The distributor has revealed its upcoming slate of November releases, including Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Punch-Drunk Love' and 'Akira Kurosawa's Dreams.'
In an early announcement to retailers, Criterion is preparing 'The Squid and the Whale,' 'One-Eyed Jacks,' 'Punch-Drunk Love,' 'Akira Kurosawa's Dreams,' and 'Lone Wolf and Cub' for Blu-ray throughout the month of November.
'Lone Wolf and Cub' (November 8) - Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and an infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as for its tender depiction of the bonds between parent and child.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, uncompressed Japanese mono soundtracks, and supplements will include: High-definition presentation of Shogun Assassin, the 1980 English-dubbed reedit of the first two Lone Wolf and Cub films; New interview with Kazuo Koike, writer of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series and screenwriter on five of the films; Lame d’un père, l’âme d’un sabre, a 2005 documentary about the making of the series; New interview in which Sensei Yoshimitsu Katsuse discusses and demonstrates the real Suio-ryu sword techniques that inspired those in the manga and films; New interview with biographer Kazuma Nozawa about filmmaker Kenji Misumi, director of four of the six Lone Wolf and Cub films; Silent documentary from 1937 about the making of samurai swords, with an optional new ambient score by Ryan Francis; Trailers; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay and film synopses by Japanese pop culture writer Patrick Macias.
'Akira Kurosawa's Dreams' (November 15) - Unfolding in a series of mythic vignettes, this late work by Akira Kurosawa brings eight of the beloved director’s own nighttime visions, informed by tales from Japanese folklore, to cinematic life. In a visually sumptuous journey through the master’s unconscious, tales of childlike wonder give way to apocalyptic visions: a young boy stumbles on a fox wedding in a forest; a soldier confronts the ghosts of the war dead; a power-plant meltdown smothers a seaside landscape in radioactive fumes. Interspersed with reflections on the redemptive power of art, including a richly textured tribute to Vincent van Gogh (played by Martin Scorsese), Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams is both a showcase for its maker’s imagination at its most unbridled and a deeply personal lament for a world at the mercy of human ignorance.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, a Japanese 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and supplements will include: New audio commentary featuring film scholar Stephen Prince; Making of “Dreams” (1990), a 150-minute documentary shot on-set and directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi; New interview with assistant director Takashi Koizumi; New interview with production manager Teruyo Nogami; Kurosawa’s Way (2011), a fifty-minute documentary by director Akira Kurosawa’s longtime translator Catherine Cadou, featuring interviews with filmmakers Theodoros Angelopoulos, Bernardo Bertolucci, Clint Eastwood, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Bong Joon-ho, Abbas Kiarostami, Hayao Miyazaki, Martin Scorsese, Julie Taymor, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, and John Woo; Trailer; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and Kurosawa’s script for a never-filmed ninth dream, introduced by Nogami.
'Punch-Drunk Love' (November 15) - Chaos lurks in every corner of this giddily off-kilter foray into romantic comedy by Paul Thomas Anderson. Struggling to cope with his erratic temper, novelty toilet plunger salesman Barry Egan (Adam Sandler, demonstrating remarkable versatility in his first dramatic role) spends his days collecting frequent-flyer-mile coupons and dodging the insults of his seven sisters. The promise of a new life emerges when Barry inadvertently attracts the affections of a mysterious woman named Lena (Emily Watson), but their budding relationship is threatened when he falls prey to the swindling operator of a phone sex line and her deranged boss (played with maniacal brio by Philip Seymour Hoffman). Fueled by the careening momentum of a baroque-futurist score by Jon Brion, the Cannes-award-winning Punch-Drunk Love channels the spirit of classic Hollywood musicals and the whimsy of Jacques Tati into an idiosyncratic ode to the delirium of new romance.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an English 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and supplements will include: Blossoms & Blood, a twelve-minute 2002 piece by Anderson featuring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, along with music by Jon Brion; New interview with Brion; New piece featuring behind-the-scenes footage of a recording session for the film’s soundtrack; New conversation between curators Michael Connor and Lia Gangitano about the art of Jeremy Blake; Additional artwork by Blake; Cannes press conference from 2002; NBC News interview from 2000 with David Phillips, "the pudding guy"; Twelve Scopitones; Deleted scenes; Mattress Man commercial; and Trailers.
'One-Eyed Jacks' (November 22) - A western like no other, One-Eyed Jacks combines the mythological scope of that most American of film genres with the searing naturalism of a performance by Marlon Brando, all suffused with Freudian overtones and male anxiety. In his only directing stint, Brando captures the rugged landscapes of California’s Central Coast and Mexico’s Sonoran Desert in gorgeous widescreen, Technicolor images, and elicits from his fellow actors (including Karl Malden and Pina Pellicer) nuanced improvisational depictions of conflicted characters. Though overwhelmed by its director’s perfectionism and plagued by production setbacks and studio re-editing, One-Eyed Jacksstands as one of Brando’s great achievements, thanks above all to his tortured turn as Rio, a bank robber bent on revenge against his one-time partner in crime, the aptly named Dad Longworth (Malden). Brooding and romantic, Rio marks the last, and perhaps the most tender, of the iconic outsiders Brando imbued with such remarkable intensity throughout his career.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an uncompressed English mono soundtrack, and supplements will include: New introduction by Scorsese; Excerpts from voice recordings director and star Marlon Brando made during the film’s script development; New video essays on the film’s production history and its potent combination of the stage and screen icon Brando with the classic Hollywood western; Trailer; PLUS: An essay by film critic Howard Hampton.
'The Squid and the Whale' (November 22) - With excruciating honesty, The Squid and the Whale chronicles the experiences of two young brothers growing up in 1980s Park Slope, Brooklyn, as they navigate the jagged contours of the divorce of their parents, both writers. The acclaimed third feature by Noah Baumbach marked a critical development for the filmmaker as he turned toward an increasingly personal style—a move that garnered him an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Shot in Super 16 mm and featuring a quartet of nuanced, understated performances from Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline, this comic and poignant drama, peppered with autobiographical elements, deftly captures the heartache and confusion of a fracturing family.
The Blu-ray will feature 1080p video, an English 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and supplements will include: New interviews with Baumbach and actors Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, and Laura Linney; New conversation about the score and other music in the film between Baumbach and composers Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips; Behind “The Squid and the Whale,” a 2004 documentary featuring on-set footage and cast interviews; Audition footage; and Trailers.
Suggested list price for each single disc Blu-ray is $39.95. Suggested list price for the 3-Disc 'Lone Wolf and Cub' box-set is $99.95.
You can find the latest specs for all of the titles listed above linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed throughout November.