The Criterion Collection reveals April release slate

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
January 14th, 2011

The first release slate after the release of Criterion’s New Year’s “Wacky” Drawing, Criterion has just announced their release slate for the month of April, and talk about one hell of a way to end the week.  Everyone better get their finances set, because April looks to be yet another massive month for fans of The Criterion Collection.

First off, in keeping with the recent trend of two or three Blu-ray upgrades getting released per month, April will see the release of three updated releases, of three beloved Criterion releases. Check out all the details after the break.

One of the long talked-about upgrades has been confirmed today, as the collection has announced that Terry Gilliam’s beloved masterpiece, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, will be getting a much needed Blu-ray upgrade.  Including a cavalcade of special features, the transfer (as usual) has been approved by Gilliam himself, and will come with a robust three commentaries. Toss in a collection of documentaries, and you have a perfect collection of features that pair perfectly with one of the most visually striking films of Gilliam’s career. The Blu-ray hits shelves on April 26. 

Here are the full features:


  • Digital transfer, approved by director Terry Gilliam (with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and an optional 5.1 mix)
  • Three audio commentaries: one with Gilliam, one with stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and producer Laila Nabulsi, and one with author Hunter S. Thompson
  • Deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Gilliam
  • Selection of Thompson correspondence, read on camera by Depp
  • Hunter Goes to Hollywood, a short documentary by filmmaker Wayne Ewing
  • A look at the controversy over the screenwriting credit
  • Profile of Oscar Zeta Acosta, the inspiration for Dr. Gonzo
  • Collection of artwork by illustrator Ralph Steadman
  • Audio excerpt from the 1996 spoken-word CD Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, featuring filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and actor Maury Chaykin
  • Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, a 1978 BBC documentary with Thompson and Steadman
  • Storyboards, production designs, stills gallery, theatrical trailer, and TV spots

Rounding out the Blu-ray upgrades for April, Jean-Pierre Melville’s LE CERCLE ROUGE, and Jane Campion’s stunning feature, SWEETIE, will both see respective Blu-ray releases within the month. I’m particularly excited about Campion’s film, a picture that is far and away one of the more interesting and underrated members of the collection. Campion is a wonderfully gifted filmmaker, and this visual wonder is exactly proof of that. Melville’s ROUGE, an iconic piece of gangster cinema, has been long talked-about as a possible upgrade, and will look oh-so-pretty come its April 12 release date.


  • Restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Sally Bongers and approved by director Jane Campion, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring Campion, Bongers, and screenwriter Gerard Lee
  • Making “Sweetie,” a video conversation between stars Genevieve Lemon and Karen Colston
  • Campion’s early short films An Exercise in Discipline: Peel, Passionless Moments, and A Girl’s Own Story
  • Jane Campion: The Film School Years, a 1989 video conversation between Campion and critic Peter Thompson
  • Gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and production stills
  • Original theatrical trailer


  • Restored, complete, uncut version, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Excerpts from Cinéastes de notre temps: “Jean-Pierre Melville”
  • Video interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueria, the author of Melville
    on Melville
  • Thirty minutes of rare on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
  • Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts fromMelville on Melville, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation from director John Woo

And the new releases for April aren’t slouches either.

First, in yet another addition from the IFC partnership, Criterion will be releasing Claire Denis’ WHITE MATERIAL on both DVD/Blu-ray. This is one of the films rumored in the New Year’s drawing, and while I can’t talk directly to the film’s quality, as I sadly have not seen it yet, I can speak to just how bloody gifted a filmmaker Denis truly is. She is a wonderfully talented and assured filmmaker, who has such a distinct visual style, that this was really a no brainer of an addition. Including quite a collection of features, this proves to be one of April’s more interesting releases.


  • New digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Claire Denis and cinematographer Yves Cape (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New interviews with Denis and actors Isabelle Huppert and Isaach de Bankolé
  • Short documentary by Denis on the film’s premiere at the Écrans Noirs Film Festival 2010 in Cameroon
  • Deleted scene
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

Speaking of confirming a previously released drawing, two “wacky” drawings from months back have finally paid off.

First, KES, Ken Loach’s working-class masterpiece will be added to the collection come April 19. The film was rumored to be added after a photo of a hawk was released by the collection, and is yet another wonderful addition. I have yet to actually seen the film, but considered by the BFI as one of the ten best British films of the century, there is a lot of clout behind this release. Thusly packed with features, this will hit both DVD and Blu-ray on April 19.


  • New, restored digital transfer, approved by director Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Making “Kes,” a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, producer Tony Garnett, and actor David Bradley
  • The Southbank Show: “Ken Loach” (1993), a profile of the filmmaker, featuring Loach, Garnett, directors Stephen Frears and Alan Parker, and other Loach collaborators
  • Cathy Come Home (1967), a feature directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller
  • Original theatrical trailer

And now, the month’s biggest release, Brian De Palma’s BLOW OUT.  The film has been long talked about since a drawing of an owl was released by the Collection, and will finally find a release come April 26. The film is packed with features, as it should be, as this is truly De Palma’s most interesting and beloved film. It’s a wonderful film, and features the best performance of John Travolta’s long career. Also featuring the month’s best artwork, this is the one film that, come April, you cannot afford to miss.


  • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director Brian De Palma (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach
  • New interview with star Nancy Allen
  • Cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film
  • Select on-set photos from photographer Louis Goldman
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • More!

What film are you looking forward to most?

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  • Anonymous

    BLOW OUT! BLOW OUT! BLOW OUT! I’m doing my Brian De Palma dance right now.

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