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I've been watching as many Criterion DVDs as possible the last couple of years. These are the best I discovered during the first half of 2012.
Watched 7/8 January 2012. This, along with "Paris, Texas" which I first saw last year, really shows Wenders to be the king of modern German cinema now that Fassbinder is gone. I hope Criterion gets to "The American Friend" eventually!
Watched 19 January 2012. Malle has been one of my latest discoveries during the last twelve months. How did I miss out on his work for so long? This is a superb study of a young man who is already burnt out - what more is left for him to do but to visit his friends one last time and then kill himself?
Watched 4 February 2012. I've had a tough time getting interested in many of the non-Kurosawa Japanese films on Criterion, but I found this film very lovely and moving.
Watched 12 February 2012. Uhm, why is this Antonioni film never talked about? I hope this new Criterion release changes that. This is probably his most delightful movie - a real pleasant surprise as I long assumed that "The Passenger" was his last work of merit.
Watched 14 February 2012. February turned out to be "Italian Movie" month for me - and this tremendous film was the masterpiece. Certainly Visconti's best. (Speaking of Italian films, will Criterion ever release any Taviani brothers?)
Watched 15 February 2012. One of the best depictions of piety and devotion ever.
Watched 17 February 2012. I love Ritchie's series of films about competition. Why isn't he as exalted as Altman, Friedkin, Coppola, and other directors of that era?
Watched 28 February 2012. My favorite of Bergman's "God's silence" trilogy.
Watched 3 March 2012. Very rich texture to the images. Best as a quasi-documentary, less so with the melodrama.
Watched 22/23 March 2012. Wow! Wonderfully eccentric. Now I understand why one author compared Ken Russell to Sternberg.
Watched 28 March 2012. Devastating. Certainly De Sica's best. A painfully honest depiction of reaching the end of the line, yet finding a sliver of hope at the very last moment.
Watched 29 March 2012. Sort of like a berserk Technicolor widescreen "Leave It To Beaver" movie. James Mason is fabulous.
Watched 4/5 April 2012. I generally do NOT like Godard, but this one is very entertaining. A bit of a throwback to the early days of the Nouvelle Vague from five years earlier.
Watched "The Marriage of Maria Braun" 16 April 2012. Watched "Veronika Voss" 17/18 April 2012. Watched "Lola" 19/20 April 2012. Fassbinder was my big discovery in April - I not only saw all of the Criterion releases, but anything else of his I could find. And there's still so many more of his for me to see - and to be released. The BRD Trilogy is his masterpiece. I find it heartbreaking that Fassbinder was reaching a true genius level right before his very premature death
Watched 25 April 2012. I have a difficult time enjoying Polanski's work considering his insouciant attitude toward his rape charge. But he has made some fine movies. I didn't like "Cul-de-sac" when I first saw it over 20 years ago, but I very much liked this Criterion release.
Watched 3 May 2012. Nicely done, realistic look at young workers in Italy of 50 years ago.
Watched 27 May 2012. Ah, Louis, why did you have to leave us too soon? (By the way, is there a curse against great directors born in 1932? Malle, Truffaut and Tarkovsky all died way too young.)
Watched 12/13 June 2012. I've been studying Bresson this spring, including seeing an archival print of "Four Nights of a Dreamer" here in Seattle. I hope Criterion can release that one as well as some of Bresson's other later films.
Watched 27 June 2012. Stunning courtroom drama with some rather sophisticated ambiguity at the end.