New Criterion Collection Titles Announced for November 2013

The middle of the month is here, which means that once again it is time to argue… I mean discuss what we think about the new additions to the historic Criterion Collection that we will be seeing this coming November. As if these films aren’t great enough on their own, The Criterion Collection will also be adding a new feature for their discs: the “dual format” feature, that will include both DVD and blu-ray copies of the film. But we can talk about that another time; on to the selections.

Being released on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013:

  • “City Lights” (1931): City Lights (1931)It doesn’t get much better than this Charlie Chaplin classic that is FINALLY making its way to blu-ray. This is arguably Chaplin’s greatest film, as he brilliantly mixes his usual array of comic enthusiasm with quite possibly the greatest romance in screen history. And how about that boxing scene, right? “City Lights” has been given a 4K digital film transfer for this release which I am sure is going to look as glorious as possible, and the array of bonus features seems worth while as well. Unfortunately, we do have to wait until November to see this film in its new found glory!
  • “Frances Ha” (2013): Frances Ha (2013)Being released the same day is another comedy film, this time from one of The Criterion Collection’s favorite active directors, Noah Baumbach. Greta Gerwig stars as a twenty-something year old, living in New York, while trying to find her place amongst those around her. With a style that only Baumbach possesses, and a skill that should be applauded, “Frances Ha” is a delightful and sweet film that is getting some much deserved validation with this release.

Being released on Tuesday, November 19th, 2013:

  • “Tokyo Story” (1953): Tokyo Story (1953)I’m not trying to sound too preachy or anything, but if you haven’t seen- no wait, experienced this exceptional film- wait no longer. This poignant story was inspired in part by Leo McCarey’s 1937 masterpiece, “Make Way for Tomorrow”, and centers on an elderly couple experiencing difficulties adjusting to life in a new era. Masterful director Yasujiro Ozu has many great films to his credit, but there is little denying that “Tokyo Story” is his best, and is also one of the most moving and powerful films of all time. If you don’t believe me, just try to find a bad review for this film. “Tokyo Story” is already part of The Criterion Collection, but is at long last making its blu-ray debut, as well as receiving some new bonus materials. 

Being released on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013:

  • “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman” (1962-1973): ZatoichiI’m not going to sit here and pretend to know everything movie related, so I’ll be honest and admit that I have no memory of these films what-so-ever. From what I can gather, these films are based on a character by Ken Shimozawa that is both a blind masseur and a master swordsman. In total, 26 films were made with this character, as well as a brief television show. This set includes the first 25 films in the series. (That is a lot of blind-swordplay!)

New Release Round-Up! August 6th, 2013

New Release on Blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Well there is no point in beating around the bush this week- I have never been so excited by a week’s releases! It just seems like all the good films that could have been spaced out over the last month have been culminated into this “hall of fame” week.The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Let me give you a quick run-down as to what I mean: The Criterion Collection came through with a great blu-ray debut, Disney has released three of their classics in blu-ray editions for the first time, we have a special release from the only Academy Award winning Best Picture that has yet to be available on home media, as well as the only two films from 2013 that I have given a rating of ★★★★★. And just in case that wasn’t enough, we also get a first time blu-ray release of an Alfred Hitchcock classic, and Terrance Malick’s latest opus. (Can you tell I’m a bit excited here?) So tell me, how many of these films will you be watching this week?

  • “Mud” (2013): Mud (2013)I loved this movie. Matthew McConaughy gives a knock-out performance as a man on-the-run, hiding on a small island along the Mississippi River. He is found by two young boys (Tye Sheridan & Jacob Lofland) who try to help him escape the law and reunite with his on-again off-again girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon).The film is brilliantly made and combines the perfect blend of warmth and drama. “Mud” boasts an amazing supporting cast as well, including Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon and Sarah Paulson. Trust me when I say that this is a movie worth watching.

  • “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013):The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Another film released earlier this year that surprised me with its quality was this drama directed by Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”). The film stars Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle stunt man who puts his driving to use by becoming a bank robber. Bradley Cooper plays the police officer whose life is forever changed because of the decisions that he makes while trying to stop the robberies. With brilliant editing, haunting music and spot on performances from the entire cast, including Eva Mendes, Bruce Greenwood and Ray Liotta, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a stunning example of expert filmmaking.

  • “The Earrings of Madame de…” (1953): The Earrings of Madame de... Getting a much deserved blu-ray release through The Criterion Collection is this brilliantly conceived and constructed French film from director Max Ophuls. The story is about the wife (Danielle Darrieux) of a wealthy General who decides to sell a pair of earrings that her husband (Charles Boyer) gave to her on their wedding day. Although the earrings don’t seem to mean much to her now, through a series of fateful events, these expensive jewels find their way back to Madame de through her new love (Vittorio De Sica), once again giving them (and her life) new purpose. Few films are as perfectly designed as this one, and it’s easy to see why, “The Earrings of Madame de…” has become one of the most acclaimed French films of all time.

  • “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956): Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart were a great team. They made four incredible and unforgettable films together, between 1948 and 1958. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1954)Sure “Vertigo” (1958) and “Rear Window” (1954) are the most acclaimed and remembered of the group, but to overlook either “Rope” (1948) or “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956) simple because they are not as good as the other collaborations would be a serious mistake. In this film, Stewart plays a man on holiday with his wife (Doris Day) and young son (Christopher Olsen). Through a series of coincidences and mistakes, a spy is killed and passes sensitive information, asking him to deliver it to the British government. The nefarious villains kidnap the couple’s son and threaten to kill him if anyone is alerted to their plan. This film is a remake of Hitchcock’s 1934 film of the same name, and although there are many similar plot points, his maturity as a director (and the presence of Stewart and Day) make this the superior film. In addition, this movie also boasts the Academy Award winning song, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)”, which plays an important role in the film’s plot.

  • “Robin Hood” (1973):Robin Hood “Oo De Lally”! You can laugh if you want, but I’m not afraid to admit that Disney’s “Robin Hood” is one of my all-time favorite films. For starters, the cast is filled with wonderfully comic voice performances, headlined by Peter Ustinov as the thumb-sucking Prince John. Then, there are the songs that were spectacularly written and are guaranteed to be stuck in your head, giving you something to whistle all day long. Say what you will about the so called greatest animated films of all time, I think I’ll take “Robin Hood” any day.

  • “To the Wonder” (2012): Terrence Malick… in my opinion, you either love him or don’t understand him.To the Wonder (2012) His films are legendary for having the most beautiful images, combined with a unparalleled narrative style. His latest film, “To the Wonder”, tells the story of a mid-western man (Ben Affleck) who falls in love with a French woman (Olga Kurylenko). She comes to live with him in America, but things quickly begin to become stale. Complicating the issue further is the emergence of his high-school sweetheart (Rachel McAdams) who begins to pull his affections away. The film, which has very little dialogue that isn’t done in voice over, seems unusual to many movie-goers, but for viewers who can be patient, the payoff is well-worth the time invested. It is visually stunning and once again proves that Malick is a pioneer director, forging the way for future filmmakers prepared to think outside the Hollywood way of doing things.

  • “Oblivion” (2013): Oblivion (2013)Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylrnko star in this science fiction film that takes place in the future, after the human race has abandoned Earth. Only a couple of people remain behind to finish collecting the water from the oceans, until things go terribly wrong. This film pays homage to many of the science fiction films from the 1960’s and 70’s, but ultimately falls short with a story that just doesn’t seem to hold any interest. The visual effects are a plus, but still aren’t enough to keep the mediocre story afloat.

  • “The Sword in the Stone” (1963): The Sword in the Stone Here’s another Disney classic finally getting a blu-ray release. This classic tale of King Arthur’s fictitious childhood comes to life with the help of Merlin, the fantastic wizard, and his owl, Archimedes. The special features aren’t anything to be excited about, but there is a four-minute, never before seen opening sequence that could be interesting. At this point, I’m just glad to see these Disney classics gaining new interest after so long. Anybody up for a wizard’s duel?

  • “Cavalcade” (1933): Cavalcade (1933)This is the Best Picture winning film from 1933, that is FINALLY becoming available on DVD and blu-ray. Directed by Frank Lloyd, the story follows an English family from New Years Eve, 1899 all the way through present day (1933). Many scenes revolve around major world events such as different wars, the Titanic sinking and the death of Queen Victoria. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many (or any) special features with this release, but because I’m so excited that I can finally watch the movie, I’m not going to be too picky.

  • “Oliver and Company” (1988): Oliver and Company (1988)Billy Joel, Bette Midler and Joey Lawrence lead an all-star cast in this modern-day (by modern-day I mean 1988) spin on Charles Dickins, “Oliver Twist”. This is clearly a flawed Disney classic, but still one that entertains, mostly because of the toe-tapping songs.

Also being released this week are a fewer less-popular films that may be of some interest. We have the 35th anniversary edition of the science fiction classic, “Battlestar Galactica” (1978), the comedy/action film “Silver Streak” (1976), starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Wesley Snipes’s action extravaganza “Passenger 57” (1992), Kevin Bacon’s bicycle drama, “Quicksilver” (1986), and the Macaulay Culkin fantasy film, “The Pagemaster” (1994).

New Release Round-Up! July 30th, 2013

We have arrived! That lull in the summer release schedule is over and it is time to have movies to choose from once again. There are more choices this week, as well as an increase in overall quality of the films. We will receive a new addition to The Criterion Collection, as well as blu-ray debuts from some of the most interesting directors of all time, including Budd Boetticher, Otto Preminger, Henry Hathaway and Anthony Mann. It is so nice to once again have to decide what to watch. What will you be watching this week?

  • “The Devil’s Backbone” (2001): The Devil's Backbone (2001)Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro wowed and amazed with this ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War. A home for orphaned boys is run by an elderly woman and her friend, who both side with the Republican loyalists. The estates also has a caretaker, however, who is a mean-spirited young man, hiding dark secrets at every turn. This amazing film is being introduced into The Criterion Collection, and is a must see for fans of the genre. There is so much more to this film than one might expect. Included in this release (particularly the blu-ray edition) are a plethora of bonus features, including a commentary from director del Toro.

  • “Niagara” (1953): Niagara (1953)Marilyn Monroe made films for almost every genre, but few are as acclaimed as this film noir from director Henry Hathaway. The story revolves around a newlywed couple on their honeymoon and another couple at a crossroads in their marriage, who also happen to be staying at the same motel. The two couples converge in a story filled with sexuality, mystery, adventure and danger- not to mention the second greatest dress of Marilyn’s career. This movie also stars Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters and Casey Adams.

  • “Bus Stop” (1956):Bus Stop (1956) Two blu-ray debuts for Marilyn in one week! This character drama from director Joshua Logan is one of Marilyn’s most acclaimed performances, as she plays a wandering singer/dancer trying to make her way to California. Don Murray plays a Montana rancher, leaving his ranch for the first time in over a decade. He has absolutely no experience with women, but everything changes the moment these two misfits meet. He wants to take her home, but she wants him to leave. Which strong-willed person will win?

  • “That Touch of Mink” (1962): That Touch of Mink (1962)Cary Grant, Doris Day and Gig Young star in this romantic comedy about a millionaire who has finally met his match in the tender career woman. This film is memorable as being the last of the Cary Grant “womanizing films”, but lacks some in the comedy aspect. It’s still worth seeing, and the DVD quality has always been so disappointing that it is truly exciting to finally see this film in a remastered edition.

  • “G.I. Joe Retaliation” (2013): G.I. Joe Retaliation (2012)Guns, bombs, explosions, mayhem and some of the most muscle-bound, heart-throbs out there. Directed by John M. Chu, and based on the Hasbro action figure, this is the sequel to 2009’s “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra”. This next installment, which has received pretty bad reviews, stars Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson, as well as other huge men who find different ways to take off their shirts. I think this film may have been made expressly to cater to both men for the action and women for the stars.

  • “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986): Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)This 80’s classic from director Francis Ford Coppola is about a middle-aged woman who has recently separated from her husband, after being married since high school. Now she is going to attend her 25-year reunion, but when things get awkward, she faints. When she awakens, Peggy Sue finds that she has been transported back in time to the glory days of high school, giving her life a second chance. Kathleen Turner stars in an Academy Award nominated performance, but the cast includes many up and comers, such as Nicholas Cage, Joan Allen, Helen Hunt and Jim Carrey.

  • “Black Rock” (2012): Black Rock (2012)This horror film is about three women (Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth and the film’s director, Katie Aselton) who travel to a remote island in order to rekindle a distancing friendship. On the island, they meet three discharged soldiers (Jay Paulson, Will Bouvier and Anslem Richardson). At first the six hit things off, but soon things turn for the worse when one of the men is killed,  and the remaining two begin hunting the three women.

  • “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” (1955): The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)American General Billy Mitchell is being court-martialled for openly complaining about his superiors. Based on a true story, this Otto Preminger film stars Gary Cooper, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy and Rod Steiger, and has received positive reviews, particularly for the acting and directing. Then again, when does Otto Preminger make a movie that isn’t interesting, and when does Gary Cooper ever do a bad acting job?

  • “Angel and the Badman” (1947): Angel and the Badman (1947)Any week with a John Wayne movie western is a good week, right? Wayne stars as an injured gunfighter and the Quaker girl (played by Gail Russell) who nurses him back to health. This is a wonderful western film that has been almost unwatchable due to the poor quality of the print. It is truly exciting to see this classic get the blu-ray treatment this week.

  • “Love Me Tender” (1956): Love Me Tender (1956)Elvis Presley made his film debut in this western musical that also stars Richard Egan and Debra Paget. The plot revolves around a family with four sons during the Civil War. The three eldest go off to fight, but the youngest (Presley) stays home to take care of the family and land. Incorrect news is received that the eldest brother has died, and eventually the youngest son marries his brother’s girl. When everyone returns home, passions are ignited in a family that is forever torn apart.

  • “Bullfighter and the Lady” (1951): Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)From legendary director Budd Boetticher comes this drama film about the dangerous profession of bullfighting. Starring Robert Stack, Joy Page, Virginia Grey and Katy Jurado, “Bullfighter and the Lady” was shot on location in Mexico, and Boetticher used a unique, semi-documentary approach, making this film a memorable look into a sport that is loved and feared around the world.

  • “God’s Little Acre” (1958):God's Little Acre (1958) Based on the controversial best seller by Erskine Caldwell, this Anthony Mann directed film is about a man obsessed with finding gold thought to be buried by his grandfather, years before. At the same time, his daughter-in-law is suspected of having an affair with a politically controversial “worker” in town. Upon this film’s release, no one under the age of eighteen was admitted to the theaters for the lured subject matter, and after years of neglect, it has finally found its way to blu-ray, giving audiences just cause to be excited.

New Criterion Collection Titles for October 2013

Here we are again, gaining a new group of films that, come October, will forever be cemented into The Criterion Collection. Yes, I know I Married a Witch (1942)I’m a bit late this month, and I apologize. These pieces of cinematic history include nine films, six of which are already in the collection and are now getting updated (and much appreciated) blu-ray editions. Also, being the month of Halloween, in which people often look to the scary or mystical for their entertainment, some of these films follow in that general theme, creating both chilling and pleasant journeys into the supernatural. Here is the run-down for October, 2013.

To be released on October 8th, 2013:

    • “I Married a Witch” (1942): I Married a Witch (1942)This lighthearted comedic romp opens in the 1600’s, as a prominent member of the Wooley family has accused a young woman and her father of being witches, and had them burned at the stake. Before they died, leaving their souls trapped beneath a tree, the young witch cursed the Wooley family to forever be unhappy in love- until, of course, a time comes where she can seek her vengeance. Jump to the early 1900’s, where the witch (Veronica Lake) and her father (Cecil Kellaway) are released from their supernatural prison, and return to seek revenge on the Wooley descendant, Wallace (Frederic March). I Married a Witch (1942)Of course things don’t go as planned (for anyone), as she quickly becomes enamored with his suave good looks and endless charm. The result is a romantic comedy that will delight from beginning to end, full of hilarious dialogue. Directed by revolutionary French director Rene Clair (“Le Million”) while working in America during WWII, this is a welcomed addition to The Criterion Collection, with its witty screenplay by Robert Pirosh and Marc Connelly, and a highly amusing and unusual performance from the great Frederic March. This film remains one of the most enjoyable comedies from 1942, and deserves to be placed alongside other films from that year, like “To Be or Not to Be” and “The Palm Beach Story.” This is a “bare-bones” release, as there are limited special features included- bad news for those of us who love to delve into the world of special features; good news for everyone, as it has a reduced price tag.

To be released on October 15th, 2013:

  • “Eyes Without a Face” (1960): Also known as “Les yeux sans visage,” this visionary French horror film from director Georges Franju has slowly crept its way up through the ranks of cinema’s greatest horror films, and along the way has inspired an entire generation of filmmakers rooted in suspense and terror. Eyes Without a Face (1960)The story revolves around a doctor (Pierre Brasseur) who is responsible for the disfigurement of his daughter (Edith Scob) in a car accident, that has resulting in her having to ware a faceless mask. Now, he continuously kidnaps young women, surgically removing their faces and attempting to transplant them onto his daughter. There are plenty of great bonus features included, with this title including Franju’s 1949 documentary, “Blood of Beasts,” about the slaughterhouses of Paris, and a new interview with actress Edith Scob. “Eyes Without a Face” is already part of The Criterion Collection, but now will be coming out on blu-ray. It is also currently available on Hulu.

To be released on October 22rd, 2013:

  • John Cassavetes: Five Film Collection (1959-1977): John Cassavetes was a revolutionary filmmaker. He was one of the pioneers of independent films, with his unprecedented style and unique ability to project the most intense of emotions, with an unconventional, partially documentary approach. Shadows (1959)He wrote, directed, acted, and even sometimes was forced to finance his films. There was very little (possibly nothing) he couldn’t do. This collection of films, features five of his most prolific movies, four of which have been included in the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” The movies featured are as follows: “Shadows” (1959), “Faces” (1968), “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974), “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” (1976) and “Opening Night” (1977). The list of bonus features included in this set is unbelievably long, but I will mention that there is a 2000 documentary by Charles Kiselyak, entitled “A Constant Forge- The Life and Art of John Cassavetes” included as a sixth disc.

    • “The Uninvited” (1944): The Uninvited (1944)A young man (Ray Milland) and his sister (Ruth Hussey) decide to purchase an impressive, cliff-top estate that has a low price tag. What they weren’t expecting was that the house was haunted. Director Lewis Allen creates a surprisingly serious supernatural thriller with a memorable score by Victor Young, and Academy Award nominated black and white cinematography by Charles B. Lang. This is another “bare-bones” disc with an unusually low (and much appreciated) price.

To be released on October 29th, 2013:

    • ” La Notte” (1961): La Notte (1961)This follow-up film to Michelango Antonioni’s masterfully “L’avventura” (1960), revolves around an unfaithful married couple whose relationship has reached a breaking point. Filmed beautifully on location in Milan, and crafted impeccably by one of cinema’s all time greats, “La Notte” is a true work of art that fits perfectly in Antonioni’s unofficial trilogy, between “L’avventura” and “Eclipse” (1962). This film also features some perfect acting from Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau and Monica Vitti in the major roles.

New Release Round-Up! July 23rd 2013

Another fairly light week for releases, but a couple of Criterion Collection titles do mix things up a bit. What will you be watching?

  • “Babette’s Feast” (1987): This film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film upon its initial release, and it has only become better with the passing years. Babette's Feast (1987)Two sisters, living in a quiet town in Denmark, have grown older, trying to keep their father’s religious sect going after his death. Enter Babette, a French woman seeking refuge from her past. She lives with the sisters for years, working beside them, until she wins a great deal of money in a lottery and asks her housemates if she can cook them a glorious French dinner in celebration. Everything about this film from beginning to end is enjoyable, creating what is a must see film experience. As well as being released on both blu-ray and DVD, “Babette’s Feast” is also available through Hulu.

  • “The Ice Storm” (1997): Before we all knew director Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Brokeback Mountain” & “Life of Pi”) was brilliant, he tried to show us with this intense human drama about two families living near each other during one fateful ice storm in the 1970’s.The Ice Storm (1997) Few films have captured this era as perfectly, showcasing everything that makes human nature so complex. It is a dark film full of masterful editing and remarkable cinematography, and it is almost certain to leave anyone at a loss for words. “The Ice Storm” boasts a remarkable cast that includes Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elija Wood and Katie Holmes. It is already in The Criterion Collection, but this is the first time it has been made available on blu-ray.

  • “Kiss of the Damned” (2013): Vampires and sex. Kiss of the Damned (2013)That’s pretty much all you need to know about this film from director Xan Cassavetes ( yes, as in daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands). In the film, a human (Milo Ventimiglia) falls in love with a vampire (Josephine de La Baume), and decides to join the vampire world in order to remain with her.

Also being released this week are a few other films that I know very little about, such as “Trance” (2013), “Welcome to the Punch” (2013), “Summer and Smoke” (1961) and “Harlow” (1965). Happy watching everyone.

New Release Round-Up! July 16th, 2013

There aren’t many choices this week, but still a couple of titles worth checking out. Looking ahead to the rest of July, things aren’t going to get too much better either. Perhaps August will find a way to wow us.

    • “42” (2013):42 (2013) Jackie Robinson: Everybody knows his name; now you can see his story. Director Brian Helgeland masterfully pieces this historic story together in a way that is both informative and entertaining. The entire cast gives great performances, particularly Chadwick Boseman in the title role, Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, and of course, Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.  This film falls under the heading of “highly recommended” from Lasso the Movies, as it seems to be a film for everyone to enjoy… not just baseball fans. Go Dodgers!

    • “Lord of the Flies” (1963)Lord of the Flies (1963): Way back when The Criterion Collection was first getting started, they inducted “Lord of the Flies” as the 43rd film into their collection. Now, many years later, as the collection now has 664 films to date, “Lord of the Flies” is being reintroduced on both blu-ray and a new DVD edition. In this wonderful adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel, Director Peter Brook has found a way to transport audiences to the island paradise that quickly becomes a violent nightmare to the young boys who are stranded there. This new edition comes loaded with bonus features, both new and old, and has a newly restored 4K digital film transfer on the blu-ray edition.

    • “Evil Dead” (2013)Evil Dead (2013): Who would have ever thought that we needed a retelling of this story? Director Fede Alvarez was chosen by “Evil Dead” creator Sami Rami to take over the directing duties in what is essentially the fourth film in the franchise. Surprisingly, this film has received mostly positive reviews, as it encompasses many of the same traits that made the original a cult classic; such as the violence, gore and thrills. The only area in which it lacks seems to be the humor. Imagine that.

    • “Bullet to the Head” (2013)Bullet to the Head (2013): Sylvester Stallone stars in this action spectacle in this film from director Walter Hill (“48 Hours”, “Another 48 Hours” & “Last Man Standing”), where he does what he has always done best: violence and action. This crime story revolves around a contract killer seeking revenge for the murder of his partner. Receiving less than great reviews, “Bullet to the Head” is the kind of action film that might have been entertaining at one time, but has trouble finding its place in today’s cinematic world. Perhaps home is the best place to catch this one.

Well, that’s it for this week. What are you going to watch?

New Release Round Up!

New Releases on blu-ray and DVD for Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

We have another week of lack-luster releases, as all those less than great films that came out in the slow months of the year are finally making their way to DVD and blu-ray. Although not many great films to see, at least we have some new choices, right?

    • “Spring Breakers” Spring Breakers (2012)(2013): This film directed by Harmony Korine, revolves around a group of four college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Bensen & Rachel Korine) who decide to steal money in order to go enjoy “spring break.” Once there, they grab the attention of a local gangster (James Franco) and become members of his drug-dealing lifestyle.

    • “The Life of Oharu” The Life of Oharu (1952)(1952): Painful, saddening, unforgettable and brilliant. This film from director Kenji Mizoguchi is deeply haunting to watch, as the events of an older prostitute’s life are recounted and reflected upon. The tale is not an uplifting one, but has an extremely personal feel, as Mizoguchi dealt with many of these themes in his own life. It is a film that should not be missed, and is being inducted into The Criterion Collection this week.

    • “Dead Man Down”Dead Man Down (2013) (2013): This crime film revolves around a violent man (Colin Farrell) who has infiltrated a criminal organization run by a ruthless killer (Terrence Howard), in order to extract revenge for the murder of his wife and daughter. He is contacted by a woman (Noomi Rapace) who at first pretends to be his friend before revealing that she has a video of him killing a man, and she threatens to take it to the police unless he kills the man who disfigured her in a car accident. The film is plagued by plot twists and unoriginal ideas, but at least the acting keeps things entertaining.

    • “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing”Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) (1955): This Best Pictured nominated drama-romance film is about a man (William Holden) who falls in love with a Eurasian woman (Jennifer Jones) just prior to the Korean War. Directed by the great Henry King (“The Gunfighter”), “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” is a well made, well acted film that deals with major events of its day.
    • “Admission” Admission (2013)(2013): An admissions officer at Princeton (Tina Fey) is confronted by a former college classmate (Paul Rudd) who works at an “alternative” high school. He presents her with a young prodigy (Michael Sheen) who is both off the wall and brilliant, and oh yeah, might also be her son.