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Sunday, October 28, 2007

This week I got round to seeing Death Proof- Quentin Tarantino's half of the would-be double-bill Grindhouse. Infamously, after it tanked at the box-office stateside, it was cruelly torn apart and released separately outside of the US (and on DVD in America), provoking a lot of complaining from cinephiles across the world, put out that they missed out n the chance to see the full deal because the American audience didn't seem to get it. However in some ways I was only too happy to watch QT's half on it's own- partly because I personally prefer Tarantino to Robert Rodriguez (director of the other half), but partly because if these films exist in extended full cuts then that's the way I want to see them first. And so, on impulse I resorted to importing the US DVD, while it was still playing on the big screen over here.

And I'm glad I did. It's another great flick from the King Of Nerds, and really quite and unusual concoction that stands up perfectly well on it's own. The car chases are exhilarating and it's very funny. The little quirks in the editing and filming techniques (designed to emulate old style exploitation cinema) is the icing on the cake. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, this is really worth a watch. Having now seen the trailer for RR's Grindhouse feature Planet Terror, I'm going to have to buy that now too. It looks like a riot, and it's a zombie movie, so I don't really think I have a choice....

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Pretty high up the list of 'things that I never thought I'd see' would be a Hollywood re-make of the Japanese cult movie Battle Royale. However while checking out some trailers online earlier, I saw a list of 'Future Films'- and there, to my surprise sat the US version of that very film. Surely this had to be a joke?

But there's no doubt, It's listed on IMDB as in development and everything! On closer investigation I learned that work on the remake had been cast into doubt by the tragic real-life events at Virgina Tech. For the uninitiated, the plot sees a class of 15 year old high-school kids, dumped on an island, given weapons and told to kill each other dead, as some kind of far-out way of dealing with juvenile delinquency. You might wonder why they don't just refuse but if they don't cooperate (or try to escape) they have the explosive collars they've all been fitted with detonated. It sounds pretty sick, but it's actually a pretty smart movie that actually manages to actually provide a fairly accurate portrayal of teenagers (apart from all the killing). Considering the touchy nature of the subject, the original movie's never actually been released in America- what chance does a remake stand of getting past the development stage- unless it's so watered down so as to be unrecognisable. Not that that would be any great surprise, given the 'quality' of earlier Hollywood remakes of Japanese flicks.

But ignoring all that if you get the chance, check out the original but whatver you do give the sequel a miss- it's so bad the original director died halfway through production, just to get out of it....

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Friday, October 05, 2007

All Children of the 80's it's time to rejoice! The single greatest cartoon series from the 1980's is to be finally released on DVD. Yep, comeFebruary 2008 (in the UK- US release, coming later), Fabulous Films will be releasing the Mysterious Cities Of Gold! Hooray!! For the unitiated MCOG was a Japanese/French Co-production about a young boy called Esteban who searched for the titular Cities in South America. Shown on the BBC in the UK (and Nickelodeon in the States) but unavailable since, the series has taken on an almost mythical quality and has become something of a Holy Grail of retro cartoons. And it had a awesomely catchy theme tune Basically It's the Citizen Kane of 80's cartoons.

Gradually over the past couple of years, most of the classic cartoons from the era such as Dogtanion, Ulysses 31 and Count Duckula have been released on DVD, but the 80's cartoon connoisseur has been asking, just when will MCOG be joining them? So you could say I'm pretty excited. Not very much is known about the release details (such as if it will be a boxset, or available separately) but it doesn't really matter, I'll be getting it anyway!

Meanwhile, those of you who like their animation a bit newer, shinier and more adult might want to check out the trailer for the feature-length return of Futurama. To quote the Professor - Good News Everyone!

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