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The Criterion Collection: June Releases

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Each month, the Criterion Collection releases a selected number of titles onto DVD and Blu-ray. For the most part, these are films that have seen sort of home video release previously, but would never reach the shelves of your local Best Buy or Barnes and Noble without the extra push that the Criterion Collection gives it. Aside from cleaning up the picture and sound (frequently working from the original negative), providing some nifty packaging and artwork, and making your DVD collection look that much more cultured and refined, Criterion provides the valuable service of rescuing films that otherwise would never see the light of day, so not only can you proudly show off your sets, you can tell people that you’re performing a public service. Here’s what’s coming out this month:

insignificance_bluINSIGNIFICANCE

What do you get when you cram four celebrity personae including "the ballplayer" (Gary Busey), "the senator" (Tony Curtis), "the professor" (Michael Emil), and "the actress" (Theresa Russell) along with an unblinking look at Americana, and a study on fame into a small New York City hotel room and then inject it with a dose of Cold War era nuclear paranoia? You get Nicolas Roeg's adaptation of Terry Johnson's play Insignificance. A study of key subjects in American fixation and a compelling exploration of how these personalities (and themes) would play out when left to interact with one another.

1985 • 108 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.77:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $39.95

Director-Approved Special Edition Features:
• Newly restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Nicolas Roeg and producer Jeremy Thomas, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• New video interviews with Roeg, Thomas, and editor Tony Lawson
Making “Insignificance,” a short documentary shot on the set of the film
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Chuck Stephens and a reprinted exchange between Roeg and screenwriter Terry Johnson

the_makioka_sisters_bluTHE MAKIOKA SISTERS

Crafting a bit of visual poetry, The Makioka Sisters follows a family of four sisters who run the kimono-making business inherited from their parents. With the two eldest daughters married, the third has a difficult time meeting a suitor thanks to her own personality and preferences, leaving the fourth sister, eager to wed, chomping at the bit. Kon Ichikawa adapts Junichiro Tanizaki's novel into a brilliantly colorful film thanks to the creation of the kimonos and the changing of the seasons as the film's primary method of measuring time.

1983 • 140 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $29.95

Special Edition Features:
• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Original theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Audie Bock

kiss_me_deadly_bluKISS ME DEADLY

The only thing better than a good Film Noir, is a great one. Adapted from Mickey Spillane's novel, Kiss Me Deadly is the Cold War paranoia masterpiece about private detective Mike Hammer, the antithesis of the typically subtle and cool Noir protagonist, who picks up a femme fatale hitchhiking down a dark road on a lonely night. As the drive persists, a sense of encroaching dread fills the frames and makes Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly an outstanding artifact of its era's "trust no one" mentality with it's unexpectedly perfect ending.

1955 • 106 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $39.95

Special Edition Features:
• New high-definition restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Audio commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini
• New video tribute from director Alex Cox (Repo Man, Walker)
• Excerpts from The Long Haul of A. I. Bezzerides, a 2005 documentary on the Kiss Me Deadly screenwriter
• Excerpts from Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, a 1998 documentary on the author whose book inspired the film
• A look at the film’s locations
• Altered ending
• Theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman and a 1955 reprint by director Robert Aldrich

people_on_sunday_bluPEOPLE ON SUNDAY

Imagine if, in the 1980s, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, and John Hughes had collaborated on a film. It's a diverse range of talent with different eyes for telling different kinds of stories, and it's perhaps the closest equivalent to what transpired in 1930 when Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Fred Zinneman came together to direct People on Sunday, a silent film hybrid of documentary and narrative storytelling about people in Berlin relaxing on a weekend.

1930 • 73 minutes • Black & White • Silent • German intertitles with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $39.95

Special Edition Features:
• New high-definition digital restoration, created in collaboration with the Filmmuseum Amsterdam
• Two scores—a silent-era-style score by the Mont Alto Orchestra and a modern composition by Elena Kats-Chernin, performed by the Czech Film Orchestra—both presented as uncompressed stereo soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition
Weekend am Wannsee, Gerald Koll’s 2000 documentary about the film, featuring an interview with star Brigitte Borchert
• Ins Blaue Hinein, a thirty-six-minute short from 1931 by People on Sunday cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Noah Isenberg and reprints by scriptwriter Billy Wilder and director Robert Siodmak

black_moon_bluBLACK MOON

Making a stark departure from his former films like Au Revoir Les Enfants, Louis Malle takes a turn for the absurd and strange with Black Moon, the story of a young woman escaping from a war in the countryside by ducking into a farmhouse where she loses a piece of her sanity in exchange for a greater awareness of her own identity and sexuality...and talking animals. The concept and cinematography of Sven Nykvist make Black Moon a visually intoxicating film.

1975 • 100 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $39.95

Special Edition Features:
• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Archival interview with director Louis Malle
• Gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
• Alternate French-dubbed soundtrack
• Original theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau

zazie_dans_le_metro_bluZAZIE DANS LA MÉTRO

Another daring film from Louis Malle, Zazie dans la Metro portrays the day in the life of 11-year-old Zazie as she's cut loose to explore the wonders and joys of Paris with her uncle. The adventures take on a subversive and downright destructive path at times, but it's shored up with enough physical comedy to make it an enduring classic from the epoch of French films just before the advent of its New Wave era. It's a return to Malle's enthusiasm for the childhood psyche's mixed love of invention and destruction, and it mixes the two expertly.

1960 • 93 minutes • Color • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

SRP: $39.95

Special Edition Features:
• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Archival interviews with director Louis Malle, novelist Raymond Queneau, and the young actress Catherine Demongeot
Le Paris de Zazie, an interview with assistant director Philippe Collin
• Original theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau

Jun
08
2011
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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