Tag Archives: criterion collection

WHAT INSPIRES YOU – Part 12 featuring Ben Wheatley

It’s been a while since I’ve stumbled across these funny forays into the Criterion Collection‘s backroom. I’m not sure how the Criterion content editors select who they do (just like who can guess the criteria for films that get the “Criterion treatment.”

In this latest installment of the on-going seies, UK director Ben Wheatley gets to dig into the Blu-ray collection of the fabled closet.

I haven’t seen Wheatley’s KILL LIST or HIGH RISE, but our cinematographer Shane Daly continues to champion KILL LIST for its unorthodox structure. It keeps rising up on in “need to watch” queue (which gets reshuffled or over-stacked based upon recommendations… most recently Tarkovsky’s STALKER was added to one of the top spots… from way down in 50s… and I hear the Criterion is doing a version from the recently restored negative — awesome!).

I’m still a huge fan of Blu-ray over streaming because I don’t like the color and contrast reproduction in most streaming services — even Netflix’s 4K. There is still and unacceptable amount of compression that is greater than a Blu-ray’s compression.

And it’s fucking impossible to freeze-frame an easily (and accurately) rewind a movie from a streaming platform, which is sort of crucial when you’re looking at a film with a filmmaker’s eye.

Jenkins Influenced by Wong Kar Wai

The Criterion Collection has a new feature called UNDER THE INFLUENCE… which, as you can imagine if it is from Criterion, is a smart and compelling discussion of what films have influenced en vogue or stalwart film auteurs.

Barry Jenkins, director of the knockout MOONLIGHT, discusses his thoughts and feelings on the two WKW films Criterion has the license for – CHUNGKING EXPRESS (this is now out of print) and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

WKW is one of my favorite directors, his films are like intimate visual novels with great expanses of poetry interspersed within the scintillating narrative.

Continue reading Jenkins Influenced by Wong Kar Wai

WHAT INSPIRES YOU – Part 11 featuring Nicolas Winding Refn

So l’enfant terrible Nicolas Winding Refn gets invited to the Criterion Collection.

I find Refn’s work hit-or-miss, but if it’s one thing it is consistently intriguing… DRIVE sort of elevated his stature in Hollywood, and unfortunately ONLY GOD FORGIVES dinged him. However, a film like BRONSON is where he gets to shine and dazzle.

His selections in the Criterion Collection closet are curious… it seems that most modern day auteurs bow down to Tarkovsky, and a lot of people yearn to see more Alex Cox (REPO MAN is delish).

I was a little surprised that he selected THINGS TO COME; but it’s a gem of a classic film that was so ahead of its time, and is one of the few films that can’t be duplicated because the world has moved to such a place that it is bizarre to conceive of something in the aftermath of a global-scale conflict that isn’t dystopian in the vein of the YA novels/movies that have dominated the Hollywood landscape for the last half decade.

Kazan’s advice… “Do it your way” is precisely the kind of thing Kazan would say, and it’s what filmmakers must do. Lest their work become forgettable. And that’s one thing we can say about Refn, his work is not forgettable.

What Inspires You, Part 10

You know I was somewhat trepidatious when I saw the first Marvel Studio’s ANT-MAN trailer, but after seeing the latest one it looks like this film might be more interesting that people seem to be giving it credit.

Of course, it’s stuck in the standard world, whereas what makes Ant-Man, The Atom, Yellowjacket and The Wasp interesting is when they shrink to molecular size and shunt into

Anyway, since ANT-MAN is an upcoming film, I thought it might be interesting to see what films Edgar Wright slips into his bag when he gets a chance to raid the Criterion Collection’s storage locker.

EYES WITHOUT FACE is a remarkably chilling film from that extra fertile period of European art house cinema the late 50s/early 60s.

DON’T LOOK NOW isn’t a horror, isn’t a thriller… it’s a shocker, and it’s so well made — photographically, editorially, performances.

THRONE OF BLOOD’s Japanese title is Spiderweb Castle? I never knew that… I wonder what the “real” title of the rest of Kurosawa’s films are… is RASHOMON even the actual title?