It’s time again to examine the list of films the will be joining the Criterion Collection this coming July. This month’s selections offer a wide variety of films from some of the most underrated directors of their own (or all) times. This month is a little different as there are two new films joining the collection, two previous selections earning a Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format upgrade, as well as the much-anticipated box set from legendary filmmaker Jacques Demy.
Here is the lineup for this coming July.
Being released July 15th, 2014:
- “Pickpocket” (1959): Easily one of the most respected films of all time, this drama from director Robert Bresson stars Martin LaSalle as a low-level pickpocket, learning the ropes of his dangerous profession. If you look at any list of “world’s greatest films” you’re bound to run across this one soon enough. It is the very definition of a must see, and the blu-ray upgrade with a 2K digital restoration, is sure to look better than ever.
- “Scanners” (1981): On the opposite end of the spectrum from “Pickpocket”, comes this science fiction- horror film that was the breakthrough picture for now famous filmmaker David Cronenberg. The plot involves a select group of people with telepathic powers who fight against one another in order to either take over man kind or live in peace with them. Basically, it’s another, earlier version of the X-Men movies. If sci-fi, or horror, or cult classics is your thing, then here, you have found a release designed with you in mind.
Being released July 22nd, 2014:
- “Insomnia” (1997): This thriller, from director Erik Skjoldbjaerg, was remade by Christopher Nolan in 2002. This, however, is the far superior film, with stunning visuals and an eerie-ness that is hard to duplicate. The plot revolves around a detective who accidentally shoots his own partner, and then tries to cover his crime. Well, that’s part of the plot, but the psychological angle is what makes the movie really shine. “Insomnia” stars the incredibly talented Stellan Skarsgard in the leading role, and also offers a strong supporting performance from Gisken Armand. Coincidentally, and of note, Roger Ebert once compared “Insomnia” to a modern-day telling of “Crime and Punishment”. He had also said the same thing about Bresson’s “Pickpocket”.
- The Essential Jacques Demy Box Set: If you don’t know Jacques Demy, then this box set will be a rare treat. This set includes six of Demy’s films released during his most productive years, between 1961 and 1982. In addition to the films, there are enough bonus feature included to take up days of entertainment and fill viewers with endless amounts of information. The six films included are, “Lola” (1961), “Bay of Angels” (1963), “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964). “The Young Girls of Rochefort” (1967), “Donkey Skin” (1967), and “Une Chambre En Ville” (1982).
Being released July 29th, 2014:
- “The Big Chill” (1983): Last, but not least, we have this Best Picture nominee from acclaimed writer/director Lawrence Kasdan. The film revolves around a suicide, and the assembling of friends for the funeral. The time they spend together going over old times, and talking about what is still yet to come, makes “The Big Chill” one of the warmest, most touching films to come out of the 1980’s. It also has a tremendous cast of up and comers that includes Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, and Glenn Close.
An interesting month of films overall. Not all the titles are going to be popular with all audiences, but with such a variety, there is a little something for everyone.