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Criterion previews 2012 release schedule – Spartacus, Satyricon, Canterbury Tales and many more

Criterion previews 2012 release schedule – Spartacus, Satyricon, Canterbury Tales and many more

Well, will you look at that. Criterion has posted a pic on their Facebook page, offering something of a preview of their 2012 slate of releases. All right, to be fair, they didn’t really frame the image as a “preview“, more a look behind the scenes at the desk of someone juggling potential releases for next year. And the shot is taken at enough of a distance (and with enough hand-jiggle) to keep most of the writing on the documents pretty blurry. MOST of the writing. But our eagle eyes (and Photoshop) and the eagle eyes (and Photoshop) of Facebook fans are able to spot some titles in that mix. Amongst many other titles, next year might bring us Blu-ray editions of:

THE LIFE OF OHARU - “Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Life of Oharu is Kenji Mizoguchi’s (Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff) self-proclaimed masterpiece. Known for his graceful directorial style and sympathetic portrayal of women, Mizoguchi risked all to tell the devastating story of one woman’s fall from lady-in-waiting to concubine to prostitute. Avoiding melodrama, Mizoguchi focuses on Oharu’s dignity as she is betrayed repeatedly by her father, her lovers, and society. Saikaku Ihara’s classic 17th-century novel is brilliantly realized through a masterful screenplay and the heart-rending performance of Kinuyo Tanaka (Sansho the Bailiff). The film, which won top honors at the Venice Film Festival, earned Mizoguchi worldwide recognition and new artistic freedom as a

LA PROMESSE - “La Promesse draws on the considerable documentary acumen of its directors, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Rosetta), to prove a revelation in narrative filmmaking. Shot on the outskirts of an industrial city in Belgium, the film follows Igor (Jérémie Rénier), the 15-year-old son of a single parent named Roger (Olivier Gourmet) who rents squalid apartments to recently arrived immigrants, many of them illegal. … The beauty is in how the Dardenne brothers seem to share in the viewer’s curiosity about the film’s outcome, having captured a world so charged yet unadorned you feel the surprise of each new scene alongside the directors. An extraordinary film that bears repeated viewings.” –Fionn Meade

FELINNI SATYRICON – “Encolpius is a Roman student who begins by arguing with his friend Ascyltus over the affections of androgynous youth Giton. Ascyltus wins, whereupon Encolpius embarks upon an odyssey, partaking in a drunken orgy and being kidnapped by a bisexual sea captain and his concubine. Encolpius eventually rejoins Ascyltus to visit a suicidal Roman couple, join in a plot to kidnap a “sacred” hermaphrodite, and much more. Loosely based on the book “Satyricon” by Gaius Petronius, the “Arbiter of Elegance” in the court of Nero, Federico Fellini wrote and directed this tongue-in-cheek hymn to the “glories” of pagan times via a bizarre journey through the decadence and debauchery of Nero’s Rome. MGM DVD

MINISTRY OF FEAR – “Ministry of Fear is a 1944 film noir directed by Fritz Lang. Based on a novel by Graham Greene, the film tells the story of a man just released from a mental asylum who finds himself caught up in an international spy ring in London during the Blitz, pursued by foreign agents and incriminated for murder; all as a result of having visited a village fair and winning a cake after being given its weight by a fortune teller. The original music for the film was composed by Miklós Rózsa and Victor Young.Wikipedia

SPARTACUS – “Stanley Kubrick directed a cast of screen legends-including Kirk Douglas as the indomitable gladiator that led a Roman slave revolt-in the sweeping epic that defined a genre and ushered in a new Hollywood era. The assured acting, lush Technicolor cinematography, bold costumes and visceral fight sequences won Spartacus four Oscars©; the blend of politics and sexual suggestion scandalized audiences. Today Kubrick’s controversial classic, the first film to openly defy Hollywood’s blacklist, remains a landmark of cinematic artistry and history.Criterion DVD

HEAVEN’S GATE – “”Richly textured and visually compelling” (The Hollywood Reporter), this lavish, epic Western retells the true story of Wyoming’s infamous Johnson County Wara brutal conflict during which wealthy cattlemen, backed by the U.S. government, hired mercenaries to murder 125 immigrant settlers. From the incredible beauty of the magnificent landscapes to the explosive violence of the bloody battle itself, Heaven’s Gate combines breathtaking cinematography, Oscar(r)-nominated* Art Direction and memorable performances by Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Isabelle Huppert and Jeff Bridges in a spectacular, panoramic and ultimately haunting look at the reverse side of the American dream. ” – MGM DVD

THE CANTERBURY TALES – “Pier Paolo Pasolini’s (Decameron) startling candor and ribald humor illuminate these classic tales of romance, deception, murder and lust. A host of passionate lovers unite for a glorious, sometimes unexpected journey through Chaucer’s medieval England.IMAGE DVD

DECAMERON – “Legendary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini delivers nine exuberant tales in this “earthy, genuinely ribald and spicy” (Variety) film. Based on Boccaccio’s timeless classicand the first in Pasolini’s Trilogy of Life series – The Decameron is an uproariously “irreverent romp” (Variety) that’s “positively jubilant in its naughtiness” (Films and Filming)! Lusty nuns who perform sexual “miracles,” a cheating wife with a head for business, a dying con artist attempting a heavenly swindle, young lovers caught with their pants down, a servent who loses his head for love and a gullible farmer who tries to turn his wife into a mare. These are just some of the stories Pasolini vividly brings to life!MGM DVD

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER – “On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking with it 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. A Night to Remember depicts the ship’s final hours in an unforgettable rendering of Walter Lord’s book of the same name. Now, aficionados of this terrific film can compare it to the facts with Criterion’s special edition, which features screen-specific commentary by Titanic experts Don Lynch and Ken Marschall.Criterion DVD

Check out the image for yourself. Can you see any titles that we missed?

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Jurassic Park Trilogy and Jaws being prepared for Blu-ray

Jurassic Park Trilogy and Jaws being prepared for Blu-ray

Big news for Spielberg fans! While there hasn’t been a peep on the Indiana Jones trilogy making its way to Blu-ray as yet, there’s finally been confirmation that both Jaws and the Jurassic Park Trilogy are on their way to our format of choice. In an interview with AICN, the director confirmed that work is underway on the Jaws Blu:

    I’ve already seen some of it. I don’t have a date yet, but there’s a Blu-ray absolutely in the works.

Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits has revealed that his sources at Universal confirm the work on the disc but that it most likely won’t hit shelves until 2012. Those same sources have, however, confirmed that the Jurassic Park Trilogy will be released later this year. Expect to see the multi-disc set in stores in time for the holiday shopping season (late-October/early-November.)

Jaws Blu-rayJurassic Park Blu-ray

(Artwork not official)

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three Blu-ray set in October

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three Blu-ray set in October

Wow! This news is unexpectedly early. (a source of tons of early Blu-ray info this week!) has posted their pre-order page for the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three Blu-ray boxed set. The release date is listed as October 25th, which matches up to the time frame of previous Clone Wars boxed set street dates. Canadian retail price is $74.98, which is identical to the MSRP of Season 2 and translates to US $59.98 (Yeah, we really get hosed up here, north of the 49th parallel, don’t we?) Don’t be surprised if special features mimic previous sets exactly, with behind-the-scenes featurettes, Jedi Temple Archives and included hardcover book packaging. We’ll know more when the multi-disc Blu-ray set is officially announced.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars:S3 Box [Blu-ray]

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Sylvain Chomet’s animated The Illusionist coming to Blu-ray in May?

Sylvain Chomet’s animated The Illusionist coming to Blu-ray in May?

Amazon has listed a pre-order for Sylvain Chomet‘s brilliant film, The Illusionist, the director’s animated adaptation of an unfilmed script by famed director Jacques Tati. The US page doesn’t include any details of the release outside of the suggested price ($38.96) but the Canadian page reveals that Sony plans to have the disc in stores on May 10. Two questions now remain – what special features will be included on the disc and when will we see Chomet’s Les Triplettes de Belleville on Blu-ray? UK and French releases might provide some clues.

Pathé released The Illusionist on Blu-ray on February 9th in France, both on its own and packaged with Chomet’s earlier film, Les Triplettes de Belleville. Reviews claim that the image is astounding but the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 is problematic, with center channel information doubled though the left surround. Pathé claims the audio oddity is not an error but an artistic choice. However you might feel about the audio, there’s no question that the disc really drops the ball in the special features department, including only an image gallery, trailer and a 3-minute featurette.

Fox opted not to release The Illusionist on Blu-ray in the UK but graced the DVD edition of the film with a 77-minute interview with Chomet at Edinburgh Film Festival, along with the Pathé Blu-ray features.

It’s hard to say whether or not Sony will license the interview for the North American Blu-ray release of The Illusionist or, in fact, what features will be provided, if any at all. The one thing we can tell for sure, at this point, is that the studio has no apparent plans to release Les Triplettes de Belleville on Blu-ray, despite still holding the license for US distribution (held by Alliance in Canada). For those considering an import of the French Blu-ray discs, take note that the films are presented in 24fps but the menus on the discs are 50hz and may not be compatible with your Blu-ray player/display.

Rest assured, we’ll keep you updated with any news that pops up on either of these titles.

L'Illusionniste (César 2011 du Meilleur Film d'Animation) [Blu-ray] L'Illusionniste + Les Triplettes de Belleville [Blu-ray]

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Taxi Driver 4K Restoration on Blu-ray in April

Taxi Driver 4K Restoration on Blu-ray in April

There have been a fair number of classic and very important films announced for release on Blu-ray this year already, though we’re only twenty-eight days into 2011. And despite the fact that there has been no official announcement yet in North America it has become clear in the last couple of days that Martin Scorsese‘s Taxi Driver will, at long last, be making its way to Blu this coming April.

The film is confirmed for release on Blu-ray in Germany on April 7 and has been rumoured to hit the streets here, on this side of the Atlantic shortly thereafter, on April 21st for a MSRP of $28.95 (now confirmed for an April 5th release). There has yet to be any hint of what special features we might see on the release but I’m hoping and praying that the recent “special relationship” between Sony and The Criterion Collection that allowed for their BBS Story boxed set to exist (a good deal of the titles in the set were licensed from Sony/Columbia, with transfers/restoration handled by the studio) will allow for Criterion’s classic laserdisc commentary track by Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader to make an appearance.

What we do know for sure is that Taxi Driver has recently received a 4K restoration, so it should, by all rights, look like a million bucks on Blu-ray (and given the recent work by Grover Crisp and his crack team of digital artists at Sony, I’m expecting this one to be a home run)! The restoration will debut in a couple of week at the Berlin Film Festival, presented by Schrader and Crisp.

The Taxi Driver Blu-ray is available for pre-order from right now!

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Blu-ray in April, first look at Special Features

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Blu-ray in April, first look at Special Features

The first hints at the upcoming Blu-ray release of the latest Harry Potter film are beginning to surface, including an April release date and a first look at what might be included in the collection of special features. has listed the film as having a street date of April 12th here in North America. Meanwhile, the British Board of Film Classification and have listed the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Blu-ray for release a day earlier, on April 11th. The sites also provide an early look at the extras most likely to appear on the disc. Keep in mind that both the date and the feature list are all rumour until confirmed by Warner.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Blu-ray


(April 12, 2011 – MSRP $TBA)
Video: 2.40:1 VC-1 1080p
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

  • The Burrow’s Shed: Ron Discusses Radios with Mr. Weasley
  • The Dursley House: Harry and Aunt Petunia As They Leave House
  • The Dursley House: Harry and Dudley Shake Hands
  • The Granger House: Death Eaters Search Deserted Home
  • Ministry of Magic Lifts: Harry Tells Arthur He’s Being Tracked
  • Tent: Trio Discusses Destroying The Locket
  • Rabbit Chase in the Forest
  • Montage: Ron and Hermione Skimming Stones


  • On The Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James

Focus Points

  • The Last Days of Privet Drive
  • Hagrid’s Motorbike
  • Magical Tents
  • Death Eaters Attack Cafe
  • Creating Dobby and Kreacher
  • Godric’s Hollow
  • The Frozen Lake
  • The Return of Griphook

Blu-ray Exclusive Features

  • Maximum Movie Mode: Voldemort’s Secrets
  • Sneak Peek: First scene of HP7.2 (TBC)
  • Behind the Soundtrack
  • The Flight of the Seven Harrys
  • Exploring Godric’s Hollow
  • The Women of Harry Potter
  • Rupert Grint: Not Your Average Guy
  • Join the Cast at the WWoHP Grand Opening
  • Additional Scenes

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