CRITERION COLLECTION: 100 Furious Films Pt. 9
If you collect movies on home video, Criterion is one of the legendary companies that have represented a deep appreciation and conservation of cinema in that format since 1984. Their first wave of releases were on Laserdisc and a decade or so later in 1998 they moved into the DVD market. Over the years they have given a gift to movie aficionados by making available hundreds of international cinema classics for their home viewing enjoyment. Criterion is well known for their attention to excellence in how they produce and promote their titles. Whenever you hear of a favorite film that’s getting the “Criterion treatment” you simply know it’s a must own for your library. Without further ado, here’s our new list of 100 Furious Criterion Classics (a 10 part series) we love and recommend to readers for purchase. You can help support this site and our greater Cine-Coalition Network by buying the DVDs/Blus directly from Amazon. We Thank You!
Brazil (1985, Dir: Terry Gilliam)
One of the most ingenious dystopian sci-fi movies of all time. Its theatrical version was famously decried by Terry Gilliam, and the original vision is really only available from The Criterion Collection. And the BluRay…is a must. It is a motion picture experience to sink your teeth into, a totally absurd satire of bureaucracy and tyranny, even more relevant in today’s post-Snowden madness than ever before. Starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert DeNiro, Kim Griest, Michael Palin, Bob Hoskins. (Seb)
The Vanishing (1988, Dir: George Sluizer)
A superb Dutch-French thriller about a young couple, Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) who are vacationing in France. While at a gas station rest stop, Saskia suddenly dissapears, leaving Rex in a panic to try to find out where she went. Years pass as Rex gets letters from Saskia’s kidnapper (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) who strings him along as to her whereabouts. The film stands apart from most psychological thrillers in that it doesn’t feature lots of blood and gore and such typical tools of the trade. Instead it is a meticulously calculated work that slowly unfolds giving us information on the characters including the villain, and guiding the viewer through a maze that ultimately concludes in a most shocking unexpected way.
Stagecoach (1938, Dir: John Ford)
Set against the expansive picturesque backdrop of Monument Valley in 1880, this early Western masterpiece follows a group of eclectic travelers who are headed from Arizona to New Mexico. They are made up of an alcoholic doctor, Doc Boon (Thomas Mitchell), Dallas (Claire Trevor) a prostitute, Lucy (Louise Platt) a pregnant woman and a liquor salesman Sam Peacock (Donald Meek). Along the way they encounter The Ringo Kid (John Wayne) a wanted man as they try to evade any roving Apaches. One of the cornerstones of modern cinema storytelling. According to Orson Welles, he viewed the film at least 40 times before he made Citizen Kane. Co-starring Andy Devine, John Carradine, Tim Holt, Tom Tyler.
Le Cercle Rouge (1970, Dir: Jean Pierre Melville)
Alain Delon (Le Samourai) is Corey, a master thief who has been newly released from prison. When he encounters two men, Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte) an escapee and Jansen (Yves Montand) an alcoholic ex cop the three unfamiliars decide to work together to pull off a daring heist. Meanwhile, Vogel is being apprehended by Mattei (Andre Bourvil) a cop with determination to get him at all costs. An atmospheric, deftly crafted French crime classic that presents the main characters with a moral ambiguity and charm in the trademark Melville style.
The Complete Monterey Pop (1968, Dir: D.A. Pennebaker)
Along with Woodstock (1970), this 60s concert documentary is one of the crown film jewels of the peace and love era. Filmed on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, it is an exciting, time capsule experience of the legendary music festival that showcased such musicians as: Scott McKenzie, The Mamas & The Papas, Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Eric Burdon & The Animals, The Who, Country Joe & The Fish, Otis Redding, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ravi Shankar. .
Ace in the Hole (1951, Dir: Billy Wilder)
This dusky film noir gem is a scathing examination of the lengths media will go to sell out. Kirk Douglas gives one of his most intense and powerful performances as Chuck Tatum, an unruly newspaper reporter whose been fired from every job he’s had. After he leaves New York City and stops in New Mexico he luckily secures a position on the small Albuquerque Sun Bulletin. One day while reporting on a random dull story, Tatum discovers a guy trapped inside a cave after it collapsed while he was searching for ancient Indian artifacts. Seeing this as a once in a lifetime opportunity, Tatum creates a huge media frenzy about Leo’s deadly predicament and uses it as a way to get himself back on top in his profession. It’s an enthralling and well crafted drama that is still just as relevant 60+ years later. Co-starring Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur and Porter Hall.
Eyes Without a Face (1960, Dir: George Franju)
A benchmark French-Italian horror classic about a doctor (Pierre Brasseur) that murders women in an attempt to find a new face for his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob), who was badly disfigured in a car accident. A hauntingly disturbing controversial chiller of its day that would go on to influence future genre films ranging from John Carpenter’s Halloween to John Woo’s Face/Off.
Being John Malkovich (1999, Dir: Spike Jonze)
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) a poor puppeteer who, needing some extra money, applies for a file clerk job at LesterCorp. There he meets a sexy tease named Maxine (Catherine Keener) who he immediately falls in love with. One day Craig discovers what seems to be an attic door behind one of the office cabinets. When he opens it to see whats inside he finds himself transported into the mind of the famous actor John Malkovich! Unable to put a handle on what’s just happened, but knowing it is one of the most amazing journeys anyone could experience, Craig sees it as a perfect way to make a lot of money. He quickly partners with Maxine and they make the John Malkovich portal into a kind of amusement park ride for anyone interested. Combining fantasy, dark comedy, puppeteering, John Malkovich and a cast of eccentric personalities, it’s just a wild cinematic excursion to places you definitely haven’t been before.
The Life and Death of Col. Blimp (1943, Dir: Powell & Pressburger)
This enormously entertaining epic British satire follows one Clive Wynne-Candy (Roger Livesey) during his life as an officer during The Boer War through World War I up to World War II. The story combines several story elements such as honor among servicemen, growing from young to old, a lost romance as well as a unique (and controversial) friendship between a British and German officer. Col. Blimp is gorgeously photographed by Jack Cardiff in extremely vibrant Technicolor that pops off the screen and make the experience all the more rich and memorable. Co-starring Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook.
Overlord (1975, Dir: Stuart Cooper)
Set around the D-Day invasion in World War II, this black and white existentialist themed effort focuses on young British soldier Tom Beddows (Brian Stirner) from his arrival at combat training up to his death on Sword Beach. Made up of 50% archival war stock footage which is brilliantly edited together with Cooper’s own original work which was filmed with old Kdak stock and circa 1930s German military camera lenses. An example of independent low budget arthouse cinema at its best.