I got some positive feedback on my list of DVDs coming to your stores this week when I did it last time, so here it is again.
Amos Gitai: Territories - dir. Amos Gitai - 1980-2001 - Israel - Facets
Though more famous in France than in the States, Israeli director Gitai has had his share of admirers. Here we have a box-set that includes six documentaries on a variety of subjects. The set includes: Field Diary (Yoman Sadeh) and Arena of Murder (Zirat Ha'Rezach), House (Bayit) and A House in Jersusalem, Wadi 1981-1991 and Wadi Grand Canyon 2001.
For more information click the links.
La bataille du rail (The Battle of the Rails) - dir. René Clément - 1946 - France - Facets
WWII, French neo-realism, railroads. If you're a fan of such, you might want to check this out. NOTE: Facets is releasing a number of other boring foreign films (and Philip Kaufman's first film Goldstein, apparently a student film pre-film school era) that no one asked for, this and Gitai are the only ones I'm including.
Bubble - dir. Steven Soderbergh - 2006 - USA - Magnolia Pictures
Man, Bubble's been all the rage, what with Soderbergh releasing the film and DVD (almost) simultaneously. This might have made for an interesting experiment if it were for a film someone actually wanted to see. Not that I detest Soderbergh -- after all, this is supposed to be a lot better than Full Frontal, not that it was a difficult feat.
Corpse Bride - dir. Tim Burton, Mike Johnson - 2005 - USA - Warner
I've had enough of everyone's fascination with Burton and Johnny Depp. And here they are again. Though I haven't (and won't) see this sort-of followup to A Nightmare Before Christmas, I hear it's better than Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, AND Big Fish combined. That adds up to about a good Vivica A. Fox movie in my book, but whatever.
Dune (Extended Edition) - dir. David Lynch - 1984 - USA - Universal Studios
I think the two-disc release of Dune is the official signal that this week's releases suck. After Alejandro Jodorowsky was fired from the project (though his cast did sound interesting: Gloria Swanson, Orson Welles, David Carradine, Salvador Dalí), Lynch became attatched and has publicly denounced this notorious flop. This version runs forty-minutes longer and is probably still despised by Lynch. At least you got Max von Sydow accepting his paycheck along with a score by Brian Eno.
The Early Works of Atom Egoyan Boxset - dir. Atom Egoyan - 1984-1993 - Canada - Zeitgeist
One source says it's the "Essential Atom Egoyan" box-set while another says it's just the "Early Works of..." The latter is probably more fitting, as the set doesn't include two of the Canadian director's finest achievements, Exotica, The Adjuster and The Sweet Hereafter. It does, however, contain some of his fascinating, lesser-known gems such as Family Viewing and Speaking Parts. Both films deal with with the technological intrusion of the self, and both are quite wonderful. The set also includes some lesser works of his, Calendar and Next of Kin, both not without their merits, and three lame short films.
Let Me Die a Woman - dir. Doris Wishman - 1978 - USA - Synapse
As the trash pick of the week, Let Me Die a Woman, a fusion of mockumentary and exploitation, sounds decidedly wicked and filthy. Since I haven't seen it, I'll just link a review from TLAVideo.com that gives it four stars (!), in which they compare it to the disgusting, vile, wonderful Cannibal Holocaust! On the IMDb, someone claims it to make La Bête look upstanding! Starring Harry Reems of Deep Throat.
Live Freaky! Die Freaky! - dir. John Roecker - 2003 - USA - Wellspring
Whoa! A punk rock musical about a puppet in the year 3029 who discovers Helter Skelter and believes it to be the book of the Messiah. With this and Team America, puppet animation appears to only exist in the form of political musical satires. Asia Argento, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, and Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos provide voices, but the real downfall of this project is that any wicked or pertinent stabs the film makes at the right wing will all be brought down by the fact that members of Good Charlotte and Blink 182 are also featured within.
Virgins from Hell - 1987 - Indonesia - Mondo Macabro
I couldn't find a lot of technical information about this one, except that it's about a trio of biker chicks in this Indonesian women-in-prison exploitation flick. Check out the website for Mondo Macabro for even more sleaze.
The War Within - dir. Joseph Castelo - 2005 - USA - Magnolia Pictures
For such a "hot" topic as suicide bombing and racism post-9/11, I didn't hear much about this one, about a man torn between the American dream and religious extremism.
NOTE: There are a number of other "notable" DVD releases that I didn't feel like putting on the list this week... like a Pink Panther Box-Set and a bunch of boring Hollywood "classics" from Warner. I figured this list was already populated by enough yawns that it wasn't necessary.