Criterion’s new Blu-ray of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) affords this scrappy, independent production the high degree of respect it has earned not only as one of the key American films of the 1960s, but as a work which almost single-handedly redefined the horror genre.
Some comments about the past year’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Criterion releases a new Blu-ray edition of Barbet Schroeder’s fascinating and problematic documentary about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, featuring a vibrant transfer from the original 16mm reversal stock.
Terry Gilliam began to forge an identity separate from Monty Python with a film which seems superficially Pythonesque, but on closer look is a darker, richer and more dangerous view of an absurd world. Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Jabberwocky draws out every detail of a richly imagined Medieval world of blood, filth and horror viewed through Gilliam’s comic lens.
Criterion’s exemplary release of Orson Welles’ Othello on Blu-ray presents both versions of one of the filmmaker’s most important films with an impressive collection of supplements which delve into the production and meaning of one of the most original cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s work.
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (2016) is a jewel of the art and craft of filmmaking, an intensely emotional and ultimately heartbreaking study of character and landscape.
Sacha Guitry’s La poison (1951) is a deceptively light and witty comedy about murder; beneath the surface it is a bitter dissection of a society devoid of morality.
An almost lost masterpiece resurfaces in Criterion’s excellent Blu-ray release of Michael Curtiz’ The Breaking Point (1950) starring John Garfield. This Hemingway adaptation fell prey to Hollywood’s post-war Red Scare, but is now revealed as among the director’s and star’s finest work.
Technical accuracy is not necessarily what makes science fiction satisfying; more important is storytelling, as illustrated by two older, and one recent, movies released on Blu-ray: Byron Haskin’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), Joseph Sargent’s Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival (2016)..
Criterion’s Blu-ray presents Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Stalker in a stunning new restoration which does full justice to its rich imagery and subtle soundscape.