13 items from 2014
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni’s enigmatic and brilliant L’Avventura is one of the benchmarks for international art cinema, a somewhat disputable designation that was, nevertheless, very much in vogue at the time of its release. Take the 1960 Cannes Film Festival for example, where L’Avventura debuted to one of the event’s most divisive responses, with initially more boos than cheers greeting this affront to conventional film narrative and form. Yet, this was also the year of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (the Palme d’Or winner), Chukhray’s Ballad of a Soldier, Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, Kalatozov’s Letter Never Sent, and Buñuel’s The Young One, to name just a few of the other titles at the festival, where, ultimately, L’Avventura came away with the Jury Prize (shared with Ichikawa’s »
- Jeremy Carr
Stretch I don't know what happened at Universal when it came to Joe Carnahan's Stretch, but they really decided to bury it. They didn't market it, delayed it's release date, tried to dump it, finally released it as a streaming only title and now it comes to DVD (no Blu-ray) without any notice. I didn't know it was coming out today until ten minutes before posting this article. As anyone that reads this site regularly knows, I liked this movie. It's a batsh*t fun good time, give my review a read and see if it's up your alley.
The Giver I just have no interest in this film and that's a little weird I think considering it's directed by Phillip Noyce and stars the likes of Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, but I just can't bring myself to be interested.
The November Man Remember when there was going »
- Brad Brevet
It's that time of year again and it's time to update the list for the second half of 2014 as Barnes & Noble has just kicked off their 50% off Criterion sale and as impossible a task as it is to cut things down to just a few titles, I have done my best to break Criterion's titles down into a few categories. Hopefully those looking for box sets, specific directors or what I think are absolute musts will find this makes things a little bit easier. Let's get to it... First Picks I was given the Zatoichi collection for Christmas last year and being a collection that holds 25 films and another disc full of supplementary material it is the absolute definition of a must buy when it comes to the Criterion Collection. It is, once again, on sale for $112.49, half off the Msrp of $224.99, and worth every penny. I spent the entire year going through it. »
- Brad Brevet
Criterion has announced their November slate of releases and among them is Frank Capra's romantic-comedy classic It Happened One Night and Blu-ray upgrade of Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura and Sydney Pollack's Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman. First off, and most exciting as far as I'm concerned, is Capra's It Happened One Night, which I speculated previously would be added to the collection sooner rather than later. Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, this is an all-timer in terms of romantic comedies and Criterion is delivering it with an all new 4K digital restoration, new conversation between critics Molly Haskell and Phillip Lopate, the 1997 feature-length documentary Frank Capra's American Dream, Capra's first film, the 1922 silent short The Ballad of Fisher's Boarding House, the American Film Institute's tribute to Capra from 1982 and the film's trailer. The release arrives on November 18. The other title I'm excited about is Antonioni's L'avventura, the »
- Brad Brevet
To mark the release of L’Assassino on 21st July, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray and DVD combo.
Released within months of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Antonioni’s La Notte, Elio Petri’s dazzling first feature L’Assassino also stars Marcello Mastroianni, this time as dandyish thirty-something antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli, arrested on suspicion of murdering his older, far wealthier lover Adalgisa (Micheline Presle). But as the increasingly Kafkaesque police investigation proceeds, it becomes less and less important whether Martelli actually committed the crime as his entire lifestyle is effectively put on trial.
Best known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Tenth Victim, Petri was one of the finest and yet most underrated Italian directors of the 1960s and 70s. Highly acclaimed on its original UK release but unjustly neglected since, L’Assassino is a remarkably assured debut from one »
Hong Kong – The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society will feature a program dedicated to Marcello Mastroianni at its Cine Fan Summer International Film Festival, held August 12 to 26. Named "Marcello Mastroianni: The Great Lover," the program will feature seven of the Italian actor's classic films from the 1960s to the 1990s, including Il Bell’Antonio, La Notte, Divorce Italian Style, Marriage Italian Style, A Special Day, Ginger and Fred, and Sostiene Pereira. Winner of the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, best actor at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated three times at the Academy Awards
- Karen Chu
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
"True Detective: The Complete First Season"
What's It About? This creepy HBO series stars Woody Harrelson and
Matthew McConaughey as troubled detectives on the hunt for a killer in 1995, and as the possible subjects of an investigation in the present day. The crazy conspiracies and weird worldviews presented by writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto and the masterful direction by Cary Fukunaga make this a series to obsess over. Time overlaps as our antagonists and their associates are interviewed in the
Why We're In: The Internet exploded with theories about "True Detective," and although they didn't necessarily prove to be fruitful, there's still plenty to examine and re-examine in each episode. Plus, there are audio commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews, and other behind-the-scenes goodies.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"All That Heaven Allows" (Criterion)
What's It About? Jane Wyman stars as a rich widow named »
- Jenni Miller
After finally securing 1961’s La Notte as part of the Criterion line-up, we’re treated to a new restoration and Blu-ray transfer of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, which originally graced the collection back in 2005. The final chapter of the unofficial “Incommunicability Trilogy,” it is, perhaps, the most ‘sex positive’ chapter of the erotomania that partially defines the crumbling of the troubling social orders at hand, and it certainly has a more vibrant energy than the previous films, beginning with 1960’s L’Avventura. As far as narrative goes, however, this may possibly be the most oblique of the three films, meandering through possibilities before delivering a confounding final seven minutes that are as strikingly at odds with the rest of the feature as well as confoundingly, maddeningly riveting.
A beautiful woman, Vittoria (Monica Vitti), tiredly pads back and forth in her lover’s (Fernando Rabal) apartment, a fan providing the »
- Nicholas Bell
Blu-ray Release Date: June 10, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
The Train stars Burt Lancaster (Sweet Smell of Success) as a workaday World War II-era French trainman charged with ensuring that a cargo of irreplaceable French art—the pride and heritage of his nation—is not allowed to leave France, despite the machinations of a Nazi officer (Paul Scofield, A Man for All Seasons) determined to steal these great works for Germany.
Sounds a bit Monuments Men-ish, doesn’t it?
Also starring Jeanne Moreau (La Notte) and Michel Simon (L’Atalante), and featuring compelling black-and-white cinematography by Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz and a thrilling score by Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia), The Train remains one of the icons of Sixties cinema. »
The 1967 Cannes Grand Prix winner Blowup was prestigious director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first foray into English, thanks to a deal struck with MGM by producer Carlo Ponti, who contracted the director to do three of them: this one, Zabriskie Point, and The Passenger. While this is clearly the best of that trio (though The Passenger has some merit), in the great Antonioni’s career it feels like a tangential experiment more than a fully realized piece of art.
Based on the short story “Las babas del diablo” by Julio Cortázar, Blowup stars David Hemmings as Thomas, a London photographer who spends his days straddling models while he snaps their pictures, doing various drugs, and moving from woman to woman, enjoying the swinging lifestyle commonly practiced during the era. While walking through a London park, he snaps photos of a couple in an embrace, infuriating the woman (Vanessa Redgrave), who arrives »
- Joshua Gaul
Directed by François Truffaut
In François Truffaut’s debut feature, The 400 Blows, widely seen as the flagship production of the French Nouvelle Vague, or “New Wave,” he was able to convey a representation of youth in a very specific era and, at that time, in a very unique way. Autobiographical as the 1959 film was, it also featured a notable vitality and honesty, two traits that would distinguish several of these French films from the late 1950s and into the ’60s. While The 400 Blows was an earnest and refreshing portrayal of adolescence, in some ways, Truffaut’s 1962 feature, Jules and Jim, his third, feels even more youthful, in terms of stylistic daring and energetic exuberance. Though dealing with adults and serious adult situations, Jules and Jim exhibits a formal sense of unbridled glee, with brisk editing, amusing asides, »
- Jeremy Carr
I don't remember the first time I watched Fran?ois Truffaut's Jules and Jim, but I remember appreciating it though not loving it. Watching it again on Criterion's new Blu-ray release (buy it here) I feel a greater level of respect, but the film almost feels clinical to me more than anything else. As Truffaut tells the story of a love triangle between Jules (Oskar Werner), Jim (Henri Serre) and the free-spirited Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) I couldn't help but feel that each scene is a masterclass in filmmaking, though almost to a fault. Frequently cited as one of the best films ever made, and I assume many would argue Truffaut's best film, though I'm sure admirers of The 400 Blows would beg to differ, Jules and Jim is an adaptation of Henri-Pierre Roche's novel, which Truffaut clearly adored as evidenced by the multitude of interview segments included on this disc. »
- Brad Brevet
I first watched Federico Fellini's 1960 film, La Dolce Vita, just over five years ago and with this week marking what would have been the filmmaker's 94th birthday I've chosen La Dolce Vita as the debut film in my Best Movies feature. Not because I believe it to be his best (though it certainly is one of the best), but largely because I've had the urge to watch it again ever since learning Paramount has finally been granted exclusive rights to the film, prompting me to hope it will finally receive a domestic Blu-ray release sometime soon. Captured in lovely black-and-white, Otello Martelli's cinematography lives up to the literal translation of the film's title -- "the sweet life" -- while the narrative focuses on a character living a life more empty than "sweet". Marking the first time Marcello Mastroianni and Fellini would work together, Mastroianni plays Marcello Rubini, a »
- Brad Brevet
13 items from 2014
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