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19th December, 2018

Eureka's Review of the year 2018

Steve-Eureka

2018 kicked off with two releases from Eureka’s imprint Montage Pictures, the label’s home to ground-breaking and thought-provoking world cinema from new and upcoming directors. First up came New World, a slick edge-of-your-seat thriller and one of the finest gangster films for many years, from Park Hoon-jung,one of South Korea’s finest directors. Next came Kills on Wheels, a highly original, darkly comedic and infectious buddy-movie about a wheelchair-using gang of assassins, the second feature film from Hungarian director Attila TillThe first Masters of Cinema release of the year wasThe Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Billy Wilder's criminally underrated adventure-comedy.

 

Two more additions to the Montage Pictures range came along in FEBRUARY in the shape of Strangleda social, political and psychological thriller set in the provincial Hungary of the 1960s at the height of socialism, alongside The Housemaid, a thrilling blend of gothic horror, period drama and an illicit love story, from first-time Vietnamese director Derek Nguyen.  The second and third entries to the Masters of Cinema Series were both Blu-ray upgrades, firstly Michael, Carl Th. Dreyer's 'ahead-of-its-time' romantic drama, on Blu-ray for the very first time, from a new 2K restoration. And secondly House, the self-aware, post-modern Japanese fairy tale from Nobuhiko Obayashi, one of cinema’s great surrealists.

 

The beautifully restored directors’ cut of the King Hu masterpiece The Legend of the Mountain, took pride of place amongst the MARCH line-up when it joined the Masters of Cinema Series in a Blu-ray edition.  Also joining the series, an extravagant display of directorial prowess from Joseph L. Mankiewicz, came in the shape of The Barefoot Contessa, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner.  Re:Born, a breath-taking, no-frills martial arts film featuring fast, furious and expertly choreographed fight sequences and starring Tak Sakaguchi became one of the year’s biggest success stories, and helped make 2018, Eureka’s strongest year for Asian cinema. Also released in March and joining the Montage Pictures range, was Shirley: Visions of Reality, a dream-like recreation of the works of artist Edward Hopper.

 

APRIL saw two additions to the Masters of Cinema Series. Firstly Early Hou Hsiao-Hsien: Three Films 1980-1983, an essential collection of early films from one of the figureheads of Taiwanese Cinema, and then came Cure, a mesmerising and hypnotic psychological thriller from Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  Despite being one of the strongest years to date for the Eureka Classics range, the release came as late in the year as April when Marty was released. Delbert Mann’s unforgettable masterpiece in storytelling, stars Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair. The first of six theatrical releases came out in April: The Old Dark House, James Whale’s atmospheric and entertaining horror starring Boris Karloff and Melvyn Douglas, was released in selected cinemas nationwide from 27 April 2018 and later released in May as part of The Masters of Cinema Series.  Both the poster artwork and limited edition O-Card featured artwork by celebrated artist Graham Humphreys.

 

In addition to The Old Dark House, MAY saw two further additions to the Eureka Classics range: Stanley Kramer’s Inherit The Wind, the powerful and provocative courtroom drama based on the real-life Scopes “Monkey” Trial of 1925, and Breakheart Pass, the action-packed murder-mystery western, starring Charles Bronson, based on the best-selling novel by Alistair MacLean.  Allure also received a limited theatrical release.

 

Iron Monkey, the exhilarating action adventure that critics everywhere have called one of the greatest martial arts films of all time was announced for JUNE - the first of the year’s five major releases in the genre (not including Re:Born). There were also two releases featuring Sidney Poitier: No Way Out,Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s intense drama about racial tensions also starring Richard Widmark, and The Defiant Ones, Stanley Kramer’s socially-aware crime drama, starring Tony Curtis King of Heartsalso received a limited theatrical release.

 

In JULY we welcomed to the UK, to attend the Edinburgh Film Festival and Ozfest, Priscilla Cameron, the Australian director of The Butterfly Tree, which received a limited theatrical release in the UK and Ireland.  On home video font, it was a fairly quiet one, with just two releases to enjoy: a 4K restoration of King Of Hearts, Philippe de Broca’s anti-war cult classic that defined a generation, joined the Masters of Cinema Series;  and Allure, an unnerving psychological thriller starring Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) was released on DVD.

 

AUGUST presented us with a release which turned out to be the biggest of the year: Jackie Chan’s Police Story & Police Story 2, two of the finest action films ever made from cinema’s reigning martial arts king, were coupled together and released for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK. Also joining the Eureka Classics range was Flesh + Blood, Paul Verhoeven’s irresistibly entertaining medieval epic, starring Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh, released uncut and on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK; and joining the Masters of Cinema Series, Birdman Of Alcatraz, John Frankenheimer’s moving and compelling biopic starring Burt Lancaster and Karl Malden. It was also a fairly big month for theatrical releases, with the release of Under The Tree,a dark suburban satire about a simmering feud between two neighbouring families that gets out way of hand, which was released in selected cinemas nationwide.

 

SEPTEMBER was a bumper month for releases, with one theatrical release and five home video releases. These included two additions to the Masters of Cinema range: Witness For The Prosecution, Billy Wilder’s engrossingly theatrical courtroom drama starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich & Charles Laughton; and Salvador, a powerful, vivid and uninhibited political drama from Oliver Stone.  City HunterJackie Chan’s stylish action-comedy extravaganza, joined the Eureka Classics range, whilst The Butterfly Tree, a visually magical and heartfelt tale of love and loss starring Melissa George, joined the Montage Pictures Range.  Rescue Under Fire, an adrenaline-fueled action thriller based on true events, completed the months home video line-up.  Meanwhile in cinemas, the charming and moving comedic drama Lucky, John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut featuring Harry Dean Stanton in one of his last starring roles, became Eureka’s biggest theatrical outing in approximately eight years.

 

OCTOBER was a month without any Masters of Cinema release, as the Eureka Classics had four exciting additions to its range, three of which were geared up to the Halloween market:  Monkey Shines, George A. Romero’s terrifyingly twisted thriller; Night Of The Creeps, the simultaneously frightening and hilarious 80s horror classic; and Troll: The Complete Collection, a celebration of one of the greatest bad movies ever made.  Joining this spooky trio was Jackie Chan’s Project A & Project A Part II, a pair of effortlessly entertaining action-comedy adventures from peak Jackie Chan.

 

Lucky received its home video release on DVD & Blu-ray in NOVEMBER, which featured the acclaimed 2012 documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, available for the first time on home video in the UK.  Eureka was back with a bang with its Masters of Cinema Series, with the release of The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s legendary rock documentary featuring some of the world’s greatest musicians.  Also out in November was Hitler’s Hollywood, the story of one of the most important and most dramatic periods in the history of German cinema; and Grange Hill Series 5 & Series 6, available to own for the very first time in a 6-Disc DVD Box set.

 

Rounding up the year nicely, DECEMBER saw the release of John Schlesinger’s Yanks, a moving and romantic WWII tale of love starring Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave; Khartoum, the majestic, star-studded, BAFTA and Oscar-nominated epic starring Charlton Heston and Sir Laurence Olivier; and the delayed release of the Once Upon A Time In China Trilogy, the epic kung-fu trilogy featuring virtuoso fight sequences, extravagant special effects and starring Jet Li.

 

VOTE for your favourite Eureka releases of 2018 in our end of year survey here and be in with the chance of winning three of our 2018 releases of your choice [subject to availability] [COMPETITION & SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED]

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