July Prompt: Criterion Collection

I wouldn’t classify anything about 2020 as being normal, but on July 10th Barnes and Noble helped maintain some normalcy with their semi-annual Criterion Collection Sale. The process feels a little different with a face mask being required but I like to think my smile is still beaming through my flowery patterned mask. I may not be able to caress the films, which has been a policy enforced against me at my local Barnes and Noble prior to Covid-19, but there is something about perusing the shelves in person. Do I truly need more Criterions? No, not at all, especially considering I have so many unopened, unwatched releases. It is an odd addiction, but it isn’t just Criterions, it is any type of physical media for me. In order to celebrate this small slice of normalcy, we are going to focus on Criterion releases for our July prompt. I selected three films that had already been purchased prior to this sale. 

  1. “The Wages of Fear” – Last week I watched the documentary “Friedkin Uncut” and it discussed his classic, “Sorcerer”, which is considered by some as a remake of “The Wages of Fear,” even though Friedkin doesn’t consider that to be the case.
  2. “Sex, Lies & Videotape” – Steven Soderbergh’s first feature film and James Spader, why not?
  3. “The Shooting” – Monte Hellman celebrated his 91st birthday on July 12 and what better way to celebrate the director than to watch one of his films. This also stars Warren Oates, so not a bad choice. 

I will push one film that was recently added to the Criterion Collection, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” This hands down the best film I have seen during 2020. I regret not seeing this in the theater. If you aren’t sure about dropping $20+ on a blind buy, it is on Hulu for viewing. 
Let us know what you are planning or wishing to purchase from the Criterion Collection.Share them by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @CinemaShame.

June Prompt: Twilight Time Goodbye….Hello

In May it was announced that Twilight Time would no longer be in business (though some of this remains hazy after ScreenArchives.com announced it will be purchasing the distributor and continuing operations — to what extent? We’ll find out in July).

Twilight Time was a boutique physical media label started in 2011 by Nick Redman and Brian Jamieson with the intent of releasing classic films unavailable on Blu-ray. They teased open studio catalogs with the promise that each disc would be limited to 3000 units, after which the rights would revert back to the original holder.

The announcement of the label’s closing proved disappointing for physical media collectors, although not entirely unexpected. After the unfortunate passing of Nick Redman last year and Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox (a studio upon which TT had relied for many of its releases), Twilight Time’s fate appeared sealed.

Twilight Time was my first deep dive into the world of collecting physical media. It introduced me to a lot of classic films, some of which have become my all time favorites. The company — based on its distribution model — also caused me learn more about the business side of physical media and branch out into other boutique labels. If it wasn’t for Twilight Time, I would have never discovered other labels such as Arrow, Indicator or even learned about the nefarious practice of region-locking (and how to overcome it). 

While my wife would have been happy for me not discovering this world, it has brought me a lot of joy and entertainment. While my bank account has not necessarily benefited, I’ve brought new ammunition into the debates over the future and utility of physical media. Twilight Time’s education has been well worth the dent in my wallet. 

At Cinema Shame we wanted to send some love to the Twilight Time label. For the month of June, Cinema Shame’s moviewatching prompt focuses on releases from Twilight Time. With a catalog of 380 films, spanning a large variety of genres, there are certainly some classics waiting for your first-time watch. To give you a starting point from my own Twilight Time adventures, my highest recommendations would be: Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) featuring a career-defining performance from Warren Oates.

Warren

My second pick is Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978), which opened up a new world of Bruce Dern.

the drive

What will be my first selection for Cinema Shame from the Twilight Time catalog? An easy question with an embarrassing answer. I will be selecting a film that was actually part of my first order of Twilight Time releases from way back in 2013: the 1964 film Zulu. Michael Caine’s first major film role.

michael

Next will be Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979) which I picked up two years ago from Amoeba Music in San Francisco because of its appearance in Danny Peary’s “Guide for the Film Fanatic.” Next, John Boorman’s Zardoz (1974), which will hopefully provide some context for Sean Connery’s amazing fashion in this film.

Zardoz

If you haven’t ever purchased a Twilight Time release, check out their current sale. Titles are growing more limited by the way, but fantastic films remain with amazing prices. I’m sure I will probably place another order before it is over as I discovered they have a giallo with Barbara Bach called Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971) that clearly deserves a watch.

Share your selections this month by emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com or on twitter @Cinemashame.

Don’t forget to check out the recent podcast episodes of Cinema Shame, where James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) and Trey Lawson (@T_Lawson) discuss Quarantine Comfort films.

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Direct download (right click, save as): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/cinemashame/CinemaShame_GodzillaGigan.mp3

Until next month–

@campbelldropout

May Prompt: Spring Cleaning

We must apologize for our lack of prompting over the last few months. As you may or may not have noticed some wild stuff is happening out there in the real world.

We hope you’ve prepared your SHAME STATEMENT and watched one or two Academy-honored foreign language films, but it’s definitely time to move on. We’ll call March and April a wash because throwing on an old familiar comfort film… or twenty… was probably the order of the day. For May, we’re getting back in the spirit of Cinema Shame, picking up that Swiffer duster and cleaning off the old media shelves.

Our May prompt encourages you to take a good hard look at your DVD and Blu-ray shelves to identify the longest-tenured discs in your possession. Hell, maybe you’ve got some unwatched VHS tapes. Once you’ve given them a good dusting, watch them. You picked up that copy of Immortal Beloved for some reason. It was one of the first Blu-rays you ever purchased, but there it sits, idle on your shelf, still sealed. Do it for Gary Oldman. Do it because “2012 You” definitely needed to own that movie.

Gary Oldman is not amused.

Share your moldy watches with us. Send your photos and musings to @CinemaShame on Twitter and lets see what kind of progress we can make in communally justifying all of our long-forgotten and frivolous media expenditures. Watch the most, tag us and we’ll give you a shout out on the next podcast. It’s the least we can do.

I might start with this shelf. Then again, I might not. This brand of shame runs two maybe three deep.

Be safe. Stay inside. Watch movies you already own. Also, there are two new episodes of the Cinema Shame podcast available for your ear holes to enjoy.

–jdp

Quarantine Comfort Vol. 3: Godzilla vs. Gigan / Trey Lawson

Film writer and host of the Tomb of Ideas podcast, Trey Lawson,  presents his Quarantine Comfort Film, The Shadow (1994) and host James Patrick pairs it with one of his own for a Happy Time Double Feature.

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Direct download (right click, save as): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/cinemashame/CinemaShame_GodzillaGigan.mp3

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble)
Trey Lawson (@T_Lawson)

Music Contained in this Podcast:

Preacher Boy – “Shamedown”
Akira Ifukube – “Godzilla (Main Theme)”
Pharoahe Monch – “Simon Says”

Image result for listen on spotify button
itunesavail

Recorded in April 2020. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.