Friday, 27 July 2012

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, Rapid Eye Movies Release

(dir. Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970)
Rapid Eye Movies, Germany

Today we conclude our in depth looks at the trio of films Rapid Eye Movies kindly sent me. I would like to start by saying a massive thank you to all you guys at Rapid Eye Movies who not only produce high quality products but also provide lovers of film and fellow collectors with some great titles. Today's title is no exception. One of the films from the infamous Pinky Violence name, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter. Again, we won't be looking at the film itself in terms of review as you will find countless reviews elsewhere. So without further a do, let's get this review started for all you Meiko Kaji fans out there.

 Again, we have the slipcase housing a slim digipack. And once again, what a fantastic job has been the done. The slipcase is brilliantly designed with a section of poster artwork on the front with some gorgeous, stylish typography. On the back, really nice and simple design that compliments the front. The digipack itself is nice and simple and contains some high quality photos of the film that are just awesome (especially the front, I think you may agree) Inside, unlike the previous editions we have looked at, you don't get much in terms of artwork. You get a nice and simple orange backdrop that just really goes well with the design itself. As usual we get the postcards and flyer which are just a really nice touch. The poster is a full version of the front cover and I personally think if they would have used the complete poster artwork on the front of the slip, it would have been a lot better. The only real flaw I can see with the poster is just the lack of imagery on the back but that is just a minor flaw.

Once again, the transfer and sound for this release is top notch. Again, Japanese audio with optional German subs means that if you are outside Germany, you will pick this up more as a collectors piece and boy is it a nice one for the shelf. Special features wise, you get the trailer and various other trailers. Overall, Rapid Eye have done well with the transfer. The only other version of this film I would suggest you could get that could be better is the Pinky Violence box set which is region 1 and hard to find for a decent price.

Well guys that is it for this little trilogy of posts and videos. Hope you guys have enjoyed these posts and most of all I hope I have turned you on to a potential new addition to the collection. Rapid Eye Movies are a fantastic company that puts the film lover and collectors in mind. Being a guy who's German is still rusty, I can truly appreciate the time and effort put in to this and the other releases I have had the pleasure of checking out. I shall definitely be picking up some more titles. So guys, check out those links down below and go check out what Rapid Eye Movies are all about!



Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Woman Called Abe Sada Rapid Eye Movies Release

A Woman Called Abe Sada
(dir. Noboru Tanga, 1975)
Rapid Eye Movies, Germany

Today we look at the second of three releases sent to me from the German company that where generous enough to send me some DVDs to look at. Today we are looking at a film based on a true story from the 30's. Again, I won't be talking about the film itself, maybe at a later date. We are looking at the release itself, just like the Hanzo release. So without further a do… let's look at the release!

As you can see, this release is of the same quality of the Hanzo release we looked at first. You get the fantastically designed slipcase containing a gorgeous and simple cover design. Unlike the Hanzo release, this isn't a piece of poster artwork but a new design. As you take off the slip we get some gorgeous photography on the digipack, especially inside. As usual you get the wonderful array of postcards and flyer showcasing various films from the Rapid Eye Movies films catalogue. Not sure wether you will get the exact same cards in each edition as it seems a bit random which is awesome because you can potentially use doubles. The poster again showcases what seems to be an original Japanese design which is gorgeous and again would look lovely in a frame. Well that's the presentation and supplementary material, let's have a look at how the film actually looks!

Again, this release looks really gorgeous, especially for a DVD release. The sound is just as great but like the previous review, I cannot stress enough that this being a German release for a German audience so you only get Japanese audio and German subtitles. Again, these releases are for the people who know the language or for collectors. In terms of extras you get various info about the film and of course trailers for the film and catalogue. Again, finding other features on other releases will be tricky so you really cannot complain. Overall, the film itself looks and sounds good and is a full uncut print from what I gather.

If you are a fan of this film or Asian cinema in general, this could be a potentially a nice release for the collection as long as you have a cheaper copy of a different edition in case you don't know Japanese or German. Overall, Rapid Eye Movies have done yet another fantastic job with this film for the Nippon Classics. Click those links down below and check out Rapid Eye Movies!


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Hanzo The Razor: Sword Of Justice From Rapid Eye Movies

Hanzo The Razor: Sword Of Justice
(dir. Kenji Misumi, 1972, 90 minutes)
Rapid Eye Movies, Germany

Hello guys and girls. Today we are looking at the first of 3 films from the Nippon Classics sent to me by a German company called Rapid Eye Movies. Now first of all, these will not be reviews of the films themselves as this trilogy of posts is showcasing these releases to people who are collectors and who already know about the film. If you want a review of the films, let me know. Like I said I will just be going through the releases themselves. We will be looking at the packaging, presentation, transfer and special features. So let's get straight to it with the first in depth look, Hanzo The Razor, Sword Of Justice. Below are some snaps of this gorgeous release.

As you can see, you get a gorgeously presented edition of this film. A beautifully designed slipcover showcasing the fantastic Japanese poster for the film which houses a fantastic digipack which boasts some stills from the film. The inside showcases one of the infamous images from the film. The digipack is slim but not too slim and makes it a fantastic size for the shelf and the collection. With the addition of the slipcover, these editions will look fantastic on the shelf. When you open up the digipack you will also find a flyer showcasing other titles from the Nippon Classics selection as well as an assortment of postcards with iconic stills from various Asian cult classics, the postcards are of high quality and are a welcomed addition. Probably the best extra you get is the double sided poster which again has the original Japanes poster design on the front and a original design on the back talking about the film itself. Overall, these are really nice additions and this will please the collectors out there wether or not you decide to actually use the poster and postcards. All in all, these editions are put together brilliantly with collectors in mind. So no we have looked at the packaging and presentation, let's look at the film itself.

 As you can tell by the stills, the transfer is fantastic. The audio is great too. Now, this being a German release, this intended to be watched by either someone who knows or is Japanese or German as the only audio option you have is the original Japanese an the subtitles are only in German. This really isn't a big deal for me personally as the edition itself is what I find most exciting and you can always pick up a cheap DVD. Just remember to bare that in mind if you are going to buy this title. Special features wise, you get the trailer for the film, some information on the film and also some trailers for other releases from Rapid Eye Movies. To some, that might not be a lot but I always welcome at least a trailer on any release and from what I have gathered not many other releases have anything more than a trailer. Overall, if you know Japanese or German (I should know a lot more by now) then  this release is perfect for you.

Overall, I am really impressed with this release. All the supplementary materials you get and the presentation alone make this a welcomed addition to the collection. I cannot stress enough that this release is of course aimed for a German audience so only collectors or lovers of Hanzo should really pick this up. Rapid Eye Movies have done a fantastic job with this release and have given the German public and us collectors  a great release of a film that is deserving of this treatment. You should definitely check out Rapid Eye Movies by clicking the links below and see what they have to offer and to potentially get your hands on this film. There really is nothing negative I can say about this release. Fantastic presentation and has a gorgeous DVD transfer.



Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My Day At The Munich Film Festival 2012

Recently, I spent the day in Munich for the Munich Film Festival 2012. The festival ran from the 29th June up until the 7th July. I went on the Thursday with my better half. It was thanks to her that i had this opportunity because she studies Film Criticism and students where able to get passes at a great discounted price. We ventured out with the intention of catching an early afternoon screening of a film called Le Cochon De Gaza ( English title not translated but under the name of When Pigs Have Wings) which was a German dubbed only version of a film about a man who lives between Israel and Palestine. He goes fishing and catches a pig.  Of course being between Palestine and Israel… Pigs aren't exactly the most "desirable" creatures, if you know what I mean. The film basically follows the guy becoming friends with the pig. Now, although that sounds hilarious, our tiredness took over so we slept for another hour. Yeah, shoot me. When we finally decided to set off, we took the train, enjoyed the scenery and finally made it to Munich which is a gorgeous city. Full of pretentious people but gorgeous all the same. After winning the battle with probably the most confusing train systems ever we finally made it to the building where we got our passes and to our joy, a nice big bag of swag.
Ooo... lovely bags o' swag!
My "Woody Allen" photo.
The cute handmade book showcasing Italian cinema.
The awesome chunky program.
 As you can see there was a hell of a lot of nice swag for Jeanny and I. Cosmetics that we could easily sell for €40+, some awesome 3D glasses from Sky, A hefty coffee table book version of the festival program, a cute little hand made notebook showcasing the Italian cinema at the festival and the mints and sweets. Not bad at all huh? That put a smile on our faces before we had even began to watch films. After marvelling at our swag for a while, we decided to work out what we wanted to watch so we could get tickets. Our main intention was to watch Killer Joe (William Friedkin) and 360 (Fernando Meirelles) as Jeanny needed to watch and critique these films for her course. Unfortunately, tickets where sold out so we had to look through the program and find some other films to watch. We found ourselves some nice little films.


(2012, dir: Keith Miller)

Now when you mention docudrama to me… I usually slap my face and sigh. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic examples out there but most of the time they are pretentious and dull. Welcome To Pine Hill however, did not fall under that description. The story follows a recently reformed drug dealer and gang member called Shannon Harper (actually played by himself) who has a somewhat steady job for an insurance company. Down the line he finds out some devastating news that makes him want to make peace with his past and the people he used to know and hang with. To tell you more about the story would do this film a real injustice. A powerful piece of film making that not only tells the devastating story of Shannon and the people in his life but also has an equally powerful message. From a technical point of view, this is a fantastically shot film, the handheld camera actually does what it intends to do and makes the audience feel (sometimes painfully and awkwardly" connected to Shannon's world. Minor complaints are some of the shots linger on too much which I understand symbolises the pain of our main character but it jet made the film run a little too long. Don't get me wrong, this film had me invested all the way through, especially with the fantastic, improvised performances from all the cast involved. Overall, this is one of the most genuinely touching and devastating films that I have seen in a long time and made me think a lot about some of the things in my life. You can't enjoy a film like this of course because the subject matter isn't enjoyable but this is a damn fine film that will have you hooked from start to finish. As far as I know, there is no information with regards to who owns the distribution rights for this film here in the UK for home release but all i can say is, there needs to be a deal done as soon as possible because people need to see this film. Thanks to this film I have also become aware of the Brooklyn Film Makers Collective. What more can I say about this film? It's not perfect by any means but it's a triumph all the same.

After being blown away by the screening we booked our tickets for the next film we wanted to watch but the screening was in a few hours so we decided to go for something to eat. Jeanny suggested a nice steakhouse called Maredo which is a chain in Germany. Being the hopeless, old fashioned romantic that I am, I thought it would be nice if we ate outside and absorbed the sunshine and the gorgeous architecture of Munich. That went well until we where struck by one of the most epic thunderstorms I have seen for a while. We fought the weather and finished our meal (which for me was a marinaded chicken steak with fries and a side dish of garlic bread… oh wait this isn't a food post!) like two mad people. So after defying a storm, we quickly made our way to our next screening which was a blast from the past.

The New Town Hall building and Orlando owned by the chef, Alfons Schubeck.
The "thunderous" view from Maredo.

(1988, dir: Mike Figges)

As part of the film festival, one of the main events was honouring the work and career of Melanie Griffith. Aside from this film there where a few other titles being screened. Films such as Something Wild as Working Girl to name just a couple. Now, why pick a film like this to watch at a festival? Well let me put it this way. You have a cast that mainly consists of Sting, Tommy Lee Jones, Sean Bean and Melanie Griffith and it's set in Newcastle! How could we not spend the night watching a film from the 80's that stars Sting and is set in Newcastle? I won't go into much detail regarding the story as this is a fairly old film that's been reviewed time and time again by better reviewers than I. All I will say is that is a great little story about corruption, betrayal, death and jazz! You have got Sting playing as a cool, foul mouthed owner of a jazz club (yes, there is a scene with Sting playing the double bass). Sean Bean who plays as your average Joe who gets a job cleaning at Sting's club… but becomes his right hand man. Tommy Lee Jones plays as a witty, sharp Texan businessman who wants Sting's club and you have Mlelanie Griffith who plays as call girl who sleeps with people for Tommy Lee Jones but falls in love with Sean Bean. Yeah, I'm sure you can see what happens. What you have is a funny, smart drama that is worth a watch if you haven't done so already. Has that classic, late 80's English film that you all know and love. Not bad at all…. did I mention it stars Sting?
Arty shot of the lights on the screen before watching Stormy Monday.
Well, those where the films that I caught at the Munich Filmfest. Yeah, I could have gone to other days but Jeanny was away for the first few days and could you imagine me trying to navigate Germany's  rail system? I could have joined Jeanny for the Friday but let's just say my stomach decided to be a mean son of a bitch so I had to stay at home… thank goodness I have a cute cat to keep me company. Overall, I enjoyed my day there and looking through the program, I have so much inspiration for films to watch.

Please click the links below regarding the films mentioned and website for the film festival itself. Hopefully, next time I will go for more than just a day and fingers crossed I will find some more awesome festivals to go to.