• Dreaming the Reality

    Dreaming the Reality

    ★★★★

    Ostensibly an ideal paring of Moon Lee and Oshima Yukari, who dueled so memorably in Teresa Woo’s Iron Angels, but ultimately stolen by Sibelle Hu. They play two women who have been raised since childhood by Eddy Ko to be the perfect assassins. Moon starts to feel some human emotions when one of their hits incinerates a van-full of children, but things really go wrong on a mission to Thailand, where Moon gets knocked unconscious and catches a nasty case…

  • The Cat's Meow

    The Cat's Meow

    ★★★½

    Wild to think that Hollywood was barely 15 years old when this all happened and it was already completely dead inside.

  • Airplane!

    Airplane!

    ★★★★★

    Family movie night. 

    10 year old: 24563/10. Stephen Stucker as Johnny and Otto the Autopilot were the best. Feels bad for all the people who sadly suffered listening to Stryker’s stories. 

    8 year old: 100628/10. Favorite part was when the plane drove into the airport. And the part where the plane crashed. And he liked the part where in the flashback the Vietnam war planes were actually old planes like from World War II.

  • Duck Amuck

    Duck Amuck

    ★★★★★

    Family movie night preshow before Airplane!

  • Mr. Vampire

    Mr. Vampire

    ★★★★½

    The first time I watched this, I remember thinking there wasn't nearly enough Lam Ching-ying in it, that he was sidelined for a bunch of mediocre Ricky Hui hijinks. And I didn't remember Moon Lee at all. But this time, I barely noticed Hui--Billy Lau is the annoying one, but he really isn't on screen much either. Instead, Lam dominates the film, at least any scene that Moon Lee doesn't steal (Me describing the cast to my wife, who sat…

  • T2 Trainspotting

    T2 Trainspotting

    ★★★

    Growing old is wild.

  • Return of the 18 Bronzemen

    Return of the 18 Bronzemen

    ★★★★

    Probably the most confounding entry in the excellent Joseph Kuo boxset from Eureka. Not so much because of the film, which is certainly unusual, but because it is so obviously merely the first part of a multi-film story (despite its title it is not in fact a sequel to The 18 Bronzemen). James Oliver, in the Eureka booklet (he wrote the well-informed and insightful notes for every film in the set), claims that the story was never finished and that…

  • 18 Bronzemen

    18 Bronzemen

    ★★★★

    Finally an honest-to-God Shaolin film from Joseph Kuo, and of course it’s not one that has the word “Shaolin” in the title. Focusing on the Temple’s site as a center of pro-Ming resistance to the nascent Qing Dynasty, it otherwise follows a typical Kuo revenge plot: like in The 36 Deadly Styles, children are programmed from birth to take revenge on behalf of their murdered fathers, men they never knew, who were killed for reasons they barely understand.

    Review at The Chinese Cinema.

  • The Shaolin Kids

    The Shaolin Kids

    ★★★★

    Like Shaolin Kung Fu, this has very little to do with the mythology around the Shaolin Temple, nor does it feature any kids, at least of the non-grown up variety. Nor is it a kung fu film in the vein of the Shaolin cycle Chang Cheh and Lau Kar-leung were exploring at the same time over in Hong Kong. Instead, it’s a wuxia historical epic along the lines of Chang’s The Heroic Ones that is deeply indebted to the early…

  • Shaolin Kung Fu

    Shaolin Kung Fu

    ★★★½

    Has almost nothing to do with Shaolin and really not much kung fu either, at least of the philosophical variety you’d find in more reputable films. Instead it has a whole lot of fighting: quick and brutal, if not especially gory. The initial setting, sporadic fisticuffs breaking out between rival rickshaw companies, recalls Sammo Hung’s Pedicab Driver, as does its milieu of the working poor (in both films the drivers are equated with bar girl/prostitute counterparts). But there’s none of…

  • The Old Master

    The Old Master

    ★★

    Honestly pretty terrible vehicle for Seven Little Fortunes impresario Yu Jim-yuen. He plays a kung fu master who comes to Hong Kong to beat up some guys on behalf of his former student, but he quits midway through the film when he finally figures out the guy is just using him to settle his gambling debts. So Yu takes up with a prospective student, played by Bill Louie with a dashing mustache and a full head of late 70s hair.…

  • The World of the Drunken Master

    The World of the Drunken Master

    ★★★½

    Solid bit of Yuen-sploitation from Joseph Kuo, a prequel that dares to answer the question nobody anywhere ever asked: why does Beggar So, the Drunken Master, drink so much?

    Review at The Chinese Cinema.