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I consider myself a leading Criteriophile – and we are legion. I meet people all the time who claim to pretty much only buy Criterion titles. And for years, friends have been alerting me when the local used shops get titles in. It’s actually a fun little family to be part of. We share favorite titles, favorite extras, favorite booklets and packaging – and no matter who you meet – whatever the connection they have to you or anyone you know, one consistent quote will come out of every Criteriophile’s mouth if you ever ask to borrow one: “Sorry, I never lend out my Criterions.” It’s a badge of honor for us – and when you hear it, you know that collector is the real deal. Nowadays, the Criterion Collection is pretty well-represented online. There are fan sites, lists of spine numbers – the whole deal. And there are plenty of ways for people to watch any number of Criterion titles: Hulu has ‘em, Netflix streams them, Amazon and iTunes sell anything you want – even Criterion’s own website will download a title. So, we Criteriophiles never really have to sweat over whether we offended someone who asks to borrow that movie we keep harping on about – we can just kindly let ‘em know that disc doesn’t leave my vault, and point them in the right direction on where to watch it.
My intention for this section of The Bits redesign is to have a place where everyone can come to read reviews about these movies, their extras and the presentations Criterion has become famous for. It’s not an original idea, as Matt Goldberg at Collider pointed out to me when I recently told him what I was doing, he said: “Oh, you’re doing one of those.” Well, yeah – this is one of those. But, this is not going to be a blog post or gushing fan service. We simply plan to review every DVD and Blu-ray that ever wore a spine number. It’ll take some time with over 650 titles currently available and Blu-ray upgrades happening as well – it’s going to be a slog. But everyone here at The Bits is going to throw in, and we’re planning to do some special stuff like guest reviews from important people and interviews when we can get them. My regular column here at The Bits – Gripe Soda – is where you’ll find announcements when the monthly newsletter comes out, notices for out-of-print titles and alerts to any of the 50% sales that occur through Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Criterion. In the end, this is something I’ve felt needed to be done here on The Bits for a while now because of who we are and what we do, and with this new redesign I feel like we are primed for it better than ever.
So that’s it… my agenda all laid out. Let us know your thoughts (you can e-mail me here). Since the full list of Criterion titles is huge, we’ve broken it up into sections by spine number – you can click on the list below to find them all. Titles we’ve reviewed are listed in bold with a link to the review. Right now all our Blu-ray reviews are in the database – we’ll gradually add our old DVD reviews from the original Bits as well as newly-released Criterion titles going forward.
Keep spinnin’ those discs!