Copycat (Charlie Lyne, 2015)

Charlie Lyne’s wonderful work of montage-documentary Copycat (2015) tells the story of Rolfe Kanefsky’s There’s Nothing Out There (1991), a self-aware horror-comedy made by the 19 year-old filmmaker for $100,000. You may not have seen this pioneering cult classic-neverwas … or maybe you have and you just don’t know it.

Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932)

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

criterion logo“We accept you, one of us.  Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble.” This is the chant of Freaks, director Tod Browning’s bizarre morality play of betrayal and retribution in a circus sideshow.  In this Pre-Code masterpiece, an evil trapeze artist seduces and marries a small-statured performer in hopes of murdering him and inheriting his secret fortune.  Her plot raises the ire of the other sideshow members and the “Code of the Freaks” demands a harsh and terrible punishment for this “peacock of the air.”  Browning, a former circus contortionist, shocked audiences and his studio by bringing true circus freaks to the silver screen (including a legless boy, a human torso, Siamese twins, a human skeleton, a pair of armless women, and microcephalics – called “pinheads” in the film), and in doing so Browning created a film that effectively ended his career but became a cult classic decades later.

Disc Features:

  • High definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by Browning biographer David J. Skal
  • Freaks: Sideshow Spectacle, a documentary on sideshow performers appearing in the film
  • 3 alternate endings
  • Special Message prologue added for the film’s theatrical re-issue
  • Kim Newman on the banning of Freaks in the UK for 31 years
  • Photo gallery of production and publicity stills
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by scholar David Church and director Rona Mark, the original short story “Spurs” that inspired the film, and a script synopsis from the MGM archives

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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 Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Joseph Sargent, 1974)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

criterion logoFour ruthless men hijack a subway train en route from New York’s Pelham Station, threatening to kill one hostage per minute unless a million dollar ransom is paid in an hour.  When the mayor reluctantly decides the cash-strapped City will meet the demand, it’s up to Transit Police Lt. Zachary Garber (Walter Matthau) to somehow stall one of cinema’s craftiest, cruelest villains (Robert Shaw) from carrying out his threats while also trying to unlock how the hijackers plan to escape from a subway tunnel while surrounded by police from all sides.  With an exceptional cast including Martin Balsam, Héctor Elizondo, Dick O’Neill, and Jerry Stiller, a highly admired score composed and conducted by David Shire, and innovative cinematography by Owen Roizman, Joseph Sargent’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a fascinating document of 1970s New York and an underrated marvel in urban tension.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Owen Roizman and approved by director Joseph Sargent, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring Sargent and Roizman
  • David Shire: One To Twelve, a new interview with composer David Shire on the film’s score, including unused music and an alternate version of the film’s main theme
  • Location tour with New York City subway historian Joe Cunningham
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring essays by TIME arts editor Jessica Winter and comedian Greg Proops

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