Monday, August 18, 2008

First Criterion Blu-Ray Releases

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Criterion Collection on Blu-Ray! I have yet to buy any Blu-Ray's but, thus my collection will begin here! The chance to get a previoulsy released Criterion Collection films on Blu-Ray is to tantalizing to pass up! The first batch of Criterion films is due out this Fall in November and courtesy of The Criterion Collection I've got the awesome cover art and specs for the newest releases...Enjoy!

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a daring exploration of science fiction as an art form. The story of an alien on an elaborate rescue mission provides the launching pad for Nicolas Roeg’s visual tour de force, a formally adventurous examination of alienation in contemporary life. Rock legend David Bowie, in his acting debut, completely embodies the title role, while Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn turn in pitch-perfect supporting performances. The film’s hallucinatory vision was obscured in the American theatrical release, which deleted nearly twenty minutes of crucial scenes and details. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Roeg’s full uncut version, in this exclusive new director-approved high-­definition widescreen transfer.

Special Features:
- High-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Nicolas Roeg
- Uncompressed stereo soundtrack
- Audio commentary by Roeg and actors David Bowie and Buck Henry
- New video interview with screenwriter Paul Mayersberg Performance, video interviews with actors Candy Clark and Rip Torn
- Audio interviews with costume designer May Routh and production designer Brian Eatwell
- Audio interview from 1984 with author Walter Tevis, conducted by Don Swaim
- Multiple stills galleries, including Routh’s costume sketches; behind-the-scenes photos; and production and publicity stills, introduced by set photographer David James
- Gallery of posters from Roeg’s films
- Trailers
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Graham Fuller

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Wes Anderson first illustrated his lovingly detailed, slightly surreal cinematic vision in this witty and warm portrait of three young middle-class misfits. Fresh out of a mental hospital, gentle Anthony (Luke Wilson) finds himself once again embroiled in the machinations of his best friend, elaborate schemer Dignan (Owen Wilson). With the aid of getaway driver Bob (Robert Musgrave), they develop a needlessly complex, mildly successful plan to rob a small bookstore—then go “on the lam.” Also featuring Lumi Cavazos as Inez, the South American housekeeper Anthony falls in love with, and James Caan as local thief extraordinaire Mr. Henry, Bottle Rocket is a charming, hilarious, affectionate look at the folly of dreamers. Shot against radiant southwestern backdrops, it’s the film that put Anderson and the Wilson brothers on the map.

Special Features:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Wes Anderson and director of photography Robert Yeoman
- Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
- Commentary by director/co-writer Anderson and co-writer/actor Owen Wilson
- The Making of �Bottle Rocket�: an original documentary by filmmaker Barry Braverman featuring Anderson, James L. Brooks, James Caan, Temple Nash Jr., Kumar Pallana, Polly Platt, Mark Mothersbaugh, Robert Musgrave, Richard Sakai, David and Sandy Wasco, Andrew and Luke and Owen Wilson, and Robert Yeoman
- The original thirteen-minute black-and-white Bottle Rocket short film from 1992
- Eleven deleted scenes
- Anamorphic screen test, storyboards, location photos, and behind-the-scenes photographs by Laura Wilson
- Murita Cycles, a 1978 short film by Braverman
- The Shafrazi Lectures, no. 1: Bottle Rocket
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by executive producer James L. Brooks, an appreciation by Martin Scorsese
- Original artwork by Ian Dingman

The Third Man (1949)
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime--and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas's evocative zither score; Graham Greene’s razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker’s dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass.

Special Features:
- Restored high-definition digital transfer
- Uncompressed mono soundtrack
- Video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich
- Two audio commentaries: one by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Tony Gilroy, and one by by film scholar Dana Polan
- Shadowing “The Third Man”/ (2005), a ninety-minute feature documentary on the making of the film
- Abridged recording of Graham Greene’s treatment, read by actor Richard Clarke
- “Graham Greene: The Hunted Man,” an hour-long, 1968 episode of the BBC’s Omnibus series, featuring a rare interview with the novelist
- Who Was the Third Man? (2000), a thirty-minute Austrian documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
- The Third Man on the radio: the 1951 “A Ticket to Tangiers” episode of The Lives of Harry Lime series, written and performed by Orson Welles, and the 1951 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of The Third Man
- Illustrated production history with rare behind-the-scenes photos, original UK press book, and U.S. trailer
- Actor Joseph Cotten’s alternate opening voice-over narration for the U.S. version
- Archival footage of postwar Vienna
- A look at the untranslated foreign dialogue in the film
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Luc Sante

The Last Emperor (1987)
Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated—quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable—the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Ching dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.

Special Features:
- Restored, high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
- DTS-HD Master Audio stereo surround soundtrack
- Audio commentary by director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
- The Italian Traveler: Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Mozskowicz, tracing the director’s geographic influences, from Parma to China
- Video images taken by Bertolucci in China
- The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 52-minute documentary that revisits the film’s creation
- A 47-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
- A 66-minute documentary exploring Bertolucci’s creative process and the making of The Last Emperor
- A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
- A new interview with composer David Byrne
- A new interview with Ian Buruma examining the historical period of the film
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Thomson

Chunking Express (1994)
The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of nineties cinema and the film that made Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out restaurant stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing.

Special Features:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack supervised by director Wong Kar-wai
- Audio commentary by noted Asian cinema critic Tony Rayns
- U.S. theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Amy Taubin and excerpts from a 1996 Sight and Sound interview with Wong by Rayns

Checkout the list of Criterion Blu-Ray releases available for pre-order at The Criterion Collection!