Monday, July 15, 2013

Criterion Wishlist II

Every July and November, it’s Xmas time of sorts for the film buffs as they often save whatever money they have to get DVDs/Blu-Rays from the Criterion Collection. They’re always high-priced but in those two months, it’s the moment where Barnes & Nobles and the Criterion Collection get to make some good money but also give the film buffs the chance to expand their collection to make the casual film fans look stupid. Two years ago, I posted a list about what films I want on the Criterion Collection and what films from Criterion I felt should get upgraded or re-introduced. So far, only Badlands came on Criterion while Rushmore and Traffic also got re-released on Blu-Ray. Once again, I decided that it’s time for another list of what films I want to have in the Criterion Collection. Here’s a list of 20 films I want to see get the Criterion Treatment:

1. The Tree of Life

This is certainly a no-brainer as three of Terrence Malick’s films have already been released by Criterion to great acclaim as fans got them either immediately or on sale. While there’s already a good Blu-Ray/DVD release on Malick’s 2011 film, what it lacks are a plethora of special features that fans of the films want. If it’s released on Criterion, it will be released in a box set of sorts with two versions of the film in its original theatrical release and in the extended version as it will be presented under the supervision of Malick and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

As for the special features, a commentary track by Lubezki and various crew members like longtime Malick collaborators in production designer Jack Fisk and co-editor Billy Weber. Interviews with the film’s cast, a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, and other documentaries about the film’s premiere at Cannes to a documentary on the film’s genesis from its original project known as Q to what became The Tree of Life. Also in the box set that should be included when it is completed is the accompanying film Voyage of Time as well as essays about the film.

2. Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film is already becoming a favorite with film buffs though it’s DVD/Blu-Ray release is in need of something much more. Particularly in special features as it needs something that talks about the film and its impact. More cast and crew interviews would be nice along with a full-length commentary track from Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling. Other special features should include the documentary NWR, a visual comparison of this film with Taxi Driver based on Sati’s Visual Parallel on the two films, and essays including one written by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

3. The Virgin Suicides

Sofia Coppola’s 1999 debut is certainly one of the great debut films from any filmmaker. Yet, it’s been a longtime since it came out on DVD as it definitely needs a reissue. The DVD/Blu-Ray should be released under Coppola’s supervision with some of the original DVD’s special features in the DVD/Blu-Ray set plus new interviews with some of its cast plus the duo Air, a new interview with Sofia Coppola, and her short film Lick the Star remastered with a new introduction by Coppola as well as essays on the film.

4. Silent Light

Carlos Reygadas is a name that fans of Mexican cinema definitely know as he’s made four films already that is beloved by his fans while also gaining detractors. There’s no doubt that Reygadas is a talent to be seen as his films are evident of what he can do. For the DVD/Blu-Ray release on this film, it should be presented in a new transfer courtesy of Reygadas along with new interviews from the director, his cast, and crew plus some outtakes and essays about the film.

5. Mysterious Skin

Gregg Araki’s adaptation of Scott Heim’s novel was definitely a major hit for the filmmaker as it got him numerous accolades as well as taking him back from indie obscurity. Though it’s still out on DVD, it needs a wider DVD/Blu-Ray release to not just include some special features about the film but also new interviews with Gregg Araki and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The DVD should also include Araki’s unreleased pilot of This Is How the World Ends as well as a documentary on the film’s soundtrack and an essay.

6. The Fountain

Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film is definitely his most divisive film of his career but still it’s one that needs to be seen. With rumors still circulating on Criterion releases for Pi and Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain certainly needs to be on Criterion. Notably as the set should include the original theatrical film and a reconstructed version of what Aronofsky wanted as well as a full-length commentary track from Aronofsky. Special features should include the making-of-documentary as well as stories into the film’s troubled production and notable outtakes and such as well as an essay on the film.

7. Shame

Steve McQueen’s sophomore feature is certainly one of the best films to come out of the 2010s as it definitely deserves a place in the Criterion Collection just as McQueen’s 2008 film Hunger that’s already in the collection. The DVD/Blu-Ray set shouldn’t just include some of the special features from its original DVD set but also new ones including interviews with Steve McQueen, Michael Fassbender, and Carey Mulligan as well as the controversy over the film’s NC-17 rating. Other features should also go into the work of cinematographer Sean Bobbit and his approach on lighting as well as essays on the film.

8. We Need to Talk About Kevin

There’s no director that needs more support than Lynne Ramsay following the debacle over Jane Got a Gun as a Criterion release of her long-awaited third film We Need to Talk About Kevin should help boost her profile. Some special features should include not just interviews with Ramsay along with Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller. There should be features about the film’s music and its score composer Jonny Greenwood as well as Ramsay’s 2012 short film The Swimmer be included as an extra along with an essay on the film.

9. Trainspotting

With Danny Boyle’s debut film Shallow Grave already on Criterion, Trainspotting should be the next film to follow as it’s certainly his most beloved among his fans. The DVD/Blu-Ray set should include the film’s original international cut supervised by Boyle along with a new commentary track by Boyle and its main cast. Special features should include a compare/contrast in the differences between the film’s international and U.S. cut as well as deleted scenes and outtakes. New features should also include new cast interviews, a documentary on the film’s premiere at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, a feature on its soundtrack, and essays on the film (including mine).

10. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam already has three films released in Criterion in Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Time Bandits (which is unfortunately out of print). Why not have more out on Criterion as the third film in his Trilogy of Imagination series in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen? It’s a film that definitely needs to be seen a larger audience as something that is audacious and whimsical as it should be given a new transfer by Gilliam who should also contribute a commentary track. The set should include special features about the film’s production along with new interviews with some of its cast like Sarah Polley and Eric Idle as well as the notoriety it got as a box office bomb.

11. Secrets & Lies

Mike Leigh’s Palme d’Or-winning film is certainly one his triumphs though it’s been presented in a decent DVD release but with no special features. Criterion should get the rights for this film and give it the release it deserves with a new transfer by Leigh as well as commentary from the filmmaker. The special features should include new cast and crew interviews and specials about the film as well as some shorts that Leigh did in his career.

12. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly

Julian Schnabel’s biopic on the life of Jean-Dominique Bauby is truly a film that defies the genre of the biopic as it’s one that is visually entrancing as well as enthralling. While it already has a nice DVD/Blu-Ray release, more can be done in terms of special features to include more tidbits on its technical brilliance as well as Mathieu Almaric’s performance plus a documentary on Bauby himself.

13. Dead Man

Jim Jarmusch is no stranger to the Criterion Collection as his first five features have already been released on Criterion. It’s time that another one should be included in the list as his western starring Johnny Depp is in need of the full Criterion treatment. Not just in the film but also in special features that should include making-of material, cast interviews, a commentary by Jarmusch, and a special feature into the film’s music by Neil Young.

14. The Wild Child

Francois Truffaut’s 1970 film is one of many films, aside from the entire Antoine Doinel series along with Shoot the Piano Player, Jules & Jim, and The Last Metro, that is in need to given the full Criterion treatment. This one in particular as it is the first of many films that features Truffaut’s great collaboration with cinematographer Nestor Almendros. Along with a new transfer and a commentary track by a Truffaut historian, the special features should include the real story that the film is based on along with a documentary about the collaboration between Truffaut and Almendros as well as interviews and an essay about the film written by one of its fans in Terrence Malick.

15. L’Argent

There’s already some films by Robert Bresson from the 1950s and 1960s that’s been released on Criterion as there’s now rumors that more of his films from the 70s and 80s should come out. If it’s true, then L’Argent should be given the full Criterion treatment as it is Bresson’s final film as well as one of his most controversial. A new transfer plus some special features about the film including the notorious reception that it received at Cannes where it would share the Special Jury Prize with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia.

16. The Spider’s Strategem

Bernardo Bertolucci is a filmmaker whose work needs to be in the Criterion Collection as so far, only The Last Emperor and La commare secca have been released by Criterion. So much of his work needs that treatment but it’s this film that needs to be seen as it’s been out of print for way too long. A new transfer supervised by Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro would be needed along with a few special features.

17. La Notte

The second part of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Alienation trilogy is definitely one of Antonioni’s triumphant films but it’s still not in the Criterion Collection as it definitely needs to be part of the collection. Notably as it should feature not just a new transfer but also some special features and maybe be part of a box-set with L’Avventura and L’Eclisse for a new box set with new transfers and more features as an upgraded release.

18. Kafka

Steven Soderbergh’s sophomore feature is definitely among one of the director’s most under-seen films of his career. Particularly as it was a notorious flop that nearly derailed Soderbergh’s career early on as it’s now being revisited. While there’s been reports that Soderbergh wants to re-release the film in a new cut, a DVD/Blu-Ray set would be ideal in not just presenting Soderbergh’s new cut but also its original cut plus additional special features about Franz Kafka and the film as well as an essay by our esteemed Soderbergh fan Alex Withrow.

19. McCabe & Mrs. Miller

There’s several films of Robert Altman that’s already in Criterion like Short Cuts, 3 Women, Secret Honor, and Tanner ‘88 as it’s time that more of Altman’s films should be in that list. Notably his 1971 western starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie as it’s often considered to be one of Altman’s greatest films as it would include a new transfer supervised by its cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. Special features would include some cast interviews as well as an interview from Leonard Cohen who contributed music for the film.

20. The Sicilian

Now that Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate is out on Criterion, it’s time for another of his more divisive films to get a similar treatment in his 1987 feature. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel, it’s a film that recalls many of Cimino’s visual style as it was released in two version. The two-hour U.S. theatrical cut and an extended 146-minute director’s cut that was released in Europe. Both versions should be in a DVD/Blu-Ray set along with some special features about the film’s production plus an audio interview with Cimino and an essay by film critic F.X. Feeney.

10 New Box Sets for Criterion.

1. Gus Van Sant’s Death Trilogy (Gerry/Elephant/Last Days)

Gus Van Sant’s already have two films in the Criterion Collection as one of his most celebrated works is definitely his Death Trilogy that brought him back into world of art-house films after a brief period working in Hollywood. These three films represent not just some of Van Sant’s best work as well as an intriguing approach to minimalist films. It also showcases one of the great director-cinematographer collaborations as it features the brilliant camera work from the late Harris Savides. While all three DVDs featured minimal special features, all of them could be expanded with new features as well as interviews with Van Sant and a piece about Savides’ contributions.

2. Ang Lee’s Father Knows Best Trilogy (Pushing Hands/The Wedding Banquet/Eat Drink Man Woman)

Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil are definitely highlights of the Criterion Collection as it’s obvious more of his films should be in Criterion. What is so special about Lee’s first three films isn’t just about the fact that all three films have very poignant tales about fathers but also features some of the great performances from late Sihung Lung who is considered a treasure in Taiwanese cinema. Each film should contain new features about the production as well as new transfers as well a piece about Lung.

3. The Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight)

Richard Linklater’s romantic trilogy is easily one of the great portraits in the world of relationships. All three films are beloved by its fans who had watch Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy grow from young idealistic adults to more hardened individuals in the course of the trilogy. Each film should be presented in a high-definition transfer supervised by Richard Linklater plus commentary from Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy as well as a documentary about the making of the trilogy and an excerpt from Linklater’s 2001 film Waking Life that Hawke and Delpy appeared in as their characters from that trilogy.

4. The Early Films of Abbas Kiarostami (Eclipse Series)

There’s already three films by the Iranian filmmaker that’s been released in the Criterion Collection yet two of them in Close-Up and Certified Copy features two of Kiarostami’s early films in The Traveller and The Report. Since Kiarostami is revered by film buffs, a collection of his early films like The Experience, A Wedding Suit, First Case, Second Case, Fellow Citizen, First Graders, and Homework, along with some shorts from the 70s and 80s would be something Kiarostami fans would want. Notably as the films could be exposed to a wide audience who had only seen some of his more well-known films.

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Death Trilogy (Amores Perros/21 Grams/Babel)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is certainly one of the key filmmakers of the Mexican cinema as his trilogy of death certainly showcases his talents as well as great collaboration with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. A box set for all three films would be needed as all three films would have new transfers plus interviews with Inarritu and Arriaga along with cast members and such. The extras should also include some shorts by Inarritu from 11’9’01 and the Powder Keg short for The Hire.

6. The Dogme 95 Series Vol. 1

Dogme 95 was a movement in cinema that broke the rules of what can be done in films as it was founded by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. The set should include eight of the movement’s revered films like Festen and The Idiots by Vinteberg and von Trier, respectively along with Mifune’s Last Song, The King is Alive, Lovers, Julien-Donkey Boy, Italian for Beginners, and Fuckland. The special features will be minimal to include interviews with its directors plus documentaries about the Dogme 95 movement.

7. Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy (Panther Pachali/Aparajito/Apur Sansar)

Now that the famed Indian director Satyajit Ray is finally being available to American audiences thanks to new remastered transfers of films like The Music Room, Charulata, and The Big City. It’s obvious that more of films are coming as The Apu Trilogy should be next as it’s considered the pillars of great Indian cinema. All three films should be presented in new transfers as well a few extras along with documentaries about the trilogy.

8. The Early Films of Michelangelo Antonioni (Eclipse Series)

Four films by the late yet revered Italian art-house filmmaker that includes Red Desert and Identification of a Woman have been released on Criterion. Yet, not all of his films have been available as Criterion should pick up his first five feature films in Story of a Love Affair, I Vinti, The Lady Without Camelias, Le Amiche, and Il Grido into a box set from the Eclipse series along with the shorts that Antonioni has made in his entire career.

9. The Documentary Films of the Dardenne Brothers (Eclipse Series)

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are truly among one of the best filmmakers working today as three of their films in La Promesse, Rosetta, and The Kid with a Bike have been released on Criterion to great acclaim. Yet, many of their early films before they became internationally-revered filmmakers aren’t seen outside of Europe as it’s time for all of seven of their documentaries. Many of which plays into the themes and such they would later discuss in their fictional-based feature films.

10. The Decalogue

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 1989 TV series based on the Ten Commandments is certainly one of his great triumphs as it’s in need of a new release for DVD/Blu-Ray in a box set since Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique and his Trois Couleurs trilogy are already in the Criterion Collection. The box set should include all 10 episodes re-mastered with a new transfer plus the two films A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love be included in the set into something that would be one of the Collection’s ultimate box sets.

10 Criterions Releases that Need to Be Reissued & Upgraded

1. The BDR Trilogy

With a new Eclipse box set on the early films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder coming as well as recent releases for World on a Wire and Berlin Alexanderplatz. It’s time for the BDR Trilogy of The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss, and Lola to be reissued from the Criterion Collection not just in an upgraded transfer for DVD and Blu-Ray but also include a few extra stuff in the box set.

2. The HandMade Films Series

HandMade Films is definitely one of the most important film studios in British cinema not just for the films that were released but also helped reinvigorate the British film industry. While Monty Python’s Life of Brian is still available on DVD, many films from that studio such as Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday, Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa, and the two films by Bruce Robinson in Withnail & I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising have been out of print for a very long time. These films along with the Monty Python film should be given new upgrades for DVD/Blu-Ray as they should be released in a box set similar to the America Lost and Found: The BBS Story box set that chronicled the rise of the New Hollywood era. The box set should also include a documentary about the formation of HandMade Films with archived interviews from its late co-founder George Harrison.

3. Alphaville

Jean-Luc Godard’s landmark 1965 sci-fi noir film is definitely one of the filmmaker’s great triumphs yet it’s among the number of films like A Woman is a Woman, Contempt, and Pierrot Le Fou that needs to be reissued where (w/ the exception of Pierrot Le Fou) they need new transfers as well as various extra features for both DVD and Blu-Ray.

4. The Killer/Hard Boiled

Two of John Woo’s landmark crime thrillers are definitely considered standards of how to present violent films with a degree of style without the need of going into more conventional territory. Both films are in need to come back to the Criterion Collection in not just new high-definition transfers supervised by Woo but also in a box set of sorts to complement these two films with some special features plus an interview from Woo fan Quentin Tarantino.

5. Dead Ringers

With two of David Cronenberg’s films in Naked Lunch and Videodrome both available on DVD/Blu-Ray from Criterion as well as rumors that some of his earlier films will get the same treatment. His 1988 film Dead Ringers needs to come back to the collection as it needs a newly upgraded transfer and some extra features about the film plus some shorts from Cronenberg.

6. The Orphic Trilogy

Jean Cocteau’s trilogy is definitely considered a watermark for European cinema as they once again need to come back to the collection. Notably as Cocteau’s work is still in need to be seen by new film buffs eager to discover his work. Especially as these films could be presented in a new transfer for Blu-Ray.

7. Taste of Cherry

Abbas Kiarostami’s 1997 film is definitely considered one of its finest as it co-won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Though it’s still available on Criterion on DVD, it needs a whole lot more in comparison to the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of Close-Up and Certified Copy. A new transfer for DVD/Blu-Ray will be needed along with various special features about the film and probably an early Kiarostami as an extra.

8. Juliet of the Spirits

Federico Fellini’s 1965 film is definitely an exotic tale of surrealism that explores the life of a housewife who comes to term with her real life while delving into a world of fantasy. Though it’s still available on DVD, it needs more in terms of special features while a full upgrade would be welcome for a Blu-Ray release.

9. Straw Dogs

Sam Peckinpah’s controversial 1971 classic is definitely one of the most disturbing and violent films of the filmmaker’s career. Notably as it explores the idea of what can drive a man into violence. It’s a film that needs to come back to Criterion not just to be reissued on DVD but be given a new transfer for Blu-Ray as all of Peckinpah’s films should be seen on a big TV.

10. That Obscure Object of Desire

The final film of Luis Bunuel is considered a great finale from the director as it plays into a man’s infatuation for an elusive woman. Yet, it’s one of several of Bunuel’s films like The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Milky Way, and The Phantom of Liberty that are out of print. All of these films need to be available again not just on DVD but on Blu-Ray as well with new transfers and more extra features.

Well, that is all for this year’s Criterion Wishlist. It’s something anyone who loves films need and in many ways. It’s the textbooks that film students need in order to learn about film and become filmmakers. It’s also the chance to have something that is more than just some product but something special. That’s why the Criterion Collection is so revered and every July and November in Barnes & Nobles is a great way to get the stuff film lovers need at a discounted price.

© thevoid99 2013


Chris said...

Great wishlist! The film from that I've seen the most times is Secret & Lies.
You're in luck, I heard La Notte is getting a Criterion release in 2013.
The Decalogue definitely deserves to be there.
There's some stuff here I need to watch, especially The Killer & Hard Boiled.

Unknown said...

Great article. I love the special features you included for The Virgin Suicides, Drive, Shame, and Baron Munchuasen. Yes I agree Straw Dogs need a Blue Ray Criterion edition. These are the only disks I will buy

thevoid99 said...

I'm glad to be of service as I would love to do the kind of things for DVD/Blu-Rays to make sure that people get their monies worth and more.

Since I did finish this piece on Sunday. I was extremely surprised to find out that La Notte will be coming to Criterion. I guess someone must've read my mind and I like the features they're going to have. All I need is L'Eclisse and then get La Notte and I will have now completed the Alienation trilogy.

MovieNut14 said...

Looks like your wish is coming true for La Notte; it's getting an October release later this year.

thevoid99 said...

@MovieNut14-Yeah, I wrote this list over the weekend and didn't think that would happen. Now it is. I just hope more Antonioni comes to Criterion soon.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-the announcement of La Notte caught me by surprise. I'm glad it's coming to Criterion.