Subway Cinema News: April 28 – May 5

Posted: under Subway Cinema News.

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One of the few distributors who really get it – and I never thought I’d say this after their first few theatrical releases were handled so badly – is Viz. Rather than spend tons of money on expensive theatrical roll-outs of movies that few people will see and that mostly serve as ads for the DVD release, Viz has been working with Fathom (the people who do the live broadcasts of opera at the Met) to do one-night-only screenings of the DEATH NOTE movies targeted at fans of the series. This is smart, and based on the numbers I’ve seen, it’s making them a mint, too. This Wednesday and Thursday they’ll be screening L: CHANGE THE WORLD, the third film in the DEATH NOTE franchise, directed by Hideo Nakata (THE RING). You can read a full write-up about it over here on the New York Asian Film Festival page, or you can go watch the trailer. Trust us when we say that this is the epitome of summer blockbuster entertainment: big, flashy, dumb and fun. It’s too bad there probably won’t be any more L movies, because this teenaged, goth Sherlock Holmes with a sweet tooth is one of the best pop culture creations of the last 5 years. L: CHANGE THE WORLD will be playing in three NYC theaters, and all over the rest of the country on this Wednesday and Thursday (April 29 & 30). (Full info and buy tickets)

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The Korean film, TREELESS MOUNTAIN, is now playing at Film Forum (run ends on Tuesday, May 5). This independent Korean flick (from the director of arthouse hit IN BETWEEN DAYS) is about two little girls who are ditched by their feckless, reckless mom and who have to raise themselves. Trauma ensues. Shot almost entirely in close-ups of the young lead actresses, this is a terrific film if you’re into this kind of painful arthouse thing. Director Kim So-Yong will be at the Friday, April 24, 8pm show. (More info) (Read a rave review from the Village Voice)

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Next week, Japanese film DEPARTURES will be screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. Why does this movie sound familiar? Because it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The story of a young, unemployed musician who stumbles into a job as a mortician it’s actually a really good slice-of-life comedy. In Japan, working with dead bodies is still a taboo and this flick takes a frank look at what happens to people when they die. What’s most astonishing about it is that director Yojiro Takita is best known in Japan for directing pink films, softcore porn movies, including installments in the famed “Groper Train” series (and “Groper Bus,” of course). (Tickets and showtimes) (More on the film)

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Also playing Tribeca next week is the Russian  remake of Johnnie To’s BREAKING NEWS. Called NEWSMAKERS (weak!) it’s got the same bang bang, but without Johnnie To’s deft touch. Still, it’s supposedly quite good and if you want to see what Hong Kong filmmaking looks like through Russian eyes (actually, the director is Swedish) then this one’s for you. (Tickets and showtimes)

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Also playing at Film Forum is BURMA VJ, which’ll run for two weeks. A documentary about the massive September 2007 street protests in Burma, it’s comprised almost entirely of video footage taken by VJs (video journalists) who were associated with underground journalism group, The Democratic Voice of Burma, whose members risked torture and imprisonment by taking this footage and smuggling it out of the country to be screened. Come on, the least you can do is buy a ticket. (More info)

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Okay, it’s not a movie but you do NOT want to miss this. Here’s the description of “Bodies of Pyongyang:”

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Around thirty girls wearing North Korean schoolgirl uniforms are situated inside a (70?x70?x70?) clear plexiglass cube box, which is located off a street intersection. These tightly packed schoolgirls try to move about the enclosed cube box expressing their emotional pain and struggle. Red strings symbolizing their dual inner states of suppression and resistance entangle the girls further confining their freedom to move within their already limited and hermetic space.”

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And, of course, the schedule of appearances:

SUNDAY April 19, Abe Lebewohl Park / St. Mark’s Church
SATURDAY April 25, Foley Square
SATURDAY May 2, Washington Square Park
SATURDAY May 9, Tompkins Square Park

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More details. And you know you need more details.

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TOKYO! the three-part film by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho (THE HOST) is STILL playing at the Landmark Sunshine. It feels like this movie will never die! (Read a review)

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