(This also appeared on GreenCine Daily.)
"With the 1961 roadshow spectacular El Cid, the Weinstein Company has made an appropriate choice to inaugurate its prestige label, the Miriam Collection," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "Filmed largely at historical locations in Spain in Super Technirama, a 70-millimeter widescreen process, El Cid remains, even on home video, a feast of visual detail. Under Anthony Mann's direction, the film overflows with deep-focus vistas, towering sets, densely crowded battle sequences and the imposing presence of two remarkable physical specimens, Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren."
More from Glenn Kenny: "The pictorialism, the kineticism, the ferocious visual intelligence displayed by Mann, cinematograhper Robert Krasker, and the rest of the film's production team lift this epic into a realm rarely touched by any of the arts."
"You can argue over what is the greatest historical movie epic, but El Cid is surely the brawniest," writes Sean Axmaker at MSN. "Not in the gladiator sense of muscled bodies and mano-a-mano combat (like Ben-Hur) but in the strength of its storytelling and its visual display of force and pageantry."
"Anybody who values artists over politicians and bureaucrats takes an extra measure of pleasure in the imminent release of a Sergei Paradjanov DVD boxed set," writes Michael Fox at SF360. "Similarly, anyone who cherishes filmmakers above critics and financiers welcomes the arrival of a Jean-Luc Godard box set spotlighting his underrated mid-80s work."
Criterion's Lee Kline's been hard at work on The Thief of Bagdad: "We enlisted Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who was married to Michael Powell, to help with this one, since Powell was one of the directors of the film and she has a lot of knowledge about his involvement in Thief and is invested in preserving his archive. Scorsese holds an original 35 mm nitrate print of the film in his vaults, and we set off to try and screen it together. This was no easy task."
Los Muertos is "a trip through the Argentine jungle that measures out to be about 10 percent action, dialogue and motivation, and 90 percent raw vision," writes Michael Atkinson at IFC News. "Less is absolutely more - those stingy dollops of context have a seismic punch, and what we don't know makes the ellipses all the more troubling and resonant."
"If someone should feel compelled to make a film about 9/11 - specifically, about the social and psychic toll that the attacks have and haven't taken - a good model would be Akira Kurosawa's I Live in Fear, out on DVD in the Criterion Collection's Eclipse series," suggests Fred Kaplan in Slate.
"Having effectively and lastingly blurred the line between reality and fabrication, it became necessary for [Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi] to completely destroy it. Thus Goodbye Uncle Tom," writes David Carter at Not Coming to a Theater Near You.
"I've recommended a lot of films in the past year, but The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is one you definitely must see," advises Erik Davis at Cinematical.
"I Walked With a Zombie, director Jacques Tourneur's second collaboration with producer Val Lewton after the huge commercial success that is Cat People (1942), is laced with such enigmatic flavor that despite its B-movie roots, it begs to be seen and re-seen, understood and re-understood for beneath the overly simplistic plotting is an indiscriminate mystery, forcing varying reactions and appreciations in every viewing," writes Oggs Cruz.
With Red River, "Hawks Hawks betrays what could have been a powerful film with a lackluster and uneven second act, and a climax that simply doesn't exist," argues Ed Howard.
DVD roundups: DVD Talk; Monika Bartyzel and Peter Martin (Cinematical); Paul Clark (ScreenGrab).
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