Posts from — June 2014
Here’s a quick set-up and pay-off scene from one of Woody Allen’s most underrated flicks, Broadway Danny Rose (1984), impeccably shot in black and white by the late great Gordon Willis, who passed away earlier this year. We love this film’s wraparound device of a bunch of wise guys sitting around talking about some poor shlub talent agent named Danny Rose and how he came to be entangled in a love triangle involving a lounge singer (Nick Apollo Forte), his mistress (Mia Farrow), and a jealous gangster. Here you see a great example of Allen’s narrative strategy, who made a career of subverting story via fundamentally changing one essential element (most times casting himself as the unlikely lead in a story that would otherwise play “straight”). Here he flips the script by changing the setting in which a contrived situation occurs and turning a standard chase/shoot-out scene on its ear by adding one small (literal) element: Helium.
June 18, 2014 No Comments
Last week’s Game of Thrones episode, The Mountain and the Viper, featuring Prince Oberyn [Pedro Pascal]’s pre-climactic proficiency with the blood spear during combat with “the Mountain” Gregor Clegane [Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson] vaguely reminded me of IOC favorite Lau Kar Leung‘s Legendary Weapons of China (1982), which features a similar weapon. And since everyone knows that here at the isle we love us some good kung fu, and everyone should know that kung fu doen’t get any gooder than in LKL’s Shaw Brothers films, we thought we’d revisit a scene from said movie. A pioneer of action filmmaking who got his start choreographing under director Chang Cheh and worked his way up to creating some of the most vibrant and perennial films of the genre [incl. Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Dirty Ho, Heroes of the East, Shaolin Mantis and everything that’s ever influenced anything], LKL’s plots spring from a core belief in the peaceful way of the warrior, espouse respect for one’s enemy and convey the martial artist’s goal of attaining spiritual excellence through personal mastery. Having said all that, let us not forget that his flicks are also a feast of first rate acro-combatic pyrotechnics, especially when the director steps in front of the camera, as he does here with brother Lau Kar Wing, a fine director and choreographer in his own right. Watch the pair face off using the 18 weapons and muse on the fate of Oberyn: Think Lau would ever taunt an opponent when he’s down? That’s not the Martial Artist’s way – which is what this legendary filmmaker, the embodiment of Kung Fu, spent his life trying to teach: humility in victory. Which incidentally will also help keep your eyes where they belong – inside your head.
June 7, 2014 No Comments