Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yes, believe it or not: Jewel can act.

Lovely news came my way today as I saw there were two great movies coming out in special Criterion editions. The first, Stagecoach, needs no introduction and just happens to be a title I recently added to my "to buy" list, so I best set aside money for May.

The other is, sadly, not a title a lot of people are familiar with. Ride with the Devil, though a really great movie, has a number of factors working against it. First of all, it suffered from extremely bad timing. It starred Tobey Maguire (three years before Spiderman), Jeffrey Wright (a year before Shaft), Mark Ruffalo (A year before You Can Count On Me) and was directed by Ang Lee (a year before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). This is not to say that all of these people did less than stellar work before these projects, but all of the above titles really made names for all four. One can imagine how the film would have done if it came out in 2003 instead of 1999.

Actually, we can imagine what would have happened, as there was a very similar film to Ride With The Devil that came out that year which probably would have buried it anyway: Cold Mountain. That film was based on a best selling book and had bigger stars backing it, not to mention a studio putting all its weight against it for Oscar. And for all Cold Mountain's histrionics (such as those that won Rene Zellweger her little gold man), It's inferior to Ang Lee's lower key, yet thrilling, war time drama.

So though I won't be purchasing the Criterion edition (as I have to be selective with my DVD cash), I encourage you to see it for yourself. If the Criterion price tag is also to rich for your blood, the standard edition has been hanging out in cheap bins for quite a while now. Check it out.

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