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Criterion in July 2018: Dragon Inn and A Matter Of Life And Death, Plus Sex, Baseball, Hollywood

Home video fans may want to start looking for second jobs for the summer, because the Criterion Collection is teasing a wealth of goodies in July. The first two that grabbed my eye are King Hu's Dragon Inn, which I got to see once on 35mm, leaving the images happily burned into my brain; and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, which I've only seen on television yet is seared into my heart. Both films will make their debut on Blu-ray in "stunning new 4K digital restorations." Sex and baseball are highlighted in two films that, really, only use their respective theme(s) as a jumping-off point. Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape...

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‘sex, lies, and videotape,’ ‘Bull Durham,’ and More Joining the Criterion Collection in July

‘sex, lies, and videotape,’ ‘Bull Durham,’ and More Joining the Criterion Collection in July
The Criterion Collection has announced its July titles, including Steven Soderbergh’s Palme d’Or–winning “sex, lies, and videotape” and Ron Shelton’s baseball classic “Bull Durham.” Also joining the Collection are King Hu’s wuxia masterwork “Dragon Inn,” Powell and Pressburger’s endlessly moving “A Matter of Life and Death,” and a new box set celebrating the collaboration between Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg. Full details below.

Bull Durham

“Former minor leaguer Ron Shelton hit a grand slam with his directorial debut, one of the most revered sports movies of all time. Durham Bulls devotee Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon)-who every year takes a new player under her wing (and into her bed)-has singled out the loose-cannon pitching prospect Nuke Laloosh (Tim Robbins), a big-league talent with a rock-bottom maturity level. But she’s unable to shake Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), the veteran catcher brought in
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Film Review: One-Armed Swordsman (1967) by Chang Cheh

In the late 1960’s, the Wu Xia Genre was elevated to a new level of sophistication through the release of two very influential movies. The first came in 1966 with King Hu’s seminal work “Come Drink With Me” to be followed swiftly the year later, with “One Armed Swordsman”. Fifty years on the movie, and it still retains a good deal of its power despite the inevitable dating. Voted the 15th Best Chinese Language Film in a Hong Kong movie poll in 2005 and loosely reimagined by Tsui Hark with “The Blade” in 1995, “One-Armed Swordsman” remains one of Hong Kong Cinema’s most ground breaking works.

Master Chi Ju Fung (Tien Feng) comes under attack, only to be rescued by his servant who loses his life in doing so. Chi Ju Fung agrees to look after his son as though he were his own, to repay the debt.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Film Review: Legend of the Mountain (1979) by King Hu

Mostly known for elevating the wuxia genre in unprecedented heights, with films like “A Touch of Zen” and “Dragon Inn”, King Hu has also implemented his impressive aesthetics to this 1979 film, which lingers between the thriller and the ghost story, as usual including Zen Buddhist philosophy. Eureka Entertainment presents this epic in all of its 191 minutes, in a fully restored edition, in stunning 4K.

The story is adapted from a Song Dynasty folk tale and revolves around Ho Yunqing, a young scholar who is tasked by an eminent monk to transcribe a Buddhist sutra said to have immense power over the spirits of the afterlife. To execute his work in peace, he travels to the abandoned premises of an ex-general deep in the mountains, where he encounters a number of strange people. These include Mr Tsui, the man who welcomes him in the area, the mysterious and
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Giveaway – Win Legend of the Mountain on Dual Format

Eureka Entertainment is set to release Legend of the Mountain, the beautifully restored directors’ cut of a King Hu masterpiece, as part of The Masters of Cinema Series in a definitive Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on March 19th 2018, and we have three copies to give away. Read on for details of how to enter…

Although most commonly associated with the Wuxia genre, in 1979 King Hu directed the epic fantasy-horror, Legend of the Mountain. Heavily influenced by traditional Chinese aesthetics and Zen Buddhist philosophy, it has come to be regarded as one of his greatest filmmaking achievements.

A young scholar, Ho Yunqing (Shih Jun, A Touch of Zen, Dragon Inn), is tasked by an eminent monk to transcribe a Buddhist sutra said to have immense power over the spirits of the afterlife. To execute his work in peace, he travels to an isolated monastery deep in the mountains, where he
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'Legend of the Mountain': Film Review

'Legend of the Mountain': Film Review
Students, count Legend of the Mountain as a reminder to hit those books hard: fail your exams and you might get stuck not just with jobs of rote drudgery, but with demons and sorcerers constantly looking over your shoulder and telling you to work faster. This lesser-known work by Touch of Zen and Come Drink With Me auteur King Hu, just restored for its American debut, contains a charming take on magic for viewers willing to stretch their attention spans. Beautiful settings and eccentric effects work enliven a tale that's more than meets the eye, giving budding wuxia scholars ample...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

NYC Weekend Watch: Women Filmmakers, Scorsese Restorations, Erotic Thrillers, Black Superheroes & More

Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.


“Tell Me: Women’s Filmmakers, Women’s Stories” shines a necessary light, with the likes of Varda and Akerman screening.

King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain has been restored, and is complemented by an outstanding weekend of martial-art films.

Demy’s Lola will play on Sunday.

Museum of Modern Art

Scorsese-backed restorations, “To Save and Project,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Review: Beat the Devil—King Hu's "Legend of the Mountain"

  • MUBI
It begins with a Wagnerian incantation: elemental imagery calling forth the natural world. Brassy, discordant horns rising with the sun, the mountain, the clouds and the river, a lake, an ocean, always water, rushing, falling, churning. A lone figure appears, dwarfed by the crashing sea, a pinprick of consciousness in a beautifully indifferent nature. The man is a scholar, an itinerant copyist, a voice from nowhere explains, on a mission to copy an ancient sutra, magical words with the power to control the spirits of the dead. He’s played by Shih Chun, the heroic swordsman of Dragon Gate Inn (1967), and his role here is much like his one in A Touch of Zen (1971): a clever man who finds himself well out of his spiritual depth. That scholar though had a home, dilapidated though it was, and a mother, henpecking as she was, and, eventually, a child. This man has no roots,
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Phil’s Top 10 [Cinema] Films of 2017

2017 has been, at least for me, a fantastic year for movies. There has been some great films in the cinema, on DVD and VOD and the film festivals we’ve covered have been jam-packed with quality movies. Which makes it Very hard to narrow down a list of the Top 10 of the year!

So, with that being said, I’ve decided that this year I’d split my picks into two distinct lists – the ten best films I saw in cinemas, be it at the local multiplex or at film festivals; and the ten best direct-to-market titles of the year, be they DVD or VOD.

Up first, my Top 10 picks of the cinematic releases of 2017 – in the order I saw them… And yes, even under this criteria, it’s still hard to pin down Just a Top 10!

The Warriors Gate

(Screened at Frightfest Glasgow 2017) The Warriors Gate sees Jack (Uriah Shelton
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Contemporary Chinese Cinema: The Year So Far

  • MUBI
Contemporary Chinese Cinema is a column devoted to exploring contemporary Chinese-language cinema primarily as it is revealed to us at North American multiplexes.Over the last few years it has become increasingly easy to see mainstream Asian films in North America at the same time they are released in their home countries. Thanks to partnerships with small, international distributors, the major multiplex chains (AMC, Cinemark, Regal) have devoted a handful of screens in major markets to showing new releases from India, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Most of these titles fall under the radar of both critics and audiences outside the diasporic communities to which they are targeted. They play for a week or two and then disappear, outside of a handful of breakout titles. Last year Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid made headlines for its high per-screen averages in North America as it shattered domestic box office records in China.
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Rushes. Greta Gerwig, Algorithmically Created Videos, Paul Thomas Anderson

  • MUBI
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.Recommended Viewinga stunning trailer for the 4k restoration and re-release of Legend of the Mountain (1979), an under-seen, contemplative action masterpiece by Come Drink with Me and A Touch of Zen director King Hu.Hong Sang-soo's On the Beach at Night Alone gets a wry and incisive new trailer for its imminent U.S. release. We wrote on the film in February, and later interviewed the director about it.For De Filmkrant, Notebook contributors Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin investigate in a new video essay the virtuous modulation to be found in Howard Hawks' and Barbara Stanwyck's talents in Ball of Fire.Commissioned by Renzo, Le CiNéMa Club has premiered three inspired short films from Mati Diop, Eduardo Williams, and Baptist Penetticobra all loosely interpreting the theme "Inhabit the earth".Recommended READINGIn
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‘Legend of the Mountain’ Trailer: Check Out the Martial Arts Classic That Inspired Films Like ‘The Matrix’

  • Indiewire
‘Legend of the Mountain’ Trailer: Check Out the Martial Arts Classic That Inspired Films Like ‘The Matrix’
North America, UK, and Ireland audiences will soon have the opportunity to view the quintessential wuxia film, King Hu’s “Legend of the Mountain” as it was meant to be seen. Kino Lorber and Eureka Entertainment has acquired the film rights through the Taiwan Film Institute and have brought new life into the acclaimed director’s work by reintroducing the digital image in 4K.

The three-hour director’s cut of “Legend of the Mountain” debuted at the Venice Film Festival and will be released as part of The Masters of Cinema Series in 2018. This is the third film of Hu’s that will be released after digital restoration, following “Dragon Inn” and “A Touch of Zen.”

Read More:Exclusive: Trailers For Janus Films Re-release Of King Hu’s Wuxia Classics ‘A Touch Of Zen’ And ‘Dragon Inn’

“We are delighted to have acquired the rights for the UK and Us for
See full article at Indiewire »

A Poet of Spatiality and Structure: Curator Shelly Kraicer on Johnnie To

  • MUBI
A prominent commercial filmmaker in Hong Kong since the mid-80s, the career path and status of Johnnie To is distinctive from contemporaries such as John Woo, Tsui Hark, and Wong Kar-wai. Solely committed to his national cinema, he made a point of never venturing to Hollywood and even formed his own production company, Milkyway Image, in 1996. Only in the mid-2000s when films like Breaking News (2005) and Election (2006) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival was Johnnie To given auteur consideration by Western critics and audiences. Even then, it was only his crime and action genre work, characterized by their elegant style and directorial control, that found critical success and was seen as commercially viable for international markets. With over 50 features under his belt, Johnnie To has a massive oeuvre not bound to any single mode and while he is one of contemporary cinema’s greatest formalist filmmakers, his fluency in visual storytelling transcends genre.
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Criterion Now – Episode 28 – Olympic Films, Limite, November Predictions

Matt returns to the podcast and we dig into the big Olympic box news, plus talk some World Cinema Project, Dersu Uzala, and plenty of other art films. We also reveal our contest winners and take a stab at the November announcements with some help from the community.

Episode Notes

11:30 – Olympic Box Set

28:30 – Contest Results

38:00 – November Predictions

49:00 – Limite

1:01:00 – Short Takes (Dersu Uzala, The Breaking Point)

1:15:30 – FilmStruck

Episode Links Dave’s Criterion Video 100 Years of Criterion Films Kino Lorber and Eureka Entertainment Acquire 4K Restoration of King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain, Announce Blu-ray Releases All of the Films Joining FilmStruck in August Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Matthew Gasteier: Twitter | Letterboxd Criterion Now: Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter

Music for the show is from Fatboy Roberts’ Geek Remixed project.
See full article at CriterionCast »

“Old School Kung Fu Fest” Returns To The Metrograph For Seventh Installment

Few cinematic genres are more polarizing to audiences than that of kung-fu cinema. For those who the genre rubs the right way, these are some of the most exciting and captivating works of pure cinema (bodies interacting with one another through space and time) around, while its detractors frown sternly in the face of its arch choreography and B-movie storylines. However, thanks to The Metrograph and its ongoing Old School Kung Fu Fest (now in its seventh iteration under the leadership of the team at Subway Cinema), these films are finding not only a new home among critics but also new found context within film writ large.

This seventh installment is entitled Wonder Women Of The Martial Arts, or that’s at least the festival’s central theme, as this slate features only films that are led by female performers. Seven films are included here, led most notably by King Hu
See full article at CriterionCast »

Old School Kung Fu Fest Returns with a Kick-Ass Look at the Wonder Women of Martial Arts

Old School Kung Fu Fest Returns with a Kick-Ass Look at the Wonder Women of Martial Arts
August can be a miserable time to go to the movies, and it’s almost always a miserable time to be in New York City. But, for at least one glorious weekend this month, neither of those time-honored facts will be true. Beginning on Friday, August 18, Subway Cinema’s Old School Kung Fu Fest returns to The Metrograph theater in lower Manhattan for another incredible weekend of flying courtesans, iconic sword fights, and even a little pistol action for people who like their body-chops and dropkicks with some bullets on the side.

Capping off a female-driven summer movie season that kicked off with “Wonder Woman” back in early June, the seventh edition of this deeply beloved fest is devoted to the “Wonder Women of the Martial Arts,” and it boasts some of the fiercest ladies to ever leap over an unsuspecting henchman. The seven films in this year’s program
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Interview with Yuhang Ho: We wanted the fights to be realistic and nothing too flashy

Yuhang Ho was trained as an engineer but went into film-making due to his love for vintage films. He began his career by shooting commercials in the mid 1990’s. In 2000, he co-directed a Malaysian documentary “Semangat Insan: Masters of Tradition” highlighting the need to preserve Malaysia’s traditional art forms. He then made his feature film directorial debut in the 2003 film “Min”.He went to receive international recognition for his film “Rain Dogs”, won the New Talent Award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2006 and also named best director at the Festival of the Three Continents in 2006.

His 2009 revenge drama “At The End of Daybreak” revived the career of the veteran actress Kara Hui, who was an action star of the Shaw Brothers era. “Daybreak” earned her seven best actress awards. She has since gone on to star in “Wu Xia,” “Rigor Mortis,” and “The Midnight After.”

On the
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Rushes. Asian Film Awards, James Gray, Anatomy of a Gag, Agnès Varda

  • MUBI
Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveriesNEWSLam SuetThis year's Asian Film Awards are most notable for giving beloved Hong Kong character actor (and Johnnie To axiom) Lam Suet the award for Best Supporting Actor (for Trivisa). We were also happy to see that Tsui Hark (still madly inventive with this year's Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back) was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.Chinese actress Li Li-hua has died at the age of 92. While not very well known in the West—except perhaps in the obscure Frank Borzage film China Doll (1958)—Li's work for the Shaw Brothers studio and, later, Golden Harvest, minted many classics, including Li Han-hsiang's The Magnificent Concubine (1962), and Storm Over the Yangtse River (1969), as well as King Hu's The Fate of Lee Khan (1975).For those who aren't able to travel to the Locarno Film Festival but are able to
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Glasgow Frightfest ’17: ‘The Warrior’s Gate’ Review

Stars: David Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Mark Chao, Francis Ng, Zha Ka, Kara Hui, Dakota Daulby | Written by Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen | Directed by Matthias Hoene

Filmed in 2015, The Warrior’s Gate sees Jack (Shelton), a bullied teenager mistaken for the video game hero he plays in his favourite game, magically transported to China, on a mission to save Su Lin, the princess he had been tasked with protecting. He teams with warrior Zhoo (Chao) and a flaky wizard (Ng) to stop the evil Arun (Bautista) from marrying the princess and get back home. ALong the way he learns bravery, inner strength and, of course, kung-fu!

The first in a three-picture deal between Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp and China’s Fundamental Films, The Warrior’s Gate is a French/Chinese co-production, written by long-time Besson collaborator Robert Mark Kamen (The Karate Kid, Lethal Weapon 3, The Transporter), helmed
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‘Sword Master’ Exclusive Trailer: Derek Yee’s Wuxia Martial Arts Extravaganza Comes to Home Video — Watch

‘Sword Master’ Exclusive Trailer: Derek Yee’s Wuxia Martial Arts Extravaganza Comes to Home Video — Watch
Even a master swordsman isn’t safe when it comes to Derek Yee’s wild wuxia adventure, appropriately titled “Sword Master.” In the new martial arts extravaganza, a once-powerful swordsman turns his back on his own violent nature and formidable talents to live a quiet and humble life away from the world. It’s the kind of great and understandable pursuit that is, of course, totally thrown for a loop by outside forces.

Read More: Exclusive: Trailers For Janus Films Re-release Of King Hu’s Wuxia Classics ‘A Touch Of Zen’ And ‘Dragon Inn’

Per the film’s official synopsis, “A powerful swordsman is haunted by the destructive impact his deadly talents have on others. Weary of the bloodshed and violence from the martial arts world, he banishes himself to the humble life of a vagrant, wandering the fringes of society. But his violent past refuses to let him go quietly.
See full article at Indiewire »
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