The Criterion Collection

Blu-ray Review: David Cronenberg’s Twisted Vision of William S. Burrough’s ‘Naked Lunch’

Naked Lunch

CHICAGO – I adore David Cronenberg. He’s one of the most important filmmakers of his generation from “Videodrome” (also available in a great Criterion release) to “The Fly” to “Dead Ringers” to “The History of Violence.” He matters. And yet I’ve never been in love with “Naked Lunch,” recently released in Criterion Blu-ray and DVD. It’s one of those movies that I always admired but never loved. It’s about all that could be done with a Burroughs’ book, one that clearly could not be directly adapted into film, but I find it more interesting as a filmmaking exercise than an enjoyable piece of work on its own. Having said that, the Criterion treatment of it is expectedly stellar.

Blu-ray Review: Charles Chaplin’s Dark, Riveting ‘Monsieur Verdoux’

Monsieur Verdoux

CHICAGO – Charles Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdoux,” recently released in a lavish Criterion Blu-ray set with new special features and a glorious 2K digital restoration, is such a unique film that it has kind of gone under the radar when the career of its beloved star/director is discussed. His first post-WWII film, “Verdoux” doesn’t feature his iconic Tramp character, contains a ridiculously dark anti-hero, and is more socially demented than most films of its era. While it can be easy to look at the satire of films like “The Great Dictator” and “Modern Times” and apply them not just to today but Chaplin’s era, “Verdoux” can be a more difficult film to dissect. Which is not to imply that you shouldn’t. You really, really should.

Blu-ray Review: Terrence Malick’s ‘Badlands’ Joins Criterion Collection

Badlands

CHICAGO – Any list of the most influential films of the ’70s that doesn’t include Terrence Malick’s brilliant “Badlands” is incomplete. It’s one of those cinematic works that’s so important to its era and how it influenced filmmakers that saw it that it’s hard to put into reviews in a brief review such as this one. It is iconic in the way Malick took the familiar (it’s based on a true story that was well-known at the time) and made it artistic. It’s also a great selection for The Criterion Collection, joining Malick’s “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line” in the most important series of Blu-rays ever released.

Blu-ray Review: Fritz Lang’s ‘Ministry of Fear’ Enters Criterion Collection

Ministry of Fear

CHICAGO – Slight on special features and not as instantly recognizable as some recent inductions into the Criterion Collection like “On the Waterfront” or “Badlands,” Fritz Lang’s “Ministry of Fear” could easily slip under the radar even for people who know and love the thriller. Lang is one of the most interesting filmmakers of his era, as he found ways to inject his seemingly traditional work with much-more-complex themes. Working in Hollywood during World War II, Lang made thrillers that were more than just thrillers. “Ministry of Fear” is one of his best.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Brings Brutal ‘Sansho the Bailiff’ to Wider Audience

Sansho the Bailiff

CHICAGO – The Criterion Collection attempts to shine a brighter light on a Japanese director once considered a national treasure but too ignored by history in favor of internationally recognized names like Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu — Kenji Mizoguchi, with his accomplished and remarkable “Sansho the Bailiff,” recently upgraded from Criterion DVD to Criterion Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Releases Perfect Edition of ‘On the Waterfront’

On the Waterfront

CHICAGO – Few movies are as timeless as Elia Kazan’s amazing “On the Waterfront,” recently released in a Criterion Blu-ray edition that stands among the best classics-in-HD releases I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of them.

Blu-ray Review: Dardenne Brothers Triumph Again in ‘The Kid with a Bike’

The Kid with a Bike Blu-ray

CHICAGO – All this fuss about Ben Affleck not getting nominated by the Academy after directing three decent flicks is even more inane in light of the fact that Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, arguably the greatest directing duo in modern cinema, haven’t garnered any Oscar attention. At all. Their latest naturalistic triumph, “The Kid with a Bike,” snagged a mere Golden Globe nod several months before it even premiered on U.S. screens.

Blu-ray Review: Wim Wenders’ ‘Pina’ Captures Vitality of Dance on Disc

Pina

CHICAGO – “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.” Wim Wenders’ “Pina” is mesmerizing. It’s really the best word for it. Mesmerizing. It is the blend of two master craftsman — a director with an eye for composition like the man who made “Wings of Desire” & “Paris, Texas” and a choreographer who knows how to fill that composition with fascinating works of art in the form of dance. Some of the more modern inclusions in The Criterion Collection in recent years have been questionable. Not this one.

Blu-ray Review: Volker Schlondorff’s ‘The Tin Drum’ Continues to Challenge

The Tin Drum

CHICAGO – Volker Schlondorff’s “The Tin Drum” was a sensation when it was released in 1979, even tying Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” for the Palme D’Or at Cannes that year and winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. History hasn’t been quite as kind to “Tin Drum” as some of its late-’70s contemporaries and it is a bit surprising that it was as much of a phenomenon as it was on the arthouse scene now that one can watch it over three decades later and see the film’s notable flaws but Criterion has put together another stellar edition, highlighted by notable bonus material with the film’s director.

DVD Review: Criterion Edition of Original ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’

The Man Who Knew Too Much 1934

CHICAGO – Did everyone know that the great Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) is an expert on Alfred Hitchcock? So much so that he wrote a book on the legendary director and was asked by The Criterion Collection to do a wonderful interview on Hitch’s 1934 version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much”? Del Toro wonderfully expounds on the film, offering his insight as to how the work that would be remade into a more popular Jimmy Stewart film in later years actually represents the perfect transitional piece from Hitch’s British period to his American one. It’s just one of several great special features on another stellar Criterion release.

Syndicate content

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker