Each week in the buyer's guide I'll be suggesting a few new Blu Ray and DVD releases that movie fans should give serious consideration to purchasing. At the bottom of the post you find links where you can buy the films from Amazon, so if you DO wish to buy a film I've recommended, please do it through that link, it won't cost you anything, but you'll get the film AND get to help out 24FPS at the same time. Cheers.
These are UK releases, out next Monday, April 16th
The long delayed sequel to the film that really cemented Jackie Chan as a big star in martial arts cinema (following the success of his previous collaboration with director Yuen Woo-ping; Snake in the Eagle's Shadow), The Legend of Drunken Master had a great deal to live up to on its 1994 release. It seems to have had a difficult birth: Jackie and director Lau Kar-leung disagreed on the direction of the film, leading to Jackie taking (uncredited) responsibility for much of what ended up on screen. However, this difficult shoot is not reflected in the final product, which is a relentlessly entertaining kung-fu comedy, with Jackie clowning and fighting as brilliantly as he had sixteen years previously.
Particular highlights are the early scene in which Wong Fei-hung's Mother (played by Anita Mui) throws him bottles of wine during a fight, so he can get drunk and best his opponents, and the epic fight at the end of the film between Jackie and Ken Lo (his bodyguard at the time) which took FOUR MONTHS to shoot. I'm really looking forward to revisiting this on Blu Ray, though it's far from my favourite Jackie Chan film, any martial arts fan needs to own this.
This delicious little romantic comedy (and by God do I hate myself for word usage that obvious) was one of the great surprises of last year for me, ending up just outside my Top 10. Isabelle Carre and Benoit Poelvoorde play two people who are afraid of social situations, and when Carre begins working at his struggling chocolate factory, Poelvoorde's therapist suggests that he ask her on a date.
It's a romantic comedy in the truest sense, because the romance is engaging - both characters are likeable and genuine, and as they struggle to get together we can see how right they are as a pair - and the jokes are often very, very funny. Poelvoorde and Carre, neither renowned as comedians, both play farce beautifully, especially in the hilarious first date scene, but their dramatic grounding gives romance some unexpected weight (look at Carre's face when Poelvoorde gets up and sings to her, largely so he can avoid talking). It's lovely looking, recalling Umbrellas of Cherbourg at times, and has visual wit as well as great written jokes (the final shot is just great). Even if - especially if - like me you've been disappointed in the genre of late, give this romantic comedy a try.