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DVD mini-reviews foreign films
This week's update By: doc     visit DWF

Buy it! This is some stuff from outside the Hollywood machine with sensibilities and aethetics much different than your average cranked out formula Hollywood crap. Some of this is foreign crap. But a lot of it is great too. Check these out if you get the chance.

Buy it! Run Lola Run (Lola rennt) (1998)
Fast and funny German film, more inventive camera techniques. Not a lot of plot, short movie, but very entertaining and fun and another gorgeous star. Doesn't go in the direction you'll think its going. Highly recommended.
Buy it! Y tu mamŠ tambiťn (2001)
Mexican movie with 2 teenage best friends and one's married cousin who has left her husband go on trip to a beautiful, mythical deserted beach, sharing pot and sex and stories all the way. Sexy as hell movie with none of the American hangups about sex US movies always have. They make too much of it. Here its casual and fun and just part of eating and sleeping and talking and fucking, no big deal. Hilarious movie, highly recommended.

Plus it is totally cool because it has the greatest Zappa tune. When the producers tried to buy the rights of Frank Zappa's "Watermelon in Easter Hay" they were told by Zappa's family that Zappa requested that three of his songs were never played in any media except the album where they appear and that song was one of them. Gail Zappa, Frank's widow, saw the movie when editing was almost completed and agreed to make an exception because she considered that Zappa would be proud of the movie.

Buy it! Heaven (2002)
English, French, Italian interposed in this dark movie of unintended consquences, regret, redemption, love etc. with Cate Blanchett and Giovani Ribisi. Intriguing, moderately recommended.
Buy it! I Capture the Castle (2003)
Very British movie about 2 poor sisters in a quirky family in love with 2 rich brothers in a very proper family. Entertaining, not highly recommended.
Nixon Whale Rider (2002)
New Zealander movie about a young Maori girl coming of age in a patriachal, male dominated society. Also worth a watch, not a classic or anything.
Buy it! Wings of Desire (1987)
Now this is a true German art film. No real plot, but plenty of style, symbolism and atmosphere. Very linear, with lots of geometric visuals and linear design (as in the art-deco library). Lots of philosophical discussion and metaphysical pondering. Honestly, it was a bit artsy fartsy for my taste but the cinematography was interesting and it has a great look. Not something I'll watch all the time. German with subtitles and no English dub.
Buy it! The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
Allegorical tale about a loutish thief, his wife, etc. Supposed to represent Britain under Thatcher and the impotence of the intellectual elite to depose her, but it looks great, very stylish and great visuals, Helen Mirren looks fantastic in her 40's doing full frontal sex scenes, monster sick ending plus it has Tim Roth smearing dog shit on a naked guy. Party!
Buy it! Sonny Chiba - Greatest Hits
- Street Fighter, The ( Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken )
- Bodyguard, The ( Karate Kiba ) (1976)
- Return of the Street Fighter ( Satsujin ken 2 ) (1974)
- Legend of the Eight Samurai ( Satomi hakken-den ) (1983)
I never would have bought these but they were at the used DVD dump for $4 the set, 4 movies, how can you go wrong, right right? They are actually well done and very entertaining and not 100% all kung fu, although that does dominate of course. They are entertaining, funny, and well acted movies with good production values. All 4 were made in the mid-80's and stand up as well or better than any American big budget action films of the time, although there are very few special effects. Sonny Chiba is the fucking man. No need to synopsize these, the titles say all you need to know about each one. If you can get them cheap, I highly recommend these.
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