Tuesday 20 June 2017

John Snadden writes a cinephile's letter from Melbourne - THE VILLAINESS, WAR OF THE ARROWS, The return of Film Buff's Forecast

Get ready for a change of pace this week in new release Asian films. The South Korean action thriller THE VILLAINESS opens at local multiplexes this Thursday. What looks to be another remake of Besson's 1990 pic, LA FEMME NIKITA could be quite welcome for action fans if the trailer is anything to go by. For years HK directors mined this French title for all it was worth from the BLACK CAT films starring Jade Leung to the early Milkyway pic BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA  (Johnnie To & Patrick Leung, Hong Kong, 1996) featuring Wu Chien Lien, with many more titles in between. The poster of THE VILLAINESS will be more than familiar to HK film buffs.

During the week I ran across some Hollywood PR guff about THE GREAT WALL (Zhang Yimou, China, 2017) and how Matt Damon's archery skills were so unique and ground breaking. What bullshit! Even the Hollywood Robin Hood pics were easily better than THE GREAT WALL's dodgy mix of CGI and actual archery. But in 2011 the South Koreans produced an historical action-drama WAR OF THE ARROWS (Kim Han-min, South Korea) which reset the bar on "arrow" carnage in films. I first saw this pic in Melb at the Korean Film Festival a few years ago. To see this movie on the big screen is an experience that shouldn't be passed up. At the time, I was very surprised this pic didn't receive a commercial season in a cinema somewhere in the city. Although not exactly the same experience, the Blu-ray disc of WAR OF THE ARROWS is still a pretty good way to see this film.

Paul Harris
And it was a sad day on Saturday to listen to what was the final program of FILM BUFF'S FORECAST. A film show that had become essential for anyone interested in cinema...it was topical, broad ranging, informative and always entertaining. The program was initially compered by local actor, writer critic and raconteur, John Flaus. In the early 1980s, he was joined by another filmbuff Paul Harris... a real odd couple that hit it off beautifully. Flausy lighting up a rolly exhaling and spending the next half an hour talking about John Ford's THE HORSE SOLDIERS was memorable. It was blissful cinema of the mind. 

John left the program in the early 90s and Paul continued at the helm for the next 20 plus years. FILM BUFFS, as it became known, was a flagship program of Radio 3RRR and a major source of subscription dollars from loyal listeners. So much for that...the program was cancelled last Thursday in the most unapologetic and mean spirited manner. No proper reason for the cancellation was given. 

But the good news is FILM BUFF'S FORECAST will be back in the next few months (Thankfully not at RRR!). As to what form it will take, no-one is really sure but keep an eye on the FILM BUFF'S FORECAST Facebook page for the latest info on the show.

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