Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Buck Daddy Don't Frown, It's Criterion

Although I wouldn't call the above the gorgeous Harry Belafonte's best career "look" I've still always wanted to see the 1972 Western called Buck and the Preacher that co-stars one mister Sidney Poitier because it has a scene of Mr. Belafonte skinny-dipping, as seen there, and so rejoice -- Criterion has come to the rescue! The film was announced as part of Criterion's August 2022 line-up yesterday, and is just one of several left-field choices for that month from the choicest physical-media company in the business -- it's out on August 23rd and you can pre-order it right here. Anybody ever seen it? Seems fairly obscure these days but definitely one deserving of reassessment here in 2022. But let's see what else Criterion has under their belt...

... I've only heard aazing things about Mexican Ethiopian filmmaker Jessica Beshir's 2021 film Faya dayi -- indeed it seemed like anybody who'd actually seen it made sure to include it on their "Best of 2021" lists, so this'll prove a good time to catch up with that one, which promises to be a trippy black-and-white that I've heard described as more of a sensory experience than anything else. And if you wanna keep things monochromatic there' Marcel Carné's 1938 Parisian boardinghouse drama Hôtel du Nord, which stars a bunch of classic French movie stars and has them doing all sorts of seedy business with great, no doubt, panache. 

Saving the two most intriguing-to-me titles to last, we have the Safdie Brothers' first film (pre-dating Good Time and Uncut Gems) from 2009 called Daddy Longlegs, which stars cowriter and longtime Safdie collaborator Ronald Bronstein as a pill-popping father taking his two sons on a road-trip during the two weeks he's got custody. And then Bronstein himself has a 2007 movie called Frownland hitting Criterion blu-ray on August 16th which I've never even heard of, but which sounds hella up my alley:

"A nightmare transmission from the grungiest depths of the New York indie underground, the visceral, darkly funny, and totally sui generis debut feature from Ronald Bronstein is a dread-inducing vision of misfit alienation at its unhinged extreme. In a maniacal performance of almost frightening commitment, Dore Mann plays Keith, a disturbingly maladjusted social outcast and self-described “troll” whose neuroses plunge him into an unstoppable spiral of self-obliteration as his crummy coupon-selling job, pitiful living situation (featuring the roommate from hipster Brooklyn hell), and last remaining human relationships disintegrate around him. As captured in the grimy expressionist grain of Sean Price Williams’s claustrophobic camera work, Frownland is DIY cinema at its most fearless, uncompromising, and unforgettable."

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