Late. As usual.
Come Drink With Me (1966) directed by King Hu
Finally. Come Drink With Me arrives with the original soundtrack, respectable subtitles and beautiful widescreen Shaw Scope. Between Come Drink With Me and Touch of Zen and Dragon Inn few directors gave so much to the genre of swordplay films than King Hu. Come Drink With Me Kong release a few years ago by set the standard on the tavern brawl that has been repeated, parodied and imitated in hundreds of films. This was also Chen Pei-pei's first big role, and, at age 20, made her something of a superstar. It's a thrilling film that stands the test of time. Dragon Dynasty has been kind enough to include the special features that were included in the remastered HongIVL. (It was one of IVL's first re-releases of the Shaw's catalog, and they made sure to include good special features.) It includes a commentary from Chen Pei-pei and Bey Logan (who is currently responsible for TWC/Dragon Dynasty's smart choices), interviews with Tsui Hark (greatly influence by King Hu), actress Cheng Pei-pei, actor YuehHua and Bey Logan. (Not a fan of the cover that Dragon Dynasty has come up with - as if Cheng Pei-pei has just gotten up from a tussle in bed.)
Cassandra's Dream (2007) directed by Woody Allen
Cassandra's Dream was released shortly after Sidney Lumet's very very similar Before the Devil Knows Your Dead last year and it mostly got ignored. It's too bad, because the Woody Allen film is the better of the two in so many ways: the story and pacing is about as tight as it gets and the acting is above and beyond. Colin Farrell's performance was totally overlooked as one of the best of the year. Really.
The Violin (2005) directed by Francisco Vargas
The Violin is now available to the common folk. Subscribers to Film Movement, an indie DVD club of sorts, receive DVD releases almost three month ahead of street date. (Personally, I love getting a random DVD every month and would recommend anyone interested to subscribe.) The Walker screened this film as part of their Cinemateca series last November.
Heroes of the East (1979) directed by Lau Kar Leung
Another cornerstone of the Shaw's catalog known in dub-land as Shaolin Challenges Ninja. Action star Gordon Liu and director Lau Kar Leung are a team to be reckoned with in this film and the many others they did together.
The Thief of Bagdad (1940) directed by Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, and Tim Whelan
Your two-disc Criterion fantasy classic release of the week. Fans will love the special features on the set.
Noriko's Dinner Table (2005) directed by Sion Sono
At first glance Noriko's Dinner Table may seem like just another odd violent exploitation film from Japan, but anyone who has seen other films by Sono (Suicide Club and Exte) know that his films fall firmly outside of the box. This release is out of nowhere (by Tidepoint/Facets?) and I am tempted pick up simply to support the studios efforts. Check out Tom Mes' review here. Check out trailer here.
The Walker (2007) directed by Paul Schrader
This should be a list of recommendations, but it is also my civic duty to steer people away from films that I have been unfortunate enough to see. Do not be seduced by the cast and credentials of this film. It. Is. Terrible.