Cine Outsider header
front page    disc reviews      film reviews    articles    interviews  
news archive
Older news stories have been archived by year and month, most recent first. They can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
    2019
2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013
2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004
 
Spike Jonze and Akio Jissôji on Arrow Academy Blu-ray in August

17 May 2019

Arrow Academy’s August Blu-ray releases are an astoundingly innovative and legendary cult classic that turned Hollywood upside down and a beautiful box set featuring a stunning and sublime trilogy from a Japanese master. The releases include fascinating behind-the-scenes bonus features, brand new sleeve artwork, and lavish booklets with new insights on the films.

First up in August is Being John Malkovich the Oscar-nominated masterwork that launched the careers of director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman. This unforgettably bizarre comic fantasia, starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and Malkovich himself (who makes his return to the London stage this summer), is as hilarious and innovative now as it was two decades ago, and is presented here in a director-approved transfer and a bumper selection of bonus features, including the full pseudo documentary seen in the film.

June also sees the release of Akio Jissôji: The Buddhist Trilogy, from a director who created a rich and diverse body of work during his five decades in Japan's film and television industries. Three of his New Wave films for the Art Theatre Guild – This Transient Life, Mandara and Poem, forming The Buddhist Trilogy – are collected here. This beautifully presented collection, with limited edition packaging, fully illustrated by maarko phntm, includes a bonus film, alternate cuts of Poem, a lavish, perfect bound collector’s book.

 

Being John Malkovich Blu-ray cover art

Being John Malkovich | Blu-ray | 12 August 2019 | £24.99

Bringing new meaning to the term “identity crisis”, this instant cult comedy classic boldly launched the feature film careers of its director, music video visionary Spike Jonze (nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Director), and its screenwriter, master of existentialist surrealism Charlie Kaufman (also nominated for Best Original Screenplay).

Failed street puppeteer Craig Schwarz (John Cusack) reluctantly gets a day job to financially support his wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) and their ever-expanding menagerie of pets crammed in their small, dimly-lit New York apartment. Working as a file clerk at LesterCorp (hidden away on Floor 7½ of the Mertin-Flemmer Building), and spending most of his time lusting after aloof co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener), one day Craig makes an incredible discovery: a hidden door that leads to a portal inside the mind of legendary actor John Malkovich (John Malkovich), seeing life through his eyes for fifteen minutes before being spat back out on the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig shares his find with Lotte and Maxine, leading to an explosive chain of events that will irrevocably alter the lives of all three… and of course, the unwitting Malkovich.

Jonze and Kaufman’s unforgettably bizarre comic fantasia is as hilarious and innovative now as it was two decades ago, and is presented here in a director-approved transfer with bonus features never released in the UK before.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • Restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, approved by director Spike Jonze
  • High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 5.1 DTS-HD master audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Select scene audio commentary by Jonze’s friend and competitor, the filmmaker Michel Gondry
  • John Malkovich and John Hodgman, a conversation between the film’s star and the actor, writer and humourist
  • Strung Along, a new featurette exploring the marionettes made for the film, featuring newly shot interviews with puppeteer Phillip Huber and puppeteer/designer/fabricators Kamela Portuges and Lee Armstrong
  • The 7½ Floor, the full corporate orientation video seen in the film
  • John Horatio Malkovich: Dance of Despair and Disillusionment, the full pseudo-documentary seen in the film
  • An Interview with Director Spike Jonze, a brief chat with the director filmed under duress by Lance Bangs
  • An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Puppeteering, an archival interview with Phillip Huber filmed on set by Lance Bangs
  • An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Background Driving, an on-set look at filming the New Jersey Turnpike sequence by Lance Bangs
  • Don’t Enter Here, There Is Nothing Here
  • Theatrical trailer and TV spots
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Vero Navarro
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roger Keen and archive publicity materials

 

Akio Kissôji: The Buddhist Trilogy Blu-ray cover art

Akio Jissôji: The Buddhist Trilogy | Blu-ray | 19 August 2019

Akio Jissôji created a rich and diverse body of work during his five decades in Japan's film and television industries. For some, he is best-known for his science-fiction: the 1960s TV series Ultraman and 1988's box-office success Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis. For others, it is his 1990s adaptations of horror and mystery novelist Edogawa Rampo, such as Watcher in the Attic and Murder on D Street. And then there are his New Wave films for the Art Theatre Guild, three of which – This Transient Life, Mandara and Poem, forming The Buddhist Trilogy – are collected here.

Winner of the Golden Leopard award at the 1970 Locarno Film Festival, This Transient Life is among the Art Theatre Guild's most successful – and most controversial – productions. The film concerns a brother and sister from a rich family who defy the expectations placed on them: he has little interest in further education or his father's business, instead obsessing over Buddhist statues; she continually refuses a string of suitors and the prospect of marriage. Their closeness, and isolation, gives way to an incestuous relationship which, in turn, breeds disaster. Mandara, Jissôji's first colour feature, maintained the controversial subject matter, focusing on a cult who recruit through rape and hope to achieve true ecstasy through sexual release. Shot, as with all of Jissôji's Art Theatre Guild works, in a radically stylised manner, the film sits somewhere between the pinku genre and the fiercely experimental approach of his Japanese New Wave contemporaries.

The final entry in the trilogy, Poem, returns to black and white and is centred on the austere existence of a young houseboy who becomes helplessly embroiled in the schemes of two brothers. Written by Toshirô Ishidô (screenwriter of Nagisa Ôshima's The Sun's Burial and Shôhei Imamura's Black Rain), who also penned This Transient Life and Mandara, Poem continues the trilogy's exploration of faith in a post-industrial world.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentations
  • Original uncompressed LPCM mono 1.0 audio on all three films
  • Newly translated optional English subtitles
  • Both the 120-minute Theatrical and 137-minute Extended versions of Poem
  • Bonus Blu-Ray disc with Jissôji's 1974 feature It Was A Faint Dream, which continues the themes explored in the Trilogy
  • Introductions to all three films in the Trilogy by David Desser, author of Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave
  • Scene-select commentaries on all three films in the Trilogy by Desser
  • Theatrical trailers for Mandara, Poem and It Was A Faint Dream Limited edition packaging, fully illustrated by maarko phntm
  • Illustrated 60-page perfect-bound collector's book featuring new writings on the films by Anton Bitel and Tom Mes