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Home Media Expo: Shout! Factory/Vivendi deal
Shout! Factory signed on Vivendi Visual Entertainment Canada to distribute its non-music video product in that country, effective Aug. 1, at the Home Media Expo.
Home Media Expo: Opening Session
During the Home Media Expo Opening Session, Entertainment Merchants Assn. president Bo Andersen talked up EMA's work and consumers discussed which home entertainment option they use.
Home Media Expo: Wildly entertaining
PBS' Wild America host Marty Stouffer (l.) joins Topics Entertainment execs at the 2007 Home Media Expo.



-- Video Business, 4/1/2002

Color, NR/R (mature themes, extreme violence, nudity, language), 115 min, VHS $29.98, DVD $24.98, Japanese with
English subtitles
Street: May 7, Prebook: April 8
First Run: L, Aug. 2001, <$1 mil.
Cast: Ryo Ishibashi (Brother), Eihi Shiina, Jun Kunimura, Tetsu Sawaki
Director: Takashi Miike

Story Line: A filmmaker friend (Kunimura) helps a middle-aged widower (Ishibashi) in his effort to find a girlfriend. Together the two stage auditions for a non-existent film with the expectation that the widower will find the woman of his dreams. The widower falls instantly for a shy former ballerina (Shiina) who, unbeknownst to him, has sadistic, homicidal tendencies.

Bottom Line: Audition is an insidious, grisly affair that begins as a sedate study of a lonely bachelor's attempts to find Ms. Right but ends as an all-out horror movie. Filmmaker Miike crafts a fully sympathetic character and then places him in a seemingly inescapable situation--as the film continues, the question is not so much "will the actress capture and torture our hero?" but "how badly will she torture him?" The inclusion of several background details about the actress (including abuse she endured as a child) seems to give the film a feminist-revenge slant. However, the graphic violence unleashed in the final sequences negates this notion, as well as the thoughtful, subtle nature of the film's first half. The sadistic glee with which the actress' brutality is depicted makes Audition a must-see for those seeking shocks over thrills. Target accordingly to fans of '70s slasher flicks and Italian horror. Younger viewers and those accustomed only to the Scream/Blair Witch Project school of youth-in-peril chillers should be warned away. --Ed Grant

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