Hey folks, Harry here – and holy shit am I whupped by today’s Rehab. They got me in one of those crazy walking traps like we put babies in before they can really walk, except there’s no fucking chew toys – or rattles – and that pisses me off, because I wouldn’t mind walking into a wall and just chewing on a teething key. But that and all the crazy triceps exercises has me feeling like a crack head in a padded cell, silently trembling and muttering various curse words under my breath, so nobody can hear. There’s some pretty killer releases today – and next week as you’ll see. But this first one, if you love badassery, it doesn’t get much more badass or cool than IP MAN 2. As usual all the images and links will take you to Amazon where you can learn more or purchase the item in question. If you do purchase through the link, bless you. It really does help keep the column going, so thank all of you for keeping me doing this labor of love. Now, enjoy…
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
This IS the BluRay you are looking for. Watching this back to back with the first IP MAN is simply too much ass-kicking awesome for a single evening, so break it up. The great thing is – even if you’ve never seen the first IP MAN, this movie works wonderfully, but if you’ve seen the first film – there’s a ton of stuff you’ll really grok. Now for the Kung Fu flick novices out there – IP MAN is the name of the martial arts master of Wing Chun that taught Bruce Lee. The first film was about the moment in Ip Man’s life where he went from being a private master of the martial arts, to teaching – and how that came to be. This film is about him actually beginning to formally teach as a paid Master. Oh – and this time Donnie Yen fights Sammo Hung… and folks – when you see the glorious fat one – and the table surrounded by upside down stools… Do not answer the phone, do not use the restroom. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by anything, because you’re about to behold awesome at a level that’ll leave marks on your ass from kicking it so goddamn hard. IP MAN 2 – it’s as great as they get. And yes, I would love a third film.
If you like realistic non-stylized cinema, this might not be for you, but if you remember the film, CASSHERN – which while it didn’t entirely work as a film – it had imagery and a look unlike anything I’ve really seen. Well – this is Kazuaki Kiriya next film and as someone that loved a lot of CASSHERN, the one thing that I know without question – is that after I saw CASSHERN, I knew – beyond any doubt, that I’d see anything that Kazuaki Kiriya would make. Funimation didn’t send a screener, but I’ve already ordered the film, I’m hoping it comes tomorrow. My understanding is that it is a Robin Hood-esque style story, but with ninjas and way the hell out there visuals. I’m looking forward to mail tomorrow.
I like KING’S SPEECH. I absolutely feel that the film misses great on several levels. For one, it is another over-coming a handicap story – and while yes, I am someone overcoming a handicap – and yes, I am currently living a story that doesn’t quite have this level of majesty – and while I have no enemies nearing the fucked up stature of Der Fuhrer… I didn’t like Colin’s “can’t do it” attitude – it’s just a bitchy sort of attitude that I didn’t enjoy at all. I get he was raised that way, but – my every day life is facing impossible tasks and breaking them down till they are not only possible, but easy. And every single time I master one of those, there’s something that absolute humbles me – and it feels scary and impossible all over again. That said – I rewatched THE KING’S SPEECH on Blu Ray about a week ago – and dropped the whole “Best of the Year” publicity and just watched it as a film. And ya know… it’s a damn fine film. It just isn’t my fave of last year or near the top of my picks for the best of 2010.
I’ll be honest. I’m too emotional a person to watch this film right now. I watched this last year for Awards consideration – it tore me up – and I just can’t imagine watching it again. It’s a brutal film emotionally – and there’s light and hope in there, but goddamn it. This is one helluva great film. But if you’re as emphatic a film watcher as me, it’s a tough, but worthy ride. Just know that there’s a very strong chance you’ll be affected deeply by the film.
I’m not a fan of MORTAL KOMBAT – and it is mainly because I really do feel the film just kind of blows. But I figured I’d let you folks know it was available, if you like sub-par martial arts – but IP MAN 2 owns this upon every level.
Did you see this epic film from Peter Weir? I didn’t see it in time for my best of last year list, but it is a film that should not be overlooked. This is a true story about escaping a WWII gulag in Siberia, then hiking 4,500 miles to freedom. This film is amazing. For one, it has a great cast with Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan. Weir shot the hell out of this – and when you see all the different locales and vistas… all the things they have to overcome – and just exactly how dire their direst stretches are… it makes anything you’re faced with seem small by comparison. An incredible story and a great film! A must to see on Blu.
Mediocre, thy name be GULLIVER’S TRAVELS. There are piss gags, asshole humor and there’s even an extended cross-dressing sequence. I like Jack Black. So as a result I was able to watch the entire film. There’s a lot of folks that I like that are acting in this turd – and just looking at that box cover – well it tells you everything about how awful this film is. I hate it. Hate it. The self-promotion of Fox products throughout every moment of this film literally makes you want to piss in a zip lock bag and mail it to Fox. There’s a lot of money in this – and some very talented visual fx guys that probably spent nights crying that they had to digitally make a miniature man disappear up Jack Black’s ass. I mean. How evil is that? Poor guys and gals. Chin up – there can’t be a darker pit of hell in your careers. You folks survived GULLIVER’S TRAVELS – you can tell the story of woe and get a drink bought for you in any bar in the world. “I spent a month of my life animating a giant robot pantsing Jack Black!”
As bad as GULLIVER’S TRAVELS is – at least it has rare moments of signs of life. SOMEWHERE is a dead film for me. I love Sophia Coppola’s films, but this movie, it’s just dreadful – and that’s mainly due to Stephen Dorff’s inability to be charismatic in the least. A story with no resolution and that’s really the part that hurts most. Everything that Sophia has done has wrapped up wonderfully. SOMEWHERE takes you nowhere and that’s what is so infuriating about it. She’s a massively talented filmmaker who can do much better than this. And has done so often.
My parents used to tune into this a bit on PBS in the 70s and I had a weird nostalgic, “OOOOooh Yeahhhh!” when I saw the box for this in my mail about 3 weeks ago. I’ve watched a few bits here and there and this is kinda friggin awesome. I highly suggest discovering Ernie – he’s pretty awesome. * Episodes From His Local and National Morning Shows * Episodes From His NBC Prime-Time Show * Kovacs On Music * Five ABC TV Specials * The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show, Eugene * His Award-Winning Commercials for Dutch Masters Cigars * Short Films, Tributes, Rarities * 44-Page Booklet Featuring Rare Photos, Program Notes and an Essay by Jonathan Lethem ( Motherless Brooklyn)
Most people I knew made fun of this show when it aired. But look at us now – crazy gas prices, massive pollution incidents, erosion issues… it’s an environmental war-zone out there and where’s Captain Planet and his Planeteers when you need them? Well, now you’ve got them on DVD. And really, all our problems are solved. The most fun about this show is the voice cast – they got some pretty awesome talent involved in this show – and it’s pretty entertaining. Now – to cast Tom Cruise as Captain Planet in a live action film. Giggle. Personally, make mine Toxie!
Ken Loach’s KES is one of the great films. In the UK, it is highly revered, here it has gone mostly unseen for a very long time. Now Criterion is righting that massive wrong. A film that explores the inevitable end and reality of childhood. The result is a film that if you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget. If you haven’t you’re unhaunted by the emotions this film elicits. It also makes me feel very lucky about my own life. Great film – and Criterion did it up right. Here’s what they have for us:
New, restored digital transfer, approved by director Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Making “Kes”, a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, producer Tony Garnett, and actor David Bradley
The Southbank Show: “Ken Loach” (1993), a profile of the filmmaker, featuring Loach, Garnett, directors Stephen Frears and Alan Parker, and other Loach collaborators
Cathy Come Home (1967), a feature directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Fuller
Spike Lee returns to New Orleans in this 4 hour documentary showing New Orleans as it stands 5 years after Katrina. If you saw his fantastic WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE – this film is, even stronger. The BP incident just adds insult to a city already injured. It will give you hope, make you laugh, cry and foam at the mouth pissed off at this world we share. And for some, the film will play as a call to arms for their own lives.
#5 is alive – but barely in SHORT CIRCUIT 2. I miss my Ally, she and that blasted Robot completely own me in the first film – but Fisher Stevens is not enough. Not for me. Watch #5 make a shit ton of miniaturized versions of himself so Fisher Stevens can get a clueless toy exec at a New York Department store. Woo-hoo, big fun. Facetiously applied.
From the crazy mind of Yoshihiro Nishimura comes unbridled horror insanity and fetishisms thrown out at the speed of thought. This is an absurd trashy fun film that deserves to be on blu ray if for no other reason to more clearly understand the insanity that you’re looking at. Very fun flick.
Jane Campion’s film before THE PIANO was pretty damn extraordinary, though THE PIANO is still her best film to date, to me. That said, her debut film SWEETIE is a remarkable first outing. A fantastic story of sisters that you won’t forget. Criterion has brought this back to the forefront with these extras and a beautiful transfer:
Restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Sally Bongers and approved by director Jane Campion, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
Audio commentary featuring Campion, Bongers, and screenwriter Gerard Lee
Making Sweetie, a video conversation between stars Genevieve Lemon and Karen Colston
Campion’s early short films An Exercise in Discipline: Peel, Passionless Moments, and A Girl’s Own Story
Jane Campion: The Film School Years, a 1989 video conversation between Campion and critic Peter Thompson
Gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and production stills
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Dana Polan
If you saw Gaumont’s first trove of treasures – you’ll jump on this automatically. For me, this is as close to time traveling as we humans get – looking back through the lens of the early filming pioneers to see the world, entertainment and all – as it were over a hundred years ago… It’s just amazing. I didn’t get this release, so I can’t go into it, but here’s what AMAZON says about this release:
This second series of releases of Gaumont Treasures surveys the work of some of its most influential filmmakers. EMILE COHL: (the screen's first great animator) disc includes Fantasmagoria (1908), The Puppets Nightmare (1908), The Living Fan (1909), Comic Mutations (1909), The Tweleve Labors of Hercules (1910), Petit Faust (1910), Bebes Masterpiece (1910) and many more. JEAN DURAND (who specialized in madcap comedy and American-style westerns) disc includes: Calino Wants to Be a Cowboy (1911), Onesime Goes To Hell (1912), Onesime, Clockmaker (1912), Onesime Loves Animals (1913), Zigoto Drives a Locomotive (1912), The Railway of Death (1912), Burning Heart: An Indian Tale (1912), Under the Claw (1912) and more. Also includes bonus documentary short: Jean Durand 1882-1946 and a sampling of innovative color and sound films from the 1910s. JACQUES FEYDER (whose sophisticated comedies made him the french counterpart of Ernst Lubitch and Cecil B. DeMille) and THE EARLY MASTERS OF FRENCH CINEMA (all featured on this disc) includes: Heads... And The Women Who Use Them (1916, Feyder), The Barges (1911, George-Andre Lacroix), La Marseillaise (1912, Etienne Arnaud), Childs Play (1913, Henri Fescourt), Feet and Hands (1915, Gaston Ravel). OVER TEN HOURS OF MATERIAL!!!
Next week we look at the awesome that is Criterion’s Blu of BLOW OUT, 2 volumes of THE AVENGERS, Criterion Blu of FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, MOGULS & MOVIE STARS: HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME (Blu), THE TERROR Blu, MACHINE GIRL Blu, EL TOPO Blu, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN Blu, SIN CITY Blu, DEMENTIA 13 Blu, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD Blu, DINOSHARK, DAYLIGHT Blu, BOB DYLAN: DON’T LOOK BACK Blu, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA Blu, INVITATION TO THE DANCE, POOR PRETTY EDDIE Blu, MONGOLIAN DEATH WORM, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN Blu, GANGS OF NEW YORK Blu, BETTY BLUE Blu, WRINKLE IN TIME, THE QUEEN Blu, ADUA & HER FRIENDS, CHAWZ Blu, INFERNO Blu, SLING BLADE Blu, CLERKS Blu, CHASING AMY Blu, JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK Blu, IRON MONKEY Blu, MUAY THAI GIANT Blu and that’s about it! Till then, happy viewings…