Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Criterion Empire

Darn those folks at Criterion and their ongoing attempts to bankrupt me. As if reissuing 3 Penny Opera this fall were not mind blowing enough, they've got a line up this spring that not only includes a four disc reissue of The Last Emperor but also The Ice Storm and Hiroshi Teshigahara's review on the life and works of Gaudi. I also spent much of yesterday evening searching in vain for their release this week of the Lubitsch musicals, primarily featuring my maternal grandfather's muse, Maurice Chevalier. Don't worry, it doesn't diminish my love of hokum such as Skidoo and Earthquake, but I know I'll be investing money in these instead of wasting it to see Spiderman 6 at the Imax.

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12 Comments:

At 12:55 PM, Blogger WAT said...

"The Ice Storm." That the movie with Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline? That was an odd picture. I dunno. Strange and I didn't connect with it at all. Better suburbia gone wrong movies for me were "American Beauty" and "Little Children."

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

WAT - I agree that "The Ice Storm" is no classic but has it's moments. Seeing Christina Ricci in the Nixon mask while having sex with Elijah Wood is a high point. It looks like Tricky Dickie is being screwed by a 14-year-old boy.

I loved "American Beauty" at the time but have become less fond of it. I think it's really sexist in that it seems to applaud a middle aged guy chasing a teenage cheerleader but makes out Annette Benning's character as a slut for having an affair with a man her age. Considering that her husband can't get up for her and is always depressed, I was cheering for her not Mr. Spacey.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

'The Last Emperor' was such a good movie. I saw it with my (currently deceased) Great Aunt and Uncle in Santa Barbara, back when it was still in theaters.

Being Quakers, they were deeply disturbed by the whole thing:
Them: It was so violent...
Me: Yes, but wasn't it visually stunning and fascinating?
Them: No, it was really violent...
Me: But...

Then we went back to their place, and I experienced my first earthquake.

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

I loved The Last Emperor. The score was a Byrne score that fit so well with the film. I'm done buying DVDs. I would be right there picking up this copy however Blu-ray has swayed me. I now have trouble watching dvds because I find the menu so useless since you cannot access it while the feature is playing.

I'm becoming spoiled.

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - It's one of if not my all time historical epics. Pu Yi is fascinating as a victim of not creator of history. And I really dig John Lone. Well, I'd love to hear your relatives' take on "Sweeney Todd" or "Pulp Fiction".

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gavin - Do you happen to know the release date for Criterion's Blu Ray version of "Skidoo"? (He he.) Byrne did a great job, and cheesy or not I've loved Sakamoto back to his days with Y.M.O. I was the leader of a small J-pop fan club in Kansas City back in the day.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

They were interesting people anyway: he was some sort of psychologist-to-the-stars (Buddy Hackett and Steve McQueen, anyway), and member of the International Jungian Society. She was a nutritionist of the Adelle Davis variety.

They never had kids, wandered all over the world having a wonderful time, and yes, were Quakers. "Pulp Fiction"? Hell, they would have had a hard time with most cartoons.

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - Wow, they sound like the types of donors I work with in my job. Maybe I knew them.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger jason said...

Random thoughts:

I loved the Last Emperor too. What's on all those other disks, I wonder?

Hated, absolutely *hated* American Beauty...I can't even remember why....it was far too heavy handed. I remember rolling my eyes in the theater. I hadn't thought of it before, but I think you're right about the sexism.

I need to see the Ice Storm again, but I remember liking it. On second look who knows...

And Maurice Chevalier! How wonderful! I would listen to him read a phone book.

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jason - It has a bunch of documentaries, interviews. The film has so many layers and mysteries.

I'm glad I am not alone on "American Beauty".

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger joe said...

Have not seen Ice Storm but that sex scene makes it sound almost tempting. Was it never on DVD before?

I think I saw "Last Emperor" at least three times in the theater when I was a student in New York City, but I've been afraid to watch it again for fear that I'll somehow conclude it's oversentimental or overstylized or something. I loved Joan Chen.

Criminy, though, I can't imagine wanting a 4-disc set of anything. Well... maybe, but it's hard to imagine what title that would be.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Oddly the New Canaan, CT, of "The Ice Storm" was very similar to suburban Kansas City that I grew up in during the same period, though maybe not QUITE that swinging. But I had my share of basement encounters in Nixon masks back then.

"The Last Emperor" in its many incarnations has never disappointed me. Yes, I love Joan Chen too, but John Lone, ooh la la. I recently bought the four disc "Blade Runner" which would have been fine with two. But I think the "Emp" is worth that much analysis. I always love with the dowager dragon empress is dying and makes that pronouncement about the big black marble dropping into history or something of that sort. I saw it just as I was beginning my career in international work, so it holds a special place in my heart.

 

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