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2 items from 2009

Blu-Ray Round Up: Jet Li, Jackie Chan Highlight ‘Ultimate Force of Four’

21 September 2009 8:56 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

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, »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Adrift In Tokyo (Another Review!)

30 April 2009 12:48 PM, PDT | Screen Anarchy | See recent Screen Anarchy news »

[Because it opens in Toronto for a limited run tomorrow, and after personally missing it at not one, but two festivals, yet hearing all the buzz, here is one final take (of a relative Twitch late comer) on Satoshi Miki’s fabulously quiet little Sidewalk Cinema]

The ‘road movie’ while mainly an American staple in filmmaking has entries and variations all around the globe. Usually two (or three or more) unlikely partners, travel to a specified or vague destination and get in misadventures along the way whilst learning about life and living. It can be big budget or micro, mainstream or arty, be in a romantic aim or a goofy buddy sense, and is oft time even used as a vehicle for horror. Credit director Satoshi Miki for somewhat re-inventing the genre with this “Sidewalk Movie.” A film that puts two very genial actors, Jô Odagiri and Tomokazu Miura, side by side perambulating the various neighborhoods and lesser-known sites of the worlds largest city.

The razor-thin plot has a debt collector (a mulletted Miura) trying to muscle 100,000 yen out of unfocused and perpetual law-student (crazy-haired, but isn’t he always crazy haired Odagiri). After near suffocation »

- Kurt Halfyard

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