Back in college, I took a beginner’s Japanese class. I remember learning that a white collar businessman is called a “Salary Man”. I guess it’s similar to calling someone a “businessman,” but in my mind, I always thought that Asians regard this class of worker differently than Americans. In reality, I think we both look at them as the drones that keep the economy running… only one seems to hide their discontent better than the other. In any case, when I watched Lim Sang-Yun’s “A Company Man“, I kept hearing the word “Sarariman” over and over in my mind. While most cubicle-bound businesspeople doing the 9-to-5 may claim that the job is killing them, I don’t think many have meant it literally. Here, it is quite literal… and quite exciting. Read more
Archive for Blu-Ray
When I think of a “Floating City“, the first thing that pops into mind is Cloud City on the planet Bespin. On planet Earth, I immediately think of Venice, Italy. Well, the titular city in director Yim Ho’s comeback film actually refers to Hong Kong, floating off the southern coast of China. As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to world history, you can just about squeeze what I don’t know into the Grand Canyon. I do know that Hong Kong used to be controlled by the Brits and that Christianity is big there, but if you were to ask me anything about the “Egg People”, I’d think you were referencing something from “Sgt. Pepper“. On 8/20, “Floating City” hits Blu-Ray and DVD, providing a snapshot of Hong Kong in the final years of British rule and sheds a bit of light on the struggles of these oddly named people. Read more
What do you get when you combine epic sword fights, terrorism, betrayal and… decapitations? “The Guillotines“, of course! Andrew Lau, perhaps best known to Western audiences as the Producer/Director of the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy, brings new meaning to “headhunting” with his latest film coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on 8/13 from Well Go USA. Part action movie, part period drama, “The Guillotines” aims to fire on all cylinders and appeal to a wide audience. But as is brought up numerous times in the film, when you make a promise, it must be kept – and the promise is cool weaponry taking off heads. Unfortunately, just like a character in a Lau film, the Director betrays us and delivers something that’s mostly different. That isn’t always a bad thing. Read more
Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about world history. I mean, I know a few things but I wish I knew more. For example, I knew that America and the Vietnamese were both in the Vietnam War, but I didn’t know that Australia was fighting along side us. I just sort of thought it was only our debacle. Honestly, most everything I know about ‘nam is either from “Platoon“, “Apocalypse Now” or my older co-worker Ron who occasionally brings up hotboxing in a tank or smoking joints with a monkey he picked up somewhere in the jungle. In any event, I learned something new and it’s all because of Synapse Films’ new release of “The Odd Angry Shot“, coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on 8/13. The movie is quite different from American films dealing with the same conflict, in that it has nothing really to say politically… and that made it pretty controversial in Australia.
One of my favorite movies is Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator“, the biopic of a dashing, young Howard Hughes as he revolutionizes air travel and conquers Hollywood. Those familiar with the film may recall a scene where a young (underaged) starlet is interviewed and seduced by Hughes only to later freak out over his infidelities. That actress was Faith Domergue, who starred in films like Hughes’ “Vendetta“, “It Came From Beneath the Sea” and the MST3K favorite “This Island Earth“. From the mid-50′s into the 60′s, she worked mostly in TV, but briefly returned to films before ending her career with the schlock horror “The House Of Seven Corpses“, available 8/13 on Blu-Ray and DVD from Severin Films. While this “last hurrah” might be what the film is best known for, the truth is: if you’re looking to turn your living room into a drive-in theater for the night, this is the disc to do it with. Read more
I’m certainly not the first to make a comparison like this (see: “The Wrestler“), but fighters and prostitutes are kindred spirits. Both are arguably abusing their bodies for financial gain and as such have a depressingly short shelf life. I guess you could make a similar comparison between fighting movies and porn. Sometimes story is just something to connect the “action” scenes. This is the case with “The King of the Streets“, arriving 8/6 on Blu-Ray and DVD from Well Go USA. Director/Star Yue Song’s tale of urban survival is fight scene after fight scene, strung together with a clumsy plot and the deep symbolism of rebirth as an eagle. Yes, an eagle. Read more
“Waterworld“, “Howard the Duck“… “Caddyshack“. These are films that were regarded as colossal flops, but in reality turned out to be… well, not so bad. Video helped these misfits of cinema find their loving audience and even became bona fide classics (in “Caddyshack‘s” case, anyway). It seems like every once in awhile, critics hold a secret conference to choose one film to universally gang up on. That film will be pop culture’s go to joke until the next flop is chosen. Sometimes it’s warranted (“Gigli“), sometimes it’s not… like in the case of “Ishtar“, finally coming to Blu-Ray on 8/6 after years of delay from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Many people have ragged on the film over the years, including Gary Larson who mocked it in a “Far Side” panel, without ever having ACTUALLY seen the movie. Well, now’s your chance to give the film a fair shake… and it’s never looked better. Read more
The early to mid-2000′s really put Korean cinema on the map. Films like “Oldboy“, “The Host” and “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” were both financially and critically successful in North America – not the easiest market to crack for foreign films. It could be that more than any other Asian country, Korean cinema hits closest to American tastes. The latest example of this is Park Hoon-jung’s “New World“, available on DVD and Blu-Ray 7/23 from Well Go USA. The film plays like the love child of “The Godfather” and “The Departed” and while it isn’t quite as good as either of those films, it comes damn near close.
I approach anything with the WWE Studios logo emblazoned upon it with a fair bit of caution. ”The Marine“, “12 Rounds” and “See No Evil” are just a few examples of watchable stinkers the studio has put out over the years. The key word here is “watchable”. I’m not expecting John Cena playing “Hamlet“, but I will get mindless fun albeit with a fair share of eye rolls and guffaws. But imagine my surprise to see that WWE’s latest, “Dead Man Down“, available on Blu-Ray and DVD July 9th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, reunited “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (original) director Niels Arden Olpev and his leading lady Noomi Rapace. It looks like this picture comes from excellent stock… and with nary a trace of HGH to be found in the cast. Could it be? Could WWE finally be putting out quality films? Read more
I’m a big fan of Kung Fu movies and one of the coolest I’d seen in a long time was 2012′s “Tai Chi Zero“. Stephen Fung’s martial arts extravaganza was infused with video game and steampunk elements that electrified the genre and found an appeal with mainstream audiences the world over. On July 2, we go from “Zero” to “Hero”, as the second film in a planned trilogy, “Tai Chi Hero“, makes it’s way to Blu-Ray and DVD courtesy of Well Go USA. Continuing right from where the first left off, “Hero” maintains the mood and humor of it’s predecessor while amping up the fight scenes and visual effects. Fans of “Zero”, as well as the uninitiated are bound to have a lot of fun with this action-packed sequel. Read more