316 Ran

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 316 Ran

#151 Post by zedz » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:28 pm

fdm wrote:Or keep selling that pesky DVD.
Yeah. Is this the first time that Rialto has released something after a Criterion DVD was already out?

ehimle
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Re: 316 Ran

#152 Post by ehimle » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:33 am

In which case this could just be a temporary (and somewhat logical) deck-clearing to allow Rialto to make the most of their opportunity, since Rialto customarily require their theatrical window before a DVD comes out. It would be extremely impolitic of Criterion to gazump Rialto with the Ran BluRay.
I agree. all this rights talk has me really leery... I mean... why would a company like criterion advertise a blu-ray of a film they don't have the rights for? that is highly illogical and backward business sense. I doubt they would've assumed since they had the dvd rights that they could just go ahead and announce they are releasing a blu-ray and begin to produce it without any legal and contractual agreements being made.

There would have to be something major that happened to cause this cancellation due to rights. like another company buying the production rights from criterion. Since they would presumably have them to even announce plans to release a blu-ray. This close to the initial release date means they would have to have these pretty close to being done if not done already.

Other than someone buying the production rights, it only seems to make sense to let it go out of print for a bit while the theatrical run comes and goes and rerelease it.... unless they completely overhaul the last one which also seems HIGHLY unlikely. and questionably (by some) unnecessary.

TedW
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Re: 316 Ran

#153 Post by TedW » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:54 am

Maybe instead of guessing for the next ten pages somebody should ask a Criterion staffer what happened. Or should I just unsubscribe now?

stwrt
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Re: 316 Ran

#154 Post by stwrt » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:53 am

TedW wrote:Maybe instead of guessing for the next ten pages somebody should ask a Criterion staffer what happened. Or should I just unsubscribe now?
Yeah, somebody ask for christ sake. Tell 'em TedW's waitin' !

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tholly
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Re: 316 Ran

#155 Post by tholly » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:07 am

TedW, I like speculation. But, you could probably send CC an e-mail.....

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Tootletron
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Re: 316 Ran

#156 Post by Tootletron » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:20 pm

I wonder how many ways they can ambiguously phrase "rights issues"

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aox
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Re: 316 Ran

#157 Post by aox » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:57 pm

from The Digital Bits:
Also today, we've learned a little more about Criterion's cancellation of Ran on Blu-ray, but just so you know this is NOT official, so it should be considered Rumor Mill-worthy. It seems that the U.S. home video release rights to the film are owned by Wellspring (who have released it on DVD in the past), the parent company of which is Genius Products, now 70% owned by The Weinstein Company. There have been industry rumors over the last year that Weinstein Co. is in some financial difficulty, so it's possible the Brothers want a better deal with Criterion (i.e. more or too much money) from Criterion to licence the title for Blu-ray. Hopefully, a deal of some kind will be struck soon, because (I'll say again) nobody would do better by this title in high-definition than Criterion. We are SO dying to see Kurosawa films in 1080p...

ianungstad
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Re: 316 Ran

#158 Post by ianungstad » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:20 pm

aox wrote:from The Digital Bits:
Also today, we've learned a little more about Criterion's cancellation of Ran on Blu-ray, but just so you know this is NOT official, so it should be considered Rumor Mill-worthy. It seems that the U.S. home video release rights to the film are owned by Wellspring (who have released it on DVD in the past), the parent company of which is Genius Products, now 70% owned by The Weinstein Company. There have been industry rumors over the last year that Weinstein Co. is in some financial difficulty, so it's possible the Brothers want a better deal with Criterion (i.e. more or too much money) from Criterion to licence the title for Blu-ray. Hopefully, a deal of some kind will be struck soon, because (I'll say again) nobody would do better by this title in high-definition than Criterion. We are SO dying to see Kurosawa films in 1080p...
That doesn't make any sense. Yes, the Weinstein Company has had financial difficulties for awhile..but they actually sold off most of their owneship in Genius, now only owning around 20%, a company called GNPR bought 60% of the company as per the PR released January 8th. I'm sure they are the problem, as this company is evil. Sort of like Isis-film litigation, they just buy up troubled companies, restructure them and turn them around at a profit. They also dicked over the shareholders who controlled a small portion of GNPI by issuing a statement they are going to do a 500 to 1 reverse split and then use convertibles to dump 300 million shares to the market causing investors to lose potentially millions of dollars (if they were longs) in the resulting dillution. I sold off my stake in Genius only losing a few thousand...but yeah, that digital bits thing is inaccurate. I also filed a complaint with the SEC over the whole matter, little good that will do.

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Re: 316 Ran

#159 Post by cdnchris » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:29 pm

ehimle wrote:I agree. all this rights talk has me really leery... I mean... why would a company like criterion advertise a blu-ray of a film they don't have the rights for? that is highly illogical and backward business sense. I doubt they would've assumed since they had the dvd rights that they could just go ahead and announce they are releasing a blu-ray and begin to produce it without any legal and contractual agreements being made.
If Criterion announced it without actually having the rights secured it wouldn't be the first time. Back in their laserdisc days they announced Brazil as an upcoming title, already having worked on it with Gilliam, only to have Universal come to them and say that that was the first they heard about it. Needless to say this led to a LONG delay.

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cdnchris
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Re: 316 Ran

#160 Post by cdnchris » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:32 pm

ianungstad wrote:I sold off my stake in Genius only losing a few thousand...
Only lost a few thousand, eh? Nice of you to post here, Mr. Buffett. :)

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dx23
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Re: 316 Ran

#161 Post by dx23 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:45 pm

TedW wrote:Maybe instead of guessing for the next ten pages somebody should ask a Criterion staffer what happened. Or should I just unsubscribe now?
somebody already asked and they answered that it was rights issues, but couldn't elaborate more. I don't think anyone from Criterion is going to give you a more detailed answer.

ianungstad is correct. That company that bought some of the Weinstein's shares are most likely the culprit. That's their way of operating business and they may have the intent of renegotiating the current contracts.
GNPR acquires 60% of Genius
New owner make take homevid unit private
By DIANE GARRETT

Genius Products, the troubled homevideo distributor majority owned by the Weinstein Co., now has a new majority owner.

GNPR Investments, an affiliate of investment firm Quadrant Management, has acquired 60% of the company. TWC now owns 15% of the company and Genius retains 25% of the company.

The new ownership is part of a restructuring of the homevid distributor, which was delisted by the OTCBB on Dec. 24. The company has renegotiated its distribution terms with TWC.

The company will also renegotiate existing agreements with vendors and content partners. Company may go private.

Under the new ownership by Quadrant, three of the company's directors appointed by TWC resigned and will be replaced with representatives from Quadrant.

TWC remains the biggest content partner for Genius, which also distributes discs from ESPN, Sesame Street, IFC and Animal Planet. The TWC deal will remain through 2010, with an option to extend until a year later.

Bob Weinstein said the new owners will allow him and his brother more time to concentrate on their movie slate.

"We look at this as an ongoing partnership and something that will grow in the future," he said.

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kaujot
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Re: 316 Ran

#162 Post by kaujot » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:31 pm

Criterion seems to have really shitty luck with things like this and Isis happening.

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swo17
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Re: 316 Ran

#163 Post by swo17 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:47 pm

dx23 wrote:somebody already asked and they answered that it was rights issues, but couldn't elaborate more. I don't think anyone from Criterion is going to give you a more detailed answer.
If you are referring to my post here, all I asked was "Why isn't Ran listed in the upcoming release schedule anymore--has it been postponed or cancelled?" I didn't ask for any details.

ianungstad
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Re: 316 Ran

#164 Post by ianungstad » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:13 pm

cdnchris wrote:
ianungstad wrote:I sold off my stake in Genius only losing a few thousand...
Only lost a few thousand, eh? Nice of you to post here, Mr. Buffett. :)
Well..going a bit off topic. A few thousand was a lot of money for me to lose and it stung...I only said a "few" because I got out before the share price in Genius fell to less than a half penny, so it could have been A LOT worse. Genius has serious problems and even with restructuring they are going to be lucky to avoid BK. They owe over 60 million to the Weinstein's as part of the restructuring deal. Already companies such as Classic Media who had their library of Godzilla films distributed through Genius have decided to take their films elsewhere. Genius have also told other companies hoping for Genius to distribute their work to look elsewhere. GNPR's recent involvement in taking over Genius Products has been highly unethical, if not illegal and I hope those that still hold shares in the company consult with lawyers about a class action suit. I'm sure that GNPR's offer to Criterion to continue distribution of Ran was totally unfair like it was for Classic Media.

This could have other ramifications in the future as titles like Breathless have been licensed from Genius and could potentially go out of print when the licensing agreement expires, if Criterion is not able to work out a deal with GNPR/Quadrent Investments.

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bunuelian
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Re: 316 Ran

#165 Post by bunuelian » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:29 am

Thanks for sharing these details, it's very interesting reading. There are so many cases of IP vultures bleeding a company dry. I assume they are able to do this in part because they have senior rights relative to the common shareholders, but I always wonder why a strong case can't be made that they are trampling their fiduciary obligations in the process.

Criterion has to take the position that if the price these guys demand is too high, then they'll just release other titles that can be negotiated at commercially viable rates. Although it's an inconvenience for Criterion, it's the consumer that is ultimately harmed. More evidence that IP law needs extensive reform.

mteller
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm

Re: 316 Ran

#166 Post by mteller » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:28 pm

Like several others I'm sure, I sold my SD copy in anticipation of the Blu-Ray. I'm wondering now if I should snap up the SD edition again while it's still available. Anyone got a feel for the chances of this problem being sorted out in, say, the next year or so? I've got to believe this is high-priority title for Criterion and they'll want to clear up the rights as soon as possible.

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Napier
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Re: 316 Ran

#167 Post by Napier » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:34 pm

I think they'll eventually get it done. Again, think. Look how long we waited for an SD of Dodes' ka-den. Which I am pleased as punch with. I see the CC Ran all over the place in used bins around here. For $20.00 no less.

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tholly
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Re: 316 Ran

#168 Post by tholly » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:03 pm

Napier wrote:I think they'll eventually get it done. Again, think. Look how long we waited for an SD of Dodes' ka-den. Which I am pleased as punch with. I see the CC Ran all over the place in used bins around here. For $20.00 no less.
I think the area I live in (Exton, PA) near West Chester, King of Prussia, & Philadelphia must have the lowest number of used DVD bins of any area. I don't know of more than a couple places that still sell used DVDs, and of those places, most have only junk, over priced junk, and hollywood trash, with no Criterions beyond your occasional Royal Tenebaums or Fear and Loathing.

I envy all you people that can actually find stores that sell good used DVDs, let alone used Criterions.

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dad1153
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Re: 316 Ran

#169 Post by dad1153 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:32 pm

Concluded my Kurosawa weekend of fun (after watching TCM recordings of "Red Beard" and "Kagemusha") by finally opening my Criterion DVD of "Ran" and watching it for the first time. I've had the "Ran" Criterion for a while (the day after it went OOP) but swore I wouldn't see it before "Kagemusha" so as to not prejudice myself form judging the latter.

I've seen more critically-acclaimed and/or influential Akira Kurosawa movies ("Rashomon," "Sugata Sanshiro I," etc.). I've seen Kurosawa movies with better-developed characters and/or more ambitious reflections/statements about life in general ("Yojimbo," "High and Low," etc.). And I've seen Kurosawa movies that have moved me to tears and made me appreciate humanity in a better light ("Ikiru," "Red Beard," etc.). But I can honestly say that, until the one-two punch of watching "Kagemusha" and "Ran" for the first time on the same night (on a big-screen TV with the sound turned high), I hadn't been thoroughly entertained and completely lost from start to finish in a Kurosawa epic the way I was during "Ran's" 160 min. running time. Building on what he learned from "Kagemusha" (which I still contend is its own movie and not the 'dress rehearsal' Kurosawa himself labeled it) and everything else in his life prior to shooting it "Ran" is exquisite, epic filmmaking precisely because of the contradictions behind its creation and the type of story it's telling (and characters it presents).

It's a dark story told through vibrant, almost Technicolor-like primary hues. It's a 'King Lear' inspired tragedy set within the fictionalized recounting of a 16th century Japanese feudal lord's self-destruction, but with male sons (and all the baggage power-hungry, testosterone-filled flawed men in charge of armies brings to the equation) instead of women. The females in it are either instruments of death-causing revenge (Mieko Harada's portrayal of Lady MacBeth-inspired Lady Kaede, a nice step-up from Isuzu Yamada's portrayal of Lady Washizu in "Throne of Blood") or saintly forgiving (Yoshiko Miyazaki's Lady Sue, one of two undeserving-of-their-fate characters that are shown no mercy). Both of these extreme examples of female character interpretations (not one of Kurosawa's strengths) feel contradictory but appropriately at home in an intimate epic filled with spectacular vistas of armies of human beings engaged in killing each other. In an epic in which many characters (known and unknown) give their lives without their names or backstories being known to us A.K. focuses on unlikely protagonists like blind Tsurumaru (Mansai Nomura) and 'jester' Kyoami (Peter) to carry out the role of Greek Choir that observe and comment (or experience in the case of Tsurumaru) the proceedings at ground level. Only a filmmaker as sure of himself as A.K. would have placed his Greek Choir character down at ground level instead of commenting high from the heavens, the distanced POV Kurosawa uses to 'observe' the proceedings of "Ran" with both the utmost distance and closest affliction. Tatsuya Nakadai's lead performance of Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (in heavy make-up and overacting within the Noh theater standards) is both a thing of beauty and of utmost pity. I found myself caring and feeling sorry for the old man despite his butchering through the (unseen) ages bringing all of the movie's misfortunes upon himself. A.K. is at the top of his game technically at age 75 while making "Ran," yet he's reduced to going back to his better-known samurai epic films and to beg for international co-financing to tell an epic movie that can be easily interpreted as an autobiographical representation in his own disillusioned view of himself, his craft and humanity as a whole. The film is a last hurrah of sorts to the pre-CG era of filmmaking that physically required 'a cast of thousands' (hundreds-made-to-look-like-thousands in the case of "Ran"), yet A.K. infuses Hidetora's relationship with his stranged sons and servants with the sort of tactful, universally recognizable traits (arrogance from Saburo masking deep love for his father, Taro's phony respect hiding a well of ambition, adviser Tango's selfless devotion to his elder Lord, etc.) we recognize from our daily interactions with family, co-workers and friends.

That's the ultimate irony and power that "Ran" possesses that few 'epics' from any other era match: an audience's intimate awareness of its creator's intent while making it, and how the self-reflective personal issues of the material (the parallels of 'King Lear' with A.K.'s own self-reflective view of himself) in turn feed into the compelling hook of its visuals, scenes and overall impact. "Ran" is peak meta filmmaking on all levels (particularly technical) for intellectual movie buffs, joining a select few motion pictures ("Citizen Kane" comes to mind) that deliver back to their audiences as much as they themselves bring into their viewing from previous knowledge/experience with the filmmaker's body of work. The more you like, love, eat and breath A.K. the more you're likely to 'get' (and I mean 'truly get,' not just be blown away by the pretty colors and well-staged action scenes) and derive satisfaction from "Ran." Until I see the rest of his movies (haven't seen "Seven Samurai" yet) Kurosawa's "Ran" stands tall as the director's crowning achievement, IMHO.

criterionsnob
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Re: 316 Ran

#170 Post by criterionsnob » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:34 am

Did Criterion seriously lose these rights to a company called Shock Entertainment Group?

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fdm
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Re: 316 Ran

#171 Post by fdm » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:22 pm

criterionsnob wrote:Did Criterion seriously lose these rights to a company called Shock Entertainment Group?
Presumably they're just the importers. At least 1 of the 6 titles they are importing (Belle de Jour) is apparently Region B locked. Ran is supposed to be okay for Region A and B. Hope so. Costs enough.
Last edited by fdm on Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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aox
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Re: 316 Ran

#172 Post by aox » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:23 pm

shocking, I know.

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tojoed
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Re: 316 Ran

#173 Post by tojoed » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:06 pm

I always thought Shock were an Australian DVD company. If that's so, it will be a port of the Studio Canal.

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perkizitore
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Re: 316 Ran

#174 Post by perkizitore » Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:26 pm

DVD Times on the Optimum Blu-Ray.

stwrt
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Re: 316 Ran

#175 Post by stwrt » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:28 pm

perkizitore wrote:DVD Times on the Optimum Blu-Ray.
Some heavy "ringing" going on in those caps, however the French DVD (from where the transfer was sourced) has a much better picture quality than the shoddy Criterion DVD.

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