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A feast in a time of plague.

Friday, August 29, 2003

More MHVF chatroom notes: Bruce Holecheck reveals some of Blue Underground's 2004 release schedule. As always, there's some killer stuff--and the things he can't mention are also sure to be pretty fine.

MGM's gone out and bought a Hong Kong TV channel to show their content on. (Thanks to the always solid Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review, where I found the link.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Royston Tan's 15, a film on Singaporean teens will play at the Venice Film Festival, though it hasn't even been approved for general theatrical release in its home country.

Happy birthday to Golden Age XXX starlet Kay Parker, a woman known for playing the mature type in films like Sweet Young Foxes. One of the true classic performers of her era.

Is it time for another remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers already? Finney's story really is sort of timeless (and if you haven't read the book, you should) so we'll probably get an update every fifteen years or so. That I can handle.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I don't often just link to chatroom posts, but chances are that this one is accurate. It claims that Shaolin Soccer has been delayed yet again! Kill me now.

The full list of films and descriptions for the Toronto International Film Festival is up, and damn if it ain't a corker. This is the best fest in the world (even if I might rather go to Pifan. This lineup is just insane--if you live in Toronto and you don't go check out some of this stuff, you're a fool. Yes, I said it, a fool.

It's too bad that Wonderful Days, a Korean animated film, didn't do too well at the box office there. Read more about this and the industry in general from Yahoo news.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Well, here it is. August 26, perhaps the greatest cult movie day of the year, and though I've written about this before, I just can't help doing so again. MGM's DVD division hits hard with The Brood, The Howling Special Edition, Squirm, Burnt Offerings, The Vampire Lovers/Countess Dracula, The Haunted Palace/Tower of London, The Comedy of Terrors/The Raven, The Ghoul, Troll/Troll 2 and more! Blue Underground follows up with a Larry Cohen trio--Bone, God Told Me to and Q, The Winged Serpent. And Fantoma piles on with two new releases in their Educational Archives series covering religion and patriotism. Phew. Makes me glad that Mondo Macabro pushed Aswang back to 9/1/03, I'm goddamned broke already.

It's still coming along, so there's not a huge amount of content yet, but the Aussie Asian film site Heroic Cinema has undergone a redesign. This bunch has a great attitude and does quality work, so bookmark it and keep an eye out for new stuff. It'll be worth your while.

California Supreme court rules with the DVD industry in a long running suit pitting trade secrets vs free speech. Blech.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Fantasia 2003 was awhile back, but KFCC has a nice recap with some pictures that's worth a look.

Not this old chestnut! The Prime Minister of Malaysia claims that films are corrupting the youth of his country. It's worse than those nasty currency traders....

The new Tsai Ming-Liang film (Goodbye, Dragon Inn) will be playing at the Venice Film Festival, and frankly, it sounds fantastic.

Midnight Eye has an excellent interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa. And I'm not sure if I ever linked to their recap of Pifan 2003, but that's a definite read if you haven't seen it.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Has Gong Li gone and taken up with a much younger man, throwing over her husband of seven years? Perhaps, though the Chinese press isn't always the most reliable source for rumors such as this one.

In the forum of the always excellent Koreanfilm.org site, I stumbled onto this post talking about a new Korean sci-fi film called Natural City. The official site is up, and this one looks fairly promising, if you ask me.

Y'know, I don't really want to wait until October to buy the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. But I guess i will. Though I'll probably buy it over here, where it's a bit cheaper.

Scroll down a bit over at MonkeyPeaches to read the exclusive item on Sammo Hung being replaced on the set of Kung Fu by Yuen Woo Ping. It sounds like maybe Stephen Chow and Sammo didn't get along too well.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I saw Ronny Yu's Freddy vs Jason yesterday, and though it had some entertaining moments and the direction was steady enough, I thought that it was brought down by the weakness of the principal cast members and a brutally awful screenplay. And even worse, it now appears that the wild rumors that Evil Dead Ash might put in an appearance in another crossover sequel are entirely false. Rats.

Was it the success of the Blue Sunshine and Squirm discs that have brought Jeff Lieberman back to make a new horror film? In any case, it's nice to see him return to the genre, and we'll be waiting for this one.

I find myself nearly always disappointed by Tim Burton films, but I'll admit that Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka sounds intriguing. It'd be better than Mark Wahlberg, that's for goddamned sure.

The official site for My Wife as a Gangster has gone live, and Zhang Ziyi fans should know that their idol will be making a brief appearance towards the end of this Korean film.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

It's getting to be that time of year, so both Toronto and New York have announced the lineups for their respective film festivals. There's plenty there to chew on, and it looks like (as always) there'll be some good stuff coming out of these two events.

Also in film fest news, the Locarno Film Festival has announced the winners of the Golden Leopards for 2003.

Blue Underground is really outdoing themselves with the Larry Cohen releases next week. You've got Bone, God Told Me To and my personal favorite, Q, the Winged Serpent. BU has just had and amazing year, and they sure aren't done for 2003. Even better, rumor has it that they've said that they're working on a release for next year of Gary Sherman's Vice Squad. Coooooool.

Seabiscuit actor Gary Stevens released from the hospital after suffering a trampling over the weekend in a big stakes race. He's lucky to have only gotten a collapsed lung, as he easily could have been killed in the spill.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I missed this one yesterday, but it was 33 years ago on August 18, 1970 that Soledad Miranda died. The star of Vampyros Lesbos and Eugenie de Sade, Miranda's life was tragically cut short in an automobile accident.

Fangoria has the exclusive House of the Dead trailer. Thanks to Creature Corner for pointing that one out.

Be sure to check out 1:99 Short films, a selection of short films by many of Hong Kong's best filmmakers dealing with the SARS crisis.

I'm not usually much of one for reunion projects, but in the case of the Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill girls, I'll make an exception.

Lastly, there's always room here for a new interview with the great Maggie Cheung, one of the best Hong Kong actresses of all time.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Thailand is hoping to become a place where more location shooting can happen, if they can cut the red tape.

And DVD piracy is rampant in China, in case you didn't know.

Also at the much maligned Grey Lady, yesterday's Arts section had a whole slew of articles on the DVD phenomenon. The Elvis Mitchell piece is especially of note, but there are also other interesting items on action film popularity and interactive porn.

It really looks like 2D animation at Disney is going the way of the dodo, as the Mouse House releases a batch of talented animators. I love CGI, myself, but that's a bit sad to anyone who grew up on Fantasia and Snow White.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Fresh off what should be a smashing success with Freddy vs Jason, Ronnie Yu has announced that he'll now be working on a live action version of Hiroyuki Kitakubo's Blood: The Last Vampire. Cool.

Screendaily is reporting that the famous British studio Hammer is attempting to rise from the dead by partnering with an Australian company to make low budget horror films. This isn't the first time we've heard about a comeback by this bunch, but hopefully this time it'll pan out.

Today's sad news is that tough guy Charles Bronson seems to only have days to live. I'll always remember him as Wild Bill Hickok trailing that giant white buffalo and as O'Reilly in the Magnificent Seven.

In happier news, happy 55th birthday to Uschi Digart, wherever she may be. Best known for her fabulous assets, Uschi had quite a life starring in the films of Russ Meyer and in other prurient projects during the heyday of swinging seventies skin flicks.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Jackie Chan's home page has an item on how Hong Kong producers are taking more time to make movies in an attempt to "play Hollywood at their own game". I sure hope that doesn't mean that HK movies are going to become more and more like cookie cutter versions of the slick focus group inspired style that makes many Hollywood movies so damned insipid.

In animation news, C-1 in Canada is releasing a nice looking set of the films of Frederic Back, a two-time Oscar winner in the Best Short, Animated Films category. The man's work really is quite beautiful.

The always wonderful Creature Corner has a list of this year's winners from the Fantasia Film Festival. Many of these I'd heard of previously, but I'll admit I hadn't even heard of the jury's pick for best international film, Dead End. Also of note are Tamala 2010 (which won Best Animated in both the Jury and Fan votes), Suicide Club, Malefique, Reflections of Evil and Drive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Today is the birthday of one of the all-time celluloid greats, Alfred Hitchcock. Heck, even Google has gotten into the act with their logo for the day. Celebrate the master, if you want, by reading a lengthy discussion of Psycho. Or, you can look at a much briefer item about Shadow of a Doubt, which is perhaps my own personal favorite Hitchcock film.

The end of August is chock full of releases from MGM, and lucky George Reis at DVD Drive-In has already gotten his hands on one double feature that I've got a pre-order in for. It's the Ingrid Pitt disc with Countess Dracula/The Vampire Lovers, and it sounds just killer. Catch the early review if you dare.

I finally got my Special Edition of Gary Sherman's Dead & Buried, and it really rocks. Now perhaps I need to turn my attention to his other film coming to DVD soon, Raw Meat. I somehow missed this guy's stuff back in the day (as the goddamned kids say) so it's nice to stumble on it now. Though he was responsible for

Read about the Paul Schrader/Morgan Creek dustup in The Independent. Suffice it to say, there aint no miracle at Morgan's Creek this time around.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Generally, I'm perfectly happy when American remakes of foreign movies that I like are cancelled, but in the case of the Wes Craven take on Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Kairo, I'm actually a bit disappointed. You'll have to hunt down the page a pit, but read about the bailout at Kung Fu Cinema. What I don't understand is the implication that it was shut down because some exec thought it was too much like The Ring--for one thing, it's not that much like The Ring. For another, I don't know why this clown couldn't figure out that there were similarities until this far along in the process. I guess I just don't understand Hollywood.

Even the high falutin' French aren't averse to the trend in comic book movies--Screendaily reports that Christian Clavier and Jean Reno (y'know, the French guy in Hollywood films) will star in a movie adaptation based on the work of Rene Petillon.

And speaking of comics to film, I'm happy to see that the DVD release of Azumi has English subs. But damn if these disks aren't expensive--48 bucks? I may have to wait for a HK disk at that lofty price.

It's free subscription required over at the Times, but don't miss Elvis Mitchell's Grey Lady piece on sex in the movies today. This guy is always worth reading.

Monday, August 11, 2003

The Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge is having a nice little box office run in Asia. The Hong Kong DVD hits the streets this week, as well.

There's a nice piece at the Toronto Star on Freddy vs Jason. I don't know if Hong Kong expat Ronnie Yu can work the same magic here that he worked with Bride of Chucky, but in any case I'll be there to check it out.

The last note today is for the second most exciting 2004 DVD release that I've heard of. (Sorry, nothing touches the upcoming three disc Dawn of the Dead release). We don't usually do TV notes around here, but for a story that purports that SCTV DVD's are coming, we'll make an exception.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Well, it was about time for a new Jun Ji-hyun film. There seems to be a spate of Korean horror films this year, though The Uninvited sounds artsier than some of the others. I'm already waiting for the DVD.

Friday, August 08, 2003

The director of the British lycanthrope offering Dog Soldiers has secured funding from the UK Film Council for another werewolf outing. Arrrrrrroooooooo.

There has been wave after wave of Shaw Brothers releases crashing down at the DVD stores recently, and frankly it's impossible to keep up with 'em. To that end, I asked over at MHVF for aid in some of the best that's come out lately, and thankfully both Linn Haynes as well as Peter Nepstad (from The Illuminated Lantern) took pity on me and listed out some of their favorites. I'm buying The Enchanting Shadow, that's for sure. Also in the same bulletin board thread, Peter Martin from A Better Tomorrow pointed out a great little check sheet that he made of what has been released, a valuable thing for anyone trying to tread water with this stuff.

And damn if I didn't miss the birthday yesterday of Brigitte Maier, the German born star from porno's Golden Age. Ach du lieber. And so a belated happy 51st goes out from this space to Ms Maier now, wherever she may be.

Chris Isidore over at cnnfn has a good look at the Disney/Pixar situation. It looks to me like Pixar holds all the cards on this one, I think Disney is going to have to give them pretty much whatever they want. Good.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

I can't tell you how jealous I am that Creature Corner got their grubby little hands on The Howling SE weeks before I will. Bastards.

Hong Kong has submitted their entry for the Foreign Film Award at the 76th annual Oscars, and their choice is the star studded Infernal Affairs.

Bright Lights Film Journal has a nice new piece on John Sayles and his Roger Corman days, before he became mostly preachy and boring. And hey, there's some Howling anecdotes in here too!

Professional bridge player Omar sharif gets a one month suspended sentence for hitting a gendarme.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

So a day after posting the news that Shaolin Soccer was all ready to go to limited, there's a bit of a caveat over at Kung Fu news that purports that a wide release is still possible. But I doubt it.

I think that I just found my next import. Though maybe if I'm lucky, the fact that Wellspring has the rights might bring a screening to my town before I go to the DVD. In any case, bring on Marina de Van's horrifying sounding In My Skin (Dans Ma Peau) as soon as possible.

Catch the latest on the French film industry's summer tragedy, the death of actress Marie Trintignant. A sad tale of degradation and woe.

Yet another import film that I hope comes my way is The Princess Blade, as it looks like a pretty solid live action manga, though I admit I only skimmed that linked review. I don't want to know too much, y'know?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well, it finally happened. Miramaxe has scuttled their wide release of Shaolin Soccer. At least now they're just going to send the print to some art houses in the original Cantonese, with just some supposedly minimal cuts, so I don't have to boycott it anymore. Eff Miramaxe.

But enough about soccer. How about a wild looking Japanese sports movie called Battlefield Baseball?

The SF Chronicle has a great piece on Fantoma Films, that great DVD outfit. I really do wish that companies like Fox would turn the rights on the vault stuff that they'll never release over to outfits like this. At least that way it'd see the light of day.

Over in Sunday's business section of the NY Times, there's a story on the better times that the movie theater business is having these days. It should have been obvious when Phillip ANschutz started to buy back in that this industry would turn around, that guy doesn't make too many bad bets. But oh, does the twenty minute Regal Theaters promo thing sound annoying. if I went to a theater and they tried cramming that crap down my throat, I'd ask for a refund.

Monday, August 04, 2003

The domestic Ring 2 now has a release date, and has its star back as well. Cool.

Indiewire has a piece on the purported "comeback" of the Asian martial arts film. With recent rumors of a Hero pushback until 2004, any potential blathering on new public acceptance for this stuff seems premature at best. Eff Miramaxe.

Yesterday would have been Golden Age porn star Laurien Dominique's (aka Sharlyn Alexander) 46th birthday, though unfortunately she left the planet back in 1986. She's in some of the best adult movies of the time (such as Easy, V, The Hot One and Hot Rackets. I've always thought that she was one of the underrated performers from this period, so posthumous birthday wishes go out from here today in tribute to her memory.

Now read this Screendaily article on Peter Greenaway's The Tulse Luper Suitcase and tell me just exactly what the scoop is with this movie(s). I've never been a huge Greenaway fan, but I'll admit that he's got me intrigued with all the confusion about what this project truly will be. It best not suck like everything else that I've seen by him.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Proving that Hollywood has not cornered the market on pop idol cheese, Screendaily reports that Bandana: Vivir Intentando, a film starring a girl group who became stars by winning a television talent contest has become the years biggest Argentine hit.

Mondo Erotico has a new update with notes about some of the best cult stuff coming in the future. I always find out about something that I hadn't heard of previously when these go up, perhaps you will too.

How's your Italian? If it's up to snuff, you can read about his recent passing. If you've never heard of him, then look for his comics or get yourself a copy of Baba Yaga. I picked one up a month or so ago, and it's well worth the purchase price.


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