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A feast in a time of plague.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Ok, now even Artforum is getting into the act in writing about films from Asia. This lengthy rave extols the virtues of Johnnie To. I'm not convinced that the bit about him badmouthing Sammi Cheng is all that accurate, though. But she certainly isn't the second coming of Greta Garbo or anything.

And don't miss the nice interview thats up at DVDManiacs with Bill Lustig, the man behind the great work now being done at Blue Underground. This is a company any cult movie true believer should fall down and worship. Me, I'm already awaiting my copies of the films they streeted this week--Baba Yaga, Vampyres and Daughters of Darkness. They have lots of great stuff in the pipeline as well, like a whole spate of films by Larry Cohen, a 2 disc set of Paul Sherman's Dead and Buried, and eventually some classic Hammer Studios films. Keep 'em coming pal, I'll be buying.

Yow! Here's a last item for those in the LA Area--the June 28-29 Hollywood Collector's Show will feature an appearance by all three pussycats from Russ Meyers' epic classic Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. So go out and see Haji, Lori Williams and Tura Satana. To have Tura sneer at you and say "you won't find it down there, Columbus" is an opportunity that should not be missed, film fans.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Fresh off the Cannes film festival, the Taipei Times has a short article on Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye, whose recent film Purple Butterfly just played there. Personally I've avoided reading too much about the film since I already know that I want to see it, but Lord only knows when it'll hit the States. Hopefully the DVD will come out early, so that I can just import the damned thing.

Now I've got some good news, and some bad news. The good: Palm Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Tian Zhuangzhuang's Springtime In a Small Town. It's slated for a fall release, though I'm sure that means the art house circuit here and there and a college town or two. Either way, I'll take it. And the bad: it seems that I've found yet another movie that ol' Harvey Weinstein and Miramax seem to have no idea what to do with. The film is Vincenzo Natali's Cypher, a thriller that's played all over Europe to great reviews, but is now sitting in the vaults with all that other stuff that this company doesn't know what to do with. Like Jaume Balaguero's Darkness. And the Christina Ricci vehicle The Gathering. And the UK comedy Plots With A View. Just don't get me started on the Asian stuff they're kicking around, either. Sigh.

Lastly, horse racing fans anxiously awaiting Funny Cide's run at the Triple Crown and the upcoming release of Seabiscuit should hightail it over to the Blood Horse and read about the NTRA contest that you can enter to go to the film's Los Angeles premiere. What could be better than getting out of a limo to hobnob with the Hollywood cognoscenti and a bunch of world class jockeys?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

A good quick read over at the New York Press on the career of actor Robert Kernan, whose ouevre contains highlights such as Debbie Does Dallas, Cannibal Holocaust, and Spiderman.

A recent article in Time Asia talks about Bar Girls, a new film that has now become Vietnam's top grosser of all time.

An amazing batch of Hong Kong filmmakers (such as Wong Kar-Wai, Fruit Chan, Tsui Hark, Joe Ma et al) seem to have signed on to make short public service movies concerning the deadly SARS virus. I'd like to see these show here in the States, perhaps before screenings of 28 Days Later and Cabin Fever.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Newsweek has a new piece on Disney's recent economic state and Michael Eisner's plans to set things straight. I guess he's under a little pressure as the stock price has come down from 44$ in 2000 to the sub-twenty level it sits at today.

Zhang Yimou's gorgeous movie Hero has inspired some great articles that I've been reading on the web now that I finally watched this film on DVD. I'd have preferred, of course, to see it in a theater but who knows when Miramax will get around to showing it here? In any case, here's one that Shelly Kraicer wrote up for Cinemascope. And if you want to read some other excellent stuff on Chinese film, check out her quality website, A Chinese Cinema Page.

Lastly today, interesting thing that came out of this year's e3 Videogame Expo was a look at an upcoming Peter Molyneaux game that should interest movie fans. It's called The Movies, and it sounds like it'll allow you to become a bit of a director in your own way. Certainly one of the most interesting looking things in what was a fairly lackluster year at the show

Monday, May 26, 2003

The prizes are in at Cannes. Gus van Sant has taken home the Palme d' Or for his film Elephant. The Grand Prix prize went to Uzak directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Interestingly, the jury bypassed normal Cannes awards about only giving a single prize per film, as the two aforementioned films as well as Denys Arcand's Canadian film Les Invasion Barbares. I guess the jury really didn't like the quality of this year's entries all that much if they felt it necessary to double up on awards for three films.

Over at Hoover's Online, there's an article about the sort of digital tools that are used for things like wire removal in Jackie Chan's Highbinders.

Another article not to miss is a fascinating piece by Berenice Reynaud down at the fantastic online magazine Senses of Cinema--The Book,
the Goddess and the Hero: Sexual Politics in the Chinese Martial Arts Film
. There's some other great stuff in this issue, like an overview of the work of Michael Haneke. Do yourself a favor and check out this great site.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Today's a good day to read some exciting cartoon news teasing the upcoming Looney Tunes DVD's and some other amazing work that Warners appears to be doing with the Paramount Popeye cartoons they own. Suffice it to say that if you're a fan of classic cartoons, this note will have you slobbering in anticipation like a Tex Avery wolf.

Rainy day weekend here in the Northeast, not much to do but watch + order movies. What would I do without
Poker Industries? (Spend more money at DVDShelf, I suppose. Picked up yet another of the Shaw Brothers releases (36th Chamber of Shaolin) and an Angelica Lee vehicle called Princess-d. And of course I got ten percent off by using the code available at the always interesting Asian forum at MHVF.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Well, it looks like it's been a full year since I posted anything of my own to blogger, so I guess today is as good a time as any to create a new blog and try something new. As opposed to what I've done before, the new tack here will be movie related, so you won't have to listen to me blathering about boring stuff like steel tariffs anymore (*yawn*). In the last year I've done some writing for a site called Box Office Prophets and with that writing have been thinking more and more about concentrating on film as a blog project. So that's what you're gonna get, here on out.

Topics covered will likely run the gamut of anything that happens to catch my eye on a particular day or whatever is currently obsession of the week. I have a serious DVD habit these days, so following the upcoming releases may be a common occurence. Or perhaps in conjunction with that you'll be forced to listen to what I have coming in the mail in the week from my favorite vendors. I've got a great pre-order coming in a couple days, so in week like this you'd have to hear about things such as The Head, Beware of a Holy Whore, Dead of Night/Queen of Spades, and Angels/Getting Into Heaven.

But there's all sorts of things that happen all over the film world to talk about. Heck, right now it's the Cannes Film Festival and while there seems to be much hand-wringing over the films being shown this year, that doesn't seem to be any reason not to point out a red carpet picture of Zhang Ziyi. And in reality, I'm a little skeptical about all the teeth gnashing and critical lamentations emanating from the sunny side of France. You've got new movies by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, François Ozon, Samira Makhmalbaf, Ye Lou and Raoul Ruiz in competition (among others) and I'm supposed to weep for the future of cinema? Please.

So I think with this blog I'm simply just going to point out anything that I happen to stumble over on the web that I find of interest. That might be a Spanish film that I just discovered, an interesting 2002 overview of Hong Kong cinema, a vintage porn vendor, an ongoing Asian film festival in Dallas, a piece on experimental Japanese animation, an interview with the director of Wrong Turn or whatever else I find while perusing the whole wide world of cyberspace. What the heck, I read this stuff anyway. Might as well aggregate it for others. So c'mon back and see what I find.


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