Season's Beatings: A Christmas in Hong Kong

 

 

BUY TICKETS ($12 – $20/free for members. Showtimes subject to change):
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Fri 1/1, Midnite: FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS: Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2
Sat 1/2, 10:00pm: Cat III Double Feature (Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky & Devil Fetus!)
Sun 1/3, 10:00pm: The Blade
Tues 1/5, 11:00pm: Zu Warriors

SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Zu Warriors

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1/5/2016 - 10:15PM

New Wave wunderkind Hark Tsui offers up a seminal slice of Hong Kong cinema, a genre mash-up that abandons the notion of unifying tone, instead jumping between the terrifying, the humorous, the visceral and more. Influenced by Star Wars (‘77, but with flying swordsmen and magical spells standing in for lightsabers and lazer guns), and an influence on John Carpenter’s 1986 Big Trouble in Little China, Zu arguably inaugurated a brand new style, notable for its “helter-skelter narrative, mistakenly derided as nonsensical or episodic, [but] in truth cunningly conceived as a string of individual set pieces” (Andrew Pragasam). With this unique mingling of genres and approach, Zu rockets into a fantasy world, mystical and slapstick all at once.

Hark Tsui, 1983, 35mm, 95 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - The Blade

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1/3/2016 - 10PM

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We’re deep into our Kung-Fu Christmas, and ready to spring one of the less conventional genre gems on our loyal audience, with Hark Tsui’s The Blade! Nominally a (radical) remake of the 1967 Shaw Brothers classic The One-Armed Swordsman, The Blade follows “orphan” Ding-on’s discovery of his father’s identity and subsequent quest to avenge said father’s death, with “a deliberately unsettling mix of styles, from bloody heroics (in the fights) to magical, fairy-tale effects” (Variety). Stick with Seasons Beatings for this lightning-speed and prismatic romp!

Dir. Hark Tsui, 1995, 35mm, 105 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Cat III Double Feature (Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky & Devil Fetus!)

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1/2/2016 - 10PM

The greatest gore-soaked Hong Kong prison breakout love story of 1991—and STILL the Category III (HK’s equivalent to “NC-17”) mug melter that tops all international brain smashers in its ability to make an audience pump their fists in an orgiastic ecstasy of blood and violence! In the dystopian future of 2001, the prison system has been privatized, and is run by monsters far worse than the criminals they rule. Enter martial artist/former music student/invincible headcrusher Ricky, sent to prison for avenging the death of his girlfriend. As Ricky’s innate sense of justice repeatedly sends him into battle, piles of prosthetics and well-stocked blood hoses are put to good use, for he murders with his bare hands every single baddie in the whole clink, in ascending levels of gory absurdity. What we’re getting at is: never has the term “must be seen to be believed” been more appropriate than when communicating the radness of Riki-Oh. With every frame filled to previously-unimagined levels of ultra violent insanity, it remains the most eye-popping, over-the-top martial arts gut-buster ever conceived!

Dir. Lam Nai-choi, 1991, 35mm, 91 min.

Watch a clip from Riki-Oh!

As its name suggests, Devil Fetus is the goriest of our Seasons Beatings offerings—a brutal splatter film stuffed to the gills with hauntings and entrails! What it may lack in logic or plot, Devil Fetus more than makes up for in gross-out gags and attention-grabbers. To keep it brief, a young couple buys an old vase, and all hell (especially the bodily and bloody kind) breaks loose.

In the words of Zack Carlson: “Sometimes two simple words—like ‘true’ and ‘love’—can combine to create a spellbinding, lyrical beauty that transcends mere language and touches the human heart. Such is the case with Devil Fetus!! A blazing bedlamathon that had no right to ever be made, this cinematic felony is fortified with enough unrepentant wildness to challenge the fortitude of even the most stalwart exploitationeer. Incestuous transvestitism, countless beheadings, featherweight bestiality, white-knuckle black magic showdowns, and hardline electrofunk-powered rumpshaking are among the delights unearthed when a woman has consensual relations with the supernatural beast that lives in a vase she bought at a swap meet. Gird your loins for an epic whirlwind of lust, gore and animal cruelty in this 200-ton barrel of lowbrow DYNAMITE! Could this be the most offensive Hong Kong movie of the 80s? YES! Honestly, the only possible reason you would NOT watch Devil Fetus would be that you are a complete ass. Well? ARE YOU AN ASS??!”

Dir. Hung-Chuen Lau, 1983, 35mm, 84 min.

Watch a clip from Devil Fetus!

FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS: Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2

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1/1/2016 - MIDNITE

We love a good sequel here at Cinefamily, and the ever-astonishing Sammo Hung’s Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2 is no exception. Hung multitasks, as usual—writing, starring, and choreographing—in this absurd and squirm-inducing tale of the fallout of relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. An evil Taoist sorcerer (just as in the 1980 first film) is brought in to remove Sammo’s character from the equation, because they like the same girl. Locked in a dungeon, Sammo, Meng Hoi and Lam Ching-Ying battle it out with gyonshies, kung fu mummies, and skilled snakemen. Although the excessive commitment to slapstick of the first film is gone, Encounters is of a piece all its own.

Dir. Ricky Lau, 1989, 35mm, 87 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Sex and Zen

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12/30/2015 - 10PM

Based on the long banned 17th century erotic novel, The Carnal Prayer Mat, this bizarre period piece tells the story of a lustful scholar set on studying the pleasures of the flesh and the art of adultery, who isn’t opposed to altering his body with animal parts in order to do so. This one is definitely not for the bashful, as the eager scholar’s lessons provide plenty of opportunities for outrageous erotic fun and the insane sight gags and set pieces that fans of extreme Hong Kong cinema have come to expect, including a scene with a flute that makes American Pie look like a kid’s movie.

Dir. Michael Mak, 1991, 35mm, 99 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Dreadnaught

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12/29/2015 - 10PM

Mash-up murder-mystery and comedic kung-fu, and you’ll get a hint as to how the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping’s Dreadnaught plays out. “Every other scene is a rollicking set piece: There’s a hysterical acupuncture consultation/brawl, and a gymnastic/laundry-drying session” (Village Voice), in this bizarre and imaginative 35mm curio. The feisty and agile Yuen Biao stars as Mousy, a timid laundry worker, and Kwan Tak-Hing reprises his role as Wong Fei-Hung (the Chinese folk hero who has been portrayed on film by the likes of Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung), showing off graceful acrobatics despite being well into his 70s. See these fight scenes to believe ‘em, including the kung fu-laundry scene copied in Batman Forever!

Dir. Woo-Ping Yuen, 1981, 35mm, 91 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Heroes Shed No Tears

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12/28/2015 - 10PM

Heroes Shed No Tears is a mile-a-minute action romp directed by John Woo in his early years. Clocking in at 86 minutes, Tears features maybe 90 second breaks between action scenes. Not a squib or plywood set is spared as rickety stilt houses are blown up and people are mowed down in droves as the mercenaries and Vietnamese soldiers rampage through the countryside. The gore effects are top notch — a truly fantastic bullet-through-the-head moment, impalings and beheadings galore!

It’s the story of a group of Chinese mercenaries on an extraction mission in Indochina. Mercenary leader Chan Chung pisses off a Vietnamese Colonel (Lam Ching-Ying of Mr. Vampire fame) by shooting him through the eye. The natives all look like Spirit from the G.I. Joe cartoons and along with the drug empire, pursue our hapless mercenaries as they make their way through endless, treacherous jungles. Mayhem, wonderfully excessive gore and nudity ensues. – deceptisean (The Action Elite)

Dir. John Woo, 1986, 35mm, 93 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Sammo Sunday Double Feature (Pedicab Driver & Blade of Fury!)

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12/27/2015 - 7PM

Co-presented by
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PEDICAB DRIVER
Sammo Hung drives this wonderfully unclassifiable Hong Kong 80s action comedy. Throw together slapstick, some miscommunications, bizarre comedy, melodrama, sudden tragedy and yes, incredible fight scenes, and you’ve got a bit of an idea as to what Pedicab Driver—the pièce de résistance of Hung’s massive career—is like. Hung and Max Mok play a pair of pedicab drivers (think rickshaws pulled by bicycles) who fall in love—but the story flies off the rails from there, as the excuses for elaborate acrobatic fight scenes pile up. To quote Jackie Chan, “Sammo Hung is 300 pounds, but moves like a monkey.”

Dir. Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1989, 35mm (English Dubbed), 95 min.

BLADE OF FURY
Betrayal occurs, sides are chosen, and IT ALL GOES TO HELL. Fighting erupts, people die, and heroes are born. Blade of Fury‘s bombastic fight choreography immediately earns it a place among genre films of the nineties. The action is periodically under-cranked and sometimes over-the-top, but it flows fast and furiously. The cast is a mixture of fighters trying to act and actors trying to fight, and for the most part, it works oddly well.

For martial arts junkies who enjoy the down-and-dirty Hong Kong action of the nineties and not the over-choreographed ballet battles of the new millenium, Blade of Fury will certainly tickle that fancy. – Kozo (LOVEHKFILM.COM)

Dir. Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1993, Digital Presentation, 105 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Jackie Chan Double Feature (Rumble in the Bronx & City Hunter!)

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12/26/2015 - 9:30PM

After a couple of failed attempts at American crossovers, Rumble In The Bronx launched Jackie Chan into American stardom and solidified him as a household name. Director and frequent collaborator Stanley Tong (Super Cop, First Strike, Mr. Magoo) helped Jackie blend family friendly comedy, an anti-gang violence message, and hilarious acrobatic stunts, creating one of those rare films with genuine universal appeal, leaving middle-schoolers and grandmothers alike begging for more. Though he had several years of international success under his belt—and was a literal megastar throughout Asia—this was most US viewers’ first encounter with Jackie as a leading action star, and they quickly lapped up his signature kung-fu comedy—a mash-up of Buster Keaton-like comedic timing and jaw-dropping stunts. Even dubbed, the charm and charisma of co-stars Anita Mui (the “Madonna of Asia”) and Bill Tung shines through, alongside a cast rounded out by mostly silly, not-so-threatening 90s gang members (the ugliest verbal insult they hurl throughout the whole film is “you’re through!”). A wonderful reminder to long time fans of all the reasons to love Jackie, and a perfect introduction to those yet to be pummeled by his charm, Rumble is a riotous rock ‘em sock ‘em rollercoaster ride that, like a swift kick to the gut, will leave you curled up on the floor with laughter.

Dir. Stanley Tong, 1995, 35mm, 97 min.

Every one of Jackie Chan’s Chinese films given a US release gets the dub and scrub treatment: a new dubbed vocal track and scrubbing the film clean of a few scenes, often removing bizarre moments that get lost in translation. City Hunter is an hour and forty-five minutes of nothing but those bizarre moments. Based on a popular Manga, Jackie plays a philandering cop who ends up on a cruise ship that is hijacked by a gang of money hungry terrorists, all while desperately trying to have lunch (he is so hungry throughout the film, that at one point he looks at a woman’s leg, and it turns into a giant chicken drumstick). Street Fighter fans will rejoice when seeing Jackie crash into an arcade game during a fight, which briefly turns him into characters from the game, including the sexy Chun-Li. In true HK fashion, City Hunter—one of Jackie’s few gun heavy and wire-assisted action comedies—is rife with the slapstick and the cartoonish, but nonetheless quickly cuts from childish humor to the grim and violent.

Dir. Jing Wong, 1993, 35mm, 105 min.

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SEASON'S BEATINGS: A CHRISTMAS IN HONG KONG - Enter the Dragon

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12/24/2015 - 10:30PM

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Live set from DJ Mean Mr. Mustard!

“There is no opponent… Because the word ‘I’ does not exist”

Come celebrate the brooding, bodacious, badass-ery of the undeniable master of martial arts cinema, Bruce Lee! To ring in the holiday season, let’s mourn/celebrate the swan song of our stolen-too-soon patron saint of fisticuffs, philosophy, and even-keel-killer-instincts. Tragically, Lee died six days before Enter the Dragon premiered, but tonight we’ll dive right back into the decidedly non-wire, fists-n-feet fighting style of yesteryear.

Lee is hired to infiltrate a martial arts tournament thrown by a seedy, reclusive billionaire named Han, who conveniently owns an island just outside of international jurisdiction. Alongside Lee’s brilliant performance, John Saxon (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Black Christmas) & Jim Kelly (sporting possibly the greatest afro captured on celluloid) deliver some decidedly strong turns as Roper & Williams—a pair of American fighters ready to join Lee and fuck up the baddies.

Dir. Robert Clouse, 1973, 35mm, 102 min.

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