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A feast in a time of plague.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Today's quickie update: pics from Ring of the Nibelungs, Nintendo is going to make movies, scream at the terror that is J-Horror Theater, Eccentric Cinema looks at the Alan Clarke Collection, scroll down at Kung Fu Cult Cinema to read about the New York appearance of the cast from Swing Girls and a reminder: don't forget to pick up your copy of Season Two of Land of the Lost.

Wagner was never like this

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Some interesting comic to movie news today as Sergio Aragones' work Groo the Wanderer will be getting the treatment.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Posting here this week might be a bit slower and less link filled than general. There's a little bit of burnout setting in, and I just don't have the proper time to devote to this space as I should right now. So please bear with me--I'll really try not to leave you with nothing, but there may be a little less than you've come to expect daily for the next couple days. Should be totally back to full strength by next week.


In the meantime, you can read today about Koji Suzuki's Adrift getting optioned, take a gander at a couple of set shots from the King Kong remake, see photos from Ring 2, note that Bruce Campell and Christopher Lee might be making a movie in Russia and I'll clue you in that Raining Cats and Frogs was the feature winner at the Ottawa Animation Festival. Oh, and the line between art film and porn movie is thinner than ever. Yay!

Hand over your Freedom Fries



Saturday, September 25, 2004

It's a completely Midnight Eye-centric post today: check out Jason Sharp's Pioneers of Japanese animation piece, an interview with Mamoru Oshii, and reviews of Steamboy and Journey to the West. Oh, and there's one for Cutie Honey too--damn, I want to see this flick. A new update to this fine Japanese film site is always a revelation--I haven't been this excited since I heard Kiyoshi Kurosawa was making a mummy movie.

Dear Japan: please put out this film with subtitles

Friday, September 24, 2004

Monsters and Critics notes that they've got some spiffy new screenshots of the next Danny Boyle movie, Millions.


Did I ever point out this August piece by Mark A. Vieira in Bright Lights Film Journal? (I may have, as my brain sure ain't what it used to be). It's all about fifties drive-in movies, and it's a nice--if brief--overview of some real sci-fi classics.


From the FWIW Department: The Straits Times loves Jackie Chan in his return to the Police Story series. Which reminds me: the digitally remastered DVD box set ships today as well.


If it's true that Samantha Morton lost a role in Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm pic because she was too fat, let me just point out now that the world has gone quite insane. Make mine Botticelli.


In truly awful film news, Jennifer Connelly has apparently signed up for a reprise of her role as Betty Ross in Hulk 2. No director as yet, so I suppose I can hope that this one won't be turned into boring treacle--but still, I'd rather that she just team up with Dario Argento for a sequel to Phenomena.

I speak fluent bug!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

In the wake of the death of Russ Meyer, the Guardian does a nice job of identifying a Pick Six of his films that are actually worth a look.


It seems like Dreamworks' division Go Fish Pictures is doing pretty well with their pickup of Ghost in the Shell. Anime continues to impress domestically.


Henry Selick and Vinton Studios will team up to do the film version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which sounds like great news to me.


Here's one for the vaults: Chuck Stephens discusses the great Shaw Brothers and their legacy. Which reminds me--it's time to get my copy of Spritual Boxer.

I'm so spiritual that I will punch your face

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Whoaaaaaaaaaaa. A true cult legend has now left the earth--filmmaker Russ Meyer has passed away. Let's all bow our heads now in honor of the man who made plenty of dreck but also two truly great films--Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!


Takeshi Shimizu, the director of Ju-on, has a new film called Marebito. Twitch has the details. Supposedly also involved is Shinya Tsukamoto, so this one looks really promising.


A new German film by Andreas Marschall called Tears of Kali will make its domestic debut at this year's Screamfest. Also playing will be things like the Irish film board sponsored Gaelic zombie fest Dead Meat and the Paul Naschy vehicle Rojo Sangre.


Live anywhere near the Cinerama Dome? If so, don't miss the October screenings of the 1952 film This is Cinerama.


Superhero Hype has a couple of pics via USA Today of the characters for the Fantastic Four flick. They actually look OK, though I'm still not convinced about Jessica Alba.

Hey, she's not invisible at all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Robin Duval is hanging it up as the head of the BBFC and he looks back at his life as a censoring scissor man.


John Sayles discusses his work on Jurassic Park IV, which is sure to be more engaging than his more generally preachy screenplays. Those are kind of a drag.


Plenty of news on the DVD front from the people at Anchor Bay. The release of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is cause for celebration, and The Pirate Movie is sure to be good for a laugh. Also interesting is Ride With the Devil (which I remember as a TV staple in the late 70's) and I'd sure like to know what's going to be on their Ealing Comedy Collection. Not to be outdone, Anchor Bay UK has announced an R2 box set of the work of Norman J. Warren.

Thar she blows

Monday, September 20, 2004

The October Pusan International Film Festival will be the biggest ever, say organizers. And who knows, maybe 2046 will even show.


What are the ten best films set on the water? Chris Kentis weighs in. (what? No Horror of Party Beach???)


There are many recaps of Toronto out there for the scouring, with info on tons of films that'll be coming down the pike soon enough. One that's a bit intriguing is In My Father's Den, a New Zealand film that I've heard a couple things about (from a variety of places) and certainly looks mysterious enough to warrant further attention.

The future looks hazy

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Apparently, Sony and the distributors of Kung Fu Hustle cancelled both TIFF screenings of Kung Fu Hustle with the official explanation being that the print was damaged and un-screenable. Boing Boing, however, reports that a friend working the festival gave the explanation that these distributors

did not feel that security was adequate and did not like the number of digital cameras etc in the audience

so it sounds like fear of a bootlegging may have been what really caused them to bail out.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Fresh off Hero and House of Flying Daggers, it appears that Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou will be making a third martial arts film. Fine with me.


In a rather annoying development, Celestial Pictures has apparently decided that some of their lesser light releases of the Shaw Brothers catalog will be pressed only on VCD. The Asian DVD Guide has the full list of titles for now:


    The Swordmates
    Crocodile River
    The Angel Strikes Again
    Twin Blades Of Doom
    Double Bliss
    Temptress Of A Thousand Faces
    The Black Butterfly

They also have the following suggestion, which I certainly plan on taking:
If you are unhappy about this, send polite emails to the addresses that Celestial and IVL have set up to gather feedback from their customers:

Celestial: enquiry@celestialpictures.com
IVL: contact_ivl@intercontinental.com.hk

I'd sure hate to see a lot of the non-martial arts releases go this way from here on out, as there's still a ways to go in releasing all of this catalog material from the historic studio. Let's not let the ghost tales and costume dramas suffer the ignominious fate of coming out only in an inferior medium, OK?


The UK Guardian has a nice piece wherein some current fashion designers talk about classic Hollywood's influence on their work.


Speaking of classics, former porn king Al Goldstein has a new job! (Special thanks to Fleshbot for pointing this item out).


Over at Eccentric Cinema, a slight break has been taken in the almost nonstop reviewing of MGM's recent double feature releases to look at the upcoming Blue Underground release of Paul Bartel's Cannonball.

Are we sure this isn't Charlie's Angels in some alternate universe?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The new Seed of Chucky trailer is pretty promising; also amusing is the presence of John Waters in this movie.


The revamped Creature Corner has a new column called Blood and Bitrates, that details news and information on genre releases to DVD. You can never have too many of those, I say.


Darcy Pacquet has finally put up his thoughts on the offerings at this year's Puchon Fantastic Film Festival.


From the Woo and the Hoo Department: the Pang Brothers will be making a creepy movie for Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures.


Punk rock legend Johnny Ramone has joined Dee Dee and Joey in rock 'n roll heaven. Honor his memory with a trip to see End of the Century, if it's playing near you. If it isn't, then wait until the 28th and buy yourself a copy of the Ramones Raw DVD.

RIP, Jeff Hyman

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Via Cartoon Brew comes this this story on Disney animator Ward Kimball and his UFO movie.


Wondering what to get for the film fan who has everything? How about the Godfather horse head pillow? (Hat tip to things magazine).


Sony's purchase of MGM may just be an establishment of a beachhead in the DVD format war. All I know is that they'd best keep up with the catalog releases--and that AIP/Orion library is ripe for plowing as well.


Peter Bogdanovich has apparently written a followup to his amazing Who The Devil Made It, but the subjects this time are actors and actresses.


I'm very intrigued by the product put out by Les Documents Cinematographiques, one of the companies mentioned in the MoC Overlooked DVD's piece that I linked to yesterday. I also think that I'll have to chase down Suevia Films' Spanish version of Nicholas Ray's The Savage Innocents, especially because I'm right now reading I Was Interrupted: Nicholas Ray on Making Movies. I'm really not sure why some of the greatest movies that Hollywood ever produced come out only in Japanese or European versions, but quite frankly it's annoying as all hell.


So last night I watched Synapse's spiffy new version of Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (more on this one later, perhaps), and it really made me lament the tragic fate which eventually befell star Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith.

We  miss you, Cheryl, wherever you are

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Well, after many, many months of speculation about the fate of one of Hollywood's historic studios, the news has finally broken that Sony will buy MGM. The biggest plum seems to be MGM's vast library of product, so here's hoping we'll see even more of the catalog become available on DVD. But Sony sure paid a hell of a lot to get their hands on this property.


Don't forget that today is the release day for Bug!, produced by schlockmeister supreme William Castle.


Masters of Cinema, the kings of everything foreign, historic and artsy on DVD have put up a new piece detailing loads of DVD's that they feel have been overlooked in the deluge of releases since movie viewing at home went digital. As if I didn't have too many discs vying for my attention already....


The cast has been firmed up for director Jaume Balaguero's Fragile. Now, if only a couple of his earlier works could surface in the States, maybe people could get more interested in this one.


Feel like braving AICN to read a review of the script for the Fantastic Four movie? I didn't really, but I went and glanced at it anyhow.

Just don't make Jack Kirby turn over in his grave, OK?

Monday, September 13, 2004

The winners have been announced at the Venice Film Festival: Kim Ki-duk got a Silver Lion for direction, but it as a Mike Leigh film that took top honors.


If you're a review reader, keep an eye on Twitch this week, as they seem to really be taking in a lot of the good stuff that's showing at TIFF. There's lots of other coverage of this one if you just scour the web a bit--me, I just get jealous reading about all the great stuff I won't see for months. Also worth a glance is the notes coming in at Filmnerd.


I missed this one at the end of last week: Disney animator Frank Thomas, one of the Nine Old Men, has passed on.

The Star interviews Asian actress Lee Sinje (aka Angelica Lee), who's always an interesting subject.

What about mad dogs and Englishmen?

Friday, September 10, 2004

The official site for Kung Fu Hustle is live, with a new trailer and everything.


One of the bloggers at The Movie Blog has splintered off to form Twitch, a little slice of the web of his own. There's a whole bunch of interesting items there, but the primary thing I found interesting was the pointer to a website for a French sci-fi film called Immortel, that had flown completely under my radar. And unlike the upcoming Japanese Casshern DVD, at least the October disk for this one will have subtitles.


Here at Hyde house this week it's been a complete festival of the kung fu films of Joseph Kuo, as I've been imbibing daily doses of gems like 36 Deadly Styles and Born Invincible. (Aside: it's sure a loss to history that the original negatives of this latter film appear to have been completely lost; the cropped treatment just doesn't show the fights off correctly. But I guess we may never see anything better....). Best of all, though, was a 2004 Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters release of 7 Grandmasters, a really great independent martial arts film from the seventies starring Jack Long (among many other fistic film regulars). For some reason I'm all about kung fu movies and westerns lately--and I thought it was sort of interesting that the current "short takes" rotation at Hong Kong Digital features a John Sturges horse opera (The Walking Hills) and a Budd Boetticher outing (Decision at Sundown). Ah, zetgeist.

Status Kuo

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Thanks to the invaluable Hong Kong Entertainment News for pointing out this preview of many of the Q4 film offerings in Malaysia.


Rejoice, fans of the Western: Paramount has reached an agreement with Batjac Productions to bring the catalog of films that they owned the rights to back into the light of day. As Batjac was founded by John Wayne, some of the properties star the iconic actor: films such as Hondo and The High and the Mighty figure prominently in the mix. But the single most exciting film mentioned here doesn't have anything to do with The Duke: it's Budd Boetticher's Seven Men From Now, one of the seminal Westerns the great genre director made with actor Randolph Scott. Now, if only someone would smarten up and release Ride Lonesome.


Check out the November lineup for Godzillafest, playing at San Francisco's spectacular Castro Theatre, surely one of the ten best cinemas still standing in the United States. An amazing series of kaiju eiga.

Death to low carb diets!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Police in Paris have discovered an underground cinema in the catacombs beneath the city streets.


I'm not sure yet if I like the re-design, but Creature Corner has returned after a revamp.


The Gray Lady has the (at times needlessly breathless) scoop on the new documentary focusing on Deep Throat and all that has followed in its wake.


It looks like Wong Kar-wai's 1991 Days of Being Wild has been picked up by Kino International along with a couple other foreign properties for their upcoming slate.


So it sounds like the Ferd and Beverly Sebastian collection will be coming to DVD. So I guess we can look forward to seeing gems like Red, White and Blue, The Hitchhikers and Gator Bait (featuring the luscious Claudia Jennings in the near future. Our long national nightmare is now over.

Another tragic story

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The National Film Preservation Foundation is releasing some real treasures to DVD today. The set is loaded with all kinds of celluloid arcana, including early trailers, 1923 sound movies, lost Ernst Lubitsch work, newsreels, industrial films and so much more.


What does everyone else want to see at TIFF? A quick glance at this piece in the Toronto Star should give you a clue.


Japanese actress Chiaki Kuriyama has signed with the Chinese Xingze Film and TV Company, thus becoming the first Japanese actress to move to China to become a star. More evidence of the rising power of the Chinese market.

Speechless



Friday, September 03, 2004

It looks like Kino on Video is planning a spiffy five DVD box set of the works of Wong Kar-wai. They don't appear to be overly stuffed with extras, but still...


An British poll of gamblers (that's "punters", in the parlance) has named the best gambling movie of all time as being The Cincinnati Kid. Now perhaps all the gamblers over there have had their brains fogged by the racing scandal, or something--because there's no excuse for that dullsville Steve Mcqueen outing winning while the far superior The Hustler comes in twelfth--not to mention a complete omission of Jacques Demy's brilliant Bay of Angels.


I had been skeptical about Paramount's delay of the Danger: Diabolik DVD, fearing that it might just disappear into the void. But it sounds like the pause was for all the right reasons; I guess that some people at American Zoetrope realize what a great property this is and have held up the disk so that they could add things like a commentary by Video Watchdog scribe Tim Lucas and John Phillip Law. I sure don't mind waiting if it means things are gonna get done right.

I'm going to start dressing like this

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Harvey Weinstein gloats about the success of Hero and how they've managed to successfully crack down on "illegal" imports but for a "few hundred enterprising Asian film fans". Hmmmmm. (Been to Chinatown lately, Harv?) Still, there's no doubt that business-wise the way they handled the property was a good strategy for Miramax. But maybe the most intriguing part of the piece is this:

My dream is to restore and release one of my favorite Asian films, King Hu's "Touch of Zen." I don't care that it is widely available on DVD. I want to do this because it is a good thing to do.

While I'm pretty sure that the philanthropical angle is so much Hollywood exec nothingness, if the old boy actually did this then maybe I'd cut him a bit more slack.


At a cursory glance, I thought that Hou Hsiao-hsien's Cafe Lumiere was a documentary on Yasujiro Ozu, but that isn't right. It's actually a film inspired by the great Japanese filmmaker shot in Japan with a Japanese crew of actors--and of course, one of them is Tadanobu Asano.


Do you have Turner Classic Movies in your cable lineup? (Me, I'm still trying to recover from Comcast dropping it from my package). If you do, then be sure to tune in for the Edgar Ulmer 100th birthday tribute, a 24 hour celebration of his work on September 17.


Is HK star Zhao Wei living out a Taoist soothsayer's predictions for a misfortunate 2004? Say it ain't so!

Well, it's not the Japanese flag...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cinema critics are especially fond of sneering at videogames, as the term has become critical shorthand for dismissing certain types of films as all action and no substance. Personally, I think this sort of disdainful elitism is probably very much akin to what theater critics doled out when film rolled around to challenge the art that they found so highbrow. In any case, recent trends in academia and elsewhere have begun to indicate that there's likely more going on in console land than just lots of explosions, car crashes, fighting and jumping. Gamespot surveys the trends in a must read article for any gaming fan who feels that their pastime doesn't get the props that it deserves.


Though I try to keep up with figures of film and tv as they pass on, I think that I might have missed the death of Danny Dark back in June. Dark's voice work should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the seventies--he was the voice of Superman on the Superfriends, and he uttered the famous "Sorry, Charlie" line for Starkist Tuna.


Let's hear it for Donnie Yen, astute enough to realize that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is boring.


Long time horror film director and producer Brian Yuzna checks in with an update at Fangoria on some ongoing projects. I'm sorry to hear that Balaguero's Darkness is going straight to video, as I thought that one had some promise.


So my sparkling new Criterion copy of Videodrome came yesterday, an an initial watching re-affirmed my love for this Cronenberg classic. The release is loaded with extras I haven't watched yet, and it also comes in a nicely designed little package--which you can see at Bitter Cinema if you don't mind having the surprise spoiled.


Wow, look what happens when you don't visit the DVD Drive-In for a week or so. It's loaded with content, with DVD reviews of Media Blasters' Zombi 2, The Wild Angels/Hell's Belles, Wild in the Streets/Gas-S-S-S, The Incredible Two Headed Transplant/The Thing With Two Heads, Invasion of the Bee Girls/Invasion of the Star Creatures, Thriller: A Cruel Picture and Roy del Ruth's The Alligator People. That's a lot of stuff.

Bananas on a two-for-one special all week!

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