The Game Trilogy (Toru Murakawa, 1978-1979)


AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddTôru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy stars Yûsaku Matsuda (Black Rain) in the role that made him the Japanese king of cool.

Matsuda stars as the indomitable hitman Shohei Narumi, a deadly freelance assassin steeped in outsider cool.  In The Most Dangerous Game, Narumi is hired to tip the scales in a murderous corporate rivalry, but is forced to watch his own back while protecting the alluring girlfriend of a gangster.  Narumi is enlisted into a gang conflict and is then betrayed in The Killing Game, endangering not just his life but the lives of his friend and of two beautiful women who know Narumi from a previous hit.  In The Execution Game, Narumi is strong-armed into killing another assassin and becomes embroiled in a complex web of mysterious organizations and hidden identities.

The Game Trilogy features Matsuda’s über-cool persona, typified by his lean frame, stylish clothes, and aggressive indifference and supported by beautiful women, desperate action, and the jazzy score of celebrated composer Yuji Ohno, making these action-thrillers a trifecta in funky, macho resolve.

Special Features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of all 3 films in The Game Trilogy, available in the English speaking world for the first time
  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
  • New English subtitle translation of all 3 films
  • New interviews with director Tôru Murakawa, actor-singer Ichirô Araki, and actresses Kaori Takeda and Yutaka Nakajima
  • Soul Red, Osamu Minorikawa’s 2-hour documentary on Yûsaku Matsuda featuring interviews with Andy Garcia and Tadanobu Asano
  • Original trailers for all 3 films
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes

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The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971)


AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddScream queen, Edwige Fenech (Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), stars in this violent masterpiece as Julie Wardh, a restless ambassador’s wife caught between her jealous ex-lover, her husband, and her current lover, any one of whom could be a mysterious serial killer viciously murdering women and possibly stalking Julie herself.  Written by celebrated screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (All the Colors of the Dark), Sergio Martino’s first giallo film also stars genre regulars George Hilton (The Killer Must Strike Again), Alberto de Mendoza (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail), Conchita Airoldi (Torso), and Ivan Rassimov (Shock).  This stylishly erotic and sleazily surreal thriller features a mesmerizing score by Nora Orlandi and stands as one of the most celebrated giallo films of all time.

Special Features:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Brand new interview with Sergio Martino
  • Dark Fears Behind the Door, interviews with director Sergio Martino, producer Luciano Martino, writer Ernesto Gastaldi, and stars George Hilton and Edwige Fenech
  • Sound Photography, James Gracey on the film’s score and composer Nora Orlandi
  • Footage from the Venice Film Festival screening
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Poster and stills gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork
  • Collector’s booklet featuring an essay by Michael Mackenzie

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HealtH (Robert Altman, 1980)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents HealtH.

criterion logoAfter the success of Nashville, Robert Altman once again tried his hand at political satire, predicting and spoofing the upcoming presidential race between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan by depicting the heated rivalry between candidates for the presidency of a health-food organization.  In a sun-drenched Florida hotel hosting the association’s annual convention, the battle between supporters spreads through Altman’s usually large cast of characters, an all-star ensemble including Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Carol Burnett, Glenda Jackson, Paul Dooley, Henry Gibson, Donald Moffat, Alfre Woodard, and Dick Cavett playing himself.  Mired in two years of delayed releases that effectively ensured that HealtH arrived in limited release to theaters dead on arrival, this wild and wacky parody of the political process exemplifies Altman’s exuberance, his extravagance, and his eccentricity.

Disc Features:

  • New high definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary with co-writer Paul Dooley
  • New interviews with stars Carol Burnett, Dick Cavett, Glenda Jackson, and Alfre Woodard
  • Galleries of rare production and publicity stills
  • Plus: A new essay by film critic Robert Kolker, an excerpt of David Thompson’s interview with Robert Altman, and Vincent Canby’s review from HealtH‘s limited release in New York

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10 on the 10th – September 2015

What lovely days!  Iris charms away its slightness.  Out of Sight remains an underrated ’90s classic.  I Am Chris Farley fawns, 3 Women unnerves, and The Makioka Sisters is better than the Criterion naysayers would have you believe.

  1. Mad Max Fury RoadCalifornia Company Town (Lee Anne Schmitt, 2008)
  2. Out of Sight (Steven Soderbergh, 1998)
  3. Nightmare City (Umberto Lenzi, 1980)
  4. 3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977)
  5. Fabio Montale: Solea (José Pinheiro, 2002)
  6. Tie Me Up! Tie me Down! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1989)
  7. I Am Chris Farley (Brent Hodge and Derik Murray, 2015)
  8. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
  9. Iris (Albert Maysles, 2014)
  10. The Makioka Sisters (Kon Ichikawa, 1983)

Best in class goes to Mad Max: Fury Road which somehow manages to live up to the hype from Cannes.  Improbably spectacular with socially-progressive aims, Miller’s film gets firm traction in the tricky competition of demands that dwell in properly-made genre cinema, then puts the pedal to floor with a mix of adrenaline and high-test gasoline.  It might not be progressively perfect and may not be an acceptable Ph.D. thesis in women’s studies, but it’s at least driving in the correct lane (AND GOES REALLY FAST DOING IT).

A Fugitive from the Past (Tomu Uchida, 1965)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents A Fugitive from the Past.

criterion logoTomu Uchida’s allegorical crime epic stands among the masterworks of Japanese cinema and represents the apex of the director’s prestigious career.  A deadly robbery committed during a massive typhoon and a criminal’s flight from the law culminates with a murder 10 years later and a revived police investigation.  Set in 1947 during Japan’s harsh social conditions and the post-war economic miracle that arrived a decade after, Uchida’s film explores Japan’s traumatic past and the karmic penance that refuses to be denied despite newfound prosperity and good intentions.  Mixing the police procedural subgenre, the fugitive-on-the-run plot, and emotional melodrama with mesmerizing, high-grain cinematography and solarized images, A Fugitive from the Past is Uchida’s tragically noir-infused magnum opus.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New video interview with critic Tadao Sato
  • New video essay by critic Tony Rayns
  • Trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essay by critic Mark Asch

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Film Fest Envy!

MMC! is in full-on fantastic film festival envy mode now.  Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival and London’s Film4 Frightfest are in the books, the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation slate is underway, and announcements are being made everywhere from Fantastic Fest and Mórbido Fest to DEDfest and the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival.  And with plans to attend a festival this fall having fallen through, we’re licking our wounds and dreaming of better days in other cities.

Right now, we’re thinking of Los Angeles, California, and Beyond Fest thanks to this amazing video announcing their initial slate of films and events.  The AssassinYakuza ApocalypseBone TomahawkThe Devils X-rated cut?  Dog Day Afternoon?  And goddamn Men and Chicken? It’s all too much for us to take.  Give us the bat!