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A feast in a time of plague.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

It's always exciting when the Australian film site Senses of Cinema does an update. Especially of note in the July/August issue is the piece on Canadian Guy Maddin. There's also a nice Spielberg discussion as well as plenty of other stuff. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


Rumor has it that Turner Classic Movies will in September be showing Magic Boy, the first anime to ever be released in the United States. Now, if only the scumbags at Comcast hadn't dropped TCM from my cable package......


What the heck is poor Simon Yam doing in the Tomb Raider sequel? Whatever the case may be, hear him talk about it here.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Yeah, I know, I said I wasn't gonna post squat this week. So I lied. In any case, I thought that this story about some Hong Kong distributors setting up a company to handle locally produced films was encouraging. I hope this takes off, it'd be nice to see this sort of localized response to the Hollywood juggernaut spring up in more places than Hong Kong.


I guess I wouldn't feel right if I didn't mention Blue Gate Crossing, a Taiwanese film about boys who like girls who like girls. But don't we all?


Last, but not least, Dead and Buried streeted yesterday. So where the hell is mine?


Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Does anyone really read this thing? In any case, I think I'm on break for a bit. If I find anything real good I'll still post it, but otherwise i think that I'm going to lay low this week.


Friday, July 25, 2003

Across the pond there's a couple of animation bigs joining together to form a new animation studio. More animation is good, and it's also great that Ealing is being redeveloped for animation as well.

And it looks like I have a new DVD to import from Europe (and what with the dollar route of late, it won't be cheap). Be that as it may, The Shunned House is an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story by Ivan Zuccon that has been getting some rave reviews in the forums that I frequent. Look for a review of this one eventually over at BOP

Speaking of obscure new horror films, I also just heard about Steven Mena's Malevolence, which looks very interesting. This sure seems like a terrific year for horror films, is all I can say. Bring on Cabin Fever!

Let's close today with an interview with the prolific Takashi Miike speaking about his new film, Gozu. This is yet another film that I cannot wait for.


Thursday, July 24, 2003

Columbia Pictures Worldwide has picked up the international rights to Sylvia Chang's 20:30:40. Lee Sin-Je and Rene Liu star in this one, so I'm already there.


According to Creature Corner, Variety has reported that some Hammer films will be dug from their graves to be remade.


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The critic's lineup has been announced for this year's Venice Film Festival. I know very little about any of these entries, though I have heard a little about Mr. Butterfly (the Korean entry) and Royston Tan's Fifteen won a special achievement award at last year's Singapore International Film Festival.


Over at Silent Era there's some killer news about a couple of early gems coming soon. for one, they have the details of the upcoming disk of the 1925 Phantom of the Opera. But even more exciting is word of Image releasing a DVD that has a number of films by French silent film comedian Max Linder. I've never seen this stuff, and as this guy is supposedly one of the greatest silent comedians this is a release that I'm awaiting quite anxiously.


Just stumbled on this recap of PIFF. Some year I'll make it to this excellent festival, I hope.



Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Well, this is a little short--but what do you want, I've just gotten back from a few days off. In any case, here's something on a French animation fest in LA, DVD Drive-in has a review of the upcoming Dead and Buried DVD, Kinoeye writes about a Finnish thriller by someone that I never heard of and LoveHKFilm is back after a short hiatus.


Friday, July 18, 2003

It looks like the casting for the next movie by the director of Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) is all done and the production will start shooting in August. Audrey Tatou will (I assume) be the star of the film, an adaptation of a book by Frenchman Sebastien Jabisprot called A Very Long Engagement. I just recently finished reading this novel, and it was excellent.


There was a special preview screening of Cabin Fever in London, with director Eli Roth in attendance. Can I just go on record here as desperately wanting this movie to open as soo as frikkin' possible?


Thursday, July 17, 2003

Given the performance of traditionally animated offerings at the megaplex of late, many have posited that traditional animation is "dead". Here's an article that claims it ain't necessarily so. I'm not sure if I agree, since Hollywood is lemminglike enough to make this sort of thing a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I could be wrong.


Hmmmmm, well don't look at this one if you haven't seen 28 Days Later, but Fox Searchlight is attaching the first, downbeat ending to 1400 prints for its theatrical run. The scene will play after the credits roll, so don't leave early if you go. Another thing in this article caught my eye (caution: SEMI SPOILERS): "Searchlight contemplated re-releasing two versions of the film, one with the upbeat ending, the other with the downer conclusion. But Motion Picture Assn. of America rules prevent two versions of the same film from playing at the same time". I can honestly say that I don't know what that rule is for, it seems pretty stupid to me.





Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Japan Times has a nice little item on Chinese actress Zhou Xun. I saw her in Fruit Chan's excellent Hollywood Hong Kong, and I thought she was really great in that. But actually, she's even better in the Chinese Vertigo ripoff Suzhou River.


Over at Mondo Digital, there's a review of Bad Timing, an obscure Nicholas Roeg film that I'm ashamed to say that I had never even heard of previous to this. May have to throw that one on my next Benson's World order.


The fine folks at Midnight Eye have put up reviews for a couple of Japanese sequels. I think that I already want to see both of these movies so I probably won't even read these wrap ups, but if you have any interest in Battle Royale II or Ju-On 2.



Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Wow, over in Hong Kong (political aside: which is in the process of having all sorts of demonstrations that it should be very interesting to see how they play out) the HK pop stars keep crushing everyone in their path. And ouch, The Hulk is plummeting and should be out of the top tweny long before most of the other Hollywood stuff that's out there.


Reviews for the DVD of May just came out. This movie wasn't great, but there's some good moments in it, and Angela Bettis is actually quite good.


Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures started shooting Boogeyman down New Zealand way. There's a fair amount of genre stuff coming your way from these folks, like the vampire thriller 30 Days of Night and the remake of Ju-on: The Grudge.


Monday, July 14, 2003

Hey, it's Monday so there ain't much here today. But the details of the upcoming Looney Tunes DVD's are out, and they look pretty choice. It looks like an amzing 4 disc set, truly representative of some of the greatest cartoons ever.



Sunday, July 13, 2003

A little piece of Sunday morning thought on The Matrix et al from Sight and Sound for you that I found just after I wrote a piece on The Resurrection of the Little Match Girl.


Friday, July 11, 2003

An article in the Bangkok Post details the new rush in straight-to-VCD movies there. Personally, I'd be interested in seeing Iron Pussy, a "a tongue-in-cheek satirical saga of a demented superhero". For 99 baht, no less.


The Puchon festival opened with Wonderful Days, so we look forward to hearing about some of the great stuff planned here. Too bad about the Park Yun-kyo retrospective though, I guess maybe this guy's stuff is lost to the ages. Sigh.


And here's a cool chronology of animation that I stumbled on. Check out the animation on the World Wide Web page as well, there are lots of great links there.


I don't think I ever reported that Memories of Murder was awarded Best Picture at the 40th Daejong Awards. These awards were controversial as a couple films were pulled from consideration, but of the rest that were in I guess MOM was judged the big winner. Looking forward to seeing this one, myself.




Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hey, the Traci Lords book is out. I dunno if it's any good, but it should be worth a look at least.


There have been a lot of rumors about Zhang Ziyi appearing in the Korean sequel, My Wife is a Gangster 2. Well, those reports have now been confirmed. It sounds like the part will be a brief fighting cameo towards the end of the film. And I guess in her spare time these days, Ms. Ziyi is also in the business of selling Coke.



Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I'm not sure how much American movie ticket prices have risen since 1992 (though I'm sure it's well over the price of inflation) but a look at what has happened in Europe might be instructive when thinking in raw dollar terms about global box office. Some of those rates of increase are amazing, especially in a global economy where inflation has been well contained during the same time frame. I still say that actual tickets sold and not total box office dollars should be the gauge by which a movie's historical success is judged. If you don't adjust for inflation, actual dollar amounts don't mean all that much relatively.


Y'know, I really, really, really hated The Gods Must be Crazy, but it's still sad to hear that N!xau died. He actually ended up having a pretty decent career in Hong Kong films following the international success of Jamie Uys' execrable bit of patronizing bullshit. Especially of note is the 1991 comedy Crazy Safari.

Though traditional animation is alive and well on television, it's hard to argue with this USA Today piece that details the brutal theatrical run of late for classically drawn projects. Now I ain't got no kids, but to me this trend sure makes it look like older children are hard to sell on this stuff.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I had the day off yesterday, and though I blew off going to a matinee like I planned, I still managed to watch 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which was excellent. A real kung fu classic, and it's even got Lo Lieh, who is fast becoming one of my favorite actors from the heyday of the Shaw Brothers. I also finally watched the Indonesian puppet segment of Three, and while it was pretty muddled, it wasn't as awful as I had heard it described. I'd say that it was of interest enough to make me at least take a look at Nang Nak and Jan Dara, two other horror films by the same director.


Monday, July 07, 2003

The full Fantasia film festival lineup is up, and it looks pretty solid. Chock full of zombie goodness and all sorts of out there stuff.


Here's a sad one. Buddy Ebsen, once slated to be the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, has died. Probably most famous for his TV work as Jed Clampett and Barnaby Jones, he actually started his media career in musicals like Born To Dance.



Friday, July 04, 2003

Hey, Happy Independence Day and all that crap. Just a brief update today, what with all the barbecues and such. Plus, I think I'm going to the 11:30 Whale Rider. In any case, here's a preview of Montreal's Fantasia fest. This is shaping up to be a good one, and once the full lineup goes up, I'll post it.


Thursday, July 03, 2003

Ok, now this is cool. Filmmaking great Werner Herzog has gone to Scotland to make a documentary on the Loch Ness monster. I hope this starts a trend--maybe Gillermo del toro can do a piece on the chupacabra.


There's a new Korean film newsletter over at Darcy pacquet's web page. Great little overview of the recent + the soon to come from that nation, and a couple extra bits about their quota system and various other news items. Check it out--myself, I'm most looking forward to Wishing Stairs, though A Tale of Two Sisters also looks interesting.


Lastly, there are reports that Marvel Comics has entered the bidding for Artisan. I know we're at the crest of a wave of superhero movies and all, but I'm not sure that this sort of acquisition is really going to be that good an idea if successful. But Marvel's been run like crap for years now, so maybe it can't hurt.





Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Well, my blogging is dragging this week. Let's see if I can post something of note today to get some momentum back. The LA Times has a piece of analysis on CG animation that's worth a read. In business news, the big story is all about MGM's bid to acquire the entertainment assets of Vivendi-Universal. And hell, it's got that quote from the "president" of Box Office Prophets too.


Word is out that Strand Pictures has picked up the rights to the German film The Child I Never Was (Ein Leben Lang Kurze Hosen Tragen). This one's certainly a gamble, as it's the story of a child-murderer--not usually the kind of subject matter that puts American butts in American seats.


Creature Corner has an interesting little blurb on what Eli Roth will be working on after Cabin Fever comes out in the fall. It sure sounds like he's excited about it, at least.


Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Ah, they just keep dropping. And this one was a big one, with great actress Katherine Hepburn leaving this mortal coil. She was sure in some great films, though for some reason Holiday keeps getting overlooked, and it's really one of my favorites. Make no mistake, she was one of the greatest actresses of the twentieth century and will be greatly missed. A true titan of film.


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