I didn't see as many movies in 2011 I have have in most years. I also went to see alot of old kungfu movies playing through Grindhouse film fest screenings at the Hollywood theater here in Portland. It's amazing thing to have here and thankfully the dude who runs grind house is bringing lots of movies. I tried to come up with the ten I thought were amazing or had a ton of fun watching my list is here with some trailers and reasons.
1. I Saw the Devil:
So a couple years back Korea unleashed one of the greatest revenge movies of all time by way of Director Park Chan Wook called Oldboy. Funny, brutal and heartbreaking I didn't think Korea would ever top Oldboy. Leave it to director Jee Woon kim (A Tale of Two sisters) to say I can out do that. With the help of the star of Oldboy this film is dark, unrelenting, hard to watch and filled with plot twists that actually work. I have been watching extreme horror and gore drenched films my whole life and this movie made me squirm. It honestly made Oldboy seem like a PG-13 movie. I know it was released in 2010 in Korea, but 2011 here.
Stars: 5 /5
Saw it with:Vince and Magik at the Hollywood theater.
2. Detective Dee and the mystery of the phantom flame
Another made in 2010 released in America in 2011. So Tusi Hark directed or produced probably more than 100 classic Hong Kong films. Since his 2000 action masterpiece Time and Tide has not had good luck with films. Zu warriors was pretty mess, and Black Mask 2 was MSTK worthy. While I enjoyed his film Seven Swords it wasn't until this film that audiences and critics agreed Hark was back. Based on a book in a wildly popular series of chinese detective novels( think Hong Kong's answer to Sherlock Holmes) Andy Lau is fastastic as the title character.But this is Hark making a goth looking cool as hell Wuxia mystery. Right up my alley. I think I might watch this again today, I have the novel it's based on as well. Looking forward to it.
Saw it with: Ordered the DVD import from china, then Fox Tower on the big screen
3. Midnight in Paris
Yeah I know the director is a creep but every five movies or so he makes a gem. The last two I liked were Match Point (maybe his best in 20 years), and the Sweet and Lowdown. Midnight in Paris is a cute movie with a clever time travel theme. Is it Science fiction no, not really but it creates a great atmosphere. Thankfully Owen Wilson didn't go overboard trying to be Woody Allen. Why was it my number three movie. Because it did what movies do best transport you to a different time and place.
Saw it with: Cari at Cinemagic.
4. 13 Assassins
Takashi Miike Is known for making some of the weirdest and most brutal films to ever come from Japan. That is really saying something, I am personally hit or miss with the guy. This remake of a 50 samurai classic is long time coming for Miike who has mad elots of gangster and horror movies but never made a true samurai movie. If you watch this on video you might be tempted to quit after 45 minutes of slow carefully crafted character development. that would be a shame because it builds nicely into what might be the best cinematic battle of all time. That may sound like hyperbole but I stand by it.
Saw it with: Crazy Shawn and Vince at Cinema 21
I never heard of this movie before we saw it. We went to see Melancholia, but because of a mistake on the Portland movie times website Shame was playing for the first time. It was a long bus ride and the movie sounded interesting so we stayed. What we got a was a powerfully written, directed and acted film. Shame is to sex addiction what Requiem for a Dream was to drugs. If Michel Fassbender doesn't get an oscar nod I'll be shocked.
Saw it with: Cari at Cinema 21
6. Captain America
I don't think I need to post the trailer. I know it makes me a bad radical to love a movie called Captain America but it was awesome. A great near perfect comic book movie that captured the comic and as a near perfect action movie. George Lucas did you see this? Let Joe Johnston make the Bobba Fett movie he has been dying to make.
Saw it with: Opening day at the Loyd Center, who suppsed to go with Magik he couldn't make so I was big enough nerd not to wait and go by myself.
7. True Legend:
Yuen Woo Ping directs more than just the action for the first time in 15 years. I was super excited for this one. It was a shame it didn't get released in 3D here, it looks like it would have been amazing in 3D. The lack of 3D and the weird extra 20 minutes at the end really hurt this movie in my opinion. It was a perfect and over the top amazing Wuxia epic until they tacked on the 20 unneeded minutes at the end. I can only give it 3 out of 5 stars but I still loved seeing it on the big screen.
Saw it with: Vince at Fox Tower downtown.
8. Ip Man 2:
Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung fighting on screen is always a good thing, fighting each other even better. Great period kungfu epic about the man who trained Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen just rules what else can you say.
Saw it with Vince and Magik Hollywood theater
I don't think I need to post the trailer. I love Kristin Wiig, she is funny, smart and doesn't eat animals. So of course I totally love her. I don't understand people who didn't laugh at this movie. maybe I'm biased.
Saw it with Cari at Cinemagic.
10. Legend of the Fist:The return of Chen Zhen
The character made famous by Bruce Lee, Jet Li and already Donnie Yen. thsi film creates great action pieces. It was super fun and worth seeing if your a kungfu, action or Donnie Yen Fan. I had a great time. I saw it for free because Vince and I won Tickets at a Dark Horse comics party by filming a "kungfu move" that involved me beating Vince with my backpack. Even though the movie was free Vince didn't stay for the movie because he missed the first two minutes. He has a a thing about that.
Saw with: myself at the Hollywood theater (See above)
The best time I had at the theater this year was the Hunting The Moon Tribe release party at the Hollywood theater. Captain Hyperole AKA the author of Gigantic Death Worm AKA Vince Krammer Superfan created a two horror kungfu and horror movie Trailer part that started with a Sammy Terry introduction! It was the greatest thing ever. Here was the promo we made for the event: