CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Thrillers, New on DVD, Cinematical Indie, DVDs, CinematicalIf the merest suggestion of watching a "Jackie Chan movie" sends you scurrying from the room, I don't blame you. The trailer for Rush Hour 3 makes me shudder; in general, his Hollywood films have reinforced the idea that he is a glorified stunt man who is happy to be a goofy, athletic straight man to his co-stars. Even his best Hong Kong films, which far exceed his Hollywood output in both quantity and quality -- and which I personally adore -- leave some indie film fans cold.
My pick of a rather thin week is a little different: Crime Story leaves out most of the action in favor of tension and high powered dramatics. Available for the first time in the US in its original Cantonese-language version, Crime Story features Chan as a detective in a kidnapping case battling a ticking clock and police corruption. It's Chan's best dramatic performance in a picture that simmers with unease. Be sure to watch the new Dragon Dynasty version -- with some nice extras including a commentary featuring director Kirk Wong -- and not the inferior previous release from Buena Vista, which only has an English dub.
A new film from an old master, Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places earned praise from Cinematical's Jeffrey M. Anderson, who put it in perspective: "Resnais is responsible for several official masterworks, Night and Fog (1955), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961) among them. While Private Fears may not live up to their innovation and brilliance, it shows a steady hand and an eye for adapting a stage play into a movie that actually moves." The film received a "metascore" of 77 out of 100 from Metacritic. The DVD is coming out from IFC First Take and appears to be completely bare of any extras, so a rental may suffice.