Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was an absolutely peerless pair of brilliant dancers that didn’t just inject chemistry on the dance floor, but also as a romantic pairing. Whether they were swooning over one another, or tap dancing in sync, it’s impossible not to be caught up in “Swing Time.” George Stevens’ classic romance comedy and musical takes the pairing as mismatched strangers that fall in love over the art of dance and their performances that look effortless but actually act as their own characters.
Tag Archives: Criterion
The Inland Sea (1991): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
The origins of “The Inland Sea” are about as noble as all get out, as it originally began life as a loving account of living and traveling in Japan. Writer Donald Richie grew so utterly in love with the environment and people of Japan in 1971, that his travelogue of the country read a lot more like a love sonnet and was published as “The Inland Sea.” So utterly compelled was she, that director Lucille Carra approached writer Richie and twenty years later proceeded to adapt his short account in to a short form documentary.
Funny Games (1997): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” has tested even the most devoted cineaste, and split audiences down in two thanks to its polarizing premise and concept. Going in to Haneke’s “Funny Games,” I frankly didn’t know what to expect, but what I did know was that it’d test every fiber of patience I had in me as a horror fanatic. Lo and behold, it did. Admittedly, I was shocked to see that I admired every single aspect of what it attempted to pull off as a narrative that acknowledges the audience and asks us if we want to turn away… or see what hideous violence unfolds.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The Kid Brother (1927): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
I confess I’ve never seen much from Harold Lloyd, even though I’d heard a lot about him over the years. Even during my days when I was looking to explore silent film, Lloyd seems to stand in a league of his own. “The Kid Brother” is one of his arguable best, it’s not a raucous comedy, but it manages to be a well paced, and charming underdog tale nevertheless. Lloyd embodies a lot of the underdog hero traits that we like, right down to the humble trademark glasses, something that becomes a unique trait in his quest to fight for the girl of his dreams and his family.
In the Heat of the Night (1967): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
Norman Jewison’s “In the Heat of the Night” remains one of Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger’s banner dramas, it’s a tense, taut, and engrossing crime thriller that brings to life one of the most compelling on screen heroes I’ve ever seen. Based on John Ball’s series of books about African American gumshoe named Virgil Tibbs, Jewison brings to the screen the first of the books. “Heat,” as written by Stirling Silliphant for the big screen is an imperfect drama with a little bit too much fat to the narrative, but in the end it comes out as a pretty as remarkable drama about the racially turbulent South and a man trying to uncover a crime that reaches far deeper than anyone, even the police chief, realizes.
Forty Guns (1957): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
Samuel Fuller’s “Forty Guns” is very much a B western but one filled with such eccentricities and ahead of its time role reversals that it’s hard not to be a little charmed by it. The idea of Barbara Stanwyck as a villain in the old west is appealing enough, but “Forty Guns” packs such a unique and fun premise. Along with it, there are so many weird twists and turns including two musical numbers, a wedding scene, and a premise that feels to have slightly influenced 1993’s “Tombstone” (?).
Some like It Hot (1959): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]
If there was ever a movie that could be an introduction to the sheer indescribable beauty and sexiness that was Marilyn Monroe, it’s “Some Like It Hot.” My first introduction to the movie was when I was a pre-teen in 1997, in the middle of a busy classroom on a free day. The teacher slipped the movie on for everyone to watch, and every one of my classmates had run off to chat or goof around, but I sat and watched “Some Like It Hot.” Suffice to say Billy Wilder’s romance comedy was a first real taste of classic film I’d ever had and it sparked an interest I never really got over.