Monday, August 13, 2007

DVD releases for August 14

Okay people. Strap in and hold on. It is a good week for good DVD releases. Okay it is a good week for a DVD release, even though there are other options out there, too. The top contender this week is an exception. I am so excited to see Inland Empire again, and even more excited that I get to watch it in the privacy of my own home - I don't know what that means.

Inland Empire (2006) directed by David Lynch
I don't care if you made more trips to the Oak Street than I did, how could you not want to see this film again. The non-linear narrative structure had my head spinning, even on the third viewing. Lynch's best film? Not sure about that. Laura Dern's best film? Absolutely. Inland Empire is an epic nightmare that has to be seen (a few times) to be believed. If you haven't seen it, make sure you get a seven day rental. Or better yet just buy it. This is a David Lynch endorsed two DVD special edition. I'm going on vacation next week and I am taking the DVD with me!

The First Films of Samuel Fuller: I Shot Jesse James (1949), The Baron of Arizona (1950), and Steel Helmet (1951)
How can this not be cool. I have not seen any of these films, and I am pretty excited that they are now available. (This is the fifth in Criterion's Eclipse Series: "a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions." Other editions have included Early Bergman, The Documentaries of Louis Malle, and Late Ozu. Dear Criterion, please send me screeners.) Fuller is a director that I feel I have seen way too little of, but the three I have seen (White Dog, The Big Red One, and Pickup on South Street) made me want to see more. I Shot Jesse James is the story of Bob Ford, the man who shot Jesse James. The Baron of Arizona is a western of sorts starring Vincent Price as the Baron. And Steel Helmet is Fullers film about the Korean War.

Graveyard of Honor (2002) directed by Takashi Miike
This is the film that convinced me that Takashi Miike was not just a hack. Miike has made some great films, but at the rate of about four films a year, there's a bad film for every good one. Graveyard of Honor is a remake of a 1975 Kinji Fukasaku film by the same name. Fukasaku's would have been a tough act to follow, but Miike pulls it off with stunning skill. In many ways it is a standard yakuza story about one man's rise to the top. Graveyard of Honor is unflinchingly brutal and unapologeticly grim. Goro Kishitani gives an intense performance as Ishimatsu, a dishwasher who has an appetite for violence. This film is not for the faint of heart.

Vacancy (2007) directed by Nimród Antal
This film passed me right by. I feel like I saw the trailer, but it wasn't exactly being promoted as "The new film from the director of Kontroll" so I paid it no attention. Kontoll is a Hungarian that I saw in a packed theater a few years ago at the MSPIFF. I was really impressed by this gritty yet surreal action drama. Had this film been made in the US I think it would have done really well. So I'm curious about Vacancy. Starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson.

Cria Cuervos (1976) directed by Carlos Saura
I should probably know more about this director and this film, but I don't. From Criterion: "Carlos Saura's exquisite Cria cuervos… heralded a turning point in Spain: shot while General Franco was on his deathbed, the film melds the personal and the political in a portrait of the legacy of fascism and its effects on a middle-class family (the title derives from the Spanish proverb: 'Raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes')." Criterion is sort of like film school. You can rent a movie, and watch interviews and even listen to a commentary by a scholar about the film. I'm willing to learn. This film looks interesting. That's a pretty cover too.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for DVD (2007) directed by Dave Willis
I'm still clueless about Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but I missed this in the theaters. The trailers had me in stitches.

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