Early in the week we learned one title that The Criterion Collection was releasing in July; as I posted here, they announced a five-film box set called Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits. But they didn’t stop there, and today they announced what else they’ll be releasing in July 2020. Once again we are getting one of my favorite 2019 films, with Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (another Netflix title that Criterion was able to license for physical media). We also get two upgrades of old releases . . . two important, long-awaited upgrades. What a great slate!

The blurbs are from The Criterion Collection’s website (so are the links) — go there to see the details on the supplements.


July 7, 2020

The War of the Worlds (1953)
d. Byron Haskin

From The Criterion Collection:

A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing—neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry)—can stop it. In the expert hands of genre specialists George Pal and Byron Haskin, H. G. Wells’s end-of-civilization classic receives a chilling Cold War–era update, complete with hallucinatory Technicolor and visionary, Oscar-winning special effects. Emblazoned with iconographic images of 1950s science fiction, The War of the Worlds is both an influential triumph of visual imagination and a still-disquieting document of the wonder and terror of the atomic age.


July 14, 2020

The Lady Eve (1941)
d. Preston Sturges

From The Criterion Collection:

Barbara Stanwyck sizzles, Henry Fonda bumbles, and Preston Sturges runs riot in one of the all-time great screwballs, a pitch-perfect blend of comic zing and swoonworthy romance. Aboard a cruise liner sailing up the coast of South America, Stanwyck’s conniving card sharp sets her sights on Fonda’s nerdy snake researcher, who happens to be the heir to a brewery fortune. But when the con artist falls for her mark, her grift becomes a game of hearts—and she is determined to win it all. One in a string of matchless comedic marvels that Sturges wrote, directed, and produced as part of a dazzling 1940s run, this gender-flipped battle-of-wits farce is perhaps his most emotionally satisfying work, tempering its sparkling wit with a streak of tender poignancy supplied by the sensational Stanwyck at her peak.


July 21, 2020

Marriage Story (2019)
d. Noah Baumbach

From The Criterion Collection:

A love story about divorce. A marriage coming apart and a family coming together. Marriage Story is a hilarious and harrowing, sharply observed, and deeply compassionate film from the acclaimed writer-director Noah Baumbach. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deliver tour-de-force performances as Charlie, a charismatic New York theater director wedded to his work, and Nicole, an actor who is ready to change her own life. Their hopes for an amicable divorce fade as they are drawn into a system that pits them against each other and forces them to redefine their relationship and their family. Featuring bravura, finely drawn supporting turns from Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, and Laura Dern—who won an Academy Award for her performance here—as the trio of lawyers who preside over the legal battle, Marriage Story (nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture) is a work of both intimacy and scope that ultimately invokes hope amid the ruins.


July 21, 2020

Taste of Cherry (1997)
d. Abbas Kiarostami

From The Criterion Collection:

The first Iranian film to win the Palme d’Or, this austere, emotionally complex drama by the great Abbas Kiarostami follows the middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) as he drives around the hilly outskirts of Tehran looking for someone who will agree to dispose of his body after he commits suicide, a taboo under Islam. Extended conversations with three passengers (a soldier, a seminarian, and a taxidermist) elicit different views of mortality and individual choice. Operating at once as a closely observed, realistic story and a fable populated by archetypal figures, Taste of Cherry challenges the viewer to consider what often goes unexamined in everyday life.

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