Well, it’s that time again. Time for the Criterion Collection to announce the latest grouping of films to be honored with an induction to their illustrious vaults this coming May. Some of these titles are already part of the Collection, just obtaining a new (and much appreciated) blu-ray upgrade, with a couple of other films making their Criterion debut (and after much speculation, I might add). So, without further ado, here are the newest films that are now available for preorder.
Being released May 6th, 2013
- “Ace in the Hole” (1951): Billy Wilder made so many great films, it can be easy to overlook one (or even a few in his case) every now and then. That is exactly what many movie-lovers have done to “Ace in the Hole”, aka “The Big Carnival”. The film revolves around a New York newspaperman (magnificently played by Kirk Douglas), who ends up at a small town New Mexico paper, waiting again for a chance- his chance to move back into the “big time”. That opportunity comes when a man (Richard Benedict) gets trapped in an old Indian cave while digging for artifacts. Instead of focusing on getting the man out, Douglas makes the event the largest possible story he can, creating a media circus the likes of which were rarely seen at the time (but we fully understand-and flock towards today). Quite simply, “Ace in the Hole” is a must see film in every sense of the phrase. Billy Wilder does some of his most underrated work here, and you will never forget the power of Douglas’s performance, or that of the hardened, unloving wife, perfectly performed by Jan Sterling.
Being released May 13th, 2013
- “Like Someone in Love” (2012): This film, from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, is a French-Japanese production about a young woman attending college, who spends her nights working as a prostitute. She ends up getting a call that leads her to the home of an older professor, and the two spend the night bonding (in the non-physical way). The morning only brings problems for both of them, as together they run into her boyfriend, who knows nothing about her night job. “Like Someone in Love” has received much praise and admiration from audiences since its initial release, and is a welcomed addition to the Criterion Collection, particularly after Kiarostami’s previous films (“Taste of Cherry”, “Close-Up”, & “Certified Copy”) have proven to be such glorious additions to the Criterion Collection.
Being released May 20th, 2014
- “Overlord” (1975): This is another film that is already part of the Criterion Collection, but the blu-ray upgrade is not only deserved, but also encourages fans to watch it yet again. This film, directed by Stuart Cooper, centers on a young man fighting during the D-Day invasion. He is an average man, except for the fact that he has already had a premonition of his own death, and now contemplates “his part” in the war, as well as the world, while waiting for what he considers his own inevitable end. The real beauty of “Overland” is in the mastery of the picture’s construction. Its portrayal of war is as real as it can be in a film, and in ways feels more documentary than anything else.
Being released May 27th, 2014
- “Red River” (1948): Yee-haw!! Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. “Red River” is one of those movies that never gets old no matter how many times you have seen it, and with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift leading the way, it is easy to enjoy yourself. What is also amazing about the way director Howard Hawks pieced this one together is how is mixes the light-hearted western atmosphere from so many westerns of its time, with a darker, much more mean-spirited side that keeps the audience off-balance. It jumps back and forth between these two opposite styles, and feels so often the entire picture almost seems jumbled, keeping the audience constantly intrigued, sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting for that climactic conclusion. “Red River” is a movie that has been rumored to be joining the Criterion Collection for years, and I for one, am thrilled to see it finally make the list.
- “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004): Creative filmmaker extraordinaire Wes Anderson is one of the most regular directors around the Criterion office these days. All but one of his currently released films (Where is “Moonrise Kingdom”, Criterion?) are already part of the collection, including his sometimes misunderstood (but still brilliant) 2004 film, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”. With an all-star cast, and enough subtle humor to fill two films, Anderson has brought the world of Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his life on the water, to our hearts and minds- never to be forgotten. Also starring in this hysterical tale are Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum.
Well, that’s all for this month. Happy shopping movie fans!