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A feast in a time of plague.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Word from Hong Kong continues to be strong on Twins Effect, but not so much on Ang Lee's Hulk where the audience reaction seems fairly unenthusiastic. It's already dropped into 4th place at the box office there, which means it's dragging pretty badly already. And I'm not really a domestic box office geek or numbers cruncher, but I do expect it to drop off pretty badly this weekend in the US this weekend.


Good to see that the packaging for the August release of the 1980's horror film Critters. The art is actually sort of ugly, but I'm still pretty hepped on this one. (August is a gonna be real expensive). It's a nostalgia thing I'll admit--but c'mon: M. Emmett Walsh AND Dee Wallace-Stone! Aside to all those horror filmmakers still out there making movies--Ms. Stone is still active in the business, so please cast her again. Maybe she won't have to write those cheesy self help books if you do.


This news is pretty old, but I'm just catching it now. Apparently, Vitagraph has picked up the US rights for Bubba Ho-Tep. Yeehah.



Thursday, June 26, 2003

Looks like there's gonna be a sequel to My Life As McDull. It's to be called Pineapple Bun Prince, and if it's anything like the first it'll be a corker.


Interesting bit over at MonkeyPeaches, which is reporting that Tianjin Daily says that a version of ZHang Yimou's Hero with an additional 20 minutes will be released in China in July. Hmmmmm,


Twins Effect seems to be doing well in its opening run in Hong Kong, though as usual in the States, this one looks to be straight-to-video. Sigh.


Lastly, in festival news, it appears that Denys Arcand's Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions) will open this year's Toronto Film Festival. There's some other spiffy stuff coming as well--but, um, Marie-Josee Croze.


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Well, spit. Yesterday I was all excited about getting Salon Kitty by Tinto Brass only to find that DVD Empire has gone and changed the release date to "TBA". There's nothing about it getting delayed over at Blue Underground, so I don't know what the scoop is. Argh. Sometimes the DVD release game is a bitch.


Followup to the above: I went over and checked Deep Discount DVD, and not only did they have Salon Kitty in stock, but it was cheaper than the Empire, especially after their recent price raise. Usually I have good luck with DVD Empire, but on this order I skipped out on 'em.


The Bangkok Post is running this article on Nonzee Nimibutr, talking a lot about his new film. It's worth a look, especially if you liked his segment of the Hong Kong horror anthology, Three. I've also heard good things about his movie Nang Nak (click the hyperlink for this in the "reviews" list at the left of this main page) but I haven't yet seen it myself.



Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Well, it's an exciting day for Hong Kong, as The Twins Effect starts today. For those who don't know, The Twins are a Hong Kong pop/acting duo who really aren't twin sisters, though they look a bit alike. The two of them are actually pretty decent actresses though, as they proved in the wonderful Just One Look. I also just watched Charlene Choi in Joe Ma's Funeral March over the weekend, and she was excellent. I'm really looking forward to Twins Effect, I hope it lives up to its promise.


Here's a BBC piece on a battle that's going on over some classic animation from the former Soviet Union. It's a good example of why people don't necessarily want to do business in Russia, the place may have gone capitalist in style, but the substance is something else altogether.


As far as DVD releases go, it's also a great day. Pistol Opera, Salon Kitty, Doctor of Doom/Wrestling Women vs the Aztec Mummy and Chained Girls/Daughters of Lesbos are all winging their way to me as we speak. Too bad that Lizard in a Woman's Skin got pushed to July. What a world, what a world.



Monday, June 23, 2003

It looks like the much anticipated Steamboy, by renowned animator Katsuhiro Otomo, has been delayed until 2004. It had been scheduled for October, but I guess that's off the plate now.


London's Fright Fest has put up a preliminary program (er, programme, I mean) up for their August showings. Some good looking stuff here, including a couple I hadn't heard of like Malefique, Fear X, and Octane. This latter film I somehow have never even read a word about, but it's actually sort of intriguing. One last bit that I found amusing here at the LFF site was the description for The Butterfly Effect which describes Ashton Kucher's performance as "career best". That seems much like a pitcher with a career ERA of 12 allowing only eight runs in a start and being real happy about it.


Friday, June 20, 2003

The reviews are now pouring in for VCI's release of the Michael Gough vehicle Horrors of the Black Museum. I had been overlooking this one, but given the extras (and the price) I may just have to scoop it up.


I'm pretty skeptical about how this whole Hulk thing is gonna turn out (heck, I'm pretty skeptical about this whole Ang Lee thing, for that matter), though that won't stop me from going to check it out. In any case, you can read a brief chat with the director over at Superhero hype if'n you wish.


Lastly, in world cinema business news, cnnfn is reporting that AOL/TW is purchasing a big stake in a Shanghai multiplex. Hopefully, this'll prove a sounder investment than the AOL one has thus far for this media monolith.


Thursday, June 19, 2003

So check out the Stephen Chiau interview over at Premiere. If there's actually press going out on this guy, maybe that means that Miramax will actually be releasing their butchered version of Shaolin Soccer this time, instead of pushing it back yet again. But I won't be going.


Also of note is the news that Hou Hsiao Hsien will direct a feature length film that will be an homage to the great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. That sounds sufficiently interesting, and given the Taiwanese filmmaker's style it certainly isn't a surprise to find him doing a tribute to the Japanese master. Very cool.


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

In South Korea this past weekend, a domestic horror film became the biggest Korean made opener in history. The movie is called A Tale Of Two Sisters, and it's directed by Kim Jee-woon, who also directed the "Memories" segment of Three. While it still didn't get the kind of attendance in South Korea that Matrix Reloaded did, it's nice to see that the industry still seems to be local hits. I suppose the announcement about the Hollywood remake is in the offing.


So I'm considering crossing a personal rubicon and going out to buy a damned bootleg DVD on eBay. That's something that I more or less frown upon, since I do tend to like to buy legitimate discs from the people who own them. But hell, I'm just dying to see The Resurrection of the Little Match Girl, but for some stupid reason none of the Korean or Hong Kong releases have been put out with English subs. I mean, what the hell? I just would like to see this movie, and have for awhile....how long do I need to hold out before getting a proper release? They'd best hurry it up, or I'm going black market.



Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Well, it's death on the plate today. Last week we all heard about Gregory Peck heading to the great beyond, and today I've heard of two more film luminaries who just left this mortal coil. Hume Cronyn is one, a great actor who played roles in the movies for half a century. I'm still most partial to his turn as the nerdy Herbie Hawkins in Shadow of a Doubt, but overall he simply had a great career. Also sad was the item that told me that William Marshall was dead. He was a guy you'd probably recognize best from his Star Trek appearance, but he was also famous for his role as Blacula. Not to mention his stellar work on Pee Wee's Playhouse as the King of Cartoons. RIP.


Monday, June 16, 2003

The specs are out for the upcoming Dead and Buried DVD from Blue Underground. I'm really looking forward to this one, I somehow missed it during the Eighties.


If you live near the Egyptian Theatre, don't miss the Japanese Outlaw Masters series that starts later in the week. A great lineup of films--especially of note is the US premiere of Seijun Suzuki's Ankokugai No Bijo. Yowza.


Friday, June 13, 2003

Just yesterday the name of the famous porn star Seka came up in conversation, and then when I was looking at the full lineup (you'll have to look at it in Excel for now, the full HTML pages with details should go up later in the month) of films from the PiFan festival that I was talking about yesterday, I saw that there's a documentary about her showing. The international rights were supposedly picked up by Alliance International Pictures at Cannes, so hopefully Desperately Seeking Seka will play around a little at some point.


That's certainly not all that's playing at this festival though. I mentioned some of the highlights yesterday, but some of the shorts look amazing and a lot of the out of competition showings are incredible...besides things like Cabin Fever, 28 Days Later etc that are coming to the States shortly, there are films such as Yomigaeri, Eden, Mercano the Martian, Gozu, Tongan Ninja, Fear and Trembling and so much more! I'm completely jealous of anyone who actually gets to go to this festival. Amazing.


Thursday, June 12, 2003

Yahoo! News writes that the Chinese animation industry is struggling these days. There appears to be some hope for the future, though, if the paucity of animators vanishes in years to come.


Also on the animation front, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival has announced its July lineup, and opening the festival will be the much anticipated Korean animation film Wonderful Days. They seem to have put together a great festival, with special sections of Shaw Brothers films, Kinji Fukasaku, Guy Maddin and Bollywood and a special tribute to Korean horror film maker Park Yun-kyo. Also showing in competition will be good looking stuff like Save the Green Planet, Robot Stories, Moon Child, Kopps, Occident and more!


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Wow, what a slow day in film news....scouring the obscure news sites there's not that much to report on. I mean, I completely refuse to link to any news about the unnecessary remake of Dawn of the Dead. I did read a review of an interesting sounding fifties Chinese film called Air Hostess that's piqued my interest, if only for the jet age design. I also saw at DVDBeaver that there's an R2 version of one of my favorite director's films coming out that I've never seen, Clouzot's Les Espions. I sure hope that it's subtitled!


Other than that, there's not much to do except ponder the onslaught of Rainer Werner Fassbinder films coming out this month....there's a whole slew of releases on Wellspring and Criterion. I already bought Beware of a Holy Whore (a film that I love, love, love), and I'm likely bound to pick another two or three up. That should be good for my morale.


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Didja catch the Terrence Rafferty piece in the Times on Asian ghost stories? Not a bad article, and it sure beats his overzealous lamenting about how art is being affected by the DVD a few weeks back. It's sort of unfortunate that practically all he talks about is Nakata's The Ring and the Pang Brothers' The Eye, but once again, you take what you can get in this life.


Over in France, the Annecy animation festival concluded over the weekend, with top honors going to Tony Yuen's My Life As McDull. I bought the VCD of this film a while back for super-cheap, and it was worth every penny. Nice to see it get some wider recognition, it's really a nice little film with a unique style.


If you live in NYC, I feel sorry for you for a lot of reasons, but at least you get the chance to go to the New York-Tokyo Film Festival June 13-15. There's some killer stuff here, from Sogo Ishii films to Junichi Sato animation. It almost makes it worth living in a hellhole, doesn't it?


Monday, June 09, 2003

Finally broke down and ordered the HK flick So Close over the weekend. I piled on with the cheap Stephen Chow flick From Beijing With Love just for fun. So Close stars Karen Mok, Zhao Wei, and Shu Qi. There are still a couple other 2002 HK films that I need to pick up, as I still have yet to see Golden Chicken or Infernal Affairs. By some accounts the lower end of HK production is suffering badly these days, but personally the stuff at the top is still looking fairly healthy to me--though I'm still digesting 2002 at this point instead of any releases from this year.


I haven't been to the drive-in for a few years, but I guess some are still hanging on out in the world, which is nice. I'll never forget the time I saw Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster at the Framingham Drive In.


Friday, June 06, 2003

So yesterday I wrote an update, and then Blogger ate the damned thing when I submitted it. And then today I wrote one up, and my power went out and I lost it. Sigh. So I'm just quickly going to post this, in hopes that it makes it. Check out DVDManiacs and read their spiffy review of Blue Underground's cool new release of the 1974 lesbian vampire film Vampyres. Mmmmmmmm, Anulka Dziubinska. I may just review this one over at BOP, so keep your eyes peeled for that...I'll likely double it up with Daughters of Darkness, the other entrant in this genre that just recently came out.


Another interesting item for today is the announcement that the next Wes Anderson film will be an underwater adventure made in collaboration with Henry Selick, who is best known for his stop motion animation on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Interesting choice of genre here, I'm intrigued.


Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Slow day today, not that much to point out. ScreenDaily has an item on Columbia Asia backing the next Stephen Chow film. But hell, we're still waiting for the butchered Shaolin Soccer to open in the States, now aren't we?


Roy Lee, who was recently profiled in the New Yorker, continues to ride the Asian remake train to Hollywood. KOFIC's site is reporting that Vertigo Entertainment has scooped up the rights to Addicted in association with Spitfire Pictures. It's a Korean film starring Lee Byung-Hun, a story about two brothers who end up in comas on the same day.


In a last note for today, the always excellent DVD Drive-in reports that Columbia will add to the already insane August release schedule by letting loose the rare Boris Karloff film The Devil Commands. It's becoming patently obvious that this late summer month will be draining many dollars from my tattered wallet.


Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Yikes, I'm falling down on the job already. There likely ain't anybody even reading this thing though, so who cares? In any case, just too much to do of late. Too many books to read, too much web to surf, too many movies to watch. Last night I saw a hilariously great old German decapitated cranium movie called The Head. This movie is a riot, and to add to its atmosphere Hermann Warm helped do the production design. Warm worked in German silent films, most famously on The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, a movie well known to Film As Art 101 students.


Over in Britains's Guardian Unlimited is an interview with Takashi Miike, Japan's notoriously prolific director. Fifty movies in ten years is a Fassbinderian pace, and at this point I've only seen a couple, but the man really can make a movie IMO. I'm just dying to see his latest, Gozu which sounds absolutely fantastic. Lord only knows when it'll hit here, though, as we're only now getting Fudoh and Ichi this month.


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