Joe Williams' Top 10

by Joe Williams

Created 08/06/12

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A mix of favourite films, and favourite Criterion releases, boxsets not included. Other films could make the list, but these are my favourite Criterions that I own. Man, I wish we could buy these easily in the UK!

  • This later Criterion edition of Kurosawa's masterpiece is really an item to treasure. The film itself is probably the greatest adventure film of them all, and features the best characterisation in any film I've ever encountered. It really runs the gauntlet of human emotions, and despite it's length, is amazing no matter how many times you watch it. Packed with multiple, feature length documentaries as well as two fascinating commentaries, it really is one of criterion's best.

  • Godard's classic debut is, one of Criterion's most gorgeous releases. Picture/sound/extras all fantastic and perfectly compliment this classic. With it's unique mix of realism and Parisian style (every shot in this film looks friggin' cool!) the film is endlessly fresh and enjoyable and this is the version to cherish. Extras come with a beautiful booklet with Truffaut's original story treatment, along with some great interviews and an early short film from Godard. Best of all is a feature length doc originally aired on French TV about the film in which the interviewer tries to get the elusive Godard on the phone to talk about the film, only to get the reply: "Dream on"...

  • The first Criterion set I ever bought, after wanting it for years. Terry Gilliam's surreal dystopic comedy isn't for everyone (I can never predict what people will think of it) but for me, it's his one true masterpiece bursting with dazzling design and multiple philosophical layers along with a good amount of genuine laughs. This gorgeous set includes the butchered version Universal tried to release, along with a fascinating documentary about the film's troubled production and a terrific commentary from Gilliam - one of the most passionate and enjoyable commentators you'll ever find on a DVD.

  • This excellent edition from Criterion takes one of Welles' most obscure films and gives it the royal treatment. For me, this is his best after Citizen Kane; Simon Callow recently said it looks like the work of a young director and he's absolutely right. The whole film burns with innovation and forward thinking vision. The extras are numerous and all essential, providing extra background on the film's subjects as well as Welles' little known latter years.

  • One of the most stylish films of all time, and clearly a big influence on Nicolas Winding-Refn's 'Drive'. A haunting, bleak neo-noir with a seriously cool-as-fuck performance form Alain Delon. Extras limited to some good essays/interviews, but the main attraction is the film itself - one of my all time favs.

  • An amazing film that I would never have discovered were it not for this edition. A truly remarkable and original film, perfectly matched by Criterion's stunning presentation and perfectly chosen extras that provide plenty of fascinating info about Mishima the film and Mishima the man.

  • I paid through the nose to get an OOP copy of this and have never regretted it. Great transfer, exhaustive, quality supplements all round.

  • Not my favourite Roeg (Walkabout is just better as is Performance), but a simply wonderful edition to the library. Bowie's best performance, and a perfect encapsulation of his Thin White Duke era. This version comes with a reprint of the original novel and best of all a commentary from Bowie and Roeg. Given Bowie has now become as reclusive as his character in this film it's a thing to treasure.

  • Possibly the best packaged release in the catalogue and clearly a labour of love for Criterion with x4 scores to choose from and a small amount of quality docs - it's the best treatment of a silent film I've seen.

  • Another great discovery for me. This is how every obscure 'art' film should be packaged. This edition manages to enhance your appreciation for this mysterious film, providing you with plenty of clues and pointers but still keeping it's ultimate 'meaning' elusive.

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