Krzysztof Kieślowski's Dekalog is one of those 9.5 hour super-classics that everyone means to watch some time, when they have 9.5 hours to spare. With Criterion's typically lavish reissue, there's no better time to really think about maybe watching it one of these days.
An anomaly. A psychedelic Czech/French science-fiction stop-motion animation that won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1973. As usual, Criterion's new edition lavishes loving attention on every detail.
If you've liked the documentaries of Frederick Wiseman (whose recent At Berkeley and National Gallery seem to suddenly have netted him a new generation of fans), Les Blank seems like a natural next step. Simple, honest, life-affirming documentaries on occasionally surprising subjects. You'll like 'em.
How much would you guess your taste in samurai movies overlaps with Quentin Tarantino's? That's how much you should place a request.
Luchino Visconti's 1943 debut is a stunning take on James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, is possibly the first film in the Italian Neo-Realist movement, and is a film that shows up occasionally on the periphery of discussions of the medium's Greatest of All Time. Cain's novel has been made into no less than seven different movies, most famously this one, the surprisingly poor 1946 version featuring a startlingly miscast Lana Turner, and the better-than-you've-heard 1981 Jack Nicholson/Jessica Lange version. Doing a side-by-side-by-side wouldn't be the absolute worst way to spend 6+ hours.
Martin Scorsese says of this five-disc set, "This very special collection illuminates one of the most fascinating and unjustly neglected corners of American movie history."
Satyajit Ray's defining masterwork - the same as ever, but now bearing the Criterion logo - made the late Roger Ebert's Sight and Sound ballot of the 10 greatest films ever made, until said publication got all "three movies is not a movie". You don't have to let such a technicality stop you.
At long last, Penelope Spheeris' out-of-print music documentary trilogy finally sees official release on DVD. 1981's The Decline of Western Civilization documents Los Angeles' fertile hardcore scene, featuring ferocious live performances by Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear and - most importantly - X. 1988's Part II: The Metal Years has become something of a cult touchstone largely because of Spheeris' decision to allow the musicians to choose the setting in which they were interviewed, leading to some farcically over-the-top hair-metal posturing, though (and amusing as it is) the film is more than just another Heavy Metal Parking Lot. 1998's self-financed, never-released-on-home-video Part III - Spheeris' avowed favorite - is a deeper look at the culture of homeless gutter-punk teenagers living in Los Angeles. Essential.
Burt Lancaster, standing at a pool party, realizes there's a river of swimming pools that line up house-by-house all the way to his. And darned if he's not going to swim home. Lancaster's Odyssey through modern (circa-1968) suburbia is one of the cinema's great visual metaphors. The New York Times' Vincent Canby noted the fascinating combination of the film's simple, literal style, and the "shape of an open-ended hallucination... grim, disturbing and sometimes funny." (Echoes of Bunuel?) Roger Ebert called the Swimmer, "a strange, stylized work, a brilliant and disturbing one."
Probably the greatest ever film that is just a Rube Goldberg machine going through its machinations. Fascinating.