PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Featured: Top of Home Page

Time Encapsulating: The Best DVDs of 2006 Part 2

Director: Richard Linklater Film: Dazed and Confused: Criterion Collection Studio: Universal Cast: Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Matthew McConaughey, Wiley Wiggins, Michelle Burke, Parker Posey, Cole Hauser, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams Website: http://www.criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=336 MPAA rating: R Trailer: http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2349055 First date: 1993 Distributor: Criterion Collection Image: http://images.popmatters.com/dvd_art/d/dazed-and-confused-criterion-collection-1993.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 10

Dazed and Confused is a perfect movie. It flawlessly captures the spirit of the ‘70s while arguing for the universality in the high school experience. It is a film that expertly illustrates that clichéd concept called ‘coming of age’ while wrapping the usual elements in the era’s cultural make-up within the typical teen dynamic of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Perhaps writer/director Richard Linklater said it best when he commented about wanting the movie to feel “like a camera had just dropped down in the middle” of this specific day at a typical Texas high school. Thanks to the inclusion of a true profusion of added content (commentaries, documentaries) what we end up with is a true motion picture masterwork. Bill Gibron

Dazed and Confused: Criterion Collection

Display Artist: David and Albert Maysles Director: David Director: Albert Maysles DVD: Grey Gardens / The Beales of Grey Gardens: The Criterion Collection Director website: http://www.mayslesfilms.com/ Studio: Maysles Films Cast: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Jack Helmuth, Brooks Hires Website: http://www.mayslesfilms.com/company_pages/maysles_distribution/Films/Grey%20Gardens.html MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1976 Distributor: Criterion US Release Date: 2006-12-05 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/g/grey-gardens-beales-dvd.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 9

Documentaries don’t get more spellbinding than this look at wealth in decay and the lives of two women, both lost within their own insular universe of privilege and pain. Brothers Albert and David Maysles struck subject matter gold when they discovered Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale (cousins of famed First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) living in reclusive squalor in the title estate on the Hamptons. Eager for the attention they once held as members of high society, the pair was happy to “perform” for the directors, letting down their guard just enough to see the substantial sadness inside. The 1975 masterpiece is now supplemented with an amazing contemporary companion piece, arguing for the timelessness of both the Maysles moviemaking prowess and the Beale’s quiet desperation. Bill GibronGrey Gardens / The Beales of Grey Gardens: The Criterion Collection

Director: Billy Wilder DVD: Double Indemnity: Universal Legacy Series Studio: Paramount Pictures Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall Website: http://homevideo.universalstudios.com/details.php?childId=36327 MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1944 Distributor: Universal Studios US Release Date: 2006-08-22 UK Release Date: 2006-08-22 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/d/double-indemity-legacy.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 8

For many, it’s one of the last DVD Holy Grails, a classic Billy Wilder film noir unconscionably left off the digital domain for far too long. In fact, devotees feel they have waited for what seems like eons to get this multifaceted mystery featuring spectacular turns by Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray on their favorite home theater medium. But the fact of the matter is, Image Entertainment released a version of the seminal crime thriller back in 1998. This time around though, Universal does the title right, tossing in a pair of commentaries, a documentary, and even a TV movie version from 1973. Whatever the presentation parameters, this is one timeless example of Hollywood’s heyday that deserves to be on every film fans shelf. Bill Gibron

Double Indemnity: Universal Legacy Series

Director: Akira Kurosawa DVD: Seven Samurai: The Criterion Collection Studio: Criterion Cast: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Yoshio Inaba, Seiji Miyaguchi, Minoru Chiaki Website: http://www.criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=2 MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1954 Distributor: Criterion US Release Date: 2006-09-05 UK Release Date: 2006-09-05 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/s/seven-samurai-3-disc.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 7

Akira Kurosawa elevated Japanese cinema into an internationally recognized art form, and this is, arguably, his greatest achievement. A masterpiece of tone, detail and performance, this influential fusion of modern moralizing and typical Eastern traditions makes for a classic examination of duty and honor. Setting up layers of interaction -- the samurai vs. the farmers, the collective vs. the oncoming attackers -- and then heightening the cinematic possibilities via the inherent drama supplied within his mesmerizing monochrome cinematography, Kurosawa creates a tragedy of epic proportions, an incredibly human saga expanded out across the entire Asian cultural horizon. And thanks to a new transfer from the classic film conservators, this director’s dynamic vision has never looked better.

Seven Samurai: The Criterion Collection

DVD: Homicide Life on the Street - Complete Series Megaset TV Show: Homicide Life on the Street - Complete Series Megaset Network: NBC Network: A&E Cast: Yaphet Kotto, Andre Braugher, Kyle Secor, Ned Beatty, Richard Belzer Website: http://store.aetv.com/html/product/index.jhtml?id=76122 MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1993-01-31 Last date: 1999-05-21 Distributor: A&E US Release Date: 2006-11-14 UK Release Date: 2006-11-14 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/h/homicide-box-set.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 6

Suitably grim, designed with a dark current of humor, all seven seasons of this highly acclaimed, addictive drama, winner of two Emmy Awards, three Television Critic’s Awards, and three Peabody Awards, comes packaged in a grey “file drawer”. Pull the drawer open, and each season has a file tab identifier, with a summary of the contents in plain, courier font: episode title, a snapshot of some critical facts, and a very brief description per episode. Sums it up perfectly for someone in a hurry to find the right file. The Complete Series is packaged as no-nonsense as the lives of the detectives in inner-city Baltimore and the murdered whose cases they try to solve, and it’s packed with enough extras to stuff a file cabinet, including three Law & Order crossover episodes and Homicide: The Movie. “Homicide: our day begins when yours ends”, says Detective John Much. You would just die for this. Karen ZarkerHomicide Life on the Street - Complete Series Megaset

Director: Chan-wook Park DVD: OldBoy: Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition Studio: Egg Films Cast: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh Website: http://films.tartanfilmsusa.com/oldboy/ MPAA rating: N/A First date: 2003 Distributor: Tartan Video US Release Date: 2006-11-14 UK Release Date: 2006-11-14 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/o/oldboy-collectors-dvd.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 5

As complicated a game of cat and mouse as the cinema has ever seen, Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy stands as a testament to the Nu-Asia genre of film, and South Korea’s domination of same. As part of his brilliant Vengeance Trilogy (including Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance) Park’s middle act marries Western ideas of violence as vindicator with Eastern elements of honor, status and cruelty. In a stunning new three-disc tin box collector’s set from Tartan Video, the process behind this provocative motion picture is laid bare, with the director divulging as many behind the scenes processes as possible to amplify the theme -- the purposelessness of payback -- of his movie. Bill Gibron

OldBoy: Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition

TV Show: When the Levees Broke Subtitle: A Requiem in Four Acts US release date: 2006-08-21 Network: HBO Cast: Harry Belafonte, Terence Blanchard, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Douglas Brinkley, Eddie Compass, Michael Eric Dyson, Paris Ervin, Herbert Freeman Jr., Glenn Hall III, Phyllis Montana LeBlanc, Wynton Marsalis, Mayor Ray Nagin, Soledad O'Brien, Wendell Pierce, Sean Penn, Garland Robinette, Al Sharpton, Kanye West Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/w/when-the-levees-broke-dvd.jpg Website: http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/whentheleveesbroke/index.html MPAA rating: N/A Airtime: Premiere 8pm 21 and 22 August 2006; all four hours re-air 7pm 29 August 2006. Also airing on HBO and HBO2 throughout September.

Display as: List

List number: 4

The year's best fact-based film. Spike Lee, who worked his moviemaking magic on the story of 4 Little Girls (about the bombing of an Alabama church during the Civil Rights movement) and Jim Brown: All American, takes on the Federal Government, George W. Bush and the lack of effective emergency relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and provides a ballsy blueprint for EVERYTHING that’s wrong with America circa 2006. Moving, infuriating and loaded with unconscionable criminality, the most shocking thing about this visual essay is how unfinished and open-ended it feels. Indeed, Lee has publicly stated that he will continually follow-up on the New Orleans story, similar to how Stephen Spielberg used Schindler’s List for the Shoah Project. This masterful movie is a sensational start. Bill Gibron

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

Director: Francis Ford Coppola DVD: Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier Director website: http://www.zoetrope.com/ Studio: Paramount Pictures Cast: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1979 Distributor: Paramount Home Video US Release Date: 2006-08-15 UK Release Date: 2006-08-15 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/a/apocalypse-now-complete.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 3

Or, actually, the “incomplete” dossier. Still MIA in this otherwise stellar presentation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam via Joseph Conrad masterwork is the equally sublime and definitive documentary companion piece Hearts of Darkness. Said warts and all look at the production, featuring amazing behind the scenes footage and audio recordings of the filmmaker’s frequent meltdowns, has long been rumored to be part of a comprehensive Apocalypse package. Its absence here continues to fuel speculation that Coppola no longer appreciates the film’s portrait of him as director/demagogue. Or maybe the memories are still too fresh and painful to revisit, even 20 plus years later. Thankfully, we have both versions of the finished epic (original and expanded cut) and a wealth of extras to keep us occupied. Bill Gibron

Apocalypse Now -- Opening Scene

Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier

Director: Various DVD: Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition Studio: Warner Brothers Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Helen Westley, Irene Dunne Website: http://whv.warnerbros.com/WHVPORTAL/Portal/product.jsp?OID=15934 MPAA rating: N/A Distributor: Warner Brothers US Release Date: 2006-10-24 UK Release Date: 2006-10-24 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/a/astaire-and-rogers-ultimate.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 2

It’s enough to make fans of the famous dance team swoon with song and dance possibilities -- 10 films, a bonus CD, another disc featuring a comprehensive documentary and a startling array of complementary features. Just having the ability to own every film this dynamic duo made (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Top Hat / Follow the Fleet / Swing Time / Shall We Dance / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle / The Barkleys of Broadway) should be motivation enough for an instantaneous purchase. But Warner Brothers hedges it bets by providing the best possible print of each film possible, and then larding each entry with enough extra goodies to seal the cinematic deal. Bill Gibron

Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst DVD: Pandora's Box: The Criterion Collection Studio: Criterion Cast: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Krafft-Raschig Website: http://www.criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=358 MPAA rating: N/A First date: 1929 Distributor: Criterion US Release Date: 2006-11-28 UK Release Date: 2006-11-28 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/p/pandoras-box-dvd.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 1

Criterion uncovers yet another gem with the release of this legendary Louis Brooks vehicle. The tragic story of a prostitute/performer named Lulu, this is the film that made her a star, and the toast of the jumping jive jazz age. Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst combined his acclaimed insight into actors with the artistry of German Expressionism to forge an epic dissection of the human spirit. With many of Hollywood’s silent stars forgotten or forced into post-modern pigeonholes, it’s important to keep their true memory alive. And nothing guarantees immortality better than a perfect DVD package providing the proper balance between entertainment and context. As they do with all their products, Criterion proves the possibilities -- and the pleasures -- that can be achieved within the digital medium. Bill GibronPandora's Box: The Criterion Collection

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.