I’d call the DVD horror offerings of November weak, but the reason why is perfectly understandable. October drains the wallet of heavy fans while casual goers reach their horror saturation point. November is, justifiably, a month long horror hang over.
The genre pickings are slim, but the rest of the month has an astounding wealth of solid independent and foreign films. Looking back I’m actually glad there is practically no horror if it means titles like these.
First off, I couldn’t find a single horror film, STD or not, worth pointing out. So I’ll just move on.
I love Tartan. They’ve introduced many great titles to the US market, but I’m a little confused by the release of Johnny To’s widely acclaimed gangster saga Election. I have no problem with the movie, I just think it rather bizarre that they release Election after releasing Triad Election, its sequel, a month prior. Both films kick a lot of ass, so I can’t complain too much they’re now both out on Region 1, even if the pattern was anachronistic.
Sticking with output from the Eastern side of the world, us Westerns can now grab Kim Ki-Duk’s Time. I haven’t seen Time yet, but I am a huge fan of the director. It seems his widest success was with Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, but I myself am very partial to 3-Iron, which I consider a beautiful, beautiful film. His earlier works are great as well, though I must admit The Bow, Kim Ki-Duk’s film prior to Time, didn’t do anything for me. All the same, I’m looking forward to this quite a bit.
Ratatouille is good, but not up to the same heart warming, imagination churning level as Brad Bird’s other films; The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. Definitely worth a rent, perhaps even a bump to the top of the queue if you have kids smarter than your average bear.
If you didn’t catch Sicko in a theater or on YouTube earlier this year, now is the time to get off your ass and take a look into the depressing state of health in America. Michael Moore would do well to keep himself out of any future documentaries as his voice is more dividing than the actual topics he documents, but even if you hate the man, please see Sicko.
Stardust landed at the box office with little confidence and it slid out of the box office accordingly. It is a fantasy film, which is a plus, and was directed by Layer Cake helmer Matthew Vaughn, which is a huge plus.
The week with the highest number of horror releases, but not a damn one of them anything outstanding. Driftwood is Tim Sullivan’s second film. I hated 2001 Maniacs and I think his comments on that film firmly establish him as a tool, but I am a forgiving man and will likely review Driftwood at some point in time. Won’t be lining up anywhere for it, however.
If the name Norio Tsuruta means nothing to you do not worry. His body of work could best describe him as the Renny Harlin of Japan, which is why his inclusion in "Masters of Horror"takes another notch out of the series’ creativity belt. His episode, Dream Cruise, could be amazing for all I know, but I wouldn’t begin to call him a master.
Lucio Fulci, on the other hand, could easily be called one of the genre’s masters. Later on in the month we’ll get a bonafide horror title from the man, but in the mean time there is the intriguingly titled Eroticist.
Also from Europe is the omnibus film Paris, je t’aime. Devoted to depicting love in Paris, the film features segments directed by a truly eclectic bunch. Never would I have expected to see Vincenzo Natali, Alfonso Cuaron, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, Christopher Doyle and the Coen Brothers attached to the same project, but here ya go. I’ve had a copy of the film in my hands for a while now. Why I haven’t watched it eludes me, but the film geek in me can no longer resist so many modern icons of cinema.
Funny enough I was invited to attend one of several ‘Red Carpet Premiere’s’ of the urban slasher Somebody Help Me. It was the first invitation of the sort I’ve received, so I was, of course, excited at the prospect. I soon realized there isn’t anything exciting about a horror movie with the guy who played Roger on "Sister Sister", however. Needless to say, I never got back to the web promoter about the free tickets and I feel no regret.
Urban Justice is a new Steven Seagal film that, if I recall correctly, arrived to earth via a wormhole from the mid 1990s. Supposedly vintage Seagal, if that is your thing. Which I am telling you it is.
Lastly what I’m going to go ahead and call the genre release of the month. An indie film I’ve written about before: The Man From Earth. It is a straight Sci-Fi story with classic sensibilities to go with. I haven’t seen it, but I have a very good feeling about. So good, in fact, I’m going to call it the next Primer.
It doesn’t take much imagination to know how the once titled Die Hard 4.0 turned out. It is a steaming pile of shit. Except the talentless Len Wiesman didn’t even have the smarts to make real shit. He had to have a graphic animator render one up.
Then there is Angel-A, supposedly the last live action film Luc Besson will direct. Angel-A is not an action film like The Fifth Element and The Professional are, but it is an equally intimate, character driven adventure. I’ve heard great things.
If the name Werner Herzog makes you crack a giant smile, let me say this to you, "Hello. We get along." Rescue Dawn is the mad man filmmaker back at his jungle roots, this time with Christian Bale dropping lots of weight to play a prisoner of war. It is perhaps his most mainstream film to date, but that is hardly a bad thing. David Cronenberg proved an independent thinker can still knock the socks off the general public, Herzog is no different.
Lastly, the aforementioned Lucio Fulci film The Psychic. Yet another film on this seemingly endless month of films I haven’t seen. I know nothing about it other than I am in love with that cover art.
Short week. The long awaited, way over due return of "Futurama" via one of four STD films: Bender’s Big Score. It is kind of a big deal. If you don’t shell out the few measly bucks for new Futurama, you’re a robot who needs his humor firmware upgraded. Yes, I am very geeked out about this release.
Paprika will melt your eyeballs in the best possible way. See it.