Thursday, February 16, 2012

Criterion Collection Upcoming May Releases

Jonesy here. Now, up until about a year ago, I had no earthly idea what the Criterion Collection was. I know, shame on me. But thanks to my cohort, various podcasts, and of course, actually looking at their website, I became better informed. The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company whose mission "has been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements" (via their mission statement).

Criterion makes their announcements every month on the 15th for their upcoming releases. Going through their lists can seem a bit daunting, but trust me when I say that this collection has opened my eyes to more obscure foreign and classic films that were never in my radar. Each film also comes supplements to enhance the viewing including audio commentaries by filmmakers and scholars, restored director’s cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, shooting scripts, early shorts, and storyboards. 

So, now that you are all ready to go out and spend your money on fabulous films, here are Criterion's upcoming releases for May 2012. 

United States, 1999; Director: Spike Jonze
Synopsis: Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Or, more specifically, have you ever wanted to crawl through a portal hidden in an anonymous office building and thereby enter the cerebral cortex of John Malkovich for fifteen minutes before being spat out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike? Then director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman have the movie for you. Melancholy marionettes, office drudgery, a frizzy-haired Cameron Diaz—but that’s not all! Surrealism, possession, John Cusack, a domesticated primate, Freud, Catherine Keener, non sequiturs, and absolutely no romance! But wait: get your Being John Malkovich now and we’ll throw in emasculation, slapstick, Abelard and Heloise, and extra Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich.

Italy, Iran, 2010; Director: Abbas Kiarostomi
Synopsis: The great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami travels to Tuscany for a luminous and provocative romance in which nothing is as it appears. What seems at first to be a straightforward tale of two people—played by Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell—getting to know each other over the course of an afternoon gradually reveals itself as something richer, stranger, and trickier: a mind-bending reflection on authenticity, in art as well as in relationships. Both cerebrally and emotionally engaging, Certified Copy (Copie conforme) reminds us that love itself is an enigma.

**This one is actually available on Netflix Instant right now, and I highly suggest check it out! The movie is very, well, unique, and it will have you thinking and talking about it for days. This is the release I'm most excited for because I'm so curious of all the supplements that will come with this film. 

United States, 1964-1975; Robert Downey, Sr.
Synopsis: Rarely do landmark works of cinema seem so . . . wrong. Robert Downey Sr. emerged as one of the most irreverent filmmakers of the new American underground of the early sixties, taking no prisoners in his rough-and-tumble treatises on politics, race, and consumer culture. In his most famous, the midnight-movie mainstay Putney Swope, an advertising agency is turned on its head when a militant African American man takes charge. Like Swope, Downey held nothing sacred. This selection of five of his most raucous and outlandish films, dating from 1964 to 1975, offers a unique mix of the hilariously abrasive and the intensely experimental.

Swedish, 1951; Director: Ingmar Bergman
Synopsis: Touching on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career—isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past—the tenth film by Ingmar Bergman was a gentle sway toward true mastery. In one of the director’s great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as Marie, an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the rocky shores of Stockholm’s outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present, most of them set in the dark backstage environs of the theater where she works. A film that the director considered a creative turning point, Summer Interlude is a reverie on life and death that bridges the gap between Bergman’s past and future, theater and cinema.

Swedish, 1953; Director: Ingmar Bergman
SynopsisInspired by the earthy eroticism of his muse Harriet Andersson, in the first of her many roles for him, Ingmar Bergman had a major international breakthrough with this ravaging, sensual tale of young love. In Stockholm, a girl (Andersson) and boy (Lars Ekborg) from working-class families run away from home to spend a secluded, romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities. Inevitably, it is not long before the pair is forced to return to reality. The version originally released in the U.S. was reedited by its distributor into something more salacious, but the original Summer with Monika, as presented here, is a work of stunning maturity and one of Bergman’s most important films.

There are so many more films available both in DVD and Blu-Ray on Criterion's site, so I suggest taking some time in checking it out. You will definitely find something there that intrigues you. 

So keep a look out here every month as we keep you updated for their upcoming releases!

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