They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Sydney Pollack, 1969)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

On the Santa Monica Pier, in the shabby La Monica Ballroom, a bizarre Depression-era fad unfolds – the dance marathon. A worn out collection of hopefuls (Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Bonnie Bedelia, Red Buttons, and Bruce Dern) compete in hopes that a Hollywood casting agent spots them or that they at least win the contest’s $1,500 cash prize. But the competition is a grueling public spectacle, lasting thousands of hours and taking weeks to proceed, leaving dignity and salvation farther and farther away. Based on Horace McCoy’s brutally poetic novel and featuring stand-out performances including Gig Young’s award-winning role as the marathon’s huckstering emcee, Sydney Pollack’s seminal film puts a cap on 1960s idealism and paints a bleak portrait of the American Dream that still resonates today.

Disc Features:

  • New 2K digital transfer, presented with uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by director and producer Sydney Pollack
  • Audio commentary with Jane Fonda, producer Irwin Winkler, former president of ABC Pictures and talent agent Martin Baum, Bonnie Bedelia, Michael Sarrazin, Red Buttons, and legendary hair stylist Sydney Guilaroff
  • New interviews with actors Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern, and Bonnie Bedelia
  • New interview with film critic Kim Morgan
  • New interview with filmmaker Sarah Gertrude Shapiro discussing They Shoot Horses and introducing her 2013 short film Sequin Raze
  • Original featurette on the making of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald, composer John Green’s musical continuity notes, Pollack’s forward to the screenplay, and notes, pictures, and diagrams taken from Pollack’s shooting script; a new paperback edition of McCoy’s original novel

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Logorama (Ludovic Houplain, Herve de Crecy, and Francois Alaux, 2009)

Back in January, the Criterion Collection paired the Oscar-winning short film Logorama (Ludovic Houplain, Hervé de Crécy, and François Alaux, 2009) with Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin (1966). Created by the French collective H5, the short constructs Los Angeles entirely from (3,000 or so) trademarked logos and then presents these sanitized images of friendly consumerism in the sun-drenched violence typical to films like To Live and Die in L.A. (William Friedkin, 1985) and Heat (Michael Mann, 1995). The result is a clever statement on the ubiquity of capitalist commodification in our daily life and a somewhat nasty dismantling of the corporate messaging shorthanded into these capitalist symbols. Those interested in the legality of Logorama (or at least the American legality of a French film) should read Rose Lawrence’s “LOGORAMA: The Great Trademark Heist.” Lawrence’s unpacking of the legal tests for parody, satire, infringement, and dilution are particularly useful in considering the artistic aims, popular interactions, and social commentaries at work in the short film. As a bonus, Lawrence also touches upon important legal texts like George of the Jungle 2 (David Grossman, 2003) and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”

Get Crazy (Allan Arkush, 1983)

IT WAS THE GREATEST ROCK EVENT EVER … UNTIL THE PLACE EXPLODED!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddIt is December 31, 1982.  Ring in 1983 at the Saturn Theater’s annual New Year’s Eve concert – featuring the far-out Captain Cloud and the Rainbow Telegraph, the king bluesman himself, King Blues, Nada and her pop bubble gum/New Wave/punk ensemble, rock icon Reggie Wanker, and folk-rock legend Auden!

The Saturn Theater’s New Year’s Eve concert is an institution to its owner, master showman Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield), but when Max has a heart attack hours before the concert and villainous promoter Colin Beverly (Ed Begley Jr.) enlists Max’s nephew Sammy (Miles Chapin) in a plot to ruin the event and have the venue signed over to Beverly, its up to stage manager Neil Allen (Daniel Stern) and visiting former stage manager Willy Loman (Gail Edwards) to ensure the show goes on.  Luckily Allen and Loman can rely on the dedication of their crew, the professionalism of their acts, and the case of pharmaceuticals provided by the spectral Electric Larry to see the concert through.  Boasting musical performances by Lou Reed, Malcolm McDowell, Lee Ving, Bill Henderson, and Lori Eastside, Allan Arkush (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School) presents a hilarious concert movie spoof celebrating sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll as only the 1980s would have it.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
  • Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Options
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Introduction by director, producer and writer Edgar Wright
  • Audio commentary by director Allan Arkush
  • There Will Be No Encores – a new documentary on the making of Get Crazy featuring new interviews with Allan Arkush, Daniel Stern, Malcolm McDowell, Gail Edwards, Allen Garfield, Ed Begley, Jr., Stacey Nelkin, Dan Frischman, Franklyn Ajaye, Robert Picardo, Dick Miller, and Mary Woronov
  • Hot Shots – a new documentary on the music of Get Crazy featuring new interviews with Allan Arkush, Malcolm McDowell, Howard Kaylan, Lee Ving, John Densmore, Lori Eastside, Fabian, and Bobby Sherman
  • Gone Crazy! – director, producer and actor Eli Roth on Get Crazy
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by cult film scholar Mike Watt

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Barfly (Barbet Schroeder, 1987)

“He said he was going to cut off his finger if I didn’t make his film.” – producer Menahem Golan.

“Terrific.  Completely original from beginning to end.” – Roger Ebert, SISKEL & EBERT.

Drafthouse Films LogoAmerican poet and novelist extraordinaire Charles Bukowski drew upon his own life to script this story that tickles and jabs the social underbelly of booze, bars and brave madness.  Downtrodden writer Henry (Mickey Rourke) and distressed goddess Wanda (Faye Dunaway) may be wedded to their bar stools, but they like each other’s company and that says a lot, but when a young publisher smitten with Henry’s outsider mystique appears, Henry must choose between life as a literary lion or a freewheeling alley cat.  Barbet Schroeder directs this “classic one-of-a-kind comedy” (Vincent Canby, The New York Times), offering a giddy, whisky-soaked vision of life on the skids and the proud individuals who refuse society’s demands.

Special Features:

Golden Horn Edition – Package Includes:

  • Barfly on Blu-ray or Standard DVD booklet featuring over 6 hours of bonus material!
  • DRM-free Digital Download of the film on 1080p, 720p, and mobile/tablet formats
  • 27″ x 40″ reversible poster
  • Charles Bukowski’s novel Hollywood, inspired by the making of Barfly

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[Safe] (Todd Haynes, 1995)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents [Safe].

criterion logoJulianne Moore is riveting in her first leading role as Carol White, a suburban housewife who begins exhibiting the symptoms of environmental illness.  Timid and uncertain, White finds her body rejecting the socially and chemically induced artificiality of her San Fernando Valley life.  When traditional medicine is unable to provide support and treatment to Carol’s diminishing health, she seeks assistance at Wrenwood, a new age facility devoted to treating immunity system deficiencies with its own set of rules and definitions.  Todd Haynes’ [Safe] presents with Kubrickian detachment a dark and fearsome critique of consumer society and contemporary gender roles, as well as allegorical insight on gay existence in straight culture, particularly in the post-AIDS era.  Mysterious, unforgiving, and devastating, [Safe] inverts the feel-good, “disease-of-the-week” TV movie format to become one of the great classics of 1990s cinema.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director Todd Hanyes, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary with Haynes, star Julianne Moore, and producer Christine Vachon
  • White [Mater]ial, a new video piece by Amber Jacobs and Catherine Grant
  • Trailers
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring new essays by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and urban theorist Mike Davis and Alison Maclean’s 1995 interview with Todd Haynes.

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