Amoeba's Top 10 Favorite Criterion Picks

Posted by Billy Gil, June 15, 2015 11:03am | Post a Comment

Starting next week, we're holding a huge sale on Criterion Collection movies at Amoeba Hollywoodfrom June 18 through July 4, get 25% off all new Criterion DVDs and Blu-rays. You can read more about that sale here. To kick it off, we gathered our collective heads to pick our favorite Criterion movies on disc. Criteria varies, but generally these discs offer something special beyond the movie itself. Check out our picks below.

Band of Outsiders (1964)

Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic gets a pristine high-definition digital transfer on both the DVD and Blu-ray, while excerpts from the documentary La nouvelle vague par elle-même offer behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Godard. And a short film by the great French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda featuring much of the Band of Outsiders cast is just icing.


The Battle of Algiers ­(1966)

Gillo Pontecorvo’s influential film, which used documentary-style techniques to re-create a year in the struggle for Algerian independence from France, comes with many featurettes that help solidify the social and political context of the film and what really made it important.


Brazil (1985)

Terry Gilliam’s dystopian epic is a must-own for any film buff, but this special edition in particular is crucial in that it includes a Gilliam-approved 142-minute alternate version of the movie.


Charade (1963)

Best commentary track—director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone take credit for/blame each other for the best and worst parts of this Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant screwball thriller. Hysterical!


Grey Gardens (1976)

Both a campy cult classic and important entry in Albert and David Maysles’ cinema verite works, the documentary on Jackie Onassis’ eccentric hermit cousins Big and Little Edie comes with the 2006 sequel The Beales of Grey Gardens on the Blu-ray Disc.


House (1977)

This bizarre ’70s haunted house flick was somehow Japan’s answer to Jaws. Watching the film is an experience, with dancing skeletons, severed heads spilling blood and other fanciful and charmingly D.I.Y. horror effects. A featurette shows how director Nobuhiko Obayashi took modest means and ingenuity to make an unforgettably strange foray into the surreal.


In the Mood for Love (2000)

Perfect use of deleted scenes. Wong Kar-wai’s visually stunning ode to romantic longing is perfect as is, but these sequences (which would totally ruin the movie had they been left in) are beautiful in and of themselves.


M (1931)

The Blu-ray of Fritz Lang’s proto-psychological thriller includes the long-lost English-language cut of the film, from a nitrate print preserved by the British Film Institute.


The Red Shoes (1948)

Best restoration. The fantastical drama about a ballerina torn between two suitors is one of the most breathtaking films of all time. This comprehensive going-over results in a beauty unmatched.


Safe (1995)

Voted the best film of the ’90s in a 1999 Village Voice poll, Todd Haynes’ indefinable drama about a housewife who becomes allergic to her surroundings works as a social commentary on class and an allegory about the AIDS crisis. The DVD and Blu-ray include a commentary and conversation with Haynes and star Julianne Moore, who would work together again on 2002’s Far From Heaven. Serves as a reminder of Haynes’ talent before his next film, Carol, debuts this year.


Want more Criterion top 10s? Check out the Criterion site for top 10 lists from such luminaries as Wes Anderson, Lena Dunham, Martin Scorcese and more.

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Amoeba Hollywood (876), Criterion (13), Sale (58), Movies (56), Dvd (28), Blu-ray (32), Criterion Collection (10), Band Of Outsiders (1), The Battle Of Algiers (1), Brazil (6), Charade (1), Grey Gardens (7), House (44), In The Mood For Love (1), M (3), The Red Shoes (3), Safe (2)