criterion collection

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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My Beautiful Laundrette, out now in a new, restored 2K digital transfer on Criterion Blu-ray, takes place in a specific setting and with such specific characters that, even though the place and time feels very unfamiliar, is rendered relatable with an expressionistic tone by a humanistic director who coached some true, raw performances — including one from then up-and-comer Daniel Day-Lewis.

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The 1927 Ernest Hemingway short story The Killers was adapted to film twice in a span of less than 20 years, producing two fantastic films which share some of the same themes, but in every other respect couldn’t be farther apart. The fact that The Criterion Collection has updated their previously issued double-movie DVD and has just released it on Blu-ray is real cause for celebration.

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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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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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What is remarkable about The Vanishing is how, like Gone Girl, it reveals much about its central mystery fairly early on in the film. Unlike Gone Girl, it continues to deepen its characters and maintain a believable sense of dread that plays into its central conceit.

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Out now in a new restored 4K digital restoration on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, this emotionally raw picture combines minimalistic acting, evocative framing, and unabashed melodrama for a timeless moviegoing experience.

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Judex truly seems like a movie that exists completely out of time — which it turns out, is the truly bizarre film’s greatest asset.

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Not only do the new 2K restoration of Ace in the Hole and new 4K restored digital transfer of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou look fantastic, but the films themselves seem timeless now.

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Not only does it feature two bumbling pals as “heroes” and comic relief, but The Hidden Fortress is a rollicking adventure, complete with castles, lots of extras and landscape shots, and Kurosawa’s first Tohoscope widescreen presentation

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Perhaps more than any other art-house European film of the 1960s, Ingmar Bergman’s striking 1966 masterpiece Persona embodies the period.

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Stop-motion animation is a painstakingly long process, one point made perfectly clear by many of the excellent special features on the Criterion Dual Format Blu-ray-DVD combo of Wes Anderson‘s 2009 Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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