Available on Domestic DVD and still worth watching!
Along with the hundreds of import discs and out of print rarities we sift through week to week, we are also hard core Netflix users, turning around disc after disc, we consume movies! And believe it or not, there are some completely accessible releases that the casual viewer may have missed.
Rampo Noir is a dark string of related vignettes, based on the short stories of Edogaro Rampo. Really savvy anime fans (if such a thing exists) may have caught Rampo homages in the background of the Recent Rozen Maiden tv series. Anyway, Tadanobu Asano tops a cast of excellent actors, the creepy unsettling situations are well photographed and the director takes great pleasure in making very ugly images painfully beautiful. From start to finish, this is horror-gone-art-film worthy of early Cronenberg and Kiyoshi Kirosawa.
Staying in Japan but moving away from fiction, Perfect Fake, a Canadian documentary tackles artificial sexuality in the form of sex dolls, interactive media and... Araki Gentaro's toy sculptures? OK. Well done and informative if a little unsettling.
Princess Raccoon is classical Japanese Opera meets modern story telling. Surreal, beautiful and sometimes stupid but worth watching. Makes better use of Ziyi Zang then Memoirs of a Geisha did for damn sure.
Empire of the Wolves is your pretty basic French Crime yarn with Jean Reno doing what he does best. Works well with the Crimson Rivers films, but not directly related. And no, I will not watch "just anything" because Jean Reno is a cool action hero. I made it through about fifteen minuets of The Corsican Files before I gave up. The allure of French Comedy continues to elude me...
In the mean time I'm still waiting for the entire Alex De La Iglesia collection to be released stateside (I would so like to watch Day of the Beast again...). Or for Attack the Gas Station to slip in with the tidlewave of mediocre Korean cinema available on DVD. I'm tired of telling people about it then remembering the only available version for rental is dubbed into Mandarin and subbed in English-- still unacceptable to purists like myself. However Danger Diabolik came out remastered, and if you've only seen it on a crappy VHS, go, go go put it in your rental queue!
More imports and animation when I return...