Category: Criterion Discovery

Criterion Discovery: M

Background M is Fritz Lang’s 1931 masterpiece (also his first sound film), and it was released on DVD as Spine #30 of the Criterion Collection in 2004. It’s now available on Blu-Ray, and it’s also part of Criterion’s Essential Art House 50-DVD Set. Story Hans Beckert (the talented and hypnotically compelling Peter Lorre) is a serial killer, whistling a fatefully recognizable tune (“In the Hall of the Mountain King,” to be precise) as he closes in on innocent children (such as little Elsie Beckmann early in the film). Numerous “Wanted” posters line the streets asking “Who is the murderer?”...

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Criterion Discovery: La Jetée/Sans Soleil

  Background La Jetée was released in 1963 and Sans Soleil was released in 1983, both directed by Chris Marker. The two-film set was released by Criterion on DVD on June 6 2007 and on Blu-Ray on February 7 2012, as spine #387. These are the only films by Marker in the collection. Stories La Jetée is a short film told entirely with still images, concerning an apocalyptic future and a man who, because of his strong attachment to a memory from his youth, is chosen to be sent back in time to find help. It is the basis...

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Criterion Discovery: The Sword of Doom

Background The Sword of Doom is directed by Kihachi Okamato and originally released in 1966. It had a early Criterion DVD release (Spine #280), but is slated for a BluRay release on January 6th, 2015. Okamato has two other films in the collection: Kill! as Spine #213 and Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, which is Vol. 20 in the Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman box set. Story Ryunosuke Tsukue is a talented swordsman with evil intent. Through his violent actions, vendettas are formed that never faze his nature, but lead him to battle for his soulless existence. The Film This is possibly...

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Criterion Discovery: Eyes Without a Face

Background Eyes Without a Face was released in 1960 and directed by Georges Franju. It was released by Criterion on DVD on October 19, 2004 and on Blu-Ray on October 15, 2013, as spine #260. Franju also directed spine #710, Judex.  Story A genius surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) takes drastic measures to mend his daughter’s (Edith Scob) horrible facial disfigurements. The Film For a film made in the 1960s — and a cheaply-made film at that — Eyes Without a Face’s grotesque surgery scenes are surprisingly hard to watch. That’s not to say that all older films are inherently less...

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Criterion Discovery: House

Background House was directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi and released in 1977. It was originally released on Blu-Ray and DVD by Criterion as spine #539 on October 26, 2010. It is the only film directed by Obayashi in the collection. Story A schoolgirl named Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) takes her friends Fantasy (Kumiko Oba), Melody (Eriko Tanaka), Sweet (Masayo Miyako), Prof (Ai Matsubara), Mac (Mieko Sato), and Kung Fu (Miki Jinbo) to the country house owned by her aunt (Yoko Minamida). Once there, they encounter and battle vengeful ghosts, floating heads, dancing skeletons, carnivorous pianos, cat paintings that vomit blood, and...

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Criterion Discovery: Something Wild

Background Something Wild was released in 1986 and is directed by Jonathan Demme. It was released in The Criterion Collection on May 10th, 2011 as Spine #563. This is one of two films by Demme that are part of the collection. The other and more widely-appreciated  is The Silence of the Lambs, which swept the 5 main categories at The Academy Awards. Story Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels), a New York City businessman, decides to skip on his bill at the restaurant he frequents. When an off-the-wall woman takes notice, she runs out to confront him, offering him a ride...

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Criterion Discovery: Eraserhead

Background Eraserhead was directed by David Lynch and released in 1977. It was originally released on DVD and Blu-ray by Criterion as spine #725 on September 16, 2014. It is the only film directed by David Lynch in the collection, although they own the rights to several of his short films, all of which appear on this release. Story Henry Spencer (John Nance) learns that his girlfriend Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) has given birth to their child, who is horrifically deformed and doesn’t resemble a human baby at all. Henry is left alone to care for the child when...

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Criterion Discovery: Like Someone in Love

Background Like Someone in Love is a 2012 film from director Abbas Kiarostami and the fourth film from Kiarostami in The Criterion Collection (Close-up, Taste of Cherry, Certified Copy). It was released by Criterion as spine #708 on May 20, 2014. Like Someone in Love is the first Japanese film from Kiarostami and only the second film he has made outside of his native Iran (Certified Copy, Italy). The Story The film is set in Tokyo and the surrounding area. Akiko is a student and a part-time call girl with an overprotective and short-fused fiancé. She is sent to...

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Criterion Discovery: Tokyo Drifter

Background Tokyo Drifter is a gangster film that originally released in 1966, and is directed Seijun Suzuki. Suzuki has numerous films in The Criterion Collection including a favorite of mine, Branded to Kill. Tokyo Drifter was released on Blu-Ray on December 13th, 2011, as spine #39. Story Tetsuya Hondo, a former member of the yakuza, becomes a “drifter” (an enforcer on the run) when his boss is forced to sign over a piece of property and their partner is killed. The Film This film opens with a black-and-white scene in which the film’s protagonist takes a beating from rival...

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Criterion Discovery: The Game

Background The Game is one of two David Fincher films in the Criterion Collection (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). The Game was originally released in 1997, as Fincher was coming off of the debacle that was Alien 3 and the thrilling Se7en. September 21, 2012 marked the Blu-Ray/DVD release for The Game (Spine #627), which was previously released on Laserdisc (Spine #365). Story A wealthy investment banker, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) receives a gift from his brother Conrad Van Orton (Sean Penn). The gift: A coupon to a game that, if he agrees to play, could change...

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Criterion Discovery: Ace in the Hole

Background Ace in the Hole was directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1951. It was originally released on DVD by Criterion as spine #396 on July 17, 2007, and was re-released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on May 6, 2014. It is the only film directed by Billy Wilder in the collection, although he wrote People on Sunday (spine #569). Story Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) is an out-of-work newspaper reporter who takes a job at a small-town paper. While on assignment in Albuquerque, he stumbles upon a treasure-hunter (Richard Benedict) who is trapped in a cave. Seeing the...

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Criterion Discovery: The Gold Rush

Background The Gold Rush is a 1925 silent film from director Charles Chaplin. The film would later be re-released by Chaplin in 1942 with several changes, including new music and narration. It was released by Criterion as spine #615 on June 12, 2012. At the time of its release, The Gold Rush was the third Chaplin film in the collection, and to date it is one of five Chaplin releases in The Criterion Collection. The Story The film is set in Alaska during the height of the Gold Rush. Chaplin plays the Lone Prospector, a man in search of riches....

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Criterion Discovery: Kuroneko

An Introduction Welcome to Criterion Discovery, the newest Feature added to Audiences Everywhere. Here at Audiences Everywhere our motto is “Curious and Teachable.” We love film, and we have a passion to learn and share as much as possible about the medium. The Criterion Collection is a renowned collection of classic, timeless, and influential films that to date has reached an astounding 738 entries. It’s a massive collection filled with endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. It’s a natural fit, and with this new column, we hope to apply the “Curious and Teachable” sentiment to The Criterion Collection. I’ve...

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