Movie of the Day – The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk

I am a little reluctant to use this trailer from Dragon Dynasty because it really doesn’t give you the best synopsis of the film from action director Corey Yuen and stars Jet Li.  This revamped trailer plays up a lot more of the action and leaves out some of the subtext of the story at heart, along with cutting out another pivotal character who happens to be a strong, female lead Josephine Siao who plays the mother of Fong Sai Yuk, Miu Chui-fa.  Also gone is the comedy, slap stick that happens in the movie which is replaced with more dramatic music and fighting.  Sigh, I hate when trailers are misleading, but oh well, this is certainly a phenomenal martial arts movie.

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Movie Review – Now You See Me

The last magic trick that I was ever really impressed with was when The Joker made a pencil disappear into the deep, eye socket of some stooge who thought he could take on The Joker.  To me it was a clever and brutal trick, one that is still surprising time after time, but really it cemented the wonders of a solid magic trick.  But the real magic these days is in Hollywood’s ability to continuously make desperate movie pitches to audiences in the basest way possible.

“They are magicians who pull off high profile bank heists!” sounds like an elevator pitch to an executive who is on his way to oversee the next remake/reboot/sequel/franchise movie, so there had to be some magic involved in getting a movie like Now You See Me made and released during the summer of remakes, reboots, sequels and franchises.  Well a little bit of sleight of hand, some misdirection, multiple assistants and players, and of course, the impossible trick somehow makes this comedy, action, heist movie feel like a grand performance.  Sorry folks for all the magic metaphors and verbiage, I can’t help myself.

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Movie of the Day – Elemental

Pulling this old review from site I write for on occasion LostInReviews.com.

I got a film review tonight for Now You See Me, so that should be fun and then a 35mm showing of Fong Sai Yuk.  Fuck yes.

Enjoy!

Our environment, the state and unforeseen condition it is in, makes environmental documentaries have a particular feeling of uncertainty.  It is always about the effects of what our actions are doing to our planet, but never giving us the insight into making it better or even really framing the issue in a different light, other than being an urgent matter to correct.  You can look at documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth, Gasland, and Food, Inc. to see the clear problems and possible corrections, but its missing something entirely from the picture.  I am sure that stock images of picturesque landscapes marred by billowing smoke stacks from the fires of industry make for moving signals of the demise of our planet, but it is the human element that seems lost from it all.

Click here to read more:  LostInReviews – Elemental

Movie of the Day – Safe

I am honestly beginning to think there is a new genre of action films that is purely defined as Statham.  His movies are in a world of their own, where he is best driver in the world, one of the most difficult men to kill in his film and is an unmatched fighter.  His films follow a particular structure of death and destruction that only pander to the base needs that film goers want when they see a Statham movie.  I want him to either a) drive cars in the most actiony way possible, b) shot lots of guns at people, c) make quips and lots of them, and finally d) beat up everyone who gets in his way.  The latest film, Safe, for a lack of a better word, is pretty much a safe film that delivers us what we come to expect with Jason Statham films.  It’s not rocket science, but damned if the science isn’t fun to watch.

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Movie of the Day – Special When Lit

I do love these very specific subject documentaries that are starting to show up more and more on Netflix, mainly because most documentaries have a small, small theatrical run or just stay on the festival circuit.  Much like the documentary about concert posters, this is another little hobby/recreational thing I enjoy doing and that is about pinball.  Not so much about the game itself, but about the culture that surrounds it.  Sure they are something of a peculiar engineering feat, but much like the creation of pinball machines, it is about the culture that surrounds the machine.  From players to collectors, fans and fanatics, this is a perfect little chronicling of the rise, fall and eventual rise again of the pinball machine.  Time for some pinball wizard!

Before video games took over the world’s amusement arcades, convenience stores and bars, pinball was a leading pastime for folks with some change in their pockets, and in the 1950s and 60s, America’s pinball machines took in more money than the movie industry. While electronic games have won away a large part of pinball’s market share, there are still plenty of fans of the old games out there, and filmmaker Brett Sullivan offers an entertaining look at pinball’s past and present in the documentary Special When Lit. The film presents a history of pinball (including how the addition of flippers radically changed the nature of the game) as well as profiling hard-core fans that are still committed to pinball and show off their winning styles and strategies. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

So there is this small bar in North KCK, 403 Club, that has a wall of pinball machines that I like to go to often.  Aside from the cheap drinks, knowing the bartender and close proximity to my house, I found myself enjoying pinball more and more than I have ever before.  I was never one to play it at the arcade back in the 90s during my youth, you know arcades, usually found at malls and strip malls and wherever else they are found.  Sorry, sidetracked there, I never gravitated towards the pinball machines at the arcade, I think it was because I outright sucked, but I have started playing it a lot more either on an actual machine or even digitally on a console or computer.  Something about the lights, sounds, multiball, replay, and frustration of putting the machine on tilt is intoxication.

Super Special When Lit

But this documentary is a chronicling of the fans and culture around the iconic arcade machine.  Some are appreciating the craftsmanship of the machine, the engineering and design that goes into each unique machine.  There are a lot of interesting designs out there for some of the pinball machines.  Themed machines, movie tie-ins, or just the run of the mill design, each has a lot of time and appreciation put into the machine.  Those are the fans that love the machine itself.  Then there are the fans of the game of pinball, the pro players who know all the little intricacies of the game, when to hit the right item for get the “special” or that coveted “multiball”.  Those are the people who pump quarter after quarter into the machine looking to perfect their technique or best their previous score.  There are some interesting characters that are interviewed in the player aspect of the documentary, as there always are with a certain fanatical subset of people for a particular subject.

There is always a documentary for everyone’s taste or particular likes and this one is for those that have spent some time basking in the glow and sounds of the pinball machine.  Looking at the early start of the pinballs fame to the decrease in its popularity and the eventual rise of its nostalgic comeback, the pinball machine is a fairly iconic machine of its time.  There will always be people, most of them shown in the documentary, that will keep it alive.  Whether they are collecting or seeking out places to play, pinball will always be around thanks to them.  Now to head off to the 403 Club.

Movie of the Day – No Retreat, No Surrender

I talked about Arnold’s first movie role in Hercules in New York, a movie that had the Austrian body builder and future catchphrase maker horribly act his way through a movie that would be considered lower than z-movie grade status.  Now I get to talk a little about the first film of Jean Cluade Van Damme’s career, well one that didn’t have him billed as Gay Karate Man in Monaco Forever, and one in which he has to be typecast as a jump kick, leg split doing, Eastern bloc bad guy who decimates his foes with perfectly sculpted hair.  This is a pretty fucking kick ass movie with a special appearance by Bruce Lee!!!!…..not really.

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Movie of the Day – Goliathon

I fully realize that the title is called Mighty Peking Man, but Goliathon was a far better original title and really conveys a bit more epicness to the audience.  Leave it to the Shaw Brothers Studio to come up with a flattering and better homage to the greatness that is King Kong, than with their own version of the towering ape.  Hell, aside from the actors,  sets, acting, and cheesiness of this movie, you could hardly tell the difference between the King Kong of old and this versions.  It’s time for Goliathon!

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Movie of the Day – Undefeatable

Oh my god you guys, oh my god.  How it took me this long to finally talk about this movie I will never know, but believe me the wait for this post on this particular movie is something to truly treasure.  From 1994, a time when shitty martial arts movies are churned out like cheap knock-off goods, we got Cynthia Rothrock, the female action star of her time, in a movie that is so wildly bad and entertaining that you would think this is what Tommy Wiseau had directed an action flick.  This is just one of the most insanely, poorly acted movies with fight scenes that are just unbelievable.  This is Undefeatable.

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Movie of the Day – Hercules in New York

It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first movie ever!  Yes the multi-award winning Mr. Olympia finally gets to have his day on film with one of the dumbest and amazing, best worst movie ever.  Yes, Hercules in New York or as it is also known as, Hercules goes Bananas, has the giant muscled Austrian being typecast as a muscle bound Hercules who is cast out of Mount Olympus and runs amok in New York with some of the cheesiest fight scenes and atrocious dialogue ever.  Every actor has to start somewhere and for Arnold, this is where it all began.

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Movie of the Day – Body of War

Tonight the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet is going to be hosting the Tribute to Tomas Young, by showcasing this incredibly compelling documentary about his war to end the war in Iraq.  A veteran and casualty of the war, his condition puts him into the frontline of being the voice to end the war and stop the violence overseas.  The documentary, regardless of the stance you have with the war or what is going on, is a heartbreaking and uplifting look into the struggles of those that come back from war and what they are doing to try and stop those same soldiers from being killed in a senseless war.  I don’t have much else to say on this subject matter other than this is a documentary you should see, if only because of the center figure, Tomas Young, a fellow Kansas City native and his war to end the violence.

Have a good day folks!

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tom-morello-to-perform-at-a-tribute-to-tomas-young-20130429

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/14/us/anti-war-vet-suicide

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/07/176509136/after-years-of-struggle-veteran-chooses-to-end-his-life