Tuesday, January 15, 2008

DVD releases for January 15

Syndromes and a Century (2006) directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thank God. Although no one in town had the sense to screen this film, at least Strand had the valor and public service to release Weerasethakul's most recent film on DVD. Censored in its country of origin, Syndromes can hopefully flourish beyond Thailand despite its limited theatrical release. Although Weerasethakul only has five films to his name, he has made a name for himself as one of the most innovative filmmakers alive. (With the exception of The Adventures of Iron Pussy, his other films are all available in the US: Mysterious Object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, and Syndromes and a Century.) I can not wait to see this film.

Post-War Kurosawa Box
Five films at an affordable price. Put out by Eclipse (Criterion's "affordable editions"), this boxset includes No Regret for Our Youth (1946), One Wonderful Sunday (1947), Scandal (1950), The Idiot (1951) and I Live in Fear (1955). While these may not represent Kurosawa's best films, they are an emblem to the time: US occupation and total economic despair. The Idiot and Scandal are not to be missed.

Naked Prey (1966) directed by Cornel Wilde
Although it would be easy to blindly assume that every Criterion release was a five star classic that deserve the attention of any film fan, I try to be skeptical. In this case, Naked Prey, which I have not seen, seems to carry an interesting element of violence and exploitation that is not Criterion status quo. And although I'm having trouble finding it, I know that I recently read an article about Cornel Wilde probably in anticipation of this release.

And for the first time on DVD:
She's Gotta Have It (1986) directed by Spike Lee
Personal Best (1982) directed by Robert Towne
Back when I was first obsessed with buying DVDs, I remember thinking that eventually everything will be out on DVD. Well, that hasn't exactly come true, and as we embark on a new high-def format era, I guess we have to start all over again. It is surprising to me that it has taken so long for She's Gotta Have It and Personal Best to make it to DVD at this late date. Nonetheless, I would gladly re-watch both of these movies, although I don't think Mariel Hemingway will make me feel as flushed as she did when I first saw this movie as a youngster.

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