Now playing on the Criterion Channel
Welcome back, cinephiles. Here’s another batch of flicks to enjoy on the Criterion Channel site and app.
Newly added: Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2017)
One of this month’s curated collections on Criterion Channel is “Scores by Ryuichi Sakamoto.” Sakamoto came to fame as part of Yellow Magic Orchestra, a synthpop group so popular that they are sometimes dubbed the “Japanese Beatles.” Criterion’s selections emphasize the international flavor of Sakamoto’s film composing work, including films by Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodóvar, Volker Schlöndorff, as well as Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, starring David Bowie. They’ve also included the new documentary, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, which follows the composer as he starts work after spending a year healing from cancer.
Leaving July 31st: Seconds (1966)
If you like David Fincher‘s thriller The Game, here’s a pick for you. Rock Hudson stars in Seconds, one of cinema’s greatest paranoid mindfucks. A 60-year-old banker feels smothered by his day-to-day life. Then, an old friend — presumed to be dead — calls to let the banker know there’s a way out. You can fake your death and — thanks to a special surgical procedure — become a new man. Sure enough, the banker comes out looking like Rock Hudson. But it soon becomes clear that it’s hard to truly get a new lease on life when a shadowy corporation owns the lease. Director John Frankenheimer had already made a paranoid thriller masterpiece with 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate, but Seconds is even creepier and more intense.
A Documentary to Catch Up With: Contemporary Color (2016)
Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has always been as much a conceptual/visual/performance artist as he has been a rock star. This integrated artistic approach is on display in the unparalleled 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense (also currently streaming on the Criterion Channel), as well as in Byrne’s critically acclaimed Broadway show American Utopia. A few years ago, Byrne conceived a musical performance event where ten high school color guard teams were invited to create routines based on new music by the likes of St. Vincent, Devonté Hines (Blood Orange), Nelly Furtado, and Ad-Rock (Beastie Boys). I was bummed I missed the live show (just as I’m bummed to have missed American Utopia), but now that this documentary of the performance by Turner Ross and Bill Ross IV is streaming I am excited to discover what I missed.
More Pop Culture Beast – Movies:
*Criterion Channel Picks – July 2, 2020
*The Truth, starring Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve
*An Ode to Carl Reiner – Revisiting Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
*Now on Blu-ray and Hulu: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.