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The Shaw Bros./Dragon Dynasty Thread


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#561 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:02 PM

I'm thinking what the basic Shaw's one should watch. Now I have favorites outside of these, but I am thinking (and wanting your opinions) on what should be considered canon:

Come Drink With Me (1966, Hong Kong, King Hu)
The One-Armed Swordsman (1967, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)

King Boxer (1972, Hong Kong, Jeng Cheong-woh)

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978, Hong Kong, Liu Chia-liang)
Five Deadly Venoms (1978, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh
The Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (1978, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)
Heroes of the East (1978, Hong Kong, Lau Kar-leung)

Five Element Ninjas (1982: Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984, Hong Kong, Lau Kar-leung)

 

Should there be a Chor Yuen?  My favorite is Magic Blade.  What Fu Sheng?


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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

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#562 Izo

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:11 PM

Honestly, my list would be probably identical or extremely close to yours Master. Those are the films that, to me, best exemplify the strange beauty of the studio. Maybe I'd sub in Five Element Ninjas for Five Deadly Venoms since I think other Venom films are superior and it gives a good example of the crazy 80s Cheh.

#563 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:16 PM

Honestly, my list would be probably identical or extremely close to yours Master. Those are the films that, to me, best exemplify the strange beauty of the studio. Maybe I'd sub in Five Element Ninjas for Five Deadly Venoms since I think other Venom films are superior and it gives a good example of the crazy 80s Cheh.

 

That's a good choice.  I think I would add it instead of taking anything away.  I do not think I would let up Five Deadly Venoms because of how influential it is and how much references are to it.  But as you stated I also do think other Venom films are superior like The Invincible Shaolin which is one of my favorite training films.

 

Of course I always hope that certain Shaw's lead to watching other Shaws (or non-Shaws) like One-Armed Swordsman -> Return of the One-Armed Swordsman -> New One-Armed Swordsman -> One-Armed Boxer -> Master of the Flying Guillotine


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#564 Duke Togo

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 02:53 PM

I'm thinking what the basic Shaw's one should watch. Now I have favorites outside of these, but I am thinking (and wanting your opinions) on what should be considered canon:

Come Drink With Me (1966, Hong Kong, King Hu)
The One-Armed Swordsman (1967, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978, Hong Kong, Liu Chia-liang)
Five Deadly Venoms (1978, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh
The Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (1978, Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)
Heroes of the East (1978, Hong Kong, Lau Kar-leung)
Five Element Ninjas (1982: Hong Kong, Chang Cheh)
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984, Hong Kong, Lau Kar-leung)
 
Should there be a Chor Yuen?  My favorite is Magic Blade.  What Fu Sheng?

 
For Fu Sheng I would add Disciples of Shaolin or Shaolin Temple. Beyond that, Clan of the White Lotus would be very high on the list.



#565 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 11:47 AM

I completely forgot about King Boxer (1972, Jeng Cheong-woh, Hong Kong).  While not on my top 10 of Shaw's it would be in my top ten you should watch of Shaw's.


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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

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#566 Duke Togo

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 02:53 PM

I completely forgot about King Boxer (1972, Jeng Cheong-woh, Hong Kong).  While not on my top 10 of Shaw's it would be in my top ten you should watch of Shaw's.

 

Agreed, an easy recommendation.



#567 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 03:23 PM

 

Agreed, an easy recommendation.

What's crazy about that film and several that followed was how popular they were at the US Box Office.  An unprecedented wave of martial art movies hitting the top ten grossing film lists.  That film is one of the most known of Shaw Brothers, so an obvious reason to include it on particular lists.

 

I was looking at other people's top ten Shaws (the thread title on KFF was top ten must own Shaws which to me has a different definition that top 10 favorites.)


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#568 Duke Togo

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 08:33 PM

What's crazy about that film and several that followed was how popular they were at the US Box Office.  An unprecedented wave of martial art movies hitting the top ten grossing film lists.  That film is one of the most known of Shaw Brothers, so an obvious reason to include it on particular lists.

 

I was looking at other people's top ten Shaws (the thread title on KFF was top ten must own Shaws which to me has a different definition that top 10 favorites.)

 

Yeah that's different. Personal Top 10, Top 10 Must-Own, and Top 10 First-Timer are all different, though there will be that overlap.

 

I've been trying to recall which Shaw film featured the training sequence similar to the Kill Bill 2 training sequence. The end purpose was to ring a bell with your fingertips. The student was also forced to eat with chopsticks just like Uma Thurman. Do you recall which film that was?



#569 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 11:50 AM

 

Yeah that's different. Personal Top 10, Top 10 Must-Own, and Top 10 First-Timer are all different, though there will be that overlap.

 

I've been trying to recall which Shaw film featured the training sequence similar to the Kill Bill 2 training sequence. The end purpose was to ring a bell with your fingertips. The student was also forced to eat with chopsticks just like Uma Thurman. Do you recall which film that was?

 

Not coming to me.  I know that Kill Bill 2 had references to a few Kung Fu films I have not seen like Clan of the White Lotus and Shaolin Abbott.  One of those?  I usually see kung fu students eat with chopsticks so that is not helping me right now :D.

 

On a side note I am looking up references to that film and it is interesting how you can see several films with the same idea like the trapping in the coffin (City of the Living Dead, The Vanishing), List of people to kill (The Bride Wore Black, The Mercenary, some Japanese film I cannot think of right now)


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Previous Editions: 2,
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#570 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 01:50 PM

The Anonymous Heroes (1971: Chang Cheh):

 

I liked the beginning and the end much more than the stagnant middle.  There is a nice impish byplay between Ti Lung and David Chiang throughout the film.  One of the highlights for me was the fight between the two in there “how long will it last” house.  I thought overall the fighting was more interesting than the gun battles.  

 

This is a Republic era film (critic Po Fung states it is around 1926 and 1927 which would mean this takes place during KMT’s Northern Expedition; interesting that KMT is the good guys here) so you expect that there will be warlords vying for weapons like Cheh apprentice’s John Woo’s The Young Dragons (1974).  But the main plot is the comradery between Chiang and Lung and hanger-on Pepper (Ching Li) as they plot to steal arms and bring them south to the unifying movement while inadvertently becoming heroes.  There is an interesting sub-angle on what happens to her dad because of her actions.

 

This has been noted as probably being the first Hong Kong production with horses chasing a train.  It reminded me somewhat of Buster Keaton’s The General (1926) though Keaton used a real train that plummeted instead of the obvious set here, yes Keaton destroyed a real train by dropping it off the tracks where it stayed until World War II (used for metal.)  Not the best or worst miniatures I have seen, but the worst effects were the horrible rolling painted trees that were seen quite often on the train ride (you have to check out the one’s in Shaw Brothers The Golden Buddha (1966) which are worse.)  The chase was a good idea, it just did not come off well, and especially when you see how slow the train was going (though this was explained in the plot.)

 

The ending (not the coda which is interesting in itself) was influenced by The Wild Bunch (1969) a film Chang Cheh was quite fond of.  Cheh was also influenced by Arthur Penn, especially Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and one reviewer on IMDB noted that some of the soundtrack came from Penn’s The Chase (1966, John Barry did the music) but I cannot currently corroborate that.  Some of the logic during this battle maybe a little farfetched, but it fits well within Cheh’s themes throughout many of his films.

 

The IVL R3 disc is not anamorphic, but has a surprising amount of extras.  There are three interviews (strangely enough the cover says Bey Logan though he is not heard in the interviews) with David Chiang, Lo Meng (Tubo Law), and Po Fung.  Only Po Fung had anything to do with talking about the film itself (though it was sometimes edifying.)  I have no idea why they put Lo Meng on there, but still glad to have it.  There is actually a commentary with Jude Poyer and Miles Wood which I have not listened to yet except for about 10 minutes of it.)


Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
My Amazon Reviews

#571 masterofoneinchpunch

masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 12:33 PM

Born to Defense (1988: Jet Li: Hong Kong/Mainland):

I just watched this for the first time after wanting to see it for years.  Other than rewatching it for a couple of fights I cannot see myself seeing it again.  But I was not expecting much so I was not that disappointed.  This is Jet Li’s one and only directorial film.*  I know he was not overly happy with it and I remember an interview where he stated it was done during an “angry period” in his life, but right now I cannot find that source.  Seriously if anyone has an interview with him about this film please post.
 
Jet Li is a returning solider fresh from the front line against the Japanese.  He returns to find American’s running amok, a capitulating government and his war buddy’s estranged from his prostitute daughter – whom he falls in love with.  As one might expect there is a vast load of pathos that can get downright annoying with an ending that somewhat reminded me of Pedicab Driver.  But the other cast of antagonists are downright annoying with the Americans being the worst.  No humans there and they are portrayed as the Japanese have often been portrayed in Hong Kong cinema.**
 
The main baddie Kurt Roland Petersson, who looks a little like a very tall Ben Affleck in Argo with his sunglasses, is a Captain who loves to fight, one of the few somewhat moderate characters in the film.  There are three main types of characters here: victims (Jet’s friend, his friend’s daughter), antagonists (the KMT Chinese, the Americans, bar owner), and hero (only Jet Li.)  He confronts Li a few times and is mostly successful.  You can tell the multitude of times he is doubled and that there is sometimes lack of coordination between the two because of the vast amount of wild swings that are completely missed, sometimes from a far distance.  But the bar fight scene in the middle of the film is the most fun especially as it erupts into a wild west brawl that would have been at home in a John Wayne Republic western.  That scene and the ending fight are worth watching though one may wonder why chase a guy who just threw a Molotov cocktail at you into an unknown factory.  Not particularly bright military men, especially the one played by Paulo Tocha (one of those hey he’s in Bloodsport moments.)  Of course one might wonder why Jet Li tangles with the Captain when he should be trying to save his friends.  One also might wonder why the Captain had just happened to be there at the end.
 
I wonder if the escaping from jail scene in Shanghai Noon came from this.  Surprisingly without urine here.
 
While the fights are decent-to-good used with little wirework (some is used), some nice stunts there is unfortunately not enough of them and this movie is stuck in a propagandistic plot that panders in a prevalence of pathos and predictability.  I still would like to see Li direct again with a more mature work.
 
I saw the edited Dragon Dynasty version.  Not too much is edited out, mainly a nude scene and Li’s fascination with urine.  It is detailed here.  The Dragon Dynasty release is anamorphic (at 1:78:1), looks decent and has a Cantonese dub (and the old English one and a Spanish one.)  It also has Spanish subtitles like most (or all) of their releases.
 
* The best of one and done actor turned filmmakers has to be Charles Laughton whose The Night of the Hunter has one of Robert Mitchum’s best roles.  I do wonder if Keanu Reeves will direct a second film?
 
** Of course the military would not allow the horrible facial hair and haircuts shown in this movie.  As soon as the war against the Japanese was ended, there was the boiling issue with KMT and the Communists.  Being that this was a Mainland co-production I would not imagine the Americans or the KMT as being portrayed well.  Interestingly enough the American armed forces was not integrated until 1948.  The dubbing for the African-American characters is pretty bad bordering on racist.  Of course this film was not made with historical integrity in mind but the simple concept of Jet Li good everyone else stupid or bad. 


Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
My Amazon Reviews




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