blu-ray review

La Poison is the reason I love Criterion. It’s a fresh POV from a filmmaker I knew next to nothing about, and it’s an angry, completely subversive movie about a married couple who’s so fed up with each other that they conspire to kill one another, unbeknownst to their spouse.

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Nicholas Ray would go on to make In a Lonely Place, Johnny Guitar, and most famously, A Rebel Without A Cause. The new Criterion Blu-ray of They Live by Night proves that his filmmaking was assured and iconoclastic right from the beginning.

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Jackie isn’t standard biopic fare, but instead a hugely resonant examination of conflicting emotions, grief in the spotlight, and the blurry lines between real people and myth-making.

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Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is Roger Ebert’s sole screenplay credit and it’s gonzo as hell. He takes a bunch of stock characters (and c-list actors and former Playboy playmates) and grinds them through enough ridiculous conflict to put a season of American Horror Story to shame.

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It’s easy to fall for Sisters’ natural charm and just let the movie work on you. Sure, it’s a silly premise with all kinds of moments that don’t quite ring true as realistic, but if we’re going to have one more dumb man-child comedy, at least this one has Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in it.

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Death by Hanging is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it was released in 1968. New on Blu-ray from Criterion today, this absurdist satire from Nagisa Oshima shows a man executed by the government whose body refuses to die.

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Director Tetsuya Nakashima is hellbent to that end in The World of Kanako, his ultra-violent, ultra-stylized 2014 extreme revenge flick. It was released in America last fall by Drafthouse Films and comes to Blu-ray today.

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Experimenter is one of the best and most overlooked films of the year, and definitely worth catching up with as soon as possible.

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The Bridge is one of the best anti-war movies I’ve ever seen. Certainly its about the futility of war, but it goes farther than that.

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With this new Criterion Blu-ray (and DVD) reissue, Ride the Pink Horse should take its place among the film noir genre as one of the greats.

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Whether Fellini Satyricon is a paean to excess or a reflective deconstruction of ancient myths and legends, one thing is for sure: It isn’t driven by a strong narrative or what one would consider effective acting, in any sense. Instead, its a series of stagey set pieces that happen to feature one of a couple main characters, loosely strung together by theme.

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Two legendary rock n’ roll figures get the biopic treatment with wildly different results, new on Blu-ray this week.

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When I was a kid, I loved — and still love — Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, out now on a fantastic-looking Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection. It offered a wealth of visual delights, a main character I could relate to, a sardonic sense of humor, and it never pandered.

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Frank Capra is one of classic cinema’s most famous directors. His movies from the 1930s and 40s epitomized American ideals and attitudes like few other. Two of his best pre-World War II movies are newly available on Blu-ray.

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L’avventura is the film that gave Antonioni a name. The film was booed at its first screening at the Cannes Film Festival, but at the second viewing of the film, it was greeted quite enthusiastically, and then finally awarded a Special Jury Prize for “the beauty of its images, and for seeking to create a new film language.”

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