I decided to order Criterion editions of Italian director Michelangelo Anotioni's films La Notte (1961) and L'Eclisse (1962) for the extras they include. LaNotte has an interview with film critic Adriano Apra and film historian Carlo di Carlo, an interview with professor Giuliana Bruno, on the role of architecture in film, and a booklet with an essay by critic Richard Brody and a 1961 article by the director. The L'Eclisse edition is fully loaded with extras in comparison with a two disc treatment. The first has audio commentary by Richard Pena, program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. The second disc has Michelangelo Anotioni: The Eye that Changed Cinema-a 56 minute documentary that explores the director's life and career, Elements of Landscape-a 22 minute video piece about Anotioni and L'Eclisse, featuring Italian critic Adriano Apra and long time Anotioni friend Carlo di Carlo. There is a 32 page booklet with essays by film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum and Gilberto Perez, along with reprinted excerpts from Anotioni's own writings about his works.
I also picked up the Criterion edition of Akira Kurosawa's Drunken Angel (1959), his first film with Toshiro Mifune as the lead. A collaboration that would last until 1964's Red Beard. This is Kurosawa's first triumph, the film where the Kurosawa style shone through as a distinct style. The Criterion edition includes audio commentary from Donald Richie, a 31 minute documentary on the making of Drunken Angle, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It's Wonderful to Create, Kurosawa and the Censors a 25-minute video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angle, and a booklet featuring an essay by cultural historian Ian Buruma and excerpts from Kurosawa's Something Like An Autobiography.
There was another double order from a beloved director in Wes Anderson. The first was a film that after watching again for the first time since it came out, that I had previously underrated, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004). As pointed out in this Onion AV review, I was probably harsher on it than I should have been since it arrived on the heels of The Royal Tenebaums with a similar story and similar aesthetics. I supposed I mistook Anderson for a one-trick pony, but i must say I really enjoyed Zissou the second time around, Anderson knows how to tell as story and create an alternate universe. There are some good extras as well including: commentary by Wes Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach, ten deleted scenes, and a "Starz on the Set" behind-the -scenes featurette.
That being said, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is one of my favorite Wes Anderson films, so when the Criterion edition came out I got it. It has a great cast of voice actors including: George Clooney, Owen Wison, Jason Schwartzman, and Meryl Streep. Also, another fine soundtrack with: "Streetfighting Man" by the Rolling Stones, "Let Her Dance" by The Bobby Fuller Four, and "Heroes and Villains" by The Beach Boys among others. The DVD includes a DVD of extras with the following: "The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox **From Script to Screen," "The Puppet Makers," "Still Life (Puppet Animation)," "The Cast," "Bill and His Badger," "A Beginner's Guide to Whack-Bat," "Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl," and the "Theatrical Trailer."