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Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Time Bandits (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $25.76
31 used & new from $19.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's NEW Blu-Ray Upgrade is Excellent!, January 22, 2015
Gilliam supervised this Blu-Ray transfer and it looks great with a lot of detail visible and the filmic quality preserved. This is a significant improvement from Criterion’s previous DVD incarnation.

Carried over from the DVD version is an audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam, co-screenwriter Michael Palin and actors John Cleese, David Warner and Craig Warnock. Rather fittingly, Gilliam starts off talking about the film’s origins. He excels at recounting filming anecdote and discussing some of the themes. He also recounts a story about how he accidentally injured Shelley Duvall during filming. Warnock recalls his experiences as a child making his first film. Cleese chimes in on his memorable cameo as Robin Hood and his take on the character. Gilliam and Warnock recall working with Connery as the former talks about how helpful the veteran actor was in working with the latter.

“Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits” features production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson as they talk about their work on the film. It was a dream project for them because they got to work on a variety of designs for all the time periods depicted in the film. They also talk in detail about what they wanted to do, accompanied by sketches, stills and clips from Time Bandits.

There is a conversation between Gilliam and Peter Von Bagh at the Midnight Sun Film Festival in 1998. The director talks about what influenced him as a filmmaker and what it was like growing up in Minnesota. He speaks highly of the surreal comedy of Ernie Kovacs and the animation of Walt Disney and Tex Avery.

Also included is a 1981 interview with actress Shelley Duvall on Tomorrow, an American talk show hosted by Tom Snyder. She talks about working on Time Bandits while also touching upon some of her other work. Duvall comes off as a charming and earnest person.

There is a stills gallery of rare, behind-the-scenes photographs of Gilliam and co. at work.

Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.

Y tu mamá también (Blu-ray + DVD)
Y tu mamá también (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Diego Luna
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $22.49
30 used & new from $19.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, poignant road movie gets the deluxe Criterion treatment., August 20, 2014
This new Blu-Ray transfer has been approved by director Alfonso Cuaron and the film’s director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki. It looks great with lots of detail and preserving the filmic qualities.

There is T.V. spot and trailer for the film.

“On Y Tu Mama Tambien” includes a 10-minute featurette made during the production with interviews with director Cuaron, co-writer Carlos Cuaron, director of photography Lubezki and actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdu. They take us through its inception to filming with the actors talking about what drew them to the project. Also included is a 40-minute featurette from 2014 that has all the aforementioned participants look back at the film. They recount all kinds of filming anecdotes and it is interesting to hear their thoughts on Y Tu Mama Tambien after all this time.

“The Making of the Film” is a 22-minute featurette from 2001 that offers all kinds of behind-the-scenes footage during principal photography and sheds light on how Cuaron works. We also see the dynamic between him and his cast and crew.

Also included are three deleted scenes that are entertaining in their own right, but were justly cut from the film.

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek talks about the socio-political context of Y Tu Mama Tambien. He examines how Cuaron sheds light on Mexican politics in the background of certain scenes.

Finally, “You Owe Me” is a 2002 short film that Carlos Cuaron wrote and directed about family secrets that are kept submerged by the characters.

The Big Chill (Blu-ray + DVD)
The Big Chill (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Glenn Close
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $24.09
27 used & new from $19.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kasdan's Ode to Baby Boomers Gets the Deluxe Blu-Ray treatment!, July 30, 2014
This new Blu-Ray transfer is easily superior to any DVD incarnations of The Big Chill, preserving the texture of the film stock Kasdan used. In a nice touch, Criterion has offered two audio options: the original mono track and a 5.1 surround sound track that really showcases the film’s selection of memorable tunes from the ‘60s.

Included is a trailer for the film.

“Success in the System” is a new interview with writer/director Lawrence Kasdan who talks about working within the confines of Hollywood. He also talks about using his clout from writing successful screenplays for blockbuster films to write and director his own personal films. Naturally, he discusses the central themes of The Big Chill among other things.

“The Big Chill: A Reunion” is a 1998 retrospective documentary that runs just under an hour and features Kasdan and his cast reflecting back on the film. It takes us through the genesis of the project, including the origins of the film’s title. This documentary also takes us through the production in wonderful detail and it is great to see the cast speak admiringly of it.

“Thirtieth Anniversary Q&A” was held at the Toronto International Film Festival and featured Kasdan with key cast and crew members reminiscing about the film. This is a fun and engaging extra as everyone speaks highly of their experience on The Big Chill.

Finally, there are just over nine minutes of deleted scenes. Unfortunately, the flashback sequence with Kevin Costner that was cut by the studio is not included and it is pretty obvious why this footage was taken out.

Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD)
Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Jennifer O'Neill
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $23.59
34 used & new from $19.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shape of Rage Gets the Deluxe Blu-Ray Treatment, July 28, 2014
This review is from: Scanners (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
This Blu-Ray transfer for Scanners was supervised by Cronenberg himself and sports subdued colors with rich earth tones. In keeping with other Criterion transfers, this one preserves the texture of film stock in a very pleasing way.

There is a trailer and also a few radio spots promoting the film.

“The Scanners Way” takes a retrospective look at the film’s impressive special effects with interviews with director of photography Mark Irwin, special makeup artists Stephen Dupuis and Chris Walas and others who talk about working with Cronenberg. They also talk about the production and how he was rewriting the screenplay on a daily basis. The participants recount engaging filming anecdotes and explain how some of the memorable effects were created.

“Mental Saboteur” is a fascinating interview with actor Michael Ironside who talks about how he got involved with Scanners and what it was like working with not just Cronenberg, but also some of his co-stars. The veteran actor also touches upon his time as a struggling actor in Canada in this engrossing extra.

“The Ephemerol Diaries” is an interview with actor Stephen Lack. He got his start as a performance artist in Montreal and had no traditional training as an actor. He candidly recounts the breakneck pace of the production and the problems Patrick McGoohan had understanding the material.

Also included is an excerpt from an episode of “The Bob McLean Show,” which aired on the CBC in Canada. Cronenberg is interviewed about Scanners with clips shown from his earlier films as well.

Finally, for Cronenberg fans his 1969 feature film debut Stereo is included. With its medical experiments and telepathy, it anticipated Scanners.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Blu-ray + DVD)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Rachel Roberts
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $23.49
29 used & new from $19.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic, but not definitive release from Criterion, July 8, 2014
Picnic at Hanging Rock looks fantastic on Blu-Ray as its hypnotic mood and atmosphere are preserved through a stunning transfer and excellent audio track that features an absolutely eerie soundtrack.

“David Thomson Introduction” features the noted film scholar putting Weir’s film in the context of Australian cinema at the time it was made and how it ushered in a new sensibility. He also ponders some of the mysteries of the film.

There is a 2003 interview with Peter Weir where he talks about his fascination with the source material and how it drove him to adapt it. He recounts meeting the author on her farm and “auditioning” for her in order to get approval to make the film. He also addresses some of the mysteries contained in the story.

“Everything Begins and Ends.” This is a retrospective featurette with key cast and crew members including Miranda herself, Anne Lambert. The producers take us through the project’s origins while the actresses share filming anecdotes. They offer their impressions of author Lindsay as well.

“A Recollection…Hanging Rock 1900” is a vintage 1975 on-the-set documentary that offers a fascinating look at the production. In addition to key cast and crew members, Lindsay is interviewed. They all speak highly of the film as this featurette sheds light on things like the spooky backstory to the building that was used for the school.

“Homesdale” is the 1971 short film that Weir made. It got the attention of executive producer Patricia Lovell who approached him to direct Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Finally, there is a trailer.

Also included is a copy of Lindsay’s book, which is a nice touch.

Unfortunately, it does not have the 90-minute retrospective documentary A Dream Within a Dream that can be found on the U.K. Blu-Ray release or the many extras included on the Second Sight Region 2 DVD.

Red River (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Red River (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ John Wayne
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $28.19
31 used & new from $23.92

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Gives This Masterpiece the Deluxe Treatment, May 28, 2014
Painstaking work has obviously gone into this Blu-Ray transfer with most blemishes removed so that Red River looks as good as it ever has with a nice filmic texture.

Included is the theatrical version, which Howard Hawks prefers, and for fans of the film, the longer, pre-release cut, which contains extra shots and dialogue as well as a prologue scroll.

“Bogdanovich on Red River” features director Peter Bogdanovich talking about Hawks and the film. He discusses how John Wayne plays a darker character for the first time, maybe the darkest in his career. He praises Montgomery Clift’s performance and points out the differences between the two versions.

“Hawks and Bogdanovich” features excerpts from an April 1972 audio interview with Hawks by Bogdanovich. The veteran director reminisces about the making of Red River and recounts several entertaining filming anecdotes. Hawks also talks about the two versions and his distaste for the pre-release one.

Also included is a trailer.

Film critic Molly Haskell is interviewed and she talks about the role gender plays in Red River. She also examines several themes that run through the film in an informative way.

There is an interview with scholar Lee Clark Mitchell who examines the film in relation to the western genre and its iconography. He also examines the life and career of Borden Chase and his novel, Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail, which the film is based on.

Also included are audio excerpts from a 1969 interview with author Borden Chase who talks about his views on Hawks’ film. He wasn’t big on collaboration and offers his impressions on Hawks.

Finally, there is “Lux Radio Theatre,” a March 7, 1949 broadcast of an adaptation of Red River with John Wayne, Walter Brennan and Joanne Dru reprising their roles.

In a nice touch, a copy of Chase’s previously out-of-print novel on which the film is based on, is included.

King of the Hill (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
King of the Hill (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Jesse Bradford
Price: $24.90
25 used & new from $20.45

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for Soderbergh fans!, March 27, 2014
Personally, supervised by Soderbergh, the transfer for King of the Hill looks fantastic with excellent detail and the warm color palette faithfully preserved.

There is an interview with director Steven Soderbergh who looks back at King of the Hill. He feels that the film looks too beautiful and should have had a rougher edge to it, if he was making today. He talks about the book, what drew him to it and how he went about adapting it. Soderbergh speaks highly of Jesse Bradford and why he cast him as Aaron. As always, the director is honest about his own shortcomings and that of the film.

Also included is an interview with author A.E. Hotchner who wrote the book on which the film is based on. It was a fictionalized account of his experiences growing up during the Great Depression. He talks about writing the book and his life, in particular, his parents.

“Against Tyranny” is a visual essay about Soderbergh’s career in terms of narrative. In particular, it analyzes a dream sequence in King of the Hill. This featurette also juxtaposes the linear style of the rest of the film with this rather abstract sequence.

There are six deleted scenes and alternate takes.

Also included is a trailer.

Finally, a treat for Soderbergh fans is the inclusion of The Underneath, a neo-noir that stars Peter Gallagher and Alison Elliott. The director is interviewed and candidly talks about what a disappointing experience it was for him. He deems the film a failure, but it inspired him to re-evaluate his entire career. He talks about what drew him to the film. As always, Soderbergh is an eloquent speaker and talks knowledgably about filmmaking. A trailer for the film is also included.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Clooney
Offered by louvre_98
Price: $26.95
29 used & new from $21.68

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Blu-Ray Definitely Worth the Upgrade!, February 21, 2014
Fantastic Mr. Fox looks great on Blu-Ray and it appears that Criterion are using the existing one from 20th Century Fox. The colors are rich and vibrant with all kinds of detail yet still retaining a filmic look.

“Introduction by Petey” features the character voiced by Jarvis Cocker providing a brief and wryly amusing primer for the film.

There is an audio commentary by director Wes Anderson. He wanted to make Fantastic Mr. Fox because it was an important book from his childhood. He points out that the screenplay was written at the Dahl family house and the environment around it inspired many of the settings in the film. Anderson speaks briefly about adapting the book and also how the animation process works, including recording the voices. This is a very informative track from the engaging director.

“Animatic” allows you to watch the film in storyboard form.

“The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox” is comprised of seven featurettes covering various aspects of the production. There is footage of the cast recording their voices for the film and it is interesting to see how committed they are (especially Clooney) to the roles. Also included are puppet tests and early animation that gives us a good idea of what the characters were to look and act like. There is a collection of photographs of houses and furniture for the art department to reference in the film. There is a fascinating look at various puppets being created in the studio. There is a time-lapse photography featurette documenting how scenes are painstakingly animated over days. Also included is a look at composer Alexandre Desplat working on the score. Finally, there is footage of many miniature objects used in the film. The attention to detail is incredible!

“Roald Dahl Reads Fantastic Mr. Fox” is an audio recording of the man reading his own book. It is always interesting to hear the author’s voice and how they personalize their work.

“Award Speeches” features Wes Anderson voicing a puppet in stop-motion animation giving thanks for an award the film received. Also included is a potential speech if the film had won an Academy Award and a press statement by Mr. Fox that is done in amusing fashion.

“Set Photography by Ray Lewis” is a collection of behind the scenes stills of characters, props and so on.

“Publicity Featurettes” take a look at Roald Dahl and what inspired the script. In another, Anderson talks about how they expanded the book into a feature-length film. There is a look at the puppet makers and how they created the various characters. Also included is a look at the production design and how Dahl’s home influenced it. Finally, Bill Murray talks about his character, Badger, and praises the crew’s hard work.

“Sony Robots Commercial” is an animated ad that Wes Anderson created.

“Discussion and Analysis” features two kids talking at length about what they thought of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

“Fantastic Mr. Dahl” is an excellent hour-long documentary on the man that acts as an ideal primer on his life and work.

“The Witch’s Tree” features vintage footage of Dahl and one of his favorite trees – the one that inspired Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Finally, there is “Dahl’s Manuscripts”: a selection of pages from his first 1968 manuscript of the book along with sketches he created to go with the text.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2014 8:40 AM PDT

Thief (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Thief (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ James Caan
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $22.49
17 used & new from $19.09

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mann's Feature Film Debut Gets Deluxe Criterion Treatment, January 30, 2014
In keeping with Mann's notorious habit of tinkering with his films long after their theatrical release, this version of Thief includes the extra scene from the director's cut with legendary blues musician Willie Dixon on the bank of the Chicago River, but returns the beach sequence to its original length with the music intact. Perhaps the most contentious revision in the 1995 Director's Cut was the awkwardly sped-up effect applied to the climactic gunfight. This version, which Criterion claims was taken from Mann's "original 35mm answer print," restores the slow motion effect to this gunfight.

Some have claimed that the gun-metal bluish tint to this version is a new addition by Mann, but this is in fact the look of the theatrical version, which has been faithful restored to the Blu-Ray's stunning transfer.

Ported over from the 1998 DVD is an audio commentary with Michael Mann and James Caan. It is interesting to note how many real-life cops and crooks worked on this film behind and in front of the camera, which Mann points out at various points. They banter back and forth like old friends and recount all kinds of filming anecdotes in this informative and engaging track.

There is an interview with Mann where he talks about how growing up in Chicago influenced his fascination with cops and criminals. He provides insight into just how little of the source material was used in the film (not much) and instead drew inspiration from actual thieves. Mann also talks about his famous knack for authenticity, which included having Caan learn how to crack a safe and then do it on camera.

Also included is an interview with Caan who says right from the get-go that Thief is one of the films he's most proud of in his career. He talks about first meeting Mann and how the screenplay made him want do it. The veteran actor talks about the training he did to prepare for the role and how he interacted with cops and crooks. Caan tells some fantastic filming anecdotes.

There is an interview with Johannes Schmoelling, formally of German electronic band Tangerine Dream. They composed the film's pulsating score and he talks about joining the group back in the day. He also talks about how they got to score the film and of collaborating with Mann. He recalls the director telling them exactly what he wanted.

Finally, there is a trailer.

Nashville (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Nashville (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Keith Carradine
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $22.49
27 used & new from $19.09

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Gives Altman's Magnum Opus Glorious Blu-Ray Treatment!, December 3, 2013
This new Blu-Ray transfer of Nashville looks fantastic. The folks at Criterion should be commended for the excellent work on this print, which has incredible detail while still retaining its filmic look.

Ported over from the Paramount DVD is an audio commentary by director Robert Altman. He points out that the cast wrote most of the songs for their respective characters. All of the songs were done in-house and when Nashville came out, local musicians hated them. He mentions the numerous collaborators he worked with in front of and behind the camera and explains what they contributed to the film. Altman talks about his approach to filmmaking on this engaging and informative track.

Also included is a fantastic theatrical trailer.

“The Making of Nashville” features various cast and crew members recounting their roles in this film and what they think of it now. They talk about getting involved in the project and their impressions of Altman. The likes of Keith Carradine, Lily Tomlin and Michael Murphy (among several others) tell fantastic filming anecdotes and address Altman’s famous habit of encouraging improvisation among the cast.

“Robert Altman’s Interviews” include one from 1975 when Nashville was released and he talks about the film’s origins and how hard it was to get made. There’s another from 2000 where he talks about various cast members and their characters. The third one is from 2002 and Altman points out how Nashville was the first big film where he had complete creative control.

There is “Behind the Scenes” footage of the opening traffic jam scene and the final one. It’s pretty grainy and has no sound, but does provide a glimpse into Altman’s working methods.

Finally, there is “Keith Carradine Demo.” Altman recorded three songs that the actor created fro the film in his office and you can listen to each one.

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