5 items from 2009
DVD Playhouse—September 2009
The Human Condition (Criterion) Masaki Kobayashi’s epic (574 minutes) adaptation of Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel was originally made and released as three separate films (1959-61), and is rightfully regarded as a landmark of Japanese cinema. Candide-like story of naïve, good-hearted Kaiji (Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor, to Imperial Army solider, to Soviet Pow, and Kaiji’s struggle to maintain his humanity throughout. Unfolds with the mastery of a great novel, beautifully-shot, and a stunning example of cinematic mastery on the part of its makers. Four-disc set bonuses include: Interview with Kobayashi; Interview with Nakadai; Featurette; Trailer; Essay by critic Philip Kemp. Widescreen. Dolby 3.0 surround.
State Of Play (Universal) Russell Crowe stars as a veteran Washington D.C. political reporter investigating the murder of an aide to a rising congressional star (Ben Affleck), who also happens to be an old friend. »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Quentin Tarantino gets lots of credit for creating pop-culture purees with each of his films. He takes from countless sources of media old and new and combines them into something interesting. Tarantino has another talent though. He has an eye for knowing which films deserve a chance. Bring Hero into the equation and you realize just how good Tarantino’s eye for aesthetic brilliance really is. The rich vibrant colors, the beautiful choreography and a magnificently told story make Hero one of the most gorgeous and luscious films to ever come across the sea from China.
Before the Great Wall of China could be built, an emperor had to conquer and unite all of the kingdoms in the land. Consequently, it’s a time of great turmoil with towns being burned and many people dying in the process. For all the good such change can bring through unity, the side »
- Lex Walker
Chicago – Attention martial arts fans, Buena Vista Home Video recently released a wave of martial arts films on Blu-Ray under the title “The Ultimate Force of Four” box set, including one of Jet Li’s best films, the spectacular “Hero,” from director Zhang Yimou. “Hero” is easily the highlight of the quartet of recent HD releases but “Iron Monkey,” “The Legend of Drunken Master,” and “Zatoichi” will all satisfy fans in 1080p (as long as they’re not purists about audio tracks).
Three of the four titles are merely HD imports of special features and films already available on standard DVD. The exception is “Hero,” which includes an all-new featurette and a digital copy, but is actually one of the most divisive Blu-Rays of the year. Miramax/Buena Vista has made the baffling choice to include a higher caliber quality of audio for the dubbed tracks on “Hero,” “Iron Monkey, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
For the film fanatic, there was an evolution. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Hong Kong cinema came to a prominence because of the great works of filmmakers like John Woo and actors like Jackie Chan. This was the second boom of the industry after Bruce Lee invigorated youths in the 70’s, but died all too young. And from that there was also a loyal following for the Shaw Brothers from some, and an interest in Chan - among others - but you had to live near a Chinatown or have a kick ass video store to find this stuff. Not everyone was so lucky. The crossover appeal was there, but mostly for film nerds willing to watch some shitty ass copies of great films. As time progressed Asain cinema of all stripes made a huge dent in nerd culture, with Japan and Korea following, as filmmakers like Takashi Miike, »
- Andre Dellamorte
Colin Jacobson reviews Hero.
Hero begins 2000 years ago, with a lone man on his way to visit with the King of China's Qin province during the height of the warring states period. The King has been leading a bloody campaign trying to unite the whole of China and bring peace to the county, and his aggressive tactics aren't exactly a big hit with the entire population.
As such, the King has been constantly under threat of assassination, surviving multiple attempts over the last decade. The problem has gotten so bad that no one is allowed within 100 paces of the royal throne, under penalty of immediate execution. The stranger - a man known only as Nameless (Jet Li) - has evidence to present to the king that will prove to him that he has nothing left to fear. He's brought with him the weapons of the three deadliest assassins in all »
5 items from 2009
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