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The Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 01:57pm | Post a Comment

Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2018

Has Criterion gone punk?? Based on the top selling Blu-rays at Amoeba this year it looks as if the primo purveyors of classic, foreign, and arthouse films found much of their success in alternative and cult-y titles by such provocateurs as Alex Cox, Terry Zwigoff, and John Waters. Perhaps it's a slight exaggeration, but based on the thin presence of films for Francophiles and classic film buffs, it seems that the prestigious label has gotten more angsty and alternative. Regardless, Criterion, as always, released a stellar collection of films in 2017. Here are the 10 best-selling Criterion Blu-rays at Amoeba.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Sid & Nancy Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music

10. Sid & Nancy 
Directed by Alex Cox, 1986
Released Aug 22, 2017

The long overdue Blu-ray release of Sid & Nancy has been one of the most anticipated Criterion releases in recent memory, and it couldn't have come at a more poignant time in lead actor Gary Oldman's career. Now regarded as a Hollywood mainstay, and garnering Oscar buzz for his recent portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hours, Oldman broke through to audiences in Cox's kinetic cult flick about the infamous, short lived, heroin-fueled relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen (played by an equally fascinating Chloe Webb), before her gruesome, unsolved death by stabbing. Packed with extra documentaries, archival interviews of the real Vicious and Spungen, commentaries by the cast and crew, and more, this is the ultimate edition of the beloved punk-classic. 4K digital restoration.
Rebecca Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 9. Rebecca 
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1940
Released Sept 5, 2017

Considered a favorite by many die-hard Alfred Hitchcock fans, Rebecca was the director's first production in Hollywood, after making a name for himself across the Atlantic. Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier star is this psychological melodrama, in which the bliss of their new marriage becomes overshadowed by the memory, and possibly spirit, of Olivier's dead first wife. Filled with visual style, atmospheric special effects, and superb performances, Rebecca signaled the arrival of a new master in Tinseltown, and took home the Academy Award for best picture. The new Blu-ray is filled to the brim with special features, including various archival interviews with cast and crew members, three radio adaptations (including one by Orson Wells), screen tests, and a new conversation by legendary film critic Molly Haskell with Patricia White. 4K digital restoration.

Rumble Fish Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 8. Rumble Fish
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1983

Released April 25, 2017

In Francis Ford Coppola's thematic follow-up to the teenage gang drama The Outsiders, Matt Dillon leads a youthful cast of soon-to-be stars, including Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, and Chris Penn. Filled with expressionist style and teenage angst, Rumble Fish is a sort of visual poem to youthful emotion, teenage violence, and romantic fatalism. Be sure to check out the new interviews with Coppola, S. E. Hinton (author of the source material), Matt Dillon, and Diane Lane, as well deleted scenes, archival interviews, and more. 4K digital restoration.

Mildred Pierce Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 7. Mildred Pierce
Directed by Michael Curtiz,1945
Released Feb 21, 2017

Although it changed what was originally a familial drama into a murder mystery, Mildred Pierce is arguably the best adaptation ever made of pulp novelist James M. Cain's work. Director Michael Curtiz's trademark visual and emotional richness, as seen in his classic film Casablanca, are on full display, highlighting Joan Crawford's Oscar-winning performance, which would prove to be one of her most remembered roles. As the titular character, single mother Crawford works herself to the bone becoming a popular restaurateur, all for the enrichment of her daughter, Veda, who proves to be a spoiled and entitled obstacle in her pursuit of comfort and happiness. Though this bleak interpretation of the American Dream gone-off-the-rails is at its heart a melodrama, it has gone down in history as one the most iconic of film noirs. Extras include archival interviews, documentaries and a new conversation and essay about the film. 4K digital restoration.

Barry Lyndon Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 6. Barry Lyndon
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1975
Released Oct 17, 2017

Stanley Kubrick's lavish, often overlooked masterpiece seems to have gained new appreciation in recent years, and nothing proves that sentiment more than Criterion's release of this new 4K restoration. Adapted from William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, Kubrick created a rich period drama using only natural lighting and thoroughly authentic design to bring the audience into 18th century Britain as an observer of the social and moral codes at play, as Irish rogue Barry Lyndon (played by Ryan O'Neal) climbs his way up into English high society. Also featuring many new interviews and documentaries about the film's production, including cinematography, production design, and costume design, this Blu-ray release is made with the deep-digging film enthusiast in mind. 4K digital restoration.

Stalker Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 5. Stalker
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979
Released July 18, 2017

A Soviet sci-fi film as only Andrei Tarkovsky could envision, Stalker is a meditative and often abstract interpretation of Arkady and Boris Strugatskiy's novel about two men being led into the center of a restricted disaster zone in search of a location referred to as "the Room," where it is believed they will be granted their innermost desires. With less emphasis on the story and more on the details of the locations and atmosphere, Stalker immerses the viewer in its world, while challenging them to make their own interpretations of the meaning. Long awaited on Blu-ray in the US, Stalker is another highly anticipated Criterion release, featuring an essay and interviews with various crew members. 2K digital restoration.

Multiple Maniacs Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 4. Multiple Maniacs
Directed by John Waters, 1970
Released March 21, 2017

The second feature by the maverick of schlock, John Waters, pulls no punches in its intent to shock, disgust, and darkly entertain. The precursor to his iconic Pink Flamingos, Multiple Maniacs is ripe with the director's pitch black comedy and features many of his frequent actors, including Divine, the persona most associated with Waters' films. An early example of transgressive cinema, Multiple Maniacs perverted and upended the values of the free love generation, and would inspire a whole new era of underground cinema. Features new director commentary and interviews with cast and crew members. 4K digital restoration.

Ghost World Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 3. Ghost World
Directed by Terry Zwigoff, 2001
Released May 30, 2017

Terry Zwigoff's adaptation of the graphic novel by indie-hero Dan Clowes was one of the first cult hits of the new millennium, both setting the tone for a new era of a deadpan, ironic comedy, and widespread comic book worship. While the sarcasm and malaise of co-stars Thora Birch and, a then relatively unknown Scarlett Johansson, is turned up to 11, Ghost World is also a heartfelt and genuine look at the uncertainty of post high school life and the difficulties of trying to resist conformity. The film is especially poignant with Steve Buscemi's sincere portrayal of an aging, lonesome record collector, living in a world uninterested in his outdated tastes and values. Featuring an original cover by Dan Clowes himself, printed excerpts from the original graphic novel, as well as new interviews with Birch and Johansson and commentary by Zwigoff and Clowes, this is definitely the version to get. 4K digital transfer.

Being There Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 2. Being There
Directed by Hal Ashby, 1979
Released March 21, 2017

In his penultimate performance, Peter Sellers plays an unworldly, simple-minded gardener who, by chance, ends up a trusted advisor to a wealthy businessman and political insider in Washington D.C. Hal Ashby's black satire of the American psyche in an age of media overload is not only one of Seller's most iconic performances, but also one of the director's most beloved films. The Criterion Blu-ray features a new documentary on the making of the film, as well as archival interviews, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. 4K digital transfer.

Blow-Up Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 1. Blow-Up
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966
Released March 28, 2017

Long out-of-print and never released on Blu-ray in America, Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 mod / arthouse psychological mystery proved to be the most anticipated Criterion release of the year. Starring the petulantly cool David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who unwittingly documents what appears to be a murder, Blow-Up is part contemplative think piece and part swingin' rave up, which not only made audiences examine ideas of voyeurism, sight, image, and isolation, but also became a cultural landmark and time capsule of swingin' London in the mid-'60s, influencing the works of everyone from Brian De Palma to Mike Myers. The Criterion package includes a recent interview with actress Vanessa Redgrave, archival interviews, and a new documentary about the making of the film. 4K digital transfer.

Want to explore more Criterion releases? Shop new and used Criterion DVD and Blu-ray on Amoeba.com (and they'll ship free to U.S. addresses).

Relevant Tags

Michelangelo Antonioni (2), Blow-up (3), Peter Sellers (1), Hal Ashby (2), Being There (1), Steve Buscemi (2), Scarlett Johansson (4), Dan Clowes (2), Thora Birch (2), Daniel Clowes (9), Criterion Collection (8), Criterion (13), Blu-ray (32), Alex Cox (2), Sid And Nancy (1), Sex Pistols (14), Sid Vicious (2), Rebecca (1), Alfred Hitchcock (8), Joan Fontaine (1), Laurence Olivier (1), Rumble Fish (1), Francis Ford Coppola (2), Matt Dillon (1), Diane Lane (2), Mickey Rourke (4), Nicolas Cage (2), Laurence Fishburne (3), Chris Penn (1), Mildred Pierce (1), Michael Curtiz (4), Joan Crawford (7), Barry Lyndon (1), Casablanca (3), Stanley Kubrick (5), Ryan O'neal (1), William Makepeace Thackeray (1), Stalker (1), Andrei Tarkovsky (4), Multiple Maniacs (2), John Waters (22), Pink Flamingos (2), Ghost World (5), Terry Zwigoff (5), Best Of 2017 (19), David Hemmings (1), Mod (10), Swinging London (1)