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SFRevu Media Column- 04/2006  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we appreciate media kits, preview invitations and preview DVDs. All dramatic presentations received will be listed in this column. Send Materials and Invitations to: Gayle Surrette c/o SFRevu 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613 Email should be sent to: media (at)

Howl's Moving Castle (2004) by Hayao Miyazaki (Dir.) (Disney/Pixar March 7, 2006 / ) - Again, for unknown reasons, Disney is trying to fly an instant classic from the foreign market under the radar. While they've done a pretty good job with Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's back catalog on American DVD, his latest, Howl’s Moving Castle – a huge hit worldwide – only earned a limited theatrical release here, which was a drastic error in judgment to begin with, and now it's coming out so quietly on home video, you might completely miss it. This, despite the amazing roster of voice talents they assembled for the English version – apparently, at Disney, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. (If the Disney studio were driving a car, it would probably be the kind of driver who accelerates toward yellow lights, and then violently brakes at the last second.) (see review)

Marebito by Takashi Shimizu (Dir.) (Tartan Video 14 March, 2006 / $24.99) - Shinya Tsukamoto, best known to American audiences for writing and directing the underground classic Tetsuo the Iron Man, plays a nihilistic freelance videographer who accidentally captures a suicide on camera. Watching the footage repeatedly, he becomes obsessed with the terrified expression worn by the victim in the moment of death; this triggers a visionary experience, which then, depending on your interpretation, either sets off a series of elaborate hallucinations, or leads the protagonist on a dreamlike journey into an underground world. (see review)

Natural City by Byung-chun Min (Dir.) (Tartan Video 18 April, 2006 / $24.99) - This Korean arthouse cyberpunk chamber epic may not be perfect, but here, among science fiction fans, it's cause for mild celebration: this is the first intellectual, "grownup" SF movie I've seen all year. (see review)

Ultraviolet by Kurt Wimmer (wr/dir) (Screen Gems/Sony / ) - Eagerly awaited in some quarters, this is writer/director Kurt Wimmer's follow-up to his 2002 cult hit Equilibrium. His fans should be satisfied: this, too, is a hyper-kinetic action picture, with a dark tone and a straight face, staged against a slapdash anti-utopian backdrop, with a thin veneer of disorganized smart science fiction slathered over the top. (see review)

V for Vendetta by John McTeigue (dir)/The Wachowski Bros (wr) (Warner Brothers / ) - Though V for Vendetta is based on a comic book published twenty years ago, and though it's a British story that takes place in an English future, its grip on our contemporary American political discourse is so firm and thorough that you'd think it was developed and written in a rush, from scratch, last weekend.

[For another opinion of this film see Drew Bittner's review in last month's issue.] (see review)

Zu Warrior (Shu shan Zheng Zhuan) by Hark Tsui (Dir.) (Miramax March 7, 2006 / ) - As Evil Dead 2 is the final zombie movie, as Touch of Evil is the ultimate film noir, so Zu Warriors is the last swordplay fantasy; though future filmmakers will find new ways to handle such material (and already have), after this point, it's all recycling. A passionate, hyperactive send-up of and send-off to the genre, Zu Warriors takes all its familiar elements and themes to their wildest possible extremes, dizzily displays its definitive familiarity with them, and leaves them so thoroughly exploded, that they'll never work the same way again. (see review)

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