The Criterion Channel

The Criterion Channel

news - April 2020


The Criterion Channel: A Cinephile's Dream Come True


This new streaming service brings you the best foreign, independent and classic films.


By George McClure


The Criterion Channel
 

AS THE COVID-19 CRISIS CONTINUES, a lot of us are obviously spending significantly more time at home and looking for some new entertainment options. If you or any of your clients are fans of foreign, independent and/or classic films, I highly recommend a subscription to the Criterion Channel. First, a little background.

the Criterion Collection

For over 36 years, the Criterion Collection has been dedicated to publishing important classic and contemporary films from around the world in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. These editions often include restored film transfers along with commentary tracks and other kinds of supplemental features, which they pioneered with the release of their first laserdiscs, Citizen Kane and King Kong, in 1984. Ever since, Criterion has worked closely with filmmakers and scholars to ensure that each film is presented as its maker would want it seen and published in an edition that will deepen the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema.

Every Criterion release features a section dedicated to technical information about how the film was prepared for home video. Here you’ll find its aspect ratio, along with information about the picture and sound elements from which it was transferred. Criterion endeavors to present every film in its original aspect ratio (i.e., the image’s ratio of height to width), unless the filmmaker expressly requests a slightly different framing. What that means is that the Criterion brand is your guarantee that you’re getting the complete picture as the filmmaker intended it to be seen.

The Criterion Collection currently has nearly 1,400 titles available in both DVD and Blu-ray versions, and for the month of April all discs are 30 percent off SRP. See the full list here .

 
The Criterion Channel - 70s Style Icons
 

the Criterion Channel

Of course, most people get their content through streaming services these days, and that’s why the Criterion Channel was launched last year. Just like the company’s physical media, the streaming service offers director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries.

Each month the Criterion Channel offers different themes and rotating content from their collection of over 2,000 films. This month (April 2020), for instance, one of the themes is “70s Style Icons.” Here is part of its fun description:

“This collection brings together some of the quintessential films of the era featuring the stars who defined its most iconic looks: Robert Redford’s perfect Ivy League prep in THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, Diane Keaton’s tweedy tailored androgyny in ANNIE HALL, Donna Summer’s down-to-disco glam in THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY, Jane Fonda’s boho-chic shag in KLUTE, Richard Roundtree’s badass Black Power cool in SHAFT, and more. Whether your vibe is more quirky-cute Barbra Streisand in WHAT’S UP, DOC? or rock-goddess Babs in A STAR IS BORN…”

Our household recently did the 14-day free trial, and we enjoyed it so much we’ve signed up as paid customers for only $10.99 a month. Among others, we’ve watched the original version of the ‘70s sci-fi favorite Westworld, which holds up pretty well thematically and dramatically, and A Face in the Crowd, starring Andy Griffith in a bravura performance about a con-man who attains power beyond his wildest dreams. There are so many great films available, it’s almost hard to narrow down the choices!

Click here for a 14-day free trial and explore the more than 2,000 titles and thousands of supplemental features available to stream.