Neither benefits from being on VHS, not DVD. Green Snake doesn't benefit from being the usual grainy 80-90s HK film (which are grainy even on DVD) and having Chinese and English subtitles in white, English underneath, which half the time get cut off, and from being, well, a Tsui Hark film, which means lots of silliness. See what a humourless pedant mainland films have made of me; I used to like HK silliness.
Under different circs I might like this one because, well, it really is a film about a snake. Maggie Cheung slithers about on her belly, and slithers up columns to catch flies with her tongue. Extreme disjunction. You know that kitty-snake icon some people have? kitten head, snake body, and it undulates through the grass? That's what it's like, and has the same half-fascination half-oog. Alas, many years ago in one of the earliest Elric books there's a scene where Elric's SigOth has been turned into a snake, from the neck down, and it's not funny at all. It's quite horrid. Err, so yeah. Bad associations.
As for Concubine... I fancy I'd drag my feet on that one even if it was a DVD. Three hour films set during unhappy periods sound alarum bells in my mind. Film makers love to show horrors, damned if I know why. They show horrors even in children's films, so figure what you get in Japanese invasion films. This doesn't make for pleasant watching, or not for me. Everyone else seems to be utterly desensitized to it- loud bloody horrors in full technicolour are what's wanted, the grislier the better, so we can talk about the aesthetics of violence. I don't like violence, even in books; I seem to lack the filter everyone else has. There's a reason I don't watch films in theatres- always too big and too loud. If they still had Mommy Matinees I'd go to those, because there they mute the sound for the sake of the babies. As it is, I'm resigned to never seeing the last two Lord of the Rings films; and not sure I'm missing much. Whereas Concubine is probably visually gorgeous, but-- well, after reading the summary, absolutely no way. (Is also the reason I won't be watching Raise the Red Lantern and Ju Dou *ever*.)
Probably should go back to anime, if I must watch anything. HK silliness or mainland horrors, mh, had enough for the moment. TV series are different, but finding them at all, let alone subbed, is looking impossible, even here.
And otherwise, happy birthday, tammylee!