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Criterion Eclipse Ranked

by Jesse_M

Created 05/01/16

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Listed are the Eclipse Sets that I have watched, and my thoughts on each.

  • Twisted, silly, yet dark. A revelation of a movie, The Warped Ones crowns this king of a set. With meditations on love, hate, culture, counterculture, rebellion, and friendship, this is worth TWO and Black Sun alone.

  • With an oeuvre so somber and quiet that only the most patient of viewers can like it, Chantal Akerman paints fantastic landscapes of the human environment masterfully with her camera. And though these films are most definitely inaccessible to most viewers, those who are patient enough will probably love these films.

  • Comprehensive, brilliant verite-style documentaries.

  • As the world's premier Yugoslav weirdo, Dušan Makavejev is turning out to be one of my favorite filmmakers ever, despite the fact that I really, really dislike W.R.. But, "Sweet Movie" and this collection are a different story for me. Integrating political theory, sex, and just weird sh*t in general, Makavejev's work is an oeuvre to be studied. But, fair warning, Makavejev's talent lies largely in his ability to challenge boundaries, so if you're easily offended or are very sensitive, you'd best stay away.

  • This set is a great look into the world of Japanese crime films, which I, personally, am a big fan of. A lot of cool, arthouse action here. Highlights here include "Take Aim At The Police Van" and "A Colt Is My Passport".

  • Fun and intelligent, before their time!

  • It's incredible that Louis Malle is not known for being a great documentarian as well as a great director of nonfiction. Several films in this set drag on to me, but they all offer an interesting look into humanity and its daily life. My main issue is that many of them (especially the ones in India) don't offer much in the way of conflict. There is cultural conflict (which is very successful in God's Country but not Phantom India), but there's nothing that's really gripping there. Just observations of everyday life in different places, which in a Man With A Movie Camera kind of way, they're successful at.

  • Rossellini-esque postwar fictions that will leave you interested and entertained. The latter three films are at times flooring with their emotion and craft. "I Live in Fear" is my favorite Japanese film I have seen at this point.

  • Raymond Bernard is truly a lost master. With Wooden Crosses, you have one of the most beautifully shot and devastating anti-war films of all time, in which every body that falls has a profound weight, and many images of horror are buried deep within the viewer's memory as soon as they watch the film. Show this to anyone wanting to join a military, and they're bound to have second thoughts, otherwise they must be insane. Then there is the massive Les Miserables, which is quite dull in comparison to such a masterpiece.

  • Though this set includes some unfortunately awkward uses of brown-face, the films themselves do not have much in terms of offensive or bad material, the stories they tell are entertaining and Sabu Dastagir is a joy to watch on-screen. Any other content in the films that I've seen deemed "racist" are, as I see them, just contextualizing India as a then-colonized territory. There are imperialists who treat the natives as lesser than themselves, but it doesn't come off as the creators of the films agreeing with that sentiment. Perhaps I am wrong, but to me these are all quite simple adventure plots that get better and better as you go from one to the next.

  • Crazy, bizarre, out of this world camp fun!

  • With only a single true dud on the set, this shows the promise of the master to come. Although many of the films end up being forgettable, my personal favorite of the set is Torment- which turned out to be one of my favorite movies ever.

  • Some of the films on this are a little too ostentatious for me, but Daisies and The Joke make the set well worth purchasing.

  • Though the first is long and boring (despite its short run time), the second is one of the most solid WWII films I have seen.

  • Topped off by a badly acted, horribly told story of the true West, followed by a Western bore-fest, and finished off with a very solid war film, The First Films of Samuel Fuller is easily one of the biggest disappointments I've had so far in the Eclipse series, despite that final jewel.

  • Kinoshita is certainly an impressive filmmaker, a man before his time. Drama on the lighter side, but with the looming threat of World War II hanging above everyone's head. Beautiful illustrations of human decency in times of danger. I didn't care so much for most of it, but I'm sure fans of Ozu or Mizoguchi would be enthralled by these.

  • These indulgent little musicals will surely keep you happy but are not anything groundbreaking, even for their time. My biggest problem here lies within the extremely minimalist choreography. Think less Singin' In The Rain and more The Jazz Singer.

  • Everything but Putney Swope is a completely jumbled mess, but despite its flaws I still enjoy the at times hilariously irreverent Swope.

  • Though this set starts off strong with two very nice documentaries, the rest of it falls flat.

  • Quite cheap looking, pretentious documentaries.

  • These subtle works of cinema have an interesting sense of style, but they end up so deadpan that they can't be recognizable as humorous.

  • If these films retained the amount of visual humor present within the first ten minutes of "Leningrad Cowboys Go America", I'd praise them to high heaven. Unfortunately, they do not. They dry out very fast.

  • This collection of films showcases the absolute worst of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. And I like a lot of his movies! Ali, Maria Braun, Querelle, World on a Wire, they're all great, but these? These are plainly and simply a waste of time. Awkward failed experiments that do nothing for me.

  • Didn't finish a single one of these. They came off as pretentious and trite.

  • There's a thin line between brilliant and satirical, and pretentious and shallow. This set tips over the line into pretentious shallowness several times. Mr. Freedom is the obvious star of this set, and though its satire is interesting and important, it is still grating to watch.

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