Every December, Criterion usually ends of the new year quietly, with not much of in the way of new releases. But they are making sure you'll be able to buy the cinephile in your life the best Christmas presents(s) ever, as their November lineup is, to put it politely, fucking epic.
As was teased just a couple of weeks ago, the company is bringing the newly restored, 216 minute director's cut of Michael Cimino's (in)famous "Heaven's Gate" to DVD and BluRay. The massive 1980 flop, which unofficially marked the end of the '60s and '70s golden era of auteur-driven American filmmaking, is often cited as a prime example of directorial hubris and excess. But the film's critical standing has slowly been raised over the past few decades, and with a Venice screening on the horizon, followed by this Criterion release, folks will be able to assess the film all over again. So what will it contain?
Well besides the film itself, it will have brand new interviews with Cimino, Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger/performer David Mansfield and 2nd AD on the film Michael Stephenson, and they'll likely have fascinating insight into the troubled production on the movie. There will also be "The Johnson County War" about the real life incident that inspired the film, along with trailers, TV spots and more. Yeah, just put this one under the tree for us already.
If that isn't epic enough for you, how about three films from Pier Paolo Pasolini? Criterion is bringing his Trilogy Of Life -- "The Decameron," "The Canterbury Tales" and "Arabian Nights" -- in one box that will be stuffed with extras including essays, interviews, and multiple documentaries. Damn.
And the epic trend continues, of a sort, with Jean Luc Godard's "Weekend" finally making a long awaited return to home video in North America. One of the legendary filmmaker's must see films, it won't be packing much in the way of bonus material besides archival bits and bobs, but this is one you can't miss.
And damn, there's even more. Criterion has all you Japanese horror buffs covered, as through their Eclipse line, they'll be dropping "When Horror Came Shochiku." Shochiku was the production production company for more serious pictures from guys like Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu, but when they dipped their toes in genre fare, the results were off the wall. "The X From Outer Space," "Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell," "The Living Skeleton" and "Genocide" will be bundled together for your pleasure.
Finally, "Rashomon" goes Blu with a badass new cover.