April 6, 2004:
JESUS OF NAZARETH
The Gospel of John (2003). Though it saw only a limited theatrical release and was pretty much overshadowed by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, this three-hour retelling of the most unique of the gospels actually garnered some pretty positive reviews. Todd McCarthy's, for example, in Variety: "The film makes a virtue of its self-imposed restriction of relating the familiar story word-for-word from the book in question... [D]ramatically powerful, surprising in its strong narrative differences from previous cinematic tellings of 'the greatest story' and bold in the extent to which it presents Jesus as a confrontational and threatening figure in the Judean context of the time... So dominated by voice-over narration is the early-going that the fear arises of a Classics Illustrated rendition, but the cascade of words shortly becomes comfortably integrated with the dialogue, in no small measure due to the exceedingly beautiful reading of the text by Christopher Plummer." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Ancient Evidence (2003). Another set well-timed for the Easter holidays: Mysteries of the Old Testament [Rent], Mysteries of Jesus [Rent] and Mysteries of the Apostles [Rent].
Peter Jennings Reporting - The Search For Jesus (2000). The news anchor focuses more on historical research than the biblical versions. [Rent]
Sherman's March (1986). In the early 80s, Ross McElwee set out to make a documentary on the lingering aftereffects in Georgia and the Carolinas of the "total warfare" General Sherman waged in the final months of the Civil War. But then his girlfriend dumped him. He couldn't concentrate on his project, though he still had the grant. So, he carries on filming, capturing his disastrous approaches to a variety of women he's attracted to. "Though Mr. McElwee's timing with women is awful," wrote Vincent Canby in the New York Times, "he's a film maker-anthropologist with a rare appreciation for the eccentric details of our edgy civilization." Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. [Rent]
The Way West (1995). A doc weaving historic photos and moving readings of pioneers' letters. From Ric Burns (New York). Episodes 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
A Bookshelf on Top of the Sky: 12 Stories about John Zorn (2002). Halfway through the making of her film, Claudia Heuermann suddenly found that John Zorn, who had been so open about her filming his rehearsals and general working process before, suddenly seemed to have had enough. He disappeared. Calls were not returned. Nonetheless, as Kurt Gottschalk writes in The Squid's Ear, the doc "offers unique glimpses into the workings of one of the most prolific and influential musicians to come out of New York's downtown scene.... Scenes showing preparation for a performance of his complex game-piece Cobra especially offer a rare chance to see the enigmatic and often cloistered artist at work. She also managed to dig up some old Naked City live footage to include. But it's as much a film about a young German woman's arrival in New York, discovery of the overlapping Jewish and downtown improv scenes, and her move from listening to pure punk to punk-infused improvisational music." [Rent]
Between Science and Garbage (2004). Those who maintain Bob Ostertag's site call this one "perhaps the most unique, oddest project Ostertag has ever done.... Ostertag has created software which allows himself and renowned film maker Pierre Hébert to actually perform an improvised animated movie with soundtrack, live on stage, using garbage. Lots and lots of garbage.... Hébert creates images by painting on glass, drawing on chalkboard and paper, blowing dust on mirrors, manipulating piles of garbage, and more.ÊOstertag records the sound of the garbage, and manipulates it by drawing shapes on a digital drawing tablet.ÊBoth image and sound are digitally processed live in quite surprising ways into a sophisticated film." [Rent]
Demon Slayer (2002). Tagline: "Some places are born evil. Five troubled teens are destined to find it." [Rent]
Beneath Loch Ness (2001). Tagline: "Sixty Feet of Prehistoric Terror!" [Rent]
Morgana (1995, aka: Blonde Heaven). Tagline: "Seduce. Conquer. Destroy." [Rent]
ACTION and ADVENTURE
Zatoichi: Festival of Fire (1970). The widely admired series with Shintaro Katsu continues; this one immediately followed Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo. [Rent]
Duel of the Devils (1977, aka Killer Dragon Returns). Martial arts from Taiwan with Tan Tao Liang. [Rent]
Fast Sword (1978). With Sammo Hung. [Rent]
Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS (1974). Re-issue. There was quite a flare-up in the 70s, particularly in Italy (though this one isn't Italian), of exploitation flicks set in Nazi-run camps. Needless to say, these aren't anything like Hogan's Heroes. [Rent]
SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY
Matrix: Revolutions (2003). Time will tell whether this and Reloaded were really all that bad, but in the meantime, here it is, the final installment in the trilogy that may or may never have been intended as a trilogy in the first place. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
Alien Hunter (2003). Reviews were not hot for this pastiche of earlier sci-fi classics, but maybe you'd simply like to get in another gander at James Spader. [Rent]
Sword of the Valiant (1984). Sword-n-sorcery action flick based on the epic romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. "The filmÕs budgetary shortcomings show through in some occasionally tatty sets but [director Stephen] Weeks at least covers things with a self-effacing, if distractingly modern, sense of humour," writes the SF, Horror and Fantasy Film Review: "The likes of Sean Connery and John Rhys-Davies seem to be struggling to keep straight faces. Certainly the sight of Connery in green facepaint and leaf-bedecked wig provides a good deal of unintentional camp value." [Rent]
RACY and EROTIC
Leaving Metropolis (2002). "A fairly static film version of [Brad Fraser's] well-travelled and well-received play Poor Super Man," notes the Toronto Sun. "Whatever lofty themes it hopes to hold high, the film boils down to a bisexual menage-a-trois liberally soaked with heartbreak." As if that were a bad thing. [Rent]
In Living Color Season 1 (1990 - 1991). In other words, the good season, when all the truly funny people were still on the show. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Friends. The Complete Seventh Season (2000 - 2001). Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Charlie's Angels. The Complete Second Season (1977 - 1978). For those who just. Cannot. Get enough. Of that 70s-era retro look-n-feel. [Rent]
Texhnolyze - Vol. 1: Inhumane & Beautiful (2003). A new anime series that debuted in Japan last April and comes from the same team that's brought us Lain, Hellsing and Haibane Renme. [Rent]
Maison Ikkoku. Box Set. Vol. 3 (1996). Of Vol. 1, OKhan1 writes: "When it comes to realism there are few anime TV series which can compete with Maison Ikkoku. Anybody who has been an academically and/or financially challenged college student will easily relate to Godai, moreover anyone who craves a great romance with human comedy will love this show." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Inu Yasha. Vol. 16: Heart of the Beast (2000). "Addictive" is what hneline1 calls this series. "It's a funny, well-paced action adventure with engaging protagonists in a fantastical medieval Japan." [Rent]
Kimagure Orange Road. TV Series - Volume 7 [Rent] and Volume 8 (1987) [Rent]. On OtakuNYC's list of firsts.
Patlabor Mobile Police TV Series: Vol. 8 (1990). Want a great intro to the series? See dpowers's list, "what's a Patlabor?" [Rent]
Puni Puni Poemy Vol. 1 (2001). From Shinichi Watanabe. [Rent]
Saint Seiya. Vol. 5: Cosmic Rift (1986). "An immensely popular show from the the late 80s, Saint Seiya looks like another Dragonball Z clone at first, indeed it seems marketed towards that particular crowd," writes OKhan1. "However upon closer inspection, Saint Seiya stands out as a good show with an actual storyline, likable characters and a rocking theme song with a good bit of Greek mythology thrown in." [Rent]
Kino's Journey - Vol. 2: Emerging Lanes. Of Vol. 1, midnightjack writes, "The show is a melancholy breeze of an anime, even though there is great violence at times. It seems very sad and yet beautiful at the same time." [Rent]
Last Exile - Vol. 3: Discovered Attack (2003). "I haven't seen the whole series, but so far it's been great," says JFleming. [Rent]
Black Jack - Volume 2: Seizure (2000). [Rent]
Captain Herlock. Vol. 2: Tendrils of Fear (2002). [Rent]
Spirit Warrior: Castle of Illusion. [Rent]
Steam Detectives. Vol. 5: Case Five (2003). [Rent]
Galerians: Rion (2003). [Rent]
FOR THE KIDS
The Little Prince (1974). Stanley Donen directs the Lerner and Loewe musical based on the mind-blower for kids, that spacy tale by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. [Rent]
The Tigger Movie (2000). The Hundred Acre Wood livened up considerably once Tigger arrived. Now, he's determined to figure out if he is indeed the only one. [Rent]
Best of the Muppet Show. Volume 7 features episodes with Diana Ross, Brooke Shields and Rudolf Nureyev. [Rent]
Sesame Street: Sing, Hoot & Howl (1991). You might want to slip on headphones before you slide this one in the player. [Rent]
Click back to see more titles arriving on April 6: Drama, comedy, classics and more....
Check out the titles arriving on April 13 and beyond.
And don't forget to check out the New Releases that're already here.