Criterion Calendar: January 2012 DVD & Blu-ray Releases

One of my New Years Resolutions is to figure out a better routine for managing my day job, my home and family responsibilities, as well as blogging here on the site. Along with all of that I’m in charge of the podcast, which brings along even more things to juggle throughout the week. Over the past couple of years, as we’ve figured out what sort of coverage we can handle for various home video releases, I’ve tried to streamline how we help promote the Criterion Collection new releases. With this post, I hope to set a template for myself, to give everyone access to the various links, images, video clips, and information surrounding the new releases for the month, in an easy to find post here on the web site.

This month is fairly big in terms of new releases, primarily because of Godzilla. It’s a release that has been teased at for the past 6 months or so, and it’s almost here. Further down I’m providing links to the DVDBeaver review, as well as the Ain’t It Cool piece that Monty Cristo wrote up recently. I’m sure we’re going to get a 3 Reasons video for Godzilla any day now, and so I’ll definitely add that to this post as soon as it goes up.

I’m constantly finding high resolution images, and fun write-ups online, that I try to share in one place or another. With these “Criterion Calendar” posts, I thought it’d be nice to consolidate them all. Because this post is going to run rather long, and you might just want to skip down to a particular title, I’m adding a few links that will help you jump back and forth between the titles.

One thing that I plan on writing more about in the coming months, is looking back at past releases, connected to this month. So, at the very bottom of this post, I have the titles listed for: Next Month, Last Month, 1 Year Ago, 5 Years Ago, and 10 Years Ago. I thought this would be fun to help put the various new releases into context, and to help us all remember how long ago some of these releases hit shelves.

I’m not quite sure if the formatting will stick as I post these calendar pieces over the next few months, in that I might change it up as I go. I’m also playing around with the idea of creating these as “custom posts” in WordPress, which will separate them from the usual blog entries. So this post might go from being in the news / new releases section, to somewhere else on the site entirely (but easy to find).

As I mentioned, I’m going to continue to add links to this as people begin reviewing these releases online. I’ll also add box art when the final discs arrive, so you can see what you’re in for, in terms of packaging.

If you have any thoughts on how I can make this series more enjoyable, or rewarding, feel free to email me, or leave a comment below.

What are you most excited about for January?

Jump to

Traffic / Belle De Jour / Gorin Eclipse / Moment Of Truth / Godzilla  

Next Month / Last Month / 1 Year Ago / 5 Years Ago / 10 Years Ago

January 17th

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Traffic examines the question of drugs as politics, business, and lifestyle. With an innovative color-coded cinematic treatment to distinguish his interwoven stories, Steven Soderbergh embroils viewers in the lives of a newly appointed drug czar and his family, a West Coast kingpin’s wife, a key informant, and police officers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The film, which delivers a complex and nuanced take on an issue of international importance without sacrificing any energy or suspense, is a contemporary classic, and the winner of four Oscars, for best director, best screenplay, best editing, and best supporting actor for Benicio del Toro.


  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Steven Soderbergh and supervising sound editor and rerecording mixer Larry Blake, with 5.1 and 2.0 surround  DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition
  • Three audio commentaries, featuring Soderbergh and writer Stephen Gaghan; producers Laura Bickford, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz and consultants Tim Golden and Craig Chretien; and composer Cliff Martinez
  • Twenty-five deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Soderbergh and Gaghan
  • Three sets of demonstrations: one on film processing and the look of the Mexico sequences; one on film editing, with commentary by editor Stephen Mirrione; and one on dialogue editing
  • Additional unused footage of various scenes, from multiple angles
  • Theatrical trailers and television spots
  • Gallery of trading cards depicting the U.S. Customs canine squad used to detect narcotics and other illegal substances
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Manohla Dargis

Traffic Links

High Res Blu-ray 3D  /  High Res Blu-ray  /  DVDBeaver Review  /  CriterionForum Review

Image Gallery

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Belle de Jour

Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her after ­noon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Buñuel is an examination of desire and fetishistic pleasure (its characters’ and its viewers’), as well as a gently absurdist take on contemporary social mores and class divisions. Fantasy and reality commingle in this burst of cinematic transgression, which was one of Buñuel’s biggest hits.



  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring Michael Wood, author of the  BFI  Film Classics book  Belle de jour
  • New video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar Linda Williams
  • New interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Segment from the French television program  Cinéma,  featuring interviews with Carrière and actress Catherine Deneuve
  • Original and rerelease trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Buñuel

Belle De Jour Links

Netflix  /  High Res DVD 3D Cover  /  High Res DVD Cover  /  High Res Blu-ray 3D Cover  /  High Res Blu-ray Cover

DVDBeaver Review  / Criterion Forum Review

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Three Reasons

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Eclipse Series 31: Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin

Jean-Pierre Gorin, widely known for his collaborations with Jean-Luc Godard in the Dziga Vertov Group (including Tout va bien), established his personal voice with this trio of fascinating, nontraditional documentaries. Made in Southern California after the filmmaker relocated there in the midseventies, Poto and Cabengo, Routine Pleasures, and My Crasy Life illuminate hidden corners of our culture. With these films, Gorin revealed himself as a major chronicler of American life at its most hauntingly enigmatic.


David’s Eclipse Review /


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Poto And Cabengo

Grace and Virginia are young San Diego twins who speak unlike anyone else. With little exposure to the outside world, the two girls have created a private form of communication that’s an amalgam of the distinctive English dialects they hear at home. Jean-Pierre Gorin’s polyphonic nonfiction investigation of this phenomenon looks at the family from a variety of angles, with the director taking on the role of a sort of sociological detective. It’s a delightful and absorbing study of words and faces, mass media and personal isolation, and America’s odd margins.

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Routine Pleasures

What do a club devoted to model trains and the legendary film critic and painter Manny Farber have in common? These two lines intersect in Jean-Pierre Gorin’s lovely and distinctly American film, which takes as its subject the desire to re-create the past (the locomotive aficionados’ elaborate worlds in miniature, Farber’s teeming canvases) and expands to something richly philosophical and surprisingly funny.  Routine Pleasures  is a masterful meditation on America’s landscapes, real and imagined.

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My Crasy Life

Jean-Pierre Gorin’s gripping and unique film about a Samoan street gang in Long Beach, California, is, like other works by the filmmaker, a probing look at a closed community with its own rules, rituals, and language. Part observational documentary, part fiction invisibly scripted and shaped by the director, My Crasy Life, which won a special jury prize at Sundance, is an enthralling and intensely focused contemplation of violence and dislocation.

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January 24th

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The Moment Of Truth

The Moment of Truth (Il momento della verità), from director Francesco Rosi, is a visceral plunge into the life of a famous torero’”played by real-life bullfighting legend Miguel Mateo, known as Miguelín. Charting his rise and fall with a single-minded focus on the bloody business at hand, the film is at once gritty and operatic, placing the viewer right in the thick of the ring’s action, as close to death as possible. Like all of the great Italian truth seeker’s films, this is not just an electrifying drama but also a profound and moving inquiry into a violent world’”and it’s perhaps the greatest bullfighting movie ever made.


  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Exclusive interview with director Francesco Rosi from 2004
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Peter Matthews

Moment Of Truth Links

DVD High Res  /  Blu-ray High Res

DVD Beaver Review / Criterion Forum Review / Netflix / Hulu

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Video Clip

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Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific. Its rampaging radioactive beast, the poignant embodiment of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning almost thirty sequels. A thrilling, tactile spectacle that continues to be a cult phenomenon, the original, 1954 Japanese version is presented here, along with Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the 1956 ‘Americanized’ version.


  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New high-definition digital restoration of  Godzilla, King of the Monsters,  Terry Morse’s 1956 reworking of the original (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary for both movies by film historian David Kalat
  • New interviews with actors Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima and special effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
  • Interview with legendary  Godzilla  score composer Akira Ifukube
  • Featurette detailing  Godzilla‘s photographic effects, introduced by special effects director Koichi Kawakita and special effects photographer Motoyoshi Tomioka
  • New interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato
  • The Unluckiest Dragon,  an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel  Daigo Fukuryu Maru,  a real-life event that inspired  Godzilla
  • Trailers for  Godzilla  and  Godzilla, King of the Monsters
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman

Godzilla Links

High Res DVD  /  High Res Blu-ray

Monty Cristo’s Review On Ain’t It Cool News  /  DVDBeaver Review  / Criterion Forum Review


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Three Reasons:

Next Month:

February 2012

La Jetee / Sans Soleil

Tiny Furniture

Three Outlaw Samurai

World on a Wire

Anatomy of a Murder

Vanya on 42nd Street

Last Month:

December 2011

Design for Living

Lady Vanishes, The

Tokyo Drifter

Branded to Kill

Last Year:

January 2011

Army of Shadows  Blu-ray / 1/11/2011

Robinson Crusoe on Mars  Blu-ray / 1/11/2011

Naked Kiss, The / 1/18/2011

Shock Corridor / 1/18/2011

Broadcast News / 1/25/2011

Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground / 1/25/2011

Five Years Ago:

January 2007

Yojimbo / 1/23/2007

Yojimbo / Sanjuro / 1/23/2007

Sanjuro / 1/23/2007

Monsters and Madmen / 1/23/2007

Border Radio / 1/16/2007

Mouchette / 1/16/2007

Ten Years Ago:

January 2002

Children of Paradise / 1/22/2002

Images Courtesy Of The Criterion Collection