Psycho (Gus Van Sant, 1998)

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

criterion logoFew films have been as maligned and misunderstood as Gus Van Sant’s near shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece, however Van Sant’s retelling is a bold effort to restore Psycho to its filmic roots and a brash statement on authorship, Hollywood entertainment, and the changing nature of cinema.  It is an unlikeliest of movies – a $60-million dollar, studio-funded, nationally-released, avant-garde film.  Gathering around him an impressive cast and crew including Anne Heche, Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, Robert Forster, cinematographer Christopher Doyle, title designer Pablo Ferro, original Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano, and composers Danny Elfman, Steve Bartek, and Wayne Horvitz, Van Sant takes on one of cinema’s great masterpieces and offers an unsettling opportunity to see Psycho for the first time once again.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration approved by director Gus Van Sant and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary with Van Sant and actors Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn
  • New interviews with Van Sant, and actors Heche, Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortenson, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, and Robert Forster
  • Psycho Paths, a 30-minute documentary on the making of Van Sant’s Psycho
  • Psycho Shampoo, Van Sant’s 1979 parody commercial appropriating Psycho‘s famous shower scene
  • Punk Rock Psycho, a new interview with Van Sant and Mortenson on their considered follow-up remake of Psycho relocated to a punk rock setting
  • Psychos, Steven Soderbergh’s feature-length mash-up of Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho and Van Sant’s 1998 Psycho, with introduction by Soderbergh
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film scholars Stephen Jay Schneider, Donato Totaro, and Mark Carpenter

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Phoenix Tapes (Christoph Girardet and Matthias Muller, 1999)

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

criterion logoCut together from 40 of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, Christoph Girardet and Matthias Müller’s 6-part Phoenix Tapes is a surreal collage of the master director’s themes, motifs, gestures, and objects in a pure cinematic experience.  More than a mere catalogue of Hitchcockian fetish objects and complexes, Girardet and Müller reconnect us to original experience of Hitchcock’s films by removing the familiar context of those sounds and images.  In doing so, Phoenix Tapes examines the uncanny fear specific to the master of suspense and through those Oedipal traps, guilty consciences, maternal obsessions, and murderous desires, explores the dark recesses of cinema’s own collective unconscious.

Disc Features:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, approved by Christoph Girardet and Matthias Müller, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interviews with Girardet and Müller on selected works
  • Short films by Girardet and Müller, including Manual (2002), Beacon (2002), Play (2003), Mirror (2003), Kristall (2006), Maybe Siam (2009), Contre-jour (2009), Meteor (2011) and Cut (2013)
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film scholars Thomas Elsaesser, Dominique Païni, Sally Shafto, and filmmaker Guy Maddin

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Who are your neighbors?: 60 years of peeping through the “Rear Window”

Who are your neighbors?: 60 years of peeping through the “Rear Window”.

We should be sharing more of the wonderful work we discover online, and so we’ll start with this excellent review of the actors who play Jeff’s neighbours in Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954).  Performances like these are taken for granted, but Jnpickens at Comet Over Hollywood reveals there are some fascinating facts lurking behind these thankless roles.  It’s absolutely inspired to ask who these actors were and, in a way, reminds me of Robert Ray’s unconventional approach to film study and his surrealist games borne from those minute, unconsidered details glossed over in the classical Hollywood narrative.