Sword with No Name released

“The Sword With No Name” is an historical epic set in 19th Century Korea, during the Joseon Dynasty. The movie is an adaptation of the controversial life of Empress Myeongseong, with layers of forbidden romance, action-packed sword fighting, dark political and imperial intrigue, and military confrontation. It comes from director Kim Yong-gyun (“The Red Shoes”).

Su-Ae stars as Min Ja-Young, a young lady of noble birth who is selected to become Korea’s next Queen. Prior to her marriage to the King, Ja-Young encounters a humble fisherman called Moo-myoung (Cho Seung-Woo) who agrees to ferry her up the river to see the sea. En-route, the pair are attached by ninjas and Moo-myoung deftly saves her from certain death. This event establishes that neither person is what they seem.

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Inferno on DVD & Blu-ray

Dario Argento’s “Inferno” is the spooky and blood-drenched middle part of his classic “Three Mothers” trilogy, the other two chapters being “Suspiria” (1977) and “Mother of Tears” (2007). “Inferno” concerns the hazardous exploits of Rose (Irene Miracle), a young poetess who buys a dusty, leather-bound volume from a local antiques dealer and finds a terrifying, occult link between the book and her own apartment block.

Entitled “The Three Mothers”, the tome tells of three mysterious witches called the Mothers of Sighs, Tears and Darkness.  Each Mother has an abode in one of three separate cities across the world, and each house has a hidden key that can unlock the dark secrets they contain. As Rose embarks on her adventure to track down the keys, to her horror she soon realises that some secrets are better left buried. Fans of Argento’s other tales of terror will quickly settle into the bizarre but magnificent imagery and gory, graphic murder scenes featured in “Inferno”.

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Sweet Karma on DVD

Shera Bechard stars as Karma, a stunningly beautiful femme fatale with just one thing on her mind: revenge. Karma’s sister, Anna (Patricia Stasiak) signed up to a scheme which purports to export attractive Russian ladies from their Motherland to Toronto to become exotic dancers. Unfortunately, Anna has gone missing and Karma suspects that the gang responsible for the immigrants may not have their best interests at heart.

Once she has tracked down the gang’s base, Karma intends to get to the boss, brutally executing anyone who is unfortunate enough to get in her way. As she faces a criminal organisation full of brutish, armed thugs, she is going to have to use stealth, intelligence and her not inconsiderable feminine assets to complete her mission. It will not be easy, not least because she is a mute, but she will not stop until the boss is dead, or she is. “Sweet Karma” is a low budget, independently made thriller with a fair amount of style and some effective direction.

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My Son My Son on DVD

Werner Herzog (2009’s “Bad Lieutenant” and “Rescue Dawn”) directs and David Lynch (Twin Peaks, “Blue Velvet”) executive produces this quirky little tale set in San Diego, about a man-child who gradually goes mad and ends up murdering his own mother. The excellent cast includes Willem Dafoe, Michael Shannon, Chloë Sevigny, Brad Dourif, Udo Kier and Grace Zabriskie.

Shannon (“Jonah Hex”, “Revolutionary Road”) plays Brad, a bit of a loser who lives with his mother (Zabriskie – Twin Peaks, Big Love) and their two flamingos (or “eagles in drag” as Brad prefers to call them). They live in a garish pink bungalow with a flamingo mural painted on the garage door. Brad’s fiancée, Ingrid (Sevigny – also Big Love, “Zodiac”) has the patience of a saint, and hopes they will soon have a place of their own away from the mother’s suffocating attention.

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Meat Grinder on DVD

Billed as the next step up from the torture porn highs (or lows, depending on your stance) of the “Saw” and “Hostel” franchises, “Meat Grinder” is a Thai horror movie that actually manages to cook up something refreshingly new in this decidedly tired genre. Mai Charoenpura stars as Buss, a sexy noodle restaurant proprietor with some rather unusual fare on the menu.

In a similar manner to Sweeney Todd, Buss murders those she has a grievance with and then makes sure that every last ounce of flesh and bone is used to make her noodle dishes the tastiest in town. As you can guess from the torture reference, though, Buss does not simply kill people. She nails her wounded victims down or hangs them up on hooks to ensure the “meat” stays fresh for as long as possible! So far, so what, you might be asking? Well, despite its horrendously unsubtle title (the superior Thai title is “Taste Before Carving”), this movie is actually quite arty in its direction, storytelling and ambience.

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