May 22, 2012

DVD Releases That We Dig This Week (05.22.12)

This is another week of amazing releases, friends. We see the long overdue releases of a couple of films from the silver age of Hollywood, and another healthy serving of independent-underground cinema. We'll begin with the next great Criterion release we've been salivating for ever since the news first hit our desk. We were beside ourselves upon hearing about their release of Hollis Frampton's work, only to discover the next day, that Criterion had planned to release the work of... Robert Downey Sr.! 

Many of Downey's quirky, satirical underground films (which captured the woozy pulse of the 1960s and early 1970s) have long been out of the public eye, so the Criterion set Up All Night With Robert Downey Sr. is nothing short of a godsend. The package includes Babo 73 (1963), Chafed Elbows (1966), No More Excuses (1968), the cult classic Putney Swope (1969) and Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight (1975; AKA- Moment to Moment). Sadly, Pound (1970) and Sticks and Bones are absent, but this is still a must!

Another collection of independent filmmaking is up this week: Driver x4: The Lost and Found Films of Sara Driver. The surreal works of Sara Driver (the spouse of Jim Jarmusch), combining fantasy and drama are a must for those interested in non-mainstream cinema. This set from New Video includes the rarely seen, acclaimed Paul Bowles adaptation You Are Not I (1981), Sleepwalk (1986), When Pigs Fly (1993) and The Bowery (1994).

Lately, Olive Films has been doing a respectful job of putting out classic films that have never been on home video in any format, or at least never on DVD. Of their releases this week, three titles especially caught our eyes: Nicholas Ray's western Run For Cover (1955), and director John Cassavetes' first studio effort, Too Late Blues (1962), a film we reviewed earlier this year. Also available this week is The Lawless (1950), the second feature film by the highly individualist filmmaker Joseph Losey, about a reporter who gets involved in the plight of migrant workers.

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