From trash to art, boxed sets enhance the viewing experience by providing a broader context for individual movies – here, four more features from William Castle, The Trilogy of Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini, and a grab bag of five horrors from poverty row distributor Hemisphere.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984) offers an impressive 4K restoration of this grim and gritty dystopian fantasy faithfully adapted from George Orwell’s novel.
Criterion once again showcases the prodigious talent of French writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol with their Blu-ray release of The Baker’s Wife (1938), considered to be his best film.
Criterion’s two-disk Blu-ray release of Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace showcases a restoration of what may well be the most expensive film ever made. Truly epic in scale, this adaptation of Tolstoy’s revered novel balances awe-inspiring spectacle with emotionally charged character drama. The 7+ hour feature is supplemented with three hours of informative new and archival extras.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray offers a superb presentation of William Wyler’s greatest film, The Heiress (1949), a subtle yet scathing dissection of the ways in which money distorts and destroys human relationships.
Recent disks from Indicator present a wide variety of styles and genres from bleak ’60s espionage to slick 1970s big studio exploitation, charming period comedy to enjoyable if less-than-scary horror.
A critical, but long-suppressed film from the New German Cinema, Volker Schlöndorff’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s first play Baal (1970) gets an impressive release on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection. This aggressively unsettling film is packaged with an excellent selection of contextual supplements.
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.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.