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Limping through the weekend

Most of the major film blogs (understandably) don’t write on weekends, but I figured I should capture that niche of weekend blog writing, so here I am.

- Mostly reviews today.

The long-delayed Korean “blockbuster” D-War by Derek Elley, who describes the film as “the most expensive cult movie on DVD.”

Park Chan-Wook’s “I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK,” which I don’t care what anyone says, I’m looking forward to it immensely.

Yoji Yamada’s third film in the “Samurai Trilogy,” “Bushi no Ichibun” (or known internationally as “Love and Honor.”), which I look forward to reluctance because I’m not much for quiet samurai films, but I liked “The Hidden Blade,” so there.

This issue of Entertainment Weekly also provided a review of the Infernal Affairs trilogy (which is finally seeing its region-1 release thanks to the release of “The Departed.” It’s not on the EW website yet, so here are some quotes:

“(The two follow-ups) were produced and released within nine months of the original, with equally convoluted plotting - so whatever they’re putting in the coffee, can we import some? The first Infernal plays like The Departed on fast-forward; you get dozens of scenes nearly identitcal to Scorsese’s…Affairs 2 is a decent prequel (just decent?) that downplays its dueling moles while filling in an epic mod-war backstory. The more intimate finale…prepare to be baffled about why key players get whacked, and whether to cheer or cry.”

Infernal Affairs gets an A-, 2 gets a B, and 3 gets a B-. Personally, I would’ve given 1 a B/B+(I can’t stand MTV-style overdirecting, and the contrived female character in Sammi Cheng), 2 an A, and 3 an agreeable B-, but I don’t write for EW, so there.

I saw Pan’s Labyrinth yesterday. It’s a harrowing fantasy mixed with a brutal (and I mean BRUTAL) war drama. It’s hard to decide what to think of it; it is a towering achievement for Guillermo del Toro, as this is now my favorite film of his (but I’ve only seen Mimic, Blade 2, and Hellboy, and wasn’t terribly impressed by any of those), and the fantasy stuff is great. But the intense violence will literally scar people for life (I rarely resort to closing my eyes in the theatre, but that’s what I did at one point), and the tragic conclusion perhaps takes things a little too far. Nevertheless, it’s an involving and beautifully realized piece of filmmaking.

- Some trailers: One for Julie Taymor(who directed the awesome Titus)’s new musical Across The Universe (one of the more overlooked Beatles song that I know), a teaser for Ocean’s 13, which I think a lot of people have seen by now, and one for the interesting French comedy The Valet.

These trailers are the high-res versions, if you want to watch them in HD, go to Dave’s Trailer Page for them.

- MonkeyPeaches reports that Jia Jiangke’s film Still Life, which was shot and projected in Hong Kong in digital, was taken out of the Hong Kong Film Award best Asian film race because the award has a rule that stipulates films must be shot in 35mm. According to vice-chairman director Gordon Chan, the rule is to “protect movies” and that they are aware that more and more films are being shot in digital but they are “not ready to include them.” In other words, they’re trying to protect high-budget blockbusters produced by the committee members’ (quite a few of them producers and filmmakers themselves) bosses so they can get their next films funded. I’m not a fan of Jia Zhangke at all, and I don’t mean to be on a personal attack mode, but the man who made this movie shouldn’t talk about protecting movies anyway.

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