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Thompson on Hollywood

Michael Mann's Essential Debut 'Thief,' New from Criterion, and Other Must-Own Holiday Blu-Rays (TRAILER)

Among the new year's bonbons being unwrapped from Criterion is a long-awaited gem, one guaranteed to please that movie freak whose holiday gift-buying you've been putting off till the last possible moment: "Thief," Michael Mann's thriller that inaugurated several careers and a flair for visual style that would become the hallmark of an era.
  • By John Anderson
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  • December 31, 2013 12:34 PM
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TOH's Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide for Cinephiles

If you haven't started your holiday shopping, well, good luck to you and all who sail with you. But if you're looking for a few eleventh hour gifts for that fussy cinephile in your life, TOH! has some great ideas, from books to boxed sets, if you're in a pinch.
  • By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio
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  • December 23, 2013 3:20 PM
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Robert Altman's 'Nashville': The First Modern TV Musical (VIDEO)

"Treme" embarked on its final season Sunday. "Smash" is gone. "Glee" and "Nashville" soldier on, but the bloom of pop-cultural significance is off their respective roses. With this age of the hour-long musical television series fast coming to a close, I set out searching for its origins, and I found it at the movies. Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975) may be the finest American film of the 1970s -- and the first modern TV musical, too.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 4, 2013 1:17 PM
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Antonioni's Stark Portrait of Haute-Bourgeois Boredom and Betrayal 'La Notte' Lives Again on Criterion Blu-Ray

Could a film like "La Notte" ever exist today? What would it look like? Released in 1961, Michelangelo Antonioni's visually sleek modernist masterpiece features two international stars of considerable pedigree -- Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau -- who talk, and also don't talk, about the undetectable meanings of life and love.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • October 31, 2013 2:56 PM
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In Criterion's New Boxed Set, Bergman and Rossellini Make Love Among the Ruins

In 1947, Ingrid Bergman dashed off an admiring letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Inspired by his neorealist classics "Rome, Open City" and "Paisan," she suggested he might use her multilingual talents. "I am ready to come and make a film with you," she wrote, as though it were destined all along. To watch the fruit of their collaboration is to believe it was.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 25, 2013 12:51 PM
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Ophuls' 'The Earrings of Madame de...' on Blu-ray from Criterion: Before the New Wave, a New Woman (VIDEO)

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, Saint Teresa of Avila reputedly opined, but she never met Louise, Madame de... (Danielle Darrieux). For the vain, tragic heroine of Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de..." (1953), the price of a direct line to the heavens comes in a foreign currency. (Watch Paul Thomas Anderson's introduction to the Criterion Blu-ray, below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 7, 2013 11:33 AM
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Now and Then: Mizoguchi's Bitter Masterpiece 'The Life of Oharu' Now on Criterion

Director Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Life of Oharu" (1952), newly available in a high-def digital restoration from the Criterion Collection, teems with contradictions. It's epic yet delicate, set in feudal Japan but animated by modern anxieties, at once a traditional picaresque and a bold feminist classic.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 10, 2013 1:44 PM
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Lena Dunham's Top Ten for Criterion Includes 'Days of Heaven,' 'Broadcast News,' 'Straw Dogs' and Four Agnes Varda Films

Check out Lena Dunham's well-curated Top 10 for Criterion, which includes plenty of ties (making the list's grand total 15 films) but it's worth it to see so many Agnes Varda titles make the cut. Dunham's also a fan of Rainer Werner Fassbinder ("Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" and "The Marriage of Maria Braun," both of which she calls "perfect"), Terrence Malick ("Days of Heaven") and James L. Brooks ("Broadcast News").
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 25, 2013 7:31 PM
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Jane Campion's Top Nine Films on Criterion Include 'Contempt,' 'Seven Samurai,' 'Tokyo Story' and More

Criterion has posted Jane Campion's "Top 10" list, in which she ranks her favorite titles put out by the prestigious DVD and Blu-ray company. The list includes only nine films, but among them are Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt," Federico Fellini's "La Strada" and Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story." Full list below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • May 14, 2013 12:35 PM
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Christopher Nolan's Top Ten Films for Criterion: Lang, Welles, Malick Make the Cut [Video]

Director Christopher Nolan has selected his Top Ten films for Criterion. His choices are varied, and the themes unsurprising: morality, mortality, life-or-death decisions, larger-than-life situations, and characters pushed to their total limits. The films he selected -- from Erich von Stroheim in 1924 and Orson Welles in 1955 to Terrence Malick in 1998 -- share ambition. Watch the trailers and clips from Nolan's selections below. The full list is here, published in the Criterion newsletter.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • January 30, 2013 6:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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