At Movie Morlocks, Jeff reviews First Run's DEFA Collection. Related: James Van Maanen at the Guru on The Rabbit Is Me and Robert Horton's "East German Cinema Guide." Somewhat related browsing: Iron Curtain Call.
"Grand Guignol does not get much grander than in Inside, one of the latest in a new wave of extremely violent horror films coming from France," writes Dave Kehr in the New York Times. More from Steve Erickson in the City Paper: "Directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo may have made it as a résumé padder - their next project is a remake of Clive Barker's Hellraiser - but they don't lack ambition or talent."
"Forget what anyone else says, Night and the City (1950) is Jules Dassin's finest film," insists Anthony Frewin. "It's a noir masterpiece, no ifs or buts."
Also in Stop Smiling, Michael Joshua Rowin on The Films of Sergei Paradjanov: "Kino's release provides a terrific example of what can happen when quantity surpasses quality: unsatisfactory transfers, unnecessary documentaries, and missing credits that leave the viewer lost in a fog of incomplete information about Paradjanov's career. This is a disappointment because Paradjanov was one of the most unique, challenging, and mystical directors in the history of the cinema, let alone that of Russia - I can hardly imagine this treatment accorded to Fellini, Bresson, or Tarkovsky, Paradjanov's peer and good friend."
"While the inherent New Zealandness of Eagle vs Shark is never in doubt, it draws on a greater geographical force: Wellington," writes Tim Wong in the Lumière Reader. "Another testament to the city's incestuous creative community, its sights - from Titahi Bay to Manners Mall - are lived-in, personalised and not at all obnoxiously touristy, while its sounds - The Phoenix Foundation, chiefly, so ubiquitous yet enlivening on film here - are nothing if not tailor-made for the incandesce of cinema."
Tasha Robinson at the AV Club: "Commentary Tracks of the Damned: Romance & Cigarettes."
For the IFC, Michael Atkinson comes to the defense of Lars and the Real Girl and explains why The Dragon Painter may be "the only American film we've seen from the first 60 years of the medium's existence that treats Asian characters with respect and dignity."
- Glenn Kenny's "Monday Morning Foreign-Region DVD Report: Chantal Akerman Collection: Les Annees 70: "My own feeling about Akerman was that her work was a sort of punk rock - DIY, defiant, new without even trying to be new, just because of its very existence."
- "[N]ot every film by a master director has to be a masterpiece, and Oyu-sama is a moving, beautiful film, small in stature, compact in storytelling, concise in construction, and eloquent in evocation." Daniel Kasman in the Auteurs' Notebook on Masters of Cinema's latest Kenji Mizoguchi release.
"Donald Pleasence is the Genero-President of the United States!" declares Jonathan Lapper.
- Back in the NYT: "With episodes (actually partial episodes, even better) now available in several DVD sets, This Is Tom Jones unearths some vintage pop nuggets that, if not as history-making as Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show, at least recall a time when popular music was an infinitely more unruly contest than it's become in the 21st century," writes Greg Evans. "Proof? Take a look at Joe Cocker, in his snarling, disturbing, full-on spastic mode, then watch June Carter Cash, looking and sounding so authentically country that she makes a joke of Reese Witherspoon's perky portrayal in Walk the Line."
- "How much would you pay for a four-disc collection of the best episodes of The Price Is Right?" A slide show at Slate from Keith Phipps.
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker (MSN), the AV Club, DVD Talk, Bryant Frazer, Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times) and Slant.
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