C What’s On: The Criterion Channel’s January 2021 Lineup


Well it’s that time of year again: the start of it! And for their January slate, the Criterion Channel brings their expected plethora of new and old, obscure and classic, light and heavy, for a year that many of us have been looking forward to starting fresh.

Resolutions can be made any day any way, and far loftier than pertaining to one’s own entertainment habits, but something that’s sort of struck me as I look to another 365 days of rabidly consuming motion pictures is… I need to enjoy them more. A brief (ha!) aside, dear reader:

For the past five years, I’ve taken notes meticulously on every film I’ve watched, whether for the first time or the tenth. For even longer, about the past nine or ten years, I’ve watched at least 365 films new to me a year. That is, as they say, A Lot of Movies. Truly, my self-imposed homework can become just that: work. It’s in an effort to better myself, my understanding of the art form, expand my knowledge, and so on and so forth. But love anything that long that intensely and, well, even the most darling new puppy can pee on the rug, so to speak. Too often I fall into outright not enjoying the docket of films I watch month after month, robotically consuming and analyzing. And that’s no good. So, it’s with the excuse of a new year before me (and a particularly bad one behind me) that I’m going to make an effort to really enjoy the films I watch. Rewatch more old favorites! Who needs an excuse to watch Clint Eastwood draw down on some banditos in For A Few Dollars More or marvel at the melancholic beauty of Wong Kar-wai’s films? sure don’t!

And as always, the Criterion Channel is providing an enticing array of films to rediscover that passion. Heck, the Japanese Noir special is my bread and butter; having seen all of those films multiple times, I can confidently say that Toshiro Mifune looks as good in his cotton suit in Stray Dog as he does in a samurai’s kimono. And career-highlighting runs for Peter Sellers and Jane Fonda are always welcome. Watch Klute; it’s an absolute masterpiece.

Whatever it is you watch (or decide you don’t want to watch), enjoy it. Enjoy it, take your time with it. Don’t like what you’re watching? Try to persevere! But if you’re not rolling with laughter at Cary and Katharine, don’t force yourself to tough it out (though Bringing Up Baby is quite funny). If the past year has taught me anything, it’s not to waste time on the things you don’t enjoy. Luckily, the Criterion Channel’s got us covered with a smorgasbord of things that, most likely, you will enjoy.

January 1st

Bringing Up Baby (1938) Official Trailer - Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant Movie HD

Double Feature: Madcap Mirth with Katharine and Cary
(George Cukor, 1938) and Bringing Up Baby** (Howard Hawks, 1938)

January 2nd

Saturday Matinee: The Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold, 1957)

January 3rd

Streaming premiere: The Ghost of Peter Sellers (Peter Medak, 2018)

Starring Peter Sellers

he Ladykillers (1955), I’m All Right Jack (1959), The Mouse That Roared (1959), Never Let Go (1960), Mr. Topaze (1961), Lolita (1962), Only Two Can Play (1962), Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Optimists (1973)

with the short Let’s Go Crazy (1951)

Criterion Collection Edition #132: The Ruling Class (Peter Medak, 1972)

January 4th

Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (Isaac Julien, 1995)

January 5th

Short + Feature: Bottoms Up!
The Pub (Joseph Pierce, 2012) and Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1986)

January 6th

Criterion Collection Edition #489: Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)

January 7th

Criterion Collection Edition #649: Ministry of Fear (Fritz Lang, 1944)

January 8th

Double Feature: Frank’s Way
The Man with the Golden Arm (Otto Preminger, 1955) and The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962)

January 9th

Saturday Matinee: Kirikou and the Men and Women (Michel Ocelot, 2012)

January 10th

Starring Jane Fonda

Walk on the Wild Side (1962), La ronde (1964), Cat Ballou (1965), The Chase (1966), Barefoot in the Park (1967), Barbarella (1968), Spirits of the Dead (1968), Klute (1971), Tout va bien (1972), Letter to Jane (1972), A Doll’s House (1973), The China Syndrome (1979), The Morning After (1986)

January 11th

Poto and Cabengo (Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1980)

January 12th

Short + Feature: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Could Have Fallen from the Sky (Terence Nance, 2017) and Jimi Plays Monterey (DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, 1986)

January 13th

Always Shine (Sophia Takal, 2016)

January 14th

Three by Raj Kapoor

Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Sangam (1964)

January 15th

Double Feature: Poe Goes Pop
The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964) and Spirits of the Dead (Federico Fellini, Louie Malle, and Roger Vadim, 1968)

January 16th

Saturday Matinee: The Cameraman (Edward Sedgwick, 1928)

January 17thCriterion January Japanese

Japanese Noir

Stray Dog (1949), Black River (1956), I Am Waiting (1957), Rusty Knife (1958), Stakeout (1958), The Bad Sleep Well (1960), Intimidation (1960), Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), Zero Focus (1961), Pigs and Battleships (1962), High and Low (1963), Youth of the Beast (1963), Cruel Gun Story (1964), Pale Flower (1964), Branded to Kill (1967), A Colt Is My Passport (1967)

January 18th

Documentaries by Julien Temple

Oil City Confidential (2009), Habaneros (2017)

January 19th

Short + Feature: Dangerous Encounters
Zoo (Will Niava, 2020) and Code Unknown (Michael Haneke, 2000)

January 20th

Directed by Zeinabu irene Davis

A Powerful Thang (1991), Compensation (1999)

with the shorts Crocodile Conspiracy (1986), Cycles (1989), Mother of the River (1995)

January 21st

Three by Pablo Trapero

Lion’s Den (2008)**, Carancho (2010)**, White Elephant (2012)**

January 22nd

Double Feature: The Dole-drums
Ray & Liz (Richard Billingham, 2018) and Meantime (Mike Leigh, 1984)

January 23rd

Saturday Matinee: Tom Thumb (Olivier Dahan, 2001)

January 24th

Directed by Bertrand Tavernier

The Clockmaker of St. Paul (1974), The Judge and the Assassin (1976), Death Watch (1980), A Week’s Vacation (1980), Coup de torchon (1981), A Sunday in the Country (1984), Life and Nothing But (1989)**, Daddy Nostalgia (1990), Fresh Bait (1995)*, Captain Conan (1996)

January 25th

Homegoings (Christine Turner, 2013)

with the shorts Kevin Beasley’s Raw Materials (2019), Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (2020)

January 26th

Short + Feature: On the Eve of Destruction
The Big Shave (Martin Scorsese, 1967) and Ice (Robert Kramer, 1970)

Joe Dante on RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11

Criterion Collection Edition #704: Riot in Cell Block 11 (Don Siegel, 1954)

January 27th

Short Films by Jennifer Reeder

Seven Songs About Thunder (2010), Tears Cannot Restore Her: Therefore, I Weep (2011), And I Will Rise If Only to Hold You Down (2012), A Million Miles Away (2014), Blood Below the Skin (2015), Crystal Lake (2016), LOLA, 15 (2017), Shuvit (2017), All Small Bodies (2017)

January 28th

30 Years of the Film Foundation: Documentary Shorts by Vittorio De Seta

The Age of Swordfish (1954), Islands of Fire (1954), Solfatara (1954), Easter in Sicily (1954), Sea Countrymen (1954), Golden Parable (1954), Fishing Boats (1958), Orgosolo’s Shepherds (1958), A Day in Barbagia (1959), The Forgotten (1959)

January 29th


Double Feature: Ragin’ Pagans
The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973) and Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011)

January 30th

Saturday Matinee: Supa Modo (Likarion Wainaina, 2018)

January 31st

Directed by John M. Stahl

Back Street (1932), Imitation of Life (1934), Magnificent Obsession (1935), When Tomorrow Comes (1939)

Now Playing in 30 Years of the Film Foundation

He Who Gets Slapped (Victor Sjöström, 1924), Blackmail (Alfred Hitchcock, 1929), Hallelujah (1929), Hell’s Heroes (William Wyler, 1929)

Source: Criterion