Shallow Grave

Criterion Files

Over the years, we’ve been more than just a little interested in the work of The Criterion Collection. Their mission since 1984, has simply been “gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements.” Their focus has been on important films, both classic and contemporary. And they are so good at it that we have dedicated a regular feature to it, this thing known as Criterion Files. A column that I’m hijacking this week because I wanted to talk about a few things. Notably a slew of recent Blu-ray releases, perfect examples of the ongoing work that Criterion is doing to preserve, highlight, celebrate and archive some of the most significant accomplishments in film history. Today we take a look at some of these things that Criterion does very well, in the context of their recent Blu-ray release. All of these are available in stores now and are certainly recommended. All that’s left is to talk about why.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Lots of titles to choose from today in all three categories including two brilliant Criterion releases, the second Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes film, a Dutch family film that stars a frequently naked lady from Game of Thrones, and a mixed bag of direct to DVD releases. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Accident Ho Kwok-fai (Louis Koo) is the brains behind a four-person team of assassins who specialize in making their hits look like accidents, but when one of their own is killed in an accident not of their making he suspects the team is being targeted. Johnnie To produced this dark little gem that teases a couple well choreographed action scenes but focuses instead on suspense and feelings of paranoia, loss and suspicion. It’s a sharp thriller that surprises more than once throughout its short running time, and it marks director Soi Cheang as a director unafraid to go against the usual stylized Hong Kong action grain. Some of the choreographed accidents are incredibly precise and seem to rely on an awful amount of luck, but they are professionals after all. Shout! Factory’s first foray into Asian cinema is a winner.

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Anyone who follows the Criterion Collection will note that just about every month of releases is exciting for collectors of classic and important cinema. But some months are just a little bit more special than others. This coming June is going to be even more special. With titles from Alfred Hitchcock, Toshiro Mifune, Charlie Chaplin, Steven Soderbergh (on Spalding Gray) and Danny Boyle, Criterion may have on their hands one of the most exciting months of releases in years. You might as well start saving now. Seriously, just check out the line-up after the jump.

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