Throwback Thursday: Crash

Maverick filmmaker David Cronenberg‘s wildly controversial 1996 cult favorite Crash is getting a special edition release on DVD and Blu-ray via The Criterion Collection. For this icily erotic fusion of flesh and machine, Cronenberg adapted J. G. Ballard’s future-shock novel of the 1970s into one of the most singular and provocative films of the 1990s.

 

A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (James Spader), and an enigmatic doctor, Helen (Holly Hunter), brings them, along with James’s wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger, in a sublimely detached performance), together in a crucible of blood and broken glass – and it’s not long before they are all initiated into a kinky, death-obsessed underworld of sadomasochistic car-crash fetishists for whom twisted metal and scar tissue are the ultimate turn-ons.

 

Controversial from the moment it premiered at Cannes – where it won a Special Jury Prize “for originality, for daring, and for audacity” – Crash has since taken its place as a key text of late-twentieth-century cinema, a disturbingly seductive treatise on the relationships between humanity and technology, sex and violence, that is as unsettling as it is mesmerizing.

 

This new edition from The Criterion Collection includes a new 4K digital restoration supervised by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky; audio commentary from 1997 featuring Cronenberg; press conference footage from the 1996 Cannes Film Festival featuring Cronenberg, author J. G. Ballard and actors Rosanna Arquette, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, James Spader and Deborah Kara Unger; a Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London; behind-the-scenes footage and press interviews; and an essay by film critic Jessica Kiang.

 

Watch an original trailer for Crash below and click here to pre-order your copy. The DVD and Blu-ray will be available in December.

 

Throwback Thursday: A Bigger Splash

Released in the early 1970s, A Bigger Splash is an intimate and innovative film about English-born, California-based artist David Hockney and his work, honoring its subject through creative risk-taking. Director Jack Hazan creates an improvisational narrative-nonfiction hybrid featuring Hockney, a wary participant, as well as his circle of friends, capturing the agonized end of the lingering affair between Hockney and his muse, an American model named Peter Schlesinger.

 

A Bigger Splash is at once a time capsule of hedonistic gay life in the 1970s, an honest-yet-tender depiction of gay male romance that dispenses with the then-current narratives of self-hatred and self-pity, an invaluable view of art history in action and a record of artistic creation that is itself also a unique work of art. We’re very happy to see that it has been preserved so lovingly.

 

This Newly Restored Special Edition includes audio commentary by director Jack Hazan, the short documentaries Love’s Presentation (1962) and Portrait of David Hockney (1972), the original theatrical trailer and a deeply informative booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton.

 

Watch the original trailer for A Bigger Splash below and click here to pre-order your copy. This new collector’s item is coming to DVD and Blu-ray in late-July.

 

Throwback Thursday: The Hours and Times

“Uncategorizable, unforgettable… Munch’s brave and moving film achieves his goal beautifully.”
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Exquisitely written and performed. Munch’s understated vignette announced the arrival of a young, but fully mature talent.”
– David Ansen, Newsweek

“A sharp, concise, evocative film about friendship.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“A spare, but highly polished examination… Not only is the acting strong, yet understated, but the script has the knack of creating both character and relationships through dialog. This enhances the film’s sense of eavesdropping on an intricate psychological reality, something that is especially difficult to achieve when the fictionalization of celebrities is involved.”
– Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

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Throwback Thursday: In Celebration

Utilizing the same brilliant cast as In Celebration‘s original highly acclaimed Royal Court Theater run, director Lindsay Anderson (O Lucky ManIf) re-imagined his stage triumph into a riveting cinematic experience back in 1975. Anderson grounds David Storey‘s ferocious and poignant drama in a setting that as realistic as the playwright’s caustic portrait of generational hypocrisy is universal.

In their tiny house in a Yorkshire mining town, God-fearing and hardworking Mr. and Mrs. Shaw (Bill Owen and Constance Chapman) welcome their sons home to celebrate the couple’s fortieth wedding anniversary. But with each son’s arrival, more and more of the Shaw’s model blue collar family facade begins to chip away. Middle son Colin’s (James Bolam) engagement has placed him on the path to a loveless marriage. Barely shouldering the burdens of his shattered artisitic aspirations and his own family, Steven, the baby, brilliantly played by Brian Cox, is on the threshold of a nervous breakdown. But the toaster tossed into this already scalding theatrical bath is Alan Bates as eldest son Andrew. As father, mother, and brothers futiley try to hide the truth from themselves and each other, Bates’ Andrew tears into the Shaw family’s carefully maintained fictions with animal fury and all-too-human bitterness.

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Throwback Thursday: Can’t Stop the Music

“The Movie Musical Event of the 1980s” (in theory only) is coming to Blu-ray!

Pour yourself a milkshake and experience the magic, music, and mirth of the all-time favorite camp-tastic classic Can’t Stop The Music! Batshit insane by any measure, this notorious flop exploits all of producer Allan Carr worst creative instincts… and it’s truly an unforgettable cinematic experience (for better of worse).

Although it was released in 1980, the film’s disco-pulsating heart lies squarely in the tacky 1970s – telling the highly fictionalized origin story of The Village People.

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Throwback Thursday: Jeffrey

Meet Jeffrey (Steven Weber), a struggling actor in the New York scene who has just made the biggest decision of his life: he’s swearing off sex… forever!

No sooner has he made this startling vow than he meets the dreamy and sensitive Steve (Michael T. Weiss). With the help of his friends Sterling (Patrick Stewart) and Darius (Bryan Batt), Jeffrey decides to give love a second shot. But some unexpected news puts Jeffrey in a bind, him to decide if he should take a risk on what could be the love of his life.

Released in the summer of 1995, this hilarious and touching film from acclaimed director Christopher Ashley and writer Paul Rudnick (based on his own stage play The Life and Times of Richard Jeffrey) managed to redefine the romantic comedy for the LGBTQ+ community living in the age of AIDS in the ’90s.

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Throwback Thursday: Death in Venice

Based on the classic novella by Thomas Mann, this late-career masterpiece from the great Luchino Visconti is a meditation on the nature of art, the allure of beauty, and the inescapability of death.

 

A fastidious composer reeling from a disastrous concert, Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde, in an exquisitely nuanced performance) travels to Venice to recover. There, he is struck by a vision of pure beauty in the form of a young boy named Tadzio (Björn Andrésen), his infatuation developing into an obsession even as rumors of a plague spread through the city.

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Throwback Thursday: The Paperboy

We’re only throwing back to 2012 this week. Sure, that’s not long ago, but the new DVD re-release of The Paperboy, out this week (and available here for just $9.46), made us want to take another look at this much-maligned slice of weirdness.

 

A sexually and racially-charged film noir from Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, The Butler), The Paperboy is set in backwaters of steamy 1960s South Florida, as investigative reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) chase a sensational, career-making story. With the help of Ward’s younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) and sultry death-row groupie Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), the pair tries to prove violent swamp-dweller Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) was framed for the murder of a corrupt local sheriff.

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Throwback Thursday: Safe

Restrained but emotionally involving, this harrowing tale of a woman who becomes physically allergic to the environment doubles as an AIDS allegory. Safe, an indie classic from Todd Haynes, was greatly misunderstood back in 1995, when it was first released. Over the years, it has become a critically-acclaimed cult classic and has garnered a reputation as a subversive stand-out of the New Queer Cinema movement.

 

Safe © Criterion Collection

Safe © Criterion Collection

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