Blogging Through The Collection: This Month In Criterion Blogs [May 2011]

It’s been about a month since my last look at what has been going on in the world of Criterion Collection blogs, and I thought it’d be appropriate to finally just change the column to be “this month in…” instead of “this week in…” As most of you know, this past month has seen the birth of my daughter, which has led to a steady decrease in my output of blog posts, but a dramatic increase in my posting of adorable pictures. So, we all win in this situation.

Let’s take a look at what May has seen from the internet’s best and brightest, when it comes to the Criterion Collection.

First up, let’s take a look at our own Joshua Brunsting, who started writing the news here on the blog last May. Josh managed to make it to the Cannes film festival this past year, and turned around a number of great reviews from the festival. If you’ve been following along with our Cannes coverage, you’ll know there were several Criterion Collection related directors and films that screened, such as the Tree Of Life (Terrence Malick), Hara-Kiri (Takashi Miike), and Pina (Wim Wenders). You can find all of Joshua’s reviews from the Cannes film festival over at Gordon and the Whale, as well as his recent review of the Charlie Chaplin May Criterion release: The Great Dictator.

Since my last entry in this series towards the end of April, our own James McCormick has gone and started a weekly look at the films added to Criterion’s Hulu Channel. Many folks are still unconvinced as to whether they should drop the $8 a month to take advantage of the Criterion / Hulu deal, and hopefully James’ column will help push you over the edge, and enjoy all that there is to offer. They continue to upload films that aren’t already in the collection, films from the Eclipse Series, and a number of supplements. If you want to get your first month for half off, (2 weeks free, essentially) then use our link for it, it helps us out. James has also begun blogging again over at CineAwesome, as well as starting up a podcast for the site. These guys love films, and you’ll definitely want to listen to what they have to say.

Today marks a pretty special day in the world of CriterionCast.com: The one year anniversary of our “Journey Through The Eclipse Series” column. Over the past year David Blakeslee has produced some really thoughtful reviews on the various films from the Eclipse Series. I genuinely hope that you all manage to take some time out of your busy schedules to read his reviews. We all know that the Eclipse Series is in some ways ghettoized from the rest of the films of the Criterion Collection, but now that many are popping up on the Hulu Page, it is much easier to see the individual films without having to spend the money on an entire box set. In addition to his column here on CriterionCast.com, David has continued to produce weekly reviews over on his Criterion Reflections blog. Over the past month he has reviewed such films as Hiroshima Mon Amour, Black Orpheus, Il Generale Della Rovere, and most recently: Fires On The Plain. Next week David will be reviewing John Cassavetes’ Shadows, and I can’t wait to see what he has to say about it.

May saw some of the greatest releases so far from Criterion, and our friend Jamie S. Rich was there to review them all. Over the past month, Jamie has reviewed an incredible line-up of Criterion Collection titles, such as The Great Dictator, Diabolique, Pale Flower, Something Wild, Smiles Of A Summer Night, Kes, and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. His Criterion Confessions blog is something you should all add to your weekly rotation of blogs to read, as he is always thorough and entertaining in his look at the films of the Collection.

Our friends over at Film School Rejects have continued to shed some light on the Collection, with their Criterion Files column each week. They continued their guest posts with an appearance by the Criterion Contraption’s Matthew Dessem with a great piece on Billy Wilder’s Ace In The Hole, as well as an appearance by our friend David Ehrlich, writing about one of his favorite Criterion Collection titles: Mishima A Life In Four Chapters. They’ve also written about the terrifying Wages Of Fear, as well as the two films from Terrence Malick in the Criterion Collection: The Thin Red Line and Days Of Heaven.

Speaking of David Ehrlich, he has continued to maintain his pithy Tumblr blog: the Criterion Corner. Tumblr is great for those of us with short attention spans (I honestly don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment, I love Tumblr and the blogs that have arisen from it). He manages to curate an incredible array of video clips, trailers, quotes, pictures, and all sorts of other miscellaneous bits of information that I might not have taken the time to look for, but am always entertained when I see what he has found. David has also gone and released a trailer for his own short film, and I’d highly recommend you all go check it out. While you’re at it, you should go and listen to the semi-regular podcast that David is a part of: Operation Kino. In the latest episode, they take a look at The Tree Of Life, and have a pretty interesting discussion of the film. David has also recently started writing at Movies.com, which appears to be the new home of many writers from the late Cinematical.com. In what has to be one of the more thoughtful posts on the Tree Of Life, David lays out five key pieces of the film which may help you understand it better.

If you haven’t checked it out already, read Sam Smith’s excellent post on the creation of the recently released Solaris cover art.

One of the blogs that David has actually led me to on Tumblr is the Criterion Survey. A semi-regular blog written by Marc Lafreniere, the Criterion Survey hopes to be a “comprehensive, intellectual, and sometimes blustered, approach to films from the Criterion Collection.” I’ve found it to be an entertaining addition to my Tumblr dashboard, and hopefully we’ll get to see some longer writings from Marc on his favorite Criterion Collection films soon.

Head over to our friend Michele Rosenthal’s Criterion Affection Blog for a lovely illustration for Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny And Alexander.

Over at the Criterion On The Brain Blog, they have continued to review films from the Criterion Collection at a break neck pace over the past month. Too many to list here, but just know that if you subscribe to their blog, you’ll have a full list of reviews to read on a weekly basis.

Finally, I’d like to draw some attention to a new Criterion Collection blog that has started up within the last few weeks: The Criterion Digest. Whoever has started this up hasn’t put their name to the site yet, but I commend their efforts. The film blogging world is full of generic, boring blogs rehashing the same press releases and casting announcements, and as of now, there aren’t too many films dedicated to the Criterion Collection. It’s always nice to have some friendly folks join in on discussing the various rumor news, and new release announcements, and I hope that the Criterion Digest manages to find its footing.

I apologize for how late this blog post is. This post has honeslty been building as a draft over the past few weeks, but I just haven’t managed to find time to spend a few hours writing up my thoughts on the various folks in the Criterion Collection neighborhood of the internet.

As always, if you know of new Criterion related blogs that I should be following, be sure to leave them in the comment section below. I hope that this column leads to a greater sense of community amongst us Criterion fans, as we have to stick together!

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Ryan, thanks as always for the kind words and for these nice summaries of what’s happening in the micro-niche of Criterion-focused blogs. I recently discovered a fairly new blog (started in March 2011) called Criterion Mission http://criterionmission.blogspot.com/ written by a guy named Daniel. Last month, he reviewed George Washington and Claire’s Knee and posted a few other interesting things too. Definitely worth checking out, subscribing to and adding to the rotation for this column! 

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