CHICAGO – “Band of Outsiders,” recently released in a newly-restored Criterion Blu-ray edition, was one of the most influential films of its era and made waves not only when it was released but continues to influence international cinema today. From Quentin Tarantino’s love for the film (reflected both in “Pulp Fiction” and the name of his production company, A Band Apart) to the numerous ways that the fashion and dancing resonate from Paris to “Saturday Night Live,” “Band of Outsiders” is mesmerizingly cool. It’s Godard’s most accessible film and yet it is also a deconstruction of the very genre that he’s presenting. It’s a crime flick in which the crime doesn’t really matter. It’s the people, the love triangle, and, most of all, the attitude that makes it memorable.
CHICAGO – Few comedies from the ’80s are as beloved and rewatchable as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” a surprise hit that produced multiple sequels and legions of fans. It’s probably playing somewhere on cable right now and will be for another three decades. However, in those cable airings, you won’t get to see the feature-length documentary, “Inside Story,” about the making of the film featuring new interviews with nearly all of the major players from Chevy Chase to Harold Ramis to Jane Krakowski. If you’re a comedy fan, the Blu-ray is worth picking up just for that special feature alone.