Two Kurosawas and a Grudge

Because I am once again “between positions” and have time on my hands, I’ve spent most of the past few days dreaming of Cannes.

It’s fun to imagine sprinting from screening to screening in the sand and sun until all the movies bleed into one, though the more likely scenario would feature me with some low-level badge waiting endlessly to see one crappy movie after another and slowly starving to death because of a lack of funds.

Cannes is an industry event and I have yet to achieve any kind of stable position in the industry or to convince anyone to sponsor me. So, since it’s “DVD Release Day Tuesday,” I reluctantly drag my attention back to the more mundane matter of current releases.

And the news is good, because Home Vision makes available two more from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, joining their previous release of the director’s CURE.

Charisma - Image courtesy of Home VisionCHARISMA (1999) is described thusly: “Part eco-thriller, part existentialist fable, CHARISMA exposes a sinister natural world beyond any environmentalist’s dreams. . . . A disgraced detective . . . flees Tokyo following a hostage disaster. Seeking solitude in the depths of a remote forest, he is confronted by a gnarled, sinister tree that evokes both wonder and fear in its human visitors. Torn between the forces seeking to protect the tree and those intent upon its destruction, Yakusho begins to lose his grip on reality.”

Additional features include an interview with the director, a “making of” documentary, and an essay by Tom Mes of

Seance - Image courtesy of Home VisionSEANCE (2000) is based on a novel about a sound effects engineer living with his psychic wife: “When the couple suddenly find themselves ensnared in a young girl’s kidnapping, they devise a solution that soon goes terribly awry. A moody, atmospheric shocker from one of the most exciting directors working today.” And, speaking of Cannes, SEANCE won the Fipresci (Critics) Prize when it played in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.

Additional features include an interview with the director and liner notes.

The Grudge - Image courtesy of Columbia/Tri-StarRounding out a trio of Japanese-directed releases, Columbia/Tri-Star have gone the double-dip route with an “unrated extended director’s cut” of Takashi Shimizu’s THE GRUDGE. The flick made a bunch of money for the studio last fall and the theatrical version was released on R1 DVD just three months ago, but, hey, the original GRUDGE had a gazillion parts to it in its original Japanese incarnation, so why not a couple more?

DVD Talk has an advance look. The reviewer (Bill Gibron) is not too impressed with the film to begin with, saying that it ‘pales in comparison’ to the Japanese original, and doesn’t feel the additional footage makes much difference. However, he does go to the trouble of detailing and comparing all the extras, which should be very helpful in deciding if you want to check this out.

(One minor note of off-topic correction: Gibron claims that THE RING 2 “arrived DOA.” While that may be true from an artistic standpoint, the film has made more than $154 million worldwide, according to Movie City News.)

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