Criterion News and Discussion

Started by Gold Trumpet, January 16, 2003, 06:18:19 PM

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the november line-up is pretty strong.  pumped to finally see the hellman westerns, and i've been waiting for the L'Avventura upgrade for years. (great cover on that one too.)  must start saving now for the fall barnes and noble sale.  curious about the les blank set.  i've only seen burden of dreams and werner herzog eats his shoe and love both, though i feel like that has more to do with my affinity for herzog than an admiration for les blank.

The Criterion Collection has announced six titles for Blu-ray release in November: On November 11th, it will release Monte Hellman's The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind. On November 18th, it will release Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. On November 25th, it will release Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura, Sydney Pollack's Tootsie, and Les Blank: Always for Pleasure.

The Shooting/Ride in the Whirlwind

In the mid-sixties, the maverick American director Monte Hellman conceived of two westerns at the same time. Dreamlike and gritty by turns, the two films would prove their maker's adeptness at brilliantly deconstructing genre. As shot back-to-back for famed producer Roger Corman, they feature overlapping casts and crews, including Jack Nicholson in two of his meatiest early roles. The films—The Shooting, about a motley assortment of loners following a mysterious wanted man through a desolate frontier, and Ride in the Whirlwind, about a group of cowhands pursued by vigilantes for crimes they did not commit—are rigorous, artful, and wholly unconventional journeys into the American West.

The Shooting

In this eerie, existential western directed by Monte Hellman and written by Carole Eastman (Five Easy Pieces), Warren Oates and Will Hutchins play a bounty hunter and his sidekick who are talked by a mysterious woman (Millie Perkins) into leading her into the desert on a murkily motivated revenge mission. Things are further complicated by the addition to their crew of an enigmatic drifter (Jack Nicholson) who seems to delight in sadistically toying with the two men. Hellman's singular odyssey is a vision of the weird old west unlike any other, a spare and challenging work leading to a provocative ending.

Ride in the Whirlwind

Working from a thoughtful script by Jack Nicholson, Monte Hellman fashioned this moody and tense western about a trio of cowhands who are mistaken for robbers and must outrun and hide from a posse of bloodthirsty vigilantes in the wilds of Utah. A grim yet gripping tale of chance and blind frontier justice, Ride in the Whirlwind is brought to life by a compelling cast, including Nicholson, Cameron Mitchell, Millie Perkins, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Special Features:
New 4K digital restorations of both films, supervised by director Monte Hellman, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray
Audio commentaries on both films, featuring Hellman and film historians Bill Krohn and Blake Lucas
New interviews with actors John Hackett, B. J. Merholz, Millie Perkins, and Harry Dean Stanton, assistant director Gary Kurtz, and chief wrangler Calvin Johnson, all in conversation with Hellman
New conversation between actor Will Hutchins and film programmer Jake Perlin
New video essay on actor Warren Oates by critic Kim Morgan
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Atkinson

It Happened One Night

Opposites attract with magnetic force in this romantic road-trip delight from Frank Capra, about a spoiled runaway socialite (Claudette Colbert) and a roguish man-of-the-people reporter (Clark Gable) who is determined to get the scoop on her scandalous disappearance. The first film to accomplish the very rare feat of sweeping all five major Oscar categories (best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, and best screenplay), It Happened One Night is among the most gracefully constructed and edited films of the early sound era, packed with clever situations and gags that have entered the Hollywood comedy pantheon. Featuring two actors at the top of their game, sparking with a chemistry that has never been bettered, this is the birth of the screwball comedy.

Special Features:
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New conversation between critics Molly Haskell and Phillip Lopate
Frank Capra's American Dream, a 1997 feature-length documentary
Director Frank Capra's first film, the 1922 silent short The Ballad of Fisher's Boarding House
American Film Institute tribute to Capra from 1982
PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme


Michelangelo Antonioni invented a new film grammar with this masterwork. An iconic piece of challenging 1960s cinema and a gripping narrative in its own right, L'avventura concerns the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman during a yachting trip off the coast of Sicily, and the search taken up by her disaffected lover (Gabriele Ferzetti) and best friend (Monica Vitti, in her breakout role). Antonioni's controversial international sensation is a gorgeously shot tale of modern ennui and spiritual isolation.

Special Features:
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary featuring film historian Gene Youngblood
Selected-scene commentary by filmmaker Olivier Assayas
Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials, a fifty-eight-minute 1966 documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi
Writings by director Michelangelo Antonioni, read by actor Jack Nicholson, plus Nicholson's personal recollections of the director
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, along with the statement Antonioni made about the film and the letter that circulated in support of it after its 1960 Cannes premiere


In Tootsie, the character Michael Dorsey lands the role of a lifetime—as does the actor playing him, Dustin Hoffman. This multilayered comedy from director Sydney Pollack follows the increasingly elaborate deception of a down-on-his-luck New York actor who disguises himself as a woman to get a coveted soap opera gig; while his female persona skyrockets to fame, he finds himself learning to be a better man. Hoffman's ball-busting yet disarmingly sweet Dorothy Michaels is a sensational comic creation, given support by a stellar cast including Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Teri Garr, George Gaynes, Bill Murray, and, in her first Oscar-winning role, Jessica Lange. Imbued with poignant drama, Tootsie is a funny and cutting film from an American moment defined by shifting social and sexual identities.

Special Features:
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary featuring director Sydney Pollack, taken from Criterion's 1991 laserdisc edition of the film
New interviews with actor Dustin Hoffman and comedy writer Phil Rosenthal
Interview with Dorothy Michaels by film critic Gene Shalit, from the film's production
Making of "Tootsie," a 1982 documentary directed by Rocky Lang
A Better Man: The Making of "Tootsie," a 2007 documentary directed by Charles Kiselyak and featuring interviews with Pollack; actors Dabney Coleman, Teri Garr, Hoffman, and Jessica Lange; and writers Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal
Screen and wardrobe test footage of Hoffman
Deleted scenes and trailers
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Sragow

Les Blank: Always for Pleasure

An uncompromisingly independent filmmaker, Les Blank made documentaries for nearly fifty years, elegantly disappearing with his camera into cultural spots rarely seen on-screen—mostly on the peripheries of the United States, but also occasionally abroad. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, these films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to musicians, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. This collector's set provides a diverse survey of Les Blank's vast output, including the warmly funny The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins, about the legendary Texas musician; Always for Pleasure, which captures the vivacious spirit of New Orleans; Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, a hilarious celebration of the pungent, flavorful "stinking rose" of the title; and eleven other unexpected features, plus eight of Blank's short films.

Films Include: The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins (1968); God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance (1968); Spend It All (1971); A Well Spent Life (1971); Dry Wood (1973); Hot Pepper (1973); Always for Pleasure(1978); Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980); Sprout Wings and Fly (1983); In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984); Gap-Toothed Women (1987); Yum, Yum, Yum (1990); The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1994); Sworn to the Drum (1995).

Special Features:
New 2K digital restorations of all fourteen films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, an upcoming documentary by Gina Leibrecht New interviews with director Les Blank's sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); filmmakers Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Tom Luddy, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters
Blank's short films Lightnin' Les (1968), Mr. Charlie, Your Rollin' Mill Is Burnin' Down (1968), The Sun's Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1995), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)
PLUS: An essay by film scholar Andrew Horton


Todd Haynes' 'Safe' Starring Julianne Moore Coming To The Criterion Collection In December
By The Playlist

With TIFF drama "Still Alice" snapped up by Sony Pictures Classics, sparking talk of an Oscar campaign around Julianne Moore's performance, The Criterion Collection's announcement of their December slate couldn't be more perfectly timed.

The boutique label has revealed they'll bring Todd Haynes' breakout film "Safe," starring Julianne Moore, to store shelves in time for Christmas. The film, coming after memorable turns in "Short Cuts" and "Vanya On 42nd Street," cemented Moore as a rising talent, and earned her an Indie Spirit Award nomination and a win from the New York Film Critics circle. The film itself is a terrific look at spiralling paranoia, following a woman who begins to believe she's allergic to much of the world around her.

The Criterion release of "Safe" will be newly restored, feature commentary by Haynes, Moore and producer Christine Vachon; Haynes' short film "The Suicide," interviews and more. Definitely a good stocking stuffer to put under the tree.

Also coming from Criterion in December: an Eclipse boxset featuring five films from Japanese director Keisuke Kinoshita, and Blu-ray editions of Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" and Liliana Cavani's "The Night Porter."
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


because i'm in some kinda "committed" relationship with b&n's criterion sale i've avoided 4-5 equal or better criterion sales that've occurred between july and -- november 11 is when my honey comes home

with various people i've had the conversation that if pearly gates exist someone is going to check to see if i bought eraserhead on blu-ray, for example. i've heard jb call it his least favorite lynch movie, but i still hope he sees it on a list for the pearly gates

this was announced for january:

sword of doom (bluray) -- example of a samurai movie i like
bitter tears of petra von kant -- my insides are a constant fassbinder melodrama
my winnipeg -- i think i've never thought about it before, but i think this is his least weird movie and a terrific intro piece
the palm beach story -- chill. adorable cover

the big news imo:

la ciénaga -- who started it? antonioni basically initiated it as a cause for intention, although signs of it exist all the way back to von sternberg. and cinema of the senses is one of my favorite things. phenomenology. ontology. etc. if you don't want to follow the movie's senses, because they're difficult or something, put on dredd 3d instead, which also has wonderful senses, and we'll chat about that. but if you want to like hold my hand or some shit, this here is with lynne ramsay, Lucile Hadzihalilovic, steve mcqueen, etc.


Visions of Desire: Kent Jones Talks to Wes Anderson About Almodóvar

QuoteKJ: Everything feels like it's being refracted in Almodóvar's . . .

WA: Brain prism.

KJ: Or hall of mirrors. In Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Banderas's and Abril's characters are so singularly odd that they could never have been accommodated by straight melodrama.

QuoteWA: Remember how they did The Godfather for TV? They cut both films together and put it all in chronological order? I think the Almodóvar movies could be treated in that way. They could be intercut as a great saga.

KJ: One grand gesture. A never-ending story.

WA: Because they're held together by his voice, which is so
distinctive as a writer and a director—you just feel his presence.

KJ:Like Bergman and Oshima and Chabrol.

WA: Or Woody Allen. But Chabrol is a good comparison to Almodóvar, because they're both drawn to a certain kind of people, a certain kind of relationship, and people who are doing something particular with their lives. But maybe unlike Chabrol, Almodóvar mainly writes about people for whom he has tremendous sympathy.


what's everyone buying from the sale this month?

just ordered:

the complete jacques tati
f for fake
ali: fear eats the soul
the shooting/ride in the whirlwind
vengeance is mine
my darling clementine
the innocents

gonna pick up l'avventura as well.


You're Rich.

I was considering getting George Washington and Depalma's 'Sisters' but spending over $20 on a movie just feels wrong to me.

I'm Poor.


def not rich just stupid with my money. 


Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


you gotta have money to be stupid with it. right now i can be this stupid --
monte hellman double

those were my picks. then i did the thing where i assessed decisions from my past, and i added these for the finish:
jules and jim

similar to last sale kinda, where after a day or two i'm like "wellllp. gotta remember the classics."

i'll buy safe next month


please let me know if you've seen any of these criterion movies on hulu, especially if you recommend one:

[edit]accidental unrelated photo of 3 kaplan dvds


all the boys are called patrick is very good godard.
a legend or was it? is also pretty excellent.
i don't remember the holy man very well.


Fear has one of Mark Wahlberg's most underrated performances


I'm excited about The Thin Blue Line! Cover is wack tho


ride the pink horse is really good.