Criterion Flubs

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Jim Roots

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Criterion Flubs

PostSun Feb 19, 2017 12:57 pm

The quality of choice of films that earn the Criterion treatment is remarkably high.

After watching a long string of random titles in their catalogue, I got to wondering: do they have any real duds and flubs among their choices?

One caveat before you hit the "post reply" button: it doesn't count if there is one bummer in a set of four films, as long as the set as a whole is good.

So, any stinkers in Criterion's list?

Jim
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostSun Feb 19, 2017 1:15 pm

The Scarlet Empress DVD from Criterion is the one that comes to mind. I mentioned (I think on AMS) that I was disappointed in the image. Jon Mirsalis said that he had seen a much better print than what's on the Criterion release, from 2001, I believe.

I think it's been mentioned here on Nitrateville also. I just sampled it, it still looks bad.

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Danny Burk

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostSun Feb 19, 2017 6:26 pm

Yes, very disappointing, especially given that it's tied for my #1 favorite film.

UCLA's restoration is supposed to be great (I haven't seen it); I think that's what Jon has seen.

Criterion had to work with substandard preprint given them by Universal. The latter's prints have always been that way; I used to have a 16mm original that had the same type of overly grainy appearance.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostSun Feb 19, 2017 7:00 pm

There are certainly films that didn't do it for me. I have no idea what anyone sees in the Iranian film A Taste of Cherry, for instance. There are things i don't need to see ever again, like L'Avventura, but I wouldn't deny them being Criterion releases, they're certainly important.

In any case, not many.
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dalefullerfan2014

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostSun Feb 19, 2017 11:52 pm

I'm pretty sure that UCLA has a nitrate print of "....Empress" I vaguely remember seeing a part of a nitrate print one year at Cinecon when we had an outside screening at UCLA of "Trail of The Lonesome Pine" and bits and pieces of nitrate film they had including a bit of " Midsummer Night's Dream"
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Jim Roots

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostMon Feb 20, 2017 9:30 am

I don't mean bad print quality when I ask if there are any duds. I mean bad movies, period. Mike got my intentions right.

There are some Criterion selections that don't interest me enough to try them out. But I'm hard-pressed to think of any of their selections that I actively disliked.

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Mike Gebert

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostMon Feb 20, 2017 9:33 am

House is just weird. I like Japanese genre films to a certain extent, but this is one of those "hey, look what weird thing I can do" movies that looks like it should be an experimental film on Night Flight in 1983. Watched it and went right out and sold it on Amazon.
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Mark Zimmer

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostMon Feb 20, 2017 9:42 am

ARMAGEDDON is usually one of the big WTF titles in the Criterion catalogue. But it paid the bills so one can understand it, sort of.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostMon Feb 20, 2017 1:52 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:... I have no idea what anyone sees in the Iranian film A Taste of Cherry, for instance. .

Thanks Mike - I thought I was the only one who found this film a bore. I was beginning to feel like a total philistine for not "getting it.'"
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Saint-Just

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostMon Feb 20, 2017 8:27 pm

Tootsie, which is an 'of it's time' sort of film and to me should be beneath Criterion's notice, and Rosemary's Baby, which is unpleasant trash, come to my mind. Seems lately they've lowered their standards quite a bit - to me they always used to be a really classy operation but not so much anymore. I don't get why they would bother with a film like The Rose. On the other hand I was looking forward to viewing of Mullholland Drive and found it impossible to get into - a real disappointment.

...Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - any comment necessary?
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 8:30 am

Saint-Just wrote:Tootsie, which is an 'of it's time' sort of film and to me should be beneath Criterion's notice, and Rosemary's Baby, which is unpleasant trash, come to my mind. Seems lately they've lowered their standards quite a bit - to me they always used to be a really classy operation but not so much anymore. I don't get why they would bother with a film like The Rose. On the other hand I was looking forward to viewing of Mullholland Drive and found it impossible to get into - a real disappointment.

...Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - any comment necessary?


Oooh, that's a good one for the flub list -- those Valley of the Dolls films, I mean. I had the same reaction when they first announced it as an upcoming release: "What the ... ? Criterion doing those films?!?!?"

I saw Tootsie "in its time", enjoyed it then, have no interest in revisiting it. I'm not into Devil movies or tragic-rock-star movies, so neither Rosemary's Baby nor The Rose entice me. Mulholland Drive is so constantly raved about that I feel pushed to watch it, but have resisted so far.

Jim
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 9:10 am

While you can argue about whether they're good films or not I don't think there's any denying that all the films listed are significant milestones in cinema history. I'm no fan of Russ Meyer but the Dolls films are definitely markers in time and space.

For my money Mulholland Dr. is one of the best films of the 21st Century. No accounting for taste and all that though...
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 12:10 pm

oldposterho wrote:While you can argue about whether they're good films or not I don't think there's any denying that all the films listed are significant milestones in cinema history. I'm no fan of Russ Meyer but the Dolls films are definitely markers in time and space.


This is what it comes down to. The canon isn't necessarily 'films we personally like', it's 'films that say something about the time and place in which they were made'. If it were 100 years from now and nobody had seen fit to preserve the excellent Mulholland Drive, I'd be very upset.

And, for what it's worth, I thought Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was a hoot.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 12:27 pm

oldposterho wrote:While you can argue about whether they're good films or not I don't think there's any denying that all the films listed are significant milestones in cinema history. I'm no fan of Russ Meyer but the Dolls films are definitely markers in time and space.

For my money Mulholland Dr. is one of the best films of the 21st Century. No accounting for taste and all that though...


Agreed about Mulholland Drive. I'm not sure how I'd categorize Fiend Without a Face, but I enjoy the heck out of it.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 2:10 pm

Frederica wrote:
oldposterho wrote:While you can argue about whether they're good films or not I don't think there's any denying that all the films listed are significant milestones in cinema history. I'm no fan of Russ Meyer but the Dolls films are definitely markers in time and space.

For my money Mulholland Dr. is one of the best films of the 21st Century. No accounting for taste and all that though...


Agreed about Mulholland Drive. I'm not sure how I'd categorize Fiend Without a Face, but I enjoy the heck out of it.


Leonard Maltin had similar conflicting feelings. He gave it only one and a half stars, but his review raves about it!

Jim
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 2:53 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Frederica wrote:Agreed about Mulholland Drive. I'm not sure how I'd categorize Fiend Without a Face, but I enjoy the heck out of it.


Leonard Maltin had similar conflicting feelings. He gave it only one and a half stars, but his review raves about it!

Jim


I revisited my rules on "good" a long time ago. Given a choice between Fiend Without a Face and anything by Antonioni...or dear heaven, Bertolucci...I'll choose Fiend every time.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 3:01 pm

You'd have to pay me to sit through Antonioni again. A lot.

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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Feb 21, 2017 3:02 pm

There's always been a weird disconnect between the reviews in the book bearing his name (but of course having many authors) and Maltin's own views. I assume that the author of The Great Movie Comedians always thought more highly of Steamboat Bill Jr. than the **1/2 it got for many years.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostWed Feb 22, 2017 12:59 pm

Not exactly a flub, but I do wish their laserdisc edition of The Magnificent Ambersons could have been ported over to DVD and/or blu-ray. It had some fascinating extras that would have been great to have in a digital format.

I believe they also released a version of Michael Bay's The Rock, but that might have been a laserdisc-only title.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostWed Feb 22, 2017 5:02 pm

oldposterho wrote:While you can argue about whether they're good films or not I don't think there's any denying that all the films listed are significant milestones in cinema history. I'm no fan of Russ Meyer but the Dolls films are definitely markers in time and space.

For my money Mulholland Dr. is one of the best films of the 21st Century. No accounting for taste and all that though...


I could deny, but I'm not out for a fight.
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 6:12 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:There are things i don't need to see ever again, like L'Avventura,.


90 minutes of wanting to scream at Monica Vitti, "He's a jerk, why can't you see that?"
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 8:35 pm

I know that Alain Renais' Last Year at Marionbad (1961) is supposed to be some kind of classic, but it was a pretentious, infuriating bore to me...
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Re: Criterion Flubs

PostTue Mar 14, 2017 10:07 pm

House is a dog. I never understood why Criterion did Life During Wartime, but didn't do Happiness. Life During Wartime is interesting, but without Happiness, it makes no sense at all.

Mulholland Drive requires a secret to really appreciate. It's a fantastic film and constructed like a Chinese puzzle box, but I can see why it leaves people puzzled. You need the key to unlock what it all means. That said, I don't think there is a key to unlock Inland Empire.

I don't judge films by distributors. I judge them by directors.

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