What Am I Going to do with My Jodorowsky Boxset? [New Blu-ray Transfers]

Exciting news from the Blu-ray front. We’re all going to be able to see the amazingness that is a couple of midgets washing Jesus’ asshole in glorious high definition.

That’s right. Jodorowsky’s cult classics, El Topo and The Holy Mountain have been announced with all-new, director supervised, HD transfers. Blu-ray.com is reporting that the discs will be available on April 26th.

The only problem I can see is that there was no word about his other two films in the iconic boxset (Fando y Lis – which is actually my favorite – and La Cravate) getting any sort of Blu-ray re-release. Still, looking ahead towards April, along with some very interesting Criterion rumors, things are definitely promising.

Cut and paste job from Blu-ray.com…

EL TOPO specs:
El Topo, first released theatrically in 1969, made Jodorowsky a household name with the counterculture crowd of the early 1970s. El Topo provided the template for “Midnight Movie Madness,” screening seven nights a week at midnight for seven straight months at the infamous Elgin Cinema in New York. Paradoxically, the film was thoroughly panned by the film critic of the New York Times but it was then lauded by the paper’s art critic who called it “a monumental work of filmic art.” To say that El Topo became a “cult classic” is something of an understatement in light of its surprisingly broad acceptance fueled, in part, by ringing endorsements from John Lennon and Yoko Ono that made it a commercial success in its own time.The film conflates classic American western and avant-garde European sensibilities with Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and mystic El Topo (played by writer/director Jodorowsky) attempts to defeat four sharp-shooting rivals on a bizarre path to allegorical self-awareness and resurrection.

Special features include:

  • Feature commentary by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • On-camera interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Photo gallery
  • Original script excerpts
  • Original theatrical trailer

 
 

THE HOLY MOUNTAIN specs:
The Holy Mountain was Jodorowsky’s high budget follow-up to the worldwide success of El Topo, and took his psychedelic allegorical mastery to another level. He prepared for making the film by undergoing a psycho-spiritual boot camp, training in the spiritual arts and rituals that included a week of sleep deprivation under the supervision of a Zen master and LSD trips shepherded by a guru. Prior to shooting the film, the crew lived in isolation under Jodorowsky’s direction for a month. Visually and viscerally, the film is a masterwork that benefitted greatly from a labor intensive 2K scan restoration, which greatly enhanced The Holy Mountain’s color palate from its initial release.

When it was screened at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, riots broke out in response to Jodorowsky’s flood of sacrilegious imagery and existential symbolism. The Holy Mountain chronicles a quest for enlightenment, pitting illusion against the truth as The Alchemist, played by the director, assembles a group of people from all walks of life to represent the planets in the solar system. Strange and provocative mystical rites to divest them of their worldly baggage ensue as they ascend the Holy Mountain to displace the immortal gods who secretly rule the universe.

The Holy Mountain will be on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 Annex in Long Island City, New York beginning May 22, 2011. It will simultaneously be shown on multiple screens of varying shapes and sizes throughout the exhibition’s run with visiting artists and filmmakers offering lectures and master classes on Jodorowsky and his cultural impact. The Chilean-born, Paris-based Jodorowsky will be in attendance at the exhibition’s opening.

Special features include:

  • Feature commentary by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Deleted scenes with commentary by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • The Holy Mountain restoration process
  • Photo gallery
  • Original script excerpts
  • Original theatrical trailer

 

Michael Bay is insightful

While speaking to Empire Magazine, Michael Bay said the following of his film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:

“We made some mistakes. The real fault with [Transformers 2] is that it ran into a mystical world. When I look back at it, that was crap. The writers’ strike was coming hard and fast. It was just terrible to do a movie where you’ve got to have a story in three weeks. I was prepping a movie for months where I only had 14 pages of some idea of what the movie was. It’s a BS way to make a movie, do you know what I’m saying?”

When he says “the real fault” in that second sentence, I can only assume he meant “one of the many, many, MANY real faults”. Transformers 2 might honestly be one of the most god awful steaming piles ever made. I look back on my excitement for the movie – based on the admittedly excellent trailer – will shame and a tinge of self loathing.

Speaking of excellent trailers, did you see the Superbowl spots for Transformers 3? That thing looks awesome! I guess Bay’s learnt his lesson, right guys?

Guys?

Would you like to know more…?

Quentin Tarantino to write & direct a Spaghetti Western?

Following several unconfirmed reports, Quentin Tarantino announced this week at The Weinstein Company’s Oscar afterparty that his next directorial effort will be a Western that reunites him with the breakout star of Inglourious Basterds, Academy Award winning Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. Tarantino told reporters from Deadline New York that the script was completed and will be delivered to the Weinsteins within the next two months, and that the movie could start shooting before the year is out.

Although this genre is ostensibly something new for the director, both Kill Bill: Volume 2 and Inglourious Basterds were clearly influenced by the Westerns of Sergio Leone and John Ford, amongst others. Tarantino is a director who loves to pay homage to (or as some would put it, blatantly steal from) other filmmakers; Italian actor Franco Nero, who claims to be attached to the film, told reporters that the movie would be called The Angel, The Bad and The Wise as a tribute to Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, although this title has (thankfully) been debunked.

Of course Tarantino is also notorious for talking up future projects that never come to fruition (movies supposedly in the works include a Kill Bill sequel, Resevoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction spinoff, a 30’s gangster movie and a KKK revenge film). But if the script really is completed, then perhaps we actually will get to see the directors attempt at a full blown Spaghetti Western; the combined version of Kill Bill, entitled Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair is also getting a US theatrical release at the end of the month after being talked about for years: perhaps Tarantino is turning over a new leaf, where he actually follows through on half the things he says?

The other question is, naturally: how excited are you for this film? As I said earlier, Tarantino has already made several films with Western elements; are you glad he’s finally dropping all pretenses, or would you rather he tackled one of his many other projects? Personally, while I might be more intrigued by, say, the 30’s gangster film he spoke about, pretty much any forward moving Tarantino news is enough to get me very, very excited.

Silly, Subversive and Shutting Up Crime…It’s the trailer for James Gunn’s SUPER

 
 

This is the naughtier, crasser, grittier version of Kick-Ass that isn’t afraid to bring a bit of batshit craziness to the mix along with a lot of pencil-crayon goofiness. You like Hit Girl? Wait until you get a load of Ms. Ellen Page playing wide against type. Super premiered at TIFF last year (My Review) to a decidedly mixed reaction. But for me, it was bliss. Sweet WTF bliss.

When sad sack Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson) sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler) willingly snatched by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself unable to cope. But when the finger of God blesses his brain (don’t ask), D’Arbo decides to fight back under the guise of a DIY superhero called Crimson Bolt. In order to get his wife back, he must first fight his way up the criminal ranks, and he begins by taking a monkey wrench to the foreheads of a couple who cut in line at the movies. As Crimson Bolt begins to make the headlines, a young woman from the local comic book store (Ellen Page) joins in on the fun as his sexually charged sidekick, Boltie.

The trailer is tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

Hanna and her Chemical Brothers

 
 

This appears to be a chocolate and peanut butter situation, the young-super-soldier thriller meets the agressive rhythms of the Chemical Brothers. After the wonderful Tron soundtrack and the Oscar win for Trent Reznor, it seems to be a new mecca for electronic music stars to ply their trade. I demand a Dr. Who feature with that great Orbital track in the opening credits.

Until then, here is the ear-catching lead track of the Hanna soundtrack (featured in the trailer), Container Park, is available below. The full soundtrack will be available on March 15, a few weeks ahead of the release of the film.

Container Park by The Chemical Brothers by Hannamovie

HBO’s Game of Thrones gets a full trailer.

Oh good lordy – I try to restrain myself from making excessive claims in haste, but after seeing the full trailer for the upcoming HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (retitled for television as Game of Thrones, after the first novel in the series), I am thinking that this could very well be the most epic fantasy television event in the history of epic fantasy television events. Granted, not that it is difficult to top, as the epic fantasy realm in television has mostly been comprised of poorly produced and acted shows such as Xena and Hercules – but take a look at this trailer and tell me that you are not a believer.

It comes from some seriously strong source material, of course. I’m an unabashed snob when it comes to literature and while it took quite a bit of convincing by a good friend of mine before I read Martin’s books, I was hooked from the very first page. Here’s HBO’s official description via Martin’s blog:

Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, the fantasy series GAME OF THRONES chronicles an epic struggle for power set in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom. The ensemble cast includes Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey, Kit Harington and Aidan Gillen. The show was shot at the Paint Hall Studio in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as at various locations in Northern Ireland and Malta.

Just check out the trailer and see what you think. If nothing else convinces you, the fact that Peter Dinklage (my tribute) is in a supporting role should!

You can check out the first episode Sunday, April 17 on HBO.

Friday One Sheet: Source Code

 
 

Whether the film itself falls on the side of hollywood excess, or in the case of Duncan Jones’ first feature, Moon, restrained class, I simply have to say that this is a handsome One-Sheet. Check out the details here in something so minimal: The 8 on the clock is also ‘broken-infinity’ (loops of time), the clock is actually railway tracks (a train features heavily in the film), the shadows are cast in two directions and form hands on the clock. Nice.

They’ve got my money at the cinema for this one.

(Thanks to Mondo and artist Ollie Moss for this.)

Defending the Indefensible *TONIGHT* at Toronto Underground Cinema

Listen up Toronto! The fine folks who run Toronto’s newest repertory house, The Toronto Underground Cinema are kicking off a new series today called Defending The Indefensible. The basic premise is to bring in film writers, critics, bloggers and have them screen and defend a film that was roundly dismissed upon its commercial release. It may be on its way to a cult following or it simply may have been completely misunderstood upon the first critical pass. Consider it the hands-on version of Nathin Rabin’s My Year of Flops series over at the Onion A.V. Club. Their kick-off event is tonite at 7pm with Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection, to be followed immediately by Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered. These two films are of course highly relevant to our own Movie Club Podcast where we covered similar ground (Alien Quadrilogy Show, Freddy Got Fingered Show) but it is even more fun to do this live with an audience.

The series continues throughout the year on one Friday each month with titles such as Speed Racer, Observe & Report, and MacGruber amoungst others. (Full disclosure, the organizers were gracious enough to contact me for one of the nights, and I suggested a Richard Kelly Double Bill: Southland Tales and Domino, but alas, print availability in Canada has hampered that at this point.)

Complete Details and Schedule are tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?