Saturday, December 29, 2007

more blog double dipping: Miike video greeting for Toronto Midnight Madness audiences

another cross post from my entry over at the Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness blog...


Almost every year we since we screened FUDOH in 1997, TIFF has showcased one of that year's new works by Takeshi Miike. For this years choice, SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, we had an extra treat in store for the audience from Miike.

The last time Miike was able to come to Toronto was for the world premiere of ICHI THE KILLER, but a little incident that became known as 9/11 left Miike stranded in a west coast US airport. Since then, every time we have selected one of his films, his shooting schedule has gotten in the way of him making a personal appearance. This year, as we were confirming guests, we were again denied his presence as the film was getting premiered in Venice and then he had to return to Tokyo for the film's theatrical release, but we were graced with the two lead actors, Yusuke Iseya and Yoshino Kimura. We were excited when we got the news as we had never had any actor appear for a Miike film, let alone two! They were a pleasure to have grace our stage and the audience took an immediate liking to them as you can see in the video. Once they left the stage, we had one more surprise for the fabulous fiends that are the Midnight Madness audience: a video message from Miike, hand delivered from Venice by the film's festival publicist, Jill Jones from DDA PR – one of the easiest going publicists I have had the pleasure to work with in my ten years at TIFF.

My favourite part of the video? The crowd's reaction when Miike tells them where the best audience in the world is located. Watch and see...

Wilson Yip Q&A at FLASH POINT screening at the Toronto International Film Festival

Been tardy in posting on this blog of late, but this should make up for it. Okay, so I am double dipping on the post process since I just put this up over at the blog I maintain for the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival which I programme, but you wouldn't have known about it otherwise right?

I first met director Wilson Yip in 1999 when he attended the Festival with his film BULLETS OVER SUMMER. Programmer Noah Cowan introduced us, knowing my love for Hong Kong films and almost immediately I was able to break the language barrier by complimenting Wilson on some of his previous films BIO-ZOMBIE, MONGKOK STORY and the fun horror anthology MIDNIGHT ZONE. After that we kept in touch and would meet in Hong Kong when I'd visit and hung out together at the Udine Far East Festival in Italy.

In 2000 I was able to roam beyond my usual world of celluloid shockers and select a film outside of Midnight Madness. That film was JUILET IN LOVE, directed by Wilson Yip and I was able to show off that I do have a sensitive side of my cinematic tastes. At the end of the screening, several members of the audience were sniffling and wiping tears from there eyes. A refreshing change from the usual shrieks, screams and laffs at Midnight!

In 2005 it was an honour to welcome Wilson into the Midnight Madness arena with SPL starring Wu Jing, Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. Being a fan of HK films, to be onstage with Wu Jing and the legendary Sammo Hung before a cheering audience of 1200 was one of the highlights I have had working for TIFF. The reaction for that film was overwhelming and if you haven't seen it, run out and get the fabulous 2 disc version that is out on Dragon Dynasty under the re-titled name of KILL ZONE. Zip into our blog archives to get Midnight Madness blogger Carol's memories of seeing Sammo on stage for SPL.

A year later, Wilson unleashes the whiplash attack that is FLASH POINT. At last, here is the edited introduction with a special email greeting from star Donnie Yen and the Q&A with Wilson following the movie. Sorry about the poor video and sound for the start of the Q&A, but it clears up two minutes into the video.

And good news for those who missed the screening at Midnight Madness, for according to Bey Logan at his Dragon Dynasty blog, DD will be doing a limited theatrical release of the film in the US before it gets a video release. Originally planned as a prequel to SPL, the story behind the writing of FLASH POINT is an interesting look at how the HK film industry operate. Check out Bey's inside scoop on the evolution of FLASH POINT over at his blog.



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yen be serious and Yen be fierce

Posted by our good pals at Twitch Films, the trailer Tony Ching’s AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS starring Donnie Yen. And don't let the Tony Ching name fool ya, its just another way of saying Ching Siu-tung (A CHINESE GHOST STORY, SWORDSMAN 2, HEROIC TRIO, etc)

lurid chinese posters of natural threat

My film fest mafia brother Simon Rumley, director of THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, just came back from Shanghai and sent me these lurid posters from the dvd markets...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

but didn't he beat the pirates already?

Oh Jackie! According to Variety, in mainland China, Jackie Chan is doing his bit in the fight against piracy by offering a message of thanks via 200,000 antipiracy refrigerator magnets to be given to consumers who buy authentic copies of "Perfect Stranger," "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "No Reservations."

I remember the good ole days when Jackie would actually use his fists to beat pirates...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

triple fisted smackdown of broads, blades and blood!

This in from cinema patron Marc Walkow's blog, Outcast Cinema about Synapse Films' three-disc release of the Legends of the Poisonous Seductress. After watching these trailers, I am itching to see the features, especially the first entry in scope black and white that looks absolutely delirious! Here are the trailers and an assortment of pics from the films, but for better context, visit Marc's blog.

There is such a wealth of undiscovered Japanese films out there. Everyone goes on about the Lady Snowblood films, but there are a number of other wild action film series such as Wicked Priest or Oichi The Blind Swordswoman (aka CRIMSON BAT). Seeing these projected with an audience today would be a blast!

Monday, November 26, 2007

random lobbycard luv: jesus loves kung fu fighters

Who was the set designer on KILLER ANGELS responsible for the bloody graffiti on this inset from the lobbycard?

Friday, November 23, 2007

terror in the midnight sun

I added this listing on the blog roll at the side of our page, but never had the chance to let our patrons truly know about Lars Erik Holmquist's recent contribution to the world of twisted cinema blogging. Lars and I met via the early days of the internet when he managed the Hong Kong Cinema Homepage around 1994, the first on-line resource for fans of Asian action. We got the chance to meet here in Toronto when he visited from Sweden and Lars was even able to attend one of my Kung Fu Fridays film screenings (The Bride With White Hair I believe). Even though an ocean separates us, I felt that I had found my Swedish counterpart when we swapped stories of organizing screenings of HK goodness and poster collecting. Right now as I post this, Lars is on his way back from Tokyo and I am looking forward to seeing on his blog what stuff he collected while there.

Meanwhile, read about his collection of posters, particularly this fascinating look at restoration and linen backing.

PS - Rumor has it that he even knows a certain Swedish actress known for her role as a one-eyed avenger...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

random lobbycards


When you least expected it! A trio of random lobbycards! Come up with your own punchy slogans! Have fun!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

how to give North American kids nightmares

What the hell is the name of this 1973 Japanese kids superhero show? Its like HR Puffinstuff in HELL! I love it!


This in lightning fast from blog reader Don, the answer!This hero is "Diamond Eye"! A one season wonder, Diamond Eye fought these beasties in 26 episodes. From Here is the plot line:

An ancient cadre of evil beasts have awaken in modern times and prepare to conquer humankind. With supernatural magic they masquerade as normal humans to infiltrate and destroy civilization. “Shukan Japan” (Weekly Japan) news reporter Rai Koutaro uncovers their plans and attempts to warn the world. Entrusted with the blue diamond “King of Arabia” ring he calls forth the powers of the mystical godlike entity Diamond Eye, the Warrior of Light to battle the beasts and defend humankind.

And more info on our valiant hero:

When Rai Koutaro is sent a package from Switzerland, he finds its contents to contain a magical blue diamond ring. This is the “King of Arabia” ring and is valued at almost 10 Hundred Million Dollars.

In time of great danger, Rai Koutaro is able to summon forth the magical entity of Diamond Eye from within the ring by using the call phrase “Eye Yo!”

Diamond Eye is a mystical being of Light who is a “Spirit of Justice” and a “Warrior of Light”. He is similar in many ways to a djinn or genie in some respects (or even the Tsuburaya hero Ultraman).

Diamond Eye possesses various abilities that can be seen as almost “god like”. He has incredible strength, stamina, and speed far exceeding those of normal humans. He is also incredibly athletic and can perform various complex acrobatic movements.

Diamond Eye is able to pierce through the Ancient Beasts’ mystical disguises using his “Gedou Shoshinrei Hakko Sen” (Inner Soul Illumination Beam).

His sole weapon of choice is his [Diamond] Stick, a sword-like weapon, which he carries constantly in hand. In addition to using it as a stabbing and slashing weapon, from the base of its handle Diamond Eye can fire his “Noble Punch” special attack. His “Noble Punch” attack is a beam ray attack of incredible power that can stun and immobilize his enemies.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sir Run Run Shaw turns 100!

Happy Birthday Sir Run Run!

Check out this article on the founder of the powerful Shaw Brother Studios. You can also listen to the MP3 of it here. And are you a Hong Kong based scientist working in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, or Mathematical Sciences who has " “who have achieved significant breakthrough in academic and scientific research or application and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind?” Then you could be eligible for the $1 million Shaw Prize!

Mifune looks really pissed on hearning the news for this remake..

Toho to remake Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress

Not looking forward to this, especially the director's "permission from Kurosawa Productions to create a single, younger character (Jun Matsumoto, the youngest member of popular boy band Arashi) to reflect the aimless youth of today."

"The announcement is the latest in a string of completed and announced Kurosawa remakes, including recently broadcast made-for-TV versions of Ikiru and High And Low and producer Haruki Kadokawa's big-budget remake of Sanjuro, starring Bayside Shakedown's Yuji Oda.

Sanjuro , which stays faithful to the original screenplay, makes its market debut at this week's AFM on Toho's slate. An animated series of Kurosawa's Yojimbo was produced in 2001."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Belated Kung Fu Halloween BOO!

Been going through my posters and lobbies for a special "performance" project and thought I would throw these up. Blurb!!! Directed by Lo Lieh!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Streetfighter calls it quits!

Old news as Sonny Chiba announced his retirement in July, but my blogging was on hiatus for the summer, hence the belated notice. At 68, Chiba is still possibly the most recognized Japanese actor world-wide. Any other takers?

Chiba-san has always been proactive in helping new talent with his Japan Action Club (JAC), which was responsible for training Hiroyuki Sanada (THE LAST SAMURAI, SUNSHINE, RUSH HOUR 3, NINJA IN THE DRAGON'S DEN, ROYAL WARRIORS, MESSAGE FROM SPACE) and taking applications for a Japanese branch of his LA-based acting school, as well as join with Hong Kong action legend Jackie Chan to launch schools for future action stars in Beijing and Shanghai.

In 2001 I was lucky to serve on the jury of the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival which was chaired by Sonny Chiba, with fellow jury members, OLDBOY star Choi Min-sik, GAMERA and DEATH NOTE director Shusuke Kaneko, and Tchéky Karyo, star of LA FEMME NIKITA and KISS OF THE DRAGON) and he was a gracious man who exuded a powerful charisma. Quentin Tarantino visited the Fest a number of years before, hence the name of Chiaki Kuriyama's character Gogo Yubari in KILL BILL. Below are some pics from the Fest as some Chiba Youtube selections.

Yubari 2001 Jury: Choi Min-sik, Tchéky Karyo, Sonny Chiba, Colin Geddes and Shusuke Kaneko

An audience with the master: Sonny Chiba and VERSUS star Tak Sakaguchi,
director Ryuhei Kitamura and Colin Geddes

VERSUS director Ryuhei Kitamura, Colin Geddes and Sonny Chiba

Jonathan Ross interviews Chiba-san

VIVA CHIBA! The Bodyguard!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Italian Gore fans waiting to see DEMONS 2 at a screening in London, Ontario, got the surprise of their lives as CURSE hit the screen during the trailer portion of the evening. A hidden security camera caught all the insanity on MiniDV. Does ANYONE have a video of this film? I know where there is a full 35mm feature of it, but sadly the reels won't fit in my dvd/vhs player...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

fists of fire!!!

Big thanks to Magicpoe for posting this BBC doc from 1975 on the Shaw Brothers from around the time of the Shaw/Hammer coproduction Legend of the 7 Golden Vampire. Only watched part one of three, but it has AMAZING footage of the soundstages and sets at the studio. Also, an interview with David Chiang! Not able to paste in the embedded html, but the links are here:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

got nostalgic

Yes, been away from the temple of Kung Fu Friday for almost two months. As usual, things got busy with my job doing the Midnight Madness selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. Of course, this did involve pimping the Fu as I screened FLASH POINT. For Midnight Madness I ran a blog with some intrepid contributers and will shortly post the video for the Intro and Q&A with Wilson Yip for FLASH POINT. I'll be sure to add a link here.

On the weekend I attended a course on letterpress printing out east on Gerrard Street, where the 2nd of our three or four Toronto Chinatowns exist. This brought back memories as there used to be an AMAZING video store that I would make the trek to so to rent VHS tapes back when I was learning about the wild world of HK cinema. Saldy, the dvd/vcd selection pales when compared to what they had on VHS. And they are selling off bags of randomly grouped tapes in lots of ten for only $5. Ahhhh, the memories. To cheer everyone up, here is a behind the scenes video from 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER that my buddy King sent me some time ago.

Friday, August 03, 2007

plus extra clippage!

when the Moon shone bright...

Been so busy with my film fest work the past month that I have neglected this blog. Still trying to post on Popcorn & Sticky Floors, plus just started a blog for Midnight Madness, but have felt guilty not posting here more. Just got into my office and have a large number of tasks to accomplish before I run off to the cottage on Tuesday, when this newspaper ad sticking out from a stack of paper caught my eye. No real reason to pick it, it just presented itself. And no, the title of the film, FATAL TERMINATION is not a secret clue that I am closing up shop. Hardly! I have a wealth of stuff that I just need to scan and post and share. Thats what fall and winter are for. Meanwhile, enjoy this newsprint antique:

Friday, July 06, 2007

Th Sparks - Tsui Hark

Quirky pop new wave band Sparks and their "hit" song Tsui Hark performed on German TV.

Friday, June 15, 2007


From the master of HK extras for those swank French dvd releases, Fred Ambroisine, come these juicy glimpses...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

lady avenger

Was asked by Fantasia to scan in pics I had from the 1981 Taiwanese "black film" LADY AVENGER as they will be screening it along with the doc, TAIWANESE BLACK MOVIES on the genre of "black" films - racy and violent films that had heavy social and political undertones, LADY AVENGER being one of these.
Documentary filmmaker Hou Chi-jan takes an illuminating look at the wave of lurid female avenger flicks that flooded Asian screens in the early 1980s while simultaneously exploring just how the sociopolitical climate of Taiwan at the time proved the perfect catalyst for such subversively political films. As the youthful romance films of the 1970s began to lose their appeal, filmgoers flocked to such exploitative crime films as The First Error Step and On the Society File of Shanghai - the former of which was purported to be based on a true story, and the later of which cashed in on the increased interest in communist-critical Mainland literature (casually known as "scar literature). Violent, sexy, and often overtly political, these films drew record crowds as the KMT's grip on Taiwan slowly began to slip and the commercial Taiwanese film industry fell prey to government influence. As the so-called Taiwan New-Wave began to emerge in 1982, such over-the-top trash classics as The Lady Avenger, Queen Bee, and Girl with a Gun would gradually lapse into obscurity. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Sunday, June 03, 2007

this is no joke

Big sorry for being away from my blogging duties for so long. I am breaking my silence with this hot news that I first read over on Variety and then learned more about thanks to
Chan, Foreman team for grill endorsement Take a great idea and build on it. That's been the story of entertainment attorney Sam Perlmutter and his partnership with heavyweight champ George Foreman and the Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. Perlmutter's clients include producers Avi Lerner and Moshe Diamant, and he has acted as exec producer on several films, including "The Fourth War," "No Good Deed" and "Redline." But it's his 17-year partnership with Foreman on those ubiquitous grills that continues to grow in new directions. Hoping to spread the magic to Asia, Foreman and Jackie Chan just finished shooting an East-meets-West infomercial in Hong Kong. "The Asian market doesn't know George well, but they know hamburgers and they know Jackie," says Perlmutter, who came up with the pairing of the grill and the boxing champ in 1994. Back then, instead of paying Foreman a salary, appliance manufacturer Salton made an unprecedented deal with Foreman for 45% of the profits. Perlmutter, as Foreman's partner, also got a share. In 1999, with the grill at iconic status, Salton bought out the partnership, paying Foreman and Perlmutter almost $140 million for rights to Foreman's name in perpetuity. "Most of it went to George," says Perlmutter, "But I did very well, too." Flash forward to 2006. The only market the grill has not penetrated is Asia. Chan was looking for endorsement opportunities, and after months ironing out conflicting schedules, the filming of the infomercial came together. The launch of the ad campaign in China is planned for August, with Japanese and Korean versions to follow.
Over at Jackie's website, there is an interview with the two champions about life, boxing, business and the George Foreman Comfort Zone line of clothing. Poke around further and you can find Jackie's scrapbook that serves as a lovely reminder of the happy time that he and George had in Beijing shooting their infomerical.

And no, this is not a late April Fool's Day joke...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

inside the world of dub...

Wow! What other treasures taped off of HK tv are there lurking on youtube???

one of my fave fights...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Donnie Yen kickin' shit up

A behind the scenes look at FLASHPOINT by director Wilson Tip (SPL) and starring Donnie Yen.

And here are even more scenes at a press conference for the film.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

sorry I missed this...

Being based in Toronto I am quite upset that they didn't send me the press release for this event...


Toronto embraces the spiritual servant of common good.

Commonly perceived as aikido master and action movie hero, Mr. Steven Seagal is in Toronto to entertain your other senses and stimulate further your imagination. To those who do not know, the Action Lama, Steven Seagal Rinpoche reveals yet another image of his reincarnations – a humble and kind-hearted poet, composer and a Grammy nominated musician, he is here in the wake of his “2007 Mantra World Peace Tour” for a purpose larger than life:

Under the auspices of The American Catechin Research Institute (“the Institute”), Mr. Seagal is in Canada to present a brand new approach to skincare and nutrition - the Concept of the Catechins (K-A-T-E-K-I-N-S) - or the key to Wellness, Fitness & Anti-Aging.

Mr. Seagal, among other things will discuss with the press his involvement with the Institute, his research of the most potent age-stopping compounds known to science today and his association with the World’s finest experts in anti-aging, including the “the Father of the Antioxidant Theory”, Dr. David M. Vesco, M.D.

Mr. Seagal and The American Catechin Research Institute will hold a press conference at the Rooftop Lounge at the Park Hyatt and introduce a brand new skincare line, “L’ACRIMA Dermal Density Factor” based on the latest dermatological advances and utilization of this unique ingredient - catechin.

Come and receive knowledge from the source – “L’ACRIMA – Giving Back What living Takes Away”. Learn what is the celebrities secret to beautiful appearance!
And go to this page to hear the man talk about this miracle wonder cream.

A big kung fu chop goes to Jesse over at The Telekino Times-Picayune for pointing this out.

kung fu comic book fun: "Going To Different Paths" pt 2

Finally got some action going on in this installment of our Chinese comic. Any translation help???