Criterion Made Mine! The Moonstruck Edition

The cover art may not be revealed but Moonstruck is coming to Criterion Collection this November and MMC! is here to take all the credit, having previously proposed the Norman Jewison film as a quasi-valentine to my lovely wife who rightfully adores the movie. Our MMC! edition bears a strong resemblance to the actual Criterion release just announced. Both versions port over the current Blu-ray’s special features, each leaving out the lamentable cooking and food featurette, and both include an interview specifically considering the significance of opera to the film. And so, as always … you’re welcome, cinephiles.

The rest of November’s Criterion slate looks solid with an Essential Fellini box set (More weird packaging!), Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Coolness!), Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (Meh!), and Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (An MMC! favourite discovery from last year!).

And for those waiting for MMC!’s next proposal, a new imagined Criterion edition will arrive before the end of this week and it’ll be British, recent, and widely celebrated!

Ticket of No Return (Ulrike Ottinger, 1979)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Ticket of No Return.

The it-girl of the West German art subculture, Tabea Blumenschein, stars as a nameless, silent stranger with a one-way ticket to Berlin and a plan to drink herself to death. While touring high class bars, queer nightspots, and seedy dives, she befriends a struggling homeless woman and runs across a trio of prim, judgemental women known as Social Question, Accurate Statistics, and Common Sense. With Blumenschein’s extravagant costumes and writer/director/cinematographer Ulrike Ottinger’s eye for a city still struggling to lift itself out of the bombed-out depression of World War II, Ticket of No Return is an unforgettably unique tour of Berlin and a deliciously shrewd example of feminist camp.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Restored 4K digital transfer, overseen by director Ulrike Ottinger, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with Ottinger
  • Berlinfever – Wolf Vostell, Ottinger’s 16 minute short film of a 1973 Happening organized by artist and friend Wolf Vostell
  • Gallery of Ottinger’s workbook used to develop and produce the film
  • Gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
  • An excerpt from Gérard Courant’s Cinématon (2009) featuring Ottinger
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by critic Michael Koresky

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Here Comes the Sun, Finally!

MMC! is lamentably late in acknowledging its nomination for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Tony Nash of Movie Fan Man! Cinema fans (particularly those of Euro-crime) should make Movie Fan Man a regular stop as Tony’s valuable appraisals of movies high and low shouldn’t be missed.  And, of course, MFM has become a stalwart follower of MMC! and its fantasies, and I am exceptionally grateful for that support!

Now, to the questions!

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Moonstruck (Norman Jewison, 1987)

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

In this award-winning, romantic comedy, Cher stars as Loretta, a widowed bookkeeper in Brooklyn who agrees to marry a mild-mannered man (Danny Aiello) even though she does not love him. Unlucky in love, she promptly falls for his estranged brother (Nicolas Cage), sparking a torrid affair with the moody, young man while her fiancé is absent at his mother’s deathbed. With wonderfully stylized dialogue by playwright John Patrick Shanley and a brilliant ensemble of supporting performances from Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, John Mahoney, Julie Bovasso, Louis Guss, and Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck is a modern screwball classic and an operatic fable full of moonlit enchantment and the sweet charm of sugar cubes dissolved in champagne.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with director Norman Jewison, writer John Patrick Shanley, and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, and Danny Aiello
  • Audio Commentary featuring Cher, Norman Jewison, and writer John Patrick Shanley
  • A Night at the Opera, musicologist Marcia Citron on opera, La bohème, and Moonstruck
  • Remarriage Italian Style, scholar William Day on Moonstruck and the comedy of remarriage
  • Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family, a featurette on the making of the film
  • Music of Moonstruck, a featurette on the film’s score
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar Mary Ann McDonald Carolan

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How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps (Ben Berman, 2016)

Happy 2019, kids! It’s less than a week after New Year’s and that means it’s primetime at gyms everywhere, so it’s the perfect opportunity to spend time with Ben Berman’s hilarious, moving, and all too true short film, How To Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps (2016). The film is based on Aaron Bleyaert’s essay of the same title, discovered by Berman when it was forwarded to him by a friend after joining a gym. The short was shot in two halves with SNL‘s Beck Bennett (in a wonderful starring performance as a heartbroken mattress salesman) losing 30 pounds in the three months in between. Funny and disarmingly inspirational, How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps is actually perfect anytime of the year.

This post is naturally dedicated to work-out loving wife and her friend who loves anything with “humping” in it.  LOL.

Trailer Tuesday

It’s another splendid month of announcements from the Criterion Collection. Without any doubt, I’m most interested in the release of Frank Borzage’s Moonrise (1948). This is mainly due to my fascination with MoMA’s recent program, Republic Rediscovered. Presented in two halves, with the first having wrapped up earlier this month and the latter half arriving in August, the series is presented by Martin Scorsese and the Film Foundation and offers 30 new restorations (compliments of Paramount Pictures) from the acclaimed poverty row studio, Republic Pictures. Moonrise will join the Criterion Collection in May and screen as part of the program’s second half in August.  Until then, enjoy Gina Telaroli’s wonderful trailer.

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