Monday, May 19, 2014

Criterion Collection Releases for August 2014

     The Criterion Collection announced its new releases for August 2014 last Thursday and we finally get a title that has been anticipated for quite some time. The film has been hinted at in New Year's Day Criterion drawings for a couple of years and it is finally being released. Alfonso Cuaron's wonderful road, coming-of-age comedy/drama Y tu mamá también (2001). The film is one of those special films that can be quite raunchy and daring, but at that same time be touching and one hell of an emotional ride. The film really put actors Gael García Bernal (along with Amores Perros), Diego Luna and Maribel Verdú on the American film map and supplanted Alfonso Cuarón as one of the top directors in the world. I completely thrilled that this film is getting a stellar release from Criterion. I am sure some of the hold up was Cuarón working on Gravity, but this is an instant buy. I can finally replace my old DVD. The film will be released in dual-format on August 19th and I really like that exquisite, poignant cover art.

     Another release I am really excited for is the introduction of the great Spanish auteur Pedro
Almodóvar into the Criterion Collection with Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990). One of my top ten favorite directors and one that has not made a terrible film yet. This is one that will be another instant purchase. Containing dark, sexual comedy and not afraid to take on just about anything, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! follows an unbalanced former mental patient played by Antonio Banderas and the woman he holds as his prisoner in trying to convince her to marry him. Almodóvar is like no other filmmaker in the world and his beautiful and blunt use of dialogue and language is incomparable. Cannot wait for this one to be on the film shelf. The film will be released in dual-format on August 19th and the colorful cover art is perfect.

     John Cassavetes gets another film in the collection with Love Streams (1984). If you have not seen a Cassavetes film, change that immediately. Start with A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and continue. You will not be disappointed. I have seen all of the films in the Cassavetes box set form Criterion, as well as Husbands, but I have yet to see Love Streams. Being a devout Cassavetes admirer, this is another instant purchase. He creates stories and films for actors. It is all about the actors and creating honest, real worlds for real people. The best, and it is one of his last films he starred and directed in. Also, working with his wife and brilliant actor Gena Rowlands. The film will be released in dual-format on August 12th. The cover art goes right along with the style of the box set as well. 

     The other new release during the month of August is Bob Fosse's fast paced musical All That Jazz (1979). The film is somewhat of an autobiography of the director and choreographer Fosse's own life and contains a career best performance from Roy Scheider. Not being the biggest musical fan, I am really excited to see this film for the first time, especially on bluray. The colors will be bursting off the screen and everything I have read on the film is that the energy and exhausting work ethic is presented in an intense, lavish way. The film will be released in dual-format on August 26th. The cover is quite nice too.
     The final film, and only upgrade, is the Japanese film from Shohei Imamura, Vengeance Is Mine (1979). This film is a blunt, vigorous and seriously intense crime thriller with a touch of dark, dark humor. The film follows the seventy-eight day killing spree of a Catholic man through Japan. I remember the first time I saw this film it somewhat disgusted me with how perverse and remorseless this man, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) could be, but also how brilliant of a crime film this was form Imamura. Textbook greatness right here. This is just a bluray upgrade since the DVD came out not too long ago, about 6-8 years. I want the bluray, but I already own the DVD so I might wait on this one for awhile. I love that cover. Quite sinister, strong and revealing. The bluray will be released on August 26th. Another great month of releases form the Criterion Collection. 

Photo credit by The Criterion Collection.

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