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Kelly Lin as one of the many "birds" who flits through one of 2008's must-see films, Johnny To Kei-Fung's Sparrow, now out on DVD.

Your DVD releases for the week of 12/30:

American Carol - While movie comedy can often grow up to be a rugged little beastie with a long and healthy life span, all God's creatures need proper nourishment and plenty of care if they're going to live and thrive and make us laugh; sadly, there is little of that in the bleak media environs of movement conservatism, where every organism is expected to pull itself around by the boot straps, hustle arms contracts, or otherwise make-do on Cheetos, Chuck Norris' smile, and good old white Protestant paranoia. (Dex)

Battle for Haditha

The Brave Archer - This Cheng Cheh directed, Alexander Fu Sheng starring vehicle might not be as essential as The One-Armed Swordsman, Legendary Weapons of China or The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, but it is one fun kung fu actioner (if slightly lower than first-tier). Based on characters from the book "Legend of the Condor Heroes" (aka The Eagle Shooting Heroes) which was also the basis for Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time, The Brave Archer is in the classic Shaw tradition of garrish color, high drama and rousing kung fu action. (Pike Bishop)

Cats of Mirikitani
Dutch Junkies
The Elizabeth Smart Story
Gamera the Brave
Internet Dating
Neo Ned

Sparrow - See the "Best of 2008" lists by Amber and Dex for more on Johnny To's work.

Surfer, Dude
Thug City Chronicles
Train of the Dead

Woman on the Beach - What has been called Korean director Hong Sang-Soo's most accessible film, Woman on the Beach is the story of a film director with writer's block that convinces his production designer to join him at an off-season beach resort to work on the next film. The production designer brings his girlfriend with whom the director, over time, finds himself becoming enamored. The girlfriend soon sleeps with the director only to be shunned afterwards for a minor detail of her past that he finds distasteful. Later, needing to soothe an itch he can't scratch, the director returns to the beach resort to re-enact the scene with another woman. Part Claire's Knee and part Vertigo, Woman on the Beach is a sometimes disquieting look into the nature of human impulse left unrestrained. (Pike Bishop)

Young Warriors
Zion Canyon

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