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A feast in a time of plague.

Monday, May 31, 2004

With a DVD review of Riccardo Freda's The Ghost coming up shortly on the site, I thought it'd be a good time to point out the special Images Journal issue on the Golden Age of Italian horror. Lots of material there for the old hand and the uninitiated alike.


Live anywhere near the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater? Then don't miss the 5th Annual Festival of Fantasy, Horror & Science-Fiction in August--just a portion of the schedule is up, and it looks just great. The real plum thus far is The Stone Tape.



Im Kwon-Taek's latest film has been selected to compete at the Venice Film Festival, continuing a great recent run for the Korean film industry. And speaking of the Korean scene, it's time for Windstruck (with the same actress/director combo as the wonderful My Sassy Girl) to open its run. Plus, it's almost time for the Daejong Film Awards.


Brit sci-fi magazine SFX has a Special Horror Issue, and they've conducted a poll to pick the Top 20 Horror Films of All Time. The list skews a little young, but it could be worse.


Kids, this is *not* the way to carry a knife on the stairs

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Today's birthday tribute from the world of classic porn is a sad and cautionary one: today would have been the 41st birthday of starlet Shauna Grant (born Colleen Applegate), but her life trip into sex films and cocaine addiction led her to commit suicide at the young age of 20. Her story has been covered by PBS and a TV movie, and the LA calendar devoted a whole tribute section to the woman who was Suzie Superstar--at least up until that self inflicted gunshot wound ended her existence on this mortal coil. (Sidenote: links should be work safe, but given the prurient subject matter caution is advised if this is a surfing consideration for you).


RIP Colleen Applegate 1963-1984

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Henshin Online has a huge update on Ryuhei Kitamura's Godzilla: Final Wars, the upcoming flick for the giant lizard set.


Sure, I could have posted a picture of a guy in a rubber suit, but Rei Kikukawa's in the movie too

Friday, May 28, 2004

For once, I'll post a link to an interview with the glorious Maggie Cheung, and I won't even use it as an excuse for a cheesecake jpeg. Just to show some restraint.


Czech filmmaker Jiri Weiss passed away last month, but the Guardian has a recent obit on the late director.


Via things magazine, one of the coolest blogs of all time, comes word of a great website devoted to the art of Ken Adam, the production designer for some of the most classic James Bond films.


Valuable online rag Indiewire wraps Cannes, hitting some highlights. I'd love to see that Kiarostiami doc, and the Hong Sangsoo and David Gordon Green pics seem pretty intriguing as well.


As if the release slate for the digital disc couldn't get any more loaded, the inimitable Don May Jr shows up at MHVF to detail a slew of Swedish sex films from the Seventies that his company will be releasing. Looks like a good selection of Euro-prurience, from the Harry Reems Guy de Maupassant piece Bel Ami to the Christina Lindberg/Stellan Skarsgaard(!) vehicle Anita aka Swedish Nymphet.


Min stora kärlek

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Wired magazine has a lengthy cover story on the phenomenally successful Pixar Animation Studios. If there's one segment of the world of cinema that remains as good as its ever been it's in animation (though I'll tell you, watching my Chronological Donald DVD, the quality of the late thirties Disney work is hard to surpass, though you do have to allow for the annoying wholesomeness factor) and there's no one better at the CGI animation scene than the people working for Steve Jobs' cartoon factory.


A couple of new tidbits are out for the pending followup(s) for The Eye by the Pang Brothers. The Eye2 official site is live, and though Shu Qi is no Angelica Lee when it comes to acting talent, there's no arguing that she has her own attributes.


Posting this item was just an excuse to search for a Shu Qi pic, I'll admit


From the Life Imitates Art Department: 10 Tokyo schoolboys get busted for fighting with their teachers in a Battle Royale style incident. Oh and while you're over at the Mainichi Daily News, catch up on the latest news about Pink Lady.


Sometimes I long for the seventies

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

VCI Entertainment has given their site a bit of a pastel makeover (at least since the last time I visited, which I'll admit was some time ago) and they've got some interesting upcoming disks. There's a Popeye Collector's Edition with some of the great cartoons from the Max Fleischer Studio; they've just released Lady Ice, a Donald Sutherland heist pic I know next to nothing about; and then there's the real gem: in August the company will release Luis Bunuel's The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Good stuff.


Today's non-film horse racing note: congrats to Skip Away (as well as Shug, Kent and Flawlessly) for being elected to The Racing Hall of Fame.

After Cigar, this is the greatest horse I ever saw in the flesh


Y'know, say you wanted a nice, relatively cheap DVD player that converted PAL fine and can be made all-region pretty easily. If that was the case (hypothetically speaking), then you could do a lot worse than the Toshiba SD-4900, a machine that you can find some interesting files for that may uncripple it from being a R1 only box.


Live in New York, do you? Well, an item over at Creature Corner reminded me that if you're unlucky enough to be housed in Gotham, you do have the advantage of attending Subway Cinema's New York Asian Film Festival. The lineup looks solid, especially with the American premiere of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Doppelganger. See it now--before you have to import the absurdly expensive Japanese DVD (I realllllllly want to see Kurosawa's Bright Future--but 6800 yen for the DVD not including postage? Forget about it) or before the rights get snapped up by Hollywood and they turn it into a lame pic starring some forgettable teen hearthrob.


If I'd only shorted the Nikkei in the late eighties, I could afford this DVD today

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Once again swiping a pointer from the boards at MHVF (thanks to Chas Lindsay), the news comes that the film Worst Case Scenario has a trailer up. (click the "Promo Reel" link). It's really revenge and zombie fever out there in horror filmland--so let's all take a minute now and ponder what that means for the cultural zeitgeist of the globe....


Y'know, just the other day--as I was suffering through the interminable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen--I was thinking how it's probably time that someone dust off The Picture of Dorian Gray for a remake. And then, lo and behold, there it was. But they'll never find a cad like George Sanders, who was, if nothing else, a guy who really knew how to leave a suicide note.

Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.


Big update on the news page at Kung Fu Cult Cinema--Takashi Miike releases; Subversive Cinema to issue R1 versions of Living Hell, Battlefield Baseball and Shinya Tsukamoto's Gemini; Quentin Tarantino claiming he's seen all 114 Andy Lau movies. But this is the choice item:
Variety reports that Taka Ichise, the producer behind many of Japan's most notable recent fright films, is launching a six-movie package called J-HORROR THEATER, with Lions Gate handling distribution for all worldwide territories except Japan. The movies (titles and storylines to be announced) will be directed by a Who's Who of the country's top terror talent, including Hideo (RINGU) Nakata, Takashi (JU-ON) Shimizu, Kiyoshi (PULSE) Kurosawa and, making his debut at the helm, RINGU series scripter Hiroshi Takahashi.

That's very exciting, especially with the inclusion of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose Kairo is perhaps the best of the films to come out of the recent wave of Japanese horror. I'm still mad that the Wes Craven remake got killed.

That's gonna stain

Monday, May 24, 2004

Midnight Eye has a couple recent entries: reviews of Kamikaze Girls and The Taste of Tea, as well as an interview with Ryuhei Kitamura and a tribute to Tomio Aoki.


A Cannes note or two: Sud Pralad aka Tropical Malady by Apichatpong Weerasethakul becomes the first Thai film to win a Special Jury Prize. Korea's Old Boy cops an award as well. Not to mention that Japanese teenager Yuya Yagira took home the Best Actor prize. In fact, Asian films overall fared quite well this year. And I would also be quite remiss if I didn't point out that the world's greatest living actress won the Best Actress award.

Like I needed a reason for more Maggie Cheung pics

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Want the complete rundown on what's coming up in Korean cinema, complete with links to trailers and all sorts of other fun stuff? Well, then go here. Some films with potential there, for sure.

K-pop is scary

Surveying the ground of upcoming DVD's is an agonizing task, given the thousands of dollars I'd need to buy all the titles that I want. Pre-orders are in for Louis Feuillade's Judex, David Cronenberg's Rabid Special Edition and King Vidor's Duel in the Sun. And I'm sure eyeballing Lady Snowblood and Fritz Lang's The Testament of Dr Mabuse, so I suspect it's just a matter of time for those two. But the upcoming slate for the next couple months is bru-tal (and I mean that in a good way): Winsor McCay Master Edition; Golden Swallow, One-armed Swordsman and Shaolin Mantis from Celestial Pictures; Deathdream and Conquest from Blue Underground; the Warners' Film Noir Classic Collection; Forty Guns and Man of the West from the French company Carlotta Films; Danger: Diabolik (hopefully, though there are rumors that Paramount is kicking this one around); Columbia's The Creeping Flesh disk....I could go on. Latidos de Panico from Mondo Macabro? Some version of the Russian folk tale The Scarlet Flower from Image? (I think it's this one.) How about The Black Angel from Universal? Port of Shadows and The Golden Coach from Criterion? Sigh. If there's anything that's clear, it's that I need a lot more money.

I still say Clint Howard plays Chaka in the theatrical remake

And from the True Confessions Department: I'm far more excited than I should be about Rhino's release of Land of the Lost: The Complete First Season.


Try and guess which one of us is Bill Laimbeer


Saturday, May 22, 2004

Well, whaddya know. 2046 actually got screened at Cannes, and appears to be odds-on for the Palme d' Or. Wong Kar-wai is either a great perfectionist, or a great marketer. Nothing like making your audience die of anticipation for four years....and it'll probably still be some time before we see it Stateside. Here's hoping his next film shows up a little quicker'n this one.


This is a few weeks old at this point, but I just noticed that Don May, Jr. has updated the Synapse news page with a whole bunch of street dates for their upcoming DVD's. I'll admit that I had been curious as to what was happening with some of these titles (and I still think that it's too bad that Thriller--aka They Call Her One Eye--was unable to capitalize on its Kill Bill association), so I'm glad to hear they've got a cool distributor now. I'm so happy I won't even wonder why Singapore Sling seems to be missing. Nope, I won't.


[Insert cheap ALT tag joke here]

Friday, May 21, 2004

John Harkness updates things from Cannes--and I especially like this bit about Miramax:

They got a few of us out of our regularly scheduled screenings to see Hero, which they are finally releasing. They promised a 109-minute cut of the film. The print screened was the same 98-minute cut of the film that I've had on a Chinese DVD for about six months

Hmmm, now that doesn't sound like Harvey and company, does it?....

Anyway, there's also nuggets there about The House of Flying Daggers and
The Sword in the Moon, a Korean martial arts movie which is quickly moving up on my must see movie chart.

If this was a Shaw's movie, you'd be hearing Celestial's chirping birds now



Five hundred goddamned channels and this is what I getOkay, now it's entirely possible that I've died in my sleep and gone to heaven (as unlikely as that happenstance may seem on the surface), because this morning I'm seeing that Fangoria has posted the amazing specs for an upcoming Special Edition of David Cronenberg's Videodrome! (Not to mention that there's an aside about a future disk for Franju's Eyes Without a Face...) Over at MHVF, Tim Lucas (of the superfine mag Video Watchdog--and, by the way, don't miss their recent roundtable on the 70's horror revival) chimes in with his comments, as it seems that he has done some work for Criterion on this one. I couldn't be any more excited.







Thursday, May 20, 2004

Via the valuable Masters of Cinema comes a couple of quality screenshots from the upcoming New Yorker DVD release of my favorite Robert Bresson film, Lancelot du Lac.


By way of the Creature Corner comes word that the werewolf flick Romasanta has a trailer up on its official web page. Aroooooooooo.


China Daily interviews Tony Leung, and there's this chestnut there:

Nevertheless, Leung has no Hollywood ambitions himself, he says. Offers come his way from the US, Europe and Australia, but nothing has felt quite right. "If Scorsese called me up, though, I would say yes - no matter what."

As the article then points out, Scorsese is supposedly working on a remake of Infernal Affairs. Start dialing, Marty.


J. Hoberman of the Voice surveys the action at Cannes. Some promising nuggets here, most especially the idea that the new film by Emir Kusturica is his best since his brilliant Underground--even if it's only for the first hour of the flick. But I can't say I'm very encouraged by the reports that 2046 seems not yet to have appeared to be screened. Argh.


Does anyone know where I can get a hold of one of these posters?

This one's for the ladies

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

There's another remake coming down the pike, this time of The Crazies. It's too bad that George Romero has such a hard time getting money to make his own new films, while all the time Hollywood is tossing cash at people to reimangle the films he created thirty years ago.


Pull!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tarantino and Madsen to team up for a low budget biker movie? Interesting...(hat tip to Marty McKee!)


Darcy Paquet, Korean film guy par excellence (and writer for film mag Screen International, whose formerly free website arm Screen Daily I miss dearly ), is filing reports directly from Cannes this year.


There's some sort of prudish squawking going on at Cannes over the debut of Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs, since it reportedly has some (gasp!) graphic sex in it. The way people are waving their arms around, you'd think that Lasse Braun's Sensations hadn't already covered this ground nearly thirty years ago.


Lots o' stuff about Azumi 2 over at the Shusuke Kaneko Information Website. Check it out.


Good ol' Hong Kong Entertainment News....they gave me the scoop on Flying Daggers, the new Zhang Yimou film that's playing at Cannes. Not only are there some pictures to look at from the flick, there's also the soul-saving news that Sony Classics will distribute it, thus likely saving us from the endless Miramax runaround and ensuring that we'll probably get to see it in its proper form in a reasonable time. The woo. And the hoo.


Um....what was i talking about again?

A king hu vibe


Monday, May 17, 2004

Went by the DVD Drive-In this weekend, and along with the other tidbits there (like the cover art for the Freaks and Night Stalker DVD's), they had a link to the new Poker Industries DVD production arm, Subversive Cinema. Now I know I badmouthed these guys customer service last week (and was most happy buying the My Young Auntie DVD at YesAsia instead of their online store), but this looks pretty promising.


I was so damned busy this weekend that I didn't even get my BOP column done, nor did I really even keep up with the news from Cannes or the final day of e3. Catching up: Ebert in France! A.O. Scott and the protesters! e3 drowns in sequels! Paper Mario 2 walkthrough! Doom III! (No, I don't have an Xbox--but given the id penchant for taking forever to release games, I'm hoping they'll be 99$ by the time it hits the shelves....) Zelda roundtable!


Let's make no mistake: for an inveterate horse racing fan like myself, this weekend was all about Smarty Jones in the Preakness. There's been five other horses who've gone for the Triple Crown in recent years, but of all those only War Emblem oozed greatness, and he went and nearly face planted at the start of the Belmont so we'll never be sure if he could have done it without the stumble. Smarty has seemingly gotten better every time out; he's got tactical speed and the ability to make more than one run during the course of a race; and he's undefeated for his career. Anyway you slice it, he's a very special horse. Here's hoping.


Ain't he something?

Friday, May 14, 2004

I'm not sure if they're throwing around useless buzzwords like "synergy" about this one yet, but Universal and NBC are merging. With any luck, they'll have a better time of it than AOL-Time Warner. But don't count on it.


Today's e3 raves from yesterday: Sly Cooper 2! Tiny amounts of plot detail from GTA: San Andreas! Ratchet and Clank 3! Pikmin 2! Viewtiful Joe II! (Tired of sequels yet? I sure am. I miss the days of announcements about groundbreakers like Jet Grind Radio or Seaman or Animal Crossing. Sigh). And now if only I could get a domestic release of the best selling Japanese game, Derby Stallion 04, my life would be complete. For now, I guess I'll just settle for watching Smarty Jones in the Preakness on Saturday.


Y'know, I'm quite sure that there's some interesting films and such being shown over at Cannes...but the red carpet is really where you want to be, not stuck in some decrepit theatre with a bunch of hoi polloi and snooty critics. A case in point:

triple threat: Gong Li, Aishwarya Rai, Laetitia Casta

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A quick trip around the world at the Cannes opening: the media in Korea, China, Canada, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United States weigh in on the affair.


Tilda Swinton will be playing the White Witch in the Disney version of The Chronicles of Narnia. And speaking of the mouse house, they had good earnings last quarter, even though they sort of choked at the box office. Thank god for DVD's, eh Mikey?


Initial e3 returns aren't all that that exciting as yet, but a Paper Mario 2 release date and some Zelda screenshots will have to suffice for now.


damn, that low carb thing really works!



Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Programs.....getcher programs here.....can't tell the players without a program. The Guardian's Steve Rose outlines some of the big players at Cannes. The Globe and Mail weighs in on the fest as well.


Guillermo del Toro's next film sounds very promising, especially to those of us who prefer his smaller films.


Today's e3 opening should rain all sorts of news down on hapless videogamers...in that spirit, have a go at the preview for the Ubisoft followup to their excellent Prince of Persia update. There should be much more to come on the console front in the next couple of days.


A tip of the hat to the always excellent Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review that hipped me to this page of pics from 2046 and Clean (and a couple other films, as well).


Punk's not dead!



Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Here's an e3 post that crosses over into the film world: check out Gamespy's preview of the new Peter Molyneaux game The Movies.


What could be better than a kernel32 dll error that wipes out the blog entry you took 45 minutes getting together? (And yes, that'll teach me to use the "save as draft" thingie at blogger). Here's the highlights from the lost post:

  • A new Ho-blog: Defamer.com!

  • Elvis Mitchell is out at the Times? Say it ain't so!

  • Film composer Fred Karlin has died.



Also of note in a non-movie sort of way: those of you with any interest in gaming should be aware that it's the week of e3, so keep your eye on the news that will be emerging all over the web for the next few days at various sites. It seems like the videogame industry has developed a fairly awful case of sequelitis and franchise mania, which is a disappointment to those of us who'd rather see some innovative gameplay, but here's hoping at least a few cool things come out of this show that don't have a II or III embedded in their title. Though there is the new Goldeneye (see below)....I'll probably have more on e3 happenings in days to come, so brace yourselves for some non-celluloid news briefs.


ooh, shiny

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Grey Lady profiles former XXX star Sharon Mitchell and details her role today as porn industry health watchdog.


Via the excellent noir film bulletin board The Blackboard comes a link to an interview with crime film maven Eddie Mueller, whose books are certainly aces.


Check out this website for a new Vietnamese ghost movie.


The Telegraph chats with the always interesting Guy Maddin.



Saturday, May 08, 2004

I don't usually post on the weekends, but this story about a Canadian parliament argument over how to pronounce Gina Lollobrigida's name is just too cherce to pass up.

The apparent mispronunciation prompted Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe to yell: "It's Gina Lollobrigida, idiot!"

Opposition MP Jason Kenney hit back, saying he was sorry for "offending the ageing sex-kitten community".

Mr Volpe later told reporters he too had some regrets over the row.

"I'm sorry I called him an idiot. I should have referred to him as an imbecile," he said.

Now that's classic.


Friday, May 07, 2004

In the past, I've always had good things to say about Poker Industries....but given a nightmare transaction with them in attempting to purchase a recent Shaw Brothers disk (coupled with an amazing lack of response by their "customer service" to my inquiries about said order), I'm seriously thinking of switching my Asian DVD buying to HK Flix or Layoyo exclusively. You would've though that buying hundreds of dollars of stuff from a vendor would be enough to at least get an answer for your questions....but in the case of Poker, you'd be wrong.


The website of Erica Gavin (she of Caged Heat and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) appears to be getting an overhaul. (Hat tip to Robert L. Watson for pointing this out).


Rest in peace, Gilbert Lani Kauhi aka Zulu. The man best known as Kono from Hawaii Five-0 has passed away. This seems like an opportune time to pay tribute to our fallen hero and get season one of this great 70's cop show out to DVD, methinks.


Farewell, Kono


Happy 37th birthday to the infamous queen of Steubenville, Ohio--Traci Lords (aka Norma Kuzma). It's said by some that her autobiography is sort of a disappoinment, but since I haven't read it as yet I suppose I shouldn't pass judgement.


Meow!



Thursday, May 06, 2004

Mike Mariano breaks out some cool old shots from Hammer's The Vampire Lovers.


Since there's no Celestial releases of Shaw Brothers flicks this month, why don't you just take a deep breath and catch up with an updated release list of the year's planned disks? Though me, I'm still waiting for Poker Industries to get it together so I can watch My Young Auntie. Grrrrr.


Some nice new additions to the Criterion Coming Soon page. Especially of note is Renoir's The Golden Coach (I'm still working my way through the Rules of the Game SE, and lemme tell ya--it's aces) and Marcel Carne's Port of Shadows.


Thanks to Tom Mes at MHVF for pointing out this great French site on Meiko Kaji. It's even got some of her songs--though I wish my grasp of the Gallic was a bit better.


Gasp!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

In today's entertainment is politics segment, we find that Disney is blocking Miramax from distributing Fahrenheit 911, a film critical of Bush's relationship with the Saudi royal family. Poor Harvey!


Cool pointer at Mondo Digital to a Bardot/Gainsbourg 60's release that I had never even previously heard of.


Filmfreak wraps up Hotdocs, a Canadian festival of nonnarrative film that just wrapped this past weekend.


The new Sight and Sound has a nice piece on demonlover, as David Thompson reassesses his initial impressions of the movie. There's also a brief interview with filmmaker Assayas as well. (Not to mention that the initial item references a film that could really stand to get a US DVD release: Lodge Kerrigan's Claire Dolan.


A very underrated actress

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The bedroom scenes in Bae Yong-joon's Scandal are firing up some controversy in Japan. Meanwhile, the Korea Film Archive is sponsoring a show of thirteen erotic films from the 60's through the 80's.


With Cannes on the horizon, writers have begun to pore over the program pointing out some of the potential highlights. While I'm sure excited about 2046, at this point I believe that the Maggie Cheung vehicle Clean (directed by Frenchman Olivier Assayas) is at the top of my hitlist. (not that I'll be seeing it for a year or so....)


no, there's never a bad reason for running a pic of Maggie

Monday, May 03, 2004

Creature Corner points out the new trailer for the film Open Water. Sharky.


Godzilla to die in Shanghai? Say it ain't so!


A crazed Japanese fan of actress Ryoko Hirosue has been arrested for a threatening email wherein he said that the "iron hammers of god" would rain down on the star's husband. Ouch.


Y'know, you'd think god would use like a 24k gold hammer or something

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