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NEW RELEASES - November 8

FRESH FROM THE THEATERS

Yes (2004).

Yes "was created in direct reaction to the events of September 11, 2001, and took its form in the shape of Shakespearean iambic pentameter. Just because it rhymes doesn't mean that the language used isn't contemporary," writes Hannah Eaves in her piece on the film for which she spoke with director Sally Potter and the two actors in the lead roles of He and She, Simon Abkarian and Joan Allen.

"'I think we're in difficult times,' Potter concedes, 'but I think that for the film it was a conscious decision to end it with hope. Hope is a choice, a point of view and it's a much more energizing one than choosing despair.'"

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2005).

Better than the original? That's beside the point, really. Tim Burton reimagines Roald Dahl's classic tale from the ground up, just as Johnny Depp approaches the character of Willy Wonka with utterly fresh and (devilishly) innocent eyes.

"This movie is a riot of fiendish invention," writes David Edelstein in Slate.

The Devil's Rejects (2005).

Rob Zombie "refuses to call this a sequel to his deranged semi-underground hit House of 1000 Corpses," noted Andrew O'Hehir in Salon this summer, "even though it, well, totally is.... Of course you're going to see this if you're a fan, and of course, like me, you'll admire Zombie for going all the way to nutso operatic bloodletting with this one."

FOREIGN

Pickpocket (1959).

"Bluntly put, to not get Bresson is to not get the idea of motion pictures - it's to have missed that train the Lumiére brothers filmed arriving at Lyon station 110 years ago," wrote J. Hoberman in the Village Voice a few weeks ago. The occasion was the release in all-too-few theaters - but now, thankfully, also on DVD - of Pickpocket (and we anxiously await the release of Mouchette on DVD some day, too). "Ultimately inexplicable," Hoberman continued, "this concentrated, elliptical, economical movie is an experience that never loses its strangeness."

This Criterion release features audio commentary by James Quandt, a video introduction by Paul Schrader, a 1960 interview with Bresson and much more.

Ugetsu (1953).

"A regular on critics 'best of' lists, the film is basically perfect," wrote David Khune of Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece for the Edinburgh University Film Society. "The technique is flawless, brilliantly evoking a feudalistic world where brutal realism and the supernatural co-exist and intermingle, while the Buddhist message that desire leads to suffering is conveyed without being sledgehammered home."

Criterion's release includes audio commentary by filmmaker, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns, a two-and-a-half-hour doc on Mizoguchi and much more.

Bang Rajan (2000).

"You don't need a master's degree in Thai history to appreciate Thanit Jitnukul's Bang Rajan, a commanding 18th-century war epic that won 11 Suraswadee Awards (Thai Oscars) in 2000," writes Nick Schager in Slant. "Watching [Bin] Bunluerit's ax-wielding souse storm into combat on the back of a gigantically horned water buffalo, I couldn't help but think that Kurosawa would have been impressed."

The Kingdom (1994).

Lars von Trier's mini-series, a cult favorite ever since it screened on Danish television (and, as freely admitted by von Trier, inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks), returns to DVD in a two-disc edition.

"The series takes its time to build but once it does it becomes compulsive watching," writes the SF, Horror and Fantasy Film Review. "There's an especially rich vein of black comedy running throughout... Balanced against this are a series of genuinely eerie manifestations of the supernatural."

Disc 2.

The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929).

This week sees the release of three mountain films starring Leni Riefenstahl, the very type of film that won her admiration from all sorts of quarters, most notably, of course, Hitler's. There's no question that the former dancer and soon-to-be director was stunning in her youth.

And this disc from Kino features an hour-long interview with Riefenstahl, conducted in 2002.

Storm Over Mont Blanc (1930).

"Eerily romantic and overshadowed by the constant threat of doom, Storm Over Mont Blanc (Stürme über dem Montblanc) is a quintessential Bergfilm ("Mountain Film") by Arnold Fanck, the genre's innovator and unparalleled master," writes Kino, which is including Fanck's 1926 short, Cloud Phenomena of Maloja on this disc.

S.O.S. Iceberg (1933).

"S.O.S. Iceberg was filmed simultaneously in an English-language version," notes Kino, which includes both versions on this disc. "The differences between the two are not merely lingual. Each film is edited differently and includes prolonged sequences not seen in its transatlantic counterpart."

COMEDY

Margaret Cho: Assassin (2005).

Take a look at that cover. Have times become so dire that radical chic may stage a comeback? Listening to Margaret Cho riff on last year's election in this year's comedy tour may well convince the time's right indeed. "Murderously funny!" exclaims the New York Times.

ANIME

Initial D Battle 14: Extra Stage.

While we wait for Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's live-action version to hit these shores, the outstanding animated series speeds ahead. How do we love it? Just check out the reviews of Battle 1.

Browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.

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