excuse the ignorance - what is Criterion?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Todd Christ, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. Todd Christ

    Todd Christ Stunt Coordinator

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    doing a search brings up thousands of threads...
    what's the deal? is it a recording standard? a type of movie?
    [​IMG] what?!??[​IMG]
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Criterion is a company that creates and releases special edition versions of films owned by others. In fact, Criterion is the company that started this whole supplement thing way back in the early LD days, plus it was one of the first to put out widescreen versions. Without Criterion, who knows what dvd would look like today.
    They specialize in foreign or "arty" films, but don't restrict themselves to anything. They have also put out wonderful releases of blockbusters such as Armageddon (whatever you may think of the film) and The Rock.
    That's who they are. I direct you to their web site Criterion Home Page so that you see can for yourself.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  4. Todd Christ

    Todd Christ Stunt Coordinator

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    great! Thanks guys!
     
  5. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

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    The best explanation that I have seen is their own.
    Criterion's mission statement:
    The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Criterion began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors. All of the films published under the Criterion banner represent cinema at its finest. In our seventeen years, we've seen a lot of things change, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to publishing the defining moments of cinema in the world's best digital editions.
    The foundation of the collection is the work of such masters of cinema as Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Fuller, Lean, Kubrick, Lang, Sturges, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Ozu, Sirk, Buñuel, Powell and Pressburger. Each film is presented uncut, in its original aspect ratio, as its maker intended it to be seen. For every disc, we track down the best available film elements in the world, use state-of-the-art telecine equipment and a select few colorists capable of meeting our rigorous standards, and take time during the film-to-video digital transfer to create the most pristine possible image and sound. Whenever possible, we work with directors and cinematographers to assure that the look of our releases does justice to their intentions. Our supplements enable viewers to appreciate Criterion films in context, through audio commentaries by filmmakers and scholars, restored director's cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, shooting scripts, early shorts, and storyboards. To date, more than 35 filmmakers have made our Director Approved library of laserdiscs and DVDs the most significant archive of contemporary filmmaking available to the home viewer.
     
  6. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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  7. andrew markworthy

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    Todd, as you will discover, mentioning Criterion brings out either members of the Criterion love-fest or the 'we hate Criterion' brigade. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between the extremes.

    It's fair to say that Criterion take greater care over their releases than average. Older movies, for example, are sourced from the best-available materials and are often restored or at least given the equivalent of a good cleaning. Amongst the Criterion releases are some excellent movies - Seventh Seal, Seven Samurai, etc, etc.

    The gripe about Criterion selling pieces of lowbrow culture like The Rock or the Beastie Boys collected videos is, with respect, missing the point. It's not an 'either/or' situation - it's possible to sell both types of movie.

    On the minus side, although Criterion do some good work in renovating movies and offering lots of extras, the way people carry on you'd think they were the *only* company ever to do this. The simple fact is that a lot of other companies have offered movies every bit as good (or better) with a decent collection of extras, and furthermore, don't make a song and dance about it. Again, and in spite of the howls of protest this usually raises, in my view, a lot of Criterion's discs are too expensive. Although *some* Criterion discs have extras, others don't, but they are still paraded as being worth a premium price. Sorry guys, but personally I'm not convinced (and before anyone raises the argument about a minority market, it doesn't convince me - other companies have released minority interest discs of good quality without asking for a higher than average price). A fair few of the titles offered by Criterion are offered in cheaper R2 editions, which may lack every last extra, but have a perfectly acceptable picture and sound quality, and the marginal utility from owning the Criterion version is often, IMHO, not worth the extra outlay.

    However, this does not mean that a Criterion disc is bad. They are of excellent quality (and let's not start up the tedious debate about 'some of the discs aren't anamorphic' - some aren't, so just live with it, okay? it's not the end of the world) and can be counted as a safe (if quite pricey) purchase.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Not the only. Just the first.
    M.
     
  9. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
    Nathan
     

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