Friday, August 1, 2008

DVD releases for July 29

More than a few releases worth mentioning:

Privilege (1967) directed by Peter Watkins
It is amazing that Watkins made this film over 40 years ago. When I saw it a few years ago at a particularly well-programed the Sound Unseen in town, I was blown away by the relevance of this prince puppet parable. The film follows mega pop star Steven Shorter who has the masses hooked like a messiah. Needless to say Shorter is no more than a well-marketed icon. Privilege is done in Watkin's documentary style, and compared to his other films, with limited effect on the believability factor. Fortunately, it doesn't really matter. The power of Privilege is its overall analysis of power structures and the manipulation of the naïves, a structure that is very much in place right here and now. Peter Watkins may have been voicing his concern about his home country, but there was never a better analogy for what is going on right in front of our eyes, whether it be with George W. Bush or Britney Spears.

Doomsday (2008) directed by Neil Marshall
Neil Marshall took his success with The Descent and made a film where he simply lowered the bar to the most base level of entertainment. I'm tempted to say Doomsday is so bad its good, but the conditions in which someone would actually enjoy this film are pretty limited. If you are willing to accept that Marshall is doing nothing more than simply having a row, it's a pretty fun ride.

Tai Chi Master (1993) directed by Yuen Wo Ping
An emblem of 90s Hong Kong action movies, Tai Chi Master contains the perfect combination of Michelle Yeoh, Jet Li and director Yuen Wo Ping. The action is cleverly kinetic and endlessly enjoyable. Once again, Dragon Dynasty is doing its best to repair the Weinstein's reputation by re-releasing this under its original title (instead of Twin Warriors under the Dimension label) and offering improved picture and soundtrack with a fair amount of extras.

Hair Extensions (2007) directed by Sion Sono
I'm more than aware of how stupid this movie sounds, and it probably does little to explain that, although serious in it's intentions, Hair Extensions uses irony to its benefit. Yes, it is the curse of the dead girl's hair that reeks havoc in this bizarre movie. Sion Sono is no ordinary director or writer.

Surfwise (2007) directed by Doug Pray
This documentary seemed fascinating when I saw the trailer, but that doesn't mean I caught it when it was in the theater. If you think your childhood was strange, the Paskowitz family with two parents and nine children were livin' the alternative life to the extreme.

The Deal (2003) directed by Stephen Frears
Originally broadcast on BBC Channel 4, The Deal dramatizes Tony Blair's rise to power. Starring Michael Sheen, who reprised his role in Frears' The Queen.

Young and Restless in China (2008) directed by Sue Williams
What is this? I don't know, but it might be interesting viewing before the 2008 Summer Mega Media Olympics. Reportedly about "the lives of nine Chinese Gen X'ers over four years as they scramble to keep pace with a society changing faster than any in history."

Challenge of the Masters (1978) directed by Lau Kar Leung
Yet another Shaw Brothers release to hit the US streets starring the perpetually cool Gordon Liu as the perpetual hero Wong Fei Hung.

The Band's Visit (2007) directed by Eran Kolirin
Popular arthouse comedy that may be just as predictable as it is heartfelt and sharp-witted.

Shine a Light (2008) directed by Martin Scorsese
I guess if you can't afford the $150 tickets to a Stones concert and you are really dying to see this guys pretend they are still rock stars, this is the way to go. Now maybe I'm being too harsh giving the fact that I haven't seen this concert movie, and I feel that at the very least the DVD is worth noting, but I really have no idea what Scorsese is doing.

Masters of Horror: Season 2 box set
Check out that packaging!

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