Jun 23, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

One of the most acclaimed and innovative documentaries of 2008 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir is an animated documentary about his experiences as an Israeli veteran in the First Lebanon War. More

Dodes’ka-den DVD

Studio: The Criterion Collection

Jun 23, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Akira Kurosawa is probably the best known and most well loved director from Japan. He worked consistently from 1943’s Sanshiro Sugata to 1965’s Red Beard, making nearly two dozen films in that period; all in black and white and mostly shot in scope. At that point in his career, Kurosawa was ready for a change and decided to come to America and make his first film in color with an American cast. He wrote the script for Runaway Train and began pre-production. The American money men, however, didn’t see eye to eye with his budget predictions, and didn’t understand why the film needed to be in color, so the project was scrapped. (In 1985, a film based on the screenplay was made by Andrei Konchalovsky starring Jon Voight). This brought Kurosawa to another American co-production, also a chance to work with color film.  He was hired to direct the Japanese portions of Tora! Tora! Tora!, a big budget WWII epic from the point of view of American and Japanese soldiers. Kurosawa worked for two years building sets, writing, and shooting sequences before he was fired due to being behind schedule and a feeling from the American producers that he was difficult. 

     All of these circumstances led to Kurosawa’s 1970 film Dodes’ka-den.
More

Crescendo DVD

Studio: Warner Archive

Jun 23, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Generally, film studios have never accumulated a rabid fan base in the way actors or directors do, except perhaps for Hammer Films. This British company, primarily known for their gothic horror films produced from the late 1950s to the mid-70s, had a period of almost 35 years without a theatrical release, but they still have books and magazines being published about their output. Hammer also produced pirate films, comedies, actioners, and what they liked to call “mini-Hitchcocks.—essentially these were non-supernatural horror thrillers with twist endings in the vein of Psycho.

Crescendo, just recently released from the Warner Archive Collection, would fall into this latter category. More

Valkyrie Blu-ray/DVD

Studio: United Artists

Jun 23, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

After ruining the return of Superman in Superman Returns, Bryan Singer attempts to do the same with Tom Cruise’s career with Valkyrie. The (kinda) based-on-a-true-story tale focuses on German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (played by Cruise sans German accent, thankfully), who masterminds a plot to kill Adolf Hitler with the aid of fellow officers played by a rogues’ gallery of cool character actors such as Terence Stamp, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, and Eddy Izzard. Too bad they’re sandwiched inside this inert and dramatically flat movie. More

Barney Hoskyns

Lowside of the Road

Published by Broadway

Jun 22, 2009 Books Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For Lashes

In what may be one of the most thoughtfully written and insightful accounts on the life of Tom Waits, Lowside of the Road meticulously explores one of America's most phenomenal music icons. Throughout the book, we learn how Waits shaped and evolved his singular persona as well as what artistic influences and colorful personalities surrounded him in key moments of his incredibly prolific career. More

Flower PlayStation 3

SCEA/That Game Company

Jun 22, 2009 Video Games Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For Lashes

What do most games have in common? I'd say about 90% of games feature violence or shooting and about 99% include bad dialogue. If you'd like something quite different,Flower will spread a little peace and love through your PS3. More

Jun 22, 2009 Music Issue #26 Spring 2009 - Bat For Lashes

Black Moth Super Rainbow's singular sounds invite all kinds of paradoxical "-isms:" techno-primitivism, retro-futurism. They make the sonic equivalent of a granny quilt sewn together with microchips-a creepy, musty sound that pairs junky old electronics with an acoustic but heavily effected rhythm section, somewhere in the realm of contemporaries Air or Octopus Project (with whom they did a fantastic collaboration a few years back). More

Jun 22, 2009 TV Web Exclusive

It makes total sense for Buena Vista to release the first two seasons of Lost to coincide with Father’s Day. Though the show begins with a plane crash on a tropical island with many mysteries, its themes often delve into the chaos, dysfunction, and sometimes horrible personal choices made as a result of daddy issues. From Jack to John Locke to Kate to Penny to Sun, few major characters are immune to this trope; Lost creator J.J. Abrams, who directed the excellent Lost pilot, brought similar themes over from Felicity and Alias and even into his feature version of Star Trek. More

Jun 18, 2009 Music Web Exclusive

Pearl Jam’s debut, 1991’s Ten, stands today as one of the quintessential albums to define a generation and an era of music. Along with Nirvana’s Nevermind, it is one of the cornerstones of grunge and still packs as much pent-up energy and frustrated force as it did when it was first released. This new reissue comes in three different formats, each with different bonus features. More