blu-ray review

If you’ve never seen ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc,’ you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Simply put, this 1928 landmark still has the power to stun today. The Criterion Blu-ray is a must-have.

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Both Haneke and Huppert were clear on their intentions from the start, and this alignment produced a movie that holds up as one of the best arthouse films of the last 20 years, with a nearly unmatched quiet kind of intensity.

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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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