Looking for some Christmas ideas for the cinephile in your family? Then you might want to take a look at Criterion's November slate, which is poised to help end the year on a bang for the boutique label.
The big highlight -- as hinted a couple of months ago -- is the arrival of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Three Colours Trilogy into the collection. Broken up into three bold and beautiful films (natch) -- “Three Colours: Blue,” “Three Colours: White” and “Three Colours: Red” -- “Blue” stars Juliette Binoche in what has been described as an anti-tragedy, “White,” stars Julie Delpy (it’s regarded as the lesser of the three and is a bit more comedic and light on its toes - an anti comedy) and “Red” (an anti-romance) stars Irene Jacob, also the star of Kieslowski’s vaunted 1991 film “The Double Life of Veronique” (also a Criterion endorsed picture). The colors are loosely meant to represent the themes expressed in those of the French flag (liberty, equality and fraternity, respectively), but the films embody and encapsulate so much more. Those looking for extensive bonus features might be a bit disappointed -- no commentaries on any of the films (though 'Blue' does have scene specific comments by Binoche) -- and some video essays, "cinema lessons" with the director, and other bits and bobs to round things out.
On the other hand, extras are what shine in "12 Angry Men," with Sidney Lumet's masterpiece getting a world of special features. The biggest highlight for fans of the director is the inclusion of "Tragedy in a Temporary Town." A teleplay directed in 1956 by Lumet for the "Alcoa Hour," and penned by "12 Angry Men" writer Reginald Rose, it has never been released on home video. Also included is Frank Schaffner's 1955 television version, along with archival interviews with Lumet, a video essay on the various adaptations from stage to screen of the play and more. Looks like this one is the definitive version to own.
Meanwhile, over in the Eclipse line Indian actor Sabu (aka Selar Shaik) -- a maharaja’s elephant driver's son who got discovered by documentarian Robert Flaherty -- gets a box set dedicated to his adventure films that were a sensation in the '30s and '40s. "Elephant Boy," "The Drum," and perhaps the best known of them all, "Jungle Book," are all collected here. No extras as is the standard with the more budget oriented Eclipse line.
Finally, a batch of films get the BluRay upgrade: Ingmar Bergman's Christmas classic "Fanny & Alexander" is spitshined for HD; Jean Renoir's masterpiece "The Rules Of The Game" remains cool in Blu and Wes Anderson nerds will get every frame of "Rushmore" in 1080p. Check out The Criterion Collection for full details on the films.