A Better Tomorrow II (John Woo, 1987)

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The following is an adaptation of a review of A Better Tomorrow II I wrote for my website a couple of years ago.

A Better Tomorrow was a massive hit for the Cinema City studio, director John Woo and the film’s producer and co-writer, Tsui Hark. As such, a sequel was inevitable. But almost immediately problems began. Chow Yun-fat’s character had died at the end of the first film, but a sequel without the man who’d become the biggest star in Hong Kong was unthinkable. So, of course, they decided his character Mark had a twin brother that nobody bothered to mention in the first film. The film is most horribly marred though by a new character, a former Triad gone straight named Lung and played by Dean Shek (a comedian and one of the founders of Cinema City). After Lung is betrayed by one of his underlings, Shek goes crazy and ends up in an insane asylum, where he is found by Mark’s twin brother Ken who nurses him back to health in tedious and endless scenes where Shek refuses to eat. Shek’s performance in these scenes is abysmally broad, so much so that it out-balances his later scenes, when he’s returned to his apparently bad motherfucker real self. The film’s most bizarre food-related scene, though, is a notorious one in which Ken, a restauranteur in New York, is shaken down by some mafia hoods and harangues them in badly-dubbed English, with Chow giving his loudest DeNiro impression while the dubber channels Pacino (note that since I wrote this in 2013, I’ve read that this scene is entirely performed by Chow and not an anonymous voice actor, but I don’t know that I believe it). (The best part of the scene is at the end, where a cop shows up, sees Ken trying to force the mafia guys to eat some rice at gunpoint and tells the hoods, “You’d better eat it!”)

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Friday August 7 – Thursday August 13

Featured Film:

The Look of Silence at the Northwest Film Forum

Joshua Oppenheimer follows his acclaimed 2012 documentary The Act of Killing with this companion piece, another look at the massacres of alleged communists at the hand of the military dictatorship of Indonesia in the mid-1960s. One man, the younger brother of one of the victims, patiently confronts many of the men who murdered his brother, as we see their reactions: evasions, threats, boasts and more. We discussed the movie this week on The George Sanders Show, along with The Sound of Music, which also plays this week at the Central Cinema. Our Podcast
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Playing This Week:

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Friday (F. Gary Gray, 1995) Friday Only
Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton, 1991) Saturday Only
Training Day (Antoine Fuqua, 2004) Saturday Only
House Party (Reginald Hudlin, 1990) Sunday Only
CB4 (Tamra Davis, 1993) Sunday Only
Juice (Ernest Dickerson, 1992) Monday Only
Menace II Society (The Hughes Brothers, 1993) Tuesday Only
8 Mile (Curtis Hanson, 2002) Wednesday Only
Tales from the Hood (Rusty Cundieff, 1995) Thursday Only

Central Cinema:

Stand By Me (Rob Reiner, 1986) Fri-Mon
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) Fri-Tues
Speciesism: The Movie (Mark Devries, 2013) Tues Only
The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) Thurs Only Our Podcast

Crest Cinema Center:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgan) Fri & Sat Midnight Only

Century Federal Way:

Assassination (Choi Donghoon) Fri-Thurs
Angrej (Simerjit Singh) Fri-Thurs
Coming to America (John Landis, 1988) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Stanford Prison Experiment (Kyle Patrick Alvarez) Fri-Thurs
Irrational Man (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Felix Herngren, 2013) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Wanted 18 (Amer Shomali & Paul Cowan) Fri-Thurs
8th Annual Druid Underground Film Fest Mon Only
New Rijkmuseum (Oeke Hoogendijk) Tues-Thurs

Landmark Guild 45th:

Irrational Man (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Bangistan (Karan Anshuman) Fri-Thurs
Coming to America (John Landis, 1988) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Irrational Man (Woody Allen) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer) Fri-Thurs Our Podcast
You’re Lookin’ at Country: Invitation to Infidelity Fri Only
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Remixed (Robert Wiene, 1919) Sat Only Live Soundtrack
Classy Credits: An Evening with Jennifer Roth Mon Only
Seattle Send-off for Calvin Reeder Weds Only Shorts and Q & A

AMC Pacific Place:

To the Fore (Dante Lam) Fri-Thurs
Jian Bing Man (Dong Chengpeng) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Kabir Khan) Fri-Tues Our Review 
Angrej (Simerjit Singh) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Lounge:

A Better Tomorrow II (John Woo, 1987) Fri Only Our Review
The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979) Sat Only
Party Girl (Nicholas Ray, 1958) Sun Only
Hooper (Hal Needham, 1978) Mon Only
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959) Tues Only
Suburbia (Penelope Spheeris, 1967) Weds Only
Seventeen (Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines, 1983) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

Hail the Conquering Hero (Preston Sturges, 1944) Thurs Only 35mm Our Podcast

Landmark Seven Gables:

Samba (Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Jimmy’s Hall (Ken Loach) Fri-Thurs
The Stanford Prison Experiment (Kyle Patrick Alvarez) Fri-Thurs
2015 Sundance Award-Winning Shorts Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Tangerine (Sean Baker) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgan) Fri- Thurs
Dark Places (Gilles Paquet-Brenner) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962Tues Only
Dark Places (Gilles Paquet-Brenner) Fri-Thurs