Category — Visually stunning
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
Most franchises fizzle out, lose steam or simply get run into the ground. In some rare cases – I’m looking at you Harry Potter – they actually get better and better as they approach the end of their saga. The Marvel run (separated chronologically into “Phase 1″ and “Phase 2″) shows no sign of dissipating as it aims for the upper echelon of comic book cinematic history. Simply put, Iron Man 3 is a solid chapter in Tony Stark’s arc, that rare third installment that’s strong enough to stand alone and smart enough to mine the past. But you’re one of the critics who hated Iron Man 2 (2010). You ask me, “Hey Rockie, what makes this IM so special?” Well, look no further than the film’s director – Shane Black, who’s has been a consistent Hollywood talent for decades, the man who pioneered blending hard R action with hard R humor like some crazy sleazy alchemist. His scripts for the Lethal Weapon films (directed by Richard Donner) still impress with their seamless blend of action and character, and my personal favorite – The Last Boy Scout (1991) – is a sublime marriage of Black’s WTF? loaded script with Tony Scott‘s slick direction. And who knew that his directorial debut, the underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) would be a hint of things to come – as he then joined up with Robert Downey Jr. for a voiceover-fueled neo-noir and now does so again, on a much grander scale. Over the course of Black’s IM3, as Tony Stark has to dig deep to conquer his problems, we get a glimpse of that sardonic, action-packed, character-centric humor that made Black a millionaire screenwriter. When we meet Stark he’s reeling from the New York attack that took place in The Avengers, manically struggling to juggle his Mach suits and personal life, and feeling vulnerable and exposed. He’s a man with a lot of gadgets who’s in constant need of human support: whether from his constantly put-upon girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), complete strangers (he teams up with a small boy in whom he sees a lot of himself), or the hilariously named Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle), a militarized version of Stark himself. When a new terrorist threat (The Mandarin – an instant classic thanks to Sir Ben Kingsley and some clever writing) invades the defenses of the President Of The United States (what the William Sadler!?), Tony’s arrogant hubris bubbles over – a theme intrinsic to the Iron Man series and character. Not only does Stark have the Mandarin to deal with but also AIM – a group of scientists led by Guy Pearce – which IM3 ushers into the Marvel film world for no doubt future fun. All this – and the steady array of innovative Mach suits concocted by the brains behind IM3 – makes for a wonderful mix of action/adventure which will dazzle and amaze. There are some great supporting roles on display, including Rebecca Hall, adding some twitchy-face action, and the underrated James Badge Dale (check him out in my personal fave The Grey) as an explosively scene-chewing henchman. And have I mentioned this film is hilarious, with well-placed humor nicely balancing the action out? I have? Ok. Point is I loved Iron Man 3 because it manages to do everything right, taking elements of part one (the prototype tech and ‘geez, I hope this works’ shenanigans), elements of part 2 (‘A God Can Bleed!’), and introducing us to new elements (War Machine/Iron Patriot), all while managing to entertain and never stalling in the process. And by turning Stark into a humbled human this installment has made him into an even greater hero, one you actually care about. It’s a solid “Phase 2″ kick-off with Shane Black proving he’s the man for this (and other) job(s). Hey Marvel: more like this please!
May 8, 2013 No Comments
BATTLE ROYALE up on the big screen where it belongs! In Austin!
Austinites rejoice! Spearheaded by our very own IsleOfCinemite Rockie [
@RockieWarAntz], IOC is proud to present a very special treat for fans of fantastic film in Central Texas! April 25th, 2013 – MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
As many of you already know, Kinji Fukasaku‘s Battle Royale (2000) – the GREATEST movie of the 21st Century – was never shown theatrically in the U.S. of A. This travesty is now being corrected, and here’s your chance to see this masterpiece as it was intended – with a crowd of fans in a packed freakin’ theater!
I’ll spare you more superlatives because there is simply nothing I can say to do this movie justice. All you need know is that it is the culmination of one of the finest directorial careers of all time, that rare cinematic beast that satisfies heart, mind, soul – and hunger for action! I’m serious – if Luis Buñuel, Seijun Suzuki, Jack Hill, Peter Jackson, Samuel Fuller, Steven Spielberg, Álex de la Iglesia, Quentin Tarantino, Joe Dante, Brian DePalma and several more of your favorite filmmakers (and some you never heard of) had a celluloid baby this would be it. THIS WOULD BE IT! Or forget all those names and just know that it’s a goddamm Kinji Fukasaku film!
So gather all ye Austinites! If you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams‘ Lost, if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games (nobody’s judging), of The Running Man (1987), if you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, Lord of Illusions, Lord of the Dance, Traci Lords – hell if you possess a set of eyes in your skull –
YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!!!
And check out a great scene from the movie, previously featured here !
We need your asses in the seats to make this happen! So go sign up to see it now! April 25th, 2013 – but you have until the 18th to purchase tickets!
April 1, 2013 1 Comment
Ahh… the darkness is upon us and it’s time to revel in all things macabre. ’tis the season for Mario Bava, champion of the grand guignol, a man who invented the slasher (i.e. the cinematic giallo) and brought a theatricality to genre filmmaking that was at once both intimate and epic. Feast your eyes on this fantastic opening scene from one of his finest films – Black Sunday (1960) aka Mask of Satan. Barbara Steele was made an instant star as the evil witch in one of the true must-see-films of any self-respecting cinephile’s genre education. There’s nothing quite like this movie, with it’s bombastic narration, heavy use of ADR voiceover over non-English speakers, and spare yet effective sound design. Everything here is over the top: the dialogue: “and as your brother I repudiate you!” The glorious black and white cinematography, shadows dancing over spikes and a set-bound magical world filled with fake trees and endless mist. I especially love the shot in which the black hooded executioner carries the spiked mask directly out into the audience – implicating us in the impending violence… and I even more especially love the blood which spurts forth when the mallet goes THWACK! Deliciousness! Happy Halloween everyone!
October 31, 2012 No Comments