Criterion in July 2018: DRAGON INN and A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, Plus Sex, Baseball, Hollywood

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
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Criterion in July 2018: DRAGON INN and A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, Plus Sex, Baseball, Hollywood

Home video fans may want to start looking for second jobs for the summer (or winter, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere), because the Criterion Collection is teasing a wealth of goodies in July.

The first two that grabbed my eye are King Hu's Dragon Inn, which I got to see once on 35mm, leaving the images happily burned into my brain; and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, which I've only seen on television yet is seared into my heart. Both films will make their debut on Blu-ray in "stunning new 4K digital restorations."

Sex and baseball are highlighted in two films that, really, only use their respective theme(s) as a jumping-off point. Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape has been restored and will appear in a 4K digital transfer; I've only seen it unrestored, and it has always looked somewhat muddy to me. Now we'll know if that was intentional! As a lifelong fan of baseball, it's difficult not to silently root, root, root for Bull Durham, which has always struck me as an everlasting romance, as well as a ribald comedy; Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins star. That will also appear in a new 4K digital transfer, approved by director Ron Shelton.

Finally, a new box set will appeal especially to fans of classic cinema. Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood features "six newly restored classics starring the alluring Marlene Dietrich and directed by the visually extravagant Josef von Sternberg: Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, and The Devil Is a Woman." I quote directly from the official statement because I can think of nothing clever to add.

Visit the Criterion Collection site to learn more about these releases and begin allocating your budget and/or estimate the number of hours that will be needed at a second job so as to afford all these treasures on disc.

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Josef van SternbergKing HuPowell and PressburgerRon SheltonSteven Soderbergh