Stellar. Just look at those first three images.
Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu: Eclipse Series 13
Eclipse has outdone themselves. Hiroshi Shimizu, friend and collaborator with Yasujiro Ozu, is virtually unknown in the West. The opportunity to see him films (with subtitles) will add another dimension to an era canonized by Ozu, Mizoguchi and Naruse. There are four titles included in the set: Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933), Mr. Thank You (1936), The Masseurs and a Woman (1938) and Ornamental Hairpin (1941). Crazy guy Katsuhiro Ishii (Funky Forest) just made an adaptation of Shimizu's The Masseurs and a Woman. All reports were that the adaption was very faithful to the original, and I'm glad I can actually make that assessment myself! Buy this set and support the efforts of Eclipse. I will gladly add this set to the stacks of to-be-watched. Check out Dave Kern's rundown of the set here.
Dodes'ka-Den (1970) directed by Akira Kurosawa
I have been thinking a lot about Dodes'ka-Den lately. After seeing Oshima's Burial of the Sun last year, I was convinced it was one of the most apocalyptic depictions of post-War Japan I had ever seen. Until I remembered Dodes'ka-Den, but barely remembered. It has to be over 10 years since I've seen it. Perfect timing: a remastered DVD with a very cool cover. Comparisons aside, Dodes'ka-Den is an interesting film all on its own. Kurosawa had just been canned from the production of Tora! Tora! Tora! and Dodes'ka-Den was Kurosawa's attempt at resurrecting his career. Meanwhile films were out, TV was in. Due to the state of the film industry, Kurosawa started his own production company along with Masaki Kobayashi, Kon Ichikawa and Keisuke Kinoshita called the four of Clubs. Dodes'ka-Den was the first and only film for the failed production company. It was also Kurosawa's first color film and made uncharacteristically quick (one month versus two years for his previous film, Red Beard.) No one is going to say that Dodes'ka-Den is Kurosawa's best film, but it shows an adventurous side to a master filmmaker whose career was starting to wane.
The F.W. Murnau Collection - Nosferatu (1922), Faust (1926), The Last Laugh (1924), Tartuffe (1925), The Haunted Castle (1921), The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924)
This set is notable for the inclusion of a brand new version of Faust, The Haunted Castle and The Finances of the Grand Duke (all available separately) with the other three simply throw-ins previously available from Kino. Faust was originally released to different markets in seven different versions. Is this new one the best one? I have no idea, but it purports to be from Murnau's own stash.
Yella (2007) directed by Christian Petzold
I missed this German film at last years MSPIFF despite an insider tip that it was a film not to be missed. Yella may be one of New Yorker's last obligations for domestic release.
Elegy (2008) directed by Isabel Coixet
The best part of cataloging DVD releases is realizing how many films I missed in the theater. This is one that I probably should have set aside my misgivings and seen. Check out the Japanese website (the only one still functioning) through the link above.
Punisher: War Zone (2008) directed by Lexi Alexander
This is one where my misgivings probably saved me from seeing a terrible movie.
And for all you vampires-in-love fans, released on Saturday because it is so special:
Twilight (2008) directed by Catherine Hardwicke