Streetwise (Martin Bell, 1984)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Streetwise.

criterion logoMartin Bell’s Academy Award-nominated documentary portrays the lives of several desperate teenagers on the streets of downtown Seattle.  Thrown too young into a seedy, grown-up world, these runaways and castaways survive … but just barely.  Rat, the dumpster diver.  Tiny, the teen prostitute.  Shellie, the baby-faced blonde.  DeWayne, the hustler.  All old beyond their years.  All underage survivors fighting for life and love in the alleys and abandoned buildings of Washington’s Emerald City.  Streetwise is a late classic in cinema verité that insightfully reveals a harsh place and time too easily ignored by those outside it.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital film restoration, approved by director Martin Bell, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Erin, Bell’s 2003 short film combining footage of Erin “Tiny” Blackwell shot in 1983, 1991, and 2004
  • ABC report from 1993 revisiting Blackwell 10 years after Streetwise
  • New interview with Mary Ellen Mark with an accompanying gallery of her photography
  • New interview with Bell, Mark, and Blackwell
  • Interview with Megan Gibbard and Carrie Whitaker Henner of the King County Homeless Youth and Young Adult Initiative
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring Cheryl McCall and Mary Ellen Mark’s July 1983 Life magazine article and a new essay by writer-producer Veena Sud

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Black Angel (Roger Christian, 1980)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Black Angel.

criterion logoOriginally commissioned by George Lucas to accompany The Empire Strikes Back and believed lost until rediscovered in 2011, Roger Christian’s mythological short film follows an honorable knight who returns from far away wars to find his family dead, his land destroyed, and a terrible sickness plaguing his people.  He is saved from drowning by a young maiden bound to the Black Angel, a fearsome and deathly warrior, and the knight vows to free the maiden from her captor.  Shot amid the stunning landscapes of Scotland and featuring an early score by Trevor Jones and electronic sound effects by Paddy Kingsland, Black Angel is a highly influential work of fantasy filmmaking and a long-sought-after mini-masterpiece.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by filmmaker Roger Christian and Bay Area Visual Effects Society members Brice Parker and David Tanaka, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • The Tale of Sir Maddox, a new interview with Christian on the origin, loss, and recovery of Black Angel.
  • New interviews with George Lucas, Terry Gilliam, cinematographer Roger Pratt, and producer Sandy Lieberson
  • Restoration demonstration with Parker and Tanaka
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film and medieval studies scholar Kevin Harty

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The Bloodthirsty Trilogy (Michio Yamamoto, 1970-1974)


AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddIn the spirit of Hammer and American International’s successful Gothic horror films comes Michio Yamamoto’s The Vampire Doll, Lake of Dracula, and Evil of Dracula – the BLOODTHIRSTY TRILOGY!

In this trio of rarely seen horror classics, Toho Studios transports the Dracula legend to the Land of the Rising Sun.  Bloody fangs, vampiric brides, creepy mansions, and stormy nights abound while terrible secrets reach out from beyond the grave to threaten the living.  In The Vampire Doll, a missing man’s sister and her boyfriend track him to the ancestral home of his recently deceased fiancé and uncover a gruesome and dangerous family history.  A childhood nightmare of a golden-eyed vampire proves to be true in Lake of Dracula when years later a mysterious package is delivered to Lake Fujimi and local women begin suffering from blood loss and strange bite-marks.  Evil of Dracula pits a remote private school’s new teacher against the terrifying evils that threaten him and overwhelm his beautiful young students.  These one-of-a-kind films are highly atmospheric and genuinely creepy experiments in terror, sure to fascinate fans of Gothic horror and Japanese monster movies alike.

Special Features:

  • New High Definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Audio commentary by producer Fumio Tanaka
  • New interviews with stars Akira Nakao, Chôei Takahashi, Toshio Kurosawa, and Atsuo Nakamura
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Gallery of promotional portraits and original promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve with original and commissioned artwork
  • Collector’s booklet by critic Steven Hampton and Japanese film scholar Jasper Sharp of Midnight Eye, illustrated with new artwork

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Despair has no wings, A Crystal Maze, Alphaville and Film Studies for Free

Yesterday at Film Studies for Free, Catherine Grant posted “STUDY OF A SINGLE FILM: On Godard’s ALPHAVILLE – Dystopia 50 years on!”  We love dystopias and Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965), and are only too pleased to nerd out on some French New Wave scholarship.  Enjoy Patricia Pisters’ Despair has no wings (2015) and Henrike Lindenberger’s A Crystal Maze (2014) embedded here and the other essays collected at the Film Studies for Free page.

Thanks Catherine!

Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Children of Men.

criterion logoNo children.  No future.  No hope.  In the year 2027, eighteen years since the last baby was born, disillusioned Theo Faron (Clive Owen) becomes an unlikely champion of the human race when he is asked by his former lover Julian (Julianne Moore) to escort a young pregnant woman out of Britain as quickly as possible.  In a thrilling race against time, Theo will risk everything to deliver the miracle the whole world has been waiting for.  Employing stunningly long takes filmed by the great Emmanuel Lubezki, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men presents a politically charged, near-future dystopia that is all too recognizable from the present day.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and approved by director Alfonso Cuarón, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • A new piece on the making of Children of Men, featuring new interviews with actors Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Clare-Hope Ashitey, co-writer Timothy J. Sexton, Cuarón, and Lubezki
  • The Possibility of Hope, Cuarón’s 27-minute documentary on the issues and theories behind Children of Men
  • Comments by Slavoj Zizek, an extended interview on the film and its adaptation from P. D. James’s novel
  • Theo and Julian, interviews with Clive Owen and Julianne on the development of their characters
  • Under Attack, a behind-the-scenes look at shooting the film’s complicated action sequences
  • Futuristic Design, a review of Children of Men‘s outstanding art direction and world-building
  • Visual Effects: Creating the Baby, an examination of the film’s digital effects
  • A new video piece with scholar James Udden on Children of Men and the long take
  • Quietus “You Decide When” commercial
  • Deleted scenes
  • Gallery of production photos, posters, and promotional art
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring extensive production design artwork, Zizek’s essay “The Clash of Civilizations at the End of History,” and a new essay by film critic Charles Taylor

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