The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner has never made a film as charming, as endearing, as wonderful as The Princess Bride. A fairy tale full of wry humor, swashbuckling adventure, and an unbeatable script from master writer William GoldmanThe Princess Bride is an adventure well-worth its reputation. Some popular films disappoint – they can’t live up to the hype. The Princess Bride isn’t one of those films. Instead, it’s a fantastic journey focused on Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes) and their everlasting love. The duo get swept-up in a fantastical adventure that somehow gets better every time you rewatch the film. And who can forget Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, on his quest for revenge? And André the Giant as Fezzik, the gentle giant? When The Princess Bride was announced as joining the Criterion Collection, several cinephiles complained. The film was too modern, too poppy, to join Criterion in their minds. But Princess Bride is a pure delight, and an excellent film to boot.

Special Features to Note: 

The majority of the special features on this superb Criterion release are imported over from previous DVD and Blu-ray releases. But there is a lovely new featurette devoted to the skill of William Goldman, the screenwriter of Princess Bride (and the author of the novel it was adapted from). As revealed here, Goldman – one of the best screenwriters in the history of the medium – dislikes the majority of his scripts. The only two he’s actually happy with are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Princess Bride. Goldman’s Bride script ignores almost all of the standard “rules” for writing a screenplay – lots of CUT TO scenes; lots of literary terms; lots of camera instructions. Normally, this type of screenwriting is frowned upon. Goldman, however, could get away with it because he was so damn talented. 

Special Features Include: 

  • New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1996 featuring director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, producer Andrew Scheinman, and actors Billy Crystal and Peter Falk
  • Edited 1987 audiobook reading of Goldman’s novel The Princess Bride by Reiner
  • New program about Goldman’s screenplay
  • New program about Goldman’s tapestry based on his novel
  • Archival interviews with Reiner, Goldman, and actors Crystal, Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Fred Savage, and Robin Wright
  • New interview with art director Richard Holland
  • Programs about makeup, fencing, and fairy tales
  • On-set video diary filmed and narrated by Elwes
  • Five behind-the-scenes videos with commentaries from 1996 by Reiner, Scheinman, and Crystal
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by author Sloane Crosley and, for the Blu-ray edition, Goldman’s introduction to his Princess Bride script from his collection Four Screenplays, in a lavishly illustrated, clothbound book

Sorry To Bother You

Nothing can prepare you for Boots Riley’s batshit insane dark satire Sorry To Bother You. Analyzing class and capitalism, Sorry To Bother You is unabashedly political, unapologetically weird, and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Not all of it works – the move is perhaps ten or fifteen minutes too long. But one thing is clear: Boots Riley is a filmmaker to pay attention to. Sorry To Bother You is his feature debut, and he has immediately established himself as an auteur. Here, Lakeith Stanfield plays Cassius Green, a man in desperate need of a job. He ends up at a telemarketing company, where he discovers a talent for using a “white voice” on the phone. This helps him rise to the top of the company…and that’s where things get insane. The less said the better, but along the way, Cassius turns on his friends, alienates his girlfriend (Tessa Thompson), and finds himself mixed-up in a scheme involving the nutso head of the company he works for (played memorably by Armie Hammer). Everything you’ve heard about this movie is true, and then some. To put it simply, Sorry To Bother You is going to break your damn brain.

Special Features to Note: 

Even though Sorry To Bother You is one of the most unique films of 2018, the Blu-ray is curiously lacking in special features. Perhaps a future edition will offer more. For now, we get a behind-the-scenes talk about the movie from Boots Riley. The filmmaker calls Sorry To Bother You “An absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction, inspired by the world of telemarketing,” and that about sums it up – as wacky as that sounds. The fiercely intelligent Riley lays out his vision for the movie, and his process of casting. He’s the type of storyteller you could easily listen to for hours and hours. Riley talks about how he wanted Sorry To Bother You to be artistically important, not just thematically important, and he definitely succeeded there. 

Special Features Include:

  • Beautiful Clutter with Director Boots Riley
  • Commentary with Director Boots Riley
  • Gallery
  • The Cast of Sorry to Bother You
  • The Art of the White Voice

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