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Chungking Express

posted Jan 16, 2009, 10:36 AM by Vu Nguyen

You probably know that I'm a huge movie collector and generally love what Criterion is doing (see some of my Criterion DVDs). I was thrilled to see that Criterion finally decided to release their movies on bluray that I picked up one of my favorite movies, Chungking Express (1994) (重慶森林), without reading any reviews on it.

Sad to say, I'm fairly disappointed in this release. There's practically no special features, unlike the packed features of Wong Kar-Wai's other Criterion release, In the Mood for Love (2000).

I was also disappointed in the transfer, although a vast improvement over the Rolling Thunders DVD (which I also own), it doesn't look quite as sharp and clear like other blurays I own (particularly compared to the 1962 How the West Was Won). I suspect it has to do with the source material... still the colors are very vibrant in the Chungking Express bluray.

Other extra is a little booklet/pamphlet and the case is in digipak - which is rare with blurays. I was hoping they'd go with the book-format that you see with Warner Brothers (Dirty Harry, Natural Born Killers), but still better than the standard plastic case.

I can't recommend the bluray to you, unless you find it at a decent price. Criterion's prices are normally $30+ per DVD, and in this weak economy, you may want to pick it up used or not at all. Hey, there's always Netflix.

I love the soundtrack on this movie. If you've seen the film, you won't be able to get The Mamas and the Pappas' "California Dreamin'" out of your head. The song is repeatedly played as Faye Wong's character's theme song.

Other songs in the movie you might be able to pick out is Faye Wong's very faithful Chinese version of the Cranberries' song "Dreams". Fay Wong (王菲) recorded two version of the "Dreams" song in both Cantonese and Mandarin (the Mandarin version would later appear on another film called Somebody in My Dream).

Oh, if you haven't figured it out, the beautiful Wong is better known for being a pop singer out of Hong Kong. I believe Chungking Express might have been her first film. She would later go on to other film works, including reuniting with Kar-Wai for 2046 (a film that I bought as a special 3-disc set, but wasn't in love with it as Kar-Wai's other films).

Also, there's a lot of background stuff that I've been doing lately. With google being evil, the new search is courtesy of Atomz. Since it's a free account, the service is limited to 500 pages and there are advertisements in the search results (they aren't that intrusive).

So give the search a try and let me know what you think. If you don't have access to email, you can now fill out a simple form (note: you can also use this to suggest bands or complaints).

 01/15/2009 21:01:14  vu ()