Foreign

The Age of Shadows (Blu-ray)

Infiltrate and deceive.

Ludwig (Blu-ray)

“A king cannot give scandal.”

Kijû Yoshida: Love + Anarchism (Blu-ray)

“A loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style.”

The Jacques Rivette Collection (Blu-ray)

“Surreal and mysterious, in a career that was dominated by surrealism and mystery.”

Cinema Paradiso (Blu-ray)

“Anyone who loves movies is likely to love Cinema Paradiso.”

Come What May (Blu-ray)

The long and winding roads.

The Ardennes (DVD)

 From splash to bang.

Bullet Train (Blu-ray)

Proto-SPEED. Before there was Keanu Reeves lopping the head off of Dennis Hopper, there was this, the original “keep the public transportation conveyance going above XX miles an hour or something’s blowing up real good” movie. Bullet Train raced through Japanese theaters in 1975 and forever allowed the people at Amtrak to point in its direction and say “Hey, it could be worse!” Ken Takakura pays the madman who plants a bomb on one of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train expresses. If the train drops below 80 kph, it’s KABLOOIE for the train and the hundreds of passengers. Fighting against his malevolent devices is a bad-ass train engineer played by legendary Sonny Chiba. That’s your movie–the train rockets forward and a bunch of people scream their heads off and back at home base, the nerds scramble to save lives and the cops spring their manhunt to find the bad guy. All in all, Bullet Train is an okay 70s-era disaster, but a pair of sizable demerits drop the rating: It’s too long. This bad boy runs a whopping 152 minutes, which is just too hefty for a simple thriller/actioner like this. The nature of a train, limited by the tracks, kind of short circuits the number of cool, death-defying scenarios that can happen, versus, say, a bus. See, at the end of the day that’s what the upshot of Bullet Train is for me–it made we want to watch Speed immediately. And that’s just what I did when this movie ended. Thank you Bullet Train! The Twilight disc (that you probably won’t find in stores): 1080p, 2.35:1, a 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio (Japanese), an isolated music and effects track (for some reason, and a featurette. THE VERDICT Guilty of taking it’s sweet-balls time getting to the destination.

Dead or Alive Trilogy (Blu-ray)

WARNING: This motion picture contains explicit portrayals of violence; sex; violent sex; sexual violence; clowns and violent scenes of violent excess, which are definitely not suitable for all audiences.

Story of Sin (Blu-ray)

It is not pornographic. It is a revealing work of art.

The Internecine Project (Blu-ray)

Internecine: a fancy word for multiple murder.

Psychomania (Blu-ray)

Seven Suicides – and they roared back as The Living Dead.

The Sicilian Clan (Blu-ray)

Every industry has its first family.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Blu-ray)

The strangest things can happen suddenly.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Blu-ray)

Intimate in scale, but epic in scope.

The Black Society Trilogy (Blu-ray)

Among the prolific director’s finest works!

Fox and His Friends (Blu-ray)

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Black Girl (Blu-ray) Criterion

“A harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement.”

The Last King (Blu-ray)

Scandinavian slaloming, Dark Ages style. The Middle Ages had a lot of wild and woolly stuff going on, usually on a daily basis. Kings rose and fell. Cities were sacked. Civilizations were wiped out. And strep throat went untreated, subjecting millions of people to everlasting gullet discomfort. This era of humanity, while sucky for all who lived it no doubt, remains one of my favorites.  Human history pivoted in inexorable directions this stretch and entire cultures thrived (Saxons!) or fell short of world dominance (Danes!). But, mainly, I liked the Middle Ages because of the movies. The sword-swinging, gut-stabbing, britches-muddying tomfoolery that tends to characterize  these endeavors. So you can understand why I was eager to take The Last King for a spin. Here’s the story: the throne of Norway is up for grabs. There’s an heir, but he’s currently vulnerable to usurpation due to the fact that he happens to be a baby. Some nasty Church bishops have their eyes on the crown so they dispatch all manner of sword-thug to slay the kiddo and secure the throne for their own devious purposes. The only thing standing between the future king and a tiny coffin are two warriors. Together they tote the baby across the snow-swept terrain of Norway, dodging arrows and sword swipes and shield bashes, but mainly they ski. Oh how they ski! Downhill! Uphill! Cross-country! They ski and ski and ski and slaughter and ski! Good movie here. I’m always down for a swashbuckler that happens to feature some historical context from an era I have no clue about. And seeing I’m not as up on my Norwegian royalty succession background, The Last King ladled on some welcome knowledge along with its raw pugilism. Most of you will notice Kristofer Hivju, a.k.a. Jon Snow’s ginger BFF from Game of Thrones. He’s a bit looser here than in the HBO series, but still operates at peak bad-ass. And regardless if you couldn’t pick anyone else out of lineup The Last King stands on its own wind-chapped two legs. The pacing is swift, the action is fun and visceral, the cinematography is gorgeous and the history is cool and interesting. If any of this resides anywhere near your wheelhouse, consider this a recommendation; The Last King offers more than a sleigh-ful of spills and thrills. On Blu-ray, the Norway topography looks dynamite in 108op and the brouhahas ring out in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (in the original Norwegian). THE VERDICT Ikke skyldig.  

Dark Water (Blu-ray)

From the creators of Ringu

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