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‘Menace II Society’, ‘One Night In Miami’ announced for December Criterion release

by Paul Heath

Criterion has announced a bunch of new titles heading to their prestigious home collection for December. They include the classic ’90s drama Menace II Society and last year’s superb One Night In Miami.

Released in 1993, Menace II Society will make its Criterion bow on the 6th December. Full details below.

Directors ALBERT and ALLEN HUGHES (The Book of Eli) and screenwriter TYGER WILLIAMS (The Perfect Guy) were barely into their twenties when they sent shock waves through American cinema and hip-hop culture with this fatalistic, unflinching vision of life and death on the streets of Watts, Los Angeles, in the 1990s. There, in the shadow of the riots of 1965 and 1992, young Caine (Panther’s TYRIN TURNER) is growing up under the influence of his ruthless, drugdealing father (Pulp Fiction’s SAMUEL L. JACKSON, in a chilling cameo) and his loose-cannon best friend, O-Dog (Love Jones’ LARENZ TATE), leading him into a spiral of violent crime from which he is not sure he wants to escape, despite the best efforts of his grandparents and the steadfast Ronnie (The Matrix Revolutions’ JADA PINKETT). Fusing grim realism with a propulsively stylish aesthetic honed through the Hughes brothers’ work on rap videos, Menace II Society is a searing cautionary tale about the devastating human toll of hopelessness.

Bonus materials include:

  • New 4K digital restoration of the directors’ cut of the film, supervised by cinematographer Lisa Rinzler and codirector Albert Hughes, with 7.1 surround DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Original 2.0 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Two audio commentaries from 1993 featuring directors Albert and Allen Hughes
  • Gangsta Vision, a 2009 featurette on the making of the film
  • New conversation among Albert Hughes, screenwriter Tyger Williams, and film critic Elvis Mitchell
  • New conversation among Allen Hughes, actor and filmmaker Bill Duke, and Mitchell • Interview from 1993 with the directors
  • Deleted scenes
  • Film-to-storyboard comparison
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Craig D. Lindsey

One Night In Miami was one of the best films of last year and will come to Criterion on 20th December.

Adapted by KEMP POWERS (Soul) from his acclaimed play, the feature directorial debut of Academy Award–winning actor REGINA KING (If Beale Street Could Talk) puts viewers in a room with four icons at the forefront of Black American culture as they carouse, clash, bare their souls, and grapple with their places within the sweeping change of the civil rights movement. February 25, 1964, has gone down in history as the day that the brash young boxer Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) defeated Sonny Liston, but what happened after the fight was perhaps even more incredible: Ali (Race’s ELI GOREE), civil rights leader Malcolm X (High Fidelity’s KINGSLEY BEN-ADIR), NFL great Jim Brown (Hidden Figures’ ALDIS HODGE), and “King of Soul” Sam Cooke (Hamilton’s LESLIE ODOM JR.) all came together at a Miami motel. Electric with big ideas and activist spirit, One Night in Miami . . . plunges us into the midst of an intimate, ongoing conversation—and a defining moment in American history. 

Here are the planned bonus materials.

  • New 4K digital transfer, approved by director Regina King, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio
  • New conversation between King and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons
  • New conversation among King, screenwriter Kemp Powers, and critic Gil Robertson
  • Conversation between King and filmmaker Barry Jenkins from a 2021 episode of The Director’s Cut – A DGA Podcast
  • New program featuring King and actors Kingsley BenAdir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr.
  • New program on the making of the film, featuring King, Powers, director of photography Tami Reiker, editor Tariq Anwar, producer Jody Klein, costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck, and set decorator Janessa Hitsman
  • New program on the film’s sound design, featuring sound editor and mixer Andy Hay, sound mixer Paul Ledford, and music producer Nick Baxter
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • English descriptive audio
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Gene Seymour

Also, it has been confirmed that Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai will also release on Criterion on 6th December.

In a career-defining performance, ALAIN DELON (Purple Noon) plays Jef Costello, a contract killer with samurai instincts. After carrying out a flawlessly planned hit, Jef finds himself caught between a persistent police investigator and a ruthless employer, and not even his armour of fedora and trench coat can protect him. An elegantly stylized masterpiece of cool by maverick director JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE (Army of Shadows), Le samouraï is a razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone warrior mythology.

Special features are:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Interviews with Rui Nogueira, editor of Melville on Melville, and Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
  • Archival interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, and Cathy Rosier
  • Melville-Delon: D’Honneur et de nuit (2011), a short documentary exploring the friendship between the director and the actor and their iconic collaboration on this film
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar David Thomson. The Blu-ray also features an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo and excerpts from Melville on Melville

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