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A feast in a time of plague.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Your regularly scheduled blogging will return Monday. It's Derby weekend, and I got burgoo to make.

The greatest horse I've ever seen

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Via Cartoon Brew: The always incredible Milestone films will release on June 1 a great looking DVD that will contain all the surviving films of animation pioneer Winsor McCay. This is a must have.

I really need to lay off the dimethyltryptamine

Just stumbled over a review of a Japanese CGI film called Casshern that had previously escaped my attention. I only skimmed the recap, but this part caught my eye:

Kiriya and his collaborators, including CG supervisor Haruhiko Shono, visual effects supervisor Toshiyuki Kimura and production designer Yuji Hayashida, take the film's B-movie premise -- eccentric scientist unleashes mutant hordes! -- as the merest starting point. Their real interest lies in, not astonishing the audience with CG marvels, but seeding its consciousness with a vision so richly imagined, so grounded in past dark dreams of the future that it exists in a universe of its own. It's hard to dislodge from your head, because in a sense it's always been there -- a world we never made, but some of us saw long ago: Jules Verne, Albert Robida and H.G. Wells, to name a few.

The review also references film luminaries like Griffith, Lang and Abel Gance. That's some hefty baggage, but my interest has now certainly been piqued.

Some big shark news this AM: Ventura Distribution will be releasing Tintorera, the Jaws ripoff made in the late seventies by the legendary Rene Cardona, Jr..

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The always valuable Bruce Holecheck has reported from last weekend's Chiller Con. It's too bad he can't talk about the Anchor Bay or Criterion stuff, but he does rave about the upcoming Synapse disc of Lemora (Don May Jr himself weighed in on some of the other news about this company just last week) and mentions an exciting development about Poker Industries' new DVD line. Coooooool.

Happy 71st birthday to Anouk Aimee, who's still out there working today in the world of film.

Perhaps I should just call this the blog of beautiful women

My import copy of Desperately Seeking Seka has arrived from Sweden (and in a tip to the people at Sub DVD, it showed up in less than a week!) and while I was just slightly disappointed in the documentary itself (you should have lost the pop-up style graphics, people--lame!) there's a lot that's good about it. Most especially the extensive interviews with Seka, as well as lengthy talks with Jane Hamilton (formerly Veronica Hart). The DVD comes packed with all kinds of bonus material which really makes it all a worthwhile package.

Monday, April 26, 2004

It's film festival time in Korea, what with three of them starting up imminently.

This article on the importance to DVD's to the studios is a week old now, but I just found it. Here's some salient notes from the piece:

Between January and mid-March this year, Americans spent $1.78 billion at the box office. But in the same period they spent $4.8 billion--more than $3 billion more--to buy and rent DVD's and videocassettes.

"In the last five years maybe 6 pictures out of 1,000 recouped their cost in the theatrical marketplace," said Nick Counter, president of the studio alliance [the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers]

For bigger-budget movies the DVD revenue has become critical. Nowadays, "basically the movies are commercials for the DVD's," observed John Lesher, an agent for the Endeavor talent agency

That shows you where the real windfall is, these days. Theatrical showings are little more than a loss leader for where the money gets made. This has huge implications for what films get greenlighted--and can also lead to a second chance for some films that the wider public and press knee-jerk label flops off their theatrical performance alone.

The always valuable Creature Corner has the scoop on what Guillermo del Toro's next project might be.

Angelica Lee is in Malaysia promoting her new film Koma with Karena Lam.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Actor Jackie Chan is in hot water in Taiwan for his make-no-bones-about-it Greater China stance. Politicians there are calling for a boycott of his movies.

Creature Corner notes that the Thai monster movie Garuda is doing some bang up biz in its local market. See the preview at the film's official site.

A tip of the hat to Paula Vitaris, who pointed out this Indianapolis Star article on a Ruan Ling-yu film that's just been issued on DVD. It's available through the fine folks at Silentfilm.org. This is the actress that Maggie Cheung plays so brilliantly in Stanley Kwan's Centre Stage.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

The schedule for Cannes is out, and the claim is that Wong Kar-wai's 2046 is actually playing. Honest.

It really doesn't seem like it's been that long since the last one, but there's a new Senses of Cinema out. As usual it's jam packed with a host of great articles--but being a John Ford fanatic, this one is the piece that most caught my fancy. Oh, and don't miss the item that posits that a Jean Rollin lesbian vampire movie inspired the Paris spring of 1968. Now that's political theory.

It's quite the month for Golden Age superstars in the birthday department. Today it's the infamous Ivory Snow girl, Marilyn Chambers who turns 52 today. She was an aspiring actress who got as far as a small part in Streisand's The Owl and the Pussycat before hightailing it to San Fran whereupon she met the Mitchell Brothers. The rest, shall we say, is history.

Ride 'em cowgirl!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The DVD Drive-In has the scoop on some upcoming DVD releases from Universal--a boatload of A + C (yawn) and some 70.s junk, notably SSSSSSS. And while you're at the Drive-In, you may as well take in the review of The Man Who Changed His Mind.

Has John Woo suddenly become the videogame to movie guy? First there were stories he was interested in making a version of Metroid, and now the Rock is saying he wants to be involved with the Spy Hunter film. Next up: a remake of Super Mario Bros!

Since there seems to be zero signs of this one actually showing up in my town, I guess I'm just going to have to import the dvd of Goodbye, Dragon Inn. I've loved nearly everything I've seen from this filmmaker, and this one sounds even better.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Note: Black and white movies do not suck. (Power mad site masters who invade your blog suck!) This is easily proved by today's release of Bergman's Persona for one. So there!

Given my propensity for classic XXX birthday tributes, you might think that today would be all about Jamie Gillis. But truth be told, though the guy can actually act a little, he's always kind of weirded me out with his meanness. So let's instead turn to the world of silent film, and the great Harold Lloyd, who was born some 110 years ago today. Check out Tivoplex for a tip on catching some of the brilliant star's best work.

Poor Michael Eisner (yeah, right) is sure getting beat up by the shareholders. What's amazing is that the company continues to ignore their stakeholders on this issue. Ah, well. Remember the alam-oh.

I have no good reason to post a pic today, except that I want to. And I'm feeling a bit melancholy this morning, so you get fair Anita.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Test post: black and white movies suck!

It's the usual slow Monday 'round these parts. Though there is the exciting news that a complete print of a film by Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson has been rediscovered.

Can Disney resurrect Mickey mouse into a twenty first century character? Well, the Bono Act did give them a couple more decades to get it right....

With the SE of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on its way soon, let's take a little time tody to remeber Chelo Alonso, shall we? We may as well start the week with a bit of Latin spice.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Just thought that I'd point out that there's a great deal on Danger: Diabolik over at the Laser's Edge. And since I've been getting the feeling lately that this blog is slightly drab:

I might have to experiment with a few pics here and there....maybe it'll spice things up a bit....though perhaps I should have started yesterday, what with the birthday girl and all.

Censors in Singapore have approved Royston Tan's short film that makes fun of....censors.

With today's release of Kill Bill 2, Dave Kehr writes about some of the influences that inform the film(s).

I was going to swipe some links from Greencine (notably, the pieces on zombies, Todd Harbour's writing on The Hills Have Eyes and some SFIFF stuff) but y'know, you may as well just go look yourself.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

From the Not So Safe For Work Department: today is legendary Golden Age porn star Seka's 50th birthday. (If you want, you can even buy her a present). This blonde superstar took the XXX world by storm in the late 1970's, leaving behind a legacy that few performers of the time can match. Known for her business acumen as well as her other, er, talents, the woman born Dorothea Patton stands today as one of the most recognizable performers to have emerged from the adult fim world during its late 70's-early 80's heyday. Me, I'd say it's just about time for that long rumored autobiography (I mean c'mon--we've gotten Christy Canyon's and Traci Lord's already) but hell, I'll even settle for an Ultra Flesh commentary track or something. For now, though, I guess I'll just have to satisfy myself with importing the new DVD of Desperately Seeking Seka to pay tribute to this true giant.

The creator of Gigantor has died in a fire.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I don't generally read this rag very often, but Premiere has a list of the 100 greatest movie characters of all time. It's pretty mainstream, as one would expect, but as an inveterate list lover I just thought I'd point it out.

Definitely check out the invaluable Cartoon Brew today for a short piece on Iranian animation. There's a company named Hoor Animation that's working on some big projects.

Actor Andy Lau isn't the biggest fan of Hollywood's treatment of Asians and their film. More power to ya, Andy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I'm wayyyy late to this item--Gretchen Mol as Bettie Page. I'm not sure how I feel about this casting...maybe it'll be OK. But I think there are better choices--I've heard Rose McGowan and Mia Kirshner posited, both of whom I think would be better.

Masters of Cinema runs an excellent piece on Bruno Dumont and his polarizing work. I couldn't read the section on Twentynine Palms since I haven't seen it yet, but it's all worth a look.

Creature Corner has more on the big zombie comeback: a review of Shaun of the Dead, and the news that Tobe Hooper is doing an undead flick.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Chinese actress Yu Nan, heroine of the film Excited Insects, has won the Best Actress Award at the 19th Paris International Film Festival.

Character actor Victor Argo has died of lung cancer.

Godzilla is fifty. Happy birthday to the big guy.

Friday, April 09, 2004

If you live in New York City, on May 6 at the Walter Reade Theater there's a special event for you. It's A Day With Ray Harryhausen, where the famed special effects technician will appear. He'll also be signing copies of his new autobiography--so don't miss it.

Can I just go on record as saying that I am utterly thrilled by the return of the zombie to prominence at the megaplex. It's enough to make a guy cry.

As always, the new issue of Kinoeye is worth a long look, this time focusing on Hungarian film and directors like Bela Tarr. Read all about where Gus van Sant steals his tricks from!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Grady Hendrix reveals a preliminary lineup for the June New York Asian Film Festival. Some good stuff here, especially the Japanese film Vibrator which I've wanted to see for awhile now.

Thailand has made the second monster movie in its history. It's about time, is all I can say.

Though it is now but a bland piece of corporate consumer culture, Times Square was once a vibrant place for movies--both in its heyday and during its sleazier grindhouse days (For the tale of the latter days, see Sleazoid Express. So happy 100th birthday!

Lastly today, from the world of videogames comes the news that John Woo has optioned the rights to make a film based on Nintendo's Metroid franchise. The thought from here is that it can only be an improvement on the man's shitful Hwood flicks thus far.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

So I saw Hellboy yesterday--it was entertaining enough (but had a fairly lame script, unfortunately) though I vastly prefer del Toro's smaller Mexican films--and then I read about this odd "missing scene" problem that projectionists were having with one of the reels. Near as I can remember, my projectionist got it right.

Via the invaluable Cartoon Brew comes this editorial on Disney's pathetic wimper as it abandons the hand drawn animation upon which its foundations were built. It's pretty harsh in tone--but absolutely right about the mess that this company has made of its once treasured brand name. Disney seems to now stand for crap and little more.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Loooks like there's some action involved with the production of George Romero's Diamond Dead. That's great news--even if the Dawn remake was more enjoyable than I thought it'd be.

The Eye 2 is doing some bang-up business in Malaysia, it appears. And while we're in Asia, we might as well take one last look at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Additionally, you may want to check out the NY Times article on Stephen Chow.

Monday, April 05, 2004

If there's not much here today, you can blame the stupid daylight savings moving the clocks ahead. That's what I'm gonna do. In any case, check out the winners of the Hong Kong Film Awards. There's pictures, too.

And is the Hong Kong film industry really recovering from its downturn?

Friday, April 02, 2004

Rumor has it that there's some solid Hong Kong movie that Miramaxe has kicked around for years and then sliced up that opens in theaters today. But not in my town. (Though I likely won't support this one, in any case). I'll just busy myself with the specs for all sorts of DVD's that are coming out of HK related stuff. Though I've been waiting for Poker Industries to ship Eight Diagram Pole Fighter for two weeks now, even though they claimed it was in stock. But that probably won't keep me from ordering up Mad Monkey Kung Fu or The Flying Guillotine.

Hmmmmmmm. I wasn't all that excited about Keanu Reeves in A Scanner Darkly earlier in the week. But as an animated film by Richard Linklater? That might could change my mind. (Thanks to Greencine for the nod here. And also for pointing me towards the new film by Shunji Awai.)

The good folks at Fantoma have redesigned their website. Not to mention, the redesign finally hipped me to what was going on with my pre-order for In a Year With Thirteen Moons, which had been scheduled for last month.

Here's the coolest DVD news of the month: Feuillade's Judex goes digital next month. I'm there.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Check out this interesting piece at Masters of Cinema on audio on DVD's. There's a lot to take in, but it's worth a read--though I'll confess that I never heard the problem he's talking about with the Once Upon a Time in the West DVD.

The New Straits Times interviews actress Carina Lau, who is up for a Hong Kong Film Award.

What with the imminent arrival of Hellboy (woo hoo), Guilermo del Toro is giving it up all over the place. This one is a nice long chat with the fanboy type turned director.


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