Amoeblog

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.

'Under the Skin' Screening at The Regent Features Live Soundtrack Jan. 6

Posted by Amoebite, November 24, 2014 04:07pm | Post a Comment

If you've seen this year's brilliantly heady sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, you know that a huge part of the film's capitvating power owes to its visceral soundtrack.
 
under the skin soundtrackThe newly repoened Regent Theatre in Downtown L.A. will host a screening of the film Jan. 6 with a live performance of the score by a 25-piece orchestra directed by the film's composer, Mica Levi (also of British noisemakers Micachu & the Shapes).
 
There are two screenings of the film with its live soundtrack, at 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets start at $25, and they're on sale now. The screenings are co-presented by Wordless Music and Spaceland Productions.
 
The film, directed by Jonathan Glazer, stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien given human form who lures men to their doom yet slowly becomes more human as she exists in our world. Based on a novel by Michel Faber, the film has received generous acclaim, as has its soundtrack. The classically trained Levi's haunting score perfectly vibes with the film's body horror and pyschological undertones. The soundtrack is available now on LP and CD via Milan, while MIcachu & the Shapes have two albums out on Rough Trade, Never and Jewellry, plus the live album Chopped & Screwed. The film is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Also, check out our new "What's In My Bag?" episode with the author, Michel Faber!

Continue reading...

Ghost World - Walking Amongst the Living Dead

Posted by Miss Ess, May 11, 2010 04:01pm | Post a Comment
I had completely forgotten how good a movie Ghost World is, and I also can't believe it's been almost 10 years since it first came out in 2001!

ghost world

I don't think I had seen it again since then, and watching this film again with 9 years more life experience under my belt was enlightening in a way. I kinda can't believe this film ever got made, with its explicitly outsider view of the world and brash bitterness.
ghost world steve buscemi
That said, Ghost World, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, is hilarious and accurate when it comes to commentary on our ever-more conglomerated modern world and the rough task of even attempting to remain an individual within it. Enid (Thora Birch) and her best friend Becky (Scarlett Johansson) have just graduated from high school -- free at last to blossom further into the budding creative types they already are! But is it possible to grow up and not sell out? I love Enid and Becky's dry, honest take on the people and places that surround them, and how the film portrays adolescent boredom and minutiae in all its pathetic, short-sighted and unabashedly self-assured glory.

When they meet 78 collector Seymour (fully embodied by Steve Buscemi), Enid's world opens up further. She learns about integrity and idiosyncrasy in a way that the surrounding city itself can't teach, with its hip hop jukeboxed "50's" diners and "sell up" policy-laden multiplexes...

My favorite character in the film is Enid's caftan-ensconced, spiky haired art teacher, who has aghost world ileana douglas background in performance art (of course!), played to consummate perfection by Illeana Douglas. In fact, anyone who has sat through a high school art class will no doubt twitter in recognition of and amusement with its particular players, portrayed flawlessly here.

Continue reading...

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Posted by Miss Ess, January 28, 2009 05:52pm | Post a Comment
I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and it was all so very Woody Allen. In a way, it's nice to know that despite setting his movie in a place as far-flung as gorgeous, sun dappled Spain, you can't take the neuroses out of a New Yorker and thus his work.

vicky cristina barcelona

The movie is about two friends who are opposites when it comes to love, which in this movie equals life. They visit Spain for thpenelope cruz in vicky cristina barcelonae summer, one to study art and architecture, one to study, of course, love and life. They quickly meet an artist named Juan Antonio who has a violent ex-wife, Maria Elena. Various entanglements ensue. I do tire sometimes of Woody Allen's female characters and their limitations in so many of his films -- his women are so often both shallow and unknowable, both to other characters and the audience. You can tell a man with a somewhat restricted, maybe even old fashioned knowledge of women's inner lives has written the script. But then, each time this thought enters my head while watching a Woody Allen film, I think of Annie Hall and I know that there is or was something more in him, just not in this particular movie, which for me includes Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Penelope Cruz exhibits enough rage and instability as Maria Elena to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Suppwoody allen directing vicky cristina barcelonaorting Actress, and good for her. She is probably the best, most emotive character in the film, and yet I was still frustrated by the lack of depth to her character.

Continue reading...