It's the fifteenth of the month! You know what that means: your student loan payment is due! It also means that The Criterion Collection, our favorite purveyors of indie, art house, and foreign films, have unleashed a new line-up for the months ahead. Today they let us know what we'll be needlessly spending our money on in February; it's a huge month.
First up is samurai movie "Three Outlaw Samurai," a 1964 Hideo Gosha movie that, despite a surprising dearth of special features will still be worth picking up on Blu-ray and DVD because it is totally awesome. Criterion gamely describes the plot as concerning "a wandering, seen-it-all ronin (Tetsuro Tamba) [who] becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate." Sounds great.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Lena Dunham's mumblecore movie "Tiny Furniture," a film some critics adored while others thought was totally awful (much like every other mumblecore movie ever made). The features should be enough to pique the interest of even those who hate the genre, including a conversation between Dunham and Nora Ephron (?) and an interview with "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" writer and all around badass Paul Schrader (??), as well as four of Dunham's appropriately earthy short films. Her face takes up the entire cover to remind you how much you love/hate her.
Once you've stopped hyperventilating, Otto Preminger's masterful "Anatomy Of A Murder" should remind you why The Criterion Collection was invented. Arriving newly restored and spruced up, this edition is packed to the gills with extras, with design nerds sure to drool over a feature on Saul Bass' work with Preminger. The package also includes newsreel footage from the set, a study of Duke Ellington's ace score, a vintage trailer with more on-set footage, an excerpt from the work in progress "Anatomy of 'Anatomy': The Making of a Movie" and more.
Looking for a combo of a classic director taking celebrated material? Louis Malle's "Vanya On 42nd Street" will hit both those buttons, with a Criterion issuing the meta-Anton Chekov adaptation in a more or less barebones release save for extensive interviews with the cast and producer.
And speaking of classic directors, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's long lost sci-fi epic "World On A Wire" — which did the arthouse rounds this fall — gets the treatment in a brand new set that won't be bursting at the seams with additional material, but will feature a 50-minute documentary "Fassbinder’s 'World on a Wire': Looking Ahead to Today" about the making of the movie.
Finally, Chris Marker's double whammy of "La Jetee" and "Sans Soleil" gets a high-def updgrade to Blu-Ray. Save you coins kids.