Maya and the Three (Jorge R. Gutierrez, 2021)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Maya and the Three.

criterion logoAn epic animated event told over nine chapters, Jorge R. Gutierrez’s Maya and the Three is the story of a brave and rebellious warrior princess whose fifteenth birthday ceremony is interrupted by the gods of the underworld who claim her life is forfeit to the God of War, Lord Mictlan. While coming to terms with her family’s secret past, Princess Maya embarks on a quest to recruit three legendary fighters, fulfill an ancient prophecy, and save their four kingdoms from the gods’ vengeance. With its Mesoamerican inspired fantasy world, its frame-breaking action spectacles, and its impeccable collection of performances by Zoe Saldaña, Alfred Molina, Allen Moldonado, Stephanie Beatriz, Gabriel Iglesias, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Rosie Perez, and Rita Moreno, Maya and the Three takes its inspiration from cinema’s great works of fantasy to produce a dazzling tribute to Gutierrez’s Mexican homeland.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • 4K digital transfer, approved by creator-director Jorge R. Gutierrez, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and two Blu-rays with the film and special features
  • Audio commentary featuring Gutierrez and creative consultant Sandra Equihua
  • Spanish language alternate soundtrack with newly translated English subtitles
  • Extended interviews with the Gutierrez, Equihua, Zoe Saldaña, Diego Luna, Gabriel Iglesias, Stephanie Beatriz, Allen Moldonado
  • Picture-in-picture storyboards and production artwork for the entire film
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Featurettes on the series: Creating the World of Maya, Behind the Epic Battles, Meet the Warriors, and 15 Fun Facts
  • Music video for “If It’s To Be” by Kali Uchis
  • Son of Jaguar, Gutierrez’s VR tribute to Mexican pro-wrestling
  • Super Macho Fighter, a stop-motion proof of concept created by Gutierrez
  • Carmen Got Expelled!, a 2010 pilot by Gutierrez
  • Carmelo, Gutierrez’s 2000 thesis film for CalArts, and Tequila Macho, a 1999 teaser made at CalArts
  • We the People music video series produced by Netflix with creator Chris Nee, producers Barack and Michelle Obama, and various directors including Gutierrez
  • Trailers and teasers
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: New essays by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and visual effects journalist Ian Failes; and drawings, original paintings, and other ephemera

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Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2018)

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

On the margins of Tokyo, a band of petty thieves take in an abandoned and abused child stranded in the cold. Incorporating the girl into their family, they find new happiness amongst each other, however their tenuous, below-the-radar existence is threatened when their son is arrested and their makeshift family is questioned. Shoplifters is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest masterpiece, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and a quintessential expression of filmmaker’s love for  marginalized lives, complex families, and domestic dramas.

Disc Features:

  • 4K digital master, approved by director Hirokazu Kore-eda and cinematographer Ryuto Kondo, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New video interviews with Kore-eda and cast members
  • Documentary on the making of the film, featuring on-set footage
  • Trailers and TV spots
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Imogen Sara Smith and Japanese film scholar Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano

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SFFF Day 1 Report – Four Killers and a Dog

Even before I arrived in Saskatoon, I felt like Fantastic Film Festival-action was meeting me like a herald of things to come. It had something to do with the man waiting at my flight’s gate conspicuously wearing a black eyepatch that threatened spy movie villainy. It also had something to do with the man behind me in security and his laptop that tested positive for “explosive residue.” Fortunately for me, action-thrillers weren’t slated until Day 2 of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival and my flight proceeded without complication, bringing me to Day 1 of SFFF and a block of films featuring some disturbed title characters.

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Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Our Little Sister.

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) is a scenic and gently sensitive domestic drama that confirms its maker’s reputation as a great director in the tradition of Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse. Adapted from a popular Japanese comic book, the film concerns three twentysomething sisters – Sachi, Yoshino, and Chika – who live together in an old, large house in the seaside city of Kamakura. When their long absent father dies, they travel to a small countryside town for his funeral and meet their shy, teenage half-sister for the first time. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them and the four sisters commence a new life of tentatively joyful discovery. With documentary precision and picturesque elegance, Our Little Sister is a touching survey of love, generosity, and the weight of family histories.

Disc Features:

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The Housemaid (Kim Ki-young, 1960)

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

criterion logoKim Ki-Young’s The Housemaid is a true classic of South Korean cinema, a caustic, shocking indictment of consumerism, Westernization, and bourgeois values made in the middle years of the director’s career and establishing themes and styles that became the filmmaker’s trademark in the decades that followed.  When a young housemaid (Ahn Sung-ki) is brought into the family home of music teacher Mr. Kim (Kim Jin-kyu), she quickly seduces its patriarch and sets upon terrorizing the equally unscrupulous family.  Worthy of comparison to Hitchcock and Buñuel, The Housemaid is a stylish, claustrophobic, psychologically complex critique of South Korea’s modernization and as audacious a portrait of domestic dysfunction as committed to film.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored high-definition film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Introduction by Martin Scorsese, filmmaker and chairman of the World Cinema Foundation
  • Audio commentary by filmmaker Bong Joon-ho
  • Two or Three Things I Know About KIM Ki-young: Directors Talking about KIM Ki-Young, a 2006 documentary featuring interviews with Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, and Kim Jee-woon on the director’s filmography and influence
  • Trailer gallery of Kim Ki-Young films
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by World Cinema Foundation artistic director Kent Jones and film critic and historian Jean-Michel Frodon

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The Stars Look Down (Carol Reed, 1940)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Stars Look Down.

criterion logoCarol Reed’s adaptation of A. J. Cronin’s novel presents the hardscrabble existence of a northern England mining town. Davey Fenwick (Michael Redgrave) escapes the dangerous Scupper Flats seam for a college education and plans to improve the lot of his coal-mining community.  Trapped in an unhappy marriage and forced to return to his grimy home, Davey is embroiled in a labor dispute and then a mining disaster.  Starring Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood on loan from Gainsborough Pictures to Grand National and filmed both on location and on elaborate sets at the Denham and Twickenham Studios, Reed invests The Stars Look Down with a gritty documentary look and a poetic naturalist style that garnered him international acclaim, launching him to further cinematic accomplishments.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry
  • Comparison between the English and American versions
  • “Michael Redgrave: My Father,” Roger Michell’s 1997 BBC Omnibus documentary narrated by Michael Redgrave’s son Corin Redgrave
  • Trailer
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Dave Berry and Graham Greene’s review for The Spectator.

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