This is a blog I posted on another site back in January of 2010 before I had a Criterion themed site. I plan on doing another one of these lists for the 2010 titles as well. I just have to go back and see which are 2010 and make sure I’ve seen them all. Half of the info is dated out like Darjeeling, and the Blu-Ray exhange program.
I’ve been extremely lucky this year to be able to buy all of the Criterion Blu-Ray releases. I don’t have even close to the entire collection on DVD but having all that are available on Blu-Ray is a pretty great feeling. I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with them though as they are increasing the releases to three a month now and those fuckers aren’t cheap! Here is my top picks out of the 28 that have been released so far.
Wes Anderson’s first feature film and it has never looked better. Criterion really knows how to clean up a film and it seems like the Anderson releases are always the best from top to bottom. The packaging is top notch art by Wes’ brother and it includes a booklet like the notebook Owen Wilson’s character uses in the film to layout his life plan. Criterion made this film look perfect. It’s easily one of the best clean up jobs I have seen of any film on Blu. The crispness and texture just pops from the screen on this release and there really is no comparison to the DVD release that was out prior to this release.
For All Mankind
This is one that I really had no desire to watch when I saw it on the release schedule but boy did it change my mind. The subtlety of it all and the small touches that are used in this one make it more enjoyable than most documentaries that are made today. Being able to see how the astronauts act with each other on the moon is pretty amazing and the way the film is tied together make it pretty easy to watch.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
I never had any interest or even knew what this film was about until this Blu-Ray came out. It’s a great little odd treasure of a film that I would recommend to anyone. When you think David Bowie in a sci-fi film you think, “Great this is gonna be weirder than shit!” but it really isn’t and it’s got a nice story to go along with it. I was really pulling for his character throughout and wondering what was going to happen next.
The Last Metro
I have read a lot of flack from some people about this film but I think it’s great and easily one of the better Truffaut films that I have seen. I am not a fan of 400 blows (that blu-ray isn’t on this list but I do own it.) For me, this is the better of the two films of Truffaut’s that are available on blu-ray. The story is pretty enjoyable and the acting is top notch. I think Quentin Tarrantino can fuck off when he talks bad about this one.
This foreign mafia film is pretty bad ass to say the least. It does drag on a bit too much but the film is still great in every way and well worth the watch.
I’m really happy that Criterion has started picking up some of the higher rated foreign films that have been coming out over the past few years. Can’t wait to see what else is coming.
So that is my top 5 picks but there are still some great films that have came out through Criterion on Blu-Ray that are well worth your time so I guess we can call them honorable mentions: The Last Emperor, Pierrot Le Fou, Chungking Express and El Notre are all great films that you should check out.
Now let me tell you how I hate Criterion because their release schedule over the next few months is so fucking fantastic that I can’t even fathom how much I am gonna have to prostitute myself out to get the money to buy them all. In January there is 8 1/2 and Che which are both must buys. Revanche, one of the best reviewed foreign films of last year and a great film altogether comes out in February on blu-ray. (Go watch the trailer on Criterion’s site if you wanna see some boobage) March has my favorite Kurosawa film Yojimbo in the set with Sanjuro. God Damnit I can’t wait to have that!
Anyway, I hate Criterion and all the bad things they do to me. I wish I wasn’t addicted to their releases but I am. I also wish their DVD to Blu-Ray exchange program wasn’t so freaking expensive. It’s totally not even worth it to send in the DVD and get the Blu-Ray. You can pay a few more dollars on Amazon and get the entire Blu-Ray and then re-sell the DVD and make most of your money back. Also, where in the world is The Darjeeling Limited Criterion? You have released every Wes Anderson film yet and I haven’t bought that shitty DVD version yet because I am waiting on you to release it so get your shit together and release it. [Note: Thank you Criterion for releasing it.]