What’s better than a Bruce Lee Movie?

Well at the Englewood Theatre the answer to that would be: Two Bruce Lee Movies!

Hugh Mann Manager of the Englewood Theatre 1Yes today we’re taking at brief look at a long forgotten cinema, the Englewood Theatre and it’s manager Hugh Mann. Now I found these pictures on ebay and I’ve not been able to find out much about this place at all, the always amazing Cinema Treasures website only lists one Englewood Theatre, which was in New Jersey, USA, but holds very little information about out, so I’m not sure if it’s the same place.

Hugh Mann Manager of the Englewood Theatre 2

But what we can say is that it looks like it was a super cool place to watch a movie, specifically Kung Fu flicks! Yes look at the posters behind manager Hugh and you’ll see an amazing Bruce Lee double feature of Fist Of Fury and The Chinese Connection playing, although I’m not totally sure how that works, as The Chinese Connection is a re-titling of Fist Of Fury, so maybe they were playing the same film twice, who knows! Also look at the very homemade looking poster for Dragon Vs Needles Of Death, which I’d not heard of before but looks like it dates from 1976.

But there’s also something else very interesting about those two exterior photos above, if you look closely above Hugh’s head you can see a Fallout Shelter sign on the wall! I’d have loved to have had a look in the shelter there and see what it all looked like.

Hugh Mann Manager of the Englewood Theatre 3

Now it looks like these photos were taken in the very early 1980s, beyond the Kung Fu films we can see posters for Fort Apache The Bronx (1981), Popeye (1980) and Stir Crazy (1980), which means the interest in 70s martial arts films was still strong enough to be playing them several years after they’d burst onto the screen.

So Kung Fu double-bills, classic 1980s cinema PLUS a fallout shelter – man I really wish we could have taken the Englewood Theatre up on its offer of “See A Movie Today” – we’ll take the full front row!

Hugh Mann Manager of the Englewood Theatre 4

Hugh Mann Manager of the Englewood Theatre 5

A night at PimpShuei!


PimpShuei is a basement bar just out past Holborn, tucked away down Mount Pleasant, the best thing about it, and the main reason I really wanted to go: it’s an Asian Action themed bar!

I’d been hearing and seeing great things about PimpShuei since it opened earlier this year and I’d been looking for an excuse to head along and take a look for myself. So last night was perfect as they held a dry-run film night to test out their projection equipment and amazing screen. Plus it was being hosted by our good friend, and all round great guy, Hamma Horra.


Heading down into the basement you can tell straight away that this is great place, the walls are covered in either: amazing paintings, original posters, or banks of vintage TVs all of which are playing kung fu films. Looking around it’s the authenticity of the place that really struck me straight away, this isn’t someone just taking the cool factor of Asian Cinema and applying it to their bar, this is the real deal. You can tell there’s a deep love for these films running through this place, one that made me feel at home straight away, the place is so well thought out, from the great selection of vintage martial arts VHS tapes that are dotted around the bar, right through to the amazing custom made bar tables each with its own Asian action themed top, this place is a true temple to those incredible films we all love.



Now as it was just me heading along, I can’t speak for the quality of the drinks on sale, I’ll have to wait for Evrim to come back with me for some notes on that, but I can say that the bar staff were great and very welcoming and that their Coke is fine.


The projection set up they have there is great and we had a fun night watching trailers and other things, all ably hosted by the main man of London underground films: Hamma Horra. Now one other great thing was the prize draw on the night, and I was lucky enough to win a Pimp Shuei hoody and a bunch of drinks vouchers, which means we’ll be back for sure very soon! Do head along and check out the place, it’s a great atmosphere and something very original and unique, there’s plans to open up the backroom soon and turn it into a dedicated games arcade, which will be just one more great reason to visit this fantastic new bar.


You can find PimpShuei at: 59 Mount Pleasant, London, WC1X 0AY

Follow them on: FacebookTwitter

PimpShuei Website

Jigoku & the Korean Film Festival

All this week we’ve been looking at classic Asian Action and martial arts screenings that have taken place in London, all in the build up to our own Shaw Brothers Tribute this Monday night. Today for our final entry we’re hitting you with two great events in one. First up it’s the Jigoku All Night Kung Fu event from back in 2002, at the much missed The Other Cinema.


This all-nighter was put on as part of the Weird World Cinema Season, which ran from 23rd to 31st May 2002 at The Other Cinema. It’s possible this season was set up to tie in with the Mondo Macabro TV show with ran on Channel 4 around the same time but I can’t be sure about that. I didn’t make it along to the all-nighter, which is a shame, but I always loved their selection of films for the night: Demon Strike, Enter The Fat Dragon, Hells Wind’s Staff and Born Invincible.


But what I did see at the festival was the 1967 Spaghetti Western Bandidos, directed by Massimo Dallamano. Now I say I saw this, but I’ll be honest and say it ranks the worst cinema viewing experience I’ve ever had. The print was the worst condition I’ve ever seen anything in, I don’t mind scratches, splices or a red print, but this had everything in the worst shape I’ve ever seen. The sound was drowned out by a huge hiss, the picture was scratched beyond anything I’ve ever seen before, but the worst part was that The Other Cinema didn’t have the correct anamorphic lense for the projector, so the entire film was screened in the wrong ratio.

10 out of 10 for finding the print and programming it, but there comes a time when you just have to say a print has passed its screen life and retire it. I went out of the screening to ask if they could change the lense, only to find someone else already out there asking the same thing! Still any cinema experience is fun and at least I ended up with a great worst screening experience. I hope the kung fu all-nighter went off better, I do wish I could have made it along to that one. I think the Jigoku event was a one-off, I never saw anything from them again and I’ve never found out who actually put it all together, but it was a great idea and one of those things I’d always wish I watched more at, as long as the prints had been better though.

Now the Korean Film Festival is a very successful season that runs here in London every year, it’s really grown over the years and manages to secure big names stars and a great selection of new Korean films. What we’re going to look at though is one very specific things about it, the fact that for a couple of years all their films used to be FREE ENTRY!


Yes when the festival was at The Prince Charles Cinema they used to let everyone in free, which of course lead a massive turn out, with huge queues stretching all the way back into Leicester Square, all of which made actually getting a very challenging experience. But it was worth, just to see the incredible Taegukgi (aka Brotherhood) on the big screen with a completely packed house! After a couple of years the festival reverted back to regular tickets, but the utterly fantastic idea of having all films playing for free really was a great way to get a real buzz going around the festival, we probably won’t see anyone else doing that again for a really long time!



Now let’s head back to the mid-2000s and take a look at Firecracker, who for a few years during that time kept the flag flying for Asian films in London with their amazing film festival and free magazine.


Firecracker was pure class from start to finish, from the superbly stylish magazine, packed with Asian film news and reviews, to their impeccably programmed festival, everything was put together to create a coherent and impressive look and feel to their organisation. Run by Erica & Nick, Firecracker launched as an online magazine first and then moved into film screenings with their festival before launching the free physical magazine which was distributed around cinemas in London.



What really made Firecracker so strong though was their great film programing, they weren’t afraid to take chance and screen films and genres that didn’t really get an attention elsewhere. From a retrospective of the Grace Chang film from Cathay studios, to a season covering the Bollywood crime films of director Ram Gopal Varma and dedicated strands looking at cinema from the Philippines and beyond, Firecracker did a great job of championing films that just didn’t pop up at any other festivals.


A far as I can remember the final Firecracker event took place in May 2007, a free double bill of films directed by Bobby SuarezOne Armed Executioner and They Call Her Cleopatra Wong. Sponsored by Tiger Beer it was a great night with a huge turnout and served as a fitting final event for a great organisation.