Blu-ray w/DVD)/Women In
(1999/Paramount/both Criterion Blu-rays)
B & C+/B/B+ Sound: B+ & C+/B-/B Extras: C+/B/B-
are three really fine, smart, mature, intelligent motion pictures
that explore people, their nature and living by three great
Day Lewis has sadly (without comment) decided to end his
extraordinary acting career with Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom
(2017) as a tailor who makes some of the most beautiful, incredible
and remarkable dresses and outfits of anyone around. He is used to
his life being a certain way with a certain routine and certain
people in his life, but then he meets a young woman he becomes
interested in (Vicky Crieps) and a subtle disruption begins.
he love her, her him and might she ruin his life just by being there?
His sister Cyril (the great Leslie Manville) is not so sure about
her, protective of her brother, their name, business and reputation,
but she moves in and the slow tensions begin.
is one of the most amazing filmmakers around, but his recent films
have not had the commercial success they've deserved and this is yet
another gem like Inherent
and his last film with Lewis, the modern hit There
Will Be Blood.
The only filmmaker on such a winning streak currently is another big
screen filmmaker still embracing celluloid, Christopher Nolan. Yes,
he's that good.
to to the amazing work of all involved, the amazing acting of the
cast and just the beautiful, leisurely flow of this 1950s period
piece, which constantly has life and energy in different ways that
keeps you watching. If Lewis was going to retire as he has, this is
a great high note to go out on.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber-capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds Camera
Tests with audio commentary by Paul Thomas Anderson that includes
specifics on how they chose their film stocks, For
the Hungry Boy
is a collection of deleted scenes with music by Jonny Greenwood,
of Woodcock Fashion Show
narrated by Adam Buxton and Behind the Scenes Photographs has stills
from the film by Michael Bauman with demo versions of Jonny
Greenwood's fine score.
years, Ken Russell made a name for himself as a journeyman director
on British television, but in an odd twist, James Bond co-producer
Harry Saltzman signed him for his theatrical film directorial debut.
(1969) turned out to be the final of three films with Michael Caine
as Harry Palmer, the crook turned spy whose debut in the 1965 classic
is considered an all-time classic. The film had mixed success, with
many feeling it got as wild as the Bond films it was trying to be the
opposite of, but we can now see in hindsight it was partly Russell
going all out for his first film.
(1969) was then a big surprise sophomore choice, leaving behind any
commercial route permanently and starting a series of some of the
most important, elaborate, educated, smart, bright, clever British
cinema releases we would see over the next decade or so. Based on a
D. H. Lawrence novel of living free in a changing Britain and how
that plays out sexually in such a suppressed society, we start with
two good friends (Glenda Jackson and Jennie Lindon), a rougher
contact in high society (Oliver Reed) and more open, freewheeling
friend (Alan Bates) examining the slowly blooming new freedoms, their
connection to nature, each other and what that portends for the
future in this lush, warm, personal film that holds up extremely well
today and has some of the best work of all involved.
movie like this made for the most part since the 1980s would talk the
talk about showing the changes, but not show it, show it badly and/or
be more sexually oppressed than not, but Russell has zero trouble
from this first film he had control over himself dealing with all
kinds of human sexuality, yet that freedom is incidental to character
study, capturing the story and bringing it to life as he does so well
here. No, it is not without minor flaws, but no doubt Russell
established himself as an auteur at this point and would solidify
that by the films hat followed.
was an extraordinary year for filmmakers and filmmaking, at least as
important as the fabled thoughts and felling about 1939 (also a great
year), but this film was subtly groundbreaking and with the rollback
of rights, et al, seems as fresh as ever despite being set in the
Bron and Vladek Sheybal also star.
include a poster foldout on the film including informative text and
by scholar Linda Ruth Williams, Two audio commentaries from 2003, one
featuring director Ken Russell and the other screenwriter and
producer Larry Kramer, Segments from a 2007 interview with Russell
for the BAFTA Los Angeles Heritage Archive, A
British Picture: Portrait of an Enfant Terrible,
Russell's 1989 biopic on his own life and career, Interview from 1976
with actor Glenda Jackson, Interviews with Kramer and actors Alan
Bates and Jennie Linden from the set, New interviews with director of
photography Billy Williams and editor Michael Bradsell, Second
a 1972 short film based on a D. H. Lawrence story, produced by and
starring Bates and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
but absolutely not least is Sofia Coppola's
her remarkable feature film debut that was one of the best releases
of its year and not only does it hold up, but it has been given a top
grade reissue by Criterion and Paramount (I'm still celebrating the
studio finally working with Criterion on a regular basis) in a
Blu-ray edition as strong as when I first saw the film theatrically.
on the Jeffrey Eugenides book, the film is a mystery investigating
why a group of sisters eventually all took their lives which happens
here via a group of young men in their neighborhood interested in
them. This includes one sister getting self-destructive early,
religiously restrictive parents (Kathleen Turner and James Woods,
played well together) being oppressive of them in ways that are not
tough still problematic and the sisters themselves (led by Kirsten
Dunst) who we spend all kinds of time with to the film's advantage.
film does a great job of capturing the 1970s (never as easy as it
seems) and once you start watching, it really is hard to stop.
Another great moment has to do with the arrival of a young Josh
Hartnett, whose work here put him on the map and sealed his status as
a new film star as much as it did Dunst's, though the whole young
cast is great here and more of them deserved better than they got
later. Hayden Christensen does turn up as one of the guys who joins
Hartnett's character to take the gals to the prom. Yes, its that
kind of movie.
include an illustrated paper foldout on the film including
informative text and an
essay by novelist Megan Abbott, New interviews with Coppola, DP Ed
Lachman, actors Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett, author Jeffrey
Eugenides, and writer Tavi Gevinson, The
Making of "The Virgin Suicides"
(1998 documentary directed by Eleanor Coppola) featuring Sofia
Coppola; Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola; actors Dunst, Hartnett,
Scott Glenn, Kathleen Turner, and James Woods; Eugenides; and more,
a 1998 short film by Coppola, the official (and odd) music video for
Air's soundtrack song "Playground
directed and shot by Coppola and her brother Roman Coppola and an
Original Theatrical Trailer.
for playback performance, they al look as fine as they can in the
format, though we were hoping to see the new 4K 2160p Ultra HD
Blu-ray of Phantom
before this posted so we could add it here, but we'll hopefully see
it later. As it stands, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image looks fine throughout, shot with remarkable form by Anderson as
an uncredited Director
of Photography, his use of the grain in the advanced Kodak Vision 3
35mm camera negative film stocks is superior and impresses throughout
as it usually does in all of his films. Color is always interesting
and the look is solid and consistent throughout.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image can barely handle the image,
but is passable at best.
1080p 1.75 X 1 High Definition image transfer on Love
is also remarkable, a new 4K scan from the original 35mm camera
negative. Color was by the Deluxe lab (U.K. division), but the color
range is stunning and not slightly darker than usual as you might
expect from a British production of the time. Director
of Photography Billy Williams delivers for Russell in what I one of
the now underrated director/DP collaborations.
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Virgin
Suicides has stunning color grading (also a 4K scan from the original
35mm camera negative), making the film look as great as it ever has
and not only increases its smooth density, but its realism and
naturalism, no matter how dream-like it gets. Director
of Photography Ed Lachman understands the film stocks, filters,
colors and more, delivering vivid clarity that will impress everyone.
makes me wish Criterion would issue some 4K Blu-rays very soon.
for sound, the DTS: X 11.1 on Phantom
(with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mixdown for older home
theater systems) is easily the well mixed and presented sonic winner,
going just beyond being dialogue-based with its beautiful Jonny
Greenwood score and fine selection of sound elements. Very pleasant
and sonically thorough. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD
is no match by any means, but bearable.
PCM 2.0 Mono on Women
is a pleasant surprise too, an old optical mono theatrical release
whose original magnetic soundmaster had survived in fine shape, so
the mono sound here is naturalistic, yet very warm and full, more so
than you would expect from non-stereo feature film productions of the
time. The legendary composer Georges Delerue delivers another one of
his gems here.
leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Virgin
a fine combination of classic Pop/Rock hits (some of the greatest
songs ever recorded actually) with music from Air that meshes
seamlessly, naturally and just adds to the strength of the film.
This was originally a 5.1 theatrical release, preserved on a Dolby SR
(Spectral Recording) master and never seems harsh, phony or shrill.
That's impressive, plus digetic music is purposely not always clean
and clear (note how some records on the turntable are a bit warped)
for further realism. Wish more films were that smart.