11 items from 2015
Prestige distributor The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have agreed to a multi-year extension of their distribution agreement.
The alliance was launched last year. Current releases include “Five Easy Pieces,” “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” “State of Siege,” “My Dinner with Andre” and “The Black Stallion.” Upcoming titles include “A Room with a View,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Breaker Morant,” “Day for Night” and “Mulholland Drive.”
Under the deal, Criterion will continue to distribute its properties in the home entertainment window through Sphe in the U.S. marketplace.
Criterion specializes in high-end titles and premium home video releasing, selling classic films to film buffs. The privately held company pioneered the letterbox format for widescreen films along with providing bonus features, special editions, soundtracks, multi-disc sets and definitive versions.
Criterion sold Laserdiscs between 1984 and 1998, when it launched DVD sales. It began selling Blu-ray discs in 2008.
“Working together over the past year – both on »
- Dave McNary
On the surface, Creep looks like yet another found footage movie and the kind that Blumhouse Productions keeps churning out month after month. But once you watch it, you’ll discover something different and far more unnerving about it.
The film follows Aaron (Patrick Brice, who also co-wrote and directed), a videographer who accepts an offer from a man named Josef (Mark Duplass) on Craigslist. After they meet, Josef explains that he has terminal cancer and that he wants to record a diary for his unborn son to let him know the kind of person he is a la Michael Keaton in My Life. But as Aaron’s keeps filming Josef, he comes to find that Josef is not at all who he appears to be. In fact, he proves to be far more unhinged than Aaron could ever imagine.
During a recent press day held for Creep in Los Angeles, »
- Ben Kenber
With the year half over, our three critics have each selected their five favorite U.S. releases of 2015 so far.
Novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland’s brainy, precisely calibrated chamber drama was that rare piece of contemporary sci-fi filmmaking worthy of mention in the same breath as “Blade Runner” and “The Terminator.” Whatever this modestly scaled film lacked in budgetary heft, it more than made up for in sleekly expressive production design, provocative ideas about the fine line between man and machine, and knockout performances from Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander (as the Pinocchio-like android yearning to be a real, live girl).
“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”
A young Japanese woman obsessed with the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” travels to the wilds of Minnesota in search of buried treasure in this comic gem from another sibling director team, David and Nathan Zellner. With deadpan elan, the »
- Variety Staff
The third experimental cinematic endeavor from the writing/acting duo of Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, A Master Builder, at last reaches a notable platform of consumption with its inclusion in the Criterion collection. Their previous collaborations, My Dinner with Andre (1981) and Vanya on 42nd Street (1992), both directed by French auteur Louis Malle, have reached a sort of mythical status in the realm of art-house cinema. And so the rather hushed theatrical reception of this latest endeavor, another long-gestating exercise, this time re-working a late period play from Ibsen while Jonathan Demme usurps the directorial seat, perhaps has more to do with the fluctuating cinematic landscape. Existing, tonally, somewhere in-between the previous two ventures, this generally claustrophobic rendering doesn’t contain the same sense of innovative, inspiring energy, oscillating between moments of flaccid, rehearsed dialogue and moments of overwhelming emotional hysteria. As a filmed version of this experimental theater exercise, »
- Nicholas Bell
This year’s Sundance hit “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” rode into cinemas last week on a wave of glowing reviews, one of which comes from The Playlist. One of the central elements in the film's story about the relationship between Greg (Thomas Mann), a young movie nerd, and Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate dying from stage 4 Leukemia, is the slew of no-budget parody movies Greg and his Bff Earl (Rj Cyler) make to pay tribute to some of the biggest classics in film history. Read More: 2015 Sundance Awards: 'Me & Earl & The Dying Girl' Wins Best Drama, Best Doc Goes To 'The Wolfpack' The film’s animator Nathan O. Marsh created 21 posters for the fake movies the pair produce within the movie, and ten of them have been released online via EW. Some of the ideas behind the parodies are very cheesy, relying on simple wordplay to execute their concepts, »
- Oktay Ege Kozak
When My Dinner With Andre hit cinemas in 1981, Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn were already established figures of the New York theater scene. But the hit film, directed by Louis Malle and consisting almost entirely of a scripted dinner conversation between the two men, turned them into something closer to celebrities: "Few people knew who they were when they entered the theater," wrote Roger Ebert about the film’s premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. "Now they would never be forgotten where films were taken seriously." Over the next several decades, the two men built on that collaboration with more films. Next came 1994’s Vanya on 42nd Street, also directed for the screen by Malle, though the theatrical production itself — essentially a years-long workshopping and exploration of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya with little thought given to a traditional audience — was directed by Gregory himself. Then, in 2014, the »
- Bilge Ebiri
This week on Off The Shelf, Ryan is joined by Brian Saur to take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for the week of June 16th, 2015, and chat about some follow-up and home video news.
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Episode Links & Notes Follow-up Unopened movies Christopher Lee News Thunderbean: Willie Whopper Blu-ray Pre-order Criterion September Line-up Scream Factory to release Army Of Darkness, Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood Arrow Video: Zardoz, The Mutilator, Requiescant, The Firemen’s Ball, Closely Watched Trains, Hard To Be A God, Society Masters Of Cinema / Eureka: The Skull Warner Bros. Hammer Horror Blu-ray Box Set Warner Bros Special Effects Boxset (Them!, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Son of Kong, Mighty Joe Young) Sony to release The Last Dragon on Blu-ray Scorpion: Burn Witch Burn Kino Cartoon Classics Announced Kl Studio Classics F/X 2 and The Challenge Universal to put out »
- Ryan Gallagher
This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a Hayao Miyazaki classic, a couple of already-forgotten 2015 releases, the final season of what could be Aaron Sorkin’s last TV series, and more. Spirited Away (2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD Combo) - $21.96 (41% off) Chappie [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] - $19.93 (43% off) Wild Tales [Blu-ray] - $24.93 (29% off) Run All Night (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) - $22.99 (49% off) Unfinished Business [Blu-ray] - $14.99 (63% off) The Lazarus Effect [Blu-ray] - $19.94 (50% off) Beyond the Reach [Blu-ray] - $12.99 (48% off) My Dinner with Andre [Blu-ray] (Criterion Collection) - $27.99 (30% off) The Newsroom: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] - $24.99 (50% off)
- Adam Chitwood
Wild Tales Because it's in a foreign language Wild Tales was never going to be a massive hit stateside, but trust me, this is a movie you're going to want to give a shot as six short stories come together for a wildly hysterical anthology of revenge gone wrong. You can read my theatrical review right here.
Run All Night Sean's review of this one was just posted this morning (read it here) and he seems to have had mostly the same impression I had when seeing it in theaters (read my review here), which is to say it's something of a ho hum actioner, but does sport some solid performances.
Spirited Away (Blu-ray) This is probably my favorite Hayao Miyazaki film and it might have actually been the first of his I saw, I can't quite remember. However, if you're looking to get into the master animated filmmaker's work »
- Brad Brevet
The Criterion Collection has this week announced (via BluRay.com) their line-up of titles for June 2015, which will see some big releases, including Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre, Jonathan Demme’s A Master Builder, Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King starring late Robin Williams, and Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces for the very first time.
All the details and special features, including artwork, are below.
My Dinner with Andre – released June 16th
In Louis Malle’s captivating and philosophical My Dinner with André, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with friend and theater director André Gregory at an Upper West Side restaurant, and the two proceed into an alternately whimsical and despairing confessional on love, death, money, and all the superstition in between. Playing variations on their own New York–honed personas, Shawn and Gregory, who also wrote the screenplay, dive in with introspective, intellectual gusto, »
- Scott J. Davis
Variety’s top film critics have selected their favorite movies of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which screened over 123 features in its 17th edition. All three of them agree: grand prize and audience award winner “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” was one of this year’s finest achievements in Park City.
Justin Chang: Another Sundance has come to a close, and I think it’s safe to say that this year’s edition was a particularly fine one — distinguished, first and foremost, by a U.S. dramatic competition that offered the jury plenty of opportunity to spread the wealth. I had a bit of a hunch that “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” might sweep both the grand jury prize and the audience award, in the now de rigueur winner-takes-all manner of “Whiplash,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Precious” before it (or rather, “Fruitvale” and “Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, »
- Justin Chang, Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas
11 items from 2015
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