Friday, June 28, 2013

Hong Kong Poster : Fist Of Legend

It's been quite a while since I last blogged a poster, so to remedy that here is the Hong Kong poster for Gordon Chan's excellent Fist Of Legend. Comfortably one of the best fight films of the 1990's, and easily one of the best of Jet Li's career. It also has to be one of the most striking posters of the period too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recent And Not So Recent Buys Criterion Blu Edition

It's been quite a while since I did a recent buys post due to a number of reasons including last year's Favourite Hong Kong Movies series and my enforced layoff throughout the winter. Neither of those things prevented me picking up dvds and blu rays however, so here is the first lot centred on Criterion blu rays. Three of them are upgrades and two are blind buys, upgrades first.

Wong Kar Wai's masterful In The Mood For Love was a film crying out for the jump to blu ray and Criterion haven't disappointed us at all with a sumptuous transfer.

David Cronenberg's Videodrome remains not only one of my favourite horror films of all time, but also one of the most important of the modern era. A superb transfer and stellar extras round out a must have package. They even recreated the video tape style packaging for the blu release.

The extras package for Seijun Suzuki's Branded To Kill maybe slim, but the transfer of the stunning monochrome photography featured in the film is well worth the upgrade for what is one of my favourite Japanese movies. Branded To Kill was my first taste of Suzuki, when I caught it on a late night tv screening in the mid 90's. I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing it was so bizarre. As I was watching it I was also recording it and on waking the next day, I had to watch it again to make sure I hadn't dreamt the whole thing. One of the few films I make sure I watch at least once a year.

Onto the blind buys and the first one is a film I really should have seen before but never have, and that is...

A film I've always wanted to see, but never have. Now with the chance to see it looking probably as good as it ever has, there has never been a better time.

Lastly we have Terrence Malick's Days Of Heaven, since becoming a fan of Malick's work thanks to The Thin Red Line, Days Of Heaven has intrigued me, yet I found the subject matter unappealing. The chance to see the film on blu rekindled my interest and I'm just waiting for the right moment to see those cornfields in their all their golden glory.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Citizen Kane? How About Citizen To...

I'm currently gearing up for the imminent arrival of Drug War on blu ray and to get in the mood I thought I'd share some Johnnie To themed pictures with you all. These are taken from the April 2006 issue of City Magazine, an upmarket lifestyle mag from Hong Kong. Written entirely in Chinese, City Magazine appears to be the kind of publication I would usually avoid like the plague. You know the type, where you find twenty pages of glossy ads for ridiculously expensive designer labels before you reach the contents pages, and even then they're split over multiple pages with yet more glossy ads in between. So why then did I buy it?

This is the issue that was released to coincide with the 2006 Hong Kong International Film Festival, where the focus (for the Hong Kong side of things at least) was the first ten years of Milkyway Image. It was a really busy time for To, in addition to the premiere of Election 2 and screenings of many of the Milkyway films, there was a book launch for Milkyway Image : Beyond Imagination and also an exhibition of To's still photography titled On Location, mainly as the name suggests behind the scenes shots taken on set or shots of his actors during shooting.

To celebrate this City Magazine chose to feature Johnnie To on the cover and as the main article, choosing to call it Citizen King and do a photo shoot based on Citizen Kane.

Along with an interview with To the article also features a few of To's own photos from the set of Throwdown. As I mentioned before the entire thing is in Chinese, so unfortunately I can't read any of it but it's worth having for the pictures.

The monolithic Tony Leung (TM Jacob Feltner)
To round this post off here are a couple of my own photos from the On Location exhibition.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Akira Special Collection CAV Japanese Laserdisc

No sooner had I pulled the trigger on the Criterion Akira laserdisc featured in this post, than I came across this beautiful Japanese CAV edition of Otomo's classic anime. I tried hard to resist, really I did but eventually the pull of this set was simply too strong!

Titled the Special Collection and released by Pioneer, like the Criterion edition this is spread over three laserdiscs. Each disc has it's own sleeve with different artwork, and as seems to be the norm with Japanese lds it comes with an insert, this one featuring writing on the film by Moebius, Alejandro Jodorowsky and James Cameron amongst other things.

Onto the insert, I haven't taken pictures of everything as it was difficult to photograph in the light available, I may come back to this and update at some point in the future.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Additions To The Laserdisc Library : Criterion

My good friend Wes over at Plutonium Shores has written a sister post to this one, to see his Art of Japanese Laserdisc click the link, in which he highlights his Japanese lds of the same titles.

A couple of recent Criterion additions to the laserdisc library, one a film I've never seen and the other a hugely important film both for myself and no doubt many others. The first is David Cronenberg's Crash, this being the only legitimate route to listening to his commentary track for the film.

The second disc is the CAV edition of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira, as I mentioned it's a film that made a huge impression on me and opened my eyes to the wide world of cinema beyond the latest action and horror releases that were my staple diet at the time. The three disc set comes in a fantastic triple gatefold sleeve, I'd been searching for a reasonably priced copy of this for a while and I was ecstatic to finally get it.

For fans of Akira look out for something special coming soon to A Hero Never Dies!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bullet In The Head Promotional Booklet And An Appeal

Few Hong Kong movies from the late 80's and early 90's were ever deemed fit to be promoted in English language territories, leaving would be collectors of HK cinema memorabilia counting down the days to the invention of the internet. So I was delighted to hear from NH in the comments section of my Bullet In The Head review where he mentioned a promo booklet for the film, something I had never seen. I asked him if he could send me pictures of it, which he very kindly did along with consent to share them with everyone on here. Click the pics with text for the larger versions.

And now an appeal, I'm trying to find a copy of the festival print of the film and so far I've had no luck whatsoever. If anyone can help me track it down I'd be eternally grateful! If you can help please contact me via email.

Finally, a huge thank you to NH for the pics.

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