"There's a way out of this game. Kill yourselves together, here, now. If you can't do that, then don't trust anyone... just run." Battle Royale (also on Blu-Ray)
#433 | March 20, 2012
SXSW 2012: Critic's Notebook #2
In this second dispatch collected from SXSW 2012, our critic  dives into the Zellner Brother's Kid-Thing, Guy Maddin's Keyhole, the LGBT doc Wildness, and Indonesian martial arts flick The Raid: Redemption. Credited as sole director, Austin-based filmmaker David Zellner—who co-created Goliath and numerous shorts with his brother Nathan, credited here as producer and cinematographer—incorporates the duo's dark, quirky brand of comedy to their beautifully shot Southern Gothic fairy tale Kid-Thing. Present in nearly every frame is prepubescent Annie, played by first-time actress and Zellner family friend Sydney Aguirre. Read more >>
In This Dispatch:
  • What's New:The Muppets, Red Persimmons, A Lonely Place to Die, and more. 
  • What We're Watching: Letter Never Sent; Young, Violent, Dangerous. 
  • Explore: DVD of the Week - The Adventures of Tintin, Retro Active - City on Fire. 
  • Contest: Columbus Circle DVD Giveaway!
Does the Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller-penned Muppets film live up to childhood expectations? The Atlantic's Christopher Penn certainly thinks so. "The film is an utter delight, a tidal surge of joyful nostalgia cunningly repackaged and updated. Take your kids, take your parents, take a friend or someone you'd like to become one. Bobin (Director), Segal, and Stoller propel the proceedings with wit and verve, genre winks tumbling out over timely demolitions of the fourth wall...The Muppets is equal parts tender and hilarious, heartfelt and sly."Also available on Blu-Ray
The Muppets
The documentaries of Shinsuke Ogawa are legend in Japanese documentary circles, having chronicled many of Japan's turbulent political and social upheavals during the 60's and 70's. Icarus films is reviving his work in the west, having released A Visit to Ogawa Productions (about both Ogawa and fellow Japanese New Wave Director Nagisa Oshima), and now, Red Persimmons, a film started by Ogawa in the late 80's and finished by his protege Xiaolian Peng shortly before his death in 1992. The doc focuses in on Kaminoyama, a city in the Japanese countryside which prides itself on its cultivation of the titular crop. "We observe, through the course of the film, that the persimmon itself becomes representative of ‘the Japanese village’ in the way it goes from being an organic part of a lifestyle, through being a commodity under simple capitalism and then a fiercely competitive economy, to gradually losing its ritualistic qualities and finally ending up as a low-demand produce. Beautiful, like a Dovzhenko film, humble, essential," writes Just Another Film Buff.
Red Persimmons
What on the surface may appear to be your run-of-the-mill stranded and stalked survival horror film is more than meets the eye, says Badass Digest's Devin Faraci. "A Lonely Place To Die doesn’t fit into any one genre. It’s survival horror, it’s high wire action, it’s international intrigue, it’s a touch of paranoid conspiracy thriller, some stalk and slash and even a little hint of pagan British weirdness, a la Wicker Man. The film slowly morphs from one kind of a movie into another, never lagging, always keeping you on your toes. It’s an incredibly fun ride." Scott Weinberg adds, "The 'victim' characters are thinly-drawn but well-realized, the 'hunters' are more than suitably malevolent, the setting is both beautiful and brutal, and to the flick's inestimable credit, it simply moves forward, virtually non-stop, on all cylinders."
A Lonely Place to Die
Also out todayThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (previously reviewed here); Battle Royale (re-released mainly for...) Battle Royale: The Complete Collection (Blu-Ray); The Sitter (also on Blu-Ray); Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; re-released in a new Criterion edition - The War Room; Letter Never Sent (Criterion) (reviewed below); In the Garden of Sounds; Roman Polanski's movie adapation of the play, God of Carnage; The Adventures of Tintin (and on Blu-Ray, featured below); and Frauleins in Uniform.

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
Letter Never Sent
In one of the opening shots of Mikhail Kalatozov’s Letter Never Sent, four Soviet explorers struggle wordlessly through a throng of birch trees in the middle of a Siberian hinterland. The hand-held camera lurches along with the adventurers as they push on, hip-deep in water and dragging their gear behind them on rafts. There’s something about this scene – the close-up, shaky images of desperate characters fighting against a cold, indifferent nemesis – that instantly recalls George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. In fact, much of Letter Never Sent’s man-vs.-nature conflict plays like a horror film. Here the relentless boogeyman doesn’t wield an axe but fire and ice. Read more >>
More like this  EarthBattleship Potemkin
Young Violent Dangerous
The wonderful Raro Video is single-handedly reminding the world that the Italian crime director Fernando Di Leo once existed. Last year they released a wonderful four-disc box set of Di Leo films (with a Blu-Ray set added just a month ago). The company has also been releasing some of Di Leo's screenwriting efforts for other directors, notably the awesome Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (1976). Now comes Young, Violent, Dangerous (Liberi Armati Pericolosi) (1976), directed by Romolo Guerrieri. Though it has an equally crazy title, it's distinctly different in tone. This one is more cautionary, and comes with a little bit of conscience. Read more >>
DVD OF THE WEEK: The Adventures of Tintin. Steven Spielberg still insists on shooting in 35mm, making The Adventures of Tintin a presumably unrepeatable one-off, an all-digital 3D showcase for the little-loved motion-capture process. Robert Zemeckis embraced the medium's inherent dead-eyed creepiness with his remarkably morbid Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, but that dark mood doesn't suit Spielberg. 2008's unfairly despised Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened with a sunny day car ride unexpectedly turning into a race for no real reason other than the pleasure of an unscheduled adrenaline boost.  Read more >>
The Adventures of Tintin
Retro Active: City on Fire. This week's "Retro Active" pick is inspired by the undercover-cop action of the 21 Jump Street remake. Women factor into City on Fire but Ringo Lam's 1987 crime saga is a strictly masculine affair awash in male love. An influence on Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs—with which it shares similarities both in terms of narrative (heists, undercover cops, gun standoffs, torture) and themes (shifting allegiances, loyalty, the boundary between nobility and criminality)—Lam's film pivots around Ko Chow (Chow Yun-Fat), a brash Hong Kong police officer intent on retiring.  Read more >>
City on Fire
A dark and suspenseful thriller starring Selma Blair as an agoraphobic heiress confronted with a murder next door and new tenants to boot, Columbus Circle, made its debut on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand on March 6, 2012, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. And here's your chance to win a copy of Columbus Circle on DVD! Read more >>
Columbus Circle

Southern Gothic


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