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Lions Gate/ The Meridian Collection

Old 03-21-08, 01:49 PM
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Lions Gate/ The Meridian Collection

Lionsgate is going highbrow. Having carved successful niches for itself in the family, fitness and horror categories, the independent film company and DVD supplier now is taking square aim at the arthouse market.

The studio this spring is launching The Meridian Collection, a new label for groundbreaking films from around the world. Lionsgate is planning to release two high-end DVDs every three months, drawing from its own library, which includes more than 2,000 European films from Studio Canal.

“Because of our relationship with Studio Canal and looking at our own library, we thought there was an opportunity to present discerning consumers with these acclaimed and influential films,” said Anne Parducci, EVP of marketing for Lionsgate.

The new label officially launches June 3 with the release of The Diva and The Red Violin, both from France.

The Diva is the stylish cult thriller with which director Jean Jacques Beineix launched the “Cinema Du Look” movement in 1981, a movement known for slick visuals and alienated characters. The film follows a young postal worker who illegally records a concert by a reclusive opera singer, which opens up a Pandora’s Box of trouble.

The Red Violin (1998), which won an Oscar for best original score, stars Samuel L. Jackson as an appraiser who traces the storied history of a prized violin across numerous countries and generations.

Parducci said that Lionsgate is specifically targeting fans of arthouse films with The Meridian Collection. That’s why the extras tend to be focused on the making of the film, with little room for gimmicks, games or frills.

“We want to be able to capitalize on the fact that there are consumers out there who have an affinity for specific films,” Parducci said. “These are really the definitive presentations of these movies. We’re taking what that film is known for and why it is considered influential, and then exploring that further through the special features.”

The Diva, for example, is known for “how visually arresting it is,” Parducci said, “so we are taking a deep dive into that style through interviews with the director, the director of photography and the set designer.”

The Diva also includes interviews with the composer and various cast members as well as a scene-specific audio commentary with director Beineix. The Red Violin includes a musical feature with composer John Corigliano and a documentary on violins and violin auctions.

The Meridian Collection is one of three new labels at Lionsgate. The first, The Director’s Series, launched last year with a boxed set of early movies by Alfred Hitchcock.

Another new line, The Celebrity Series, launches June 10 with the release of boxed sets of movies starring Sophia Loren and Catherine Deneuve.

Parducci said branded lines with clearly marked packaging encourage collectibility and stimulate consumers to buy films they otherwise might not be prone to pick up.

“It helps build awareness, both among retailers and among consumers,” she said. “There’s a flow to it, and if we’re able to convert consumers from being buyers of particular films to buyers of the entire collection, then obviously that’s the upside.”


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Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 03-21-08 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 03-21-08, 01:53 PM
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They have the art for the Red Violin at DVD Empire. Looks very nice. Curious to find out what the extras are. Hopefully this will be Lions Gate's answer to Criterion.
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Old 03-21-08, 01:57 PM
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Exciting news. I hope the new edition of The Red Violin fixes the subtitle problem on their previous release (namely that the only English "subtitles" available were more like captions, and not only subtitled the non-English language parts of the movie but the English ones as well, and included descriptive cues for sound effects, etc.)

I got rid of that release and obtained the OOP Universal one just so I would have a set of true English subtitles.
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Old 03-21-08, 06:24 PM
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Yes, "Red Violin" os one of my all time favorites. I own the OOP DTS version. Quite good, but needs more background extras, though.

The new June 3rd release will have new features not seen previously such as a musical feature with composer John Corigliano and a documentary on violins and violin auctions. I really hope they´ll make this a release worthwhile.

BTW, love the art work.

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Old 03-21-08, 08:22 PM
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Wow, that's nice. This sounds promising.

Here's the cover for The Diva:

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Old 03-21-08, 09:01 PM
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That is very good artwork. I like.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:15 PM
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Wow! Those look terrific. If Lionsgate keeps stuff like this coming, I may be buying a lot more of their products than I have in the past.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:20 PM
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Wow those look great. I wonder if they will have spine numbers and BR versions?
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Old 03-22-08, 12:08 AM
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Studio Canal just released a new CE of Diva in France with a new print so more than likely LG will be porting it. As to the extras it is hard to tell what they would bring but the new label sounds ambitious, so why not all.

I believe that these will all be great. Someone is running LG's quality department right as of late (see: Alain Delon/Godard sets).

Of course the big news is the Loren set, hopefully La Ciociara sneaks in.

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Old 03-22-08, 08:42 AM
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I've been disappointed to often by Lionsgate in the past. I'll believe that their release of "Diva" is better/different than the Anchor Bay rerelease of Diva when I see it.

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Old 05-21-08, 07:17 PM
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Just a heads up The Red Violin is already at Wal-MArt (YMMV of course) 2 weeks before the street date. Looks pretty nice. Comes with a slip cover and it features a commentary and other features. However the Price $19.96 was about $15 more than Id pay for it and didnt pick it up.
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Old 05-22-08, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by chris_sc77
Just a heads up The Red Violin is already at Wal-MArt (YMMV of course) 2 weeks before the street date. Looks pretty nice. Comes with a slip cover and it features a commentary and other features. However the Price $19.96 was about $15 more than Id pay for it and didnt pick it up.
Thank you for the note Chris, I would stop by and see if they have Diva at my Wally.

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Old 05-22-08, 01:22 AM
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Also part of the ongoing collaboration between LG and Studio Canal:



Street date July 22:
Wild Reeds (Les Roseaux Sauvages)
I Don't Kiss (J'Embrasse Pas)
Hotel America (Hotel Des Ameriques)
My Favorite Season (Ma Saison Preferee)
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Old 05-22-08, 12:12 PM
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i wasn't aware of a meridian collection homepage, and none came up when i googled. maybe i'm an idiot.

anyway, i did find it here.

they also have a short trailer-length video explaining the purpose of the collection (yes, sounds like criterion), list features on their two upcoming releases, etc.

they have a link to register for updates, as well. though I probably won't be picking up either of these first two releases, I'm potentially very excited to see what this brings.

edit: looks like the "register for updates" link is not Meridian specific. It's just signing up for Lionsgate's main newsletter, which may or may not prove to be helpful.

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Old 05-22-08, 12:25 PM
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Sucks that they didn't give The Red Violin a DTS track... Guess I'll be keeping my old copy.
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Old 05-22-08, 10:26 PM
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has anyone seen and have opinions on the titles in the Deneuve set? I can't even find reviews on some of them anywhere on the net.
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Old 05-22-08, 10:46 PM
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The only one I can not clearly recall is Fort Saganne, the rest I can comment on. What would you like to know?

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Old 05-23-08, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist
The only one I can not clearly recall is Fort Saganne, the rest I can comment on. What would you like to know?

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What did you think of them? Based on the selections would you recommend the set? Are the movies worth the time it takes to watch them? Just looking for your subjective opinion as to their entertainment value.
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Old 05-25-08, 10:09 AM
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I received the new Red Violin DVD and since I already own the 2000 release, I decided to see how the picture looked in comparison. I took a couple screenshots, but this one stood out. Both were made using the same PowerDVD window (same size) so you can see a framing issue (you can now see a little more on the sides). And this, as far as I can tell, is the same exact shot.

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Old 05-26-08, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul_SD
What did you think of them? Based on the selections would you recommend the set? Are the movies worth the time it takes to watch them? Just looking for your subjective opinion as to their entertainment value.
Hello Paul,

Yes, I would recommend this set (provided that it is on par with the Delon set in regard to proper transfer conversion). The selection is rather good as it allows you to see Deneuve in a variety of different genre pictures (this isn't quite the case with the upcoming Sophia Loren set) from a period when she was simply too beautiful. Hotel des Ameriques for example is one of my favorite Techine films (next to Wild Reeds). Le Sauvage on the hand is just as fascinating as La Cagna is. Le Choc is pretty much a guilty pleasure for Delon fans just as La Piscine is though here you have Romy replaced with Catherine. Fort Saganne, well, I just can not recall this film...

To sum it all up, this isn't groundbreaking European cinema (strong political/social critique as seen in the films of Godard, Ferreri, or Chabrol is not present). But if you like the 70-80s nonchalant feel Italian and French directors aimed for when they wanted to entertain by all means do not hesitate to spend 28-29$ on the boxset.

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Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 05-26-08 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 05-26-08, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TheMovieman
I received the new Red Violin DVD and since I already own the 2000 release, I decided to see how the picture looked in comparison. I took a couple screenshots, but this one stood out. Both were made using the same PowerDVD window (same size) so you can see a framing issue (you can now see a little more on the sides). And this, as far as I can tell, is the same exact shot.
How are the subtitles on the new release? Do they only appear during parts of the film with non-English dialogue? (The previous LG release had captions--not genuine subtitles--through the entire running time of the film).
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Old 06-03-08, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist

Of course the big news is the Loren set, hopefully La Ciociara sneaks in.
No such luck, and early reviews of this set aren't promising.

One day there'll be a neo-realist Blu-Ray megaset with La Ciociara and Shoeshine as headliners.

Of course I'll wake up and realize it was a dream, but at least I'll be smiling.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Guy ATL
No such luck, and early reviews of this set aren't promising.

One day there'll be a neo-realist Blu-Ray megaset with La Ciociara and Shoeshine as headliners.

Of course I'll wake up and realize it was a dream, but at least I'll be smiling.
Yes, I noticed and as soon as the set was announced I commented on the Criterion forum that this is a very, very strange selection of Loren films. On the subject of La Ciociara I am rather puzzled that Criterion did not bother borrowing the elements from the Italian Cinema Forever series (I also understand that the new HD master has not been negotiated by an English-friendly distrib, meaning that the best print isn't accessible for English speakers). Still, when you put everything else in perspective - the long rumored yet non-existing Criterion editions of Before the Revolution, La Notte, and Rome, Open City - it is quite obvious that luck isn't something that has been following fans of classic Italian cinema.

*By the way there is a batch of recently released Germi films in Italy which regrettably, yet again, aren't English-friendly.

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Old 06-03-08, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Guy ATL
One day there'll be a neo-realist Blu-Ray megaset with La Ciociara and Shoeshine as headliners.
If you're region free, MoC put out a very nice Shoeshine a couple of years ago.
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Old 06-04-08, 01:15 AM
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The new Diva is shit.
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