Criterion Sets ‘Uncut Gems’ 4K Edition for Nov. 23

The Criterion Collection has announced a Nov. 23 street date for the 2019 drama Uncut Gems, which will be released in new Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions.

The film, directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, stars Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a fast-talking New York jeweler and gambler in relentless pursuit of the next big score. When he comes into possession of a rare opal, it seems Howard’s ship has finally come in — as long as he can stay one step ahead of a wife (Idina Menzel) who hates him, a mistress (Julia Fox) who can’t quit him, and a frenzy of loan sharks and hitmen closing in on him.

The cast also includes LaKeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett.

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The Criterion edition will boast a new 4K digital transfer approved by the Safdie Brothers, with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions. The 4K edition will be a combo pack with the film in Dolby Vision HDR on a 4K disc, and the film with bonus materials on a regular Blu-ray disc.

Extras include an audio commentary from 2019 featuring the Safdies, writer and editor Ronald Bronstein, and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard; new interviews with cinematographer Darius Khondji, costume designer Miyako Bellizzi, production designer Sam Lisenco, and casting director Jennifer Venditti; documentaries from 2019 and 2020 on the making of the film and soundtrack; a screen test featuring actors Adam Sandler and Julia Fox; Goldman v Silverman, a 2020 short film by the Safdies, featuring Sandler and Benny Safdie; Question & Answer, a 2020 short film featuring the Safdies, Sandler, actor Jason Bateman, and comedy writer Megan Amram; audition tapes; deleted and extended scenes, including a full performance of “The Morning” by The Weeknd; trailers; and an essay by film critic J. Hoberman and, for the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions, a 2020 discussion of the film by the editorial staff of Jewish Currents magazine.

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The film was previously released by Lionsgate on Blu-ray in March 2020 with just a making-of featurette. Criterion DVD and Blu-ray editions had previously been earmarked for an Oct. 26 release.

Uncut Gems becomes Criterion’s fourth 4K release in November, joining Citizen Kane, Mulholland Dr. and Menace II Society among the boutique distributor’s first slate of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles.

Criterion November 2021 Slate Includes Three 4K Titles

The Criterion Collection has announced its slate of November 2021 titles, including 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases of Citizen Kane, Mulholland Dr. and Menace II Society, plus a regular Blu-ray release of Federico Fellini’s La strada, and a Blu-ray boxed set of the Once Upon a Time in China films from Hong Kong in the 1990s.

When the Criterion Collection Aug. 11 announced its initial slate of 4K titles heading to disc, it highlighted Citizen Kane as leading the batch of six 4K films. Well, according to Criterion’s Aug. 16 announcement of its November 2021 lineup, it turns out its first 4K disc will actually be director David Lynch’s 2001 film Mulholland Dr. on Nov. 16.

In Mulholland Dr., blonde Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) has only just arrived in Hollywood to become a movie star when she meets an enigmatic brunette with amnesia (Laura Harring). As the two set off to solve the second woman’s identity, filmmaker Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) runs into ominous trouble while casting his latest project.

Criterion’s Mulholland Dr. comes in a combo pack with one 4K Ultra HD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR, while the second disc is a regular Blu-ray with the film and special features. The 4K version includes a new digital restoration supervised by Lynch and director of photography Peter Deming, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.

Extras include interviews from 2015 with Lynch, Deming, Watts, Harring, Theroux, composer Angelo Badalamenti, production designer Jack Fisk, and casting director Johanna Ray; on-set footage; a deleted scene; the film’s trailer; and a booklet featuring an interview with Lynch from the 2005 edition of filmmaker and writer Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch.

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Citizen Kane follows on Nov. 23. The 1941 masterpiece directed by and starring Orson Welles tells the story of the rise and fall of a newspaper magnate whose efforts to reshape America are trumped only by his desire to recapture the lost innocence of his youth.

Criterion’s edition will be a combo pack containing the film on a 4K disc with Dolby Vision HDR, and three regular Blu-ray Discs containing the film and a slew of bonus materials. The film itself boasts a new 4K digital restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. A standalone three-disc Blu-ray edition without the 4K disc also will be offered.

Extras include three audio commentaries — from 2021 featuring Welles scholars James Naremore and Jonathan Rosenbaum; from 2002 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich; and from 2002 featuring film critic Roger Ebert. Also included will be The Complete Citizen Kane, a rarely seen feature-length BBC documentary from 1991; new interviews with critic Farran Smith Nehme and film scholar Racquel J. Gates; a new video essay by Welles scholar Robert Carringer; a new program on the film’s special effects by film scholars and effects experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt; a new documentary featuring archival interviews with Welles; interviews with actor Joseph Cotten from 1966 and 1975; The Hearts of Age, a brief silent film made by Welles as a student in 1934; television programs from 1979 and 1988 featuring appearances by Welles and Mercury Theatre producer John Houseman; a program featuring a 1996 interview with actor William Alland on his collaborations with Welles; a selection of “The Mercury Theatre on the Air” radio plays featuring many of the actors from Citizen Kane; the film’s trailer; and deluxe packaging, including a book with an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri.

The set also includes interviews from 1990 with editor Robert Wise; actor Ruth Warrick; optical-effects designer Linwood Dunn; Bogdanovich; filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Henry Jaglom, Martin Ritt and Frank Marshall; and cinematographers Allen Daviau, Gary Graver and Vilmos Zsigmond.

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Also due Nov. 23 on 4K disc is directors Albert and Allen Hughes’ 1993 film Menace II Society, a fatalistic, unflinching vision of life and death on the streets of Los Angeles in the 1990s. There, in the shadow of the riots of 1965 and 1992, young Caine (Tyrin Turner) is growing up under the influence of his ruthless, drug-dealing father (Samuel L. Jackson) and his loose-cannon best friend, O-Dog (Larenz Tate), leading him into a spiral of violent crime from which he is not sure he wants to escape, despite the best efforts of his grandparents and the steadfast Ronnie (Jada Pinkett).

The film will be available as a 4K Ultra HD combo pack with a Blu-ray, and as a standalone Blu-ray, with a new 4K digital restoration of the directors’ cut of the film, supervised by cinematographer Lisa Rinzler and co-director Albert Hughes, with 7.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The original 2.0 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD master audio, also is offered. The 4K edition includes one 4K disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR, and a regular Blu-ray with the film and special features.

Extras include two audio commentaries from 1993 featuring directors Albert and Allen Hughes; “Gangsta Vision,” a 2009 featurette on the making of the film; a new conversation among Albert Hughes, screenwriter Tyger Williams and film critic Elvis Mitchell; a new conversation among Allen Hughes, actor and filmmaker Bill Duke, and Mitchell; an interview from 1993 with the directors; deleted scenes; a film-to-storyboard comparison; the film’s trailer; and an essay be film critic Craig D. Lindsey

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Among Criterion’s non-4K titles for the month, Nov. 2 sees the release of a Blu-ray Disc edition of director Federico Fellini’s 1954 film La strada, which launched both himself and his wife and collaborator Giulietta Masina to international stardom. Masina plays Gelsomina, loyal companion to the traveling strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), whose callousness and brutality gradually wear down her gentle spirit. La strada was the winner of the very first Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

The La strada Blu-ray includes a new 4K digital restoration, undertaken in collaboration with The Film Foundation and the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. It also includes an alternate English-dubbed soundtrack, featuring the voices of Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart.

Extras include audio commentary from 2003 by Peter Bondanella, author of The Cinema of Federico Fellini; an introduction from 2003 by filmmaker Martin Scorsese; Giulietta Masina: The Power of a Smile, a documentary from 2004; Federico Fellini’s Autobiography, a documentary originally broadcast on Italian television in 2000; the film’s trailer; and an essay by film critic Christina Newland.

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Due Nov. 16 will be the six-disc Once Upon a Time in China: The Complete Films Blu-ray collection.

One of the pinnacles of Hong Kong cinema’s 1990s golden age, the “Once Upon a Time in China” series set a new standard for martial-arts spectacle and launched action star Jet Li to international fame.

Against the backdrop of China in the late nineteenth century, one man — the real-life martial-arts master, physician, and folk hero Wong Fei-hung—emerges as a noble protector of Chinese values as the country hurtles toward modernity. The set includes 1991’s Once Upon a Time in China, plus its 1992 sequel, the third and fourth films from 1993, and the fifth film from 1994. The first three films boast 4K digital restorations, while the latter two have 2K restorations. All are presented with their original Cantonese theatrical-release sound mixes in uncompressed monaural or stereo

Also included is 1997’s Once Upon a Time in China and America with a 2K digital transfer featuring 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio and monaural Cantonese soundtracks, along with a stereo Mandarin track with the voice of actor Jet Li.

Extras include new interviews with director Tsui Hark, film workshop cofounder Nansun Shi, editor Marco Mak, and critic Tony Raynsl; excerpts from audio interviews with Li conducted in 2004 and ’05; deleted scenes from Once Upon a Time in China III; a documentary from 2004 about the real-life martial-arts hero Wong Fei-hung; From Spikes to Spindles, a 1976 documentary about New York City’s Chinatown featuring uncredited work by Tsui; excerpts from a 2019 master class given by martial-arts choreographer Yuen Wo-ping; archival interviews featuring Tsui and actors John Wakefield, Donnie Yen and Yen Shi-kwan; behind-the-scenes footage for Once Upon a Time in China and Once Upon a Time in China and America; a making-of program from 1997 on Once Upon a Time in China and America; film trailers; and essays on the films by critic Maggie Lee, and cinematic depictions of Wong by novelist Grady Hendrix.

Criterion Announces Its First 4K Disc Slate Will Include ‘Citizen Kane’

The Criterion Collection is finally making the leap to 4K Ultra HD. The boutique Blu-ray and DVD distributor Aug. 11 announced its first slate of six titles in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format will be highlighted by Citizen Kane in November.

Other Criterion 4K Ultra HD Discs to be released in the coming months include Menace II Society, The Piano, Mulholland Dr., The Red Shoes and A Hard Day’s Night.

Each title will be available as a combo pack containing a 4K disc of the film and a regular Blu-ray of the film with bonus materials. Select films will be presented in Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos.

Additional release details and street dates will be announced shortly.

Director Orson Welles’ landmark Citizen Kane, which debuted in cinemas in 1941, was Criterion’s first Laserdisc release 37 years ago. The film has received a number of DVD and Blu-ray releases from Warner Bros. in the interim.

 

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Criterion;
Comedy;
$29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates, Ray Walston, Forest Whitaker, Vincent Schiavelli.

The Criterion Collection’s new edition of the 1982 comedy classic Fast Times at Ridgemont high includes a sparkling new transfer of the film that goes a bit beyond the typical restoration.

The new 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Amy Heckerling, goes so far as to restore a scene of full-frontal male nudity of Robert Romanus during his sex scene with Jennifer Jason Leigh that was trimmed from the original version in order to avoid an ‘X’ rating. It’s not a new scene added back into the film — the theatrical version simply zoomed in to avoid showing off too much of Romanus. The Criterion cut simply restores the original framing.

In addition to a printed essay booklet by film critic Dana Stevens with an introduction by screenwriter Cameron Crowe, the primary new extra on Criterion’s Blu-ray is a 35-minute interview about the film with Heckerling and Crowe moderated by actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde, who discuesses how much Fast Times influenced her in making Booksmart.

The Blu-ray also includes the television edit of the film, which adds in a few deleted and alternate scenes to run about five minutes longer than the theatrical cut.

Legacy extras carried over from Universal’s earlier home video releases include a 1999 commentary from Heckerling and Crowe; the 40-minute “Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High” retrospective from 1999, featuring interviews with cast and crew; and a 47-minute audio discussion with Heckerling conducted at the American Film Institute in 1982.

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Criterion March 2021 Slate Includes ‘Defending Your Life’

Criterion Collection’s March 2021 release slate includes Albert Brooks’ afterlife comedy Defending Your Life, Jacques Rivette’s long-unavailable Céline and Julie Go Boating, the Blu-ray debut of Mike Leigh’s Palme d’Or–winning Secrets & Lies, and Senegalese iconoclast Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki.

Arriving March 9 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD is 1973’s Touki Bouki, in which director Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a fractured portrait of the disenchantment of postindependence Senegal in the early 1970s. In this picaresque fantasy-drama, the disaffected young lovers Anta and Mory, fed up with Dakar, long to escape to the glamour and comforts they imagine France has to offer, but their plan is confounded by obstacles both practical and mystical. The Criterion edition includes a new 2K digital transfer, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the family of Mambéty, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. The film is presented in Wolof with English subtitles. Extras include a 2013 introduction by The Film Foundation’s founder and chair, Martin Scorsese; a 2013 interview wwith filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako; an interview program from 2012 featuring musician Wasis Diop and filmmaker Mati Diop, Mambéty’s brother and niece, respectively; Contras’ City, a 1968 short film by Mambéty, in a new 4K restoration by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Cineteca di Bologna; plus an essay by film programmer and critic Ashley Clark.

March 16 sees the Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of 1974’s Céline and Julie Go Boating, the French New Wave film from director Jacques Rivette, in which Julie (Dominique Labourier), a daydreaming librarian, meets Céline (Juliet Berto), an enigmatic magician, and together they become the heroines of a time-warping adventure involving a haunted house, psychotropic candy and a murder-mystery melodrama. The two-disc Blu-ray and three-disc DVD special edition includes a new 2K digital restoration, a new English subtitle translation, and an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include an audio commentary from 2017 featuring critic Adrian Martin; Jacques Rivette: Le veilleur, a 1994 two-part feature documentary by Claire Denis, featuring an extensive interview with Rivette by film critic Serge Daney; new interviews with actor Bulle Ogier and producer and actor Barbet Schroeder; a new conversation between critic Pacôme Thiellement and Hélène Frappat, author of Jacques Rivette, secret compris; archival interviews with Rivette, Ogier, and actors Berto, Labourier and Marie-France Pisier; plus an essay by critic Beatrice Loayza and a 1974 piece by Berto.

Landing March 30 on Blu-ray and DVD is the 1991 romantic-comedy Defending Your Life. The film was written by, directed by and stars Albert Brooks as a hapless advertising executive who dies suddenly and finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As he struggles to make his case, he forms a budding relationship with an uninhibited woman (Meryl Streep) who offers him a chance to finally feel alive. The supporting cast includes Rip Torn, Lee Grant and Buck Henry. Criterion’s edition includes a new 4K digital restoration supervised by Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide; a new interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman; a new program featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Brooks, Grant and Torn; the film’s trailer; plus an essay by filmmaker Ari Aster.

Also due March 30 on Blu-ray and DVD is 1996’s Secret’s & Lies from director Mike Leigh. When Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a Black optometrist who was adopted as a child, begins the search for her birth mother, she doesn’t expect that it will lead her to Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s best actress award), a desperately lonely white factory worker whose tentative embrace of her long-lost daughter sends shock waves through the rest of her already fragile family. The special edition offers a new 2K digital restoration supervised by Leigh and director of photography Dick Pope, with a 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a new conversation with Leigh and composer Gary Yershon; a new interview with Marianne Jean-Baptiste; an audio interview with Leigh from 1996 conducted by film critic Michel Ciment; and the film’s trailer.

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Criterion in March also releases the previously announced Blu-ray boxed set World of Wong Kar Wai, which collects seven of the Hong Kong filmmaker’s most ravishing films in stunning new restorations.

Criterion Releasing ‘World of Wong Kar Wai’ Boxed Set

The Criterion Collection March 23, 2021, will release the boxed set World of Wong Kar Wai, a seven-disc Blu-ray Disc collection containing new 4K digital restorations of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046, approved by Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, and new 4K digital restorations of As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks.

The set comes in deluxe packaging, including a French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note and six collectible art prints.

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Wong’s debut feature, 1988’s As Tears Go By, is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles. The crime thriller, set amid Hong Kong’s gangland underworld stars Andy Lau Tak Wah as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) and his loyalty to his loose-cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung Hok Yau), whose reckless attempts to make a name for himself unleash a spiral of violence.

In 1990’s Days of Being Wild, the initial entry in a loosely connected, ongoing cycle that includes In the Mood for Love and 2046, a disaffected playboy (Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing) searching for his birth mother, a lovelorn woman (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) hopelessly enamored with him, and a policeman (Andy Lau Tak Wah) caught in the middle of their turbulent relationship pull together and push apart in a dance of frustrated desire set in the Hong Kong of the 1960s. the film is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles.

In 1994’s Chungking Express, presented In Cantonese with English subtitles, two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung Chiu Wai), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out food stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works.

In 1995’s Fallen Angels, in Cantonese with English subtitles, lost souls reach out for human connection amid a glimmering Hong Kong in a film that charts the subtly interlacing fates of a handful of urban loners, including a coolly detached hit man (Leon Lai Ming) looking to go straight; his business partner (Michelle Reis), who secretly yearns for him; and a mute delinquent (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who wreaks mischief by night.

Happy Together, from 1997, stars Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing as a couple traveling through Argentina and locked in a turbulent cycle of infatuation and destructive jealousy as they break up, make up, and fall apart again and again. The film is presented in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Spanish with English subtitles.

In 2000’s In the Mood for Love, set in Hong Kong in 1962, Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite — until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. It is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles.

The loose sequel to In the Mood for Love, 2046, features Tony Leung Chiu Wai reprising his role as writer Chow Mo-Wan, whose numerous failed relationships with women who drift in and out of his life (and the one who goes in and out of room 2046, down the hall from his apartment) inspire the delirious futuristic love story he pens. The 2004 film is presented in Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese with English subtitles.

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The boxed set also includes:

  • A new program in which Wong answers questions submitted, at the invitation of the director, by authors André Aciman and Jonathan Lethem; filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Rian Johnson, Lisa Joy, and Chloé Zhao; cinematographers Philippe Le Sourd and Bradford Young; and filmmakers and founders/creative directors of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy;
  • Alternate version of Days of Being Wild featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time;
  • Hua yang de nian hua, a 2000 short film by Wong;
  • Extended version of The Hand, a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time;
  • Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival;
  • Three making-of documentaries, featuring interviews with Wong; actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Faye Wong, and Ziyi Zhang; and others;
  • Episode of the television series “Moving Pictures” from 1996 featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle;
  • Interviews from 2002 and 2005 with Doyle;
  • Excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Cheung on her work in Days of Being Wild;
  • Program from 2012 on In the Mood for Love’s soundtrack;
  • Press conference for In the Mood for Love from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival;
  • Deleted scenes, alternate endings, behind-the-scenes footage, a promo reel, music videos, and trailers.

 

The Irishman

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 11/24/20;
Criterion;
Drama;
$29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive language and strong violence.
Stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Graham, Harvey Keitel.

Lest anyone accuse Martin Scorsese of glamorizing gangsters, he presents The Irishman, a screed against the criminal lifestyle.

The film is based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses, a recounting of the life of mafia hitman Frank Sheeran, the man who claims to have killed Jimmy Hoffa, the union boss whose disappearance in 1975 became one of the 20th century’s great mysteries.

The subject matter is fodder for Scorsese, who assembles a cast of mob-movie all-stars to deliver another highly entertaining trip into the inner workings of the criminal underworld. This includes usual Scorsese collaborators such as Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci (who was coaxed out of retirement to appear). It is somehow also the first teaming of Al Pacino with Scorsese despite both being famously associated with the mafia movie genres.

The film, which earned a slew of Oscar nominations after debuting on Netflix in 2019, is lengthy at three-and-a-half hours, but is briskly paced enough to hold one’s attention. Of course, the nature of home video also allows viewers to pause the movie whenever they want, giving Scorsese plenty of leeway to indulge himself.

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De Niro stars as Sheeran, the ‘Irishman’ of the title, a truck driver who gets drawn into the mafia as an enforcer. He eventually becomes a trusted ally of Teamster president Hoffa (Al Pacino), a friendship that comes to a head when Hoffa’s actions run afoul of the mafia’s leadership.

The extended running time not only allows the audience time to get to know the characters, but it also allows Scorsese to hone in on an aspect of criminal life that wasn’t central to his earlier works in the genre: What happens to the violent gangsters who manage not to get killed and end up growing old? Was their life of crime still worth it once they realize what they had to leave behind to achieve it?

As if to carry the point home, Scorsese makes a point to pause the introductions of several minor characters to display an on-screen graphic describing their fates, which usually involves a horrific, violent death.

On the subject of aging, the film famously made extensive use of de-aging visual effects software in order to allow the elderly stars to play the younger versions of their characters since the film spans several decades. Scorsese in the Blu-ray’s bonus materials says the technology was vital to his deciding to direct the film, as he didn’t want to have to cast younger actors for the earlier scenes and only work with De Niro for half the movie. The results are subtle if not always perfect, but they don’t hamper the effectiveness of the film at all.

Because of the film’s length, Criterion has made the Blu-ray of The Irishman a two-disc set, with the entirety of the movie presented as the only content on the first disc. All the bonus materials are on the second disc and they do a good job of taking viewers behind the scenes of the film. Both discs come in a handsome fold-out slipcover with some beautiful painted artwork of De Niro and Pacino, plus a booklet with an essay about the film.

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In addition to the film’s trailers, the extras include a 36-minute “Making The Irishman” featurette that covers all the aspects of the production.

Film history fans will get a kick out of the 19-minute “Table for Four” featurette, a roundtable conversation between Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci as they discuss their careers and how they came together for this movie.

Also interesting is the 21-and-a-half-minute “Gangsters’ Requiem,” a video essay about the evolution of Scorsese’s career and how his previous works are reflected in The Irishman.

A five-minute “Anatomy of a Scene” video features Scorsese providing commentary on the Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night scene.

The film’s visual effects techniques are expanded upon in the 13-minute “The Evolution of Digital De-Aging as Seen in The Irishman” featurette, which was originally a Netflix promotional piece.

Finally, there are a couple of archival videos that the filmmakers used in re-creating historic events: a six-minute interview with an elderly Sheeran, and a 17-and-a-half minute news profile of Hoffa by David Brinkley in 1963.

‘Essential Fellini’ Blu-ray Set Arrives Nov. 24 from Criterion

The Criterion Collection Nov. 24 will release Essential Fellini, a 15-disc Blu-ray collection of 14 works from celebrated Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993) 100 years after his birth.

The set will include the films Variety Lights (1950), The White Sheik (1952), I Vitelloni (1953), La Strada (1954), Il Bidone (1955), Nights of Cabiria (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960), (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Fellini Satyricon (1969), Roma (1972), Amarcord (1973), And the Ship Sails On (1983) and Intervista (1987), plus a new digital restoration of the short film Toby Dammit (1968).

The set includes new 4K restorations of 11 of the theatrical features, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks for all films.

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Extras include:

  • The newly restored television film Fellini: A Director’s Notebook (1969), and the feature documentaries Fellini: I’m a Born Liar (2002) and Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember (1997), the latter presented in its 193-minute version;
  • A two-hour, four-part 1960 interview with Fellini by filmmaker André Delvaux for Belgian television;
  • Four behind-the-scenes documentaries: “Reporter’s Diary: Zoom on Fellini” (1965), “Ciao, Federico!” (1969), “The Secret Diary of Amarcord” (1974), and “Fellini racconta: On the Set of And the Ship Sails On” (1983);
  • Fellini racconta: Passegiatte nella memoria, a 2000 documentary featuring interviews with a late-in-life Fellini;
  • Giulietta Masina: The Power of a Smile, a 2004 documentary about Fellini’s wife and frequent collaborator;
  • “Once Upon a Time: La dolce vita,” a French television documentary about the film;
  • Audio commentaries on six of the films;
  • A program from 2003 on Fellini’s 1980s television advertising work;
  • Archival interviews with Fellini stars and collaborators, including Marcello Mastroianni, Sandra Milo, Anouk Aimée, and Magali Noël;
  • Archival audio interviews by film critic Gideon Bachmann with Fellini, Mastroianni, and Fellini’s friends and family;
  • Video essays;
  • Trailers.

 

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Listed for $249.95, the set will come in deluxe packaging that includes two lavishly illustrated books with hundreds of pages of content: notes on the films by scholar David Forgacs; essays by filmmakers Michael Almereyda, Kogonada, and Carol Morley, film critics Bilge Ebiri and Stephanie Zacharek, and novelist Colm Tóibín; and dozens of images spotlighting Don Young’s renowned collection of Fellini memorabilia.

 

‘Moonstruck,’ Girlfriends’ ‘Ghost Dog’ Getting Criterion Re-releases in November

The Criterion Collection in November will release new Blu-ray and DVD editions of catalog titles Moonstruck, Girlfriends and Ghost Dog.

Arriving Nov. 10 on Blu-ray and DVD is the 1978 comedy Girlfriends from director Claudia Weill. Melanie Mayron stars as a struggling artist who considers a fling with a married, older rabbi (Eli Wallach).

The film comes with a new, restored 4K digital transfer supervised by Weill and director of photography Fred Murphy, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include new interviews with Weill, Mayron, actors Christopher Guest and Bob Balaban, screenwriter Vicki Polon; Joyce at 34, a 1972 short film by Weill and Joyce Chopra; Commuters, a 1973 short film by Weill; the film’s trailer; and essays by critic Molly Haskell and scholar Carol Gilligan.

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The new Moonstruck Blu-ray and DVD editions arrive Nov. 17 with a new 4K digital restoration, and a 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

The film stars Cher in an Oscar-winning role as Loretta, an unlucky-in-love bookkeeper whose feelings about her engagement to the staid Johnny (Danny Aiello) are thrown into question after she meets his hot-blooded brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage). The film also won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress for Olympia Dukakis), and Best Original Screenplay for playwright John Patrick Shanley.

Extras include a new interview with Shanley; a new interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the use of opera in the film; an introduction from 2013 featuring Cher; interviews from 1987 with director Norman Jewison and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis; an interview from 2002 with actor Danny Aiello; an audio interview from 1989 with Shanley about screenwriting and the development of Moonstruck; “At the Heart of an Italian Family,” a 2006 program about the making of the film; “The Music of Moonstruck,” a 2006 program featuring interviews with Jewison and composer Dick Hyman; audio commentary from 1998 with Cher, Jewison and Shanley; the film’s trailer; and an essay by critic Emily VanDerWerff.

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Also due Nov. 17 on Blu-ray and DVD, 1999’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch, stars Forest Whitaker as a Zen contract killer working for a bumbling mob outfit, a modern man who adheres steadfastly to the ideals of the Japanese warrior code even as chaos and violence spiral around him.

The film comes with a restored 4K digital transfer supervised and approved by Jarmusch, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, as well as an alternate isolated stereo music track. Extras include a new Q&A with Jarmusch, in which he responds to questions sent in by fans; new conversation between actors Forest Whitaker and Isaach De Bankolé, moderated by film scholar Michael B. Gillespie; a new interview with casting director Ellen Lewis; a new interview with Shifu Shi Yan Ming, founder of the USA Shaolin Temple; a new video essay on RZA’s original score for the film; deleted scenes and outtakes; archival itnerviews; “The Odyssey: A Journey into the Life of a Samurai,” a 2000 program on the making of the film; the film’s trailer; and an essay by critic Greg Tate and quotations from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, by the early-18th century monk Yamamoto Tsunetomo.

Criterion Releasing Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 24

The Criterion Collection Nov. 24 will release Blu-ray Disc and DVD editions of director Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed mobster epic The Irishman.

The three-and-a-half-hour movie, which earned 10 Oscar nominations but didn’t win any, stars Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a former hitman and union truck driver who reflects on his life in organized crime in the mid-20th century, from his involvement with Philadelphia mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) to his association with Teamsters union head Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), and the rift that forced him to choose between the two.

The movie arrives on disc a year after its debut on Netflix, sporting a new 4K digital master approved by Scorsese, with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

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Extras include a newly edited roundtable conversation among Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci originally recorded in 2019; a new documentary about the making of the film; a new video essay written and narrated by film critic Farran Smith Nehme about The Irishman’s synthesis of Scorsese’s singular formal style; “The Evolution of Digital De-aging,” a 2019 program on the visual effects created for the film; archival interview excerpts with Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and International Brotherhood of Teamsters trade union leader Jimmy Hoffa; the film’s trailer and teaser; plus an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien.

Criterion previously released disc versions of Netflix originals Roma and Marriage Story.

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