Criterion Collection presents the Blu-ray & DVD for Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu. Read the film’s official details below.
Having refined his craft in the silent era, Kenji Mizoguchi was an elder statesman of Japanese cinema—fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other younger directors—by the time he made Ugetsu.
And with this exquisite ghost story, a fatalistic wartime tragedy derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, he created a touchstone of his art, his long takes and sweeping camera guiding the viewer through a delirious narrative about two villagers whose pursuit of fame and fortune leads them far astray from their loyal wives. Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.
New 4K Digital Restoration by The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary by filmmaker, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975), a 150-minute documentary by Kaneto Shindo
Two Worlds Intertwined, a 2005 appreciation of Ugetsu by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
Process and Production, a 2005 interview with Tokuzo Tanaka, first assistant director on Ugetsu
Interview from 1992 with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa
An essay by film critic Phillip Lopate (Blu-ray and DVD) and three short stories that influenced Mizoguchi in making the film (Blu-ray only)
This period actioner reunites the legend with director Ding Sheng (Little Big Soldier, Police Story 2013) for a 3rd time. The film also stars Xu Fan (A World Without Thieves), Edison Huang (Gentle Bullet) and Koji (Color War).
In Railroad Tigers, a railroad worker (Chan) and his ragtag group of freedom fighters find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks when they decide to ambush a heavily armed military train filled with desperately needed provisions. Unarmed and outnumbered, they must fight back against an entire army using only their wits, in a series of a dazzling set pieces and action scenes rivaling anything seen on the big screen.
And here’s what you get: 1981’s Kung Fu Zombie, 1982’s Kung Fu From Beyond the Grave, 2004’s Shaolin vs. Evil Dead, 2007’s Shaolin vs. Evil Dead: Ultimate Power, 1997’s Spirited Killer 2, 1998’s Spirited Killer 3 and 1980’s We Are Going To Eat You.
Cityonfire.com and Well Go USA are giving away 3 Blu-ray copies of Three to three lucky City on Fire visitors. To enter, simply add a comment to this post and describe, in your own words, the video below.
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Three will officially be released on April 4, 2017. We will announce the 3 winners on that date
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Back in September 2014, pre-production for The Night Comes For Us – an anticipated action film by Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto of the “Mo Brothers” directing duo (Macabre, Killers, Headshot) – was halted for unknown reasons. But now, according to Tjahjanto himself, The Night is definitely in full swing.
Taslim plays Ito, a gangland enforcer, caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family upon his return home from a stint abroad.
Production on The Night Comes For Us is currently wrapping up, so we should hear more soon. Until then, if you haven’t seen Headshot, it’s currently available on Amazon, iTunes and just about every streaming/VOD service out there.
Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) is currently putting finishing touches on Blade Runner 2049 (aka Blade Runner 2), which has a theatrical release date set for October 6, 2017.
This sequel Ridley Scott’s ground-breaking 1982 science fiction classic, which will take place some years after the first film concluded, has Harrison Ford returning as Rick Deckard.
Blade Runner 2049 also stars Ryan Gosling (Drive), Dave Bautista (Kickboxer: Vengeance), Robin Wright (State of Grace), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and Jared Leto (Suicide Squad).
Ridley Scott, director of the original, is serving as one of the film’s producers and writers. Hampton Fancher, who also worked on the original, is back on board as screenwriter. Michael Green (Green Lantern) is co-writing.
Updates: Edward James Olmos will be reprising his role as Gaff from the original movie. “I signed a seven page non-disclosure contract. I did, my manager did, my agent did, everybody did. I couldn’t talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody about it. Guess what? This is the first time that I’m telling the whole world, that yes, I am going to be Gaff in Blade Runner 2049,” Olmos explained to TTTS.
Joe Lynch, the director of the underrated action flick, Everly, is back with Mayhem, a thriller that may serve as the perfect companion piece to the soon-to-be-released, The Belko Experiment, a Battle Royale-esque film where bloody rage also takes place in an office environment.
Mayhem tells the story of a virus that infects a corporate law office on the day attorney Derek Cho (The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun) is fired after being framed by a co-worker. The infection is capable of making people act out their wildest impulses. Trapped in the quarantined office building, Derek is forced to savagely fight for not only his job, but also his life.
Mayhem also stars Samara Weaving, Dallas Roberts, Claire Dellamar, Kerry Fox, Caroline Chikezie and Steven Brand.
A Poster for Mayhem was recently released, so we expect a Trailer to be popping up soon. Until then, here’s the Trailer for Lynch’s overlooked action flick, Everly:
Aftermath (aka 478) is based on the airline accident that occurred in July of 2002 and on the events that took place 478 days later. It tells the story of guilt and revenge after an air traffic controller’s (Scoot McNairy) error causes the death of a construction foreman’s (Schwarzenegger) wife and daughter.
Aftermath also stars Maggie Grace (Taken), Hannah Ware (Oldboy remake), Mariana Klaveno (West of Redemption), Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead) and Larry Sullivan (Crawlspace).
Aftermath hits theaters on April 7th, 2017. Watch the Trailer below:
According to Mike Leeder’s Impact: The Return of Lucky Stars will not only see the return of many of the original Lucky Stars themselves (the original team included Sammo, Richard Ng, John Sham and Eric Tsang), but introduce the next generation of Lucky Stars for further adventures.
Other projects under the Sammo Hung Films banner inlcude I-Ching Warriors, The Detrimental Protectors, Back to School, Silk Road, To Catch a Killer and Operation:Ground Zero.
We’ll keep you updated on these projects as we hear more. Stay tuned!
Tony Jaa (Skin Trade), Tiger Chen (Man of Tai Chi) and Iko Uwais (The Raid 2, Headshot) will equally headline Jesse V. Johnson’s Triple Threat, an upcoming action film that’s best described as a martial arts-themed Expendables.
According to THR, here’s what you can expect from the plot: Triple Threat revolves after a billionaire’s daughter becomes the target of a mercenary cartel. Her only protection are two down-on-their-luck fighters and a third who has vowed revenge against the others. Jaa, Uwais and Chen are the protagonists, while American thespians Adkins, Bisping and White are the villains.
We’ll keep you updated on Triple Threat as we hear more. For now, let’s give Tiger Chen (the lesser-known of the three headlining stars) some props in the trailer for Man of Tai Chi:
Edgar Wright, the genius director known for his pleasantly paced, comedic brand of culture-induced films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) is back with an innovative project that’s being described as an “action crime musical film”.
The movie, titled Baby Driver, involves a young getaway driver named “Baby” (The Fault in Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort), who finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail. In the process, he meets the girl of his dreams (Lily James).
Baby Driver also stars Kevin Spacey (Superman Returns), Jon Bernthal (The Wolf of Wall Street), Eiza González (From Dusk till Dawn: The Series), Jon Hamm (The Town) and Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained).
Don’t miss the film’s exciting Trailer below. Unlike most of what makes up the Fast and Furious franchise, Baby Driver relies more on practical effects, than CGI. The film hits theaters on June 28, 2017.
AKA: Eighteen Martial Arts Director: Kim Si-hyun Writer: Kim Kyeong-il Cast: Dragon Lee (Mun Kyong-sok), Yuen Qiu, Choi Min-kyu, Baek Hwang-ki, Kim Ki-ju, Kim Ki-ju Running Time: 83 min.
Back when I was first getting into the kung fu genre many years ago, upon witnessing a handful of Korea’s contributions, I confess to being quick to write them off as low budget imitations of Hong Kong’s far superior output. Looking back, I now feel like I jumped to that conclusion in haste, and over the years have become more and more convinced that, far from being imitations of Hong Kong’s own kung fu flicks, the Korean kung fu movie exists in its own quirky little world. Admittedly, many of the countries titles are all but impossible to view in their original language and version, with those readily available being re-titled, re-dubbed and re-cut versions released by Godfrey Ho and Tomas Tang’s Asso Asia distribution company. It was a practice that formed a successful business model in the late 70’s and 80’s, as western audience’s appetite for kung fu movies secured a successful return for these radically altered variations of the original production.
Director Kim Si-hyun’s 1981 movie Eighteen Martial Arts is one such example of this, with the Dragon Lee starring adventure re-titled Dragon, the Young Master for its western release. Si-hyun was no stranger to making kung fu movies, and is a name synonymous with the genre in Korea. His movies were also no stranger to being given the Asso Asia treatment, with his other collaborations with Dragon Lee, such as A Fight at Hong Kong Ranch, being re-titled to Golden Dragon, Silver Snake, and Secret Bandit of Black Leopard being re-titled to Enter the Invincible Hero. Both Si-hyun and Lee had extremely busy years in 1981, with Si-hyun helming 4 productions, and Lee starring in a total of 6 movies, the highest number in his filmography (note the source for these figures is the Korean Movie Database).
The plot for Dragon, the Young Master revolves around the mysterious figure of the Silver Ninja. Indeed the biggest part of the characters mystery is that he’s not silver at all, but rather is distinctive thanks to his all white attire and knitted white balaclava. Yes, if you’re thinking that he’s also technically not a ninja either, you’d be correct. Amusingly, when not involved in any action, the Silver Ninja wears a triangular black hat which covers his whole head, with two holes cut out for the eyes, giving the appearance of a low budget kung fu Darth Vader. Trust me when I say that it’s no spoiler to reveal that the Silver Ninja is Dragon Lee, from the moment he appears on screen and starts gesturing with his head and giving the thumbs down to a group of bandits, it’s blatantly obvious. So for those who want to see Dragon Lee unleashing his kicks while wearing a white balaclava and cape (correct, a cape), you’ve come to the right place.
As with too many Dragon Lee movies to mention, here he plays a wanderer, and as usual, it turns out that he has a secret agenda of revenge. For Dragon, the Young Master he’s paired with kung fu femme fatale Yuen Qiu. While these days Qiu is most well known for playing the landlady in Kung Fu Hustle, it’s worth remembering that she went to the same Opera School as the likes of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, and back in the day certainly had the moves. Interestingly from 1978 – 1981 she appeared in three Korean kung fu movies, all starring alongside Dragon Lee, with the other two being Dragon Lee Vs. The Five Brothers and The Dragon’s Snake Fist. Lee is soon busting the moves on Qiu’s flower seller, and performs an impressive fight scene against a group of thugs harassing her, were he keeps a white rose between his teeth from start to finish.
Qiu thankfully isn’t relegated to a damsel in distress role, and proves that she’s more than capable of handling herself, eventually teaming up with Lee that sees her on equal action footing with her co-star. The contrast between the pairs fighting styles is one of the highlights of Dragon, the Young Master, with Lee’s trusty mantis fist and Taekwondo kicks nicely offset by Qiu’s acrobatic flourishes and handwork. As with any Korean kung fu movie, the action comes thick and fast, and the heroic pair get to take on pretty much a who’s who of Korean kung fu talent of the era. Taking on both fight choreographer duties, and playing the main villain of the piece, is Choi Min-kyu, an actor who I’d dare say has made an appearance in every Korean kung fu movie I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot). Throw in plenty of familiar faces such as Baek Hwang-ki and Kim Ki-ju, and any fan of Korean kung fu cinema from the era definitely won’t be left wanting.
One point that becomes clear as soon as you start watching Dragon, the Young Master, is that it appears to have been filmed in the depths of the Korean winter. If the visible breath didn’t give it away, then the snow covered landscapes certainly do. Thankfully the wardrobe department have given Lee more than his standard white t-shirt to wear this time around, and the winter setting does allow for a great one-on-one fight featuring Lee at the 30 minute mark, which takes place on a snow covered frozen lake. I wasn’t able to identify who Lee is fighting against, however he provides a worthy opponent for Lee’s skills. The fact that they’re fighting on ice introduces the unique sight of them sliding at each other rather than charging, and there’s some nice exchanges. The same fight also highlights the comedic elements of the movie, with Lee at one point crouching down between the legs of his opponent, and unleashing a barrage of head butts to the nether regions.
An equal amount of comedy is conveyed through the often hilarious dubbing. The line “You’re the Silver Ninja!” must be delivered to Lee over 100 times, and rarely a minute goes by without someone being called a fool, bastard, or being asked if they’re tired of living (a staple line of almost every Asso Asia dubbed movie). The intentional comedy doesn’t fare quite as well, and there are some cringe inducing scenes to suffer though, one in particular which sees a thug adorn his head with a pair of horns, and proceed to charge at Lee while he waves a table cloth like a matador. Luckily though these scenes are in short supply, with some nonsensical dubbing always just around the corner to bring proceedings back on track. A highlight sees a group of bandits return to Min-kyu after being heavily defeated, to which he bellows at one of them “Look into my eyes!” Immediately after doing so, the bandit drops dead. However this seemingly supernatural power is never touched upon again, it looks like the dubbing crew just threw it in there for fun as it fit the scene.
The finale eventually builds to a showdown which sees Lee and Qiu team-up to take on a sword wielding Min-kyu and his brother, played by Kim Ki-ju (decked out in a bow-tie combo, which is never explained). It’s a lengthy fight, which for the most part has Lee and Qiu perform empty handed, however mid-way through Qiu does arm herself with a pair of daggers, and Lee also reveals an extendable fencing sword – think Donnie Yen’s extendable baton from SPL. Bizarrely, Lee only uses it to gain the upper hand, and once he has it (about 20 seconds later) immediately throws it away, a decision that I found to be as hilarious as it was random. The finale also allows for Lee to go into wild mode, with some seriously intense head shaking and chicken clucking going on. Even Qui gets in on the madness, at one point deciding to head butt everyone instead of simply punching or kicking them. Needless to say, by the time the pair are ferociously ripping Min-kyu’s clothes off, there’s no doubt that it could only be a Korean kung fu flick.
While Dragon, the Young Master doesn’t quite rank up there with Lee and Si-hyun’s previously mentioned collaborations, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with it. From location spotting (eagle eyed viewers will notice the Lee and Qiu throwdown against Min-kyu is in the same temple that features in Secret Ninja, Roaring Tiger), to the hilarious dubbing, to a manic finale that sees Lee crank it up to 11. For fans of Dragon Lee, there should be no hesitation to check this out, and for everyone else, as long as you remember that white is the new silver, there should be something to enjoy as well.
Hong Kong actor/filmmaker Nick Cheung (The White Storm) is stepping out of his comfort zone by making a gangster-themed movie called Taste of Crime, which will serve as his 3rd directorial project. You may recall that his first two features – 2014’s Hungry Ghost Ritual and 2015’s Keeper of the Darkness – were both horror genre films.
Plot details on Taste of Crime are thin, but judging from the film’s new Trailer (below) audiences can expect stylish, bleak thriller with shades of explosive action. Also highlighted is a little girl that is apparently being protected by Cheung’s character, which makes one think Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional or Lee Jeong-beom’s The Man from Nowhere (or for you Bollywood fans, Rocky Handsome).
Without further ado, check out the film’s Trailer below (via AFS):
Max Zhang – the rising star of The GrandmasterS.P.L. IIand Ip Man 3 – is revisiting danger in The Brink, an upcoming thriller by first-time director Jonathan Li.
The Brink follows a group of fishermen who smuggle gold and the cops who chase them. It’s reported that the film will feature an extensive amount of Thunderball-esque underwater action sequences. In the film, Zhang sports blonde hair, just like James Tien did in 1973’s Seaman No. 7, which also featured underwater action sequences (see trailer below).
Australian actor George Lazenby has an upcoming documentary film about his life called Becoming Bond (the film was previously known as This Never Happened to the Other Fella – a title that’s a direct reference to his fourth-wall breaking line in the opening sequence of On Her Majesties Secret Service, his one and only outing as James Bond).
The stranger-than-fiction true story of Lazenby, a poor Australian car mechanic who, through an unbelievable set of circumstances, landed the role of James Bond in 1969, despite having never acted a day in his life. Then after being offered the next seven Bond films and a $1 million signing bonus, he turned it all down…
The Gangster | aka Antapal | Blu-ray & DVD (Magnolia)
Today’s Deal on Fire is the Blu-ray for Kongkiat Khomsiri’s The Gangster (aka Antapal). Set in the 1960s, The Gangster is based on the true story of a notorious gangster and the origins of the Bangkokian mafia.
The Gangster is based on the notorious Bangkokian gangs of the 1950s-60s. The story follows a newly released prisoner who desires to live Straight, but knowing nothing else but the life of a gangster, he returns to his old gang.
The film contains documentary segments in which old-timers from that era are interviewed and talk about criminal activity.
In addition to Jesse V. Johnson’s Triple Threat, which is being described as an Asian Expendables-type flick starring Tony Jaa (Skin Trade), Angelababy (Mojin: The Lost Legend), Tiger Chen (Man of Tai Chi) and Iko Uwais (The Raid 2), there’s another high profile martial arts film in-the-works that Jaa is co-starring in called Paradox (aka Fate).
Directed by Wilson Yip (Ip Man 3) and produced by Soi Cheang (SPL II), Paradox stars Louis Koo (League of Gods) as a police negotiator who travels to Bangkok to search for his teenage daughter and is aided by local detectives played by Jaa and Wu Yue (Journey to the West).
“Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids” Theatrical Poster
With Erik Matti’s Buy Bust and Pedring Lopez’ Breachin early stages of production, a new film titled Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids is definitely a taste of what’s yet to come in the world of Filipino martial arts cinema.
“My main motivation in doing Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids is to improve the appreciation of Filipino martial arts. We have to change people’s perspective about it,” prizefighter-turned-filmmaker Vincent Soberano (Police Story: 2013) told MB, who also stars in the film.
“They’ve used Filipino martial arts in blockbuster action films like John Wick, Jason Bourne,Frankenstein, and a huge list of other films, but no one knows its Filipino because its always portrayed by Hollywood stars. It’s about time I did,” Soberano recently stated (via CB).
Blood Hunters also stars John Arceo (Amok), Janice Hung (Wansapanataym) and Taekwondo Olympian-turned-Makati Congressman Monsour Del Rosario (Techno Warriors, Bloodfist II).
Hopefully Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybridswill pop up in some way, shape or form for the rest of the world to see, but until then, here’s the film’s newest Teaser (via CB):
Tom Cruise, eat your heart out. Louis Koo (Accident) and Lau Ching Wan (The Bullet Vanishes) are doing the powered exoskeleton thing with Warriors of Future (previously known as Virtus), an upcoming sci-fi action flick that may possibly be Hong Kong’s answer to all that Halo, Robocop and Edge of Tomorrow stuff.
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