A program of Hong Kong horror movies from the 1980s. I will probably go to see one or two of these, they were played quite a bit on SBS back in the day but it is always good to see them on the big screen. Irma Vep is also screening at the festival.
This came around a lot quicker this year and I have been busy recently so I did not get to read the program over the weekend after I got it like I usually like to.
The following are movies that look interesting from the first look through the program. I will just get an E-Mini Pass this year and I already have other stuff to go to during the festival.
Trailer Trash – Talking Pictures
Spooky & the city – Talking Pictures
We Are the Best!
Jacky and the Kingdom of the Women
Queen & Country
Kumiko, Tresure Hunter
Fish & Cat
The Princess of France
Listen Up Philip
Hard to be a God
The Vanquishing of Witch Baba Yaga
The Unity of All Things
Still Our Country
Don’t Throw Stones
The Animal Condition
Electric Boogaloo – the Wild Untold Story of Canon-Globus Films
Ukraine is not a Brothel
Black Panther Woman
Ping Pong Summer
Clara and the Secret of the Bears
Girl at My Door
A Hard Day
‘Til Madness do us part
The Mole Song – Undercover Agent Reiji
Tomorrow We Disappear
John & Jane
Point and Shoot
The Gold Spinners
The Notorious Mr Bout
An Honest Liar
The Kill Team
The Great Museum
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story
The Salt of the Eart
Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face
The Known Unknown: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld
Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars
Focus on Infinity
Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
We We Do in the Shadows
Australian Shorts Program
WTF Shorts Program
Animation Shorts Program
Print the Legend
I Hired a Contract Killer
Come Worry with Us
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
Dont Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?
The Search for Weng Weng
Where Animals Dream
Among the Living
I was actually doing something for work when I found out about this screening program. No doubt I would have eventually heard about them from someone else, but not so early and I would have already had something on all the weekends I wanted to come up.
As I could not find it on the website at the time, I quickly put together a calendar for the three months with all the screenings marked out to try and pick out a good weekend to go up. September was already a washout unless I went up on the weekend of the Federal Election, although Drunken Master was appropriate for the night and I had booked tickets to see the Handsome Family in October.
I found out about the program in mid-August when I was still recovering from going to see 20 movies in 10 days as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and after thinking about it for a week or so booked my flights and accommodation. I also went and found the tailers for 69 of the 70 movies (could not find King Kong in the Heavenly Palace) https://blog.timchuma.com/?p=202
The dates I narrowed it down to were as follows: Friday 4th October 2013
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow 2
Saturday 5th October 2013
The Big Boss
Fist of Fury
Bullet in the Head
Sunday 6th October 2013
Friday 18th October 2013
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow
Saturday 19th October 2013
Aces Go Places
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle
Sunday 20th October 2013
My Young Auntie
Friday 25th October 2013
City on Fire
Saturday 26th October 2013
Police Story 3: Supercop
Dangerous Encounters – 1st Kind
Long Arm of the Law
Sunday 27th October 2013
Friday 1st November 2013
Infernal Affairs 2
Saturday 2nd November 2013
The Prodigal Son
One Nite in Mongkok
Ip Man 2
Sunday 3rd November 2013 (I have a soft spot for ape movies)
King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace
Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla
While 4-6th October was the “power” weekend, I had already seen most of the films on the big screen and there was only one I had not seen. It might have been a bit too much for me to watch that much gun violence and melodrama in the one weekend also, however awesome it would have been. Special note that several of the John Woo movies were 35mm prints from his own personal collection, you are certainly not going to see that again.
25th-27th of October was about half and half with movies I had seen. I already have Police Story 1-3 in a box set and have seen them on the big screen. The same with City on Fire and Full Contact. The other movies did look good though.
1st-3rd November seemed pretty good, but it was Melbourne Cup weekend so I was not sure if I would get flights. I had never heard of King Kong’s Adventures in the Heavenly Palace or Wong Fei-Hung’s Battle with the Gorilla.
18th – 20th October had the most movies I had not seen and also one of my favourite movies Kung Fu Hustle that I had not seen on the big screen since 2005. I enjoy kung fu comedies and had somehow managed to miss the two Jackie Chan films that were on this weekend. Pedicab Driver was a personal recommendation from a friend, it is not available on DVD and rare on VHS. I do have Dirty Ho on DVD.
I may have annoyed some of my acquaintances who also love Hong Kong movies, but did not have the money or resources to make it to the screening by talking about it so much, but it was a culturally significant event and I had not seen that many HK movies concurrently since 2001 when they were the only thing I went to see. These movies are more than likely not going to screen again in Australia in this format and not this many either.
Friday 18th October 2013
I had booked everything before I arrived in Brisbane including airport transfers, I just happened to be the last stop for the bus as we slowly wound our way through most of the inner Brisbane CBD. For some reason I had promised to go over to the Low Road café in Windsor and was running late.
Checked into my room and walked the wrong way down Vulture St away from the shops towards South Bank. I did eventually find the station and only managed to miss one train while trying to buy a ticket. Made it to the café but they were just about closing due to the storm coming, was happy to have a sandwich. Ben Corbett did not recognise me, but that’s probably for the best.
The storm hit just as I boarded the train back to South Bank and dumped a lot of rain. Had to dodge waves walking back towards the shops after walking the wrong way again. I did eventually find the bar Jungle I had been looking for and had a few cocktails.
Not wanting to be running late on the first night I walked down to GoMA in the rain about 4pm and got there while they were setting up the bar. There were even HK themed cocktails and I had a Five Venoms and a Snake in Eagle’s Shadow. I did end up talking to the bar staff quite a bit as I did not want to disturb the box office staff although I did talk to them also. The staff at GoMA were very nice to me all weekend and made me feel welcome. I did tell them that I flew up from Melbourne just to see the movies and did not have to justify it like some people have made me do.
Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow screened first. The only surviving print they could find was dubbed, but a digital version with subtitles in Cantonese was screening five minutes after the movie started in the theatre across the hall if anyone was bothered by dubbing. The print was sourced from a private collection in the USA and took months of negotiation to acquire as there was a condition on it that it was not to go out of the country.
Drunken Master was the second film of the night and I am not sure why I had not seen it. It was a lot different than Drunken Master II, that I have seen many times.
I did not end up having dinner until 11pm, was pretty hungry by then and I had to remember that for the next day when it was going to be a long day.
Saturday 19th October 2013
I had set the alarm for 10am as usual for Saturdays when I go shopping, but ended up getting up earlier. Walked down to the shops and bought an apple and banana for breakfast. My sunglasses fell on the ground and I walked around for half an hour or longer with one lens missing, did not find this out until I was down at the Wheel of Brisbane.
I did go have a look in the museum and the science exhibit with a whole lot of screaming kids running around. Was pretty hungry by then so I just bought a sandwich at the café near the State Library.
Films seen over the course of the day:
Aces Go Places
God of Gamblers
Kung Fu Hustle
I did not drink as much at the bar this time, but I did try the Young and Dangerous cocktail, it was quite nice.
Another late dinner and I decided to try out the place that served the Philly Cheese steaks, only to find they had sold out so I had to settle for a chilli dog and a couple of sides with a Birch Beer soda. Might not have been the most healthy to eat, was still tasting and burping it the next day.
Sunday 20th October 2013
I woke up even earlier and walked down to South Bank to see if one of my relatives was working, I did get to say hello to them this time.
After that I went to the Queensland Art Gallery to have a look through it and then the exhibition about the live music scene in Queensland at the State Library http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/live/live I ended up watching some of the documentaries in the exhibition and enjoyed them.
A quick run through the GoMA collection and I was ready for the last two films.
Films for the day:
My Young Auntie
I did get to say goodbye to the box office staff after Dirty Ho and the person checking the tickets after My Young Auntie, she was especially nice and hoped I had a good flight home the next day.
As I had not had lunch I was pretty hungry by then so I ended up going to Chop Chop Chiangs for dinner, a lot more than I would usually pay but it was a celebration for getting through all the movies. I had also tried to go to the restaurant on Friday night, but they were closing when I arrived and I promised I would try and make it back on Sunday as I asked one of the staff where I could get something for dinner that night.
I was going to have a couple of cocktails at Jungle, but only ended up getting the one and giving the bar manager my five free movie pass for the screening program (which I won after I had bought the tickets to the screenings, whoops!)
Back to the hostel and I read my book for a couple of hours and went to bed early. Even though I would have liked to have had someone to talk to about the movies, it was still a great weekend and I recommend people check out the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane as it has some funny and surprising artworks.
I had heard rumours and seen some clips of Eastern European communist musicals before, but I never knew that someone had made a documentary about them until my research on tractors turned up this title.
Through as series of clips of the movies, interviews with the people involved in their production, audiences and recreations of party review committees, this documentary attempts to tell the story of a forgotten era of cinema from behind the Iron Curtain.
I have to say after watching this that some of these films look like the best movies ever. It is very frustrating to find out after my own further research that the amount of these movies that are actually available today can be counted on the fingers of one hand. (When I first watched this documentary back in 2005, a lot less of these movies were available.)
It is a bit sad that these films were never considered as ‘art’ when they were released, as it means that many of them were just forgotten after the fall of communism. The people involved had a hard enough time making them in the first place and they deserve recognition for their achievements.
I also liked the funny anecdotes from this movie, such as Stalin liking to laugh it up with funny movies and having a fantasy for ‘boys photographing tractors’. The views of the audience members interviewed were also great to hear as you don’t normally hear their opinions in this sort of documentary.
This documentary comes very highly recommended and I am planning on buying a copy on DVD (along with the movie ‘Hot Summer’) as soon as I am able to so I can watch it again for the great musical clips.
I finally got around to watching Legend of the Superheroes after buying a few of the Warner Archive Collection/MGM Classics/Sony Screen Classics DVDs last year. I know some of them are now available only, but I cannot watch them there due to region restrictions. Also I noticed a lot of these DVDs have “not for sale or rent outside of the US” on them. Has not stopped some local DVD stores selling them at double the price though.
Urgh! A Music War
Has a large line up of bands playing from a concert recorded in 1980. Fans of the bands should know that while the popular bands of the time do play, they don’t actually play their most popular song. I did like the large amount of bands involved and some of the more interesting bands like the Surf Punks
They reminded me of Melbourne band the Twits are fair bit for some reason.
Legends of the Superheroes
I had heard a lot about this from various sites pouring scorn on it in the past few years. As a fan of the Superfriends cartoon series I was interested in it and not just to make fun of it. I turned out to be a lot better than I thought from the short clips I have seen. Having Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Ruth Buzzi and a lot of other talented actors and comedians in it helped a lot. Even though the show was never picked up from the two pilot episodes, it does look like the people involved were having a good time and laughing for real at some of the jokes during the filming.
Another one I had been meaning to see for quite a while after reading about it in Spike Milligan’s autobiography. It was originally a play and Spike also moved his parents out to Australia as he was so afraid of nuclear war. I was quite pleased with this one due to the cast and that it was very weird with no explanation as to why the strange things were happening other than “radiation”, it is also a lot more up in tone than most post-nuclear war movies.
Sid and Marty Krofft’s Greatest Saturday Morning Hits
After posting the following trailer to my friend’s wall, I got the message back “You are the ruler Tim! This is boss!”
I had to buy the show then, I did try and find the complete set via a VHS to DVD rip, but the seller turned out to be dodgy – what a surprise! so I settled for this one. There were other boxed sets, but they were either out of print or too expensive.
The rest of the episodes from each of the shows were interesting and even the widely derided “Bigfoot & Wild Boy” was not as bad as people make out. I would recommend this DVD for people who want a taster of some of the shows before they go looking for them online. I learned the lesson with the Banana Splits DVD boxed set as even the creators of the show got sick of it after a while, they had a buggy race that went for six episodes, should have gotten compilation DVD of the Danger Island episodes.
I had not heard of this one before I saw it on the Warner Archive Collection list on the oldies.com website, looked interesting at least. I ended up being a bit disappointed in it as it does have a good cast including George Carlin doing the narration, but they never seem to make enough of it including the jokes that fall a bit flat.
Luckily it still has an Beach Boys song they wrote for the movie.
And not forgetting Meatloaf vs. a car
Legend of Billie Jean
Q&A from the Cinefamily screening
I forgot where I first heard of this, but was intrigued by the trailer and the news it was having a rare public screening as it hadn’t really been seen since it was released in the 1980s. Also there were rights issues regarding the soundtrack that needed to be resolved.
This is the best DVD of the bunch as far as I am concerned. Sure it may be a bit over the top at times, it is very earnest and the soundtrack suits it perfectly. Also for fans of the Simpsons it is the chance to see an early role outside of Herman’s Head for the voice of Lisa Simpson, Yeardley Smith.
Pat Benetar – Invincible/Legend of Billie Jean music video