Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Criterion Watch, October 2009

As you may be able to tell, I’m kind of on a hiatus right now, since I’m pretty busy with school and work, to say nothing of my ongoing attempts to settle in after the move and enjoy the summer with Angela and the Offspring whenever I have the chance. So something, as they say, has gotta give. Anyway, in the interest of adding some content here so you all don’t stop reading, here’s the (somewhat belated) Criterion Watch.

We begin with Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, for which there is no package design as yet. Didn’t expect for Criterion to pick this one up, but it’s not a bad addition to the collection, and its vibrant colors should look great in both standard DVD and Blu-Ray. One thing that makes this especially intriguing is that it was an old USA Films release before the company got absorbed into Focus. I’m hoping that this is a sign that Criterion will be handling the old USA library, which could mean such awesome titles as The Man Who Wasn’t There, Gosford Park, Rosetta, Being John Malkovich, and (ohpleasepleaseplease) Topsy-Turvy are on the way.

Based on the clue a few months back, I knew this was coming, but it’s still awesome news. The new transfer of this ought to be gorgeous, especially on the also-upcoming Blu-Ray. Plus there’s a commentary featuring Wenders and Peter Falk which guarantees to be cool because, I mean, come on.
Somewhat less fun than Monsoon Wedding and less ethereal than Wings of Desire is Costa-Gavras’ classic political thriller, but it's still pretty great. With Criterion’s release of his film Missing earlier this year, the release of this was a somewhat foregone conclusion, but it’s a perfectly respectable and worthy addition to the Collection. I haven’t seen this one in years, so this new DVD should give me the perfect excuse to catch it again.

Here’s another one I’m overdue to watch a second time, since I was a freshman in high school when it first came out on DVD, and as such not a particularly captive audience for the style of Merchant Ivory. This was the choice of Criterion Newsletter subscribers for the next Blu-Ray release, and at this time the company is only announcing an upcoming release in the new format, so the rest of us will have to make do with the old Home Vision disc. Oh well.

With this set, Eclipse welcomes the inimitable Makavejev to the family, with the release of three of his sixties films to complement their already-released Makavejev titles Sweet Movie and WR: Mysteries of the Orga(ni)sm. I’ve only seen one of the three films in the box, and that one- Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, was on a jumpy VHS tape with white-on-white subtitles. So this one should be both fun and educational for me. Besides, Makavejev’s films usually have plenty of nudity, which never hurts.

Finally, this is probably a John Ford movie, but which one? The "we" makes me think of Stagecoach, since it requires multiple horses to pull the stage and all. But it could be one of many Ford Westerns. Unless of course it's something totally unexpected, like for example Zanussi's great The Year of the Quiet Sun, which concludes in the locale Ford immortalized. Any ideas?

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