Criterion Channel Unveils July Programming Line-up

The Criterion Channel is going all in on documentaries next month. While there is never a shortage of great and obscure films, both from the actual collection and rare titles from around the world, there's a big focus on non-fiction films for July.

First up is the delightful 2005 doc Mad Hot Ballroom, about dance classes in New York City public schools. The Safdie Brothers also take a look at academia with Lenny Cooke, their documentary on the high school basketball phenom who never made it to the NBA, despite being ranked higher than the likes of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. There's also the vibrant work of the Ross Brothers, whose docs Tchoupitoulas and Contemporary Color are highlighted. And if you're looking for an even more dazzling film, Patricio Guzman's Nostalgia for the Light, which explores the Chilean desert and the tragic secrets it holds. But most importantly, they're also opening their vault of Olympic Films. Covering the Games from 1912-2012, that's hundreds of hours of athletic prowess. And it will surely help fill in the gap since the Tokyo Olympics now won't happen until next summer.

For those who want something a bit darker, they're spotlighting Western Noirs, where the grand vistas and dark shadows collide. Selections include Robert Wise's Blood on the Moon, Samuel Fuller's I Shot Jesse James and three films by Anthony Mann. Fans of composer Ryuichi Sakamoto can rejoice, as they feature 10 films that include his memorable scores, including Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, the 1983 POW drama starring David Bowie that features one of cinema's greatest scores. The 2017 documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda will also be streaming.

The channel will also have the exclusive streaming premiere of Young Ahmed, the controversial new drama from the Dardenne Brothers, while the bizarre films of Sara Driver and Miranda July are featured as well. The biggest highlight though is Kelly Reichardt's magnificent Certain Women. That triptych will arrive on July 2.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.