TIME BANDITS and Pasolini: Catching Up on Criterion in June 2023
Yes, I know I'm late, I'm late to a very important date, but yet, there is still plenty of time for all physical-media devotees to smash piggybanks, turn over mattresses, and otherwise plan June 2023 orders from The Criterion Collection, assuming that you've already spent all the cash you had on hand for the flash sale earlier this week (?!).
If you're a hard-core collector, your shelves are, most likely, already lined with Criterion Blu-rays and DVDs, and you may be hesitant about paying to upgrade yet again to the splendors of the latest and greatest home video versions of movies you already own.
So, despite my own headline, let me first point out two new releases that are a little more affordable, since they will be out on Blu-ray (which, I remind you, upgrade very nicely to 4K set-ups).
Joseph Losey survived and thrived his placement on the Hollywood black list of the 1950s by moving to England, working under another name, and then proudly revealing his name once again, on striking films, such as The Servant from 1963, starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox, based on a script by Harold Pinter. Featuring a new 4K digital restoration, the forthcoming edition will also feature a "new program on director Joseph Losey by film critic Imogen Sara Smith," among other goodies.
Barry Jenkins' debut feature, Medicine For Melancholy stars Wyatt Cenac and Tracy Heggins in a romantic drama that unfolds in San Francisco. It caught attention upon its release in 2008, and in subsequent years caused many to wonder, 'where did that director go?' until the emergence of Moonlight in 2016. The edition coming in June will showcase a new high-definition digital master and a new audio commentary by Jenkins.
In addition to those two, let me ask: who doesn't love Pier Paolo Pasolini? Nine of his films are collected in the forthcoming Blu-ray box set, Pasolini 101, with many extras and "deluxe packaging," according to the official release, "including a 100-page book featuring an essay and notes on the films by critic James Quandt, and writings and drawings by Pasolini."
Now to the 4K upgrades: Time Bandits(1981), by Terry Gilliam, is a personal favorite for personal reasons, so I'm curious to see if a film I haven't seen in more than 40 years can possibly live up to my memory of its wondrous fantasy, even with Sean Connery and Ian Holm and Ralph Richardson and David Warner and Michael Palin. Hmm. Probably.
If you have a taste for stone-cold classic French films, Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game is another favorite big-screen memory for me -- no, not from its original release in 1939, but from a Los Angeles repertory-house screening in the late 1970s. This edition features a new 4K restoration, so if you don't yet possess this film in your personal library, this may be the time to add it.
So there's June 2023, and I hope that your loved ones are supportive of your need for physical media. More on the films at the official The Criterion Collection site.