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General discussion about what's out for the couch.

The Criterion Collection, Boutique Labels & Film Classics
Topic by: Eoliano
Posted: January 5, 2006 - 1:47 PM PST
Last Reply: January 29, 2007 - 3:50 PM PST

page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  >>      prev | next
author topic: The Criterion Collection, Boutique Labels & Film Classics
post #141  on April 6, 2006 - 1:36 PM PDT  
The Masters of Cinema Series - April - May Releases:

MoC #27
(Satyajit Ray, 1962)

India | 1.33:1 OAR | 150 minutes | Date of release: May 2006

Abhijan (The Expedition) was Satyajit Ray's most popular film in Bengal: a "conscious" effort to communicate with a wider audience. The project was originally conceived by his friends and Ray stepped in when they panicked at the prospect of directing. Ray's mastery turned a starkly conventional plot into a subtly nuanced story which topped the Bengali box office for months.

Set on the Bihar-Bengal border, where Marwari businessmen - a powerful Hindi-dialect community of entrepreneurs much disliked throughout India - and Rajputs of warrior caste (from Rajasthan) have both settled. The central character of Narsingh (Soumitra Chatterjee), is a disillusioned, frequently drunken Rajput reduced in status to an ill-educated taxi driver. Proud and hot-tempered, with a passion for his 1930s Chrysler, Narsingh is offered work transporting tins of ghee for Sukhanram, a shady merchant, and finds himself drawn against his better judgement into trafficking opium. Having failed in everything honest, he has to decide whether or not he will engage in criminal activity to make money.

Starring Waheeda Rehman - one of the greatest stars of 'Bollywood' cinema - as Gulabi, a prostitute; Rabi Ghosh as Rama, Narsingh's right-hand man; and Ruma Guha Thakurata as Neeli, Abhijan was honoured with the National Award of India in 1962. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Abhijan for the first time on DVD in the West, restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Film Archive.

New progressive transfer from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Film Archive restoration
Video interview with Professor Dilip Basu, director of the Ray FASC (20 mins)
Promotional material gallery
New and improved optional English subtitles
36-page full colour booklet with reprints of Ray's original production sketches; writing by Marie Seton, Waheeda Rehman, and Joseph Lindner

MoC #28
(Jean Renoir, 1934)

France | 1.33:1 OAR | 81 minutes | Date of release: Apr 2006

Financed by Marcel Pagnol's production company, Jean Renoir's Toni is a landmark in French filmmaking. Based on a police dossier concerning a provincial crime of passion, it was lensed by Claude Renoir on location (unusually for the time) in the small town of Les Martigues where the actual events occurred. The use of directly-recorded sound, authentic patois, lack of make-up, a large ensemble cast of local citizens in supporting roles, and Renoir's steadfast desire to avoid melodrama lead to Toni often being labeled "the first 'neorealist' film." Renoir himself disagreed. Although Toni is acknowledged as a masterly forerunner of neo-realist preoccupations and techniques he wrote: "I do not think that is quite correct. The Italian films are magnificent dramatic productions, whereas in Toni I was at pains to avoid the dramatic."

Toni's story centres on an Italian immigrant, Antonio Canova (Charles Blavette), a labourer at a local quarry who has become entangled in relationships with his landlady (Jenny Helia) and with the young, hot-blooded Spaniard, Josefa (Celia Montalvan). As Josefa's life disintegrates through rape and a necessitous marriage to the brutish foreman Albert (Max Dalban), Toni is caught up in a series of marriages gone sour and the psychological fragility of those he cares for.

Despite the exquisite location backgrounds - the vineyards, rocky hilltops and verdant pathways surrounding the little village - Renoir makes no attempt to impose, through picturesqueness, the placid power of this Provencal backwater. Toni's direct style and theme (Luchino Visconti was assistant director) attained classic status with the critics and directors of the French New Wave. Renoir's vision of realism approaches a purity sometimes found in documentary, whilst retaining the literary power and emotion of Balzac, Flaubert and Zola. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Toni for the first time on DVD in the West.

New progressive transfer
Full length audio commentary by Kent Jones and Phillip Lopate
Video introduction by NFT programmer Geoff Andrew
Promotional material gallery
New and improved optional English subtitles
28-page booklet with a reprint of Tom Milne's 1980 review and numerous archive reprints

MoC #29
(Masaki KOBAYASHI, 1964)

Japan | 2.35:1 OAR | 183 minutes | Date of release: May 2006

For the first time in the West, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the complete 183-minute original Japanese cut of Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan - one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural fantasy films ever made.

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Kwaidan features four nightmarish tales adapted from Lafcadio Hearn's classic Japanese ghost stories. For this lavish, 'scope production, Kobayashi drew extensively on his own training as a student of painting and the fine arts. Indeed, the breadth of the film's poetic expression is unmatched in all of Japanese cinema: breathtakingly photographed on handpainted sets, the film is at once a miniature writ large, and an abstract wash of luminescent colours that seem to hail from another world. On the soundtrack, an electronic score by avant-garde composer Toru Takemitsu plays hauntingly with the natural sounds - crickets, rain, the cracking of wood, the loud silence of snow. This interaction of the film's plastic and aural textures with the simple, aching humanity of Hearn's tales serves to accentuate the power of the storytelling: four episodes about mortals caught up in forces beyond their comprehension - when the supernatural world intervenes in their lives. Perhaps the definitive adaptation of Hearn's work, Kwaidan also presents the author's most emblematic tale - "Hoichi, the Earless," in which a blind young monk journeys every night to an abandoned graveyard, compelled by the ghosts of a famous battle to retell their story, over and over again...

Starring Tatsuya Nakadai (Yojimbo, The Face of Another, Harakiri), this complete print of Kwaidan - incorporating 21 minutes of footage never before released to Western audiences - also includes the uncut version of "The Snow Maiden." in which a woodcutter marries a woman whose true calling is to wander enveloped in swirling snowflakes, bringing death to mortals. The episode marks the apotheosis of the film's eerie atmosphere - anticipating, and arguably surpassing, Japanese cinema's recent excursions in the realm of "J-horror." Over forty years on, Kobayashi's film remains an unparalleled achievement.

New progressive transfer of the complete 183-minute Japanese version
A selection of original trailers
Promotional material gallery
New and improved optional English subtitles
Special 72-page illustrated book with reprints of Lafcadio Hearn's original ghost stories; a survey of the life and career of Masaki Kobayashi by Linda Hoaglund; and a wide-ranging interview with the filmmaker - the last he ever gave
post #142  on April 6, 2006 - 5:44 PM PDT  
From the Criterion Newsletter:

This might be and indication that Criterion's new Eclipse label is finally going to happen, maybe too, that Criterion will redesign their website and/or packaging, but we'll just have to wait and see...

My Top Ten Criterion DVDs

Selected by Village Voice jazz critic Gary Giddins

In honor of his participation in this month's release of Elevator to the Gallows, we invited critic Gary Giddins to contribute a list of his ten favorite Criterion films:

The Naked Kiss
High and Low
Night and the City
Richard III
Mr. Arkadin
Children of Paradise
The Third Man
The Honeymoon Killers
The Lady Eve

For Giddins's comments on these films, click here.

Watch a video clip from the special feature on Elevator to the Gallows with Gary Giddins and jazz trumpeter John Faddis as they discuss Miles Davis's unforgettable contribution to film history.
post #143  on April 7, 2006 - 9:48 AM PDT  
DVD Talk's David Cornelius reviews Criterion's new three-disc set of The Complete Mr. Arakadin

The movie alone is worth owning; three complete versions in Criterion-level presentation quality make it better; the mind-boggling assortment of bonus features caps it all off. And that's not even counting the book, booklet, and attractive packaging. There's enough here to satisfy even the pickiest Welles fanatic. More importantly, however, there's not an ounce of fluff here. Every single extra actually does its job of fully supplementing the feature, enhancing the viewer's knowledge and appreciation of the central work. This is a film school in a box, and one of the very best releases from what everyone knows is the very best DVD production company. Absolute perfection.
post #144  on April 11, 2006 - 6:14 PM PDT  
DVD Savant Glenn Erickson unravels Criterion's new three-disc set, The Complete Mr. Arkadin, calling it "one of their best all-inclusive research jobs yet."
post #145  on April 11, 2006 - 7:39 PM PDT  
Against the Tide: Rebels and Mavericks in Contemporary Japanese Film

The Japan Society, New York

April 14 - 16

This series features protagonists who are unable or unwilling to adhere to social conventions. Surviving on their wits and a healthy sense of the absurd, these rebels and mavericks reflect profound fissures tugging at Japan today.

Mezon do Himiko 2005 (Inudo)

Knock Out 1989 (Sakamoto)

Canary 2004 (Shiota)

Wild Berries 2003 (Nishikawa)

Believe 2005 (Oguri)

Preparations for the Festival 1975 (Kuroki)

The Owl 2004 (Shindo)

Yakuza Graveyard 1967 (Fukasaku)

Rikidozan 2004 (Hae-sung Seong)

Bullet Ballet 1998 (Tsukamoto)
post #146  on April 12, 2006 - 11:51 AM PDT  
New Criterion Reviews!

Slant Magazine's Ed Gonzalez reviews Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket

"Stunning. One of the cleanest, sleekest Criterion transfers I've seen in a while."

David Cornelius turns in another glowing review for Mr. Arkadin at DVD Talk.

"There's simply no denying that this outstanding set belongs in the DVD Talk Collector Series. The movie alone is worth owning; three complete versions in Criterion-level presentation quality make it better; the mind-boggling assortment of bonus features caps it all off. And that's not even counting the book, booklet, and attractive packaging."

By the way, someone at GC needs to update the above link for The Complete Mr. Arkadin since it's a three-disc set with a different version of the film on each disc, including extensive extras and commentaries.
post #147  on April 12, 2006 - 12:19 PM PDT  
DVD Beaver Gary Tooze reviews the new Masters of Cinema DVD of Jean Renoir's adaptation of Marcel Pagnol's Toni

"Everything is at the elevated standard that we have come to expect from a Masters of Cinema release and we should feel quite fortunate to be able to see the film in such exemplary quality... a must-own DVD."
post #148  on April 12, 2006 - 5:32 PM PDT  
> > Looks like Antonioni's The Passenger just got a release date. March 14th.

Looks like it will be April 25!

Special features still uncertain...

Audio commentary with Jack Nicholson (uncertain but possible)
Second commentary with Wim Wenders (uncertain but doubtful)
Evening at the Academy Featurette (certainty)
Interview with writer Mark Peploe and actress Maria Schneider (certainty)
post #149  on April 12, 2006 - 6:38 PM PDT  
The Masters of Cinema Series

# 34

Fantastic Planet

Details coming soon!
post #150  on April 12, 2006 - 8:40 PM PDT  
Expect a new DVD from Paramount of Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven in the not too distant future!
post #151  on April 12, 2006 - 8:58 PM PDT  
> On April 12, 2006 - 6:38 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> The Masters of Cinema Series
> # 34
> Fantastic Planet

post #152  on April 12, 2006 - 9:42 PM PDT  
> The Masters of Cinema Series
> > # 34
> > Fantastic Planet

> Sweet.

Yet another reason to buy an all-region player, n'est ce pas?
post #153  on April 13, 2006 - 8:05 AM PDT  
> On April 12, 2006 - 9:42 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> Yet another reason to buy an all-region player, n'est ce pas?

Ooh, forgot that. Well, something like that :)
post #154  on April 13, 2006 - 9:00 AM PDT  
> > Yet another reason to buy an all-region player, n'est ce pas?

> Ooh, forgot that. Well, something like that :)

An essential item these days, especially if you collect.
post #155  on April 13, 2006 - 10:30 AM PDT  
The DVD Times reviews the new MoC disc of Jean Renoir's Toni

"The appearance of Toni in Eureka's Masters of Cinema series is a pleasant surprise, the label continuing to expand their range beyond their initial remit of early silent film and classic Japanese horror into a much wider catalogue of classic cinema that is unlikely to be seen outside of the Criterion Collection, and often not even there... This film gets a typically fine treatment from Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema collection, with a strong transfer and a considered selection of extra features."
post #156  on April 13, 2006 - 2:02 PM PDT  
The Criterion Collection

Spine # 339

Details coming soon!
post #157  on April 13, 2006 - 3:11 PM PDT  
The Criterion Collection

Spine # 340

Details coming soon!
post #158  on April 13, 2006 - 6:31 PM PDT  
Officially Announced for July!


With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinemas best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-aged father NJ's tenuous flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang's attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang imbues every gorgeous frame with a deft, humane clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century.

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Audio commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and noted Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns
New video interview with Rayns about the "New Taiwanese Cinema" movement
Theatrical trailer
A new essay by Kent Jones
post #159  on April 14, 2006 - 8:06 AM PDT  
Noir fans rejoice!

Coming in August from Universal

Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity
post #160  on April 14, 2006 - 9:46 AM PDT  
Officially Announced for July!


In 1977, acclaimed director Barbet Schroeder and cinematographer Nestor Almendros entered the universe of the world's most famous primate, to create the captivating documentary Koko: A Talking Gorilla. The film introduces us to the remarkable Koko at the age of three, recently brought from the San Francisco Zoo to Stanford University by Dr. Penny Patterson for a controversial experiment-she would be taught the basics of human communication through American sign language. An entertaining, troubling, and still relevant documentary, Koko: A Talking Gorilla sheds light on the ongoing ethical and philosophical debates on the individual rights of animals and brings us face to face with the amazing "individual" caught in the middle.

Special Features

New, restored digital transfer supervised and approved by director Barbet Schroeder
New video interview with Schroeder
Alternate French-language audio track with optional English subtitles
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
A new essay by author Gary Indiana and an homage to Koko from Marguerite Duras
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