Samuel L. Jackson's latest film, Lakeview Terrace, promises thrills and excitement for fans of movies which successfully avoid showing crew members and cameras in reflective surfaces.
DVD releases for the week of 1/27/09:
- 10 Dead Men
- 42nd Street Forever Vol. 4
- A Hero Ain't Nothin' But A Sandwich
- Becoming Charley Chase
- Bread, Love and Dreams (staring Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica)
- Cannery Row
- Dead of Night (1972)
- Demoniacs (dir. Jean Rollin)
- Door Into Darkness (presented by Dario Argento)
- Evil Under the Sun
- Exploitation Cinema: Horror High / Lurkers
- Exploitation Cinema: Nightmare In Wax / Blood of Dracula’s Castle
- Far From the Madding Crowd
- The Father (dir. Majid Majidi)
- Female Prisoner: Caged
- Fireproof (Starring Creepy Kirk Cameron)
- Getting Lucky
- Goodbye Mr. Chips
- The Inveterate Bachelor (Starring Vittorio De Sica)
- Johan Van Der Keuken - Collection Vol. 5
- Killer Bees
- Kisarazu Cat's Eye 2
- Kiss Napoleon Goodbye (Starring Lydia Lunch and Henry Rollins)
- Lakeview Terrace (dir. Neil LaBute)
- The Lucky Ones
- The Maniacs (dir. Lucio Fulci)
- Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Edition)
- The Masterworks of Mochizuki Rokuro Onibi (The Fire Within / Mobsters Confession / Another Lonely Hitman / A Yakuza In Love)
- Mercury Man
- Moses & Aaron
- The Night James Brown Saved Boston
- The Notorious Nobodies
- Open Season 2
- Pink Panther: Classic Cartoon Collection
- Pride and Glory (starring Edward Norton and Collin Farrell)
- Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate (dir. Kirby Dick)
- Redneck Zombies (20th Anniversary Edition)
- The Rocker
- Rocknrolla (dir. Guy Ritchie)
- Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
- The Sadist
- Schoolboy Crush
- The Secret Policeman's Balls
- The Sidney Poitier Collection (Edge of the City / Something of Value / A Patch of Blue / A Warm December)
- The Stewardesses (1969) (in 3D!)
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona (dir. Woody Allen)
- Warner Bros. Romance Classics Collection (Palm Springs Weekend / Parrish / Rome Adventure / Susan Slade)
- Waterloo Bridge (dir. Mervyn LeRoy)
- Wholpin - Best of Wholpin: Issues 1-5
- The Yellow Rolls Royce (dir. Anthony Asquith)
Dex looks at The Lucky Ones:
I find Illusionist (2006) director Neil Burger's latest interesting not because it's good or bad - the Times gave it a thumbs-up when it was released to theaters last fall, as the reviewer wrote, because Burger managed to make a war film without stooping to politics - but because it illustrates how far mainstream filmmaking in the U.S. will go to comment on the war we make on other countries and the people we send to fight in them. With mighty few exceptions, cinematic soldier boys and girls standing as metaphor for a nation that's somehow been duped into spilling blood - again! - is about the farthest out Hollywood gets when it comes to the war picture, especially the ones about conflicts that have more to do with our cherished national ideologies and not so much with Fighting Nazis. Why stoop to politics?
Amber on Killer Bees (Satsujinbachi - kirâ bî)
Directed by Norihisa Yoshimura (Zero Woman: The Hunted), this 2005 entry is not to be confused with the two made for TV films by the same name.
“Death has a thousand stings - Get ready for a winged detour into toxic terror as a group of Japanese students on a field trip encounter a mutant strain of killer bees! Swarming, possessed of a mutant intelligence and deadly stings that cause the human body to explode from within, the bees seem to be hunting the surviving girls, picking them off one by one! But as horrifying as each venom-pulsing stab of death may be, the worst is yet to come!”
In my experience, killer bee movies tend to sound better than they actually are, but surely this one will be different. This one looks special. That’s right, kids! When you are stung by these baddies, you IMPLODE! Wow! Look for an entry in the field guide someday soon.
Editor's Note (2-6-09):
Having just wasted an hour and twenty four minutes of my life on this sorry contender for the worst movie ever made, I feel that it is only right that I warn you about Killer Bees. First, there are no bees in this film, only hornets. Second, there is nothing in this movie that even remotely suggests that these are "mutants". Third, this is run-of-the-mill Japanese V-Cinema crap that I'm certain no one can actually enjoy on any level. Lastly, and most importantly, THERE ARE NO IMPLODING GIRLS! I've been hoodwinked, dear reader, and it is my civic duty to warn all of you to avoid being suckered in. There are bad CGI hornets, terrible acting, and a few almost nasty-looking swollen sting-marks, there is absolutely no cinematography, no gory bits and no implosions or explosions to be found. Go watch something else.
Pike's 2 cents: This week is full of, if not great, then at least interesting titles. First I'll focus on the three titles that interest me the most, then I will round up a handful of others with a sentence or two.
Female Prisoner: Caged!- Not for the squeamish, Women in Prison (or WIP) films stand out as a brutal and depraved little exploitative sub-genre that, to be honest, rarely produced anything good. Don't get me wrong, there are some keepers in the genre like Caged!, The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage, Bamboo House of Dolls and Meiko Kaji's Female Prisoner: Scorpion cycle (which this film is not a part of), but most of the films in the genre are a bore. When done well though, these movies can provide some set pieces that are jaw-droppingly over the top while causing mixed feelings of revulsion and titillation. What interests me most about Female Prisoner: Caged! though, is not the WIP content but rather that it came out of the Japanese movie studio Nikkatsu. In the early 70's Nikkatsu Studios fell on hard times and began making what it termed 'Roman Porno' (meaning Romance/Pornography) films to pull in some much needed scratch. These films were made for the exploitation crowd but normally were given a decent budget and a director with a gift for visual panache. The handful of films I have seen under the Nikkatsu banner are like hyper-visual pop art freakouts. The combination of a commanding visual style and a truly bizarre but involving storyline can almost make you forget that these films were intended as smut- 'almost' being the key word. The only hard and fast rule Nikkatsu forced their directors to comply with was that for every fifteen minutes of film, there must be a nude scene. Besides that bit of protocol, the directors could do whatever they wanted with the rest of the film. From this very lax environment sprung a strange little niche in the film world of almost experimental/arthouse/softcore pictures that included such minor classics as A Woman Called Sada Abe, The World of Geisha, The Watcher in the Attic, Woman with Red Hair and Flower and Snake (directed by Konuma Masaru, who also directed Female Prisoner: Caged!).
Becoming Charley Chase- After Harold Lloyd decided to leave silent films behind, Charley Chase slipped in to fill part of the void. Along with Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang, Charley Chase was one of the major comedy acts overseen by the big-time producer Hal Roach. This 4 DVD box set collects many of Chase's silent shorts of which a large portion were co-written and directed by by Leo McCarey (all of disc 2 and 3).
The Maniacs- I have read that many people in Italy remember Lucio Fulci's sex farces from the 50's/60's with more fondness than they do his late 70's/early 80's gore films. With The Maniacs we in America get to see one of these comedies for the first time with English subtitles.
This week we also get a good cross-section of films from off of the beaten track. There is a Thai superhero/martial arts film (Mercury Man), two comedies starring the Italian Neo-Realist director Vittorio De Sica (The Inveterate Bachelor and Bread, Love and Dreams), the most profitable 3-D movie ever (The Stewardesses) and a highly praised wartime weepie from 1940 (Waterloo Bridge) that took a second crack at the Robert Sherwood play after James Whale's 1931 version. Also released today is The Yellow Rolls Royce, the last film by Anthony Asquith who is probably better known by classic film buffs for directing the films The Importance of Being Earnest and The Browning Version.