Tuesday, July 17, 2007

DVD releases for July 17

Here's the new releases of note:

Ace in the Hole (1951) directed by Billy Wilder
This Criterion release is by far the star of the show. Now lauded as one of Wilder's best film, it's overt cynicism made it a commercial flop at the time. Kirk Douglas plays a down on his luck reporter, Charles Tatum, who stumbles upon a news-worthy event only to exploit it for all it is worth in order to rebuild his career. This is a two DVD set that includes commentaries, documentaries, interviews, booklets and the likes. To be more specific and to add a little more credibility to this release: a 1980 documentary about Wilder entitled 60% Perfect Man: Billy Wilder; 1984 interview with Kirk Douglas; audio interview with co-screenwriter Walter Newman; video 'afterword' by Spike Lee; and a essays by Molly Haskell and Guy Maddin.

Avenue Montaigne (2006) directed by Danièle Thompson
This film is unbelievably cliché and cute. If you can handle that, this French city of love-fest is for you.

47 Ronin (1994) directed by Kon Ichikawa
This is another rendition of the classic Japanese tale about the 47 heroic (or not so heroic, depending on how you look at it) samurai who avenged the death of their leader. Kon Ichikawa has been making films since the 50's, with over 80 films to his name. That being said, only a few are available here in the US: Criterion has released Burmese Harp (1956), Fires on the Plain (1959), and Tokyo Olympiad (1965), and Animeigo has released Dora-Heita (2000) as well as this release.

Yo-Yo Girl Cop (2006) directed by Kenta Fukasaku
I have no dellusions that this film is probably not good, but nonetheless, my curiosity gets the best of me. Kenta Fukasaku is the son of the late Kinji Fukasaku. He made a disaster out of his father's sequel to Battle Royale after he passed away, and I suspect the same kind of mess with this film. Riki Takeuchi has a bit part in this film which might be one reason to waste 99 minute...but it can't be worse that the Transformers movie, and I spent way more that 99 minutes on that.

Poison Friends (2006) directed by Emmanuel Bourdieu
This film seems interesting. I remember reading the review in the NYT earlier this year, but I don't think it ever played in the Twin Cities. They called this smart, cynical and nasty film "atmospherically and unmistakably French." And more from NYT: "A coming-of-age comedy with the pace and structure of a thriller, Poison Friends casts a knowing, sympathetic eye around the fevered precincts of youthful literary and academic ambition, a realm of passion, jealousy and ambiguous motives. It has a degree of energy, an appetite for strong feelings and big ideas, notably missing in American movies about the young and overeducated, which tend to specialize in mumbled ironies and tiny epiphanies."

And if you have $15 burning a hole in your pocket, you better go out a buy the new Showgirls Fully Exposed Edition.

No comments: