Tag Archives: Criterion

DVD Review: Two Days, One Night: Criterion BD Edition

Dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Score: 9.5

The best film of 2014, and it wasn’t terribly close. It comes from the brilliant Belgian directing team, the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre & Luc), whose work has long shimmered with plainspoken elemental human truths. This film is a brilliant addition to their oeuvre. It stars the mesmerizing Marion Cotillard as a working-class mother, just returning to work after a bout with depression, only to find her boss has held a vote with her co-workers to keep their bonuses at the expense of her job. She is given one weekend to change their minds or be laid off. Deceptively simple in its execution, but positively stunning in its effect: It’s as honest and insightful about the human condition as Bicycle Thieves, an assertion I by no means make lightly. In the end, it’s an example of one of the rarest and best forms of morality cinema: It makes no demands, and grinds no axes, but makes its powerful statement in absolute service to its characters. A triumph.

This gorgeous Criterion blu-ray edition also features interviews with the Dardenne brothers, as well as Cotillard and co-star Fabrizio Rongione, a tour of the film’s locations, and When Léon M.’s Boot Went Down the Meuse for the First Time, a Dardenne doc from 1979, among other goodies.

DVD Splurge: October 2012

The Artist is Present
The Skinny: A documentary that covers the life and methods of celebrated performance artist Marina Abramovic, whose body of work often consists of her actual own body. Fresh of a much lauded retrospective at MOMA in 2010, the film finds the artist very much still relevant and resonating more than four decades into her career.
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Linkage: The Artist is Present

Crazy Eyes
The Skinny: A good vehicle for actor Lukas Haas, who is often criminally underutilized, he plays a rich, successful Hollywood actor who suddenly confronts his own limitations and mortality when he meets the woman of his crazed fever dreams.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Linkage: Crazy Eyes

Dial M For Murder

The Skinny: Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller loses absolutely none of its considerable power nearly six decades after its release. The story of a wealthy man (Ray Millard), who plots the murder of his cheating wife (Grace Kelly) was actually shot in primitive 3D, so the restoration of the original format remastered for this release, is actually what the great director might have intended.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Linkage: Dial M For Murder: Blu-ray 3D Edition

End of the Road

The Skinny: Originally released in 1970, this counter-culture time capsule stars Harris Yulin, Stacey Keach and a young James Earl Jones. Keach plays a man with a bit of an imbalanced streak who gets put into an insane asylum and emerges even more self-destructive than before.
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Linkage: End of the Road

Fear and Desire

The Skinny: Stanley Kubrick’s feature debut, originally shot in 1953 (and suppressed by the fastidious filmmaker up until his death in 1999), is something of a cross between a standard war picture and a more singular and peculiar vision. It stars future filmmaker Paul Mazursky as a soldier trapped with a few other men behind enemy lines in an unnamed war, and their experience of trying to get back to safety. Available for the first time in home release.
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Linkage: Fear and Desire: Blu-ray Edition

The Game
The Skinny: David Fincher’s stylish follow-up to Se7en features Michael Douglas as a rich Bay Area businessman who gets caught up with his no-good brother’s quasi-birthday gift: Entrance into a bizarre, hugely complex escapade that involves attempts on his life and constantly running from a shadowy organization that may or may not be trying to eliminate him.
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Linkage: The Game: Criterion Blu-ray Edition

Last Ride

The Skinny: After watching the insanely versatile Hugo Weaving work wonders in the otherwise hit-and-miss upcoming Cloud Atlas, I’m convinced the Aussie can do no wrong. This 2009 film features Weaving as a fugitive father who takes his son across Australia while on the lam from the authorities.
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Linkage: Last Ride>

The Slut

The Skinny: This Israeli film from writer/director Hagar Ben-Asher may be about sexual mores and society’s collective ills, but it never loses sight of the significance of its main protagonist — a beautiful, thirtysomething mother of two who hasn’t lost her sexual identity despite the bombardment of condemnation all around her.
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Linkage: The Slut

Strangers on a Train
The Skinny: One of Hitchcock’s all-time classics, it concerns the titular protagonists who plot a dual murder caper, each taking out the other’s target, as a way of committing yet another installment of the perfect crime. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Linkage: Strangers on a Train: Blu-ray Edition

Umberto D.
The Skinny: Vittorio De Sica is recognized as one of Italy’s greatest cinematic storytellers, and with very good reason. This heart-rendering film about a sweet elderly man who attempts to help out one of his neighbors and ends up homeless and utterly bereft as a result, might be amongst the master’s finest works.
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Linkage: Umberto D.: Criterion Blu-ray Edition

Les Visiteurs du Soir
The Skinny: Two supposed minstrels — in actuality envoys of Satan — are dispatched to the castle of a Baron in 15th century France, whose young daughter becomes entranced by one of the fetching men, who may, in fact, be seriously falling for her. As you might guess, such behavior is not condoned by the prince of darkness in Marcel Carné’s classic from 1942.
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Linkage: Les Visiteurs du Soil: Criterion Blu-ray Edition