Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Criterion Collection Releases for July 2014

     The Criterion Collection announced their new releases yesterday and some quality films are being released in the month of July, including one I have been waiting for for over a year. David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller Scanners (1981) gets the dual format treatment. Thank you. Thank you. This might be my favorite film from one of the best directors of all time. The film, starring a sinister Michael Ironside, revolves around individuals called "scanners" who have telekinetic powers, but some want to use it for power and domination. The film will always be remembered for the exploding head, but the suspense, horror and deep dive into human psyche and powers is something of brilliance. David Cronenberg's masterpiece will be released on July 15th and that cover art is both spectacular and haunting.
    Even though the Cronenberg release is extremely exciting for myself, probably the biggest release
of the month, and maybe the entire year so far, is the 6 film box set of Jacques Demy films. A French master and someone that many film lovers have been dying to see join the collection for quite some time. Demy created his own cinematic universe and was quite different than the other French New Wave filmmakers that came out of the 60s. Romance, musicals, melodramas and fantasy, nothing was out of bounds for Demy. He also worked with some of the most beautiful European actresses, especially the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve. The set includes Lola (1961), Bay of Angels (1963), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), Donkey Skin (1970) and Une chambre en ville (1982). I am pretty sure this is a blind buy for me and I know the color films will look spectacular. The box set will be released in dual format, 13 discs in all, on July 22nd. 
     Another French film is getting released in July, but this one is getting an upgrade and is the complete opposite from the lavish Demy films. Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959) is a film of brilliant craftsmanship, with the minimalist of technique. The film swallows you in and is one hell of a suspenseful ride, much like Bresson's A Man Escaped. At only 75 minutes, Pickpocket examines the thrills and fears of a Parisian thief. Bresson is a filmmaker I have only recently gotten in to, but I am so thankful I have. Simple, economical and full of humanism, Bresson's films are pure cinematic poetry. Pickpocket will be released in dual format on July 15th. 
     I believe Christopher Nolan only made one mediocre film and that is Insomnia. It just did not completely work for me and after I saw the original
Norwegian film that Nolan's was a remake of, it really hit home. Insomnia (1997), directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, is one exceptional murder mystery. It contains mesmerizing cinematography and truly unsettling situations. Stellan Skarsgård plays a Swedish detective who travels to a tiny Northern Norwegian town to investigate the death of a young girl. His own past and full daylight from the midnight sun unnerves him and his abilities in attempting to solve this chilling murder mystery. Great film and one that is far superior than the decent film Nolan made. The cover art for this one is quite amazing as well. That steely, light blue is hypnotic and somewhat terrifying. The film will be released in dual format, also an upgrade, on July 22nd. 
     The other film that will be released in July is Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill (1983). I can remember watching this film with my parents and slightly understanding the reconnection's and reminiscing moments, but really loving that awesome soundtrack that accompanied the film. Songs from the 60s, including tracks from Marvin Gaye, The Young Rascals and The Temptations, to name a few, helped make this a definitive film in the 80s and one that exemplified how great popular music can affect and be an integral part of a film. That great ensemble cast includes William Hurt, JoBeth Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place and Meg Tilly. A film for the baby boomers and one I might need to check out again. It has been awhile. The film will be released in dual format on July 29th. 
       And that is it for the month of July. Overall, a good month for releases and finally got Scanners!!! 

Photo credits by The Criterion Collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment