On My Screen No. 4 | Criterion May Releases

like-someone-in-love (1)

• Bit of a Yawner: The Criterion Collection announced its latest May releases, and for the most part it drew a big yawn with me. Howard Hawks’ western “Red River”, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, is a very good film (and buyers get two versions), as is “Like Someone In Love” by one of my favorite modern directors, Abbas Kiarostami. But both releases have adequate, if not, impressive U.K. releases already, so this is only good news for those outside the country who don’t own a region-free blu-ray player. The other three releases are blu-ray upgrades: Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” Stuart Cooper’s “Overlord” and Billy Wilder’s “Ace In The Hole”. I enjoyed all three films, but I’ve never been a fan of blu-ray upgrades, and see no reason for anyone who owns them on DVD to double-dip. 

In the Game: Well, let the blows continue to major television. Cable TV was the first to encroach on their territory, and now it’s Netflix, YouTube.com, Hulu and Amazon.com creating their own TV and film content. In the latest move, Amazon.com posted five pilot programs on its site, asking users to rate them. It’s unclear if this is to determine which will continue beyond the pilot stage, but one thing is certain, there’s another player muscling in on the online-TV game. I watched three of the pilots, and frankly, enjoyed them all in degrees. The clear winner is a show called “Transparent”, a comedic-drama about a highly-dysfunctional family, that often left me laughing. The over-the-top sports-comedy, “The Rebels”, is about a professional football story where an ex-cheerleader and wife of the owner of the Los Angeles Rebels takes over the team after the husband dies. Critics so far have blasted this show’s pilot for being flimsy nonsense. Yes, I can feel that, but there are some funny moments. A monkey doing blow at a party is tough not to laugh at. Lastly, though not my favorite, is the show that I feel will have the biggest impact, “Bosch”. It’s more or less your average detective show. It’s about a detective who is on trial for a wrongful shooting who is simultaneously trying to solve a murder. It’s well done, but nothing new. However, I suspect it will be successful, and largely because it already has a built-in following from fans of the work of Michael Connelly, the writer whose books the show is based on. I’ve yet to watch “The After” by X-File’ Chris Carter or Mozart in the Jungle, but they’re up next.

• Film purgatory: An interesting story from New York Times writer, Nicholas Rapold about those films that fall into the public domain after so many years because of U.S. copyright law.

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