Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hot DVD realeases across the Pacific

Keeping an eye on my budget and ignoring the twitch to visit (money-sucking) DVD retail websites, some very cool releases have snuck up on me:

  • The Host (Bong Joon-ho) Actually, I've had this one on pre-order for about a month now and it just shipped out yesterday. With the US theatrical release of this film getting pushed back a couple months, I am betting on the import DVD as my best way to see this film. If you haven't heard about this Korean blockbuster monster-movie cum dysfunctional-family-drama, check out rave reviews from people who have seen it: Variety, Reverse Shot, Twitch, Darcy Paquet, Grady Hendrix etc. (See the preview in Landmark Theaters near you! Looks awsome!)
  • Citizen Dog (Wisit Sasanatieng) The Host may be a big release in the real meaning of the word, but Citizen Dog is even bigger in my book. The long long long awaited follow-up to the fantastic Tears of a Black Tiger has been at the top of my wish list for over two years now. Tears (2000, yeah that was 6 years ago) is just now making a theatrical appearance in the US. If the film wasn't so utterly awesome, I would suggest that people tell Miramax to take their wait-for-six-years ticket sales and shove it up their arse...but it is not to be missed on the big screen.
  • Memories of Matsuko (Nakashima Tetsuya) When Grady Henrix from Kaiju Shakedown ditched his 2006 top ten list for naming this film the movie of the year, I immediately wrote it down. I am willing to admit that he sees more Asian films than I do, and, as a result, there must be something to this. I'll let you know.
  • Still Life + Dong (Jia Zhangke)I am 100% with Jia Zhangke. Critics poo-pooed The World as his main stream sell-out, but I think otherwise. When Jia won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year for his fictional film Still Life (a companion piece to his documentary Dong), I couldn't be happier.
  • Rain Dogs (Ho Yuhang) This film piqued my interest a few months ago when certain people took note when it opened in Malaysia and screened at Toronto. All reviews seemed to contain my favorite buzz words: meditative, beautiful, lethargic, spare.

With the exception of The Host, none of the films above have much of a chance of seeing any US distribution. Hopefully I will be proven wrong, but I am really unwilling to wait for some movie executive to figure out how to market these films. Case and point: last year's Cannes winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley by Ken Loach has not only screened in most countries but at this point is available on DVD in most countries....oh, except the US. Any wave this film could have ridden for ticket sales is way over.

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