Mark and Aaron take a trip down memory lane. This is not only the first Criterion Close-Up episode, but the first time that we had podcasted together. The episode is a little rough, as would be expected, but we hope you'll enjoy hearing us as we learned our way.
Mark, Aaron, David and Trevor return for part two of our exploration of the under-appreciated French director, Julien Duvivier. The first episode, Eclipse Viewier 54, looked at the first two films in his Eclipse set. This episode looks at the peak of his career, particularly La Belle Equipe, Pépé le Moko, and La Fin du Jour, along with an overview of his career and the availability (or lack) of his work in the states.
Next time on the podcast: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Mark, Aaron and Matt Gasteier explore the filmmaking world of Yasujirō Ozu, centering on his pivotal masterpiece Late Spring (1949). It would be impossible to explore all of his dozens of his films in one episode, so we give an overview of his work, his style, and his contributions towards international cinema.
3:00 – Ozu Introduction
15:00 – Ozu biography & style
29:00 – Setsuko Hara
39:00 – Late Spring
Next time on the podcast: French Series, Part Three
Mark and Aaron get back to this century with a look at Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Naturally we talk about Adam Sandler’s dramatic acting jobs, and, well, what happened to them? We go further into PTA’s career, film by film, chronicling the evolution of his craft and style. We explore why he is so popular, and question whether he belongs in the conversation of greatest living filmmakers.
3:40 – Punch Drunk Love
47:40 – Paul Thomas Anderson
Next time on the podcast: Late Spring
Mark and Aaron continue the French 1930s series by exploring the early career of Jean Renoir, easily the most recognizable director from the period. We begin with the beginning, by looking at his origins and childhood. We look at his early silent films, his first sound adaptations, and a couple of films from the middle of the decade where we began to settle into his poetic realist style.
7:00 – Why Renoir?
9:30 – Origins of Renoir
20:00 – Silent Renoir (Catherine, Whirlpool of Fate, Nana, Charleston Parade, The Little Match Girl)
51:30 – Early Sound (On purge bébé, La Chienne, Boudu Saved From Drowning)
1:21:30 – Poetic Realism in Mid-Thirties (Toni, A Day in the Country)
Next time on the podcast: Paul Thomas Anderson
Mark and Aaron are joined by Keith Silva to look at the Coen Brothers' debut to cap of #Noirvember. The film cannot be viewed without the exploring the context of the Coen library and their successful career to follow, but it stands alone as a debut film that sets the stage for their style. We focus quite a bit on the noir aspect, how they were going for a specific aesthetic that shows their film heritage. We evaluate why this film works, how these neophytes meticulously crafted a slow burning art film at the height of the 1980s mainstream blockbusters.
About the film:
Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner releases a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons black-and-white chiaroscuro for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.
1:50 – Welcome Keith Silva
4:50 – Blood Simple
Next time on the podcast: French 1930s, Part Two
Mark and Aaron tackle Guillermo Del Toro's debut film, recently re-released as part of the Trilogía boxset. Cronos is technically in the vampire genre, but even for his first film, has a distinctive Del Toro feel. We get into the character of Jesus Gris, and how Del Toro uses him as a tragic figure that touches on themes of mortality and religion. We also explore Del Toro's passion and his "Bleak House," showing that his passion for the medium informs his work.
4:20 – Mark’s VTIFF experience
8:00 – Short Takes (The Interrogation, Santa Sangre, Evolution, Your Vice is a Locked Room and I Have the Key, Under the Shadow, Midnight Cowboy)
33:30 - Cronos
Next time on the podcast: Blood Simple
We let our hair down for Halloween and celebrate the oddity that is Ôbayashi's House (1977). Dave and Jessica join Mark and Aaron. We agree that House is the most random and the most bonkers "horror" film in existence. Rather than break it down thematically, we celebrate its weirdness by pointing out the WTF moments and the occasions that make us laugh. Warning: this episode has a lot of profanity.
Special Guests: Dave Eves and Jessica Ramos. You can follow Dave on Twitter.
1:10 – 1:00 – Reflections on our last House episode.
2:50 – Welcome Dave and Jessica!
7:50 - House
Next time on the podcast: Cronos
Mark and Aaron cover the Dutch and French horror/suspense classic, The Vanishing. Having experienced this film numerous times before, we are able to explore the foreshadowing and narrative structure that led us on a wild journey to an even wilder ending. We talk about obsession, control, that harrowing ending, and yes, we even get into the American remake.
3:10 - October Horror Schedule
5:00 – Short Takes (The Tin Drum, Chevalier, Stop Making Sense, Tapeheads)
23:00 – The Vanishing
Next time on the podcast: House
Mark, Aaron and Eric Ford begin a month of horror with the micro-budget cult classic, Carnival of Souls. We talk about what makes this such an enduring classic that has held up over time, the bizarre story about how it was made, its influences and what it has influenced, and what type of artistic aims the filmmakers tried to reach.
1:10 – Welcome Eric Ford from Burlington Film Society, Vermont International Film Festival.
4:10 – Vermont International Film Festival
11:20 – Short Takes (Angst, The Neon Demon, Son of Saul, The Brood, Neon Bull, Anomalisa)
31:45 - Carnival of Souls
Next time on the podcast: The Vanishing
Mark and Aaron are joined by Marcus Pinn to explore the filmography of Jim Jarmusch, beginning with Mystery Train (1989). We explore the triple storyline, the coalescence of the director's indie experience and arthouse sensibilities, and the film's sense of place. We then dive into his library and style, and choose our five favorite Jarmusch films.
2:15 – TIFF talk with Marcus
17:40 – Criterion Connection “Shelved”
19:00 – Mystery Train
1:01:00 – Jim Jarmusch
Next time on the podcast: Carnival of Souls
Mark, Aaron and Scott Nye kick off the first of a seven episode series about French cinema i the 1930s. We give an overview of the decade and some historical context, and discuss the French silent tradition and how that it transitioned to sound. We also get into detail about two important filmmakers, Jacques Feyder and Jean Vigo. Feyder was an important filmmaker in his time, but his works are not as prominent today, whereas Vigo was nearly forgotten in the 1930s and discovered after the war.
3:15 – Dedication and Thanks
9:35 – Intro to French Film Series
28:15 – From Silent to Sound
46:30 – Jacques Feyder
1:13:30 – Jean Vigo
Next time on the podcast: Mystery Train and Jim Jarmusch
We change things up by focusing on a boutique label, Twilight Time, that has found success through a unique business model. Mark and Aaron happen to be big fans, and feel that we have directly contributed towards some of their profits. We talk about the company, their business model, why they have succeeded, and we address some common critiques. We also review a few discs each, and finally count down our favorite Twilight Time titles.
About Nick Redman:
London-born Nick Redman, one of Hollywood's leading producers of movie music, is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. An Academy Award nominee as producer of the 1996 Warner Brothers documentary, The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, he went on to write, produce, and direct A Turning of the Earth: John Ford, John Wayne and The Searchers (1998), which became a prize-winner at multiple film festivals. As a consultant to the Fox Music Group (ongoing since 1993), he has developed and overseen Hollywood’s most comprehensive film music restoration program, personally producing more than 500 albums featuring the music of Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Alex North, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Michael Kamen and many more. His productions of the "Star Wars Trilogy" were certified Gold by the RIAA. In 2007, he produced and directed Becoming John Ford, a feature-length documentary for Twentieth Century Fox, which premiered as a special selection at the Venice International Film Festival. The film details the creative and fractious relationship between the brittle, contentious director and his mentor / boss, studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. In his capacity as a film historian, he has presided over commentaries for dozens of DVDs. As producer and director, he has provided special materials—documentaries and commentaries—for numerous titles including Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection, honored by Entertainment Weekly as the Number One DVD boxed set of 2006. In 2011, he co-founded the independent label Twilight Time which releases classic films licensed from 20th Century Fox, Columbia/Sony, and MGM/UA on DVD and Blu-ray. Nick has been a member of BAFTA Los Angeles for many years and has conducted numerous interviews for screening Q&A’s and the Heritage Archive, including Michael Apted, Malcolm McDowell, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Tilda Swinton, Kevin Brownlow and Millicent Martin.
About Brian Jamieson:
Jamieson first entered the film industry with the New Zealand branch of Warner Bros. in 1977. He was later transferred to the United Kingdom. After his success publicizing Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Peter Yates' The Deep, he was named the International Publicist of the Year. He moved to the United States in 1984. During the 1980s, he was in charge of all the company's theatrical marketing in Latin America, the Far East, South Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand; he was later promoted to head of International Marketing and Publicity, which made him responsible for home video marketing internationally. He also collaborated with Stanley Kubrick to promote Full Metal Jacket; they continued to work together until Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's last film before his death in 1999. The Times Colonist called Jamieson a "respected film preservationist". In his work at Warner Home Video, Jamieson shepherded the restorations of numerous classical films. In 2002, Jamieson helped produce Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin, with Richard Schickel, which was shown at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Two years later, he collaborated with Schickel to reconstruct The Big Red One, by Sam Fuller. The two readded 47 minutes of previously cut material.The reconstruction won several awards, including the Seattle Film Critics Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. He later released a reconstruction of Sam Peckinpah's 1969 film The Wild Bunch. By March 2006 he had opened his own production agency, Redwind Productions, and in 2007 released the company's first production, Cannes All Access, a look at the social impact of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2010 he made his directorial debut with To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen's Journey, which tells how Nancy Kwan ensured that Asians could play Asian characters with her success in 1960's The World of Suzie Wong. The film received several awards, including the Women's International Film and Television Showcase (WIFTS) Diversity Award, as well as the Best Feature Documentary from both the American International Film Festival (AIFF) and the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Jamieson himself received the Best Director award from the AIFF. According to the WIFTS Foundation, Jamieson was one of the first directors to include documentaries with home video releases of classic movies as a way to promote "cinema literacy". He later established Twilight Time with Nick Redman, which serves to release limited runs of classic movies not yet on DVD. As of August 2011, the label has already released Michael Curtiz's 1954 film The Egyptian, with plans to release Cy Endfield 1961 film Mysterious Island and Tom Holland's 1985 film Fright Night by the end of the year. Jamieson notes that it is a "win-win" project, with film lovers getting access to rare classic movies and studios able to release and profit from undervalued productions without financial investment.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome
2:00 – Twilight Time Discussion
38:45 – Short Takes (Hardcore, Sexy Beast, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Man in the Dark, The Last Detail)
1:04:00 – Mark and Aaron’s Favorites
1:21:30 – Upcoming Titles
Next time on the podcast: French 1930s, Part One
Mark and Aaron are joined by Dave Eves to evaluate the massive Zatoichi serial starring Shintaro Katsu. We explore the character of Zatoichi, and how he's an unusual type of superhero. We also share tips on the best way to watch the series, whether a little bit at a time or to go on a binge-watch. We evaluate the series as both a piece of art and as pop culture, observing the high and low points.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome Dave!
2:10 – Dave’s Criterion Connection Redux
5:00 – Short Takes (Love on the Run, The Cook the Thief his Wife and Her Lover, Cléo From 5 to 7)
17:35 – Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman
Next time on the podcast: Appreciation of a Boutique Label
Mark and Aaron celebrate the Summer Olympics by exploring Downhill Racer, an independent film about the Winter Olympics. We draw parallels to what is portrayed in the Michael Ritchie with the actual sporting events that take place today, including the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat. We discuss the groundbreaking cinematography, the nature of winning in an individual sport and the the enduring legacy of Sundance that began with this film.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome
1:30 – Short Takes (The Secret in Their Eyes, Everybody Wants Some, Ride with the Devil, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
17:25 – Downhill Racer
Next time on the podcast: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman
Mark and Aaron podcast live and in person for the first time ever. During Aaron's vacation up north, he visited "Casa Hurne" up in beautiful Vermont. While we weren't drinking beer and eating delicious food, we decided to podcast a little about the experience we've had with Criterion Close-Up. Aaron also talks about his journey through Canada and the film connections he made along the way.
0:00 – Intro & Welcome
2:10 – Aaron’s Canada Trip & Martin Kessler
7:30 - Short Takes (Eat that Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words, The Witness, Green Room)
20:00 – Dinner at The 400 Blows
22:25 - Christopher Faulkner
30:15 – Reflecting on Criterion Close-Up
Next time on the podcast: Downhill Racer
Mark and Aaron are joined by Matt Gasteier to explore Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place (1950) and evaluate Humphrey Bogart's body of work. We go into how Ray's life informed the cinema, why he wasn't celebrated during his time and subsequently appreciated later. We also go through Bogart's entire career, from getting his lucky break to becoming a superstar.
0:00 – Welcome and New Music!
2:25 – Welcome Matt!
6:20 – Matt’s Criterion Connection
14:40 – In a Lonely Place
1:06 – Humphrey Bogart
Next time on the podcast: North of the Border
Mark and Aaron are joined by Scott Nye to hash out the intricate themes, history, and nuance of Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day. Given the length and depth of the film, we explored it in detail, distilling the cultural and societal clashes that took place in a pivotal period of Chinese and Taiwanese history. We also compare it to what is considered Yang's other masterpiece, Yi Yi, and we touch on the New Taiwanese Cinema movement.
0:00 – Hello and Welcome Scott
2:25 – Scott’s Criterion Connection
5:10 – Film School in a Cast
8:00 – A Brighter Summer Day
25:00 – Spoiler Warning
1:14:45 – Ratings. No spoilers.
Next time on the podcast: In a Lonely Place, Bogie Films
Mark and Aaron welcome old friend, Doug McCambridge to talk about Robert Altman's "Don't call it a" comeback. We touch on the opening tracking shot, what Altman is saying about Hollywood, and yes, we even go into the ending -- or both of them. On top of that, we give some tidbits on how to be economical with the Barnes & Noble Criterion Sale.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome Doug
4:00 – Doug’s Announcement
7:30 – Thank Ben Model
9:20 – Criterion Completion
12:35 – Barnes and Noble Sale
22:00 – The Player
Next time on the podcast: A Brighter Summer Day
Mark and Aaron welcome Ben Model, silent film historian, accompanist, distributor, and enthusiast. He gave a presentation about "undercranking" on Criterion's release of Chaplin's The Kid. We discuss the idea of undercranking, scoring silent music, and the state of silent media today theatrically and in the home video market.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome Ben
1:15 – Ben’s Criterion Connection
4:00 – Discussion and explanation of undercranking
18:20 – Ben’s background
24:00 –Silent films on Criterion and other labels
27:20 – Silent Film Kickstarters
38:00 – Silent Film discussion
Next time on the podcast: The Player
Mark and Aaron take a look at Whit Stillman's Barcelona (1994), and how it compares with his other work. We focus most on his other two films from the 1990s, Metropolitan (1990) and Last Days of Disco (1998), but we also discuss his most recent effort, Love and Friendship.
About the film:
Whit Stillman followed his delightful indie breakthrough Metropolitan with another clever and garrulous comedy of manners, this one with a darker edge. A pair of preppy yet constitutionally mismatched American cousins—a salesman and a navy officer—argue about romance and politics while working in the beautiful Spanish city of the film’s title. Set during the eighties, Barcelona explores topics both heady (American exceptionalism, Cold War foreign policy) and hilarious (the ins and outs of international dating, the proper shaving method) while remaining a constantly witty delight, featuring a sharp young cast that includes Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, and Mira Sorvino.
0:00 – Intro and Welcome
4:25 – Podcastings
10:00 – Upcoming Series Announcement
13:20 – Short Takes (The Lobster, Love & Friendship)
33:00 – Barcelona and Whit Stillman
Mark and Aaron explore the popular genre that is science fiction. At the core of our discussion is a science fiction project that Aaron has been working on, but we also explore the genre on Criterion, and delve further into Rainer Werner Fassbinder's World on a Wire.
Episode Links & Notes
0:00 – Welcome and Intro
3:00 – The War Room, Thanks Keith
4:30 – Mark’s Decision
8:30 – Short Takes (Frau im Mond, The Fits, Captain America: Civil War, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Mysterious Island, Stalker)
29:00 – The Sci-Fi List Project
50:30 – Sci-Fi Criterion Titles
57:00 – World on a Wire
Where to Find Us:
Aaron is joined by Keith Enright for a discussion of politics, new and old, through the lens of The War Room (1993), the behind-the scenes 1992 Clinton campaign documentary. We go into depth about the backroom politics and how those are what defines the campaign, but are usually far from the public eye. We contrast the politics of today and yesterday by looking the current affairs and Robert Drew's Primary.
Episode Links & Notes
0:00 – Introduce and Welcome Keith
3:40 – Keith’s FilmStruck take
12:00 – Collecting discussion
19:00 – The War Room
Where to Find Us:
Mark, Aaron and Paul Cobb look at John Frankenheimer's political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate. We explore the originality and how it influenced other paranoia films, how it spoke to the spirit of the 1960s, as a satire towards McCarthyism, and how it has remained relevant throughout the years.
0:00 - Intro and welcome Paul
2:55 – Paul’s Criterion Connection
11:20 – Don Hertzfeldt Revisit
12:20 – August 2016 Criterion Releases
31:10 – The Manchurian Candidate
Episode Links & Notes
Criterion Collection: The Manchurian Candidate
Where to Find Us:
Mark and Aaron fly back to 1939 to discuss Howard Hawks' classic Only Angels Have Wings. We evaluate the special effects, how the film built suspense, the context of aviation in the late 1930s, and later films that embody a similar masculinity. We also reveal the winner of our Don Hertzfeldt contest and talk about region free players.
0:00 – Welcome and Intro
1:50 – Don Hertzfeldt giveaway winner
7:55 – Podcastaggedon
12:40 – Region Free Player
18:05 – Short Takes (Everybody Wants Some, Amy, Blue Velvet, Chimes at Midnight, Son of Saul, A Vermont Romance)
39:20 – Only Angels Have Wings
Episode Links & Notes
Where to Find Us: