Don’t Criterion for Me Streaming Services..

.. the truth is I never loved you. Except Disney+ which is still showing the big fellas like Netflix and Amazon Prime how one should present a streaming service and offer value added content. Though Netflix does get a few points for allowing Criterion to distribute one of their original movies.

Today I received another haul of Blu-Ray discs, mainly featuring titles from the UK Criterion Collection:

It might have been cheaper for Zaavi to send all of them in a box…

But let’s start with a non-Criterion title. Watchmen, the limited series from HBO. I missed out when it first aired on Sky Atlantic. It was well received, and being a fan of the original comic and Zack Snyder’s film, it seemed fitting that one should add it to the collection. It also reminds me that I should also get HBO’s Chernobyl. I’ll add it to my wishlist.

Watchmen – An HBO Limited Series

Bob Dylan not included

On to the UK Criterion Collection titles:

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

It’s still very much a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

I remember watching this a fair old while back and enjoying it. I also happen to like 60s films. I also caught Rat Race, which is a direct influence and found it lacking. This being Criterion, you get some decent extras including the general release version, the extended 197 minute version, audio commentaries, documentaries and so much extra stuff that it’d take you an eternity to get through it all. Just the way I like it.

Tampopo

The Search for Noodly Goodness

I’m pretty sure I originally saw this on Channel 4 in the early 90s and was captivated by it. So it’s difficult to judge whether my fondness for this film remains, but I recall that I liked it – plus it’s got some very decent reviews, so I’m hoping for the best. Includes a documentary, a video essay and several interviews.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Red tracksuits optional

Another Wes Anderson movie. I’ve only ever seen this once, but I remember it like it was yesterday. That’s the kind of movies Wes Anderson makes. You never forget them. Contains audio commentary, documentaries, interviews, etc.

La Cage Aux Folles

A French Tickler – ooer missus, whoopsie, etc. etc.

I’m sure that I saw the remake first – The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane and finding it very funny – which meant that I had to track down and watch the original. And I seem to recall that too was very funny – each version having its own take on things. But I love French films, and the stranger the premise, the more interesting things get.

That said, I recently bought French Twist, a film I saw back in my university days – probably part of the UEA French Society (I was a casual member) – on iTunes having thought it was funny. The plot – a womanising estate agent finally meets his match when a butch lesbian truck driver pulls up at his family home and woos his wife.

What follows is an insane twisty-turny series of events which feels more dramatic than funny after 20 years from first watching it. It does have some genuinely funny moments, but it really does get very poignant at times, and you think, how the hell are they going to resolve all this?. Interestingly the film was co-written by Telsche Boorman, daughter of British film director John Boorman (and also features a cameo appearance from his other daughter, Katrine).

La Cage Aux Folles comes with several interviews and some archival footage.

The Fisher King

A film that only Terry Gilliam could make

Another film that I’ve only ever seen once, but have never forgotten, this is a film that only Robin Williams and Terry Gilliam could make. And they do it so well. Mixing fantasy and (hard) reality is a staple of Gilliam’s films, and this is no exception.

And it features the most romantic (or at least the most straight forward and truthful) line ever spoken by a man (Robin Williams) wooing a woman (Amanda Plummer) in cinematic history: “I have a hard-on for you the size of Florida” (thankfully she doesn’t smack him in the moolies with a blunt instrument).

The Fisher King is a wonderful film, and it ought have done much better than it has – but I’m so glad it’s come to Criterion where we can enjoy an audio commentary, interviews, screen tests, essays and deleted scenes.

Roma

Truly Offline Netflix

When I first saw Roma on Netflix, I was extremely impressed with this film. It showed a whole different side to Mexico that I had no idea about, plus the performances were truly extraordinary.

I’m very glad that Netflix has allowed Criterion to release this movie on physical disk, as it includes a number of extras (including interviews, documentaries, and also comes with a booklet – the whole package feels very weighty, which is nice).

I sincerely hope Netflix and Criterion will team up again for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, as I’m sure that would be a very worthy release – especially if it comes with a decent set of extras.

Bottle Rocket

Another Wes Anderson, yet I’ve never seen it!

This is a first – a Wes Anderson film I haven’t actually seen yet! Don’t know much about it – don’t really care. Looking forward to putting this one on and just letting it take me wherever it wants to take me.

Coming Soon!

Later this month (or early next), I hope to collect Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai Collection which contains several of his films: The Seventh Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo and Sanjuro. The Seventh Samurai is, of course, famous for inspiring other filmmakers and stories including George Lucas and Star Wars and The Magnificent Seven.

Alongside that, I also hope to get Rashomon and Kagemusha, as well as Criterion Lone Wolf and Cub (though I fear they use cardboard sleeves for the discs which is a big no-no for me due to scratching).