Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DVD releases for November 11

Blood and Bones (2004) directed by Yoichi Sai
Yoichi Sai's epic story of a Korean immigrant in Japan is easily one of the toughest films you are going to be faced with for the unrelenting brutality of the lead character played by Takashi Kitano. That being said, Blood and Bones was also one of the best Japanese films of 2004, pulling down a number of awards as well as critical praise. Based on a book Soguri Yang wrote about his father, the film spans 60 years of Shunpei Kim life: from his arrival in Osaka on a boat to his eventual return to North Korea. It's a dark and unflinching film about surviving at the bottom. Part gangster film, part period drama, and part history of the down trodden, Blood and Bones is the kind of pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps story that makes absolutely no attempt to be uplifting. Kitano is amazing.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) directed by Takashi Miike
For those who only know Miike as the director of Audition, it should be known that he has a great sense of humor that exudes almost all his films. Sukiyaki Western Django is no different; it's nearly as fun as it is funny. Miike employs every action film icon from Honshu to Topeka to great effect. A Japanese variation on the Spaghetti Western, it pays homage to samurai and gunslingers alike.

Love and Honor (2007) directed by Yoji Yamada
Director of the much-loved Tora-san films (48 of them!), Yoji Yamada has made a comeback in recent years with his period samurai films. First with Twilight Samurai, then with Hidden Blade and now with Love and Honor. Make no mistake, all three of these films are about nostalgia—filmic nostalgia. These are solid films that may not be great, but they do enough to be good.

Hellboy II (2007) directed by Guillermo del Toro
Give me Hellboy any day over that bloated bat megoloman.

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (2006) directed by Jennifer Fox
This film played during the Expanding the Frame series at the Walker this past Spring, and it had the appeal of a wet noodle. But that is just me.

Mister Foe (2007) directed by David Mackenzie
After seeing the trailer for months, I guess this film won't be playing theatrically here.


Dan said...

Yamada trilogy is excellent! Now I've ordered his last "Kaabee", can't wait.

Daniel Getahun said...

Hellboy II was fantastic - and I didn't even see the first one!

Kathie Smith said...

I also like the Yamada trilogy, but I don't think there is anything necessarily new here.

"I'm not a baby, I'm a tumor." I loved Hellboy, like, ten times more than Batman.

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