Time to jingle those piggy banks and see what shakes loose — if you’ve ever wanted some of the best of contemporary and classic films for your very own, here’s your chance. Barnes & Noble is offering all of Criterion Collection’s movies at 50% off, including such faves as HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, 12 ANGRY MEN, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE THIN RED LINE, THE 39 STEPS, RUSHMORE and the miniseries CARLOS. Most titles are available on beauteous Blu-ray.
Louis Malle’s riotous, wildly experimental ZAZIE DANS LE METRO (1960) is based on the novel of the same name by Raymond Queneau, a co-founder of Oulipo, the experimental writer’s group based on linguistic constraint. Zazie Dans le Metro has been called the funniest book ever written in, and about, the French language. It was enormously popular in France, but given the liberties it takes with language – inventing words, defying syntax and spelling – it was considered a risk for Malle to adapt, and its subsequent release was met with far less success than his two previous narrative films, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS and THE LOVERS, both released in 1958.
Now that Oscar season has come and gone, we can all relax a bit and not drown in the complete saturation. On movies, I’m simply able to reflect more clearly. One opportunity came recently, after pondering TRUE GRIT and watching Jeff Bridges do his friendly guy thing on the red carpet– I popped in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and gave it a whirl (Criterion released it on blu-ray in December). I reflected – what a career Jeff Bridges has had. And what an ensemble cast – particularly the wonderful Timothy Bottoms. It’s worth going back to.
You might think a film as classic as Federico Fellini’s AMARCORD (1973) would have found its rightful place amongst the Criterion Collection long ago, but in fact it’s the newest member of the Criterion family, available in Blu-Ray for the first time just two weeks ago. Set in a fictitious provincial town in 1930s Italy, AMARCORD is loosely based on Fellini’s own childhood memories of small town life in Rimini, complete with its many characters and “circus of social rituals, adolescent desires, male fantasies and political subterfuge.”