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These are my ten favorite titles released by Criterion. I haven't bought and watched every spine number yet, but these are the best one's I've picked up so far.
For the longest time I wanted to see this film reach home video in a new restoration, and it finally happened with the wonderful Czech New Wave Eclipse Set. The word "fun" has been applied to a lot of films, yet it has never been used more appropriately than to describe Daisies, an anarchic feminine dream which to me provides the thesis for why I love film. When I describe this movie to people I tell them that it's about two hot girls eating food, but somehow it becomes the most awesome thing they'll ever watch. Bring this to me on bluray and I'll be the happiest person in the world.
Early Cronenberg is the best Cronenberg, and never has he done better than Videodrome. This movie feels sleazy, as from its subject matter and the wonderful performance by James Woods, yet Cronenberg shoots it with futuristic zeal and an atmosphere of conspiratorial horror and paranoia. The combination of gruesome body-horror practical effects and the philosophical quandary into the media's affect on free will makes this film timeless and infinitely rewatchable. This is Cronenberg's masterpiece and I absolutely love it.
As is the case with Daises, this movie has a premise which can be described in less than a sentence, but somehow becomes indescribably fantastic. The range of in-camera effects that Obayashi includes pushes this movie far passed the outer reaches of absurdity, and yet he still takes time for stretches of melodrama among the chaos. This movie has been a treat to watch with friends and has thus become a Halloween party classic that will not be replaced any time soon.
Tarkovsky's first major film (not including The Steamroller and the Violin) is an accomplishment of youthful talent and daring. Perhaps containing the most pathos of all his films, Ivan' s Childhood stands out from the rest of Tarkovsky's oeuvre due to its detailed and careful depiction of its main character and how the character influences the setting and people around him. This is a perfectly composed film from one of the most philosophical directors of all time, making it a definitive favorite in my collection.
I love Godard because of how blatantly he embraces his theft from other films, and I feel that he did it in no film better than Pierrot le Fou. This movie just pops from the screen; a Roy Lichtenstein painting bursting onto celluloid. I can't think of any other film in the Collection that has colour as exuberant as this, and to me this is a film that I could watch on mute and still enjoy every bit as much. Not to mention that Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo are at their absolute best in this movie and make the perfect post-modernist Bonnie & Clyde.
This is the greatest action movie of all time and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.
This is the film that introduced me to the Criterion Collection, so couldn't just leave it off of my top 10. This movie did found-footage unlike any other film before or after it, and the found-footage trope is one of my favorite hooks in modern cinema. Man Bites Dog grabs the viewer by the balls and turns them from casual observer into active participant. The real genius of this film comes from the sympathy it draws towards the main character, despite his occupation as a career-serial killer, which makes it all the more powerful to see him and the crew disembowel a couple in their home. This is my favorite found-footage film since Cannibal Holocaust.
This is my favorite film by Luis Bunuel, and to me it operates as one of his more straight-forward surrealist films. This movie perfectly captures the reality of a dream, and the final portion of the film provides some of my favorite cinematic imagery. This movie is so weird, I love it.
This is probably my favorite comedy in the Collection, and damn do I ever hurt myself laughing while I watch this dark satire about seventies America. This movie perfectly encapsulates my sense of humor; the scenes of the couple's multiple clients, especially the Nazi, expressing the tops of comedy for me -- and every punchline is a frying pan to the back of the head, so what's not to love?
For me Salo has operated as the perfect date movie. Only could the meeting of de Sade and Pasolini provide me with the opportunity to horrify girls with something more than the typical slasher/ghost thriller. For me this film operates as a rather tame introduction to some of the bizarre movies I'm drawn towards, and if a girl can handle the coprophagia and torture then I know I've got a keeper.