Collectible Blu-rays from Criterion Collections

Criterion Collections just announced new release dates for a tasty selection of new releases on Blu-ray. They're all pushed back by three weeks until December 16th, 2008 - we can only assume that coming from a quality label, they'll be well worth the wait.

There are three titles in the collection that are particularly noteworthy. First up is The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie. The incredible sci-fi art flick is ideal for Blu-ray, and this release contains 20 minutes of footage that was not seen in the original American theatrical release. No wonder I didn't understand it the first time around. This is the director-approved HD transfer, completely uncut. There are plenty of bonus features, including an audio commentary from the director, Bowie, and co-star Buck Henry.

Another notable new Blu-ray release is Bottle Rocket, co-written by Owen Wilson and starring Owen and Luke Wilson, both in their first film. This would be a "must see" in any format, but give the Criterion touch, it IS a "must see."  Although it's not a cinemagraphic masterpiece, the low-budget look is only improved on  Blu-ray. The Blu-ray has a decent collection of director-approved special features including commentaries, making-of documentary, and a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. Watching this movie,it's easy to see why both Wilson brothers have gone on to bigger things. 

Although there are other titles being released, the third most notable is . . .

The Last Emperor. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, this is a cinemagraphic masterpiece, inside and outside Beijing's Forbidden City. Following the life of Emperor Pu Yu from the age of three in 1908, the detail and beauty of China deserves only the best that Blu-ray has to offer.

Want to show your allegiance to Criterion? They're having a warehouse sale, now through November 24th. Everything on their website must be sold, and they're knocking 40% off the current prices for everything from tee-shirts, mugs and posters to every Criterion DVD in stock. Free shipping for orders over $50.

So the dilemma is -- do you shop the sale now, or wait and order the new Blu-ray releases? Simple. Do both. —Leslie Shapiro

Criterion Collection