Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This Just In: DVD Releases

Chased (Perseguido), 1993, Mexico
After witnessing a murder, a teenage skateboarder becomes the target of a merciless gang. The thugs chase the boy all over town in an attempt to silence him forever, but somehow he keeps dodging their increasingly ridiculous schemes. Starring Roberto Trujillo, Nelly Godoy and Hernán Casariego, Leopoldo Laborde's comedy gives a nod to filmmaker Juan Orol (the Ed Wood of Mexican film).

A Good Death Beats a Dull Life (Hijas de Su Madre: Las Buenrostro), 2005, directed by Busi Cortés, Mexico
In the Buenenrostros family, the women are in charge. Facing life in their Mexico City apartment complex with romance and laughter, along with a little death, they interrupt their clandestine business deals only for the occasional love triangle. It's a good thing the neighbors are on their side. Pilar Ixquic Mata, Lumi Cavazos, Marta Zamora and Jesús Ochoa star in this wickedly dark comedy from director Busi Cortés.

A Dedicated Life (Zenshin Shosetsuka), 1994, directed by Kazou Hara, Japan
Venerated filmmaker Kazou Hara trains his lens on author Mitsuharu Inoue -- whose sociopolitical novel Chi No Mure earned high praise from literary critics -- in this compelling documentary filmed as he copes with terminal cancer. From Inoue's communist beliefs to his controversial works, Hara paints a double-edged portrait of a maverick writer admired by students and peers -- who was also a brazen liar and shameless skirt chaser.

Child Murders (Gyerekgyilkosságok), 1993, Hungary
Set in Budapest, this drama reveals the emotional and physical abuse endured by children including motherless Zsolt (Barnabás Tóth), who is the sole caretaker of his ill grandmother. For better and worse, Zsolt's entire world changes when he helps a gypsy woman. Co-starring Mari Balogh, Ildikó Szabó's stark black-and-white drama earned the Fipresci Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.

Frankenstein Conquers the World (Frankenstein vs. Baragon), 1965, directed by Ishirô Honda, Japan
Wrongly accused of destroying the countryside, a 20-foot-tall mutant dukes it out with the true culprit -- the giant reptile Baragon -- in this classic 1964 Japanese monster movie from Ishirô Honda, director of the original Godzilla. When Frankenstein's heart gets a dose of radiation from the Hiroshima bomb, the organ grows into a giant monster-boy destined to battle nasty Baragon.

The Law and the Fist (Prawo I Piesc), 1964, directed by Jerzy Hoffman, German
At the end of World War II, a group of Poles move to what was once German-occupied territory and must defend their rights and property from opportunistic villains disguised as officials in this modern drama with a classic Western story line. In the end, a lone hero steps up to run the bad guys out of town and save the day. Filmmaker Jerzy Hoffman's drama stars Gustaw Holoubek, Wieslaw Golas and Zofia Mrozowska.