Last Minute Criterion Suggestions from Us

There’s only a few days left of the half-off sale from the Criterion Collection. If you’re a newcomer to the home video line, all of those selections can look daunting and you’ll probably stand there for a good while trying to decide what to get. With nearly a thousand titles to choose from, it’s overwhelming. Don’t worry, two Criterion aficionados have their picks that are perfect for any first-time buyer or if you’re looking for something to spice up your shelf.

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Sofia Coppola and How Male Obsession Amplifies Female Pain in The Virgin Suicides: A Review

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Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut The Virgin Suicides is a teen film with a dreamlike quality that is so rare for the genre, but it is within this quality alone where you have a directorial debut so fully realized it’s difficult to even believe that it was a first feature. Though to talk about what it is that this movie manages to accomplish as a teen drama, everything starts from the way in which it is structured – for it plays out like a fantasy in order to emphasize one’s perspective that understands circumstances like a mystery. In telling the story of the suicides of the Lisbon sisters, who have been loved by a group of teenage boys for obvious reasons, there is yet another dimension to this story that only a director like Sofia Coppola can bring to the table that would also make this one of the best teen films of the 90’s, let alone ever. As Sofia Coppola frames this as a story about teenage obsessions and how they affect the way we grow, what she also shows us in The Virgin Suicides is a darker side of growing up that is so often misunderstood by the images that have been set inside one’s head.

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Chaplin – Review

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Film lovers should already be familiar with the name of Charlie Chaplin considering the huge impact he has laid upon the comedy genre over the years. Richard Attenborough’s biopic comes along the same veins where his Oscar-winning Gandhi has come from and although not nearly as long, it’s in part an entertaining one but at the same time too by-the-numbers for its own good, which is the last thing I’d even want for a film about Chaplin. I don’t wish to dismiss Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin as the sort of film that does present itself as a disservice towards Chaplin’s legacy because in part it feels like it can excellently recreate that joy, although there’s another degree to where I’m not even sure what Attenborough intended his viewers to make of the life of the man behind the Tramp himself. What may have worked for Gandhi didn’t transfer well for a tale about Chaplin.

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Once Upon a Time in America – Review

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Sergio Leone’s gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America is not only the director’s swan song, but it is also the film that I would like to think of when talking his work as a whole as his finest achievement. A mammoth gangster epic but also a personal reflection on the director’s own direction in life that could only translate to the screen in such a manner. The incredible length makes for something exhausting but it’s never in the sense that it deters from the glory that it presents. There are many tales it tells all at once and with the many moods it creates, something more meaningful within the tapestry being formed. On this count, it could very well be Sergio Leone’s most thoughtful but it had gone hidden for the longest while because it was not seen properly in its time.

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Casino – Review

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Scorsese’s Casino is an overwhelming one from him – but for how much it sprawls through in order to run the three hour running time it carries but never is it a bore. After Goodfellas it was only fitting that Martin Scorsese would come together with writer Nicholas Pileggi once again but this time for something much bigger and while it may not necessarily be the better film from their collaborations, what they have formed through Casino is indeed one of Scorsese’s finest achievements as of yet. In some ways it may be Scorsese’s answer to Francis Coppola’s The Godfather for it signifies a greatness calling back to such a work through the large scale of events.

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Vampires – Review

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John Carpenter is a rare sort of filmmaker, who is still interesting even during some of his weakest points. Vampires, while a lesser Carpenter as some would say, still provides an enjoyable enough time while it still lasts as it continues to show the consistency of a filmmaker like him even if he is at a much lower point of his career. In Vampires, John Carpenter crafts some sort of a modern B-movie and exploits all of the glory that forms them on the screen. It’s certainly very cheap and dusty, but in turn that’s also a part of where all the fun comes in when watching Vampires. If this is considered to be lower-tier John Carpenter by many, then it only peaks more interest in said area for this can easily go alongside Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness as some of Carpenter’s most underappreciated films. Continue reading →