Recent Additions

P1100368 (2)While the crazy disc-buying days of old are over, I’m still prone to buying discs (I just try to be a bit more selective). Here’s my most recent additions to the shelf. Some still in the shrink-wrap, but others actually watched already (!).

Planetes is a brilliant Japanese anime which seems increasingly prescient over the years, concerning a team of astronauts tasked with cleaning up all the debris cluttering Earth-orbit before it causes a calamity (Gravity owes a lot to it). I used to have it on DVD back from the days when we used to have to buy anime shows over time in multi-volume releases (five or six discs released over several months, as I recall) which puts into comparison even the premium costs of these boxsets from All The Anime. Fortunately for my wallet I was able to pre-order this set in an early deal; its a lovely set with a 80+ page book of artwork accompanying the digipack in a sturdy hard slip-box, and on the Blu-ray the show really shines; it looks gorgeous. I only watched the first episode, as I’m biding my time to watch the series throughout properly, but this will be a definite pleasure.

Of course every boxset that Indicator release truly delivers- and Columbia Noir #3 is as beautiful a package as the first two sets. A series of posts reviewing this set’s six noir films will follow over the next few weeks, and hopefully the films, none of which I have seen before, will be equal to the films that preceded in the first two volumes. These are possibly my favourite sets from the last few years. I used to complain about there being so few film noir releases over here in the UK and then we hit the motherload with these. I hope there is another two or three volumes of Columbia Noir to come (no-one seems to be sure how many we’re getting).

I bought Irreversible with Columbia Noir #3 and Someone To Watch Over Me direct from Indicator, justifying it by saving on postage and getting my credit points high enough to get a discount on my next order. Its a notorious film; I have it (somewhere) on DVD and only managed to stomach it for one viewing (probably why the DVD is long-since AWOL) so its hard to fathom exactly why I bought this Blu-ray. The package is enticing, with fine artwork, definitive-looking extras and an 80-page book… its almost as if I bought this intending to learn more ABOUT the film rather than actually get around to watch it. We’ll see. 

Someone To Watch Over Me and Extrablatt (The Front Page) I’ve already mentioned, having watched them together on Saturday

Two Criterions follow, thanks to an offer on Amazon (my previous Criterions were bought last summer in the previous Criterion sale). The Ascent is the most recent release, as it came out on my birthday earlier this year, funnily enough, which felt something of an omen since the film seems to have been given universally positive reviews: a ‘masterpiece’ of Russian cinema released on my birthday? Well, patience has saved me some dosh. Gilda is the Criterion that slipped through the net last year, as I couldn’t pick a film to accompany it, which has been doubly annoying as I kept on seeing/hearing references to it on the Columbia Noir sets from Indicator. I’m really curious about it, as I’ve never seen it, and it will certainly fill a gap in my noir collection.

Lastly, this week has seen the 4K UHD release of The Sting. Here again I have to confess that, despite my affection for 1970s American Cinema, and plenty of opportunities over the years with television screenings, particularly over Christmas’ past, I have somehow never seen this film. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw? I’m reminded how odd it can be, the films we don’t see, over the years. I think it proves something of a lesson, particularly for a film lover like me who’s seen so many films- so whenever I read a blog and someone hasn’t seen Citizen Kane or some other ‘classic’ I have to cool down my dismay and appreciate I’m guilty of some bad misses too. Its all relative, after all- I mean, I’ve seen less Russian films than I can count with the fingers of my two hands and my experience of European Cinema is pretty slight, so we can all be guilty of being a little myopic in our choice of films. 


4 thoughts on “Recent Additions

  1. Planetes sounds right up my street, so I happily blind-bought when it first went on pre-order. Goodness knows when I’ll actually watch it, though — I’m even worse about getting round to TV shows I’ve bought than films.

    I vaguely remember, back when Irreversible first came out and there was all the brouhaha about how extreme it was, thinking I’d never watch it. But times — and my taste and my tolerance levels — have changed, so I also picked up the Indicator release. There have certainly been other films where a lot of people cry “I could never rewatch that!” that I’m happy / looking forward to revisiting (e.g. Requiem for a Dream), so we’ll see. I also hope it’s a good film and not just about the shock value, of course; there seems to be some debate about that (included in Indicator’s booklet, even, which is nice).

    One I have actually seen is The Sting, a few years ago (I checked: five years. Time flies). I found it a bit of a letdown, to be honest. I love a good heist/con movie, and I enjoyed Butch Cassidy a lot, and The Sting is widely acclaimed, so all the ingredients looked great, but it just didn’t click for me — I could admire stuff about it (I gave it 4 stars) but I didn’t love it. Maybe it’s due another look. (It’d be nice to see it in 4K, but I can’t really justify forking out £20 or whatever for a second viewing of a film I might not even like enough for a third!)

    1. You’ll love Planetes, I’ve never understood why its not more widely praised. I’m just trying to decide whether to go with the (quite decent) English dub which I watched on DVD too many years ago or go with the original Japanese/English subs for the ‘authentic experience’ this time (I think I’m going with the latter). I tried the first episode with a mix of both, testing the water so to speak, and was particularly impressed with the clarity of the visuals in HD. I’m REALLY looking forward to it (as you say, its all about finding time).

      With The Sting, its a film I’ve always intended to get around to (some films you just feel endlessly guilty for having not seen) and this 4K release seemed the perfect opportunity- albeit it won’t be the first time I’ve been burned opting for the 4K. While the difference between standard Blu-ray and 4K is sometimes negligible, sometimes… you want the film in the best quality you can get, and you have to roll the dice on blind buys, you know? Maybe that’s one plus for Criterion releases- there’s no faffing about deciding between versions, its Blu-ray or nothing.

      If Indicator ever upped their game to 4K releases, I think my wallet would explode.

      1. I’m trying to be selective with my 4K upgrades, for the same reasons. When it’s something like Arrow’s Donnie Darko — the same 4K restorations they put out on Blu-ray just a couple of years ago, the only additions being new cover art and I think one extra essay — yeah, the true 4K may have the edge over 4K-on-Blu-ray, but is it worth another £35? Surely not. But then I go and look at screen caps of their Oldboy BD vs 4K, and I can see the difference, and once again I’m tempted… But I have to remind myself that studying a screenshot only a foot away from my face is not the same as watching something in motion on a more distant TV, and maybe that improvement to grain and fine detail isn’t really worth another pile of dosh!

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