The Votes Are In . . .

It’s the last day of 2008, and all the balloting is finally done. Here’s a rundown of how Criterion rated in the best DVDs of the year polls:

The Sight & Sound list included Criterion’s “gripping morality tale” Death of a Cyclist, the “incredibly beautiful” The Lovers, the “demented western” The Furies, and Pierrot le fou, with its “glorious HD transfer.”

Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone each picked out a favorite Criterion release for their respective tallies: the “extravagantly emotional yet movingly thoughtful” Brand upon the Brain!for the former, and Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocketwhich, critic Peter Travers added, “looks definitive on BD”—for the latter.

For the Popular Mechanics list of 20 Must-Have Blu-ray HD Epics, Glenn Kenny cited the “breathtaking” The Third Man as well as The Last Emperor, which, he wrote, “has been given one of the most gorgeous hi-def renditions ever, by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.” And New York magazine’s annual Culture Awards DVD top ten named the “essential” Bottle Rocket (number eight), the “heartbreaking” Kenji Mizoguchi’s Fallen Women (number six), and the triumvirate of Walker ,White Dog , and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (all tied at number three, as “three of the 1980s’ most overlooked films”).

At IFC Film News, Michael Atkinson took an unusual approach to the annual list-making game, highlighting the best films that “first saw American screens (big or small) on digital video in 2008, be they brand-new or decades old.” His favorites included Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le deuxième souffle, William Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, and Larisa Shepitko’s “refreshing, heartfelt character portrait” Wings, the latter two from our Eclipse line (Series 9: The Delirious Fictions of William Klein and Series 11:  Larisa Shepitko, respectively).

Dave Kehr, at the New York Times, also took a liking to Eclipse. “The most exciting Criterion releases of 2008 came from the company’s new no-frills line, Eclipse, which has been able to move beyond the established art-house classics into less familiar territory,” he wrote, naming Series 10: Silent Ozu—Three Family Comedies and the Shepitko set in particular.

And the Miami Herald called out Mishima: “It’s hard to find a disc released by the Criterion Collection that doesn’t put most other DVDs to shame in terms of the quality of the transfer or the supplements accompanying the film. But the company’s release of Paul Schrader’s 1985 drama Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters was an exceptional production, even by Criterion’s standards.”

And finally, DVD Movie Central has issued its annual movie awards, and Criterion racked up a few: Best Overall DVD and Best Restoration (’70s/’80s) for The Last Emperor, Best Reissue for Chungking Express, and Best DVD Producing Studio.

Thank you all for watching. Here’s to a great 2009. And, as always, happy viewing!

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