FRESH FROM THE THEATERS
Cold Mountain (2003). Writing up his "Best of 2003" list, underdog forged a little extra space on the traditional top ten for a Number 11: "Old-fashioned love story set amidst the tragic sweep of war, using flashbacks, multiple characters intertwined, adapted from a highly regarded book, directed by Anthony Minghella... wait, this isn't The English Patient? No, and if you can manage to set aside, as I did, the cynicism our generation is famous for, you might find yourself swept into this story's beauty and passion." [Rent] Bonus Disc. [Rent]
Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004). Despite the controversy it sparked, the first Barbershop was a hit, so it's hardly a surprise that Ice Cube and Co have rushed back with a sequel and, in the bounteous form of Queen Latifah, the promise of a spinoff as well (Beauty Shop). In the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell called this one "a loving tribute to black culture, and the opening credits whir through the history of the African-American coif, making brief stops at the scary curl sported by N.W.A. and at Vanilla Ice's I'm-so-off-white fade." And with Cedric the Entertainer pumping out the quips, the laughs roll pleasantly along. As Kevin Carr wrote in Film Threat, "It ain't high art, but it is a fun flick." [Rent]
Die Mommie Die! (2003). Charles Busch has been the Queen of Camp Theater for some time now and has given us such stage classics as The Lady in Question, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Sleeping Beauty or Coma and Psycho Beach Party. Though that last one saw a movie version a few years ago, Die Mommie Die! gives Busch his first starring role on the silver screen. Matthew Kennedy recently wrote in Bright Lights Film Journal that, while he wasn't completely won over by the film, "The clothes, fiberglass hair, jewels, make-up, gestures, and voice are just right. We get the neatly observed physical conventions of melodramas gone by - arms akimbo, the intercepted slap, perfume bottle spritzes, gentle palms on the cheeks, and an imploring squeeze of the upper arms when someone feels 'real' pain."
Sabu (2002). "Takashi Miike has developed such a reputation for unbridled excess, it is tempting to preface any review of his more moderate work with an exclamation of surprise," writes Hong Kong Digital. "Of course, those who have studied this prolific director's output know that he is quite capable of crafting character-driven drama and this measured, low-key effort fits nicely into that category." [Rent]
La Belle Noiseuse (1991). After yet another delay, one of Jacques Rivette's most widely admired films finally arrives on DVD, and as Kathleen Mahler writes in the Austin Chronicle, it's "worth the wait and worth the running time of nearly four hours." Michel Piccoli plays a painter who's lost his passion for his art as well as his wife and muse (Jane Birkin). Then he meets (Emmanuelle Beart). Mahler: "What happens between artist and subject, says Rivette, is something much more brutal, much more intimate than sex.... Wonderfully, with this piece, Rivette declares that a work of art must be what it is, true to its shape and its form and no other art can quite capture the same thing or describe it. Now that's why we go to movies." Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
Life After All (2003). From France, a tale of two brothers helping each other deal with the loss of their parents. [Rent]
Who Slew Simon Thaddeus Mulberry Pew? (2002). A very twisted Seussesque fairy tale which has won best short awards at over 25 international film festivals. [Rent]
Sing Faster: The Stagehands' Ring Cycle (1999). Director Jon Else goes backstage as the San Francisco Opera scrambles to get a production of Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen up on its feet and, wrote the SF Weekly, he "gives us a glimpse of the opera's unsung heroes - stagehands - with his famous and often comic film. A must for anyone who ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of lavish productions." [Rent]
King of the Ants (2004). First off, you'll want to check our lengthy and meaty interview with Stuart Gordon, conducted shortly after he completed this horror film that, as noted then, "manages the same sort of visceral shock and dark humor that he has long been associated with, while steering away from the supernatural." [Rent]
The Driller Killer (1979). A special two-disc release of Abel Ferrara's notorious flick. The SF, Horror and Fantasy Film Review sees some similarities with Scorsese's Taxi Driver, only rougher: "Ferrara creates a sense of overwhelmingly grim, grinding intensity. And Ferrara himself, with his lean frame and long, almost prehensile jaw and shock of Afrod hair, gives a genuinely angry, seething performance as Reno. There's a real nastiness to the scenes of him attacking people at random in the streets with his power drill. It is a performance that quite convinces you the film is expressing something more than a little personal upon Ferrara's part." [Rent] Bonus Disc. [Rent]
RACY and EROTIC
Something Weird four films directed by Joe Sarno on two discs, making for two sexploitation double features of more than titillating interest. While Sarno explores the darker side of human desire, it's rarely all that dark since he still believed, during the mid-60s, when these films were made, in the beneficial and liberating power of sex. Flesh and Lace / Passion in Hot Hollows (1964 / 1966) [Rent] and Sin in the Suburbs / The Swap And How They Make It (1964 / 1966) [Rent]
Wonder Woman: The Complete First Season (1976). It's the feminist superheroine in the Bicentennial costume! As Sisyphus notes, "this represents a great collection of all the Wonder Woman episodes which pitted her against evil Nazis in the 40s (they moved to the swinging 70s with the beginning of the next season). Not only do you get Lynda Carter as WW, but Debra Winger sometimes shows up as Wonder Girl." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Land of the Lost: The Complete First Season (1974-1976). The Saturday morning classic from the 70s and probably the height of Sid and Marty Kroft's puppeteering has since developed a cult following. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Dick Van Dyke Show. Season 5 (1965-1966). One of the indisputedly great contributions to entertainment America has given the world is the sitcom, and this is one of the indisputedly great ones. Clever all the way through this, the final season. 31 episodes in all. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent] and 5. [Rent]
South Park The Complete 4th Season (2000-2001). Still turning all those sitcom conventions on their head. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3. [Rent]
Gravitation Vol. 1: Fateful First Encounter (1996). Another series begins its rollout on DVD. This one, a classic of the yaoi genre, has proven its popularity as a fan sub for years now, so it's about time. [Rent]
Magical Play: Complete Collection (2004). The entire series on two discs. Anime Insider: "Directed by Hiroki Hayashi, Magical Play will certainly have a familiar ambience to veteran anime fans in the west. Having worked key production roles in such unforgettable animation such as Tenchi Muyo! and The Legend of Black Heaven, Hayashi's background of rich comedy meshed with rich drama will surely show through." Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
Texhnolyze. Vol. 2: Spectacle (2003). When Ayato saw the first volume, he wrote, "I can't wait to see the next DVD." Well, here it is. Writes hneline1: "This is what Ghost in the Shell should have been in exploring the social impact of biotech and prosthetic advancement and what Jin-Roh could have been if it had included technological evolution." [Rent]
R.O.D. The TV Series. Vol. 1: The Paper Sisters (2003). This new series follows three paper masters such as the one depicted in Read or Die. [Rent]
Inu Yasha Vol. 19: The Way to Wisdom (2000). The series is "definitely a must-watch for any anime fan," says CarpeNoctem. [Rent]
Kino's Journey Vol. 4: Not Without Reservations (2003). "Although I haven't seen the entire series, I've seen enough to know this will be a unique and interesting ride," says JFleming. [Rent]
Ninja Scroll Vol. 3: Deliverance (2003). Most GCers find the series suffers in comparison with the feature it's based on, but there's enough here to appeal to younger viewers. [Rent]
Saint Seiya Vol. 7: Rekindled Regrets (1986). The nostalgic blast from the 80s rolls on. [Rent]
Comic Party. Vol. 3: The Big Time (2003). Reasonable ratings for the first two volumes of this satiric series. [Rent]
Dragon Ball Z: Cell Games - Surrender (2001). For the kids. [Rent]
Vanilla Series: Private Sessions (2004). Not for the kids. [Rent]
Browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.