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A feast in a time of plague.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Johnny Depp has joined the voice cast of Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride, the director's return to stop-motion animation. I don't think I've liked a Burton movie since The Nightmare Before Christmas, so I'm glad he's gone back to the world inspired by Rankin/Bass, myself.


Well, it's another big day for Montrealers and fantastic film fans, as the films for Fantasia fest have been put on the web. There's a boatload of good stuff here--beginning with the spotlights on Thai cinema (including Oxide Pang's The Tesseract), Korean cinema (stuff like Sword in the Moon and Natural City et cetera) and Japanese film (with a couple Miike numbers as well as Angel's Egg, Battlefield Baseball and the really bizarre looking The Calamari Wrestler). If that wasn't enuff, there's also cool spotlights on Paul Naschy and the Shaw Brothers (don't miss The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter). And that's certainly not all, 'cuz there's all kinds of other potential gems that you'll find in perusing the sked: Chris Fisher's The Hillside Strangler, the Brit entry The Last Horror Movie, A Journey Into Bliss by Wenzel Storch, Haute Tension and even a retrospective screening of the infamous underground film Thundercrack. There's other stuff there that I've overlooked (and we'll likely return and examine some of this material later) so be sure and check out the site for yourself.


I have no comment on this

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Classic film actress Doris Dowling has passed away.


Via Bitter Cinema comes a heads up on a great primer for the Italian giallo genre.


A Girl and a Gun has a fine piece on great French actor Jean Gabin. (Tip to Greencine Daily for hepping me to this one).


This year's PIFAN festival is on its way (though I think the dates in this piece are incorrect--the official site says October) and the early indications are that they'll be plenty on hand for the fantastic film fan. The full program doesn't appear to be up yet, but at least we know that potential gems like Taste of Tea and Gagamboy are on track to be shown. (The latter film has the advantage of starring the fabuluous Filipino actress Aubrey Miles.

Arachnid supergeeks have all the luckAnd you thought the Green Goblin costume was bad


Monday, June 28, 2004

Bollywood film producer Yash Johar has died in Mumbai at the age of 75. (Thanks to Mitch Gurowitz for the solemn tip).


So will they or won't they? Sony looks possibly poised to buy MGM, but no deal as of yet.


Creature Corner has what looks to be good news concerning George Romero's new zombie projects. As far as his old zombie projects, well, thay are looking good as well.


I've waited eternity for this SE

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Mrskin.com interviews Synapse Films' Don May, Jr. and gets the scoop on the film aficionado's life in DVD. (Thanks to Mike McPadden for pointing this item out!)


With 2046 finally in the can, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai has set his sights on a biopic centered on the tragic story of classic Chinese actress and songstress, the fabulous Zhou Xuan. Rumor has it that Kar-wai regular Maggie Cheung will be along for the ride. In the same sort of vein comes the news that with Goodbye, Dragon Inn all wrapped up, Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang has moved on to making some sort of musical starring Chen Shiang-chyi and Lu Yi-ching. It's interesting that both of these top cinema helmsman have now turned their gaze towards the Chinese pop stars of yesteryear.

Maggie CheungZhou Xuan

Chen Shiang-chyi

Grace Chang


Friday, June 25, 2004

Personally, I wouldn't live in New York City if you paid me--but that's not to deny that the Rotten Apple does not have its many charms. One is undoubtedly the Film Forum, and a look at their upcoming schedule reveals many a celluloid gem available to those sorry fools who live in Gotham. Me, I'd still prefer to live in Tokyo, where there's festivals of films by great Japanese actresses, but I suppose if you're stuck in New York you could do much worse than the fare at the Forum. Oh, and while we're on the subject of Japanese actresses, I may as well mention a recent piece at TimeAsia on the superhero trend in film from the Land of the Rising Sun, with special attention paid to Eriko Sato's new vehicle, Cutie Honey.


Tennis, anyone?Are we sure this isn't the Space Channel 5 movie?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Global movie ticket prices hit an all-time high, with the US average breaking 6$ for the first time. In the last decade, ticket prices have risen 45% in the United States. Way higher than inflation over the same period.


The new---hang on a sec, this guy makes like four movies a year, so make that "a" new--film by Takashi Miike has a live website, though it's fairly bare bones at the moment.


From Cartoon Brew comes a link to an article detailing the grueling job that animation festival organizers in Zagreb faced in selecting a couple hundred films out of 1507 to run in their show.


Grimmest DVD Extra of the Year Award: I rented the James Cox flick Wonderland the other day, and while frankly it's not all that good there's some nice bonus material on the disks. The film itself is a bit too stylised, though it manages to tell the actual story OK. But the main actors are fairly poor--I can't stand Val Kilmer, myself and though Lisa Kudrow is the right type to play Sharon Holmes, she's just not really a great actress. Of all the principals, only Kate Bosworth comes close to capturing the essence of her character, and even she seems a little wrong for her part. The supporting players, on the other hand, are actually pretty decent--especially an almost unrecognizable Dylan McDermott and Eric Bogosian, who gets the plum role of Eddie Nash. But I digress, as the intent of this post was to point out that the Lion's Gate two-disc edition contains an LAPD crime scene video of the grisly aftermath of the Wonderland murders which is just about the harshest extra I've ever had the pleasure (?) of sitting through. Yikes. (I suppose I should also point out that the Limited Edition of Wonderland also has the excellent documentary Wadd packaged into the set.)


Zombie time, it's Zombie time. Anchor Bay's site for the Dawn of the Dead mega-set goes live, if that's the right word to describe it. In other rotting flesh news, Media Blasters specs out their cool looking Zombi 2 SE. Though you'll note that Blue Underground has a DVD of the same movie on the way. Take your pick.


Tasty low-carb human flesh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

There seem to be some Blogger related troubles in posting this morning, so our daily update will be short and sweet. Lots of tidbits from Creature Corner, including a Cannes horror update (though I'll admit the writer's claim that "I still rate Fletch and National Lampoon's Vacation as the two best comedies ever made" makes me question his sanity) and a pointer to the new trailer for Juon 2. I'm really excited for this latter Hollywood remake of the Japanese original, most especially because they're letting Takashi Shimizu take the reins. I'm glad Sony gets it.

Aaaaaagh

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The venerable New Yorker has a look at the Subway Cinema gang, taking particular note of Grady Hendrix who has a couple of choice quotes in the piece. I wish this guy programmed movies in a cinema in my town.


Hmmmmm. It seems that there's an unconfirmed list of the cartoons that'll be included on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2. It's a really exciting list, and even appears to have a couple of the b + w shorts in addition to all the color stuff. Yeehah.


It's time for a stroll to the DVD Drive-in, where there's a plethora of info today: details on upcoming Monster Legacy Collections from Universal, a pointer to an item via Video Business that seems to indicate Anchor Bay entering a relationship with Fox Home Entertainment; and a review of the new Retromedia double feature for Return of the Giant Monsters and The Magic Serpent.

This is the only way to travel


Happy 51st birthday to premiere Asian Golden Age star Mai Lin (at times, also known as Miki Moto) who should really write her autobiography. Or perhaps she'll turn up in the upcoming Legs McNeil opus, The Other Hollywood.

It's not easy finding safe pics of Mai Lin

Monday, June 21, 2004

Via Bitter Cinema comes word of a great and lengthy Metafilter post on Nicholas Ray. And I won't even add any hyperlinks here, 'cause there's plenty for you there to follow.


Can someone tell me why Scott Kosar has become the screenwriter of the moment for 70's horror remakes? I guess we know who'll get called when the Deathdream remake gets announced.


Hong Kong Entertainment Review is back from their brief hiatus, thankfully, so that means there's some new stuff on Asian film to read: Just One Look plays San Fran; Eye 2 gets a review at LoveHK Film; Hong Kong Digital looks at at Thai film called Phra-Apai-Mani; and Jackie Chan underperforms at the domestic box office.


I've grown to dislike this blue lighting in movies


Horror fans need to get themselves over to DVD Maniacs to check out the review of Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural. I didn't read the plot synopsis since I haven't seen this one yet, but even just a look at the screenshots is worth the trip. Wow. Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith never looked so good.

The colors....the colors...



Sunday, June 20, 2004

When it comes to the passing of character actors, I always seem to read about them at MHVF before the news turns up anywhere else. (There's more here.) This time it's George "Buck" Flower, a man who had a truly amazing life in film. Over the course of a thirty year career, he appeared in films like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, Back to the Future, The Fog, Candy Tangerine Man and plenty more. (Heck, if you believe IMDB--and that's not always a great idea--he was even a grip on The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio). It's quite a spectacular ouevre, one that it was always great to hear the man himself expound upon. It's a sad day in cult film land.

RIP George "Buck" Flower

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure how I feel about this design of the Thing for the upcoming superhero film Fantastic Four--but it could be worse. (And the final product could still easily be much different). (Tip o' the brim to Superherohype).

Jack Kirby version2004--It's still clobberin' time

Friday, June 18, 2004

I almost never read the Greencine blog until after I've done my posting for the day, mainly because their endless linking often involves some of the same stories I stumble on in my own travels. (I don't want to have to give them a credit line for all my links; it's nice to try to discover some stuff for you all by my lonesome). That said, if you're a film fan and you don't pay attention to this resource you're missing out--there's often enough there to send me on a couple hour long reading binge of the latest the web has to offer. So check it out.


Animators Unite has a good recap of the goings on at the Annecy animation fest.


I'm too brain dead to remember if I mentioned this one back a couple weeks, but reading a Fangoria item this morning reminded me that actor Anthony Steffen passed away earlier this month. Poor Django.


RIP Anthony Steffen 1930-2004


I watch a fair amount of horror films and am so jaded by now that few things even really scare me anymore. But if there's one thing that creeps me out, it's dolls. Make a flick about a possessed ventiloquist dummy or even a TV show and I'm hiding under the bed. (Though honest, I don't need to be reprogrammed or anything). So it was with a mixture of trepidation and glee that I read the news that actress Lim Eun-kyeong (who was wonderful in the spectacular mess that was The Resurrection of the Little Match Girl) will be starring in an upcoming creepy doll move called Inhyongsa. I'm quaking already.

You will never convince me that this doll isn't out for blood



Thursday, June 17, 2004

This item won't come as a great shock to you if you gone megaplex of late, but domestic cinema ads grew 37% percent in 2003. It's no wonder I rarely go to the big chains anymore--10$ to get in and they want you to sit through a barrage of crappy pitches before you get to see the movie. No thanks.


Barrie Maxwell at The Digital Bits has a good episode of his Classic Coming Attractions column. The first bit is an overview of John Wayne/John Ford films and their DVD status. The latter portion deals with what's coming to digital disk in the future, and there's some killer stuff here. There's the usual gems from outfits like Criterion and Paramount, but the coolest stuff looks to be coming from smaller players. A company named Laughsmith Entertainment will be putting out a 4 disk set of Fatty Arbuckle films, and Kino will team up with a European group known as Lobster Films to release a five disk collection of work by Charley Chase, Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. There's lots of other stuff in the column besides the cool silent comedy, so check out the whole thing if you're an old movie maven.


And while we're in silent movie mode, I suppose I'll point out this excellent article at Masters of Cinema on Lillian Gish.


Happy 38th birthday to the author of Lights, Camera, Sex!, the vivacious Christy Canyon.

Ah, the Golden Age


The Max Rosenberg obits are hitting the news today, as word of the Amicus films pioneer's passing gets out.

How can you forget a land that looks like this?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Y'know, my French is pretty darn lousy (all I understand is bits and pieces picked up from surrealist poetry translations and movies by the likes of Jean Luc Godard and Marilyn Jess), but it seems to me that this interview with Mondo Macabro's Pete Tombs is saying that his company will be releasing For Your Height Only, the famous Filipino midget James bond ripoff. And it also looks like perhaps Americans can look forward to a DVD of Girl Slaves Of Morgana Le Fay. Sacre bleu.


I haven't seen this reported in the news on the web just yet, but sources tell me that Amicus Films co-founder Max Rosenberg has passed away. In the sixties and seventies Rosenberg produced an amazing bunch of genre films like The Terrornauts, They Came From Beyond Space and The Land That Time Forgot. (This one was part of a Doug McClure trilogy, no less).


True Confession Department: in the last week I have actually spent some of my hard-earned cash putting in pre-orders for DVD's that I have no real excuse for: Roller Boogie with Linda Blair and The Apple, written and directed by that giant of film, Menahem Golan. I'm not sure what prompted this foray into disco and new wave madness, but I think it may be some sort of a cry for help.

Color me disappointed that 1994 didn't turn out like thisSKate to live!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I've been badmouthing the slow pace of video-on-demand for years now, and continue to believe that the infrastructure for the much-ballyhooed "you'll be able to order whatever you want whenever you want" framework is so far off that video stores will remain viable for some time yet. (That is, I don't expect the corner dvd store to wither away anytime soon.) That said, Real Networks and Starz are rolling out a new service that starts today that looks to be of fair interest in this space.


In today's grisly Hollywood news, an arrest is made in the decapitation murder of one of the few remaining people who were once placed on the Hollywood blacklist, screenwriter Robert Lees. Yikes.


Better things are happening in the George Romero department, where it looks like both Diamond Dead and Dead Reckoning have gotten some financing. Personally, I don't care which one he does first--so long as they both get made.


A poke around at the Steamboy site reveals all kinds of cool stuff, including a brand new trailer (number 4 on the page) for this great looking piece of animation.

I can't think of a stupid ALT tag joke. Fill in your own, OK?

Monday, June 14, 2004

I was just about to order up the new Mei Ah edition of Tsui Hark's The Butterfly Murders, only to read that it doesn't look so good. Sounds like the trouble is with the original negative, though, so I may just have to suck it up and put up with the blotches. My kingdom for better film preservation.


Fangoria has the insane specs for thefour disc Anchor Bay edition of Dawn of the Dead. Suffice it to say, this looks as tasty as a fatty lump of raw human flesh. But perhaps I've said too much.


A London gallery pays tribute to legendary undergound filmmaker Jack Smith.


Cartoon Brew has the briefest of updates from Annecy, one that hardly even talks about any of the films the guy saw. Personally, I'd rather hear about the movies than read about some blogger meeting Jimmy Murakami. But that's just me. In any case, it appears that the big winner was the Korean film Oseam. And what really irks me is that the DVD already seems to be out of print. What's up with that?

We won. Start pressing the DVD's!

Friday, June 11, 2004

The My Sassy Girl followup (featuring Jun Ji-hyun again directed by Kwak Jae-yong) seems to be performing well at the Korean box office.


Today I'd just like to point out a new web discovery or two, like the very informative Bitter Cinema (found while reading the also-interesting Like Anna Karina's Sweater). Anyone who does a post devoted to Kim Ki-young is OK in my book, and I swiped the cool poster pic below from there as well. There are few filmmakers on the earth who intrigue me as much as this Korean monster movie maven as many of his films seem to have disappeared into the ether--such as one of my holy grails, Hippy Carnage. (Which has the added benefit of having Keiko Mari, who was also in the Bond number The Man With the Golden Gun and Godzilla vs the Smog Monster). But every chance that I get, I always mention that Mondo Macabro needs to put out The Housemaid so that at least one film by this director gets some exposure.


Another site that I just stumbled on of late that I find fascinating is Scorebaby, a great guide to cultish soundtracks from the past. Where else can you get capsule reviews of stuff like the Logan's Run TV show or Herbie Hancock's The Spook Who Sat By the Door soundtrack?


All these web reading tips makes me think that I should figure out how to add a blogroll here, but I don't want to make our webmonkey cry. In any case, also be sure to check out the musings at Errata, where the writer does some cool comparisons inspired by the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Tate in London along with a Todd Haynes curated selection of films that's accompanying the show. (With the most interesting choice being the inclusion of James Benning's Grand Opera). Great stuff.

I have no idea what's going on in this poster

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I'm not sure how long this article has been up, but the always interesting Bright Lights Film Journal has a nice piece on the cinema of disturbance.

We represent the Lollipop Guild?


Kung Fu Cinema profiles the gang at Subway Cinema, purveyors of the excellent New York Asian Film Festival.


Ah, Anchor Bay. What would we do without you? This time it's a SE release of 80's badness called Class of 1984. (Note: the AB edition will surely be better than the edition that link reviews).


An excellent upcoming film noir double feature from VCI will team up The Chase (from the novel The Black Path of Fear by the blackhearted crime novelist Cornell Woolrich) and Bury Me Dead (with cinematography by the great John Alton). Also coming soon from the company is a collection of Jay Ward's Fractured Flickers.


John Alton rocks



Wednesday, June 09, 2004

It's been awhile since the stars were relaxing on the beaches at Cannes, but I think I neglected to ever link to the completed report from Darcy Pacquet. Lots of info there on the Korean entries for the festival.


Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is one of five winners of the Praemium Imperiale.


There's a big animation festival going on in Annecy, France as we speak. And though there's little news emerging from there thus far beyond the digital animation complex that Seoul is going to build, I'd suggest keeping an eye on Cartoon Brew to see what emerges. You'll have to overlook today's Satoshi Kon badmouthing, but let's not let that spoil things, shall we?


The DVD Drive-In is reporting that Barrel Entertainment will be releasing the 1975 House on Straw Hill (also known as Exposé) in its uncut form, with the print struck from its original negative.

Buy it--or else...


Land of the Rising Sun Department: Creature Corner reports on One Missed Call (as well as giving an aside that the film will play at the upcoming Fantasia Festival, which really needs to get the 2004 schedule up); in sadder news, actor Yosuke Kubozuka fell from his ninth story condo and was badly injured.

Miike even makes a cute little girl with a teddy bear look creepy

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Barrie Maxwell reviews the new Warner Brothers collection of films by the Marx Brothers.


Don't miss a couple of huge releases from the Shaw Brothers on June 10 (see the full list at Asian DVDGuide): Thundering Sword with Cheng Pei-pei and Shaolin Mantis.


Media Blasters has picked up the rights to a couple of Takashi Miike films, including his derivative sounding but cool looking One Missed Call.

You're making how many films this year???


The sequel to House of a Thousand Corpses is in production, and an item at Creature Corner says that a new cast member has been added--former adult performer turned legit actress Ginger Lynn. Visit her official site, if you dare.(NSFW)

smokin'

Monday, June 07, 2004

The specs are out for Synapse's amazing looking disk for Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural. Also, Don May Jr. reveals his company has also scooped up rights to Aussie eco-thriller Long Weekend.


40's musical star Irene Manning passed away just recently. Manning is probably best known for her role in Yankee Doodle Dandy with Jimmy Cagney.

Irene Manning meets Glenn Miller

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sigh. So that's why they run the races. Congratulations to Birdstone for running a great race and depriving Smarty Jones of his chance at the crown. Nick Zito and Mary Lou Whitney are about as nice connections as you can get, so they deserve the win. And Edgar Prado sounded genuinely apologetic for riding a great race and breaking everybody's heart--but he needn't be sad about doing his job well. In any case, we still wait.

Rats...

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Daejong Film Awards have been announced, with few surprises among the winners. Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall...and Spring takes home Best Picture and Park Chan-wook gets Best Director. On the sound effects, art direction and cinematography front, war film Taegukgi takes home an armful, and sci-fi flop Natural City at least can claim it won a prize for special effects. Oh, and there's plenty of actors and actresses who got feted as well.


The best new actor and actress get hitched in My Little Bride

Moon Sori, Best Actress

Friday, June 04, 2004

Best news of the day: Takashi Miike's Gozu is actually going to be released to screens this summer, with a New York date in July followed by later playdates in Boston, Seattle, Austin and Washington DC. Thank you, Pathfinder.


Eccentric Cinema goes to the well with a review of an older release from Something Weird starring Latina bombshell Isabel Sarli. Ay caramba.

Miss Argentina 1955


But look, you can have your damned movies this weekend....I'll be drinking in the conclusion to Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid. I'm hoping for a Hollywood ending, myself, with the thoroughbred walking into the winner's circle with his head held high. He should be much the best here, and the seven furlong work in 1:29 and change should set him up right nice. Unfortunately, in horse racing--just like in life--there ain't no such thing as a sure thing. (I'm still wary of Rock Hard Ten and Eddington). But that's why they run the races. Riders up!

What a stud

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Robert Burns, art director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died.


Richard Corliss at Time Asia has more about Asia's spectacular Cannes showing this year. A breakout, indeed.


Valuable DVD outfit Anchor Bay will be releasing Dario Argento's Trauma. Specs are out for Witchboard and Night of the Demons, as well.


The eighties were a very dignified decade

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

There's a Polar Express trailer up for your perusal.


Happy 34th birthday to Hong Kong pop/film star Karen Mok. See her soon at a theater near you in the Around the World in 80 Days remake, which will also feature Maggie Q and Marsha Yuen (the daughter of legendary Hong kong action star Cheng Pei-pei. The governor's in it too.



Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bright Lights Film Journal has a nice piece on classic Hollywood director Gregory LaCava, claiming that he's one of the few studio directors from the Golden Age who is still in need of rediscovery. It's certainly true that he has been criminally underrated by history, for as his ouevre demonstrates this was an extremely skilled craftsman. Another interesting note about La Cava is that he got his start in cartoons, making silents for Hearst Pictures starring the likes of Happy Hooligan during the teens. LaCava also offered Walter Lantz his first job, thus setting the animation giant on his career track. I'd really love to see some of these lesser known Lacava pictures resurface on DVD, notably The Half-Naked Truth with Lupe Velez (which has been known to show up on Turner Classic Movies from time to time) or She Married Her Boss. And the fact that Stage Door isn't out yet is a crime.

Lupe, yet another of Hollywood's sad tales


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