Scorecard

AUGUST



FILM OF THE MONTH - Rififi ☆☆☆☆
Project A ☆☆☆☆
Legend of a Fighter ☆☆☆☆
Network ☆☆☆☆
The Killer (1989) ☆☆☆☆
Once Upon a Time in China ☆☆☆☆
Come Drink With Me ☆☆☆☆
Donnie Brasco ☆☆☆☆
Drunken Master ☆☆☆☆
Fist of Legend ☆☆☆☆
Avengers ☆☆☆☆
Iron Monkey ☆☆☆☆

Martial Arts Mix - Little Fortunes

YUEN BIAO MOVIES

If you've ever sat watching any number of Jackie Chan movies from the late 70s to early 90s, as well as the kinds of action movies and comedies from Hong Kong in the era; a few faces will start to become very familiar. Not only because many of them are part of the JC stunt team but also the fact that so many actors and stunt performers came from the same few opera schools as children, and had to make a living on the screen when demand for traditional entertainment died out. If you check out his biography (which is well worth reading) he talks about some of his 'brothers' from those days such as Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao who both went on to become stars in their own right. Here I'll be taking a look at the latter, the younger of this trio. As the acrobat of the group he often can be found doing hair raising physical feats alongside Sammo (Eastern Condors, Millionaires Express) Jackie (The Young Master) or even both (Project A, Dragons Forever) which are all worth seeing as genre classics in their own right. But for now I'll try and stick to those where he gets to show his stuff and have top billing.


Review Roundup - Third World RoboCop

CHAPPIE (2015)

In what seems to be a knee jerk backwards step after receiving criticism for the heavy handed social commentary in Elysium, Neill Blomkamp has apparently decided to avoid any serious attempt at moral messages and create a straight up schlock fest, with cartoonish figures fighting with and against the title character, which is itself a blue and orange robo-child. There are a handful of minor references to religion versus science and a couple of lines about machines having souls, but these are so fleeting that it might have been better to cut them out entirely. But I have a hard time disliking the guy even if the promise shown in District 9 seems like a long time ago. This remains someone that thinks in terms of 'what if illegal aliens were aliens' and 'what if the rich-poor divide as visible from spaaace' while throwing in the best of Weta Digital. The action spectacle and production design work is pretty stellar as usual and while I have a lot of complaints this is still an entertaining film. But to get into those issues will take me some explaining, so let's get to it.



Review Roundup - Fuel my fire

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (2014)

Writer and director J.C. Chandor returns with another attention grabbing project, and with that title it would be impossible to ignore even without remembering the power of his last movie All Is Lost. Taking on moral quandaries and shady business deals rather than one man against the sea; this time things still lend themselves to the story of a single character struggling against forces that seem to be slipping out of his control rather quickly. The premise avoids going directly into that world of 70s and 80s organised crime which has been played out so many times before but still retains many of those elements, and manages to create an atmosphere reminiscent of those older releases through the use of sound and colour to enhance the period setting. It also helps that the cast is great, but does the rest hold up as a thriller or is it less than the sum of these parts?


SUMMER SEQUEL-A-THON

PART 2: THE FIRST TIME WAS ONLY A WARNING

So moving on from features which go in new and humorous directions with the follow up story, it's time to take a look at those inevitable sequels - ones which follow popular or acclaimed releases. With so many book franchises lined up it should be easy not to screw things up that much, right? After all a cash grab rehash is a rare occurance... yeah. Sarcasm and cynicism aside, the lineup we have here doesn't ever get too ridiculous although the results do vary wildly at times. It's interesting that they all use that old trick of delaying the story for a few years to go off on new tangents and recast certain characters. Some might actually be good, which is just a crazy idea. Let's take a look...


Short Film Safari - BARTKIRA

Scorecard

JULY

Life Itself ☆☆☆☆
Mission: Impossible ☆☆☆☆
Avenging Eagle ☆☆☆☆
Evil Dead II ☆☆☆☆
F for Fake ☆☆☆☆
Pom Poko ☆☆☆☆
The Apartment ☆☆☆☆
The Bridge on the River Kwai ☆☆☆☆
The Exorcist III ☆☆☆☆
The Phantom of the Paradise ☆☆☆☆
First Blood ☆☆☆☆
The Raid 2 ☆☆☆☆
The Right Stuff ☆☆☆☆