It’s another great month of announcements from the Criterion Collection and I’m very excited for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995), a film that I greatly enjoy even if I can’t ever seem to stay awake through it. This trailer is wonderful, showcasing Neil Young’s superb score, the film’s impressive cast, and my absolute favourite moment – Billy Bob Thornton’s complaints about his hair. Criterion’s edition looks great and even includes the amazing Iggy Pop reading William Blake’s poems.
The Criterion Collection’s announcements for January 2018 sees the return of G. W. Pabst to the Collection, the long-expected arrival of John Hughes with a less-expected title, a Ken Loach Palme d’Or winner, and the return of the Eclipse series! From a trailer perspective, it is the release of Janus Films’ Night of the Living Dead 4K restoration trailer that has likely made the greatest waves. George Romero’s classic 1968 film has probably never looked better, even when it was first released.
With December announcements being decidedly reserved on all fronts, this latest “Trailer Tuesday” at MMC! requires a different tack and so we start with a future Criterion title a few years still to come – Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (2018). For all of Anderson’s intricate, youthful peccadilloes, he’s never really stooped to fanboy fascination with Japan and I suppose that should have surprised. Isle of Dogs has the director jump into the deep end of Japan’s pop cultural swimming pool with this dystopic, retro, sci-fi story of a boy and his dog(s) (and as one of those fanboys myself, I couldn’t be happier). My next Arrow Video proposal has had me thinking about dogs a lot and so this announcement hits a particular chord. I love those dog sneezes!
November will add three new spine numbers to the Criterion Collection – Desert Hearts (Donna Deitch, 1985), The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940), and Jabberwocky (Terry Gilliam, 1977) – and in a case of First World/film nerd problems, none of these upcoming versions port over all the special features of the existing editions I own! Ugh, how I must suffer. Thankfully, the trailer for Jabberywocky scores high marks for Pythonesque recklessness and a great series of gag warnings. Brilling!
Once an Icelandic colony, Gimli sits at the edge of Lake Winnipeg, a beach community in the province of Manitoba that is home to a couple of thousand residents and that hosts an ever growing film festival for five days each July. The seventeenth and latest iteration of the Gimli Film Festival was its largest so far, including approximately 45 feature films and various shorts. Needless to say, no attendee can see the entire program. I was lucky enough to attend for three of the five days of programming, making it to 14 screenings and avoiding the dozen plus titles I had already seen.
The hallmarks of the GFF are its free sunset screenings on the beach with its massive 11 metre tall screen set up out in the water. This year featured Twister (Jan de Bont, 1996), Footloose (Herbert Ross, 1984), The Neverending Story (Wolfgang Petersen, 1984), and the Criterion title Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009). Classic car owners came out en masse for the screening of American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973), lining the beach with some beautifully chromed vehicles, however the most inspired selection was Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds (1963) with Gimli and its gulls allowing Bodega Bay to spread out beyond the screen’s limits.
What a month! Criterion knocks it outta the park with its October releases, trailers abound with the San Diego Comic Con in full swing, reviews from the ongoing Fantasia Film Festival keep rolling in, and I’m scheduled for 14 screenings at the Gimli Film Festival later this week! Wheeeee!
The stand out title in Criterion’s stacked October announcements is Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). It’s taken me quite a while to become comfortable with the contrasting beauty of Kubrick’s compositions and the coldness of his direction, but this tension has always felt right in Barry Lyndon, where the great director dissects the shallowness of his subject with great insight and depth. Everything about the Criterion Collection’s edition of Barry Lyndon looks amazing and I suspect I may need to re-write my Top Ten as a result.