa, especially when he teamed up with Mifune. :thumbup:

I am checking out John Woo's films this month. I really liked the tea house shoot out in Hard Boiled. I will be watching another one, "A Better Tomorrow" later today...

I never saw the Searchers until after Breaking Bad, and that ending scene was pretty amazing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXUz-Nntyks

searchers is maybe the greatest western ever...

hard boiled was my favorite by woo, the killer probably second...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.