The Criterion Collection closes out 2015 with the announcement this past week of its December DVD and Blu-ray release calendar.
If you are fan of filmmaker David Cronenberg, then the DVD and Blu-ray release of documentary filmmaker Howard Brookner’s 1983 film, Burroughs: The Movie, on Dec. 15 will be of particular interest.
In 1991 Cronenberg adapted William S. Burroughs’ landmark novel, The Naked Lunch (aka: Naked Lunch) for the screen and it proved to be one of those iconic films that has stood the test of time.
Burroughs: The Movie was thought to have been lost, but a print was discovered in 2011 and has been given an hi-def transfer. Bonus features include newly prepared video sessions with filmmakers Jim Jarmusch, Aaron Brookner, and Tom DiCillo, plus Burroughs’ contemporaries, James Grauerholz and Stewart Meyer, outtakes and an alternate early cut of the film by Robert E. Fulton Jr.
Elsewhere on the December release schedule from Criterion we have a newly-prepared restoration of director Michael Ritchie’s 1969 film, Downhill Racer, which followed closely on the heels of, and was overshadowed by, his breakout performance as The Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The street date for the Blu-ray edition is Dec. 1 (the DVD version was released in 2009 by The Criterion Collection).
Included as bonus nuggets are vintage interviews with filmmaker Michael Ritchie (audio-only, 1977) and actor Robert Redford, screenwriter and novelist James Salter, film editor Richard Harris, production manager Walter Coblenz and technical adviser Joe Jay Jalbert (all from the 2009 DVD release) and the 1969 short film titled How Fast?
The following week, Dec. 8, look for a new 4K restoration of Speedy, the 1928 silent comedy starring Harold Lloyd. Direction was by Ted Wilde (who died at just 40 years of age the following year of a sudden stroke) … he also directed Harold Lloyd in The Kid Brother in 1927.
Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray SKUs include commentary from the Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein, who is joined by TCM’s director of program production Scott McGee, a new short documentary titled In the Footsteps of Speedy, home movies from Harold Lloyd, a 1919 silent short film, Bumping Into Broadway and snippets from Hearst Newsreels featuring Babe Ruth (he appears as himself in Speedy).
Also streeting on Dec. 8 are DVD and Blu-ray editions of renown Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s first attempt as a filmmaker with the fantasy film release of Jellyfish Eyes.
A limited domestic theatrical run generated ticket sales of $8,176 and the ARR for this Japanese-language import (with English subtitles) works out to 144 days.
In post-Fukushima Japan, a young boy is relocated to a small town (having lost his father in the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami) where he discovers a magical creature and makes friends with it.
At school he soon learns that all of the other students have creatures of their own … but instead of enjoying the companionship of these strange visitors, the boys have taken to pitting them against each other in battle. Something magical, yet perhaps sinister is going on that leads to his uncle’s research company.
Bonus goodies include a video session with Takashi Murakami and a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes.