Here we are with the last Criterion Collection new release announcement for 2010, and there are a couple amazing releases to talk about.

Last week we uncovered that Criterion was in fact prepared to finally release David Cronenberg’s Videodrome on Blu-ray on December 7th.   This is the last of the Amazon pre-order announced titles that forced Criterion to reveal their cards a little early. I still haven’t seen the film, and I’m pretty glad that I waited, so that I can see this film in all of it’s high def insanity. While I’m sure there is something charming about watching the film on VHS, given the material, watching a recent fan edit trailer in HD, makes me really excited for the Blu-ray. The cover doesn’t necessarily change up the design much, aside from the color bars on the spine logo.

Now to the main course. Last year in their monthly e-mail newsletter, Criterion teased at an upcoming release of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cronos with a drawing of the scarab device from the film. When asked on Twitter, Criterion had mentioned that the release was taking longer than they thought, because of Del Toro’s involvement on the Hobbit, down in New Zealand. In June, when Del Toro left the project, I suggested that the Cronos release could now pick back up. Later that month, while at the Saturn Awards, Steve Weintraub from Collider was able to confirm with Guillermo that the Cronos release would in fact be released this December from Criterion. We finally have confirmation today that we’ll be seeing this horror film on DVD and Blu-ray on December 7th. With a feature documentary discussing Del Toro’s “Bleak” house devoted to his books and toys and miscellaneous geeky stuff, this is going to be a must own Blu-ray for me. Guillermo will be in Portland at the end of the month, signing his new book in the Strain trilogy, and I can’t wait to shake his hand.

Finally, we’re getting the DVD edition of the “America Lost And Found: The BBS Story” on December 14th, which we already knew last month when it was announced. I’m not quite sure why Criterion decided to have two different release dates for the box set, or if this should clue us in on future release schedules.

What do you think of the December titles? With only two new additions, I will definitely be picking up both. 2010 has been an amazing year for Criterion Collection releases, and over next few months, we’ll be sure to highlight our favorites of the year.


Cronos

Guillermo Del Toro

Criterion # 551 Available on DVD and Blu-ray, December 7th

Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious, audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious, crude American named Angel (a delightfully deranged Ron Perlman). Featuring marvelous special makeup effects and the unforgettably haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, Cronos, is a visually rich and emotionally captivating dark fantasy.

Disc Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:
‘¢ New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Guillermo del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, including optional audio with the film’s original Spanish-language voice-over introduction as well as DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
‘¢ Two audio commentaries, one featuring del Toro and the other producers Arthur H. Gorson and Bertha Navarro and coproducer Alejandro Springall
‘¢ Geometria, an unreleased 1987 short horror film by del Toro, finished by the director in 2010, plus a new video interview with him
‘¢ Welcome to Bleak House, a video tour by del Toro of his office, featuring his collectibles and personal work
‘¢ New video interviews with del Toro, Navarro, and actor Ron Perlman
‘¢ Video interview with actor Federico Luppi
‘¢ Stills gallery
‘¢ Trailer
‘¢ New and improved English subtitle translation, approved by del Toro
‘¢ PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Maitland McDonagh and excerpts from del Toro’s notes for the film



Videodrome

David Cronenberg

Criterion # 248, Available on Blu-ray, December 7th

When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. As he struggles to unearth the origins of the program, he embarks on a hallucinatory journey into a shadow world of right-wing conspiracies, sadomasochistic sex games, and bodily transformation. Starring James Woods and Deborah Harry in one of her first film roles, Videodrome is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award ®-winner Rick Baker, Videodrome has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s.

Disc Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

  • High-definition digital transfer of the unrated version (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack)
  • Two audio commentaries: David Cronenberg and director of photography Mark Irwin, and actors James Woods and Deborah Harry
  • Camera (2000), a short film starring Videodrome‘s Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg
  • Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by filmmaker Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome‘s video and prosthetic makeup effects
  • Effects Men, a new audio interview with special makeup effects creator Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick
  • Bootleg Video: the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of transmissions from ‘Videodrome,’ presented in their original, unedited form with filmmaker commentary
  • Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mick Garris
  • Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette
  • Stills galleries featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos
  • A booklet featuring essays by writers Carrie Rickey, Tim Lucas, and Gary Indiana



America Lost And Found: The BBS Story

Criterion # 544-550, Available on DVD, December 14th. (9 Discs!)

Like the rest of America, Hollywood was ripe for revolution in the late sixties. Cinema attendance was down; what had once worked seemed broken. Enter Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner, who knew that what Hollywood needed was new audiences’”namely, young people’”and that meant cultivating new talent and new ideas. Fueled by money made from their invention of the superstar TV pop group the Monkees, they set off on a film-industry journey that would lead them to form BBS Productions, a company that was also a community. The innovative films produced by this team between 1968 and 1972 are collected in this box set’”works created within the studio system but lifted right out of the countercultural id, and that now range from the iconic (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show) to the acclaimed (The King of Marvin Gardens) to the obscure (Head; Drive, He Said; A Safe Place).


Head

Bob Rafelson 1968

Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees . . . being catapulted through one of American cinema’s most surreal sixties odysseys.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring Monkees Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork
  • New video interview with director Bob Rafelson
  • New documentary about BBS, featuring critic David Thomson and historian Douglas Brinkley
  • More!


Easy Rider

Dennis Hopper 1969

As Billy and ‘Captain America,’ Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda motored down the highway on their Harley Davidsons to the roaring strains of Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild,’ and the definitive counterculture blockbuster was born.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring director Dennis Hopper
  • Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage, a 1999 documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage
  • Footage of Hopper and star Peter Fonda at Cannes in 1969
  • New video interview with BBS’s Steve Blauner
  • More!


Five Easy Pieces

Bob Rafelson 1970

Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of romantic or familial responsibility, who returns to his childhood home to see his ailing, estranged father’”his blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black) in tow.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson and interior designer Toby Rafelson
  • Soul Searching in Five Easy Pieces, a 2009 video piece in which Rafelson discusses the film
  • BBStory, a 2009 documentary
  • Excerpts from an audio recording of Rafelson at the American Film Institute in 1976


Drive, He Said

Jack Nicholson 1970

Jack Nicholson’s enormously irreverent directorial debut, Drive, He Said, free-spirited and sobering by turns, is a sketch of the exploits of a disaffected college basketball player and his increasingly radical roommate.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • A Cautionary Tale of Campus Revolution and Sexual Freedom, a 2009 video piece in which director Jack Nicholson discusses the experience of making this film
  • Theatrical trailer
  • More!

A Safe Place

Henry Jaglom 1971

In this delicate, introspective drama, laced with fantasy elements, Tuesday Weld stars as a fragile young woman in New York, unable to reconcile her ambiguous past with her unmoored present.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring director Henry Jaglom
  • Henry Jaglom Finds ‘A Safe Place,’ a 2009 video piece in which the director discusses the film
  • Notes on the New York Film Festival, a 1971 video piece featuring an interview conducted by critic Molly Haskell with directors Peter Bogdanovich and Jaglom about their films The Last Picture Show and A Safe Place
  • Deleted scene and screen tests
  • Theatrical trailer


The Last Picture Show

Peter Bogdanovich 1971

Featuring evocative black-and-white imagery and profoundly felt performances, this hushed depiction of crumbling American values remains the pivotal film in the career of the invaluable director and film historian Peter Bogdanovich.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Two audio commentaries, one featuring director Peter Bogdanovich and the other featuring Bogdanovich and actors Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Frank Marshall
  • Picture This, a 1990 documentary by George Hickenlooper
  • ‘The Last Picture Show’: A Look Back, an hour-long 1999 documentary
  • 2009 interview with Bogdanovich
  • Screen tests and location footage
  • Theatrical trailers and more!


The King of Marvin Gardens

Bob Rafelson 1972

Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern play estranged siblings David and Jason, the former a depressive late-night-radio talk show host, the latter an extroverted con man; when Jason drags his younger brother to a dreary Atlantic City and into a real-estate scam, events spiral into tragedy.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson
  • Reflections of a Philosopher King, a 2009 documentary about the making of the film
  • Afterthoughts, a short 2002 documentary about the film, produced by Rafelson
  • Theatrical trailer


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