Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Return of Kung Fu Fridays


After an eight year hiatus, I brought back my film series Kung Fu Fridays to where it all started, The Royal. 

Over the past year my wife Katarina and I have been doing the public film programming at the 380 seat restored art deco cinema that was once a part of the Festival repertory cinema circuit. It has been an interesting journey working on bringing the profile of the cinema back up into relevance in a world where the public movie going experience is becoming an endangered phenomena. We've had some hits (The Dance of Reality) and misses (looking at you, Kite), but we've been recruiting a good audience base and have a great team working for us at the old movie palace.

After the encouragement of many friends and supporters, I decided to bring it back and tonight was the first screening - a rare 35mm print of The Invincible Kung Fu Legs aka The Leg Fighters. Back in the old days I relied on the newspaper that the Festival chain published that had a large circulation and did extensive wild postering by myself. I roamed the streets of Toronto late at night with a staple gun and a bucket of glue spreading the word. Needless to say, I had more free time and less adult responsibilities back then. This time around,  I hit up the old email list, posted it on Facebook, made an event, and did the routine social media promotion in place of how I used to do it.

I have to say I was a little nervous before the screening and this was a feeling I don't get when I do the bigger event screenings at my film fest gigs. I suppose it is because there is more of a personal stake in this than with the other screenings.


Well, I had nothing to fear, because we had a decent turn out of around 70 people and lots of familiar faces from back in the day! As the cinema relies on digital projection nowadays, it was a little touch and go as the projectionist was getting the print ready with the old 35mm projectors. We had to hold opening the doors for around fifteen minutes, but when I made the announcement that there would be a slight delay, a couple commented that they'd been waiting for ten years, so they could wait a few minutes more! That warmed my heart.

The film played like gangbusters, but honestly, The Invincible Kung Fu Legs is perfectly paced with good humour and stunning fights, so I knew the crowd would dig it. As I watched it and enjoyed their reaction, my mind raced with ideas on how to fix up the presentation and razzle dazzle of it all. More good stuff to come!

Next up - Mr Vampire 3!





Saturday, May 03, 2014

Takeshi Kitano + Jean Reno Time Travel Joy Ride

Can anyone explain what this is about? What are they saying?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Egg Beater

Ad on the back of the 2004 Tokyo Filmex guide. From my trips to Japan, I remember Miu being a refreshing soda with a lemon-lime taste...? Like a less sugary 7-Up.




Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Grady Hendrix has a Tumblr!

News worth breaking silence for. Check it.

The post for this pic: All the girls love Jackie Chan.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free Kung Fu Double Bill! BRUTAL GRACE: A TRIBUTE TO LAU KAR-LEUNG

Free Kung Fu Double Bill!

BRUTAL GRACE:
A TRIBUTE TO LAU KAR-LEUNG

Friday September 20
Innis Town Hall 2 Sussex Ave
(at St. George, south of Bloor)




An Asian Institute & Cinema Studies Student Union Presentation

BRUTAL GRACE: A TRIBUTE TO LAU KAR-LEUNG

Lau Kar Leung, Hong Kong filmmaker, actor, choreographer and martial artist, is one of the true pioneers of Hong Kong martial arts cinema, developing an idiosyncratic action style in the late seventies and early eighties that combined authentic traditional martial arts with an impeccable slapstick comic sensibility. In tribute to his passing, The Asian Institute and Cinema Studies Student Union (CINSSU) will honour the late “Grandmaster”of martial arts cinema with a panel discussion and screening of two of his classic films, 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (1983) and DIRTY HO (1979)

6:00 - 7:30 PM - Panel
Join us before the films for a panel discussion on the works of Lau Kar Leung. Snackboxes will be provided to panel attendees.
Panelists:
Noah Cowan - Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Colin Geddes - International Programmer, Toronto International Film Festival
Bart Testa - Professor of Cinema Studies, University of Toronto


7:45 PM

EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER

Directed by Lau Kar Leung I 1983
With Gordon Liu, Alexander Fu Sheng, Lily Li, Kara Hui, Ko Fei, Lau Kar-leung, Hsiao Ho
In Cantonese with English subtitles

In a jaw-dropping and nightmarish opening scene, seven brothers are ambushed. Only two manage to escape. The young Alexander Fu Sheng loses his mind and runs in a fury through the empty rooms of his family home. It is up to Gordon Liu to bear the responsibility... Tragically, the situation is not far from reality. The popular and renowned actor Alexander Fu Sheng was cast for the lead role, but died from a car accident on his way home from the shoot one day. He was only 28 years old. The script was then rewritten with small allusions to the sad event and reworked to be an homage to the charismatic superstar. Gordon Liu had to take the lead, and the respect for their late colleague pushed the entire cast and crew to give their best for this obscure masterpiece that deals with loyalty, fraternity and blood-thirsty revenge.



9:45 PM
DIRTY HO
Directed by Lau Kar-leung I 1979 
With Gordon Liu, Wong Yue, Wang Lung Wei, Lo Lieh, Kara Hui, Hsiao Ho, Chan Lung
In Cantonese with English subtitles

One of the great classics of martial arts cinema, Dirty Ho is a knockout roundhouse from Hong Kong's Lau Kar-leung. While the title has occasioned a thousand double takes, this is not a porn film. The titular Ho (Wong Yue) is a thief who runs afoul of high-living bon vivant Wang (Gordon Liu), who is in fact a Manchurian prince and martial arts expert in disguise. Because Wang cannot reveal his identity, he is forced to use 'stealth kung-fu', employing lethal fighting skills while maintaining the illusion of clumsiness. Full of action and high physical comedy, this is hugely entertaining viewing from one of the great masters of martial arts cinema.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Movie Is Hot!

Found this xerox for Jet Li's debut film Shaolin Temple (1982) taped to a poster for the social issues drama by Allen Gong, Ah Ying (1983). Back in the day when Jackie Chan was often referred to as "Jacky" Chan



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Friday Nov 9th! Toronto! John Woo's A BETTER TOMORROW - Free Screening!

BIG SCREEN BANG BANG!
Grab your sunglasses, trench coat and handguns for this rare screening of a 35mm print of John Woo's ground-breaking action classic A BETTER TOMORROW starring Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung.

Fri Nov 09 - 4:30 PM
Innis Town Hall - 2 Sussex Avenue (south of Bloor at St. George)
A BETTER TOMORROW
Dir: John Woo
Hong Kong / 1986 / Cantonese with English Subtitles
Cast: Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung
If you don't know this movie, you don't know Hong Kong cinema. A Better Tomorrow is a little gangster film that became nothing less than a phenomenon—a multiple award winning, box-office smashing tour-de-force from John Woo that single-handedly changed Hong Kong cinema forever. In other words, it's pretty damn good. - www.lovehkfilm.com

Followed by Q&A with editor/director David Wu. Q&A conducted by Peter Kuplowsky (Senior Programmer, After Dark Film Festival; Assistant, TIFF Nexus).

Register for your FREE tickets

Sponsored by The Asian Institute and the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of TorontoCo-Sponsors: Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, CINSSU, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office Toronto



Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lin + Wong

Noticed this as I was folding my poster for The East is Red.


And the original poster:



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When Dustin Met Linda



Grab a couple tissues (Just in case. Just in case. Obviously you won't need them.) and read this amazing story about Bruce Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell visiting Longview, DC black belt and Bruce Lee mega-fan, Dustin Bean.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

a nightmare of lust and revenge

Samurai in a haunted house? AND Susan George? When can I move in?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Swapping the Blue Nun for the Golden Nun

Here is a poster I wish I had in my collection? Fun Taiwanese martial arts fantasy from 1977!


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hong Kong Tram Ride 1967

Found over at Retronaut, a silent ride on a tram going through Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Central and Western. All aboard the way back machine!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Counterfeit Jet

Yup, this is how I think of Jet Li, in a dress jacket and t-shirt... Really? This is a depiction of Jet Li? Isn't there a death sentence in China for bad wax figure sculptors? If I were Jet Li, I'd demolish this pale imitation with my fists! Here is the source for the photo, with a fluff bio piece on Li.

Jet Li poses with his wax figure in Shanghai [Photo: baidu.com]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Season's Greetings!

From Hong Kong Movie News, December 1979


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My eBay auctions for Dec 19th!

Back with more auctions of doubles from my personal auctions. Got a couple are rarities in this lot. They might be a little pricier than some of my usual offerings, but these are so hard to find, I can't let them go at bargain basement prices. Stay tuned as there will be some steals in auctions to come. I have a wedding in January that I need to pay for, so stuff is going on the auction block!

Have a look, browse around and if the feeling hits you, BID!



Monday, December 19, 2011

when there was fun to be had at Yonge + Queen

Don't care much about the headliner, but imagine seeing a Zatoichi film on the big screen!?

(from The Toronto Star, December 26 1976)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Run Run Shaw Announces Retirement at Age 104


Legendary producer, Run Run Shaw, co-founder of Shaw Studios, has announced that he will step down from his position of Chairman at TVB, Hong Kong's biggest television company (which he also co-founded) on December 31st.

Shaw's contributions to film and television are nearly untouchable, and my love of film would most certainly be a much more pretentious and less enjoyable beast without his work. I'm beyond thankful for his films. If anyone deserves their retirement, it's him.

ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR!!!

Source: Bloomberg.com