Friday, July 15, 2011

The Criterion Wishlist

Twice a year in July and November of every year, Barnes & Nobles has a sale for DVDs from the Criterion Collection. It’s the moment the film buffs find whatever cash they have and buy the good stuff. Having been the proud of owner of 20 titles so far in the collection. It’s hard to grab nearly everything that’s available (except for those Michael Bay films that never should be listed in the Criterion Collection) while some are in need of a new, upgraded transfer. Then, there’s the films that should be in the list as there is a great collection of movies throughout the years that need to be seen as important pieces of art. So here is a list of 15 films that needs to be added to the Criterion Collection.

Of all the films that Terrence Malick has released so far on DVD & Blu-Ray, two of which are on Criterion, Badlands is the film that is in need of a serious DVD release that lives up to Malick’s already-legendary status. The work that Malick put into the remastering of Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line for its DVD and Blu-Ray releases show why his films are so revered. Badlands is the film that needs to have a new transfer that should be supervised by Malick along with any or all three of the cinematographers he worked with on that film. For supplements, an audio commentary track from any of those cameramen along with longtime Malick collaborator in art director Jack Fisk plus actors Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek is needed.

Also should be included as supplements are interviews about the film plus documentary material and for the hardcore Malick fans, the 1969 short Lanton Mills that was only available from the AFI school. A release for Badlands from Criterion will definitely add more to Malick’s cult while it allow the hope for future Criterion releases for Malick’s other films like The New World and his most recent film, The Tree of Life.

2. Breaking the Waves

The ever-so controversial Lars von Trier is among one of the most loved or hated filmmakers working today. The director already has three films released on Criterion in The Element of Crime, Europa, and Antichrist. Yet, his best film being Breaking the Waves is a film that is perfect for a Criterion release. A newly-restored transfer from von Trier and cinematographer Robby Mueller is in need though the grainy look of it should be kept in tact. Among the supplements to be included is a commentary from Lars von Trier and a collaborator. Interviews with cast and crew members along with making-of-material and deleted scenes.

Terry Zwigoff’s 2001 film about two alienated girls whose lives diverge when one of them meets a lonely blues-jazz music collector. Already having two films recently released on Criterion in the documentaries Louie Bluie and Crumb, Ghost World is a film that is worthy to be included in Criterion. Not just for its quirky humor and study of alienation but also for the fact that it fits into the theme of growing pains. While there is a good DVD release from MGM, a Criterion release would be a great upgrade for its transfer as well as new supplements such as new interviews with cast and crew members plus an audio commentary track from Zwigoff and co-writer Daniel Clowes.

Lynne Ramsay’s sophomore film about a woman who finds her boyfriend dead and then takes his manuscript as her own while going to Spain with her best friend. It is among one of the most overlooked films of the 2000s as Ramsay’s reputation as a filmmaker is growing despite having only made three feature films as of 2011. Yet, it’s a film that needs to be seen to a larger public as Criterion could give it the boost it deserves with a wonderful transfer and additional supplements for the film.

While it came out recently on DVD and Blu-Ray from Fox Searchlight, Darren Aronofsky’s fifth film deserves more than what Fox Searchlight offers in its DVD releases. Among the special features that the DVD needs is an audio commentary track from Aronofsky plus more content about the ballet and such. Something fans of the film and of Aronofsky should have so for those that don’t have a Blu-Ray player can at least have the same supplements that isn’t on the standard DVD. Plus, a Criterion release for Black Swan could also make ways for other future releases of Aronofsky’s films such as The Wrestler and The Fountain.

6. The Most Important Thing: Love

Andrezj Zulawski’s 1974 film starring Romy Schneider about a B-movie actress’ relationship with a photographer is among one of the revered films from France. Rarely shown in the U.S. with the exception of the legendary 1980s pay cable channel called Z Channel. It’s a film that doesn’t get shown a lot and it’s one that needs to be seen to a wider audience. Especially as it features an appearance from the late Klaus Kinski as the film needs lots of supplement including a piece about the late Schneider herself.

7. Children of Men

Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 dystopian film is truly a masterpiece for its look and themes about a future on the verge of collapse. With Cuaron already having one film on Criterion in Solo con Tu Pareja and his 2001 film Y Tu Mama Tambien set to become a Criterion release. Children of Men is deserving of one with additional special features and a commentary track from Cuaron, cast, and crew members. It’s not very likely since Warner Brothers is reluctant to release their films to a company like Criterion but it’s a film that is deserving of that treatment.

While the film was just recently released on Blu-Ray, its lack of supplement features isn’t enough to really invest into a film as great as Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 erotic classic. With two of his films already on Criterion, Last Tango in Paris deserves the treatment better than any other film as a remastering of the project by Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is really needed. Plus, additional special features including tributes to Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider would give this release the DVD release it deserves.

While his 2008 film Still Walking is already on Criterion, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2004 film Nobody Knows also deserves that treatment. While the MGM DVD from 2005 is decent despite its lack of special features. It’s a film that needs to be exposed more while including more special features about the film including input from Kore-eda himself.

10. Election

Alexander Payne is one of the top American filmmakers working today as he’s set to return in 2011 with The Descendants. His best film is still 1999’s Election as it’s a film that needs an upgraded DVD transfer plus loads of additional content. It’s the perfect film for the Criterion Collection because it adds more comedies including one that has a lot of wit and satire.

Jane Campion already has two films released through Criterion as it’s fitting that her 1993 film The Piano should get one to. After all, it co-won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival and it’s a film that is beloved by her fans. A new transfer could be used along with some additional special features. Among them are new interviews with Oscar-winners Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin about the film.

12. To Die For

Gus Van Sant already has two films on Criterion in Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho. One of his best films in 1995’s To Die For has a DVD release that is very poor and lacks any notable features. This film deserves to be in the Criterion Collection because it is a witty satire and it features Nicole Kidman in her best performance of her career. Special features should include interviews with Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Buck Henry along with cast and crew interviews and other additional material.

13. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

Richard Linklater’s dual romantic films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is among the best films of the romance genre. While both films have decent DVD releases, they both need to have the Criterion treatment as one big set. Since Linklater’s Slacker and Dazed & Confused are on Criterion, the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset films could use something that includes commentary by Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy. It would be the ultimate Criterion DVD for lovers unless Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy want to wait out in case they want to make a third film.

14. Safe

Todd Haynes’ 1995 film is among one of the best films of the 1990s though its DVD has been out of print for years. With Haynes already considered to be one of the best filmmakers working today. This film should be given the Criterion treatment by bringing back its original commentary track plus new interviews with Haynes and the film’s star Julianne Moore.

15. Vanishing Point

Criterion is known for putting a few cult films into its collection so why not have one of the great cult films of the 1970s? After all, Quentin Tarantino among others is a fan of this film. Yet, the release should include the full uncut version of the film that featured a cut scene of Charlotte Rampling smoking a huge joint. The film should include a new transfer plus additional supplements including interviews with filmmakers and actors who are fans of the film along with a piece about the film’s legacy.

For every film that Criterion releases, some have been given upgrades that were sorely needed. Anyone who had recently purchased the 2010 special edition of the Powell/Pressburger film The Red Shoes, that was given a massive restoration by Martin Scorsese, will know that it was one of Criterion’s early releases. There’s a lot of films from the early years that is in dire need of new transfers and additional supplements that always made the Criterion Collection what it is among its devoted following. Even the ones that are currently out of print and in need to be restored. Here are 10 films that should be given serious upgrades.

1. The Night Porter

Liliana Cavani’s controversial 1974 is considered to be one of the most controversial films of the 1970s. Yet, it has attracted a devoted cult following as Lars von Trier picks it as one of his favorite films of all-time. Though it was released on Criterion in 2000 with a new transfer as well as an essay from Annette Insdorff. The problem is that its lack of special features considering how much work Criterion has done over the years. An upgraded look for the film along with packaging is needed plus some additional content including an interview with one of its stars in Charlotte Rampling.

2. Rushmore

Wes Anderson’s 1998 classic is among one of the best releases from the Criterion Collection though it remains available on its website. While a lot of Anderson’s film have been released on Criterion where two of them have received Blu-ray releases. Rushmore could use an upgrade in both its packaging and for the film itself along with a few new additional supplements for its release. That way, it would help pave the way for upgrades of two other Anderson films on Criterion in The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

3. Andrei Rublev

With two of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films having been released with Solaris given a recent upgrade on Blu-ray. The time is now for one of Tarkovsky’s greatest films to be given an upgrade plus some new special features for the release. This way, it would probably make room for more releases of all of Tarkovsky’s film on Criterion depending on the rights and such.

4. Sid & Nancy

Alex Cox’s 1986 film is among one of the best rock bio-pics ever made despite some of its inaccuracies and dramatization. While it’s been out of print for some years with a recent DVD release that lacks any strong special features. It’s a film that Criterion should release again while adding some new content about the film and the subject of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.

5. Insomnia

Erik Skjoldbaerg’s 1997 film is probably made more famous by Christopher Nolan’s 2002 remake that starred Al Pacino and Robin Williams. Yet, it’s a film that hasn’t been seen much in recent years and needs to be exposed to a new audience that is more familiar with Nolan’s version. This time around, a new transfer could be used along with additional special features including some comments from Christopher Nolan.

6. Nights of Cabiria

Another early Criterion DVD release from Federico Fellini is among one of Fellini’s great films. Yet, it’s another of Fellini’s great films that has been released from Criterion that is in need to be reissued again. A new transfer would great to have plus a few new special features. Even for fans of Fellini who have a Blu-Ray player would want to see the film in a look that is high-definition.

7. Peeping Tom

With some of the films that Michael Powell did with Emeric Pressburger are being re-released via Criterion with newly restored transfers that is funded by Martin Scorsese. One of the films that could have a possible re-release is 1960’s Peeping Tom. While it was known as the film that derailed Powell’s career, it has gained a following and rumors of a new restored print has been winning rave reviews so it looks like the perfect time for Criterion to release the film on DVD and Blu-Ray.

8. The Element of Crime

Lars von Trier’s 1984 feature-film debut has a pretty decent DVD release that features a 1997 documentary about his career as well as an essay. Considering the work that’s been put towards other von Trier films like Europa and Antichrist as far as supplements. A new transfer could be used along with more special features about the film including some early shorts of Lars von Trier to be included.

9. Spartacus

With Paths of Glory already out on Blu-Ray for Criterion as well as The Killing set to come out. Spartacus is among one of Kubrick’s revered films with a fantastic DVD release from Criterion. Still, it will need a new upgraded transfer along with a few special features and such relating to the film and its production plus excerpts from the documentary A Life in Pictures about Kubrick in relation to the film.

10. Traffic

Traffic is one of Steven Soderbergh’s best films though the 2-disc Criterion edition is hard to find in stores though remains available online. While there was a lot of work towards Soderbergh’s 2008 film Che for a superb DVD/Blu-Ray release. Traffic could also get a new Blu-Ray release along with additional content for its release once Soderbergh can get a break between whatever projects he’s working on.

Well, that is it as far as what is needed for the Criterion Collection. It’s something that film buffs love to get whenever it’s on sale or if they have a coupon to use. It’s part of what makes film collecting fun despite the fact that money gets lost. Yet, it’s what makes life fun sometimes because we surround ourselves with these films that are very special that we can show someone what is different from what the mainstream is offering. Until then, get those Criterion DVDs now and wait again in November to get the ones for the holidays. God bless Criterion!

© thevoid99 2011


Ryan McNeil said...

I'd truly love to see Fincher's Zodiac and The Game hit Criterion, and want them to pull the trigger and get around to The Fantastic Mr Fox.

Great post - eases the comfort of me sitting out this sale for budgetary reasons.

thevoid99 said...

You know something. I keep hearing rumors that The Game is going to have a Criterion release soon. It would be great. I'm also for Zodiac on Criterion as a new set but for its director's cut.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is another film I want on Criterion. I'm waiting for word on that which is why I haven't bought the DVD for that film.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on Badlands. Ever since I got the Days of Heaven DVD, which made a huge difference in the image quality over the terrible DVD.

I'd love to see a film I recently saw, Friday Night, to get a criterion release. It's by Claire Denis, who had her White Materials get a Criterion release, so it's not inconceivable.

thevoid99 said...

@Cinemasights-Damn straight. I bought a 2007 copy of Days of Heaven for $8 from Paramount and it was OK. Compare it to the Criterion remaster... that $8 version was shit and I think I sold it to some store for little cash.

I'm waiting to give away my DVD copy of Badlands once a Criterion version is announced.

Speaking of Claire Denis, I've managed to DVR 35 Shots of Rum which I'll see probably later this month or next month. I'm going Criterion DVD shopping tomorrow.

The Taxi Driver said...

Some good picks on here although I think I'd rather see Koreeda's After Life or Marbarosi than Nobody Knows, and Linklater's Suburbia before the Sunset movies as well as releases of Fellini's Voice in the Moon or Cassanova before a re-release of Cabiria. Also an upgrade of Sideny Lumet's the Pawnbroker would be lovely.

thevoid99 said...

@Mike Lippert-OK, I'm down with that. In fact, I've DVR'ed Marbarosi and Fellini's Casanova recently.

I thought about SubUrbia yet I think it's going to take a lot longer because of Warner Brothers. Not a lot of their titles have been given the Criterion treatment and they don't do much with their DVD releases. I think that's why it's taking so long for Badlands to get a Criterion release.

Anonymous said...

Nice list you have here. Hopefully the guys/girls from Criterion stumbles upon this list and get going on a bunch of them.

I actually think they have a twitter account so you might want to contact them there if you are on Twitter.

As you might understand I'm crossing my fingers for a re-release of Andrey Rublev done properly. But I'd properly pre-book Vanishing Point if it was announced tomorrow.

thevoid99 said...

@JoelB-I'm not on Twitter since I refuse to jump on the bandwagon but I do check on their Twitter and Facebook web page. I love it when Criterion makes big announcements. When the hell is Y Tu Mama Tambien going to come out?

Unknown said...

Great list of movies. I have not seen Nobody Knows but will get on that soon. Since I last checked "Badlands" "Rushmore" and now "Breaking the Waves are all released on Criterion. It sounds like they are hearing you. I love the inclusion of To Die For and Black Swan on your list

thevoid99 said...

@Jason H-Thanks. I posted another list two years later on what films I wanted for the Criterion Collection where a month later, I got the announcement that La Notte would be part of the collection.