The Criterion Collection announced its June slate of DVD and Blu-ray film product offerings this past week and there are some real joys to be found among the group.
Getting right to it — in chronological order — we kick off the month (midway through) with the June 16 Blu-ray debut of filmmaker Louis Malle’s 1981 delighter, My Dinner with André, teaming Andre Gregory with Wallace Shawn and an evening of dining.
Vintage bonus features include film critic Noah Baumbach’s 2009 video session with Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, plus the 1982 BBC episode of Arena titled “My Dinner with Louis” (Wallace Shawn interviews Louis Malle).
Also starring Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn is director Jonathan Demme 2014 film release of A Master Builder (both a double-disc DVD and a Blu-ray SKU will be offered). The ARR is 326 days and the film’s arthouse run generated ticket sales of $46,874.
Wallace Shawn has teamed with Demme to deliver a film adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1892 play, The Master Builder … Wallace Shawn plays the role of Halvard Solness (the title character), with Andre Gregory as Knut Brovik and Lisa Joyce as the younger woman, Hilde.
A three-film collection is also available from Criterion on June 16 that includes A Master Builder and My Dinner with André, plus Vanya on 42nd Street.
The following week, June 23, filmmaker Terry Gilliam’s 1991 film release of The Fisher King gets a full restoration (approved by the director himself) and both a Blu-ray and a double-disc DVD release. Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges star.
Bonus features include commentary from director Terry Gilliam, a vintage 2006 video session with the late Robin Williams and newly prepared video interviews with Terry Gilliam, producer Lynda Obst (producer of such films as Interstellar, The Siege and Contact), screenwriter Richard La Gravenese (Oscar-nominated for his screenplay, whose recent work includes Unbroken, Water for Elephants and Freedom Writers) and actors Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer and Mercedes Ruehl (she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar here).
The other DVD and Blu-ray release on June 23 is Austrian actor-turned-director Bernhard Wicki’s 1958 breakout film, The Bridge (Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language film … losing out to Black Orpheus).
Closing out the month on June 30 is director Bob Rafelson’s Best Picture nominee, Five Easy Pieces starring Jack Nicholson (his second of 12 acting Oscar nominations — he won in 1976 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and again in 1998 for As Good as it Gets) and the late Karen Black (she was nominated for Best Support Actress … she lost to Helen Hayes for her performance in Airport).
Bonus features include vintage commentary from director Bob Rafelson, who is joined by interior designer Toby Rafelson, plus the 2009 documentary, BBStory.
Lastly, June 30 also sees Blu-ray and DVD editions of director Jaromil Jireš’ 1970 Czech-language import, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders.