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Recommended Discs & Deals: ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ Robert Altman, ‘Boyhood,’ and More

Written by on October 25, 2016 

Pans Labyrinth

Editor’s note: After a two-week vacation break, we’re now back with an expanded selection to catch up.

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Boyhood (Richard Linklater)


After being put through the awards season grinder — resulting in hours upon hours of conversations — what left is there to learn about the production of Richard Linklater‘s 12-years-in-the-making project Boyhood? The Criterion Collection edition proves, evidently, a fair amount. In fact, what’s so interesting about the plethora of special features — aside from an intimate documentary on its making — is the year or so distance from the awards hoopla as the director and cast reflect on the extensive, grueling promotion circuit. In a notable quip, Ethan Hawke remarks how people would come up to him and say that they are sorry and Boyhood should have won Best Picture. His response? He couldn’t care less since that was so immensely far removed from the intention of the project. As for the film itself, it’s still most effective in acting like a mirror to reflect on the formative (i.e. not precisely climactic) moments in one’s own upbringing, making for a tender, emotionally substantive experience.  – Jordan R.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman)


With the passing of Vilmos Zsigmond earlier this year, along with his collaborations with Michael Cimino, Brian De Palma, and Steven Spielberg, his most indelible work has to be with Robert Altman. Perhaps their crowning achievement, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, is now gloriously restored. Shot like a hazy dream (or nightmare, thematically speaking), there’s myriad elements that set it apart from its western brethren: sense of claustrophobia, anachronistic, perfectly fitting Leonard Cohen music, the unconventional climax, and its biting commentary on capitalism. Along with a new informative making-of documentary and Altman’s feature commentary from 2002, in one of the best special features, Pauline Kael stops by The Dick Cavett Show in an attempt to drum up support for McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Fearing a few bad reviews would ruin its box-office, she argues it’s a true gem — challenging and difficult, but rewarding — in an otherwise lackluster slate of American studio films. Sound familiar? – Jordan R.

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)


Alongside the essential Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro box set, if you happen to already own Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone, The Criterion Collection have also given Pan’s Labyrinth a stand-alone release. 10 years later, the Oscar-winning fantasy still delights and unsettles with boundless imagination, looking better than ever in this newly graded 2K master. When it comes to special features, the entertaining audio commentary from del Toro is ported over from the original Blu-ray release, along with some documentaries. What’s new is a fascinating conversation with novelist Cornelia Funke and the director as he discusses wanting the film to have the “virtues and defects” of an old fairytale as they dive deep into the history of this kind of storytelling and why it will endure for centuries. There’s also a new feature with Doug Jones has he giddily discusses how he first met del Toro while working on Mimic and, giving a new appreciation for his craft, what goes into acting in elaborately detailed costumes. – Jordan R.

Short Cuts (Robert Altman)


It’s a Robert Altman month at The Criterion Collection, with another one of his most celebrated features getting the Blu-ray restoration treatment. As someone who, perhaps shamefully, only knew Short Cuts as “the film that inspired Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia,” those structural and geographic traces are still there, but Altman’s rambling 3-hour-plus drama is a far different, more gentle beast. Looser in construction and certainly more playful with its characters — despite how flawed they may be — it’s miraculous how Altman and editors Geraldine Peroni and Suzy Elmiger juggle and interweave these nine separate strands together and a dramatically satisfying fashion. As for special features, Raymond Carver fans will be pleased with an extensive audio interview and documentary, and more, but my personal favorite was Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a 1.5-hour documentary which provides a wealth of footage of the late director making magic on set. – Jordan R.

Also Arriving This Month

Blood Father (review)
Cafe Society (review)
Captain Fantastic (review)
Les Cowboys (review)
The Executioner
Hunt For the Wilderpeople (review)
The Infiltrator (review)
Men & Chicken (review)
Private Property (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

99 Homes (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray) – $9.96

The American (Blu-ray) – $7.62

Amelie (Blu-ray) – $5.98

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Blu-ray) – $9.69

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $5.83

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) – $6.93

Carrie (Blu-ray) – $6.50

Casino (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray) – $7.72

Crimson Peak (Blu-ray) – $9.00

Eastern Promises (Blu-ray) – $7.19

Everybody Wants Some!! (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Ex Machina (Blu-ray) – $7.73

Godzilla (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Gone Girl (Blu-ray) – $9.00

The Grand Budapest Hotel (Blu-ray) – $5.99

Greenberg (Blu-ray) – $5.10

Hail, Caesar! (Blu-ray) – $12.99

Heat (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Holy Motors (Blu-ray) – $10.15

Incendies (Blu-ray) – $9.53

The Informant! (Blu-ray) – $7.90

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.68

Inherent Vice (Blu-ray) – $10.75

Interstellar (Blu-ray) – $8.99

It Follows (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Jaws (Blu-ray) – $7.66

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Blu-ray) – $9.89

Lincoln (Blu-ray) – $9.94

Looper (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Magnolia (Blu-ray) – $8.49

The Magnificent Seven (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Man Who Wasn’t There (Blu-ray) – $9.53

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Blu-ray) – $5.26

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Michael Clayton (Blu-ray) – $9.58

Moneyball (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Nebraska (Blu-ray) – $7.65

Never Let Me Go (Blu-ray) – $7.00

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.96

ParaNorman (Blu-ray) – $7.67

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $8.92

The Piano (Blu-ray) – $7.34

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $8.22

The Revenant (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Road to Perdition (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Searchers / Wild Bunch / How the West Was Won (Blu-ray) – $10.20

Selma (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (Blu-ray) – $6.40

Shaun the Sheep Movie (Blu-ray) – $9.00

Short Term 12 (Blu-ray) – $9.10

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.50

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $5.35

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Blu-ray) – $8.79

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $5.80

Somewhere (Blu-ray) – $5.20

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Blu-ray) – $7.22

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $5.86

Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy (Blu-ray) – $5.98

To the Wonder (Blu-ray) – $8.41

Volver (Blu-ray) – $5.95

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $6.50

Where the Wild Things Are (Blu-ray) – $7.14

The Witch (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Wolf of Wall Street (Blu-ray) – $9.99

See all Blu-ray deals.

What are you picking up this week?

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