A selection of Criterion Collection classics for the winter break

Cure boredom with these epic films

By Jerrison Oracion, Contributor

In the past few decades, a lot of great films have been released around the world and the Criterion Collection presents the best of these films. The DVDs and Blu-Rays released by this group feature a variety of English and foreign language films that are important in film history, as well as some recent releases. It’s like film school in your home theatre.

The Criterion Collection is known for releasing their films in special edition cases with discs that feature high-quality transfers and special features that go beyond the film.

The first Criterion Collection film that I watched was Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums when it was released on DVD in 2002. The film introduced me to the work of Anderson, who is one of my favourite directors.

The Criterion Collection releases a variety of films from famous directors including Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Yasujirō Ozu, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, and many more. A few of them work with the Criterion Collection to restore some of the films that they made.

Here are some of my recommendations of various Criterion Collection films that you can watch during the winter break.

The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson

This is a great film about a family. Royal Tenenbaum sees the rest of his family again after he and his wife, Etheline, get divorced and he lives in a hotel. He spends time with his three children: Chas, his adopted daughter Margot, and his favourite son Richie, as well as his ex-wife Etheline—despite the fact she is now dating an accountant.

The film has great scenes in it and wonderful music. Alec Baldwin is descriptive in his narration of the film.

Tokyo Story, Yasujiro Ozu

This is another film that focusses on family. It follows Shukichi and Tomi, who watch their children in post-war Japan as they go through various situations and an unexpected twist changes everything. The film deals with generational conflict. Throughout the film, some of the people look at the camera. It’s as if you are in the film.

Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa

In the film, a village asks seven samurai to guard their village from bandits, but various events cause unexpected things to happen to the samurai and the village. The film had a lot of great people in it and the action scenes are brilliant, but the end of the film is somewhat disappointing.

The Times of Harvey Milk, Rob Epstein

This documentary talks about Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay politician to be elected to government. The documentary is serious and funny at the same time. Also, Harvey Fierstein is great as the narrator of the documentary.

The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin

This is the first talking picture that Charlie Chaplin made. The film involves a parody of Adolf Hitler and his government. The film mentioned a lot about cheese and crackers, and the speech in the end of the film is a classic scene.

A lot of great films will be released by the Criterion Collection in the next few months, including Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the controversial film Abdellatif Keichiche’s Blue is the Warmest Color, got the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Film aficionados use the Criterion Collection to explore new movies that they might not find at their local movie theatre. When you get a film that is released by the Criterion Collection, you know that the film you will watch will be great.