November 30, 2004

Pick of the Week: Hero

This weeks pick was easy. The film that all of you deserve to see is Hero. This film is, simply put, amazing. One thing to remember, although it was in theaters for a while this past summer, and it is being pushed on television for it's DVD release, it was actually made two years ago and had been nominated for an Oscar two years ago (Best Foreign Language Film). Miramax bought the rights to this film and proceeded to sit on them, as they have done for a number of other Asian films (such as Shaolin Soccer from earlier this year).

It took a long time to get this to US theaters. Apparently, Miramax wanted to cut 20 minutes out of the film and dub it into English, fortunately Quentin Tarantino stepped in and convinced them to release the film unaltered plus use his name in the promotion of it. The film hit the screens and even was briefly at the top of the box-office.

Anyway, the movie is incredible. It features a great cast featuring Jet Li (Cradle 2 the Grave), Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and Donnie Yen (Shanghai Knights). It tells the tale of a nameless warrior who has defeated three assassins and is relaying the tales to the Emperor of Qin. It sounds simple, but believe me, there is a deeply moving tale to be told. Director Zhang Yimou makes gorgeous work of the color palette, and the score by Tan Dun is spectacular. Don't miss this!

This is a relatively small release week, at least for me. Other notable releases include:
  • Spider-Man 2. This is being released in three separate flavors. The 2 disk special edition, the 1 disk superbit (no extras but possibly superior A/V), and the gift set which has the 2 disk version plus some other pack in goodies. I am leaning towards the 2 disk SE.
  • Daredevil: Director's Cut. Featuring removal of some material from the theatrical version and the addition of over 30 minutes of new footage, I hear we get an entirely different, and better film.
  • Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore 2 pack. Finally, Happy Gilmore in widescreen!
  • Kunoichi: Deadly Mirage. A tale of female samurai's on a suicide mission. This looks pretty good.
  • Tru Calling: The Complete First Season. Sadly, the only season as season 2 was cancelled prior to airing any episodes. Not the best show, but it had an interesting concept which really started gathering steam towards the end.
  • The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen - Legendary Science Fiction Series (It Came from Beneath the Sea / Earth vs. the Flying Saucers / 20 Million Miles to Earth / Mysterious Island / H.G. Wells' First Men in the Moon). A five pack of classic sci-fi films featuring the incredible stop motion work of Ray Harryhausen.


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