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Old 06-01-05, 01:47 AM   #1
phatboy
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What's The Big Deal With Criterions? (merged)

I'm sure I'm gonna get flamed for this but I've always wanted to ask this question. I can't really get into the whole hype with purchasing criterions. I know they're suppose to be "cinematic landmark achievements boasting superious acting or something etc etc" but I honestly still can't see it. Is it b/c I'm a newb and don't really appreicate the intricacies of a finely made movie? I've seen only a handful like 7 samurai, the rock, armageddon, and that real mainstream one with gwyneth paltrow, ben stiller, morticia chick, the danny glover, (actually isn't that group in a handful of the real mainstream titles?, the title is escaping me but I think you all know which one I'm talking abotu). It's not to say I DON"T like them but the prices seem kinda outrageous and they dont' seem that much better in audio, visual or extra quality than say any other regular 2 disc dvd title like Stand By Me CE or The Fifth Element Ultimate etc etc. Someone tell me why I should look more closely at them after they down a bottle of pepto or eat a roll of tums, cuz I'm sure I'm spouting blasphemy....:cracker:
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Old 06-01-05, 01:56 AM   #2
NatrlBornThrllr
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A) I've been here for a few months, but I'm certain this has been discussed many times.
B) They put a lot of work into their releases, from transfers to extras and so forth.
C) They're the reason we get many classic and foreign titles that wouldn't otherwise get R1 DVD releases. Armageddon, The Rock, and so forth...those titles are there to pay the bills.
D) The Royal Tenenbaums, and I don't know that I'd call it "real mainstream," but that's just me.
E) Superious isn't a word.
F) There's no reason to "look more closely" unless they host some movies you'd be interested in seeing.

I think that covers everything.

-JP
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Old 06-01-05, 02:03 AM   #3
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They release movies that is relatively unknown to audiences, and it costs money to locate, restore and release them. And since they're not a big studio, they don't release most of their titles in quantities.

About quality, you can't compare most of their movies to The Fifth Element. Criterion releases older movies which qualities have aged and sometimes deteroriate. Imo they're doing a great job so far.
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Old 06-01-05, 02:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatboy
I'm sure I'm gonna get flamed for this but I've always wanted to ask this question.
You've been here almost a year and you've never noticed there's a "Search" button?

Quote:
I know they're suppose to be "cinematic landmark achievements boasting superious acting or something etc etc" but I honestly still can't see it. Is it b/c I'm a newb and don't really appreicate the intricacies of a finely made movie?
I honestly don't mean this as a slam, but I think your first guess is right. I looked at your DVD collection and your taste in movies does seem rather limited. You have what I would expect to find in the collection of the average teenage boy, maybe early college. Popcorn flicks and not much else.

(Not that there is anything wrong with popcorn flicks --- you'll find plenty in my collection as well --- but there is a lot you're missing.)
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Old 06-01-05, 02:07 AM   #5
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Criterion was influential for raising the bar with film restoration, commentaries and special features for some of their catalog of home videos when Laserdisc was the format, especially with some classics and art-house films. Nowadays, with the current DVD market, Criterion no longer stands above the other distribution companies (e.g., Warner Home Video), but a lot of people are simply still brand-addicted and feel that the name carries some degree of sophistication for whatever reason. In reality their catalog has some good releases and some klunkers just like everyone else; but, as you noted, you pay 2 to 3 times as much for the Criterion label.
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Old 06-01-05, 02:09 AM   #6
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Old 06-01-05, 02:37 AM   #7
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Its not so much that its more beginging msrp...many titles start at only 29.99. problem is there are next to no price drops in the criterion catalog, save the buena vista stuff. I agree with Salty on your collection...some good stuff, but a lot of popcorn flicks...you do have that traffic disc from criterion....if you have ever seen the original release you might get a feel for the extra your paying for... You don't have to watch foreign or silent films to enjoy criterion titles...check out fear & loathing in las vegas, hopscotch, and charade....go from there.
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Old 06-01-05, 02:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
You've been here almost a year and you've never noticed there's a "Search" button?
Uhh, well actually, yes I did do a search and if you do the same you'll come up with 20 pages when you put "criterion". My question was pretty specific so I wanted people's opinion on it.

Most of the threads are relative to "My criterion doesn't have a # on it or when is such and such title going to be out etc etc", none of which answered my question until my thread. If there is one, I'm too bone headed to find it.
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Old 06-01-05, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron
I agree with Salty on your collection...some good stuff, but a lot of popcorn flicks....
Hmm, maybe it's just b/c I'm a popcorny kinda guy...end of story? I'm definetely not opposed to watching criterions cuz I love all movies. I'll check out f and loathing etc.

I think I agree with what somebody just replied by saying criterions have kinda lost their status and is now becoming more of a personal preference. Also I didn't realize that a lot of criterions are re-mastere from laser discs or whatever....learn something new every day. Thanks
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Old 06-01-05, 02:48 AM   #10
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For me, Criterions are important because they release the films that have set the standards for the landscape of cinema today.

After getting interested in cinema, I checked out a lot of excellent American films, and after I had seen quite a few, I became interested in watching films that my all-time favourites were influenced by.

Many of these films that I was interested in checking out happened to be Criterions.

I saw the hefty price-tags on these DVDs, and like most others, thought it was kind of ridiculous. But when I further researched, I saw what kind of DVD packages they released.

It is pretty well the norm for Criterion DVDs to include a comprehensive booklet rife with information, and a plethora of special features, including what I consider to be the most valuable special feature of all - Commentary Tracks. Good commentary tracks can be so informing about the history of the movie, the director, cast, crew, and influences of the film.

So for any lover of the history of film, or classic/foreign cinema, it is not hard to see what the big deal is with Criterions.

(Just my $.02)
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Old 06-01-05, 02:51 AM   #11
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Simply put, they release stuff the other major studios wouldn't touch. They also give the film the treatment it deserves in restoration or features.

They signify the beginning of extra's and the such in a video market as they provided top form in LD extra features while other studios only cranked out bare bone LD's.
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Old 06-01-05, 02:54 AM   #12
Cameron
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i think their is a lot of truth in the fact that criterion isn't viewed the way it once was...however they set the bar...everyone followed...warner has done a great job....but as soon as others started doing great 2 disc sets with commentaries and what not they upped the bar again with nicer packaging and 3 disc sets in some cases.

It is also a fair statement to say that these are the films that set the standards for the landscape of modern cinema...doesn't mean everyone has to love them...god knows old school unrated has probably outsold every criterion ever made...but i am glad its there.

Enjoy F&L
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Old 06-01-05, 02:54 AM   #13
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I don't think that you should be worried about trying to expand yourself to like Criterions, just for the sake of liking Criterions. The selection of their films is varied in style and genre, and I doubt that many people love every single one of their films. Some might, but certainly not everyone.

You pay for a lot more than the name, when you buy a CC film. There's a good chance that you're not going to be able to find the film in another R1 disc, because as known, most of them aren't mainstream, and those which are, are what keeps the funds rolling in. With the $30 or less pricetag on most of the recent ones which have come out, it's really no worse than the price that was asked for the 2-disc editions of films like I Heart Huckabee's, Lemony Snickett, and Kinsey.

There's at least one film in the Criterion Collection, that would suite the personal taste of any DVD viewer. Films like Armageddon and The Rock aren't the best ones, but if they're all that you like, than watch them. Being said that they're not the best, you can't really judge the whole collection based on those two, and a third you couldn't even remember much about.

If there's a certain type of film you like, look into the similar types that are offered up from Criterion. Some of my favorites, are French films. Subtitles aren't a bother if you're enjoying the film, so don't be afraid to try something new.
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Old 06-01-05, 03:02 AM   #14
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To not bother to look up the title of the film The Royal Tenenbaums since you take the time to name 5 actors and call Anjelica Huston Morticia is a bit ridiculous. I am not someone who trashes and is rude to people every post like quite a few people here, but I don't see how you couldn't have attempted to compose your question a bit better. That said, Criterion as has been talked about so many times on here presents pretty well known in most cases classic/art cinema (international and otherwise). For you I'd recommend if you want to watch the films that you visit your local library (if you have one) and see if there is any selection. It is what turned me on to international cinema and to branch out (and it is free). Good luck.
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Old 06-01-05, 10:20 AM   #15
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Old 06-01-05, 10:23 AM   #16
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I don't see the need to be so condescending in the replies to the OP. Sure, he may have a limited taste in film, but we were all there once--growth and increasing the depth of one's understanding are part of the process of intellectual maturation we have all gone through.

Long story short, Criterions are worth the price because the company puts out DVDs of exceptional quality. If the OP has access to Netflix, I might recommend that he try out some Criterion DVDs first before spending the $$$. Because he describes himself as a "popcorny kinda guy"--and aren't we all to some extent?--I'd suggest that he rent Seven Samurai, Sword of Doom, The Long Good Friday, and Le Cercle Rouge, all excellent action films given a fine treatment by CC that are best enjoyed with a big bowl of the popped white kernels.
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Old 06-01-05, 10:24 AM   #17
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What's the difference between a BMW and a Toyota Corrolla?
Class
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Old 06-01-05, 10:25 AM   #18
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the cynical answer:

its the spine number. it breeds thoughts of collecting, series, 'gotta catch em all'

of course at some 200 dvds, this becomes harder. but i really think it's a brilliant marketing scheme. back when there weren't so many, i considered collecting them only for that reason.

luckily for my wallet, this did not happen.
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Old 06-01-05, 10:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfloyd3
To not bother to look up the title of the film The Royal Tenenbaums since you take the time to name 5 actors and call Anjelica Huston Morticia is a bit ridiculous.
What makes it even more baffling is he owns the movie.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:06 AM   #20
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It's so DVD elitists can sit back and gaze at their collections thinking they are better than everyone else for having them while their mom's are cooking them dinner.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:20 AM   #21
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Thanks for the kind words, Mopower. How's that new copy of Surviving Christmas?
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Old 06-01-05, 11:49 AM   #22
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Thanks for the kind words, Mopower. How's that new copy of Surviving Christmas?
BBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mopower does have somewhat of a point though. Alot of Criterion collectors sometimes deem themselves better than others just for owning a Criterion DVD. I buy them just for the quality of the film and extras.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:53 AM   #23
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Thanks for the kind words, Mopower. How's that new copy of Surviving Christmas?

Oh Snap!!

I have 3 Criterions thank you very much. But I'm not out to buy all 200 just for the Criterion label.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:55 AM   #24
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I've known about Criterion since the laserdisc days. I had just a few of them back then (Hard Boiled, The Killer, Chasing Amy, maybe a few others). Once I moved over to dvd, I bought a few, and always kept a lookout for them used or whenever there was a good deal. When I had about 30 or so, and had enjoyed everything I had seen, I decided to take the plunge and start going towards a full collection. I'm at about 70ish now, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, save one (Jubilee).

With Criterion, you know you're getting a great disc that may be unavailble otherwise. They take pride in getting quality films into our market, and I appreciate them immensely for that. Most of the films I have I never would've picked up if they weren't Criterion, but because they were, I checked them out just on their reputation, and have been pleasantly surprised on numerous occasions.
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Old 06-01-05, 12:05 PM   #25
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Quote:
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What's the difference between a BMW and a Toyota Corrolla?
OK, I'll bite...
BMW is an out-dated status symbol that has poor reliability ratings.
Toyota is more main-stream yet has excellent reliability ratings.
In summary, people buy BMW's to impress others, and people buy Toyota for quality/value. (Disclaimer: I've never owned either one).
Hmm...As a homework exercise, do the substitution that was originally intended in the analogy.
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