Legend Of the Fist

The Best Films of 2011

It has come time once again to move from celebrating the worst, most annoying and most discussed films of the year — something we do at the front of our Year in Review for a reason — and start celebrating those films that have earned places in our hearts, celebrating all the best of 2011, a year that, on the whole, wasn’t such a bad year at the movies. And once again I’m honored to present my top picks of the year, as the Publisher of Film School Rejects. It’s not a vanity thing, but more of a tradition. Since the site’s inception, I’ve always presented my best of the year as The Editor’s Picks. And while I’m honored by this opportunity and enjoy it immensely, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably waiting with bated breath for what will come later in the week when we release The Staff Picks. Because they are the ones who are really interesting. But until then, you get me and my odd gathering of best films from the year that was.

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Shaolin is a new film from director Benny Chan that stars Andy Lau as a vicious warlord whose wicked ways come to an end when he’s double-crossed and he loses his family. He finds redemption with the monks of the Shaolin Temple, but when past deeds and associates return he’s forced to defend his new home and the innocents around him. The good news is I’ve just finished watching the movie, and it’s pretty damn fantastic. The even better news is that Shaolin‘s distributor, Well Go USA, is offering up one hell of an awesome prize pack consisting of SIX Blu-rays and TWO posters for one lucky reader. And this isn’t simply a matter of quantity trumping quality… four of the titles (Ip Man, Ip Man 2, Legend Of the Fist, and The Man From Nowhere) are absolutely stellar action films, and the remaining two (Little Big Soldier and Brothers Five) are fun little flicks. Keep reading to find out how you can be the lucky winner…

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s always a special week for This Week in Blu-ray when I can say that I’m on time. Last week was a mess, but this week we come roaring back with some great titles. It’s made even more special with the release of one of the best movies I saw in 2010, Legend of the Fist. My Donnie Yen addiction kicks into high gear while my lack of interest in big, studio-funded comedy and alien invasion films becomes readily apparent. Plenty to rent this week, a few precious titles to buy and that Red Riding Hood movie from Catherine Hardwicke right where it belongs: bringing up the rear. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen As you are undoubtedly aware, the movie theater is no place for hooting and hollering. Audiences should be present, but unheard. I know this as well as anyone out there, having sat through hundreds, if not thousands of movie with some of the stuffiest people on the planet (other film critics). But there was something about Legend of the Fist. When it screened for the audiences of Fantastic Fest last year, it jumped into our laps and demanded that we cheer. So there I was, alongside fellow critics Drew McWeeney and Brian Salisbury, reduced to cinema fandom’s equivalent of a “woo girl” by the first 20-minutes of this Donnie Yen action opus. It played like Saving Private Ryan, but with a little Asian dude running around killing Germans in the most creative of […]

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This Week in DVD

This is the second week in a row featuring a metric ton of new releases, and as usual there’s more worth a rental than there are worth buying and avoiding combined. Some of the more recognizable titles this week include the fun Donnie Yen action pic Legend Of the Fist, the alien action movie Battle: Los Angeles, and the Owen Wilson-led gross-out comedy Hall Pass. Two of this week’s better releases though come completely out of left field (for me anyway). One is a cool and casual cop show from A&E and the other is a relationship drama starring the always lovely Rashida Jones. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Monogamy Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones) are young, engaged, and in love… but that may not be enough to save their relationship. Theo’s side job sees people hiring him to photograph them out in public without their precise knowledge, but when a woman hires him to watch her in the park things take a dark turn. He becomes obsessed with her sex-filled evenings and begins to question his own allegiance to monogamy. Both leads give strong performances, but Messina is fantastic as he descends into an emotional spiral. Character study, love story, and a dash of romantic thriller with a strong ending. This is not a happy, feel-good movie, but it is a pretty powerful one.

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The Reject Report

…for Elephants! But seriously, that’s a lot of possessive apostrophes going on in that title. If I wanted to do a remake of this movie – I could. I have the funds – who would I have to get the rights from? Madea? Tyler Perry? Oprah? There’s a lot of ownage going on in here. Lionsgate is hoping for a lot of ownage at the box office this weekend, too. I know you saw what I did there. That I’m pointing it out is chalked up to arrogance. The elephants, cats, and birds of the world might have something to say about it, but there’s little chance they’ll be able to do anything about it. Let’s see how everything breaks down. That is, if Tyler Perry allows it.

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Want to see one of the best clips from a movie that Brian Salisbury called “unstoppably entertaining” in his review from Fantastic Fest last year? Only if you swear an oath of loyalty to Donnie Yen, the martial arts master of his generation. That’s right, I said it. Now swear it. The clip comes from Well Go USA and Variance Films’ Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, one of the finest martial arts epics I’ve seen in a long while. It’s part of the opening sequence, in which Chen Zhen (Yen) must save his WWI regiment from the Germans in a high-flying act of heroism. Think Saving Private Ryan, but with a Chinese dude running around killing krauts with a pair of hunting knives. In this rarest of instances, it is far more awesome than it sounds. It’s the best 1:14 you will spend online all day. See for yourself after the jump.

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And the hits keep right on coming… and by “hits” I mean awesome movie announcements from Fantastic Fest 2010’s already incredible film schedule. The first wave of titles was announced last month and included several highly anticipated films like Let Me In, Ip Man 2, Golden Slumber, Outrage, Red Hill, and more. Earlier today the second round of titles was released, and as expected the list of upcoming movies represents probably the greatest gift to mankind since pizza. Fantastic Fest 2010 runs from September 23rd through September 30th. The official press announcement is below…

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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