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Cassavetes, Almodovar and Cuaron Top Criterion's Heavenly Late-Summer Lineup

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 16, 2014 at 10:15AM

Mark your calendars, cinephiles. From a rarely seen John Cassavetes masterpiece to an iconic 1970s musical, The Criterion Collection's Summer release lineup couldn't be sweeter.
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'Love Streams'
'Love Streams'

Mark your calendars, cinephiles. From a rarely seen John Cassavetes masterpiece to an iconic 1970s musical, The Criterion Collection's Summer lineup couldn't be sweeter. (Watch clips below.)

First up on August 12 is Cassavetes' penultimate film "Love Streams." Once in a blue moon, this delirious psychodrama from 1984 pops up at repertory theaters, but over the years it has been something of an elusive treasure for film-lovers. It stars Cassavetes himself, and the always-operatic Gena Rowlands, as debauched siblings who reconvene over the course of a few days while Sarah (Rowlands) tries to broker custody of her daughter, and Robert (Cassavetes), a writer, drinks and smokes himself to near-death. Wrought with soul-crushingly good performances, it's one of Cassavetes' most dreamlike and, as it were, most personal films.

"Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"
"Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"

On August 19, two films from Spanish-speaking masters hit shelves: Alfonso Cuaron's menage-a-trois travelogue "Y Tu Mama Tambien" (2002), and Pedro Almodovar's splashy early-career effort "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" (1989). Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are queer cinema's sexiest (non?-)couple in "Y Tu Mama." Meanwhile, in "Tie Me Up," Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril smother the screen with psychosexual tension -- and in Blu-ray, it's sure to be pure cinematic eye-candy.

On August 26, we'll see Japanese auteur Shohei Imamura's 1979 spellbinder "Vengeance Is Mine," in which the legendary Ken Ogata plays a deeply disturbed, lapsed Catholic on the lam -- and on a killing spree. This rounds out the lovely collection of Imamura films already available on Criterion, including "The Insect Woman" and "The Pornographers."

'All That Jazz'
'All That Jazz'

Also on the 26th -- and also from 1979 -- Bob Fosse's flashy, dazzling "All That Jazz" gets the Criterion treatment. This Oscar-winning visual symphony, starring Roy Scheider and Jessica Lange, reinvigorated the movie musical, and the self-made movie biopic, with a dark, surreal, and drugged-out energy and extravagant choreography. Fosse hatched the idea for the film on his near-death-bed, and it shows in vivid, lurid color.

This slate caps off a great Summer of Criterion releases, from reissues of Antonioni's "L'eclisse" and Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows" in June, to Cronenberg's "Scanners" and Bresson's "Pickpocket" in July. On May 27, Criterion burnishes the fading luster of Howard Hawks' perfect Western "Red River" with a new Blu-ray. We highlighted that release, and picked our top 16 Hawks films, here.

Also of note, Criterion's new restoration of "A Hard Day's Night," hits select cities this Summer.

This article is related to: Criterion, News, DVD / Blu-Ray, Blu-ray, John Cassavetes, Alfonso Cuaron, Pedro Almodóvar


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.