You don't have to be a full-fledged film enthusiast to be familiar with Criterion, the esteemed boutique distribution outlet that has successfully expanded its web into the streaming game.
Criterion may be the gold standard for home media release, whether it be on disc or digital, but their process is incredibly selective, with only a handful of titles being added to their collection every month.
1. Flash Gordon
So many of the sci-fi/space opera tropes audiences have come to expect today originated with Flash Gordon, though today, the comic and serials remain largely forgotten. Flash had an attempt at Star Wars-style glory in 1980 with a film of the same name. Despite a cast that included Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Zero Mostel, and Max von Sydow, and a soundtrack by the pop band Queen, the movie never found an audience beyond a loyal cult. That might have something to do with the campy tone the film adopted. Hollywood should consider a Flash Gordon remake that plays the material seriously. After all, audiences don’t like seeing their favorite property condescended to.
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Perhaps the most twisted family story ever told, Taxidermia is a lauded Hungarian satirical drama that recounts the experiences of three generations of a family, including a delusional military officer, a champion speed-eater, and an ambitious taxidermist.
3. Little Children (2006)
Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, Todd Field's compelling depiction of intersecting stories in a suburban community, including adultery and paranoia, garnered multiple Academy Award nominations and induction into the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection, even if it hasn't received a proper Blu-ray release yet.
4. The Last Minute (2001)
Shortly after directing Blade, filmmaker Stephen Norrington crafted this excellent and darkly humorous rumination on the fickle entertainment industry that is woefully overdue for a rediscovery.
5. The Fourth Man (1983)
Just prior to leaving his mark on Hollywood and the film industry in general, director Paul Verhoeven's sexually charged and utraviolent thriller rocked audiences around the globe and yet has been widely unavailable in the US for a number of years.
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6. Dogville (2003)
Though the Criterion Collection has long been in the Lars von Trier business, his spellbinding (and devastating) Dogville has yet to be announced for their upcoming slate.
7. Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
There are a number of Martin Scorsese-directed films that seem to be Criterion-bound, but Bringing Out the Dead may be most fitting for the format, especially as it features one of Nicolas Cage's best (and most underrated) performances and stunning cinematography from Robert Richardson.
8. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
A truly shocking and depraved comedy from controversial filmmaker Peter Greenaway, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is the kind of transgressive film that should have been a Criterion title years ago, if for no reason but Michael Gambon's all-timer of a villainous performance.
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9. A Simple Plan (1998)
Though Sam Raimi would later venture into the worlds of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Oz the Great and Powerful, his most understated and suspenseful film, A Simple Plan, is among his best and should undoubtedly be his debut in the Criterion Collection.
10. Palindromes (2004)
Todd Solondz was previously featured in the Criterion Collection with his 2010 film Life During Wartime, but his most polarizing and experimental film, Palindromes, is equally deserving of the boutique distributor's spotlight.