Thursday, March 19, 2009

One of Those Things That Makes Me Love Being a Cinephile

Around the 15th of every month, I start to get a little giddy. Moreso since last December, when it was finally officially revealed that The Criterion Collection would be releasing Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad, one of those true great New Wave avant-garde masterpieces that is, as it happens, not currently available on Region 1 DVD (and if you want to hit up Region 2, which is how I saw it, you have to deal with the most massive subtitles I've ever seen).

That waiting was rewarded on Monday, when they revealed the coolest damn set you could ask for. Two shorts by Resnais? New translation? Brand new documentary on the making of the film? Interview with Resnais? Interview with a film scholar? And most importantly, a Blu-Ray transfer? Heaven.

Then I notice a little something updated release of The Seventh Seal? A movie I've been wanting to own for years but couldn't convince myself to fork over the money for a nearly barebones release? Oh, and it includes an 80-minute documentary on Bergman? Oh, and it's ALSO on Blu-Ray?

That's probably enough for me to handle. My inner film geek is overjoyed, and will have much to look forward and much to actually do in June when these are released (thankfully a week wallet and schedule can only handle so much).

And then something...odd...happened. Paramound announced the specs for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with a release date of May 5th. I knew the second I saw the film that, in spite of my misgivings about it, I would absolutely buy the DVD, probably the Blu-Ray. David Fincher almost always gets a great DVD out, even when the films make little to no money (Fight Club, Zodiac). I glanced down to the package art and noticed a familar "C" in the corner.

Yeah...The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and more importantly Fincher, are getting a spine number.

Yeah, the script's a rehash of Forrest Gump, and besides that is massively overwritten with absolutely no confidence in its director or cast. But God, what direction. What images. And what a story. I've defended this film many a time, and even though I still remember every little thing I hate about it, I find I love it a little more each day. Anyone who truly loves films has a few like this in their stash - films that are anywhere from imperfect to irredeemably bad (Button falls somewhere in the middle), but which you cannot help but love. And though there are parts that I hate, there are parts of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that I adore and am hopelessly in love with.

Three hours of special features and a commentary by Fincher? Criterion-supervised Blu-Ray transfer? No hesitation. I am in.

And yes, I know, I spent more time talking about a semi-decent David Fincher film than Bergman or Last Year at Marienbad. Wait 'til those discs come out and I'll gush all over them. Seriously. Big time.

Scott can be reached at

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