Apr 17, 2012

Buyers Guide: 23/4/12

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 23rd

 Arrow Video Horror, Sex and Violence Collection
[10 Disc Set, Amazon Exclusive]
If you are a horror fan you probably already know and love Arrow Video's lovingly curated line of DVDs and Blu Rays.  This Amazon exclusive package is absolutely perfect if you're just getting into the Blu Ray format.  For £9 each you'll get 10 of Arrow's Blu Ray releases, with all the usual goodies: fantastic artwork, plentiful and in depth extras and transfers that reveal loads of detail while preserving the original look of each film.

The film selection is perhaps not definitive (no Dawn of the Dead?) but with five Argento films including the awesome Tenebrae and two of Lucio Fulci's classic zombie trilogy, including his hallucinatory masterpiece The Beyond included it is a great instant HD library for the strong stomached horror lover.  There is also an 18 title DVD package available, but the titles in that are not the total essentials that these are.

One of Alfred Hitchcock's more underrated films, Lifeboat gets its first Blu Ray release courtesy of Eureka's always interesting Masters of Cinema imprint. We spoke about one location films on The Picture Show a couple of weeks back, and for me this is a stronger example than Hitchcock's Rope.

In typical Hitchcock fashion the story is a tense one, as survivors from a torpedoed ship end up in the same lifeboat as one the men who sunk them. The performances are the focus, and all of them are excellent, while Hitchcock manages to make what could be an inert film visually interesting. There are also a lot of great stories from beehind the scenes on this film, as star Tallulah Bankhead was just as colourful a character as Hitchcock himself. Typically for Masters of Cinema the transfer looks to be stunning, and there is a strong selection of extras including two Hitchcock directed wartime shorts. Lifeboat is a dual format release, and is also available in a steelbook edition.

Danny and Oxide Pang's film has had a long trip to a UK release, it was made in 2006, prior to their US outings Messengers and Bangkok Dangerous, and I struggle to see why it has been delayed for so long because this is an often dazzling inventive film filled with surreal imagery with which the Pang brothers draw from both traditional Asian horror films and from western filmmakers like Guillermo Del Toro.

Oxxide Pang's wife Angelica Lee Sin-jie (also the star of The Eye) stars as a writer working on a horror novel who believes that she sees one of her characters in her apartment as she is writing. She follows him, and is thrown into his nightmarish world. Re-Cycle doesn't always make sense, but there are moments that are intensely creepy and others that are truly stunning to look at, and even if it doen't always articulate them perfectly it is a film with, a film of, ideas. It's well worth seeking out.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey
Thanks to his fantastic contributions to the Moviedrome series, and Scene By Scene interviews with directors and actors, Mark Cousins was one of the first people who ever made me consider film on a level deeper than 'that was cool' or 'that was rubbish', so it's a real treat to find that he's now made a 15 hour series on the history of cinema.

It's typically esoteric, as Cousins free-associates his way through countries, styles, movements and ideas in cinema, all the while throwing up beautiful images of his own, fascinating interviews with filmmakers and beautifully chosen clips which make this a series to watch with a notepad on your knee, writing down all the films you're going to want to track down and watch. It's a fascinating series which manages to be both intensely personal and accessible.

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