That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of the dynamics between desperate men . . .
12 Angry Men
. . . except perhaps this Sidney Lumet classic.
The Thin Red Line
What better than Malick’s extraordinary vision of war to demonstrate the technical potential of a carefully mastered Blu-ray? Projecting this disc comes close to the original print quality, and it’s hard to imagine a superior consumer format coming along anytime soon.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
Lang at his most wicked and entertaining. Essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain.
Nic Roeg’s films are known for their structural innovation, but it’s great to be able to see them in a form that also shows off their photographic excellence.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Few films have been able to capture David Bowie’s charisma, but Oshima’s wartime drama seems tailor-made for his talents. Tom Conti has rarely been such a sympathetic guide for the audience’s emotions.
For All Mankind
An incredible document of man’s greatest endeavor.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin
No one could make much of a case for Welles’ abortive movie overall, but the heartbreaking glimpses of the great man’s genius preserved here are the most compelling argument for the value of Criterion’s dedication to cinema.
Which brings me to Greed, von Stroheim’s lost work of absolute genius. Which is not available on Criterion. Yet. Here’s hoping.
Georgia Hubley’s Top 10
Georgia Hubley is one of the founding members of the Hoboken, New Jersey, band Yo La Tengo, whose The Sounds of Science, a score to eight Jean Painlevé shorts, is available on Criterion’s DVD set Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé.
Lev Kalman’s Top 10
In this list selected with his filmmaking partner Whitney Horn, the codirector of L for Leisure and Two Plains & a Fancy lingers on the weird and wonderful details in some favorite movies.