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John Levy's Top Criterion

by John Levy

Created 07/05/12

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I specifically left Hitchcock, Antonioni, and Kurosawa off this particular list because their entire bodies of work go without saying for me, personally. It becomes impossible.

  • Haunting and indelible.

  • One of my favorite movies/criterions/dvd editions. Between the film, which is in many ways more than a film, the documentary and the commentary - this is one of my favorite Criterion DVD releases from the collection to mine. A must own in my opinion. Certainly must see viewing.

  • Malick in general is an underrated director and his body of work is of the same ilk. Days of Heaven though, is probably his most commercially and overall accepted film - and rightly so - the film is a work of the cinematic art. A painting. A poem. A western mythology. An American tragedy. Features a score by Ennio Morricone and cinematography from the great Nestor Alemendros and Haskel Wexler.

  • One of Fuller's finest. One of Noir's finest. Whenever I watch The Godfather, the scene where Carlo beats up Connie, followed by Sonny going after Carlo in the street, reminds me of this film, when Jean Peters is beaten up by Richard Kiley and soon after gets his ass kicked by Widmark in the subway. But Thelma Ritter pretty much steals the show.

  • 1960's Shanghai, Nat King Cole in espanol, heartache, and Maggie Cheung in those dresses...have mercy.

  • Speaking of painting....One of Powell and Pressberger's greatest cinematic achievements. To think that this was filmed on the lot at PineWood Studios is at most times totally unbelievable. Remarkable. And Jack Cardiff's stunning cinematography is unmatched for the time and process.

  • Before David Lynch....there was Eyes Without a Face.

  • Death to Videodrome, Long live the new flesh!!!! Join us!!!!

  • A very sad and all too real and undeniable achievement in Documentary filmmaking.

  • Unlike anything you will ever see. An essay like no other. A genre of sorts that is waiting for further exploration.

  • You get a very specific and very special experience when watching films by Werner Herzog or films by Les Blank. So to watch a film by Les Blank about the making of a film by Werner Herzog is a special sort of adult Christmas morning sensation.

  • Wow. When I finished watching this movie the first time I promptly started it again. It was so emotionally satisfying even when it did what you didn't want it to do. Great movies will do that. Great films are true to themselves. And Port of Shadows is no exception. Marvelous romantic tragedy.

  • One of the last gangster films I have gotten around to seeing and without a doubt, one of the best. You can bet your ass I will be stealing from this masterpiece by Jacques Becker starring Jean Gabin.

  • I've seen a lot of films a lot of times. This one will always hold up. I always enjoy watching it and it never stops being totally hilarious and touching. A real original human comedy.

  • I mean....come on. Stanwyk and Sturges....if you don't get it then by all means, go anyway!!!!! Or laugh your ass off!

  • Sheesh.....crime films don't come any more crucial than this, kids!

  • Probably watched this film close to 50 times now. I'm haunted, moved, and inspired by it. It wasn't until the second viewing that I noticed it had no score what so ever. Which isn't unheard of exactly, but not easy to pull off with such grip and pull. definitely a major favorite of the last decade.

  • Filmmakers make great detectives. No doubt about it. We also make great tragic heroes. Throw in a cute blonde and a John Lithgow serial killer, a Pino Donaggio score and get Brian DePalma behind the camera.You got one of my favorite thrillers of all time! And an unsung masterpiece at that!

  • This maybe the best collection I've ever seen. They should hand this out to students in film school. John Cassavetes was the first purest independent filmmaker. His home was used as locations, his garage is where they edited, he his wife (Gena Rowlands) and friends would make their own posters and plaster them across town in the middle of the night. That is true independence. One of the best features of this collection (loaded with interviews, commentaries, and more) is a 3+hour long documentary entitled, "A Constant Forge". Highly recommended.

  • Seriously? You need a reason?

  • This collection was one of the best ideas ever. "hey, let's take a bunch of the absolute purest and best Americana Films and create the best piece of Americana for the digital era. And here it is. All in one set.

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