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We have been blessed by surprise flash sale from the Criterion Collection. Any physical media, DVD, or Blu-Ray collector can tell you all about the famed distribution company, which works to release classic and unknown films from all around the world in modern restorations to that the hidden gems of world cinema can be enjoyed in the highest quality.

Out of inspiration from the most recent 50% off surprise sale done by the company, I have decided to put together a list of my favorite films released by the Criterion Collection that I own as of February 2021.

To say that the film Ratcatcher (1999) differs from the rest of Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s brief filmography would be apt at first glance. This distinct presence of violence and agony in her films We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here plague the screen in Ramsay’s films. Where Ratcatcher differs in that matter is its much more subdued approach to trauma. The pain felt by the characters in Ramsay’s debut film highlights the director’s goal of showing the pain and guilt that surround death.

I found Carol Reed’s 1949 film The Third Man to be a film that bends and molds what I thought films that fall under the style of film noir could be. While visually, you could immediately see the influences of noir chosen by Reed: the darkened city, the dirty rise of crime, and so on, there was much that The Third Man took to its advantage by changing to create a more pertinent and cutting story.

There was a rather unexpected joy that came with watching Man With a Movie Camera, directed by Dziga Vertov. I expected a rather formulaic project while watching the film, with it being a premier example of one of the earlier documentaries in cinema, what I got instead was a symphony to nearly every single aspect of the craft of filmmaking. …

Despite its age, Yasujirō Ozu’s Tokyo Story from 1953 feels all too real. For me, Ozu comes off as what I think of as a “domestic” filmmaker: where he centers his plots around the common occurrences within a single family. I also saw this as a theme through the other Ozu works I have had the pleasure to see, from the children wanting to buy a television set in Good Morning, a tight father-daughter relationship being split in Late Spring, and an eldrely couple visiting their children in a bustling metropolis in Tokyo Story. …

Not going to lie, I was initially apprehensive when approaching ‘Modern Times’. I had never seen a Charlie Chaplin film before, and when it comes to the Golden Age of Hollywood, I found myself not really enjoying the films out of that timeframe that I have seen. In a way, my adverse reaction to Classic Hollywood in the past stems from what I feel is a sense of artificiality to the more popular movies of this time period. I just haven’t usually found the acting, camerawork, and heavily strict stories of Hollywood under the early Producer-Assembly Line system to be…

There is one particular scene in Shoah that I want to focus on in this review that I think best encapsulates efforts of director Claude Lanzmann in his one-of-a-kind documentary.

In the final scene of the first era (the first disc for owners of the Criterion Blu-Ray), Lanzmann reads a letter sent from Nazi leadership to car manufacturing plants outlining changes required in the creation of gas vans to increase their efficiency in the mass murder of Jews.

On its surface, the scene is simple. The narrator reads some text over b-roll of a plant during modern day (the early…

I don’t think there is a better way to describe the sheer absurdity and bizarreness of the comedy in this show than a pivotal line delivered by the titular protagonist, played by the show’s co-creator Mathew Holness:

“I know writers who use subtext and they’re all cowards”.

At a glance, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace seems to be a straightforward mockery of poor low budget British television shows of the 1980s. The premise follows the doctors and staff of Darkplace Hospital as they fight the supernatural horrors amidst their day-to-day lives in the healthcare industry.

collage from

I’m not going to lie, I was a little let down by the Oscar nominations this year, as is tradition. 2019 was a year full of wonderful original projects from a wide array of supremely talented directors and creators. That being said, I still saw a great majority of these films and they still deserve merit, so let’s get through them and talk about the 92 Academy Awards.

A quick side note: I will be skipping the three short film categories, as I have yet to see all of the nominees for them and it would feel wrong to judge…

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