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February is a time for romance or for you single folks out there rejoicing in your solitary bliss or despairing dolefully in your melancholy stupor. Either way you can make the month better by purchasing the latest in Criterion releases which guarantee to increase your cinematic acumen and decrease your bank account.
We will have a barebones edition of Blue is the Warmest Color in separate Blu-ray and DVD releases. It will be rereleased at a later date with a multitude of special features probably in a BD/DVD combo. This means you completists must get a least three different versions of this film.
This is certainly an auteur-centric month though with releases from Roman Polanski (Tess), Alfred Hitchcock (Foreign Correspondent), Steven Soderbergh (King of the Hill which will also have it's sequel The Underneath as an extra) and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) .
Not only will Fantastic Mr. Fox be the first number of the 700 series it also marks the first Criterion DVD or BD release of an animated film. Though at first glance I bet some of you thought King of the Hill might be that first release - I tell you what Bobby. Long time fanatics (all of you) will remember and have the laserdisc release of Akira (strangely enough rereleased by Funimation last week). But it also marks the first Criterion film with Meryl Streep. May there be more to come.
There will also be a upgrade to BD/DVD combo for Jules and Jim and Breathless.
While December is sometimes known for being a weaker month for Criterion features (well only among you insane collectors out there), I think it is a decent month. My favorite Robert Altman Nashville is now among the collection. Elio Petri's Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is the director's first in Criterion. But a set I am really excited for is Martin Scorseses World Cinema Project which includes films from the following countries: Bangladesh/India (A River Called Titas), Mexico (Redes), Morocco (Trances), Senegal (Touki bouki), South Korea (The Housemaid), and Turkey (Dry Summer). I am pretty happy we are getting our second South Korean feature, but I've been wanting to watch Touki Bouki for quite a while as well.
There will also be a upgrade to blu-ray for Grey Gardens for those who like to collect cat food cans.
First, we can get this massive bombshell out of the way:
Criterion has announced Dual-Editions as part of their release schedule, no doubt something many of us have been hoping for for a very long time. The price point lines up with existing Blu-ray editions, which is sure to relieve any collectors that were only interested in one format. That is not all, though. Criterion has decided to squeeze two bombshells into November by releasing the first 25 Zatoichi films in one fell spine:
All 25 films will be included in both DVD and Blu-Ray format as part of the same beautiful set, making this the first Dual-Format edition in the collection. Next coming out the gate will be a rather major work from everyone's favorite little tramp, City Lights (1931). Following that up is the collection's second visit from director Noah Baumbach, Frances Ha (2013). Finally, comes our first reissue releasing in the Dual-Format, a favorite of many from celebrated director Yasujiro Ozu, Tokyo Story (1953).
October has us revisiting René Clair in a spooky screwball outing, I Married a Witch (1942). Next we have a haunted house thriller from Lewis Allen, The Uninvited (1944), now invited to the collection. Rounding that out is La notte (1961), which marks the long-awaited third film of Michelangelo Antonioni's trilogy (L'Avventura (1960), La notte (1961), and Eclipse (1962)).
Blu-ray upgrades include one of the biggest releases from the DVD line, John Cassavetes: Five Films (Shadows (1959), Faces (1968), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), Opening Night (1977), A Constant Forge (2000)), a major announcement to be sure. Following that up, Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (1960) maintains an already very frightening October.
As your wallet shrinks and as your insatiable need for Criterions grows another batch appears on the horizon this September. We can look forward to two new releases (four new films) for Criterion in La Cage aux Folles (1978) and the boxset 3 Films by Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman which includes Stromboli (1950), Europe '51 (1952), and Journey to Italy (1954). I am personally looking forward to this set.
There will be a complete upgrade for Bergman's Autumn Sonata (1978) with new cover and new extras. For those Criterion masochists there is a BD upgrade for Slacker (1991). While most of that release will be the same some extras are stated to be on the DVD only while "Deleted scenes and alternate takes" will be on the Blu-ray only. Also The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) is also getting a BD upgrade.
Just when you thought it was safe again for your wallet -- in August 2013 we can look forward to four new releases for the Criterion label in Seconds (1966), The Big City (1963), Charulata (1964), To Be or Not to Be and one new release for Eclipse in Early Fassbinder with five films.
We will also have a new Blu-ray edition of the existing release of The Earrings of Madame de ... (1953).
Criterion improves their India collection (four total now on the Criterion label) with two more from Satyajit Ray. Will The Apu Trilogy be next? I am pretty excited about the Early Fassbinder myself. To purchase or not to purchase all of these is the relevant question. The answer is probably "all of them."
In July 2013 we can look forward to three new releases: The Life of Oharu (1952), Babette's Feast (1987) and we finally have spine number 666 in the collection with The Devil's Backbone (2001) .
We will also have one DVD/BD reissue, Lord of the Flies (1963), as well as a Blu-ray edition of the existing release of The Ice Storm (1997).
I am looking forward to all three, especially The Life of Oharu which has is the only one of the three that had not previously been released here in the States. It has recently been written as a Great Movie by the late Roger Ebert which you can read here.
Attention Criterion collectors, starting March 31st, Le cercle rouge, Army of Shadows, Mafioso, Le doulos, Last Year at Marienbad, and Léon Morin, Priest will be considered out-of-print until further notice. Criterion's website will continue to sell these titles up to that date, while supplies last of course:
In May 2013 we can look forward to two westerns from Delmer Daves, 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Jubal (1956). Add to that a pair of modern (for Criterion) classics in Medium Cool (1969) and Life Is Sweet (1990) and you have a fantastically eclectic month of releases. Jean-Luc Godard's Band Of Outsiders (1964) is the catalogue title chosen for a Blu makeover this month.
As always everything is available on Blu too.
For April 2013 we have two Blu-only reissues, both very apt adaptations, the first being Shakespeare's Richard III (1955) by Lawrence Olivier, and the second being William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1991) by David Cronenberg. New spines include the gorgeous Gate of Hell (1953) directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, the cult phenomenon Repo Man by Alex Cox, and a box of unappreciated comedies from Pierre Etaix (The Suitor 1963, Yoyo 1965, As Long As You've Got Your Health 1966, Le Grande Amour 1969, and Land of Milk and Honey 1971). Last but certainly not least, we see Masaki Kobayashi return to the Collection in Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against The System, featuring The Thick-Walled Room (1956), I Will Buy You (1956), Black River (1956), and The Inheritance (1962).
A very strong month!