Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DVD releases for May 13

If it weren't bad enough that Raiders of the Lost Ark is going to be an unavoidable topic in about a week, we are also blessed with special edition DVDs of everything and anything Raiders oriented. You will have to research those yourself. Others I am more than willing to point out:

Frontier(s) (2007) directed by Xavier Gens
The streets of Paris are in chaos. Amongst the riots are five friends attempting to leave the city with a bag full of cash obtained by dubious means. The group separates and promise to meat up somewhere in the frontiers. Unfortunately the quaint little inn they chose is run by a family of inbred Nazis who have a taste for human flesh. Sound familiar? It is pretty easy to rattle off a half dozen films that have a very similar premise. Gens is after something a little more interesting even if it is buried under a fair amount of gratuitous violence than most will find distasteful. Frontier(s) was originally in the lineup for the 2007 Horrorfest that toured various cities, but due to rating problems of some sort, the film was pulled. A theatrical release was promised after the rating issue was worked out, but that never happened. Second best is a good horror film at home on DVD. It is touted as the unrated director's cut, but I don't think anything else existed. Frontier(s) is not for the faint of heart, but for those interesting in another take on a familiar genre should check this out. There are some heart-racing moments and the grand finale is just over-the-top stylized craziness.

Lost in Beijing (2007) directed by Li Yu
From the director of Fish and Elephant and Dam Street, comes her best film yet. A modern homage to Beijing. Keep you eyes glued to this blog for a full review very very soon.

Stray Bullet (1960) directed by Yu Hyun-Mok
Finding titles like this in the new release bin makes combing through all the crap totally worth it. In the words of the fine folks at "Yu Hyun-mok is remembered today as one of the three master filmmakers from Korea who debuted in the 1950s (together with Kim Ki-young and Shin Sang-ok), and as the creator of Obaltan (Stray Bullet) 1961, which has repeatedly been voted the best Korean film of all time in local critics' polls. Passionately committed to making and teaching film throughout his career, Yu took a decidedly intellectual approach to cinema which at times left him out of favor in an industry dominated by Korea's military government and commercially-oriented producers. Although often described as Korea's foremost practitioner of cinematic realism, a closer look at his work reveals an eclectic mix of styles and approaches that defy easy definition."

Steal a Pencil for Me (2007) directed by Michele Ohayon
A documentary about an unusual story of a husband, wife and the husbands girlfriend ending up in the same concentration camp. The lovers (that would be husband and girlfriend) sustain themselves through the ordeal with the letters they wrote to each other.

Demon Pond (2005) directed by Takashi Miike
You just never know when another movie from Takashi Miike that you have never heard of is going to show up. A quick search on the film shows that I should have heard about it and that it might be better than I first expected. It looks like Demon Pond is a stage play directed by Miike in 2005. This is a video document of the play. Demon Pond is apparently based on an old Shochiku movie.

La Chinoise (1968) and Le Gai Savoir (1969) directed by Jean-Luc Godard
I was under the impression that these two films were already available on DVD because I know I have seen them and I'm pretty sure not in the theater. Anyway. Perhaps all the nostalgia for May 1968 demanded new releases.

The Master (1980) directed by Tony Liu
Another Shaw Brothers release. And one I have not seen. Check out the trailer here.

The Lovers (1959) The Fire Within (1963) directed by Louis Malle
Two Criterion releases for us all to swoon over.

Youth Without Youth (2007) directed by Francis Ford Coppola
I just can't say this film looked very good, but I feel guilty for judging it without seeing it. On the other hand, do I really want to spend two hours on a film I'm not interested in? Someone tell me this film is worth watching and I will watch it.

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