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A feast in a time of plague.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Word is in that familiar voice Jackson Beck has died. If you don't recognize the name, rest assured you'd recognize his dulcet tones--the voice actor was Bluto for hundreds of Popeye cartoons, did lots of advertising work and is also famous for uttering the signature "It's a bird...it's a plane....it's Superman!" for the Supes radio show in the forties. Another prominent Beck role was as the voiceover narrator in Woody Allen's hilarious Take the Money and Run.

Here's an interesting piece from the Guardian detailing five films by a quintet of world class directors that never quite got off the ground.

And what with that live action Thunderbirds movie hitting screens today, it seems a propituous time to honor Gerry Anderson, the man behind the original series.

Another note from the British Empire is that the programme for London's Fright Fest has been posted. Looks like lots of quality material--I'm really looking forward to The Machinist, myself.

Richard Corliss surveys the Japanese horror that Hollywood has decided to co-opt and makes a plea for watching the originals. Then again, with the news that Hideo Nakata will remake Sidney Furie's The Entity, maybe some other bastard Japanese/American stepchildren films are on the way. Here's hoping the new version is as interesting as Peter Tscherkassky's take on it was.

Also in Asian horror news, the Korean doll movie Inhyongsa (Doll Master) is out in its native country, though this review is fairly noncomittal. Me, I'm already petrified.

Dolls are just plain creepy

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Japan Times has a review of a new animated movie called Mind Games. This sounds like the kind of comic-turned-movie that I like...

The Flash has nothing on me

Did I ever point out that the big winner at this year's Puchon Film Festival was a Korean movie named Arahan? Looks like there's another one to keep an eye out for at Yes Asia.

I guess Zhang Ziyi got the plum role, but it looks like Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh will be around for the movie version of Memoirs of a Geisha. Here's hoping for some Oscar nominations to put this trio on the red carpet--that might make that snoozefest worth watching, for once.

OK Eurocult fans, have I got an event for you. Luminaries Quentin Tarantino and Joe Dante will be on hand at the Venice Film Festival for a thirty film retrospective of the Italian B film 1960-1980. I'll post the lineup as soon as I can find it, but if you're a big Fernando Di Leo, Antonio Margheriti or Lucio Fulci fan, you ought to be buying your tickets now.

Today's tribute in the Golden Age of Adult Film Birthday Department goes out to Teresa Orlowski, as the Polish born star of Hans Moser's 1980's Foxy Lady series turns 51 today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

DVD Maniacs seem to have gotten their hands on an early copy of Thriller: A Cruel Picture, as they've got a spiffy review of the Synapse disk up on their site.

Doug Dillaman wraps his yeoman work at the Auckland Film Festival...lots of capsule commentary on the many films he's seen at this year's outing.

Here's one not to be missed by fans of the horror and action genres: Fangoria posts a round table with luminaries Eli Roth, Takashi Miike and Guillermo del Toro. There's some news on the Black Christmas remake over there as well.

Why Santa?  Why?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Joan Morgan, the last remaining British silent film star has passed on. Silent film historian Kevin Brownlow reports on her life.

Can you keep track of the date jockeying that's going on for this fall's horror lineup? Creature Corner has the latest on where Seed of Chucky is going, but it's likely not the last word. Seems Hollywood is awful skittish about putting those genre pix too close to each other...

The opening of the China mainland market is changing the way that Hong Kong filmmakers approach production. Ya wouldn't want to piss off those overlords, now would ya?

While we're on the China front, let's note this article from The AGe summing up the career of Chang Cheh. (Thanks to Heroic Cinema for the tip.

Stay still, you single appendaged fiend!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Italian composer Piero Piccioni has died in Rome at the age of 82. Piccioni did the music for a ton of Italian films, from Son of Spartacus to Swept Away.

I can't say that I'm lovin' their new pinkish color scheme, but that won't stop me from digesting the new issue of Senses of Cinema. As usual, there's a whole host of things to read--like daily reports from the Melbourne International Film Festival, a piece on the telephone in the slasher film, the films of Guy Maddin, the issue of vertigo in the Matrix films, an analysis of Histoire de Marie et Julien--a movie I hadn't even heard of that has me realllly excited. There's plenty else there besides all that I've mentioned here, so go on over and scope it out. A day that Senses of Cinema updates is a good day for film lovers, for sure.

This doesn't look too scary...

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Thanks to David Klatt for pointing out the sad news that Irvin Yeaworth Jr., director of The Blob, 4D Man and Dinosaurus has died in a car accident.

RIP, Irvin Yeaworth Jr

Friday, July 23, 2004

Tim Lucas has the news that voice actor Bernard Grant has passed on. Perhaps the name is unfamiliar to you--but it's pretty likely you'd recognize his voice from the dubbing tracks of many foreign movies that were brought to the States with an English track. (Then again, you might recognize him if you caught his long run on the Guiding Light).

More stuff via the boards at MHVF, as Yves Gendron sends in a few different links to some news pieces covering the action at Fantasia Fest.

From the Golden Age of Porn Department: let's all wish a happy 65th birthday to one of the real characters of late seventies adult film--Juliet Anderson, a woman who made her triple X screen debut at the tender age of 40. (these links are relatively tame, but should be considered NSFW. You can't always trust a banner ad).

My favorite Auntie

Thursday, July 22, 2004

This just in: award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith has passed away. You know his work even if you don't recognize the name.

Here's one for you scholars of Hong Kong film: Peter Nepstad (he of Illuminated Lantern fame) has pointed out that the Hong Kong Film Archive has posted a PDF that consists of a complete HK filmography for the years 1913-2003 at the bottom of this page. There's one to burn to disk for future reference.

The reviews for Steamboy are on their way in, courtesy of the Japan Times.

Via my new favorite blog (of the rather pedestrian moniker, The Movie Blog), comes a link to the official site of the sequel to Three. Looks like perhaps the trailer is just for the Park Chan-wook segment--here's hoping that the Miike and Fruit Chan sgements get some play soon. Can't wait for this one, myself.

It looks like Crouching Tiger alum Zhang Ziyi has beaten out Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh for the lead in Shpielberg's upcoming adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha. Ah, youth.

Have you noticed that this blog is just an excuse to post pics of beautiful women?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Though he died back in the early 90's, today would have been the birthday of Paul Blaisdell, whose special effects work on the AIP monster movies is legendary.

I've only breezed through this Midnight Eye review of Casshern (in general, I try to avoid too much advance word on stuff I know I'd like to see), but it sounds as if they liked it. Go watch the trailer at the official site, if you haven't already--it's amazing.

Yesterday was trashy movie day here at home, spent taking in the celluloid masterpiece Hillbillys in a Haunted House. It's a complete throwaway pic designed to show off country music stars like Ferlin Husky and Merle Haggard, but there's also Lon Chaney Jr, Linda Ho, John Carradine and Basil Rathbone. And I have to sing the praises of Joi Lansing (aka Joyce Wassmansdoff), the blonde bombshell who is most recognizable for her stint as Gladys Flatt (*cough*) on the Beverly Hillbillies.

You'll poke somebody's eye out!

According to August Ragone, the sad news is in that director Noriaki Yuasa has died. (If your Japanese skills are OK, there's more here, or so I'm told). The filmmaker was best known for work that centered around Gamera, the gigantic flying turtle. If you're like me, you'll recall many a Saturday afternoon watching this massive--but kindhearted--chelonian on the Creature Feature.

That's gotta hurt

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

From the wide world of box office comes the following tidbit:

Director Zhang Yimou's heavy-hitter "House of Flying Daggers" has high-kicked its way to a record Chinese box office taking 33 million yuan, or about 4 million US dollars, for the first three days, reported CRIENGLISH.com

Now I don't really know from the Chinese box office (what I do know is that the average ticket price comes in quite a bit below North America's 6$ standard), but that sounds pretty good to me.

Here's some news from the mainstream that's actually fairly promising: director Bryan Singer will helm the upcoming Superman film. When I badmouthed comics movies the other day I neglected to make an exception for the X-Men films--the first one was a bit preachy and turgid, but Xmen 2 was more of less everything a popcorn movie should be...I've always been of the mind that Superman was kind of overrated, but that won't stop me from seeing this one.

While hopefully my new subscription at Greencine will temper my DVD buying a bit (though I'm not counting on it, even if I do have rentals of Slaughter Hotel and One From the Heart on the way), there's just a ton of stuff coming out in the near future that I desperately need. Of course, I've already thrown the 38$ for the Warners' Film Noir Collection and I couldn't resist dropping twelve on Fulci's Conquest, which makes me laugh just thinkin' of it. And I think that Golden Swallow and Eye 2 will be in my shopping cart before long. But that still leaves an absurd number of releases for me to purchase in the August/September period--I mean, look at 'em (and this doesn't even include the Shaw Brothers or other assorted foreign releases.) August 31 is the worst--Bunuel's Robinson Crusoe, Forbidden Zone, the Criterion Videodrome SE, Synapse's Lemora disk and The Alan Clarke Collection. I think I need to set up a donation link for this blog so my faithful readers will send in lots of money to support my habit. I'm sure I'd just have to set it up and wait for the money to roll in....right? right?

I'm snickering as I post this ALT tag

Monday, July 19, 2004

There's a whole lot less here than I'd hoped for, but Michael Chabon has named his ten favorite comic book movies. And I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Catwoman won't be supplanting any film on that list anytime soon.

Actress Gong Li seems like she's everywhere these days--she sure hasn't seen this sort of press here in the States since her run of films with Zhang Yimou. (His new film has been reviewed, but you'll need to read Chinese to see what it says.

Sure, this last item was just an excuse for running a pic of Gong Li.  So sue me

Sunday, July 18, 2004

There's bad news on the old cinema front these days--not only is the Loews Astor Plaza, one of the biggest screens in New York City closing, but the last theater in the United States that shows first run Hong Kong films is in grave danger. Myself, I've lamented the closing of Boston's Pagoda for many years--this is where I cut my teeth on Chow Yun-fat films--so if you live in San Francisco, you should do what you can to save the 4Star.

Yves Gendron checks in from Montreal's Fantasia Festival, with a host of capsule updates on the fare. It's a good overview, and hopefully he'll keep filing stories from the front--especially since he's going to see the Corto Maltese anime, which I didn't even know existed. I love me some Hugo Pratt.

Hugo Pratt is soooooo underrated

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival has opened, so we'll probably be linking to any reports that we can find from there over the next week and a half. There's all sorts of interesting stuff playing (and heck, you have to hand it to any festival that devotes a special section to the films of Jorg Buttgereit), so we'll be keeping an eye peeled for the gems that emerge. I'm sort of intrigued by the Korean film that closes the festival, Bunshishaba, but then again I'm just a sap for recent Asian horror. (And speaking of that, I'm really thrilled to hear about Park Chan-wook teaming with Miike and Friut Chan for a followup to the excellent Three.) In any case, PIFF usually generates plenty of reports from the ground, so when I find 'em I'll post 'em.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

The specs for the soon-to-be-released limited edition disc of Thriller have been revealed. Don May Jr says that pre-ordering will begin at the Synapse website for this bit of Swedish harshness shortly.

There's a couple of postings at MHVF on The Auckland International Film Festival from Doug Dillaman and Aaron Yap, detailing the things they've seen there. Of all the films they mention that have yet to see a US release, the most interesting to me are Old Boy, Kaikohe Demolition and Tintin and I. Especially fascinating to me is this latter documentary on Belgian cartoonist Herge, a semi-controversial figure who is without a doubt one of the great cartoonists of all time. Supposedly Shpielberg has dusted off his long awaited Tintin movie (everyone wants in on the comics movie routine, these days) so this documentary seems pretty timely, and I'd sure love to see it.

My personal campaign for some time has been to get to get some enterprising DVD company (I'm looking in your direction, Mondo Macabro to release the 1960 Korean film The Housemaid, a position that has only been strengthened now that I've seen Darcy Pacquet's review. This one desperately needs to see the light of day--so c'mon, let's have at it, shall we?

You could cut the tension with a knife. But I don't want to give her any ideas....

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

There's a brand new trailer out for A Dirty Shame, the new John Waters movie due in September. Let's just hope it's better than Cecil B. Demented, which I liked less than any waters movie since Cry Baby.

Finally got around to watching my Animeigo DVD of Lady Snowblood last night, and let me tell you that this one is not to be missed. The transfer is just stunning, and the movie itself of course kicks all kinds of ass. If you want to see the foundation upon which Kill Bill was built, then you'll need to get your hands on this Meiko Kaji classic.

I'll cut you

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I was once a great comics fan, both of the trashy superhero sort and the more highbrow graphic novel stuff. Then I decided they were way too expensive, so now I'm mostly reduced to watching the lameass movies that get made from sequential art. When I was a lad, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four were my faves. So much so that I haven't yet dared to attempt to watch the Ben Affleck version of The Man Without Fear. (I mean c'mon--I'm still trying to recover from The Hulk and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). In any case, the casting news for the FF movie is coming in, and the early indication is that it pretty much sucks. So far, I don't think I'mm too excited about this one. Maybe I'll have to be happy with Cutie Honey or Gagamboy.

Casey Scott has got the goods on a brand new DVD-R that's making the rounds called Trailer Trash. It's an exclusive release of the Chucky Lou AV Club, and it's loaded with one-of-a-kind weirdness. Certain to be worth twenty bucks.

This one needs a DVD release. And soon

Monday, July 12, 2004

For Londoners: don't miss the Saul Bass exhibit at the Design Museum. A brilliant looking show on a great designer who did lots of amazing cinema work.

Wouldn't you like to have attended the swinging opening of House of the Flying Daggers? I know I would have...

Missed this one last week: it looks like George Romero is getting ever closer to being back in action with the zombies...read the even more at Fangoria. Oh, and there's a release date for Mondo Macabro's Lady Terminator.

She'll be back

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Hey New Yorkers, do I have a film series for you. At the Walter Reade in August comes an amazing series of movies by director Anthony Mann, one of the greatest directors from Hollywood in the post World War Two period. Mann's films are generally genre pieces that effectively transcend their lowbrow trappings and studio imposed frameworks to become items of high art. His noirs are tough little gems, but it's really the westerns that hit the hardest--hell, I'm considering paying thirty five bucks for this one, and that's pretty steep. (Not even a screening in NYC'll run ya that...) In any case, if you're in the area be sure and go down and see a few--I can't think of a better way to spend the sultry nights of August in the Big Apple.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Thanks to Ian H. over at MHVF for posting about Fantoma putting up the specs for their August release of Forbidden Zone. Oh, and while we're on the subject of MHVF, you might as well read Todd Harbour's excellent interview with Julian Richards, helmsman of The Last Horror Movie.

Yet another great post at Bitter Cinema with a look at some old horror movies that straddle the line of outre art. The updates at this blog remain consistently entertaining and informative, so be sure and add it to your list.

From the Recently Discovered Department: Cinema Treasures, an amazing site dedicated to the celebration and preservation of old movie theaters. It's a great concern--I live in a city where nearly all of the classic theaters have been demolished or supplanted, so I'm happy to see that there's people out there trying to save these gems. As a resolute modernist, I hate to see great twentieth century architecture vanish (these days, I'm really concerned about important works like Richard Neutra's Gettysburg Cyclorama and Tecton/Lubetkin's Dudley Zoo, which seem destined to meet the wrecking ball), so it's nice to know there's some out there fighting the good fight.

Via the entertaining Scrubbles comes a link to a superb gallery of work by Bob Peak, who painted many recognizable film posters during the seventies and eighties.

This is for the original, not the execrable remake

Thursday, July 08, 2004

One stop shopping for your upcoming comics films available here for your perusal. Most of these movies look sort of weak to me at first glance (and Catwoman looks right awful even after the fourth or fifth look), but there's probably one or two they'll get sort of right.

Do you remember the Disney cat-returns-from-the-afterlife film The Three Lives of Thomasina? Neither do I, but it sounds like the DVD is pretty nice.

I was reminded that yesterday was the 21st anniversary of the death of martial arts film great Fu Sheng. One of the true giants of the kung fu cinema, Fu Sheng managed to be an amazing presence in plenty of classics in his all too brief career. Unfortunately, Fu Sheng was ultimately killed in a car accident on Clearwater Bay Road in Kowloon during July of 1983. The superstitious of the world have been known to attribute this to the star's decision to buy the house that Bruce Lee owned upon the time of his death, but whatever the case may be there what is known is that a real master of the genre died that day. And the world of the martial arts cinema has ever been the poorer for it.

A true giant

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Kirk Douglas' son Eric, who had a small movie career of his own, has sadly been found dead in an apartment building in New York.

Tired of hearing me go on and on about the September release of the Ultimate Edition of Romero's Dawn of the Dead? Well, the cover art and menus have been revealed, so tough.

There's all kinds of news coming out of this past weekend's Anime Expo--even word on some live action Korean films of the non-anime sort that are coming to the US from distributor ADV. But give me Astro Boy or give me death.

The show must go on

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Coming right on the heels of their botching of the John Kerry veep story, this may not be the time to refer to a story in the NY Post. But it's still sort of interesting that they're reporting that Harvey Weinstein is "set to bolt Miramax". Hmmmmm.

Film Journal has published a really interesting piece by Adam Hartzell on the subversion of product placement in the Korean cinema. And read the cool article on Orson Welles, while you're at it.

Happy Wizard of Gore day, as Something Weired releases The Herschell Gordon Lewis Collection, a compendium of six films by the gutbucket pioneer.

It's possible that this tag line is a slight exaggeration

Monday, July 05, 2004

If you're in the Bay Area, be sure and check out the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, a summer celebration of the cinema before sound. There's some real fine loking entries here, including Ruan Ling-yu in The Goddess (also available on DVD and a Victor Fleming/Douglas Fairbanks outing called When the Clouds Roll By (playing with the hi-larious Fairbanks short Mystery of the Leaping Fish). Plenty of other offerings on the plate as well, so take a look at the full sked.

SFGate weighs in on the state of Korean cinema and wave of Hollywood remakes that's coming based on these Asian film originals.

This item's a bit stale--but hell, it's a holiday weekend and I can't find much else out there. In any case, the just announced Warners' October releases look to have some extras involved--except for Fearless Vampire Killers, which still seems mighty barren. The Hunger disc sounds cool, though.

It's too late to fall in love with Sharon Tate

Friday, July 02, 2004

Andy Ramsgard is an architect whose company's creations have become so stylishly hot that the set designer for The Stepford Wives remake commissioned some pieces to be used in the film.

Drag! Disney has pushed their Miyazaki 2 disk SE's into early 2005. Rats.

Land of the Rising Sun Department: a slew of new stuff at Midnight Eye, from an interview with Hirokazu Kore-eda to a look at the Art Theater Guild to a review of the amazing looking Casshern. A great update for an excellent site.

The good folk at Turner Classic Movies want to know which classic movies you'd like to see come to DVD. You get to choose five from a list of twenty, and it's an interesting set of films. And I don't want to influence the election results or anything, but you really should vote for Party Girl and Kansas City Bomber!

if it wasn't for curling and horse racing, roller derby would be the greatest sport ever invented

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The new Johnnie To pic is out in Hong Kong, and TimeAsia has a review, which I only skimmed. What I breezed over looked pretty promising, though.

I had begun to get worried about whether MGM was going to reprise their excellent Midnite Movies line of double features this year, but happily it looks like they're on their way. For some reason they'll be exclusively carried by Best Buy (and there's also some previously released titles) but there's lots to be excited about. DVD Drive-In has the whole scoop--I'm most impressed by the letterboxed Invasion of the Star Creatures b/w a 16 x 9 disc of Invasion of the Bee Girls. There's a few other real nuggets of goodness as well, from The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant/The Thing With Two Heads twofer to other offerings covering vampires, bikers, beach parties, rebelling teens and Doug McClure. What more do you need? (And if you do need more, just scroll down for the announcements about what's coming from Warners (Fearless Vampire Killers, for one), The Chucky Lou AV Club (a limited edition of their fine Trailer Trash) and Fox Home Video (Beverly Garland in Alligator People).

Feel the haughty disdain

Hands on hips is obviously the de rigeur pose for evil sci-fi women


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