Criterion in August 2024: Albert Brooks, Albert Brooks, Martha Coolidge, THE LAST EMPEROR in 4K

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Criterion in August 2024: Albert Brooks, Albert Brooks, Martha Coolidge, THE LAST EMPEROR in 4K

Bernardo Bertolucci's gorgeous The Last Emperor (1987) is coming to 4K UHD, courtesy of The Criterion Collection in August 2024.

That alone makes it an exciting month for those who prize the home video experience above all else -- and, it must be added, can afford it. It's a worthwhile investment, however, if you continually find yourself always wishing that the pictures you see on your screen and the sounds that you hear coming from your speakers were simply ... better.

Albert Brooks, one of my personal favorite filmmakers, made his feature directorial debut in 1979 with Real Life, his own version of a public-television show that made waves earlier in the decade. As with all his films, though, he filters his vision that a very distinctive lens. It will be available in 4K UHD; new interviews with Brooks and actor France Lee McCain are included, along with the "3D trailer directed by Brooks."

Nearly 20 years later, Brooks' Mother is a true treasure, led by Debbie Reynolds in a warm and witty performance, with Brooks co-starring, and Rob Morrow in a very funny supporting role. This will also be available in 4K UHD, and should look fabulous, in view of the lovely location shooting. New interviews with Brooks and Morrow are included.

Before Martha Coolidge made Valley Girl (1983) and Reel Genius (1985), she made her feature debut with Not a Pretty Picture (1976), described by Criterion as an "unflinchingly personal hybrid of documentary and fiction."

The synopsis: "Centered on an intense reenactment of Coolidge's experience of rape in her adolescence, the film casts Michele Manenti (also a survivor) as the director's younger self, and observes the actor and her castmates as they engage in a profound dialogue about what it means to recreate these traumatic memories, and about their attitudes concerning consent and self-blame.

"A high-stakes experiment in metacinema that broke new ground with its uncompromising examination of date rape, Not a Pretty Picture brings a stunning immediacy to questions about the on-screen representation of sexual violence and the limits of artistic catharsis."

The Blu-ray feature a new 4K digital restoration, an interview with Coolidge, and the filmmaker's documentary about her grandmother.

I am unfamiliar with the other two films headed for August release, so I'll again turn things over to the official description: "Nobody made films like Kira Muratova. Uncompromising and uncategorizable, the Ukrainian iconoclast withstood decades of censorship to realize her singular vision in hypnotically beautiful, expressionistically heightened films that remain unique in their ability to evoke complex interior worlds.

"Her first two solo features, Brief Encounters and The Long Farewell, are fascinatingly fragmented portraits of women navigating work, romance, and family life with a mix of deep yearning and playful pragmatism. Long suppressed by Soviet authorities, these films became legendary--along with their maker--and they now make for a revelatory introduction to this most fearlessly original of artists."

Read more about the releases and place your orders at the official Criterion site. And stop complaining that you don't have anything to do with your money and time in August.

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Albert BrooksBernardo BertolucciCriterion CollectionKira MuratovaMartha Coolidge

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