"The cinema of Stan Brakhage has been interpreted as abstract, mythopoeic, philological, and lyrical," writes Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant, "but it's his hyper-auteurist approach that might be most instructive. It's surely an ironic stroke to associate the filmmaker with auteurism, a critical theory developed to celebratorily grant Hollywood directors ownership of the art they subtly baked into their cookie-cutter money-makers and crowd-pleasers; so draconian were Brakhage's ideals that he once denounced all studio-produced movies as futilely inartistic. But engaging with Brakhage's meditative, kaleidoscopic canon often requires doubting, scrutinizing, and — finally — redefining the tools with which one observes and processes art.... Appropriately, the Criterion Collection's By Brakhage Blu-ray box set is both an affectionate tribute and an invaluable archive, given its subject's incalculable influence."
More from Gordon Sullivan (DVD Verdict), Gary Tooze (DVD Beaver) and Adam Tyner (DVD Talk). Update: From Marilyn Brakhage at Criterion's Current, "Some Notes on the Selection of Titles for By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume Two." Also, a short clip of Stan Brakhage talking about his work.
"With Ridley Scott's dark and dour Robin Hood now in American theaters, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has seized the moment to release four lesser known Robin Hood movies from the Columbia Pictures library," notes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "There aren't any undiscovered masterworks among them, but they are full of individual pleasures and inspired moments — very much the unassuming 20th-century commercial equivalents of the 15th-century ballads that are the earliest preserved versions of the Robin Hood legend."
Michael Atkinson for IFC.com on Nagisa Oshima: "The new Criterion Eclipse set of five rarely seen '60s films comes off as a set of cherry bombs tossed down our film-culture toilets, but really the more accurate-yet-outrageous simile might be to see the films as anarchist gasoline fires set in the rock gardens of traditional Japanese culture." Also reviewed is Waiting for Armageddon, "the new doc by Kate Davis, Franco Sacchi and David Heilbroner, a film that endeavors to document our three major monotheisms' current lust for end times."
In the Los Angeles Times, Sam Adams celebrates Criterion's Blu-ray and DVD releases of John Ford's Stagecoach," a film of firsts, including the director's introduction to the iconic landscape of Monument Valley and the establishment of John Wayne as his favored leading man." See last week's DVD roundup, too.
More roundups for this week: Sean Axmaker, Brad Brevet, Noel Murray (LAT) and Slant.
Tom McCormack for New York's L Magazine: "Tonight, Light Industry is having a screening of the Dziga Vertov Group's Wind from the East with Chuck Jones's Duck Amuck — the kind of inspired curatorial pairing that sets the mind ablaze."
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