Our Time Will Come (Review)

Our Time Will Come

aka 明月幾時有
Our Time Will Come
2017
Written by Ho Kei-Ping
Directed by Ann Hui On-Wah

Our Time Will Come
Next up on the SFFilm Hong Kong series was Our Time Will Come, Ann Hui’s latest film about the resistance movement to Japanese occupation, specifically about real life characters in the Hong Kong area. Though events are fictionalized, they were real people. This era of history is fascinating and I’m always glad when more films come along that show more of the history of resisting Japanese occupation. Add in the fact that Ann Hui directed and this was a must-see for me!

Our Time Will Come begins with the rescue of hundreds of public intellectuals – scholars, actors, directors, poets – by the resistance movement. It weaves that into the recruitment of Fong Lan (Zhou Xun) into the movement by Blackie Lau (Eddie Peng Yu-Yen), a fighter notorious enough to have a large price on his head and brazen enough to attack a room full of people bragging that they will hunt him down.

Fong Lan lives with her mother, Fong Tze (Deannie Yip Tak-Han), who rents out rooms at a cheaper price, including two occupants who were a poet and his wife. They were part of the group being evacuated, and due to the Japanese closing in Blackie Lau asks Fong Lan to help them get to the boat. Fong Lan was a former teacher before the school was closed and the building turned into an administration office for the Japanese, her former boyfriend Kam-Wing (Wallace Huo Chien-Hua) still works there. They break up early in the film when he tries to impulsively propose but also claims to be leaving. Though he doesn’t leave, he does smuggle out information to the resistance army (while dealing with a Japanese intendant who threatens violence, such as to shoot him if he doesn’t come up with poems on the spot that use vocal tricks.)
Our Time Will Come
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 18, 2017 at 7:37 am

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Dealer/Healer (Review)

Dealer/Healer

aka 毒。誡
Dealer Healer movie
2017
Written by Chan Man-Keung and Sana Lam Wai-Kuk
Directed by Lawrence Lau Kwok-Cheong

Dealer Healer movie
The true story of redemption, Dealer/Healer spans the life of a gangster addict who turns his life around and begins helping others break their addition. The story is inspiring and jumps around the years between the 60s and the 90s (thus giving some nice costumes), but even with some great performances, the film just doesn’t gel together correctly, seemingly disjointed with the different time periods. It is a good story, too bad parts are rushed to get to the rest of it.

Hua (Sean Lau Ching-Wan) leads a gang in the late 60s (the 13 Warlocks, which is a neat name) with compatriots Bullhorn (Gordon Lam Ka-Tung) and Cat (Zhang Jin), the trio are confident and powerful, and definitely look like they are going places. Except as we see from the time jumps, by the 70s they are a bunch of addicts low-lifing in Kowloon Walled City while secretly dealing behind the local triads’ backs. But we also know from the jumps further ahead that Cheater Hua (a nickname he brashly takes for himself as a youth) is clean and works at a rehab center helping other young people get clean. Despite the three timelines, there is really only two tracks followed, the youth gang activities are just added as background flavor.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 16, 2017 at 7:34 am

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Secret Movie – Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Trip Report

MST3K Live datesMystery Science Theater 3000 returned for a kickstarted new season (disclaimer: I contributed to the kickstarter and am listed in one of the episodes) to wonderful fanfare and a whole new cast. And then it exited in Live Tour form to make even more money So of course I went, the first night was Eegah, which you can read here. The second night was a secret movie! WoooOOOoooOOooO!! Just in case this comes into play in a further season, please do not click\look below if you don’t want to be spoiled on the super secret movie! Everyone else, click away for the review!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 16, 2017 at 8:58 am

Categories: RiffTrax   Tags:

Eegah – Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Trip Report

MST3K LiveMystery Science Theater 3000 returned from the dead after two spinoff projects keep the spirit alive, hosting a huge Kickstarter that created a brand new season with a new cast (Disclaimer – I was a backer of the Kickstarter and my name is in the credits of one of the episodes as a result!) In addition to the new shows, the cast also went on a live tour across the nation, and as a guy who goes to these things, I went to these things when they came to San Francisco, braving the ridiculous $13 processing fee for each ticket to go see them at the Warfield in downtown SF over two nights.

First up was the ridiculous Eegah. Now, you are probably saying “Tars, wasn’t this movie already done by MST3K?” and I’ll say “Yes, yes it was, but now it is done again!” While both RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic have double-dipped into MST3Ked movies, this is the first time the tv series itself double-dips, even if just for a live tour. Every joke is new (except one deliberately left in as a classic riff and refered to as such after they say it!), and Eegah is one of those special movies with so much weird and ridiculous stuff going on that it is a never-ending fountain of jokes!

If you haven’t seen the new season, I suggest you get off your high horse and gets to watching! Not only do they cover a wide variety of ridiculous movies that fit right in with the MST3K canon, but the news cast brings an energy and joy level that is off the charts. They get close to maximum saturation of Riffs, you get the feeling there are hundreds of riffs on the cutting room floor just because there wasn’t enough time to fit them all into each film. The stage shows continues the wild blasts of riffs, and keeps the entire layout of an actual episode, including the theme song and host segments. The film is projected on a screen, and Jonah and the bots get into a shadow row of chairs to deliver their zingers. Of course Felicia Day and Patton Oswald (Kinga Forrester and Max) are too busy to go on a tour, so they’ve filmed video segments that the cast interacts with (and immediately break the fourth wall with by referring to them as such!) Rebecca Hanson and Grant Baciocco play Pearl Forrester’s clone Synthia and Terry the Bonehead, and are essentially the host segment foils. Joel hosts the show with opening Q&As and also helps with some of the host segments. The rest of the cast rounds out with Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston, Hampton Yount as Crow, Tim Rider as Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn had a baby so was understandably busy!), and Rebecca Hanson again as Gypsy.

We all know the classic story of Eegah, but for my readers who have been living under a rock for 25 years, this is the score: teenager Roxy Miller (Marilyn Manning) is out driving to a party but almost hits a giant caveman (who is later dubbed Eegah and is played by Richard Kiel), after telling her boyfriend Tom Nelson (Arch Hall, Jr.) and father Robert Miller (Arch Hall, Sr.), her dad sets out to prove the creature exists and promptly disappears, so Roxy and Tom go to look for him. He’s been kidnapped by Eegah, who also kidnaps (and falls for) Roxy, eventually following them back to the city after they escape his clutches, where he runs rampage before being gunned down by the police.

The film is noted for a lot of ridiculous things, but the standout scene is a very disturbing sequence where Roxy first shaves her father and then Eegah while trapped in Eegah’s cave. Just how creepy and gross this sequence is cannot be correctly conveyed by reading about it. Roxy sits on the lap of her father, shaving him like a doting young wife, his shaving kit being something he inexplicably brought with him during an overnight stay in the desert. Eegah gets jealous of Roxy not spending attention on him, so Robert suggests that she shave Eegah so he doesn’t get other ideas, basically raping her. Eegah covered in shaving cream that he keeps licking off while she’s shaving him is more terrifying than most horror movies. Don’t worry, one of the host segments also has lots of shaving cream on a giant Eegah face. Ewww…!!!

The other big thing the film is known for is a badly dubbed line that says “Watch out for snakes!”, spoken by no one as they trounce off into the desert. That became the name of the Live Tour, the Watch Out For Snakes Tour, and a running gag in the shows as when the line was said or whan any snake-related thing showed up on screen, a fancy Watch Out For Snakes graphic and song played and characters came out and waved snake guns around. You can’t get that at Hamilton!

The live shows are always fantastic as they let the energy of the crowd enhance the experience. Everyone who comes is a fan, wants to see bad movies, wants to see jokes, wants to see robots be sarcastic, and that is delivered in spades! Essentially we get two bonus episodes of the series, produced live for you and several hundred of your fellow fans who also bought tickets. It was definitely a good time, but despite Eegah‘s amazing ridiculousness, the secret film we watched the next night was an even greater time, thanks to the movie being beyond ridiculous and a film I had wanted to see riffed since I first found a copy 15 years ago. The Live Tour was awesome, and maybe one day these will emerge somehow as actual episodes. Until then, it was fantastic and I hope the riffs never stop!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - August 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

Categories: RiffTrax   Tags:

The Equalizer, John Wick and Generational Masculinity: Ruminations On a Theme

Academy Award winning screenwriter Sylvester Stallone once – or, indeed, many times – said that nobody is as tough as their grandpa, because the times were tougher back then. There’s certainly some truth to that, assuming you’re lucky enough to live in the right kind of place. Of course, when Stallone said it he was promoting Rambo, a movie about an elderly Vietnam vet teaching a bunch of idealistic missionaries that only violence can solve the world’s problems.

We’ve seen this a lot in recent years, but it isn’t anything new. Clint Eastwood seems eager to prove over and over again that old people are better at pretending to be tough in movies than young people. Stallone and Schwarzenegger, once the young athletes of the silver screen, have tried to corner the market in tough old man action and even the once-acclaimed acting powerhouse Liam Neeson has become a comical posterchild for the subgenre. Mel Gibson, meanwhile, has attempted to make several comebacks of the same type with little success, while Tom Cruise gets around the issue by never aging. Even Bill Nighy has taken a swing at it!

The message is always the same: when times get tough, you need to call on someone who was forged in tougher times. Remember: no matter how bad things get, you damn kids don’t know hard times. Your grandpappy saw worse shit than the Syrian civil war on the way to church every Sunday morning and he’s not gonna let you forget it. Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino fantasizes openly about shooting black teenagers on the street, but somehow evolves into a non-racist Christ figure by teaching a young migrant lad how to be a real man (apparently it’s all in the way you talk to your barber or something). And, naturally, that’s what this is all about: being a real man.

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Posted by Ian Maddison - July 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

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Gone with the Bullets (Review)

Gone with the Bullets

aka 一步之遙 aka Yi Bu Zhi Yao aka 隨子彈飛 aka One Step Away
Gone with the Bullets
2014
Written by Jiang Wen, Wang Shuo, Guo Jun-Li, and Shu Ping
Directed by Jiang Wen

Gone with the Bullets
Jiang Wen’s followup to Let the Bullets Fly goes in a completely different direction, a period satire of the entertainment industry, a scandalous crime, and a China carved up by colonial forces. Basically they gave Jiang Wen a dump truck full of money and he made the most ridiculous razzle-dazzle he could craft that also spent a good portion of the film mocking the very razzle-dazzle it celebrated. Yet the whole thing is hard to engage with, not even bothering to spend time to keep the audience and just flies off in whatever direction it feels like as the story rumbles along. It is certainly a spectacle, but the whole thing just isn’t my cup of tea.

Jiang Wen is Ma Zouri, a local scam artist who is so good at self-promotion that a warlord’s son comes to him for advice in an effort to switch from new money to old money to impress foreign women. Ma Zouri and his partner in crime Xiang Feitian (Ge You) see this as the perfect opportunity to fleece this guy out of all his money while simultaneously putting on the biggest talent show for ladies of the night in the history of the world, which will put Shanghai on the map. The pageant for President of Escort Nation features women from across the globe and is a huge production with multiple numbers, but in the end Wanyan Yin (Shu Qi) emerges victorious. She’s a former flame of Ma Zouri as they were growing up together, and soon the pair are racing around town high on opium until Wanyan Yin is dead in a car accident and Ma Zouri is on the run, assumed to be her killer.
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 3, 2017 at 7:55 am

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