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Misleading Film Adveristing

October 13, 2013

I don’t know about any of you but I’m pretty much done with film trailers. I’ve always tried to avoid posting any new trailers on this blog as I feel they give me a false perception of what a film will even be like these days. On the other hand, I cannot just put on my nostalgia glasses and pretend everything was hunky dory two or three decades ago. For example, let’s take a look at international advertising with the 1973 Blaxploitaiton film Savage!.

”Savage” was directed by Phillipino director Cirio H. Santiago who is surprisingly still kicking out action films to this day. Santiago is probably better known for producing some women-in-prison films in the early 70s and directing several blaxploiation films and what I call the “girl-army” films of the 1970s. ”Savage!” is marketed as a blaxploitation film but doesn’t really dwell on following any rules of that genre too long. (It’s more about the main character joining a team of female vigalantes to overthrow a government). Italian advertisers must have felt the same way as me, as they decided to turn this:

Savage blaxploitation 1973 poster

to this:

I can understand Italian distributors thinking that a white lead would sell better, but I don’t understand in actually trying to fool the audience into thinking the lead isn’t black! If they go see it, wouldn’t they think they’ve stepped into the wrong cinema?

The Italian poster goes into further exploitation territory as well. Note the officer’s flame thrower on the American version has turned into a shotgun, and his victims have been added to the slaughter on the second advertisement. The race-hopping lead has also moved from a gun smoking to full blown guns blaring. Even the director’s changes aliases between posters: from Cirio Santiago to the nationality-confused name of Cirius Xantiac!

I have yet to see the film and don’t know if I ever will. It has very small release on DVD and was released on VHS under various titles (which also features images of actors not in the film). Among the few reviews I’ve found online, none have spoken to positively about it, generally referring to it as a weak film even among blaxploitation aficionados.

So who’s to blame for the race-change? The artist who designed the American poster was John Solie who did several other films posters (including the Shaft series) while the only unique credit I can find that isn’t an alias on the Italian poster is Remo Angioli as a presenter. Sadly, Angioli’s filmography is even more obscure than the film itself as the only other film credit I can find for him is being the producer of the Italian horror film ”Nude for Satan”. So who’s the real culprit in this ad? Has anyone else seen this happen in other posters of the era? Little help anyone?

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Mayfair Theater’s Poster Sale

June 28, 2012

Mayfair Ottawa Poster Sale
Easily the worst photograph taken by a human being, but if you use your imagination this is a jpeg of a poster sale.

Finally done my film exams for the summer so I can remember I have this One More Bullet crap to work on. A few days weeks back the Mayfair Theater had a poster sale to help pay for a digital projector by the end of the year. My mind was swimming to find out what treasures may be lurking in their for-sale stash.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be a surprise to tell you it wasn’t the best of hauls, but I managed to find some quirky items. All posters were films shown at the Mayfair since it’s re-opening in 2008 and the theater had quite a slew of strange and weird films shown since but sadly few of the films shown were related to their midnight line-ups. Among the oddities I’ve found though were posters for A Serbian Film, Tokyo Gore Police, Bellflower, and the most confusing of all was a Korean poster for X2. Why we have a Korean poster for an X-Men film when they have not even presented an X-Men film is beyond me.

As for the poster I bought, It’s for a film that I probably have no interest in seeing again, but I believe I need some colour on my wall.

RoboGeisha Poster

Hey! Don’t judge! The poster for RoboGeisha is actually pretty attractive in a “toss in assorted unrelated Japanese imagery” kind of way. This purchase ultimately states that I do not follow A Hero Never Dies‘ ideal of that you should get a poster for the film itself, not for how it looks. I’m more on the side that a poster is generally going to be viewed for what it looks like rather than what it represents. I’m more interested in having eye-candy opposed to something that doesn’t really promote a film you appreciate in the best light. This RoboGeisha poster also seems a bit unique as I haven’t found a place to buy the same version as this one online. I’ve seen a similar one with Japanese text replacing the American one, but no duplicate.

My last thought on this poster sale is that I think it was illegal? Film posters are promotional items and to my knowledge can not be re-sold for profit like this. I know the ByTowne Cinema in Ottawa sells several posters but all the proceeds go to charity. But is it still charity if it’s to help the theater purchase the projector? Can anyone who’s got more poster or film law knowledge give me a head’s up?

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Ottawa Cinema – July

July 9, 2011

Want to know why there was no post about Ottawa Cinema for June?There simply was not that much good stuff coming out, so yeah, hope you stayed at home. I am happy to report that there are at least two films that I’m excited to see this month. Before revealing what they are, you must prepare to answer the question “What’s better than one Yuen-Woo Ping film?” The answer of course, is two of his films and one isn’t the cut-up Iron Monkey print! Rejoice!

Fist of the Red Dragon Poster True Legend poster

Note: Both films are not covered in thick mist as posters suggest.

After months of discussing and possibly dreading it, True Legend finally debuts in Ottawa. I’ve heard so much mixed reviews on this one but the trailers have me hooked, especially after seeing it on the big screen. As a nice bonus, on July 29th, I’m blessed enough to witness Yuen Woo-Ping’s 1993 film Heroes Among Heroes aka Beggar So aka Fist of the Red Dragon. This is Donnie Yen in his prime and how often do you get the chance to see classic early 90s martial arts films on the big screen? I’m there!

Before I go on, a big thanks to the The Heroic Sisterhood on Facebook for digging up the Heroes Among Heroes poster. In return, I’ve included some more Yuen-Woo Ping posters here for your viewing pleasure. Use tables, plants, and fans as your weapons and feast your eyes on some classic and not-so-classic Yuen-Woo Ping joints.

Drunken Master (1978)
Directed by Yuen-Woo Ping and starring a very young Jackie Chan: Drunken Master is one of the most popular films of either stars. This poster is one of my favourites as the pictured dragons diet is something you should really see close-up. Despite my impression that the dragon appears to have a giant worm lodged between his eyes, this is great poster art.

As for the film, some prefer the 1990s follow-up, Drunken Master II as this seventies film is not as fast paced, but i’d still recommend as the first stop in investigating both Jackie’s and Yuen-Woo Ping’s output from the 1970s.

Magnificent Butcher (1979?)
The history of this film confuses me. Sammo Hung and Yuen-Woo Ping are credited as the directors on the IMDb, but the Hong Kong Film Archives (HKFA) refer to only Yuen as the director. The release date is also troubling as IMDb says 1980, but the Hong Kong Film Archives say it was released on December 12, 1979.

Regardless of production history, Magnificent Butcher is a blast despite it’s low budget. I’ll let the trailer speak for itself. The film’s so tight that I assume Slayer are purposely making direct reference to it in their thrash classic “Angel of Death”.

Eastern Condors (1987)
Directed by Sammo Hung and starring fricking everyone. Even people who aren’t actors. Sammo’s Vietnam war film doesn’t really get as heavy as Woo’s Bullet in the Head, but this is a completely different kind of film boasting a star-studded cast. How star-studded? Even action directors Corey Yuen and Yuen-Woo Ping are popping in to say hello in smaller roles.

To mix it up, I’ve included the bizarre French poster for Eastern Condors. Sammo is actually as thin as he is represented here, but the choice of colors and drawing style make this poster resemble an old Atari game package to me. WEIRD.

Black Mask 2 (2002)
Eugh. Do I have to tell you this is bad? Black Mask 2 is a career low for…everyone involved. Well maybe not everyone, Traci Lords is in this, and I guess she can flip a coin to figure out what her career low can really be. This film had people nearly writing off director Tsui Hark and even Yuen Woo Ping’s action choreography can’t save it here. Some of the WORST CGI you’ll ever see on film.

I’m struggling for words here, but I mean…did you see this poster? What on earth would make you want to sit through this?

That’s enough posters. Yuen-Woo Ping’s career was thankfully not in a slump after Black Mask 2 as he was busy making every other filmmaker in both Hollywood and Hong Kong look like masters of action choreography. With some of his better films mentioned above, I suggest you investigate both of Yuen’s whether or not you can make it to these screenings as Yuen Woo-Ping’s name needs to be spread!

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More Poster crap with True Legend

June 12, 2011

Despite almost never updating due to school applications, I assume I have the most read blog in the world that has the film industry shaking in their boots with my every post. Therefore, the company that is releasing True Legend in the United States is only listening to me and hanging on every post. Besides, whenever I complain about their posters, I get a new one. Here’s their third go at the True Legend poster:

True Legend Poster

This is what one calls, “eau de Photoshop“. So much grain, I can barely make it out. At least they got the tip to mention why the average-joe might want to see it due to Yuen-woo Ping’s American work.

But seriously, if they keep it up, this is what the next one will look like.

Horrible film poster lens flare

Mark my words…I’m fully expecting this to be the DVD cover.

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True Legend Trailer and Poster

April 3, 2011

Remember a few weeks back I blogged about three hong kong films having a North American release this year? I was a bit disappointed about how little there was promoting True Legend‘s release. It seems my internet whining has payed off as we now have a poster and a trailer for this film. Rejoice! Let’s have a comparison between how China and America handles the poster.

American Poster Chinese Poster True Legend

It’s fun just to compare these posters for the tone they seem to be going for. The hot orange in the background on the American poster gives me cartoonish vibes while the Chinese poster seems like this could be a dead-serious costume drama. One recent new rule I’ve found is when American companies try to sell an Asian action film in a poster, they must include a dragon stamped somewhere. Not that I’m complaining as it’s better than when they include the song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas in the film somehow. *shudder*

The focus on individual characters is different too as my first glance at the bald-headed central figure (Andy On) gave me zombie vibes. Then again, the last time he worked with Yuen-Woo Ping was on Black Mask 2 and had a goofy get up then. The two apparently did not get along on the set so I suppose this is their hatred for each other visualized. Pretty gruesome.

We must be long past the days of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as there’s no predominant mention of Michelle Yeoh’s role (image or large text) wise. Remember ages ago when it was difficult not to find some blurb about her being a Bond girl? Sometimes those quotes were bigger than the film’s title. Times have changed! I guess Michelle being around 48 years old also doesn’t help your case. But i’m still excited about seeing her.

On a final poster note, True Legend was shown in China in 3D…sort of anyways as parts of the film were shot in 3D. I’d love to see “Put Your 3D Glasses On Now” printed in Mandarin on the screen but I can’t find any information about it being shown in 3D on the poster or anywhere else online for it’s American release. I’d say it’s safe to assume we are getting it how most film fans would want to see it, in traditional 2D.

The trailer can be viewed here. We get one lovely line spoken by the late David Carradine explaining how I suppose we really feels about Chinese people “Break their necks!”. Typical nonsense and kind of awkward but it’s not like this is the only film that has been marketed this way. The trailer is a bit too empty for me as it doesn’t really suggest how it will stand out from other martial art epics we’ve seen. The inclusion of a scene involving a vein growing on some muscular skin looks a bit more video gamey than probably intended. On a positive note, it does include this final goofy clip of Gordon Liu.

Gordon Liu in True Legend
I’m sold on this film now

For our UK friends, it seems that True Legend has already has it’s premiere in September. Has anyone there seen it? Thoughts?

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