Don’t they know MMC! has been retired! Why do they keep pulling me back in! And especially without spinenumbered contribution to their releases!?! Nevertheless, it’s the end of the month and that means new Arrow Video announcements and another case of spine number wish fufillment. This time it’s Toru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy, a trio of films MMC! stumped for way back on October 5, 2015. This looks like a great package and June 2023 can’t arrive fast enough! As always, you’re welcome!
(Also, when did WordPress start installing so many ads? Yikes.)
While MMC! is still officially retired, I just wanted to take a moment to shamelessly take a lap for having called Joseph Losey’s The Servant for a wacky “C” a mere seven years ago! Not much cross-over on the extras though, which is a bit of a loss. Still (and once again, film nerds), you’re welcome!
As an aside, it’s also nice to see potential MMC! proposal candidates Targets (Peter Bogdanovich, 1968) and Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991) each getting wacky “Cs” as well!
Another year and MMC!’s favourite first-time watches list expands yet again, this time recounting our top 25 discoveries! Plenty of Criterion Collection titles find representation, as well as releases by Kino, Disney, Deaf Crocodile, Film Movement, Radiance Films (upcoming), and VCI. Our Noirvember screenings manage to make up a fifth of this list and streaming platforms like the Criterion Channel, Midnight Pulp, and Kanopy (plus some less legitimate options) fill in the rest. And for anyone keeping score, Francesco Rosi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli takes the top spot as MMC!’s favourite first-time watch of 2022, followed by Konrad Wolf’s Goya: Or the Hard Way to Enlightenment!
“Dance Card plays like High Fidelity in glorious French mono as a wealthy widow revisits a list of old suitors nearly twenty years later. In a series of vignettes, Duvivier tours through French cinema, from fated nightclub noirs to bittersweet Catholic piety, from queasy, canted, quayside seediness to Raimu and Pagnol-esque banter. Love French cinema and you’ll find here a full house, ace of diamonds high, loaded with wistful romance, fated tragedy, swooning melancholy, and evocative compositions. A lovely and sad confection.”
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Leadbelly.
In his final theatrical film, celebrated director Gordon Parks cast Roger E. Mosley as the iconic blues and folk singer Huddie Ledbetter, better known to music history as Lead Belly, the King of the 12-String Guitar. Dramatizing the musician’s turbulent life from his early 20s to his mid-40s, Leadbelly follows Huddie as he performs at bars and sukey jumps, learns the blues from “Blind Lemon” Jefferson, faces violent racism and its deadly consequences, and twice finds himself incarcerated, labouring on back-breaking chain gangs and performing at the behest of white authorities. Combining pastoral simplicity with the resilient and rebellious spirit of the 1970s, all to the sounds of Lead Belly’s iconic songs, Leadbelly offers a vibrant and harrowing portrait of the segregated Jim Crow South and stood as the film Parks most admired amongst his own filmography.
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with filmmaker Spike Lee and music historians Kip Lornell and Charles Wolfe
Although it is entirely by accident, 1961 is exceptionally well represented among these last ten films I’ve watched. Hailed as arguably the greatest Korean film ever made, Aimless Bullet is a stylishly shot drama that remarkably recalls the stripped down aesthetics and emotional intensity of Italian neorealism, then cranks its despairing bleakness up even farther. Criterion release Blast of Silence is a yuletide city symphony posing as a low-rent, noirish hit job dressed up in some exceptionally cynical, hardboiled narration, and it’s cheaply wonderful. Quentin Lawrence’s Hammer Films heist flick sees Peter Cushing play a bank manager who is visited by one bank-robber whose meticulously planned heist inspires a Scrooge-like challenge to Cushing’s miserly, tight-assed personality. Certainly the latter two films are perfect for anyone interested in an alternative Christmas canon for this season’s screenings.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989)
Leonor Will Never Die (Martika Ramirez Escobar, 2022)
Aimless Bullet (Yu Hyun-mok, 1961)
Also, in case you weren’t already aware and reading this list hasn’t tipped you off, the holiday season is upon us. This December seems to putting some unforeseen emphasis on Jim Henson and the Muppets and while you can’t go wrong with The Muppet Christmas Carol, MMC! has to step outside these last ten screenings to recommend Eric Till and Peter Harris’ A Muppet Family Christmas (1987), an ABC TV special which boasts appearances by characters from the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even the Muppet Babies!
When Jared Auner of Mondo Macabro posts about a new label devoted to Asian Cult cinema, MMC! takes gleeful notice!
With the announcement below, Auner and his partners Jesse Nelson and Brian Izzi of Cauldron Films launch Neon Eagle Video, a new home video boutique imprint dedicated to Asian cult cinema, and reveal their first release, the Taiwanese revenge-fest Kill Butterfly Kill. This inaugural edition will offer multiple cuts of the film and promises a stacked, double-Blu-ray, limited edition release. Needless to say, MMC! is intrigued by Kill Butterfly Kill’s cartoonish violence and its Pinky Violence meets Turksploitation sensibility (not to mention that cover image which appears to include appropriated Kamen Rider V3 masks!). NEV promises future releases including a title from Japan – just take MMC!’s money already!
NEW ASIAN-FOCUSED LABEL ‘NEON EAGLE VIDEO‘ MAKES DEBUT WITH DELUXE BLU-RAY EDITION OF THE TAIWANESE EXPLOITATION MOVIE ‘KILL BUTTERFLY KILL’
Cauldron Films’ Jesse Nelson and Brian Izzi, in collaboration with Mondo Macabro’s Jared Auner are proud to announce the formation of a new home video boutique imprint, Neon Eagle Video (NEV),that will focus on the trashier side of Asian cinema, highlighting exploitation, action, horror, and other ‘cult’ films that have been neglected in the High Definition era.
Each disc will be lovingly curated and produced by Jared Auner, with restoration, authoring, manufacturing, and distribution handled by Cauldron Films. Each release will be sold through the Cauldron Films site and DiabolikDVD.com.