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Why Are Criterions STILL Overpriced?


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#41 of 71 Albert_M

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Posted March 13 2009 - 08:46 AM

Quote:
DVD was launched in 1997. That may not seem long ago, but remember it is a digital technology, and they develop much faster than analog video technologies did.

Yes it does improve rapidly and there is no doubt better technology than Blu ready to roll.

So are supposed to upgrade entire collections every 5 years?

#42 of 71 zackscott5

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Posted March 13 2009 - 08:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert_M
Yes it does improve rapidly and there is no doubt better technology than Blu ready to roll.

So are supposed to upgrade entire collections every 5 years?

No every 10 years.
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#43 of 71 Michael Reuben

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Posted March 13 2009 - 09:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEl
Quote:
So you're saying you're smarter than anyone who owned a laserdisc player?
Let's just say it seemed obvious to me that LDs - due to their size and cost - would eventually be replaced by a better optical format, and that my money would be better spent replacing and extending my LP collection with CDs.
In other words, the answer is "yes".

Sorry to break it to you, but you were hardly alone in realizing that LD would be succeeded by another format, especially once CDs made their appearance. From that realization, everyone could make their own cost/benefit analysis. You made yours, but that doesn't make it the "right" one.
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#44 of 71 MichaelEl

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Posted March 13 2009 - 10:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reggie W
I won't disagree that there are classics among their titles but then you fold your argument by admitting these films are for "film students" and I would say most of their collection is certainly not for people with only a mild interest in film.

You're misquoting me here. I said in fact that many of the classic films in the Criterion Collection have appeal NOT ONLY to film students, BUT ALSO to people with even a mild interest in film.

Quote:
I think you are making a fairly strange case and certainly twisting (or cherry picking) some facts to make it.

You have examples?

Quote:
There is nothing elitist with trying to create a better quality product and then charging more for it.

Sorry, I just don't buy that Criterion - on average - offers significantly better *quality* than the major studios or even the indy labels. That might well have been true 10 years ago, but not now. Of course you might argue they are forced to charge more because of extras or licensing fees, but again, you can't just say the prices are higher due to a consistently superior video/audio presentation. The truth is the video/audio quality of a DVD is largely dependent on the condition of the underlying film elements, and that's something neither Criterion nor the studios have any control over.

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Charging more for the disc does not imply that people who can't afford it would not like it...

I think it does, because what we're talking about here are cheap, mass-produced discs, not exotic, hand-crafted automobiles.

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The price may make somebody choose not to buy the film but this is not elitist

I think it is, given that they could easily be charging less, thereby making the classics of world cinema more accessible to the general public.

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A rental would be just fine, why do you have to own it anyway?

Rental services don't carry the entire Criterion Collection, and only rarely do they have the latest version of a given spine #. People with modest incomes are thereby being denied access to a large body of classic films.

Quote:
This reeks of wanting to punish somebody because they have the gall to charge you more for something. You want to make them charge you less because you can buy other DVDs for less. Using this argument all DVDs should cost no more than 5 bucks because you can buy a DVD in a Wal-Mart dump bin for that cost so why should anybody be "allowed" to charge more?

I don't have a problem at all with different DVD titles being priced differently. I do have a problem with charging twice the average price mostly for packaging, commentary tracks, and a name brand.

Quote:
We do not live in a nation of film students, in fact far more people want to see the next episode of American Idol than want to watch Seven Samurai. If a lot of people wanted to buy Seven Samurai it would probably cost less but that's just not the case.

Lots of obscure studio releases don't generate good sales either, but they also don't cost any more than popular titles - in fact, they usually cost FAR LESS than the latest blockbuster.

BTW, while you might be right that most Americans are more interested in watching AMERICAN IDOL than THE SEVEN SAMURAI, that's still an elitist way of thinking and probably a self-fulfilling prophecy as well.

Quote:
Ok, here you are again just sort of slashing away at Criterion and pretty much stating something that is not true. Most of their releases do in fact receive extensive attention and I think this again is leaning into axe grinding territory.

You have evidence to support this? I've seen probably a hundred or more Criterion discs and far more studio and indy releases. My conclusion is that the image quality of Criterion discs - while generally good - is not sufficiently superior to justify an average two-fold price premium. Unfortunately, people interested in seeing these films often have no choice but to pay the hefty $30 pricetag.

Quote:
Careful with that axe, Eugene. Obviously you've really got it in for the Spartacus release as not only did you cite it for what they charge for it (interesting you would pick one of their most expensive single film releases to make your point) but also cite it as poor quality. There is the studio release which can be had for about $7.50 in many places so why not stick with that?

The Universal release isn't anamorphic, which is no doubt due to the fact that the film has been licensed to Criterion. If it were anamorphic, it probably would look as good or better than the Criterion release, as it reveals more info at the sides. I would predict in fact that we will eventually see an anamorphic version from Universal, and that it will cost half as much and have better image quality than the current Criterion disc.

Quote:
Well, Criterion is mostly a "special edtion" with "special features" kind of company and according to you their releases are not quality...so what is your interest in them?

I never said all of their discs were poor quality, so your arguments are really descending into trolling territory now. Again, my only contention is that you can't justify the higher price of Criterions simply by using the *quality* argument. I mean, I have lots of studio and indy releases of classic films that have great picture and sound, and almost none of them cost over $30.

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Could it be that they have made the effort to release some films nobody else has touched and have fairly limited appeal?

The major studios have released all sorts of films with *limited appeal.* In fact, I can think of very few catalog titles that haven't gotten a release, and most of those either have rights issues or else poor surviving elements. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, for example, hasn't gotten a release because the only elements Universal owns are said to be in poor condition.

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You can get the special edition of Wild Strawberries for $31.95 or a plain edition for only $15.96 in their Art House Collection. They have more than one version of several films. So again you seem more than a little disingenuous here.

If they made the entire collection available in lower-priced Art House releases, I don't think we would have an argument here. The fact that they now offer some of the collection at half price shows they actually have been charging too much for these titles.

Quote:
Interesting how you choose to quote certain prices but this seems to prove again that Criterion is not being elitist but offering their version of certain items at a different cost. You also seem pleased with the Anchor Bay disc so what does it matter to you what Criterion charges for their version?

You're changing the argument. The assertion was made that the image quality of higher-priced Criterion discs is generally superior to that of lower-priced mainstream DVD releases. I simply presented an example to dispute that.

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Basically your argument seems pretty slanted toward just painting Criterion as bad guys for charging more and you've cherry picked evidence to support that. Honestly I don't think what you are saying is fair.

In contrast, your argument seems to be that Criterion should be charging high prices for their discs, which seems a strange argument for a film fan to make. One would think a true lover of cinema would want to see lower-priced discs so that more people could have access to these films.

#45 of 71 zackscott5

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Posted March 13 2009 - 11:34 AM

Ok, A couple of point here:

1) I have the entire criterion collection on my Netflix Que. So Criterions titles are avliable for rental on one of the nations biggest rental sites. As far as B&M's are concerned, You can find some but not all of the criterion titles avliable for rent however the demand for such titles pale in comparison to the new releases.

2) YOu have cherry picked numerous titles for examples starting with the discounted price of Spartacus, and titles like Kwaidan, The Samuri Trilogy, M, TIme Bandits, and the virgin Spring.

3) Criterion does not have the appeal to people with only a mild interest in film. Many people who have a mild interest in film would definitely watch something more accessible than say WIld Strawberrys or any film that has subtitles and no aliens in it.

3)SPartacus was in fact released on HD-DVD by Universal. Just because it is not animorphic does not mean that it is because CRiterion also has the rights.

4) Criterion was the first studio to put out TIme bandits which was a port from their laserdisc. THe Anchor Bay release was released much later.

5) THe criterion Price for some discs are 29.99 MSRP, 39.99 for Most two disc sets except for spartacus because of probably the higher licensing fee, and rarely 79.99 for box sets.

6) If criterion released all of their titles at the 14.99 price at essential art house collection, it would Be a bad business move because of the loss of money and not every one would want a 115 dollar copy of Salo or YOung Torless in their living room. Yet, film student would want a copy of Grand Illusion and can pick up a bare bones edition for $15. The Essential ARt house is pretty much a Greatest Hits collection of Criterion.

Also, MichaelEL, You say you have seen over 100 Criterion Titles. Which ones are they?
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#46 of 71 Patrick McCart

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Posted March 13 2009 - 04:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
I'm just going by retail price and not the deals you can find. You'll often find me complaining about the price of Blu-rays but I've yet to pay over $15 for any of the 20 titles I have. Waiting and looking for deals is what I try to do but I'd rather buy stuff right off the bat.

Kino has had its share of problems but a company like Criterion isn't going to release that stuff. They fit right in with majors when it comes to silents even though their one release was one of the greatest (THE KING OF KINGS) of all silent releases. There are still thousands of films out there to be rescued but they haven't stepped up to tackle any of them.

I'm not meaning to say they're a bad company because they certainly aren't but at the same time their reasons for the high prices are a joke because other small labels are releasing Special Editions of titles that might only sell a few thousand copies and they can release them with brilliant transfers and multiple audio selections for $20 retail.

To me the extra money isn't in presentation but Criterion just selling their name.

The bulk of Kino's catalog is made up of "popular" films like Metropolis, Buster Keaton, essential silents, etc. They do release a lot of obscure stuff, but they're just like Criterion in the mix of top-tier, middle-tier, and unknown.

Consider how Battleship Potemkin's 2-disc SE went for around $26 cheapest when it was released. Criterion would have had the same price, but would have had a lot more added content other than a short restoration documentary and a photo gallery.

Many of Warner's earliest 2-disc SEs went for around $22. I remember getting the Casablanca SE pre-ordered for $22. An identical Criterion would have been $25 cheapest. $3 difference... and Criterion would have included a booklet.

Warner and other studios have constantly repriced titles as they age. One can pick up that Casablanca 2-disc SE for under $15 now. Criterion should do an across-the-board reduction on all their now sub-par and movie-only editions to be competitive.

#47 of 71 Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted March 13 2009 - 08:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEl
Let's just say it seemed obvious to me that LDs - due to their size and cost - would eventually be replaced by a better optical format, and that my money would be better spent replacing and extending my LP collection with CDs.

But apparently you weren't smart enough to realize that LPs would be supplanted by a better format. DOH!

#48 of 71 Susan Nunes

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Posted March 14 2009 - 04:15 AM

Ebay's "Buy It Now" is also an alternative for purchasing Criterion discs. Now mind you, some of the eBay DVD businesses will charge almost what Criterion, Amazon, or DVD stores charge, but some of the discs can be had at a halfway reasonable price. I purchased The Red Shoes recently for $15 less than the MSRP.

#49 of 71 Susan Nunes

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Posted March 14 2009 - 04:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
I'm just going by retail price and not the deals you can find. You'll often find me complaining about the price of Blu-rays but I've yet to pay over $15 for any of the 20 titles I have. Waiting and looking for deals is what I try to do but I'd rather buy stuff right off the bat.

Kino has had its share of problems but a company like Criterion isn't going to release that stuff. They fit right in with majors when it comes to silents even though their one release was one of the greatest (THE KING OF KINGS) of all silent releases. There are still thousands of films out there to be rescued but they haven't stepped up to tackle any of them.

I'm not meaning to say they're a bad company because they certainly aren't but at the same time their reasons for the high prices are a joke because other small labels are releasing Special Editions of titles that might only sell a few thousand copies and they can release them with brilliant transfers and multiple audio selections for $20 retail.

To me the extra money isn't in presentation but Criterion just selling their name.

I agree about Kino. I have purchased items from them for years. I greatly appreciate their work in bringing silent and independent films to the public.

#50 of 71 Bob McLaughlin

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Posted March 17 2009 - 08:37 AM

I would buy more Criterion if they were competitively priced. As it stands, I mostly rent Criterion titles and own a select few. I would guess my Kino DVD buying outnumbers Criterion purchases by at least 5 to 1. Funny the difference a few dollars makes. For example I have probably spent thousands of dollars on various sets of old horror movies over the years, but I always balk at spending 79.99 for the Criterion "Monsters & Madmen" set. I've spent less money on sets that offer more than 4 movies!
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#51 of 71 Reggie W

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Posted March 17 2009 - 11:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEl
You're misquoting me here. I said in fact that many of the classic films in the Criterion Collection have appeal NOT ONLY to film students, BUT ALSO to people with even a mild interest in film.




Actually, I was not misquoting you. I agreed with the first part of your original statement and disagreed with the second part. I do think they have films in their catalog that would be great viewing for film students but I think it is way off base to say their collection appeals to "anyone with a mild interest in film."

Let's take this conversation down a couple of notches by looking at what we agree on.

First, I'd say we are both film fans with more than a mild interest in film.

We both obviously have spent some time watching Criterion DVDs.

Third, I'd say we both have an interest in seeing as wide a possible selection of classic films and films we consider "good" available to the general public.

No, I am not trolling and no, I don't just want to pay more for the DVDs I buy and no, I'm not an elitist.

I don't think my opinion on film is any more important than the next guy's take. I don't think I'm better than anybody because I'd rather watch The Third Man again instead of American Idol. As far as I'm concerned people are free to entertain themselves with whatever they like and what appeals to one person may not appeal to the next.

If you walk into a Best Buy, a Walmart, or a Target, what sort of selection of Criterion discs do you find on their shelves? Probably at most two or three if you are lucky. The only title I've ever seen with any consistency in any nationwide chain is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Probably because Johnny Depp is in it. This is because the films in the Criterion Collection are not widely popular. They may be widely known, among film scholars and fans, but they are not blockbusters...well Armageddon may have been. This is why you won't find them on the shelves of a Best Buy, Target, or Walmart, they are just not films that interest most people. Sure, "worldwide" there are people that know them but these are people with much more than a mild interest in film. In fact, I'd find it pretty odd to find somebody that loves Wild Strawberries and does not know much about film.

According to what you are saying Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are elitist because they are not stocking the Criterion Collection on the shelves of their stores. This means people need a computer and an internet connection to find them. People with low incomes are less likely to be able to afford a computer and an internet connection so does this mean Dell, Apple, HP, and every ISP is elitist? They too are participating in the conspiracy to prevent low income households from seeing the Criterion Collection.

I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm just saying your "elitist" theory just seems like a complete invention and makes no sense.

It breaks down to the simple fact that you think Criterion charges too much for their discs. This is fine, if that's how you feel, ok.

You seem to be rating the Criterion discs purely on how great the audio and video presentation is and touting the fact that you were wise enough to wait for DVD. So, on this point as well your argument seems more than slightly askew. We now have Blu-Ray and likely there will be a format after Blu-Ray and based on what you have been saying you should still be waiting until we reach "the ultimate format" or something along those lines.

When I talk about how Criterion treats a film I'm referring to the overall package they assemble and present to film fans. Look at the work they did on Welles films like Mr. Arkadin or F For Fake, look at the presentation of Days of Heaven, or The Third Man. Look at how they made the effort to put out a great disc of Bad Timing, a film called by the people who paid for it a piece of garbage...but to film fans that was a huge release. They involve people who worked on or know about the films and collect materials related to the films to try to give you a complete package designed exactly for people who love film.

Yes, they charge more but not a lot more than other companies. Heck, the MSRP on most new discs is now $29.99 (I recently went to buy the new Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla and the two disc MSRP is $34.99!) and some stores charge that for them. You can get them for less and you can get Criterions for less too as there are plenty of sales each year on these discs.

The thing is Criterion seems to put a lot more effort into giving film fans a great total package for their money and if Criterion charged less and went under due to this fact...think of the hole that would leave!

Look at what has happened to a company like Anchor Bay. They could not stay afloat and so they were sold and they have not been the same company since. I believe the guy that played a large part in making Anchor Bay interesting went to Severin and who knows what kind of condition that company is in.

So, sure wait for the sales to get your Criterions but I do think a huge cut in their prices would hurt them as a company more than it would help you improve your collection.

#52 of 71 Michael Elliott

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Posted March 17 2009 - 02:18 PM

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Originally Posted by Patrick McCart
The bulk of Kino's catalog is made up of "popular" films like Metropolis, Buster Keaton, essential silents, etc. They do release a lot of obscure stuff, but they're just like Criterion in the mix of top-tier, middle-tier, and unknown.

Outside of watching every silent I can, I honestly haven't been to too many boards so I'm not sure what's hot or cold right now. From their monthly press releases it seemed like they were going for some very unknown stuff, although they did release their Griffith Vol. 2 a month or so back. I'm even having to look up some of the stuff they're releases. Some of it seems like a needless release (ala no popularity, historic value) outside of silent buffs. If more people are becoming familiar with these lesser known titles then I'm certainly happy. A few silent sets (like Chase) have been canceled so hopefully sales will be kind to these titles. A spokesman for Kino said their REEL BASEBALL 2-disc set was a "big hit" because of it being featured in Sport Illustrated. I was somewhat shocked that a mainstream mag would get so many to pick up a silent set but I guess some were willing to because of Babe Ruth.

#53 of 71 MichaelEl

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Posted March 18 2009 - 03:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reggie W
Actually, I was not misquoting you. I agreed with the first part of your original statement and disagreed with the second part. I do think they have films in their catalog that would be great viewing for film students but I think it is way off base to say their collection appeals to "anyone with a mild interest in film."

What I meant was *anyone with at least some interest in classic movies and/or art films* - e.g., the sort of person who watches TCM or IFC, or has an interest in Universal horrors or samurai movies or westerns. Obviously I don't think the Criterion Collection has much appeal for the sort of people (read: teenagers) who think THE DARK KNIGHT is the greatest film ever made. Most older generations - i.e., people over 40 - actually have some appreciation for classic films and TV shows, and they also represent the largest segment of DVD collectors. A good number of the films in the CC are probably required purchases for the collectors in that age group. It's fair then I think to say that while the CC might not have appeal to the population at large, it does have appeal to a large segment of DVD buyers.

Quote:
If you walk into a Best Buy, a Walmart, or a Target, what sort of selection of Criterion discs do you find on their shelves? Probably at most two or three if you are lucky. The only title I've ever seen with any consistency in any nationwide chain is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Probably because Johnny Depp is in it. This is because the films in the Criterion Collection are not widely popular.

Maybe the lack of selection has nothing at all to do with popularity; i.e., maybe the chains simply figure these discs are too expensive for the average DVD buyer. A lot of their sales probably come from impulse buys anyway, and not many people are going to plunk down $40+ (if you include tax) for one movie on an impulse.

Quote:
You seem to be rating the Criterion discs purely on how great the audio and video presentation is and touting the fact that you were wise enough to wait for DVD.

Actually, it's the defenders of Criterion's pricing who brought up a/v quality, not me. My point was simply that basic a/v quality is something Criterion doesn't really control, and so the *quality* argument can't be used to justify higher prices.

Quote:
We now have Blu-Ray and likely there will be a format after Blu-Ray and based on what you have been saying you should still be waiting until we reach "the ultimate format" or something along those lines.

I really have no problem with DVD as a format. The resolution is acceptable - actually far better than I ever thought possible with only 480 lines - and the discs will probably last as long as BDs or anything that will come later.

If there is a drawback to DVD, it's that the manufacturers decided to get rid of tube TVs. Let's face it, DVDs will probably never look as good upscaled (=loss of PQ) on an HD LCD or plasma display, but the removal of SD tube TVs from the marketplace is not something that I really could have foreseen. Therefore, based on my knowledge of the format and on what I was seeing in my own home theater, it made sense to go ahead and build a collection of films on DVD.

Quote:
When I talk about how Criterion treats a film I'm referring to the overall package they assemble and present to film fans. Look at the work they did on Welles films like Mr. Arkadin or F For Fake, look at the presentation of Days of Heaven, or The Third Man.

Not all Criterions have extras, and often what constitutes a *scholarly examination* of a film is simply some archival talk show interview or short documentary from the BBC. I personally could care less about that sort of stuff - or fancy packaging - if it means having to pay twice the price. Having said this, I can understand charging more for extras. On the other hand, Criterion should offer film-only discs for people who don't want to pay for commentary tracks and documentaries.

Quote:
Yes, they charge more but not a lot more than other companies. Heck, the MSRP on most new discs is now $29.99 (I recently went to buy the new Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla and the two disc MSRP is $34.99!) and some stores charge that for them. You can get them for less and you can get Criterions for less too as there are plenty of sales each year on these discs.

Most DVDs go down in price over time, and you can pick up a lot of quality 3-year old releases at Wal-Mart or Deep Discount for $10 or less. Criterions never go down in price, and they are generally on sale only a couple of times a year. (Even then, the markdown is usually only a couple of bucks.) I'm sorry, but when there's no discount for older mass-produced items, it seems like price gouging to me.

Quote:
Look at what has happened to a company like Anchor Bay. They could not stay afloat and so they were sold and they have not been the same company since. I believe the guy that played a large part in making Anchor Bay interesting went to Severin and who knows what kind of condition that company is in.

I think Anchor Bay was unfortunately a little too ahead of its time; i.e, they put out a lot of cult and obscure titles in the years before internet buying became the norm, when prices were still relatively high. Retailers of course marked these moderately-expensive discs up even more, and that killed a lot of sales. I remember seeing QUATERMASS AND THE PIT at a local store for $27.99 and thinking how impossible it would be for me to build a collection of Hammer films at that price. Of course once e-tailers became really popular, AB had lost their Hammer license, as well as the licenses to a lot of other interesting films, and so they really didn't benefit as much from the DVD collecting craze as other companies.

Quote:
So, sure wait for the sales to get your Criterions but I do think a huge cut in their prices would hurt them as a company more than it would help you improve your collection.

I'm not suggesting these discs should go for $9.99 online, but $32.05 (which I think is DD's standard price as of now) is a bit much in my opinion, especially for transfers that are nearly a decade old. If Criterion would simply allow discounting of older discs and reduce prices on multi-film sets and film-only discs, I doubt I would have any complaints.

#54 of 71 Jeff Newcomb

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Posted March 18 2009 - 06:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEl
Criterion should offer film-only discs for people who don't want to pay for commentary tracks and documentaries.

They do. Criterion created the "Essential Arthouse" line especially for poor film students and those not interested in supplements. They have an MSRP of $19.95, and routinely retail for under $15. There are only 18 titles so far, but more are being added all the time. This seems like the solution to your problem.

#55 of 71 Eric Huffstutler

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Posted March 19 2009 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by zackscott5
Sir, I don't know if anyone else has replied to your post as of yet, but what you had just said made me want to join in.

The titles that you have mentioned above (TIme Bandits, The Samuri Trilogy,etc) are title that were in Criterions first 100 releases back in the late 90's. These titles WERE remastered and restored with the finest technology available at that time. DOes it look like the picture of CItizen Kane? No! because the technology was not there as of yet. To say that these films did not receive any restoration is pure bull honkey!

Also, the WIndow Boxed images were used given the fact that most households didn't have a widescreeen television or a televsion that produced little to no overscan. So to combat this, Criterion window boxed certain widescreen films so that you at home will be able to see the entire image.

Criterion does know this and has been re doing some titles with the current state of the art technology including High def masters, anamorphic widescreen (they did not do that until it think title 65) etc. Brazil is a great example for that. And with some prints, the picture that you see is from the best elements available.

Well, I have to jump on this bandwagon against Criterion.

I have a couple of their titles and only a couple because it is against my better judgement to pay more than $15 for any title. My first was "Armageddon" and could not for the life of me figure out why they would release this on Criterion when it was just released by the studio as well? It is not perfect and not anamorphic 16:9 enhanced so doesn't play properly on newer HD sets. So... will Criterion offer a replacement if they correct these problems since I already spent an inflated price for a disc that is inferior from them?

I also just received "The Blob" because it is the only official release and was also a disappointment. Though taken from the camera negative it still had a lot of grain, wasn't framed properly (opening shots and others sit too high and cropped on the top) and has damages. You would think if Criterion is charging these prices that the print you receive would be flawless in every respect - a service you are paying for over other versions? If Warner can restore a print with scratches and even breaks and stabilize gate jitters, why can't Criterion for the prices charged? I am expecting a frame-by-frame restoration.

Some titles I understand are just plain trash like "Salo". The print used was in very poor condition and others releasing it has a better one - go figure.


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#56 of 71 zackscott5

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Posted March 19 2009 - 09:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Huffstutler
Well, I have to jump on this bandwagon against Criterion.

I have a couple of their titles and only a couple because it is against my better judgement to pay more than $15 for any title. My first was "Armageddon" and could not for the life of me figure out why they would release this on Criterion when it was just released by the studio as well? It is not perfect and not anamorphic 16:9 enhanced so doesn't play properly on newer HD sets. So... will Criterion offer a replacement if they correct these problems since I already spent an inflated price for a disc that is inferior from them?

I also just received "The Blob" because it is the only official release and was also a disappointment. Though taken from the camera negative it still had a lot of grain, wasn't framed properly (opening shots and others sit too high and cropped on the top) and has damages. You would think if Criterion is charging these prices that the print you receive would be flawless in every respect - a service you are paying for over other versions? If Warner can restore a print with scratches and even breaks and stabilize gate jitters, why can't Criterion for the prices charged? I am expecting a frame-by-frame restoration.

Some titles I understand are just plain trash like "Salo". The print used was in very poor condition and others releasing it has a better one - go figure.


Eric

The Armageddon Criterion Release was a big controversy at the time of the release and it sitll is to this day. This was released in 1999 a few month after the Di$ney release. It was big because of all the special features that it had on it compared to the Di$ney release. both releases are non-anamorphic and has not been reworked on since then. Now if Criterion still has the rights to re-release it is anybody's guess since Their version of The Rock is OOP Armageddon may be soon as well.

I saw the Blob a few weeks ago. Another Early release from them (#91) and at the MSRP of $29.99. WHile it is not Blu-Ray quality i still believe that it is the best that we can get from an independent horror film from the 1950's. In my honest opinion, grain is good and while I don't know what type of film stock was used at the time of filming I would bet that it was not of the higest quality.

Also in my opinion, I like the little scratches and glitches when watching a film at home. It makes me feel like I am watching it at a movie house.

AS far as Salo...Who else released it? That is the most unobtainable film in recent history. I wasn't finally released in the states and still on the shelves until last October.
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#57 of 71 Jack Theakston

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Posted March 19 2009 - 10:07 AM

The OCN on THE BLOB does not exist (destroyed in a flood). What was used for the Criterion transfer was dupe element that Jack Harris has.

The framing is most certainly botched, though (the stars on the Paramount logo should not be cropped).
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#58 of 71 Corey3rd

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Posted March 19 2009 - 12:07 PM

Criterion charges more because they can. Why does Grey Goose charge more for their vodka than Aristocrat? Vodka is vodka (as long as it doesn't make you go blind). But the perception that somehow a brand of vodka is top shelf makes it top shelf. Criterion have developed themselves as a label of quality. They have their number system to make you think that every title they release counts. By keeping the price a little bit higher than the other distributors, it makes people think that these DVDs are worth paying extra.

They move enough units that they don't have to snip the pricetag.

Anyone who complains about the price of their DVDs never stared at the price of the John Woo's Hardboiled laserdisc.
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#59 of 71 Philip Klein

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Posted March 19 2009 - 01:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEl
I think Anchor Bay was unfortunately a little too ahead of its time; i.e, they put out a lot of cult and obscure titles in the years before internet buying became the norm, when prices were still relatively high. Retailers of course marked these moderately-expensive discs up even more, and that killed a lot of sales. I remember seeing QUATERMASS AND THE PIT at a local store for $27.99 and thinking how impossible it would be for me to build a collection of Hammer films at that price. Of course once e-tailers became really popular, AB had lost their Hammer license, as well as the licenses to a lot of other interesting films, and so they really didn't benefit as much from the DVD collecting craze as other companies.

Nonsense, you apparently haven't been around long enough to recall when e-tailers became popular. The majority of my Anchor Bay Hammer collection was purchased during the real "Golden Age" of e-tailers, oh how I remember the internet coupons, when I would end up paying under $10 a pop for any DVD I wanted. Anyone remember Reel.com, or when DeepDiscount was DDDVD, and that was what they sold. AND I never shopped at Amazon cause their prices just couldn't compete. Ken Crane anyone?

Those were the days!
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#60 of 71 MichaelEl

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Posted March 19 2009 - 03:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Klein
Nonsense, you apparently haven't been around long enough to recall when e-tailers became popular. The majority of my Anchor Bay Hammer collection was purchased during the real "Golden Age" of e-tailers

Yeah, back when about 99% of people were still buying their DVDs in stores.


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