Entertainment

Is The Criterion Collection That Much Better?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 1st, 2019 2:07 am
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 3, 2008
41 posts
19 upvotes

Is The Criterion Collection That Much Better?

I have my guilty pleasure discs where I'm not fussy about about the format, but I have my essential movies that I only buy in Blu-Ray (or UHD now).

But then there's the 'The Criterion Collection' that claims to be the top tier of movie discs. Are their claims true? Is my Wal-Mart bought Blu-Ray of a movie truly inferior to the "Criterion" version of the same movie that's 5x more money?

NOTE: I'm really only referring to picture and sound quality. I don't care about 'extras' because I never watch them anyway.
11 replies
Deal Addict
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Oct 26, 2007
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Toronto
Usually fans of those films buy them when Criterion releases them. I have a few Criterion titles, but I only buy them when there is a 50% off sale directly from Criterion or through Barnes and Noble. Criterion versions have restored video (and sometimes audio) from the original cinematographer or director of photography. The extras are a nice added bonus, sometimes with newly recorded commentary track. Many of their titles are also out of print so Criterion may be your only choice.
Deal Addict
Feb 17, 2013
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I've only bought the Criterion Collection release of Le Samourai on DVD and for an old French film from the late 60s, their remastering looks stunning. I can't even imagine how the Blu-ray looks. Now I even hear Criterion Collection is releasing Jackie Chan's Police Story films.
[OP]
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Nov 3, 2008
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Broli's Mom wrote:
Jan 16th, 2019 3:15 pm
Criterion versions have restored video (and sometimes audio) from the original cinematographer or director of photography.
tinlun wrote:
Jan 16th, 2019 7:48 pm
I've only bought the Criterion Collection release of Le Samourai on DVD and for an old French film from the late 60s, their remastering looks stunning.
Is it fair to say that the older the movie, the more value a person finds in the Criterion version? Older movies benefit from the added care that Criterion uses to coax quality from the older original prints, but newer movies don't benefit much because the original prints are just better overall?
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Oct 26, 2007
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I think it all depends on the movie and the print that they are trying to restore, some films may benefit more than others.
[OP]
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Nov 3, 2008
41 posts
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Broli's Mom wrote:
Jan 17th, 2019 9:40 am
I think it all depends on the movie and the print that they are trying to restore, some films may benefit more than others.
Is there a good review site of Criterion releases that discusses print restoration? Of course Criterion says all their transfers are the best, and when I 'google' for reviews I tend to just get reviews from Amazon customers.
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Oct 26, 2007
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Maybe the DigitalBits? I don't read blu-ray reviews any more, I will only buy a physical copy of a movie for nostalgic reasons and only a Criterion if there is a 50% off sale
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 1, 2005
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Just FYI.

If you are a Toronto Public Library card/account, you can get streaming access to a lot of Criterion Collection movies thru the Kanopy App. You can stream up to 8 movies/mth.

https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/det ... &R=EDB0198

Screenshot from my phone of some of the movies available.
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Deal Guru
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Apr 26, 2004
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What is the movie in question? You can usually find reviews of the various versions at Blu-ray.com.
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Feb 17, 2013
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I wonder when Criterion's Police Story boxset is coming. I want it!
Newbie
Mar 18, 2018
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gr8dlr wrote:
Jan 17th, 2019 11:49 am
Just FYI.

If you are a Toronto Public Library card/account, you can get streaming access to a lot of Criterion Collection movies thru the Kanopy App. You can stream up to 8 movies/mth.

https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/det ... &R=EDB0198

Screenshot from my phone of some of the movies available.
TPL streaming is a great library service, and there are about fifty Janus/Criterion films on Kanopy. However, TPL's overall Criterion content through Alexander Street, formerly almost half the Criterion catalog, was radically cut back when Criterion's arrangement with its streaming platform ended.

NOW Criterion is launching its own Criterion Channel with a Charter member discount:

https://www.criterionchannel.com/

It's the first time the full streaming catalog will be available in Canada. Weekly previews to the April 8 scheduled start are running to permit testing the service (requires credit card). The Android and iPhone apps are not currently available, but it can be Chromecast via Chrome browser from a PC or mobile device. (Criterion answered an email inquiry saying the mobile apps are expected to be ready for the official start date.) I've been able to test the current weekly preview Chromecasting from Chromium browser and quality compares well with other services and cable TV - can't vouch for ultra hi-def resolutions.
Sr. Member
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Sep 1, 2013
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Mississauga
They're generally pretty good, but not always definitive. Eureka in the UK has released some titles through their Masters of Cinema line that are better than the North American equivalents, whether that's Criterion or Kino.

Although they don't tend to release the same kind of prestigious or "high-brow" films as Criterion favors, Arrow Video (which releases in both the UK and US/CA) are probably among the best in transfer quality for catalog titles.

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