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    Butterfly Swords

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 7th, 2012

    Any movie that features one man flying through the air before slicing another guy’s face clean off within the first three minutes and concludes with a swordsman using his female companion as a bow to launch himself in the air like a human arrow so he can rip straight through a bad guy’s body pretty much defies criticism. (And I didn’t even mention the part where the bad guy comes back a few minutes later, despite the fact that he’d also been decapitated.) Believe me when I say I haven’t even scratched the surface of the insanity that is Butterfly Swords.
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    The Front Line (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 3rd, 2012

    In terms of major conflicts involving the United States, the Korean War has sort of gotten the short end of the cinematic stick with American audiences. Most people can easily rattle off their favorite movies dealing with World War II, the Vietnam War or the U.S. Civil War, but when it comes to the Korean War the options are comparatively more limited. Off the top of my head, there’s M*A*S*H, the original Manchurian Candidate, and Don Draper suffering one of the most famous cases of identity theft. (I realize Mad Men is a TV show, so forgive me for reaching.)
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    Gurozuka

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 8th, 2012

    A group of high school girls heads off into the woods to make a movie for their film club. What only the two organizers know is that they are heading for the site of a previous film club’s massacre. Their shoot descended into madness, with a participant in a deigan mask killing all the others, and the whole thing was recorded on tape. It isn’t long after the girls arrive that things start to go wrong, and it seems that history might be repeating itself.
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    The Warlords

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 1st, 2011

    His troops defeated and massacred, General Pang (Jet Li) staggers away from the battlefield, more dead than alive. After a brief by intense overnight encounter with a mysterious Lian (Xu Jinglei), he falls in with bandits headed up by Er Hu (Andy Lau) and Wu Yang (Takeshi Kaneshiro). He finds a renewed purpose in life with this group, and forges the band into a formidable fighting force, one that will play an ever greater role in shaping the conflicts that are dividing China. But the fellowship he forms with his blood brothers has a fatal flaw: as fate would have it, Lian is promised to Er Hu. Betrayal and tragedy lurk in the wings.
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    Baarìa (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 28th, 2011

    Italian writer and director Giuseppe Tornatore was born in the small village of Bagheria on the island of Sicily in 1956. The life and culture of his home village has had a tremendous influence on his work. Many of his films have an autobiographical nature to them that he takes no pains to disguise. Earlier we reviewed his love letter to movies with Cinema Paradiso, which also took place in Bagheria. This time we explore five decades of life in that same village, known here by its nickname and the title of the film: Baaria.
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    We Are The Night

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on September 26th, 2011

    The Durr household often enjoys a good vampire flic to warm the candlelight around the old HDTV (hey, shouldn’t I be writing this for the 31 days of October delight?). The taste of blood, the price of your soul, nothing can prepare you for the demons that are right outside your door. Sure, they can promise you sexual pleasure and immortality but that blood is really hard to get out of your clothes. This evening we explore the title We Are the Night featuring four ghoulish women on the cover. Will they sate our palette for blood or perhaps share with us grooming tips? Let’s find out.
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    Little Big Soldier (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on August 22nd, 2011

    In my life, I have always made a habit rooting for the underdog. Whether it would be in the business world with a small company or at the NCAA March Madness tournament with a Cinderella team, I always like to see the unexpected. It happens in movies too for the most part, I routed for Rocky, I routed for the Indians in Major League (didn’t root for Rudy though, that was too much even for me.) But what would I think of the little soldier in Little Big Soldier? Well, we will have to see.
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    Betty Blue (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 13th, 2011

    Jean-Hugues Anglade plays Zorg (yup, that’s his name), a handyman living in a beach-front house, scribbling away quietly in his spare time. Not so quiet is his tempestuous affair with Betty (Béatrice Dalle in her debut), whose passions overwhelm both of them. First, she moves in on him with no warning. Then, when she discovers his writing, she decides they must move to Paris so he can have a career as a writer. To make sure Zorg complies, she burns his house to the ground. Once in Paris, her plans for him fall apart, and so, bit by bit, does she.
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    Fernando Di Leo — The Italian Crime Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 6th, 2011

    Looking for a something a bit different for you gangster flick fix? Then look no further than this box set of gritty, thematically linked Italian crime pictures from director Fernando Di Leo. Things don’t get much more delightfully 70s than this.
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    Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on June 5th, 2011

    Many times when you see a trailer over and over, one has to ask themselves: Do they really want to see the movie or is repetition to the point of acceptance playing its fatal card? In the case of Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen, I had seen the trailer several times in front of Ip Man and the sequel. I wasn’t sure if I was anxious for the movie, so much that I really wanted to see Donnie Yen go absolutely crazy with his kicks and amazing martial arts.


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    The Clowns

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 17th, 2011

    Clowns have been a recurring obsession for Fellini, by the director’s own admission, and after having been memorable presences in his films (perhaps most notably in La Strada), here they have an entire film devoted to them. Fellini here offers a mixture of biography, documentary and comedy. The film opens with a young boy (meant to be Fellini) first encountering (and being frightened by) clowns at the circus.
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    Ip Man 2: Collector’s Edition (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 23rd, 2011

    There are usually two schools of thought when it comes to judging sequels. One tends to be very harsh on the proceedings expecting it to surpass the original (which it hardly ever does) in all aspects of film-making. The other still expects a good film but realizes that this sort of thing is usually financially driven and just hopes for something that can favorable stand against the original. I happen to be in the later crowd. But, I certainly found myself inching towards the former when I received the blu-ray package to review Ip Man 2, Legend of the Grandmaster. Let’s go inside, shall we?
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    The Vanquished (I Vinti)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 10th, 2011

    A stern, hectoring narrator laments the state of the Young People of Today’s Modern World, and ascribes their terminal amorality to their having come of age during the World War Two. Having set the stage, he then withdraws until the end, that we might draw the proper moral conclusions from a trio of tales (inspired, loosely, by actual cases) that show the terrible depths to which the Young People of Today’s Modern World have plunged.
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    The Perfume of the Lady in Black

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 5th, 2011

    Three years after her unsettling turn in Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Mimsy Farmer headlined this giallo-related effort by director/co-writer Francesco Barilli. She plays a successful chemist on the verge of a psychotic break. She has been haunted since her childhood by the death of her father, and she has recurring memories (or are they fantasies?) of her mother in the arms of a sinister man. Her sense of reality crumbles as objects and people from her past appear and vanish.
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    The Man from Nowhere (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Bob Ross on March 17th, 2011

    Connections between Eastern and Western cinema aren’t new, but they do seem to be proliferating. Back in 1964, Italian maestro Sergio Leone borrowed from Japanese genius Akira Kurosawa, turning Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars. Just last year, Korean writer-director Lee Jeong-Beom looked to the West for multiple influences, and the result is The Man From Nowhere, a psychological action-thriller that alternately engages, confuses and kicks major butt.
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    Paula-Paula

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 3rd, 2011

    Paula (Carmen Montes), a dancer at a strip club, is arrested for the murder of Paula (Paula Davis), a fellow dancer. The arresting officer (Lina Romay) questions the near-catatonic Paula, and the rest of the film is a slow-motion, flashback of the dead Paula dancing, the two women making love, and the murder. Once the slow-mo begins, there is no further dialogue, except for a cryptic fable that Paula tells to the camera.
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    The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 24th, 2011

    Haunted my recurring nightmares, crippled Melissa (Mona Proust), the heiress to a huge fortune, falls under the care of Dr. Orloff (William Berger). Unforunately, Orloff doesn’t have Melissa’s best interests at heart. Still enraged over having failed to win the lover of Melissa’s mother, Orloff enacts his revenge by using his hypnotic powers to transform Melissa into a killing machine. One by one, the distinctly unsavory members of Melissa’s family fall under the knife.
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    Ip Man (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on July 28th, 2010

    Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen have done a lot of movies together in the last five years including Dragon Tiger Gate, Kill Zone, and Flashpoint. This duo has had a knack of combining strong stories with fantastic martial arts. In 2008, they decided to take on the story if Ip Man, the grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun. Ip Man also had a few famous students including the legendary Bruce Lee. Can Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen produce another quality martial arts flic?

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    Cinema Pride Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on July 26th, 2010

    As the name suggests, this is a collection of ten movies on LGBT themes. In chronological order, here’s what we have:

    The Children’s Hour (1961): Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn are the headmistresses of a girl’s school, and their lives are turned upside down when one ghastly little child accuses them of being romantically involved. It is clear, though, the MacLaine would very much like to be. This was director William Wyler’s second stab at adapting Lilllian Hellman’s play, and this time was able actually to deal with the play’s central issue, rather than disguise it as he had to
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    The Maid

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on July 21st, 2010

    Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) has been the maid for the family run by matriarch Pilar (Claudia Celedón) for 23 years. Those years have taken their toll, and Raquel looks worn far beyond her 41 years. She is clearly unable to look after the household on her own, and Pilar tries to hire another maid to help out. Raquel takes this the wrong way, imagines she’s being eased out, and treats each new maid as an invader who must be repulsed.
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    California Dreamin’

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 12th, 2010

    In 1999, a troupe of US marines must transport some equipment across Romania. Leading them is Captain Doug Jones (Armand Assante), a man so committed to his duty that he does a pretty convincing job of appearing passionate and proud about what is, on the face of it, a rather dull, two-bit assignment. As matters develop, the mission is far from dull, though it is not interesting in the way Jones might have hoped. The train is waylaid in the small town of Capalnita by the corrupt stationmaster, and a comical clash of cultures ensues.
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    Horror Double Feature: Pulse/Sick Nurses

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 10th, 2010

    Pulse:

    Plenty of Japanese horror films have storylines that vary from the oblique to the opaque. Pulse is no exception, so forgive me if this synopsis is a bit confusing (or confused). An internet website offers visitors the chance to see actual ghosts. Viewing the footage seems to make one vulnerable to an actual visitation, and when someone encounters a ghost, that person withdraws from others, shunning all society, and becomes consumed by loneliness to the point of suicide or something even more bizarre.
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    The Killer

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 9th, 2010

    Having accidentally blinded a singer during a contract killing, hit man extraordinaire Chow Yun-Fat, consumed with guilt, becomes the woman’s protector, and seeks redemption by finding some way to restore her sight. Meanwhile, Danny Lee is the plays-by-his-own-rules cop on his trail, and inevitably the two men will find themselves as unlikely allies in gigantically operatic gunfights.
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    Red Cliff (Theatrical Version) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 31st, 2010

    “The year is 208 AD. After 30 years of civil war, a deathly calm has fallen over northern China. One by one the rebel warlords have met their end under the sword of Prime Minister Cao Cao. Now even the Emperor bows before his power. Yet, from the south a challenge is heard. Two leaders rise against Cao Cao’s tyranny. The aging Liu Bei and the inexperienced Sun Quam. So Cao Cao petitions the Emperor to brand these men as traitors and declare a new war against the peaceful southlands.”

    And so the stage is set for John Woo’s enormous epic Red Cliff. The scale of this film is simply one that must been experienced to quite understand. It has the grandeur of any of the largest films in Hollywood’s history
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    The Fernando Arrabal Collection 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 20th, 2010

    Cult Epics here presents us with their second box set of films by ex-pat Spanish surrealist/’pataphysician/provocateur Fernando Arrabal. These are more recent works, and are, arguably, even more of an acquired taste than the earlier set, though not necessarily for the reasons one might think.
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