We all love the Criterion Collection. They release and restore some of the best films of all time and some add great features in every single one of their releases. A lot of care and attention for detail. Most of all they put a lot of love and passion in their work, because they love movies, just like us.
Every great marketer however also knows that a good product is never enough. The right package can be a lot more convincing sometimes. The people at Criterion know this and that’s why they’re just as devoted to making a good cover art as with everything else they do.
If you’re a fan of the Collection, I’m sure there are a lot of personal favorites you’d like to see in there. Searching the web for some fake Criterion releases you can find a lot of fun stuff, but also daydream and hope one day your favorite film will make it into the prestigious Collection.
Here is some of the best fan made art I found. Some of these aren’t even real films (namely Rob Zombie’s faux Grindhouse trailer for Werewolf Women of the SS or Eli Roth’s film within a film Nation’s Pride). Some of these are highly unlikely even to be considered for a Criterion release (I Know Who Killed Me). For other films the studios smartly hold on to their rights (2001: A Space Odyssey). Most of these are also some of my favorite films, some of these are simply good-looking or genius (like the one for Dancer in the Dark) and others I feel are underrated or overlooked (Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides).
Greetings, Welcome back! Another edition of ‘What did you watch last week?’
Last week as you may have noticed I mentioned Sofia Coppola and her new film The Bling Ring almost everyday: That’s because I was really excited for its (limited) US release. This week I promise not to turn into a Sofia Coppola fan club and to talk more about other directors and films too.
I didn’t watch a lot of movies last week, so instead of three posts I’ll just do this one. Also, I only watched ‘good’ films and a ‘bad’ one, so there’s no need for the ‘meh’ section.
So in chronological order, here’s what I watched this past week and a couple of thoughts.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) – 4 (IMDb 4.8) – Horror (USA)
This was supposed to be a direct sequel of the original horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). The opening titles refresh younger audiences’ memory about what exactly happened (as if we needed that). While this newest addition to the franchise certainly has some interesting ideas it’s overall very clichéd and run-of-the-mill. There’s nothing to distinguish it from the general horror remake and sequel craze happening in today’s American film industry. The characters are flat, the story is predictable, the aesthetic is boring and there’s not really much gore or excitement either. It certainly isn’t worthy being associated with the original film, especially considering how scary and innovative that one was when it first came out. My two cents: Happily skip this one, unless you’re a die-hard fanatic of the franchise. I watched it in 2D, so I can’t say much about the 3D aspect, except that some stuff you thought was cool in 3D looks beyond silly in 2D.
That Obscure Object Of Desire (1977) – 8 (IMDb 7.9) – Comedy, Drama, Romance (France, Spain)
Written & directed by genius Luis Buñuel, Cet obscur objet du désir is a charming art house film about a middle-aged man recounting his romantic entanglements with a with a young, attractive schizo/gold-digger/both? to strangers on a train. Played more “straightforward” than his other films, I found myself really enjoying this film for its playfulness and lighthearted romantic comedy with dramatic elements. As part of the Criterion Collection one can however also see how it’s an important film. It’s shot very well, there’s a political subtext, there’s a confusing double-casting of Conchita (the object of desire): Carole Bouquet plays a frigid, puritanical woman, while Ángela Molina is the voluptuous, sexy, seductive side of the same character. All in all highly recommended, especially for Woody Allen fans.
Lick the Star (1998) – 8.5 (IMDb 5.9) – Drama, Short (USA)
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Lilya 4-Ever (2002) – 8 (IMDb 7.8) – Crime, Drama (Sweden, Denmark)
Prova d’orchestra (1978) – 7 (IMDb 7.1) – Drama, Music (Italy)
Orchestra Rehersal is part of Federico Fellini’s color/art house-era and it shows. This film doesn’t present the traditional narrative, but is rather played as a faux-documentary. Fellini himself is interviewing musicians on their instruments, how it relates to them personally and the instrument as part of the bigger picture: The orchestra. Of course being a Fellini film it is imbued with his typically irreverent humor and populated by the characteristic collection of people cast solely because of their interesting face. Prova d’orchestra is a charming little film, with political undercurrents and social commentary on the goings-on of the period it was made in: There’s big talk about unionized labor and the orchestra could be read as a metaphor for society as a whole. Good film, but a bit slow in certain parts.
Somewhere (2010) – 9 (IMDb 6.3) – Drama (USA)
Lilja (Oksana Akinshina) is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a depressing, rural small town in Estonia with her mother (Lyubov Agapova). One happy day her mother tells her that they’re moving to the US. Lilja is overjoyed. It finally looks like her dreams of leaving Paldiski are coming true, but then her mother leaves without her. Abandoned with her mean, greedy aunt, left with no money and living the shittiest apartment imaginable things aren’t looking to good for Lilja. As if it couldn’t get any worse her BFF spreads false rumors about her in school, so she turns to the only person that consistently had her back: a little kid named Volodya (Artyom Bogucharskiy). Lilja quits school, occasionally prostituting herself just to get by, not to starve and pay the bills. One night she meets a dark, not so tall, stranger that offers her a ride. Once again it finally looks like things are turning around for her, but they’re just about to get a lot worse. Continue reading