Posts Tagged ‘Criterion Collection’

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Blu-ray Review: My Own Private Idaho

October 12, 2015

directed by Gus Van Sant, 1991

My Own Private Idaho

To watch My Own Private Idaho (1991) is to bask in the freedom and horror of the open road and its unpredictable rhythms and patterns. Molded by an imperfect, rough conceit, writer-director Gus Van Sant’s third directorial effort stands as an obvious precursor to what the director would later tackle thematically during the late 1990s and well into the aughts. Though films such as Gerry (2002), Elephant (2003) and Last Days (2005) signify an unofficial trilogy of death, My Own Private Idaho captures Van Sant working within the revisionist road movie genre and without the clinical control seen in his aforementioned efforts; instead, Van Sant’s treatise on youth and queer culture remains delicate and empathetic, clear substitutes and early placeholders for what would come to define Van Sant’s work as it continued to evolve.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Blu-ray Review: The River

April 21, 2015

directed by Jean Renoir, 1951

The River

The iconography most commonly associated with Jean Renoir’s The River (1951) can be linked, in most cases, not only to the film’s startling use of color, location, and exotic capability, but also to the immense difficulty of its production in the late forties. There also exists a proper devotion to memory, a sense of vivid recollection that concerns itself less with the politics of India, but one primarily centered on reflections of youth and how we interpret and misinterpret love. In this manner, The River, Renoir’s first color feature – shot entirely in India – is a delicate balance of simplicity and beauty, a wise coming-of-age tale that captures life’s transient nature in full effect.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Blu-ray Review: Don’t Look Now

February 12, 2015

directed by Nicolas Roeg, 1973

Don't Look Now

Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now presents its world of grief as something both recognizable and sympathetic, but it’s also one that becomes more frighteningly askew and enigmatic with each passing minute. Endlessly resisting the urge to move forward and backward in any coherent straight line, the genius of Roeg’s 1973 supernatural horror landmark rests in its unsettling depiction of the compression of time. Despair, neglect, and irresponsibility all weigh down on the film’s primary characters, a British couple who have left their stateside home for Venice after the death of their daughter. Dread and tragedy seem to follow them everywhere, leaving the couple and the audience to intuit the unpredictable nature of the images and sounds Roeg presents us with. The film’s famous imagery has no doubt left a lasting impression over the years, but in revisiting the film via Criterion’s new edition, Don’t Look Now feels as chilling and timeless as ever.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Blu-ray Review: La Cienaga

January 29, 2015

directed by Lucrecia Martel, 2001

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The constant menace of ennui lingers over every frame in La Cienaga, director Lucretia Martel’s stunning début that unfolds with an unsettling nightmarish sprawl that seems to stretch on long after the credits roll. There are no instances of traditional horror present in this sweaty and sticky setting, only cyclical occurrences and the inevitability of repeated social rituals that fail to signify any sense of hope or escape for the film’s many characters. Observing the banal activities of a rich extended family in the summertime, Martel’s film is filled with a certain type of societal rot that only she could precisely construct with the sort of detail that is boldly applied here.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine

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Blu-ray Review: Tootsie

December 26, 2014

directed by Sydney Pollack, 1982

Tootsie

The iconic glow of Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie undoubtedly resides in its impressive cinematic shelf life, but it’s nearly impossible to envision anything close to the same film existing in today’s mainstream landscape where tricky and thoughtful gambits are almost impossible to come by. While the film’s take on shifting social and sexual identities does carry with it an undeniable expiration date, there exists a wealth of justifiable cause for the film’s well-earned Criterion facelift more than 30 years after its initial release. Spiritually astute, confidently performed, and blessed with the late Sydney Pollack’s knack for nourished character craftsmanship, Tootsie finds resonance not in the humor of the everyman struggling actor dressing up as middle-aged woman to earn a paying gig, but in locating personal betterment amidst its situational comedy exterior; it’s a movie about how acting and role-playing serves as a tool for enlightenment.

Read full review at Movie Mezzanine