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Sunday Afternoon with Criterion: Barnes and Noble Sale Edition


I: Intro
II: 50% OFF!
III: Links


Welcome to Sunday Afternoon with Criterion, a series of fortnightly posts on covering everything Criterion—the company’s newest releases, just-announced projects, reviews, lists, links, and more.

With mere hours left until Criterion DVDs and Blu-Rays go on sale at Barnes and Noble, I’m giving you a special edition of Sunday Afternoon with Criterion. I’ll run down what’s on my purchase list, as well as a few other Criterion films worth recommending. Finally, as always, I’ll share links to Criterion-related posts I’m reading this week.

50% OFF!

How many of you have been counting down the days until Barnes and Noble’s semi-annual 50% off Criterion sale? I have. I try not to allow myself to purchase Criterion discs unless it’s that time of the year, so I have quite the wish list built up. A few items I’m definitely purchasing:

On the Waterfront — In a lot of ways, this is an atypical Criterion film. There’s no shortage of admirers out there for Elia Kazan’s Best Picture-winning story about a man who “coulda been a contender.” I adore the hell out of the film, and I can’t wait to dig into this amazing Blu-Ray.

Heaven’s Gate — I’m going out on a limb with a blind buy of this massive, somewhat expensive Blu-Ray of a film that killed careers and changed the industry in a lot of ways. Michael Cimino’s Western is a flop for the ages, but people LOVE this movie. It’s a curious case. I think I’m going to really like it. It sounds like a film that’s right up my alley, and The Deer Hunter is an all-time favorite of mine. Fingers crossed this isn’t a huge mistake.

A few others I’m considering (If you own these and can speak for them, please do so! Help make my decision easier!):

Qatsi Trilogy — Like a few others on my “maybe” list, I haven’t seen Godfrey Reggio’s trilogy of experimental sensory-driven documentaries. I really want to, and this set is packed with extras, but if I bought it, I probably wouldn’t be getting anything else on this list.

The Game — I struggle with this one because I didn’t love The Game the first time I watched it. I liked it. I’d like to revisit it. I think I’d get a lot out of this whole package. But if I don’t, it’ll be a dust collector.

A Man Escaped — If this Robert Bresson film wasn’t on Hulu Plus, it’d be a definite purchase. But it is, and should I bother paying for a film I can watch with my subscription for free? Ordinarily, I’d say no, but this is A Man Escaped, guys…

The Secret of the Grain — Another one of the films I haven’t seen, I think it’s time to start getting acquainted with Abdellatif Kechiche after his Palme d’Or win for Blue Is the Warmest Color. This Criterion-approved film seems like a good place to start.

In the Mood for Love — By most accounts, this is one of the best films of the last 15 years. I, embarrassingly, haven’t seen it. It’s been on my Criterion wish list for ages. Do I pull the trigger finally?

The 39 Steps — These Hitchcock packages are always fantastic. I love my The Lady Vanishes Criterion Blu-Ray. I’m sure I’d love this one, but is it a need?

Rosemary’s Baby — Haven’t seen Polanski’s classic horror film, but I really want to, especially after my recent Mia Farrow binge.


I leave you this week (as I will every week) with the always thoughtful words of some admired friends and contemporaries:

The Warning sign takes a look at Three Colors: White for the first time.

At Movie Mezzanine, Editor-in-Chief Sam Fragoso publishes a Top 10 Films of the 1990s list that comes from the collective opinion of more than 70 reader ballots. Three Criterion-approved titles made the list. Any guesses before you click on over?

Finally, Will at Silver Emulsion reviewed Terrence Malick’s Badlands a while back as part of a Blind Spots series. I only now caught up with it, but he’s similarly lukewarm on the film, and he very eloquently gets at my problems with Malick’s debut feature.

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