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A feast in a time of plague.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Farewell, Anita Mui. A shimmering star has gone out.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Well, damn, it's Xmas and I shouldn't even be hard at work (?) here on my blog.....but I can't resist posting a link to one of my favorite things of the year, the Village Voice Critic's Poll. There's all kinds of stuff here for everyone--lists, essays, asides. It's worth poring over.


Wednesday, December 24, 2003

What with the holidays and all, I wouldn't expect all too many updates over the next week and a half, if I were you....I may pop in with the occasional news item, but there may be many days where this blog is just plain blank.


Tales of Anita Mui's new autobiography and more at the Straits Times.


B-movie actor Les Tremayne has passed away. He had a great number of classic credits, and you can be sure that there wasn't anyone else who was in North by Northwest and The Monster of Piedras Blancas.


Here's an exciting silent comedy announcement: Image will in February release a 2 disk set of the work of comedian Charley Bowers.


Tuesday, December 23, 2003

On February 10, the American Cinematheque will present a tribute to Gene Deitch, the creator of Tom Terrific.


Another exciting release from Mondo Macabro: they'll be releasing the Paul Naschy vehicle Latidos de Panico.


The slate for the Bangkok Film Festival ahs been announced, and it looks like a good one. I'm intrigued by Siamese Renaissance by Surapong Pinijkhar, a film that opens on January 22.


There's a great piece at Masters of Cinema that centers on films yet unreleased to DVD. I just wrote something like this for BOP (pardon the shameless self-plug), but I don't think I mentioned any of the films these people chose.


Monday, December 22, 2003

I'm not the world's biggest fan of Richard Roeper, but I do so love year-end top 25 lists. I'm slightly more inclined towards Roger Ebert (but I'm no cheerleader there, either) so while you're there take a gander at his best of 2003 as well.


Happy 47th birthday to Erica Boyer, most of whose work comes from the Silver Age of pornography. (For reference's sake: Golden Age 1970-1982; Silver Age 1982-1991; everything later is Modern Age).


UCLA is having an amazing tribute series in January dedicated to the fabulous early film star Anna May Wong. I believe one of these movies is coming to DVD via the always incredible Milestone Film and Video, if I'm not mistaken.


Friday, December 19, 2003

I'll admit that I haven't gone to Bright Lights Film Journal for awhile, so this Alfred Hitchcock thing may have been up since November. Cool stuff, no matter when it came out.


Reuters has a nice piece on Royston Tan, a young filmmaker from Singapore.


Do you live in Chicago? If so, don't miss this great retrospective of ten films featuring Alain Delon.


Zhou Xun, the stunningly beautiful actress from Suzhou River, denies that her authorized autobiography is on its way. (Who writes their autobiography at 27???)


Thursday, December 18, 2003

Well, I suppose the news that Sarah Michelle Gellar is taking the lead in the Hollywood remake of Ju-on: The Grudge isn't all that bad.


Lots of new reviews over at Hong Kong Cinema: A View From the Brooklyn Bridge, with a special focus on the most recent Shaw Brothers' sleazier exploitation films. Though they don't seem to have gotten Bamboo House of Dolls just yet.


Hey, keep your eye on the official site for Van Helsing, as this item claims that a new trailer will debut there on January 12.


The Sydney Herald has a nice article today on foreign film hotspots. They missed a couple (where's Korea, dammit?) but it's still worth a look.


Actress Jeanne Crain died earlier this week, and I've been remiss in mentioning it to this point.


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Even though I've found nearly all of John Woo's Hollywood movies unbearable, I think I'll be sap enough to go see Paycheck. (I know, it's probably a mistake. But it can't be worse than Spielberg doing Dick, can it?). But in any case, Moviehole has a brief interview with the former Hong Kong helmsman.


The Korean Film Awards were given out over the last weekend. here's the winners:

Best Lighting: A Tale Of Two Sisters
Best Music: The Classic
Best Cinematography: Memory Of Murder
Best Screenplay: Memory Of Murder
Best FX: Wonderful Days
Best Short: Bread And Milk
Best New Actor: Park Hae-il for Jealousy Is My Middle Name
Best New Actress: Lim Su-jeong for Tale Of Two Sisters
Best New Director: Jang Jun-hwa for Save The Green Planet
Best Supporting Actor: Baek Yun-shik for Save the Green Planet
Best Supporting Actress: Yun Yeo-jeong for A Good Lawyer's Wife
Best Actor: Song Kang-ho for Memory Of Murder
Best Actress: Mun So-ri for A Good Lawyer's Wife
Best Director: Bong Jun-ho for Memory Of Murder
Best Film: Memory of Murder

This thread at Darcy Pacquet's film site has some extensive pictures of the ceremony.


A great old 1970 chat with one of the true greats of animation, Bob Clampett.


The next 25 films to be included in the National Film registry have been announced. As always, it's an eclectic and interesting list of things to be held for posterity.

Monday, December 15, 2003

The Golden Horse Awards were Saturday night, and it was more or less an Infernal Affairs fest. But Sandra Ng took home the Best Actress for Golden Chicken, and ten year old Megan Zheng of Singapore won the Best Newcomer Award.


Here's a mildly interesting article on DVD's from the NY Times. The facts are sort of sloppy (and I think when they say Uzo they mean Ozu) but there's a nugget or two of real info here. And while you're at the Grey Lady, you may as well check out their review of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.


Friday, December 12, 2003

I only skimmed this LoveHKFilm review of Infernal Affairs II, but what I saw made it look like this one may even promise good things.


From the XXX birthday department: today is the day that Italian politician/actress Cicciolina was born. And since I won't be around to post this weekend, I may as well go ahead here and wish a happy 41st to eighties great Ginger Lynn, whose enthusiastic performances were a treat in films such as The Pink Lagoon and New Wave Hookers. Here's hoping Ginger is going to talk to Legs McNeil for his upcoming book on the industry's history. Though me, I'm still waitin' for I Did It, I Liked It, So What?.


Wow! Frances Dee, the starlet from Val Lewton's historic 1943 horror film I Walked With A Zombie, is making a public appearance at Tufts University to speak at a screening of the film. Double wow.


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Do you live in Toronto? If so, be sure to head out to the Royal on Friday night to see Infra-man on the big screen! I just grabbed the DVD for this one, and all I can say is that you shouldn't miss it!


An interesting Ten Best of 2003 piece at Artforum details the year end favorites of a few writers, including filmmaker John Waters, whose list will point you to gems like Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary and Ulrich Seidl's depressing sounding Dog Days.


The European Film Awards were recently given out, so here's the winners for posterity:

EUROPEAN FILM 2003
GOOD BYE, LENIN!, Germany

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2003
Lars von Trier
for Dogville, Denmark

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2003
Daniel Bruhl
in Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2003
Charlotte Rampling
in Swimming Pool, France

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2003
Bernd Lichtenberg
for Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany

EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER 2003
Anthony Dod Mantle
for 28 Days Later, UK & Dogville, Denmark

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2003
Claude Chabrol, France

EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA 2003
Carlo di Palma, Italy

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DISCOVERY 2003 - Prix Fassbinder
Vozvraschenie (The Return)
by Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia

Special Mention for Gori Vatra (Fuse) by Pjer Zalica, Bosnia & Herzegovina

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY CRITICS AWARD 2003 - Prix Fipresci
Buongiorno, Notte (Goodmorning, Night)
by Marco Bellocchio, Italy

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY 2003 - Prix Arte
S21, La Machine de Mort Khmere Rouge (S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine)
by Rithy Panh, France

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY SHORT FILM 2003 - Prix UIP
(A) Torzija
by Stefan Arsenijevic, Slovenia

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY NON-EUROPEAN FILM 2003 -
Prix Screen International

Les Invasions Barbares
by Denys Arcand, Canada

THE JAMESON PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS 2003
Best European Director:
Wolfgang Becker
for Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany

Best European Actor:
Daniel Bruhl
in Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany

Best European Actress:
Katrin Sass
in Good Bye, Lenin! Germany


Slant Magazine's Top Ten is out for your perusal now as well, so take a look and go see something you've missed.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

According to this post from Kung Fu Cinema, actor Joe Lee has died.
And here's more on Blackie Ko, yesterday's sad Hong Kong death story.


Some news on the next flick by Dario Argento. Nice to see the old goat still at it.


Korean films sell rather well at MIFED, though it's rumored that Miramax has their eyes on Park Chan-wook's Old Boy, which might mean we never get to see it in the States. This one is supposed to be great, so I fervently hope that isn't the case. Especially given the absurdity going on over at Kung Fu Cinema, where Miramaxe has served the site with a cease and desist order concerning "the unlawful sale of import versions of Zhang Yimou's Hero". The truly amazing thing is--KFC doesn't sell DVD's. I guess their crime is linking to affiliates who do sell the disk.......WTF? Why don't they just release the goddamned movie if they want people to see it? Quite honestly, I will now not pay money to see this film theatrically, ever. Miramax doesn't deserve my hard earned cash anymore.


Tuesday, December 09, 2003

The digital shorts portion of the Golden Horse Awards has already started. A couple very interesting looking films there, notably Showa Shinzan.


Last week, Slate had this nice piece on the great composer Carl Stalling. As the article succintly points out, this was one of the giants of musical postmodernism, and the release of the Looney Tunes box makes now a good time to revisit his legacy.


Creature Corner reports that zombie king George Romero's next movie (Diamond Dead) has a new website. Hopefully this'll actually get made, darn it.


Here's a few pics from the Korean Film Awards for your perusal. And while you're at it, you may also notice that the quota system may help ensure that Korean films might break 50% market share this year.


Today's sad news is that Ko Shou-liang, the "Evel Knievel of Asia", has died.


Monday, December 08, 2003

The Sitges winners have been announced. I'm sure I'll be posting a link to someone's wrapup over at MHVF, but for now all you get is the list. No huge surprises, but more that makes me excited to finally see Zaitochi and Haute Tension.


Producer Brian Grazer has commissioned a porn documentary all about Deep Throat and its cultural impact.


Friday, December 05, 2003

The sad news today is that David Hemmings, the star of Blow-Up has died. He had a nice career and was still relatively young. What a shame.


Gigantor is back!


Two items of coolosity over at Cartoon Research--Sony is attaching some Screen Gems cartoons to their rereleases and there's more Fleischer material coming to DVD. This has been just a great year for animation.


Midnight Eye has given a rave review to the film Vibrator starring actress Shinobu Terashima, who is supposedly excellent in the film. On the other hand, her mom isn't very happy about the nude scenes in the film she's currently working on.


Thursday, December 04, 2003

It's time for a brand spanking new edition of Senses of Cinema, one of the web's best movie sites. As usual, there's plenty that's food for thought here: multiple pieces on Abbas Kiarostami, an
interview
with Juliane Lorenz (who edited for Fassbinder), a lengthy overview of recent Hong Kong horror films and much, much more. Check it out.


It's a six film Leslie Cheung retrospective in LA this weekend. Pay tribute to one of the greats, if you're around.


Legendary film historian Jack Stevenson's new book is all about the Danish Dogme movement, and he talks to Film Threat about it.


From the ARGHHHHHHHH department:

Dawn of the Dead is indeed arriving March 9th but in a single-disc package under Anchor Bay's Divimax banner (similar to the aforementioned Day of the Dead and this year's Halloween: 25th Anniversary Edition). This disc will feature a 16 X 9 theatrical cut transfer and a few Extras that are still being finalized.

Later in '04, Anchor Bay will release a multi-disc Special Edition of Dawn some time before Halloween/late Summer. The number of discs contained within is a detail still being worked out by the disc's producers. Our AB rep assures us that this package will contain multiple cuts of the film and numerous commentaries. Also expect brand spankin' new interviews with cast and crew, amongst them: George Romero, Dario Argento, David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, and Gaylen Ross.


Bah. I'm getting very tired of them putting this DOD SE package further and further into the future. I'll wait, but frankly: this sucks. (news found via DVDManiacs).

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The next Abbas Kiarostami film will show im December at the NHK Festival. It's a tribute to the great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu titled "Dedicated to Ozu".


You are hereby advised to steer clear of Media Blasters disk of Sappho '68, in case you want it for the charms of Uschi Digart, who is all over the packaging. Come to find out, Uschi isn't even in the film--and even better, Media Blasters knew that when they shipped the DVD to stores in this packaging! To my mind, that's a good indication that this company doesn't care what they do to get your money--and they will no longer be getting any of mine. (And darn, I wanted Brigitta, Fraulein Leather and Eko Eko Arazak. Ah, well. Plenty of other fish in the sea).


La Cicciolina (aka Ilona Staller) has gone and protested the creeping puritanization of Amsterdam. Who says politics is dull?


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Korean Film Awards were held recently, with Memories of Murder taking the Best Film prize. Here's the full list of winners:


  • Best Lighting: A Tale Of Two Sisters
  • Best Music: The Classic
  • Best Cinematography: Memories Of Murder
  • Best Screenplay: Memories Of Murder
  • Best FX: Wonderful Days
  • Best Short: Bread And Milk
  • Best New Actor: Park Hae-il for Jealousy Is My Middle Name
  • Best New Actress: Lim Su-jeong for Tale Of Two Sisters
  • Best New Director: Jang Jun-hwa for Save The Green Planet
  • Best Supporting Actor: Baek Yun-shik for Save the Green Planet
  • Best Supporting Actress: Yun Yeo-jeong for A Good Lawyer's Wife
  • Best Actor: Song Kang-ho for Memories Of Murder
  • Best Actress: Mun So-ri for A Good Lawyer's Wife
  • Best Director: Bong Jun-ho for Memories Of Murder
  • Best Film: Memories of Murder


I haven't seen most of these, myself, though I can say that Lim Su-jeong is really excellent in A Tale of Two Sisters.


It's Spanish zombie time in Sitges! And hey, while you're at Creature Corner, check out the news about Larry Cohen.


Oh, it's mea culpa time as I realize that I missed the birthday of the great Annette Haven yesterday, one of the true Golden Age XXX greats. And this is a big one--the leading lady turned the big 5-0 yesterday. So congrats go out to her, and hope she sees many more. And I fondly hope that she's working on that autobiography, is all I can say.


Here's a nice little interview with French actress Rachida Brakni, who is supposedly excellent in the French film Chaos. It'll be a couple of weeks before we get to see this one Stateside, though.


Monday, December 01, 2003

The Shanghai MTV awards were just given out, and the winners are in. A nice showing for Coco Lee and Michelle Yeoh.


Here's an idea that I can get behind: invest in Japanese idol futures. Yep, a firm named Japan Digital Content has picked five fresh faced young women for investors to buy shares in. The payoff will then depend on metrics like calendar and DVD sales. Hey, it beats trading bauxite or soybeans.


There's a new ish of Kinoeye, centering on the films of France. There's items on Brotherhood of the Wolf, Francois Ozon and a fascinating feminist take on the French horror film Deep in the Woods.


Roy Disney leaves the mouse house's board of directors and takes some potshots at Eisner on his way out.


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