Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Criterion Watch, February/March 2009 (edited 31 Mar 09)

Seeing as how it’s been ages since I updated this thing- Ang joked that she was getting even sicker of the funky White Elephant than she was of last spring’s James Taylor video- I figured we were overdue for a new Criterion Watch. So here we go…

First, the May releases. I’m a big fan of this one, a quintessential Boston crime story that contains perhaps Robert Mitchum’s last great leading man performance. Definitely a downer, but in the best way- a story that follows a life of petty crime to its inevitable end. Good stuff.

Haven’t seen this one, supposedly a great late-period work from John Huston. Looking forward to checking it out though.

This one is sort of unexpected, especially since it’s hardly top-flight Fincher. Still, it’s nice to see Criterion finally embracing this brilliant filmmaker, even for a lesser work. Besides, the DVD and Blu-Ray release of this should bring in some good money for the company, which they won’t necessarily get from…

Another one that’s new to me, primarily because I only know Imamura’s later works. I’d heard of Pigs and Battleships before, but haven’t seen it, so I’ve got some catching up to do.

The only Eclipse on the horizon is this box set of Alexander Korda biopics. Not a big fan of the genre myself, but any excuse to put more Charles Laughton movies into circulation is fine my moi.

Moving on to June, we begin with a reissue of one of Criterion’s early releases, also available for the first time on Blu-Ray. It’s being released in conjunction with this:

Haven’t seen this Bergman doc, though being a fan of his work I’m sure I’ll check it out somewhere down the line.

This was released years ago on DVD- by Fox Lorber, if I’m not mistaken- but the Criterion treatment should be a definite upgrade. Don’t be surprised if the Blu-Ray pressing gets collectors drooling- it’s a bloody gorgeous film, and should be doubly so in the new format.

Now, we finally come to the one that I’m looking forward to most. I plan to get this one as soon as it’s released, not only to sit down and watch but also to play in the background while I’m working on other things. It’s one hell of a movie, as many of you know, and I’m looking forward to upgrading from my worn-out VHS copy.

Edited 31 Mar to add: Just when I thought I wouldn't have a Criterion clue to include here, I received my newsletter in my Inbox. Lo and behold, here it is:

That's got to be Cronos, right? If so, cool- I haven't seen it in years, but I remember liking it quite a bit, and I'd like to be able to take another look in the context of Billy the Bull's career since. And if it really is Cronos, then that would be Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu the only one of the so-called Three Amigos that hasn't been represented by Criterion. Which, really, is as it should be.


Mattson Tomlin said...

REALLY excited for Seventh Seal. REALLY disappointed about Button. Would have loved to see Se7en Criterion, or (especially) Zodiac, which I think I'm alone in thinking is his most mature work as a filmmaker.

Gloria said...

"but any excuse to put more Charles Laughton movies into circulation is fine my moi"

Amen! ;D

Adam Villani said...

Any chance you could supply some links? It took some poking around to figure out which Imamura films were in the collection. My favorite of the bunch is Intentions of Murder.

Adam Villani said...

Oh, just to be helpful:

It's got Pigs and Battleships, The Insect Woman, and Intentions of Murder.

Paul C. said...


I think your opinion of Zodiac is more common than you'd believe. It lacks the flashy style of Seven or Fight Club (not to mention Panic Room, which is pretty much all style), but I definitely think it's more fully-realized than Button is.

That said, it's entirely possible that the Button release could be a contractual thing with Paramount that Criterion has agreed to in exchange for rights to some archive titles. They've put out some other Par titles over the last year or so, and I'm guessing they've got a deal going on with Criterion the way Universal has done in the past.

Besides, maybe if Button does really well, they'll double back for some other Fincher titles. Since Zodiac is also Paramount, I bet that would be their next stop on Fincher's filmography, especially since there have to be a bunch of extra stuff that hasn't made its way onto DVD yet. Also, I know The Game could really use the upgrade. The old NLC DVDs of Se7en are pretty damn good already, plus with NLC getting bought out by Warner who knows what'll happen in the future.


I can't believe I didn't think to supply links. I'll start on next month's Criterion Watch.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone.