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 Post subject: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2012, 22:32 
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We all know that Criterion Collection started off on Laserdisc and now they're working on Dvd/Blu-Ray with about 600 titles (including the ones that are out of print). Now to my question, how do you think they do today?

Personally, I can't say that their lowest level in terms of content is bad but I have a feeling like it was better for some years ago somehow. They've lost alot on their standard artwork (seriously, just a small C?) and it feels like they either hit or miss on it. Their edition of Mystery Train had outstanding artwork, but Last Night On Marienbad was a big joke with nearly no creativity at all with the artwork. It just looks so flat and pointless. What they did with Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles worked out that time but I don't think we need any other movie with that kind of cover.

The most important thing, though, is the movies. They've released many great movies by outstanding directors and they show big interest to the consumers. Just the fact that they've released about 25 of 30 movies by Akira Kurosawa on Dvd says alot. However, I'm a bit worried that they're starting to release mainstream titles. I remember buying their edition of Broadcast News with quite high hopes and it was just a standard comedy with nothing special. According to their website, they'll release Being John Malkovich in May which I wouldn't say is the right title for them to release (though I'm not a big fan of the film itself). They even have The Rock and Armageddon in their cataloge (not out of print!). So while they're releasing classics and important movies, some of them just don't belong in their catalog.

Another thing that irritates me is that their Blu-Ray releases have the same spine number as the Dvd releases. They started of from one when they began with Dvd so why not do the same with Blu-Ray? That's a bit ridicilous maybe to complain about but that's me. The booklet you get with each title is a very nice thing though.

About the picture and audio-quality, there's usually some flaws but keeping in mind what kind of titles they're dealing with they're giving us the best possible presentation available which is a good thing. Even their old Dvd-edition of Peeping Tom looks better than the new Blu-Ray (not by Criterion). I loved seeing Stagecoach and Körkarlen in 1080p. The only complain would be the pictureboxing on their Dvd-editions.

This is my opinion. What is yours?
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2012, 22:49 
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I own three Criterion LD, one DVD and two Blu Ray. It was actually Criterion that convinced me to finally upgrade to Blu Ray when I saw how film like their HD releases were.

I have mixed feelings about their Blu Ray from what I've experienced. One is Wings of Desire which is an excellent presentation of the film with great extras, it has never looked better. However their release of Solaris on Blu Ray is even more controversial than their DVD release. Both DVD and Blu Ray have a shot that fades from black and white to colour entirely in colour, and the Blu Ray now inconsostently tints the black and white scenes blue. There is some debate about whether the black and white scenes should be tinted or not but since the cinemaphotographer has come out saying they were meant to be black and white I think the debate should be put to rest. The Blu Ray has however fixed a few issues from the DVD, though the intermission is still in the wrong place, but if you can put these issues aside it is a brilliant presentation, I just wish they would issue it without any problems.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 20 Feb 2012, 00:46 
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Interesting topic. I love looking at how a company like Criterion evolves over time. Recently, I've been going back and watching the laserdiscs in the order they were released which has been not only a lot of fun but also given me an opportunity to watch great films I've never seen & revisit ones that I haven't watched in a long time. One thing I noticed right away was that their original goal was severely compromised once other home video companies realized they could make special editions and keep the profit for themselves. Once this happens, they have no choice but to select titles that may not be considered "classics" but will still sell. For instance, does The Blob really fit into the category of films that you would consider Criterion? It's a great example of shlock B pictures and a lot of fun to watch, but should it be in a list that contains Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, and Rules of the Game? I like many of the titles they put out on blu but have only bought 4 titles. Their current product just doesn't entice me to buy them. The funny thing is their marketing still works on me and I get excited when I hear they are releasing something, but usually fail to buy it. If they released 1 title per month and made it achievable to have the complete Criterion collection on my shelf, I would probably be able to justify the cost.

I also totally agree with you about the blu numbering. It frustrates me into not collecting them. They didn't keep the laserdisc numbers the same as the DVD, why do it with blu? Doesn't make sense and really compromises their collectable factor for me. I know it's just my crazy collector mentality that makes me think that, but isn't that their main market? Why number them to begin with if they aren't directing their product at the collector market. The reason to number the spine is to entice people like me/us to collect them all. As it is now you have to research just to find out what their first blu titles were.

The laserdisc numbering was changed after their first 12 titles and it still frustrates me. For some reason probably lost to time, they started a second series of discs that only lasted for 5 releases.

http://www.lddb.com/search.php?search=c ... rt=ref,asc

Their covers were very different and they didn't have spine numbers. They tried to integrate most of these titles later by giving them a new number when they were released but it ended up screwing things up further. They instead decided to skip a bunch of numbers so that the spine matched the CC number on the back. That worked until they began reissuing CAV titles as CLV and they tried skipping numbers again to compensate. Very frustrating for us completist types.

Ron
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 21 Feb 2012, 04:23 
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I have not formed an opinion yet as I have only picked up one Criterion BD so far ("Ride with the Devil") and have not watched it yet. I have high hopes as it is a directors cut...
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2012, 06:15 
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I realize now I never really answered the original question. I think Criterion is kind of watered down at this point. Since nearly every other studio does special features on their discs, the things that made Criterion special are now "run-of-the-mill". Personally, I love the short documentaries that Warner did with many of their classic titles for DVD that have been transferred to blu and I don't think Criterion has done anything close to those as far as special features go.

They still do some great films and they are willing to take chances on stuff that most studios wouldn't touch but the only thing that makes them stand out on my shelf are their clear cases. They really stood out in the early laserdisc days but by the 90's nearly every other company was releasing box sets and gatefold covers too so blu-ray is just an extension of that trend.

Ron
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2012, 10:12 
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Even though special features are no longer unique to Criterion I still think that they put much more effort into the transfers of the films than other studios. If you buy a Criterion title on any format you can pretty much guarantee it will look and sound the best it ever will on that format.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 22 Feb 2012, 10:57 
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hippiedalek wrote:
Even though special features are no longer unique to Criterion I still think that they put much more effort into the transfers of the films than other studios. If you buy a Criterion title on any format you can pretty much guarantee it will look and sound the best it ever will on that format.


Lets hope so! Only time will tell...
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 24 Feb 2012, 22:42 
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I agree with hippiedalek about the transfers, but I get a feeling that they're trying to be more modern than necessary on the other parts of their editions which makes me feel "meh". I said it before, their new artwork doesn't have the same beauty as the older one's. The only thing that seems to be unchanged in artwork and packaging is their tagline, "The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films" although there are some movies in their catalog that aren't quite important imo.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 04:15 
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A year ago with dvd/bluray sales way down, I was hoping that the studios might be willing to license some of their older films to Criterion and let them run with them. But now with Universal and Paramount doing major anniversaries it seems not. I still love the idea of Criterion but they just don't stand out from the pack anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 11:22 
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I'm aware of that Warner Brothers never sell their licenses to Criterion which is a shame but I feel like Warner have just bought up many classics and that they today only distributes mainstream and usually pointless movies. Although, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seems like it was distributed in the theatres by Warner and released on Dvd/Blu-Ray by Criterion. How odd, reminds me of when they released Trainspotting on LD.

But if I should talk about another movie studio then Universal, on Blu-Ray, is mostly terrible. Many of their HD-Dvd's had filmgrain and such intact, but on BD they have used DNR on nearly every catalog title (just look at The Big Lebowski). I remember that they even released letterboxed Dvd's in Europe back in 2002-2003, unless if the movie was new of course. They were always decent or good on LD but I never felt like they stuck out, not even with their Signature Collection-series. So I think it's a good thing that they sell the licenses for their interesting movies to Criterion so they can release the movies with good audio and picture quality.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012, 19:07 
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nissling wrote:
I'm aware of that Warner Brothers never sell their licenses to Criterion which is a shame but I feel like Warner have just bought up many classics and that they today only distributes mainstream and usually pointless movies. Although, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seems like it was distributed in the theatres by Warner and released on Dvd/Blu-Ray by Criterion. How odd, reminds me of when they released Trainspotting on LD.

But if I should talk about another movie studio then Universal, on Blu-Ray, is mostly terrible. Many of their HD-Dvd's had filmgrain and such intact, but on BD they have used DNR on nearly every catalog title (just look at The Big Lebowski). I remember that they even released letterboxed Dvd's in Europe back in 2002-2003, unless if the movie was new of course. They were always decent or good on LD but I never felt like they stuck out, not even with their Signature Collection-series. So I think it's a good thing that they sell the licenses for their interesting movies to Criterion so they can release the movies with good audio and picture quality.


Yeah Universal hasn't had a good track record in the last few years but what I've seen of their new 100 anniversary blurays shows they have finally committed to doing things right. Their Hd-dvd releases were almost all straight ports of their VHD transfers from 2000 and it showed. We'll see how the rest of the new stuff looks but I know they are doing Jaws right with a brand new hd transfer that is apparently stunning.

Ron
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 26 Feb 2012, 16:00 
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I'm not sure about their 100th anniversary series, To kill a mockingbird looked quite waxy, and their edition of The Deer Hunter looks much worse than their Hd-Dvd. Oh well, I guess we're off topic right now. :P
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2012, 01:53 
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I think Criterion puts out some of the best Blu-rays today. They keep the grain structure intact and generally avoid digitally monkeying around with too much DVNR, contrast and color boosting, and Edge Enhancement. They choose interesting titles, and have an eclectic library to choose from.

The problems people here have mentioned are the same ones that existed back in Criterion's LD days. They've always released occasional big studio films such as Robocop, The Rock, etc. Their artwork on the Blu-ray covers are not less imaginative than in the past. In fact, there is more creativity with their covers. It wasn't so long ago that most of their LD releases simply featured a still from the film in question positioned under the title -- Bad Day at Black Rock, The Blob, Floating Weeds, Seven Samurai, etc. These covers were still aesthetically pleasing, but they really weren't all that creative.

The thing that has changed is that every other studio has jumped in on Criterion's game. Most now offer original aspect ratios, transfers from the best film elements, extras, etc. on certain titles. The innovator looks less innovative when everyone else has copied them.


Last edited by jjhunsecker on 27 Feb 2012, 20:35, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2012, 09:19 
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I've still got The Criterion Edition of The Rock in my Laserdisc collection. what struck me about it was the number of extras on the discs which were ostensibly released on PAL DVD with the film being an anamorphic transfer once the DVD producers got their act together. The artwork was only basic with a picture of alcatraz being on the front of the box & armageddon was basically blank just with black & silver on the front of the box. In an age when Laserdiscs were vanilla releases The Voyager Company was releasing various films with extras that prompted Universal to release Signature Editions of various films in their catalogue though considering they adopted DTS I've always found it strange The Signature Editions were AC3 discs instead of DTS with 1 exception. Without The Voyager Company's Criterion Collection it's debatable as to whether or not DVDs & Blu-rays would include the features that started on Laserdisc.
  
 
 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2012, 02:07 
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I own every criterion bd released so far including now super rare and oop titles like the third man. Almost all of these movies are presented in best picture and sound possible with few exceptions.recent german release of Fritz lang's m, the french release the leopard are overal superior however no eng subtitles. Anti christ uk release is 1080i 50hz is a more suitable transfer because the master is 25fps, the criterion bd is very good but in 1080p 24fps.
I also collect kino video(near complete) have both conplete and moroder cuts of metropolis, some tartan palisades (park wan chook films,old boy)
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 04 May 2012, 03:03 
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Dig the new (flip-up) packaging for "Godzilla"! :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 04 May 2012, 09:29 
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ohreally wrote:
Dig the new (flip-up) packaging for "Godzilla"! :thumbup:

I've been quite tempted by the Godzilla one. Great film and it looks great.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 05 May 2012, 22:22 
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I stopped getting Criterion discs when they went to DVD as I though the laserdiscs were and still are better but I have been buying their blu-rays which 9 times out of 10 are excellent. Only a couple I though were below par. Their blu-ray of "Kiss me Deadly" and Godzilla.

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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 06 May 2012, 02:20 
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only DVDs i have are solaris and cocteau orphic trilogy box set.
solaris is a 2 disc and i'm pretty happy with it, orphic box is just i believe all three put into a box or sold separately at the time? or just look like that.

those were some of the last DVDs i ever bought and decided to just get everything on LD if i can.
i'll pickup some DVDs over time but if i can pass i will.
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 Post subject: Re: What do you think about Criterion today?
PostPosted: 06 May 2012, 10:53 
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They seem to be matching the blu-ray prices on-line with the DVD prices. It's a shame Criterion lost a lot of their rights to certain laserdiscs as it would have been nice to see the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Robocop" on Criterion blu-ray. I would love to see Criterion pick up the rights to he current Hammer films restoration project.
I'm sure they'd do a better job

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