The GreenCine Dispatch
"I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin' and you can hear the insects." -- Leon: The Professional.
#276 | March 3, 2009
What is it about that word "avant-garde" that scares away viewers into thinking "pretentious twaddle" or worse? In a world impressed with middle-of-the-road entertainments and flavors du jour, the fourth edition of the National Film Preservation Foundation's continuing celebration, historical document and survey of adventurous scientists of American cinema should be an event to sit up for. (Actually, fine, this is home video: sit back, fellow cinephiles.) Collected over two discs, this smartly curated (if still incomplete) and handsomely transferred set features 26 films never-before-seen with such attention to quality, along with new music from John Zorn and a 70-page booklet, introduced by Martin Scorsese. Aaron Hillis has more about this special new set out today. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New: I've Loved You So Long, Ashes of Time Redux and more.
  • What We're Watching: Four Flies, What Makes Sammy Run, Monster Camp.
  • Explore: Podcast with Wayne Kramer.
We were surprised that Kristin Scott Thomas didn't get an Oscar nod for her beautiful performance in Philippe Claudel's film about two sisters who are basically strangers to each other. "Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy," wrote Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. Adds David Edelstein: "Claudel's direction is both probing and delicate, and Scott Thomas's face, even immobile, keeps you watching, searching for hints of her character's past, unable to blink for fear of missing something vital."
14 years after Ashes of Time first arrived, director Wong Kar-Wai reworks the martial arts film, "which is, " notes Sean Axmaker, "now a little shorter, a lot easier to follow and even less of an action film than before. [It's] still a marvelously wistful film of regret and retreat, in which even the magic wine of forgetfulness erases only the memories, not the pain."

Or, as the Austin Chronicle's Marc Savlov put it, "simply, one of the most gorgeous films ever made. "

Also out today: Australia; Wonder Woman; Wonderful Town; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; In the Electric Mist (Bertrand Tavernier directs Tommy Lee Jones in adaptation of James Lee Burke's fine mystery novel); Lake City; The Burning (Buryure); Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War In The Pocket; Treasures from American Film Archives Volume 4; Real Time; Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic; Back to Normandy; Village Barbershop (a sleeper, "a cannily low-key charmer" - Variety); Clannad Coll. 1; Dead in 3 Days.

New and Coming Releases lists | Your Queue | Discuss! | GreenCine's review blog: Guru | GC Member Reviews and Lists | New DVD Spotlight

What We're Watching
When Dario Argento's ultra-nutty horror spectacle Mother of Tears was released last year, I was far from alone in believing it to be the first watchable film of the Italian maestro's in two decades, which perhaps isn't the grandest of compliments if you've seen what came before. On the other end of his career, however, before hitting his zenith (everything from 1975's Deep Red through 1987's Opera), even his hokier-plotted giallos like Four Flies on Grey Velvet (his third feature and last leg in the so-called "animal trilogy," following The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and The Cat O' Nine Tails) bare more suspense, panache and memorable sequences than most of... More here >>
A time capsule trip back to early TV, though not the earliest TV version of this ultra-famous Budd Schulberg novel (the name of which, as well as that of its leading character Sammy Glick, are probably better known by today's audiences than is the novel itself), What Makes Sammy Run? was made by NBC television in 1959. It was first dramatized a decade earlier in 1949 as "live" TV and starring Jose Ferrer. The version just released on DVD (in all its grainy, black-and-white charm) features Larry Blyden as the infamous Sammy, a not-so-nice Jewish boy from New York who... Read review >>
This thoroughly absorbing documentary involves people descending upon state parks dressed as half-Orc Rangers, undead killer plants and the like, stalking around and striking one another with foam weapons while shouting "Magic plus 4! Magic plus 4!" As you might imagine, this is deeply silly business, though the director, Cullen Hoback, has managed to make a film about it all that highlights the inherent humor with nary a whiff of condescension towards the players. The movie does a great job of not just showing the fascinating machinations of the game itself, but all of the complicated personal politics behind the scenes. The glimpses that Cullen gives of the players non-LARP lives both ground the film and... read review >>
More like this Darkon | King of Kong
For a new podcast chat, Aaron Hillis interviewed director Wayne Kramer about his new film Crossing Over, the true stories he based it on, why he feels it's unfair to compare the film to Crash, and his personal reaction to some of the negative critics' reviews (spoiler alert: he wholeheartedly disagrees). To listen to the podcast, click here. Also on GCD: Musing about critics and filmmakers having more access to each other these days. Is that good or bad, or even dangerous?
In Tokyo!, three visionary directors (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho) come together for an omnibus triptych examining the nature of one unforgettable city. To celebrate the premiere of Tokyo!, GreenCine is pleased to give away 2 pairs of tickets for the opening week screenings at the Landmark Theaters in San Francisco (exact location TBD) and Los Angeles (Nuart Theater in Santa Monica), March 20th - March 26th. Go here for more >>


Bloodstained Shadow
Blood and Black Lace
Case of the Bloody Iris
Lizard in a Woman's Skin
Death Walks at Midnight
Your Vice Is a Locked

Twitch of the Death

Italian Horror primer >>

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