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International DVD Talk Intl. DVDs, Region Free Players, RCE, Hong Kong DVDs & More

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Old 02-05-03, 09:55 AM   #1
Gypo66
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The Amazing, Celestial Shaw Brothers Thread

If you're like me, and can't get enough of those amazing Celestial DVDs of re-mastered, vintage Shaw Brothers movies, maybe you'd like to share your thoughts and hear what others have to say about them. With dozens of titles coming out every month for the next few years, I suspect there should be quite a bit to say for a long time to come. And since most of us can't afford to buy them all, information-sharing seems the best way to be semi-selective about all this.

Just to get the ball rolling, here's some feedback on the titles I've seen so far. I'll try to add some more in-depth thoughts when I get some more time:

The Kingdom and the Beauty - stunning musical drama that I checked out on a whim and simply knocked me out. Gorgeous cinematography, authentic period detail, beautiful music. Many of the images look like paintings and remind me of some of that incredibly lush camerawork in some of Michael Powell's classic films, like Black Narcissus.

Come Drink With Me - another masterpiece from King Hu, not quite on par with his A Touch of Zen, but almost.

The Magic Blade - surreal, spaghetti western-cum-swordplay. Great stuff.

Killer Clans - a bit convoluted (well, more than a bit), but good, gory martial arts fun, with unexpectedly strange, lovely moments appearing from time to time. After torrents of blood and slicing and dicing, you get these terrifically poetic scenes between one of the main male characters and a mystery woman in a butterfly garden. The effect is jarring but very cool, and absolutely beautiful.

Clans of Intrigue - better and even stranger than Killer Clans. Add a cross-gendered monk and a tower of lesbians to the mix.

Hong Kong Nocturne - totally entertaining, totally wacky '60s musical with three swingin' sisters, a color scheme that's practically day-glo and some fabulous go-go music. Ultra-exotic and ultra-familiar at the same time, like How To Marry a Millionaire or even Viva Las Vegas filtered through the fantasies of mid-sixties Hong Kong.

Blood Brothers - a classic of Hong Kong cinema, but I found this a bit of a let-down after the more outrageous and eye-popping stylistic excesses of the other Celestial releases. Big, emotional stuff, but a little talky and, well, ordinary for my taste. Guess I just wanted more moments to make my jaw drop, more amazing images, more people flying through the air. Feel like I should give this one a second chance, though.

The Heroic Ones - ditto. another classic Shaw Bros martial arts epic that seemed just the tiniest bit flat to me... even though the scene where they pull apart the hero's body is pretty happening...

The Vermilion Door - a bit of a disappointment. The only Shaw film I've seen so far that's clearly dated. Despite typically beautiful production values, it's basically just an overlong, very predictable and corny soap opera. Main fault is the central villian (a Chinese general who forces the hero's girlfriend to become his concubine) -- he's like some Snidely Whiplash cartoon out of an old silent film, constantly leering, laughing an atrociously evil laugh and rubbing his bald head -- and his performance makes it hard to take any of the other, more realistically rendered characters all that seriously.

So, anyone seen Till the End of Time, Blue and the Black, The Millionaire Chase, Monkey Goes West, Human Lanterns, We Love Millionaires, Love Eterne or any of the others?

Last edited by Gypo66; 10-02-03 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 02-05-03, 03:26 PM   #2
Joe Molotov
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I've just started getting my my feet wet in Shaw Brothers Collection. So far I've ordered Anonymous Heroes and The Magic Blade, and they should be in by the end of the week (here's hoping). I've never seen any of the Shaw Bros. Movies, so any recommendations on what I need to see after these two is extremely welcome. I was kinda thinking about getting The Monkey Goes West, anyone know if that's any good?
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Old 02-05-03, 05:04 PM   #3
axolotls return
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I loved Anonymous Heroes much more than Heroic Ones (which I have up for trade )

I'll be getting Magic Blade soon. Can't wait. Also, I have Killer Clans, but haven't watched it yet.

Come Drink With Me was great and I am going to take up Gypo's comments on Touch of Zen.
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Old 02-05-03, 06:22 PM   #4
scrooge7
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I am so happy that they(the movies) are finally being release. can not wait for the big shaw brother convention this year in california.here's the one that I have already:
come drink with me
the tea house
killer clans
twinkle twinkle little star
the anonymous heroes
the magic blade
clans of intrigue
waiting on these to arrive any day now:
the blood brothers
the monkey goes west
human lantern
death duel
can not wait for heroes two,the cave of silken web.so far the movie that I have enjoy the most is "the magic blade" and "clans of intrigue".
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Old 02-05-03, 08:40 PM   #5
iskandam
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Can you tell me more about the Shaw Bros convention in California?
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Old 02-05-03, 09:51 PM   #6
scrooge7
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here's the link
http://www.geocities.com/shawcon2002/index.html
http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/calendar/...s_type=2&id=63
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Old 02-06-03, 02:10 PM   #7
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I'm glad to see more discussion of these movies here. If anyone feels like putting up mini-reviews of the movies as they watch them, I know I'd appreciate it and I'm sure there are others that would appreciate it as well.

As for me, the only new release I've seen is The Heroic Ones (watched on VCD, won't discuss quality, but even that looked better than I expected). I enjoyed the movie, at times it was a little slow, it wasn't wall-to-wall excitement. A few moments the fighting was a little weak (it's been several weeks since I saw it, so it's hard to pinpoint exact weaknesses, but the stuff in the early-middle portion was not the greatest). I still liked it a lot, but unless you're a superfan, I'm not sure I'd spend $14+ on the DVD.

skokefoe.
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Old 02-06-03, 05:58 PM   #8
devilshalo
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Thanks Scrooge! I'm so there!
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Old 02-06-03, 09:41 PM   #9
Phyre
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Are any of these region free?
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Old 02-07-03, 06:34 AM   #10
Gypo66
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They're all Region 3, I believe. And, since no one's really addressed the quality of these titles yet, the transfers are generally outstanding, imo (as long as you can deal with the non-anamorphic issue), with many of the DVDs containing supplemental interviews and even audio commentaries in English.

Yet another major reason to pick up that all-region player immediately.
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Old 02-07-03, 07:37 AM   #11
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Just started getting my hands on these, three arrived today, Magic Blade, Killer Clans and Heroic Ones. All real cheap from CDWOW, the most I paid was 8.99 p&p included. I'm really looking forward to 5 Deadly Venoms though, up among the best!
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Old 02-07-03, 02:27 PM   #12
devilshalo
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyre
Are any of these region free?
There are some that are Region 0. Weird tho...

Take a look at DDDHouse's list since he's broken out a list just for Shaw Bros. releases.

http://www.dddhouse.com/cms/dddhouse...&categoryID=25
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Old 02-08-03, 01:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gypo66
Yet another major reason to pick up that all-region player immediately.
And here's yet another one: it looks like Miramax is going to acquire the R1 distribution rights to the kung fu titles.

*shing* *shing*

What's that? Is it two hardened warriors engaging in a bit of swordplay?

Nope. It's Harvey Weinstein sharpening the scissors.
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Old 02-10-03, 11:21 AM   #14
boutitboutit
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Quote:
Originally posted by Numskull
Nope. It's Harvey Weinstein sharpening the scissors.
Don't worry, Numskull...it's not like he'll ever actually release the butchered versions. You know Harvey: he just likes to have them...Meanwhile Disney will do their damnedest to try and block us here in the United States from seeing these wonderful import versions.

My guess is that he's buying these for Quentin and they might be planning to do something with them in conjunction with Kill Bill.
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Old 02-10-03, 01:45 PM   #15
Joe Molotov
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Yeah, I really love what he did with "Iron Money". His name above the title along with with "From the Acclaimed Action Choreographer of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Not to mention of course the editing and the new "improved" soundtrack. And then the "documentary" this consists of him going on and on about how much he loves martial arts movies is just icing on the cake.
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Old 02-10-03, 01:51 PM   #16
boutitboutit
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Molotov
Yeah, I really love what he did with "Iron Money". His name above the title along with with "From the Acclaimed Action Choreographer of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Not to mention of course the editing and the new "improved" soundtrack. And then the "documentary" this consists of him going on and on about how much he loves martial arts movies is just icing on the cake.


...Well, I didn't say they were gonna do good things with these movies, just surmising why Harvey might be buying them.

As for Tarantino, I love his movies, but the way he tries to steal some of the glory and take credit for his "discoveries" can be irritating.

Still, in his defense, it's hard for me to believe these changes were his. They reek of Harvey...but you would think he would've fought harder...I dunno. I could be off base.

At any rate, I agree with you completely: Miramax getting their hands on these can only mean bad things.

...Just another impetus to pick up these Celestial titles before it becomes more difficult to do so.

Last edited by boutitboutit; 02-10-03 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 02-10-03, 03:36 PM   #17
Joe Molotov
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Originally posted by boutitboutit
...Just another impetus to pick up these Celestial titles before it becomes more difficult to do so.
My opinion exactly. There's no possible way Miramax could improve on these discs at all, and there like a 100% that they'll screw them up. The quality of the Celestial discs is just so high, it's astounding, and that's not even taking into account the age of some of these movies.
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Old 02-11-03, 04:35 AM   #18
vorticez
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I read somewhere that the miramax releases would have new dubs on them too, not even the originals!
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Old 02-11-03, 11:32 AM   #19
boutitboutit
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Does anyone have a link to any of this Miramax information? Or know which movies they're picking up?
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Old 02-13-03, 01:01 PM   #20
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Are the original language for these Mandarin?
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Old 02-13-03, 04:49 PM   #21
ftsoh
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All of Shaw Brothers' movies from the 50's and 60's are in Mandarin. But some of them have a Cantonese dubbed version as well. I think they only started to produce Cantonese movies in the 70's and 80's.
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Old 02-13-03, 05:30 PM   #22
jrutz
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So then, for a Shaw Brothers' n00b, which ones are the "essential" titles?

Jeremy
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Old 02-14-03, 10:30 AM   #23
myrdh
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Quote:
Originally posted by ftsoh
All of Shaw Brothers' movies from the 50's and 60's are in Mandarin. But some of them have a Cantonese dubbed version as well. I think they only started to produce Cantonese movies in the 70's and 80's.
Thanks for the knowledge!
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Old 02-14-03, 10:31 AM   #24
myrdh
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Quote:
Originally posted by jrutz
So then, for a Shaw Brothers' n00b, which ones are the "essential" titles?

Jeremy

Yup! I'm in the same boat as jrutz, please help!..all i know is the the Venom movies.
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Old 02-14-03, 01:44 PM   #25
devilshalo
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Anything directed by Chang Cheh
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