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« Oscars Postponed Pleasures (?) | Main | Link is the Warmest Blog Post »
Friday
Dec272013

Randomness: Grandmaster, Paddington, Catwomen and Babies

Can you develope ADHD suddenly as an adult? I'm hating it but as with last weekend, I can't concentrate at all, starting multiple blog posts and never actually finishing any of them. Hours go by and I'm staring at the screen still and WHERE DID THE DAY GO. Nothing. I got nothing. Like, I'm watching The Grandmaster last night and as Tony Leung and Zhangi Ziyi stare at each other for minutes on end, immobile in some badass mixed martial arts yoga pose, all I could think was "such powers of concentration!"

I did NOT expect that movie to be all about Zhang Ziyi's vow to avenge her father and refuse Tony Leung's heretofore unrefusable sexual advances. i thought it was going to be a biopic of Ip Man (Leung) but he's kind of an afterthought once Zhang starts tearing up and reflecting from her opium haze. Once the movie goes back to Ip Man, it seems to give up suddenly. Like, "yeah, we know this isn't half as interesting, kthx bye. Closing credits - bam!" Zhang Ziyi won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards (as previously discussed) and though I wouldn't go that far, she sure can hold a movie camera. 

So herewith some random thoughts on everything from overheard drug store movie chatter to that awful silhouetted lone-man back-turned movie-poster plague we can't stop hating on. If you follow me on twitter, and you should, some of this will be familiar. 

How have I never seen or pforgotten about this pfoto of Christina Ricci in Pfeiffer's catwoman mask? HOW? I wasn't doing a google search for "actress in catwoman mask" (that day) or anything embarrassing like that and somehow i chanced upon it. The photo was shot by Peggy Sirota who I think is really undersung as celebrity photographers go. Consider also this image she shot of Michelle Williams...

Damn fine photographer. 

A dear friend of mine just had a baby and if you have any friends who are parents you know that it can be difficult to find time. We were trying to arrange a lunch when she texted me this...

It's funny because I make that exact same face, eyebrows raised, stunned into maybe a little drooling whenever I tell myself that.

Pfeiffer has no Oscars.

I'm reporting my friend to Child Protective Services because baby Michael is way too young to hear such horrible truths about the world!

Overheard at Duane Reade yesterday, a cashier talking to her friends at the counter.

Cashier: I can't wait to see "Grudge Match". And "Mandela". That'll be special after his passing. But not on Christmas day.

Oh, you know what I saw?
Friend: What?
Cashier: "12 Years a Slave". I cried.
Friend: Really?
Cashier: I cried. IN THE MOVIE THEATER. 

On twitter earlier today Gil Seltzer jogged my memory with a tweet referencing Spike Jonze' critically acclaimed 'man falls for his operating system' drama Her. He wrote:

Lenny Von Dohlen in 1984's Electric Dream

Some of you may be salivating about but I already had a computer teach me about love back in 1984.

The tweet came with a link to this trailer of the computer comedy Electric Dreams (1984)... back when everyone was still afraid of computers so we had to have movies about them destroying our lives; the poster even had devil horns on the computer! I lol'ed because I remember this film well. My friend and I use to mock one of Virginia Madsen's line readings all the time when we were kids and it's the first movie I ever remember seeing where it consciously dawned on me that Hollywood's idea of a nerd was just a typically super attractive movie actor with glasses. Because Lenny Von Dohlen in that movie... yum. 

My most popular tweet this week was inexplicably on Paddington Bear

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Reader Comments (11)

The 80's seem so innocent and then I remember its the decade I was born in. So everything that was idiotic to the adults then is golden age nostalgia for me now.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Zhang Ziyi is currently at the top of my Best Supporting Actress list. So good. So awesome. The train sequence is also one of my favorite scenes of the year. The Hong Kong cut of the film is more of her too!

Thora Birch in Ghost World is my favorite 'Girl in a Catwoman mask' image.

I really hate the trend of the camera following people where we just see their back profile. Atmospheric? Maybe. Iconic? In some cases, yes. But it has become too prolific to really feel special. Be like Welles or Ophuls and just the the character sideways or in the front. I want to see the actors live within their characters than just follow them like a stranger.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

You've seen the Grandmaster, hoorah! \0/ But yes, as I mentioned before, probably here, I was the happiest person in the cinema when the third act moved solely to her story. Nothing against Tony Leung and Yip Man's story is definitely an interesting one, but Zhang Ziyi was fantastic.

(Obligatory OMG Christina Ricci! <3)

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

Nathaniel, I saw the Weinstein cut in theatres and then recently watched the Hong Kong cut on DVD and there is just no comparison. Not only is it longer, but it's in a different order! It makes more sense and seems more balanced emotionally and aesthetically, and seems less rushed and incomplete. The Razor storyline still seems weirdly truncated and undeveloped (though he is so handsome, and there is more of him, too), but otherwise, my opinion of the movie shot way up.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBRB

SO GLAD you finally got to see The Grandmaster, Nathaniel! I'm curious if it was the American cut or the Hong Kong cut, though - since it was submitted by the country for the Foreign Film Oscar and not by the Weinsteins, presumably it would be the latter, but given the fact that it's Harvey, I wouldn't be surprised if the screener contains his version instead. I thought the version shown in American cinemas was the most uneven film I've seen this year - gorgeously shot, and Zhang Ziyi is SO good, but kind of a mess in terms of tone and focus. But anyway, you can all read all about it in my old Film Experience review

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

BRB & Denny -- it was definitely the weinstein cut because it was a BFCA screener. I also didn't understand Chang Chen's blink-and-you'll-miss-him part. and for someone so high-hilled too. I was hoping to see a Crouching Tiger reunion with Ziyi but was denied.

December 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The working theory shared by my friends (who have successfully convinced me, though it is still unsupported by any media in Hong Kong or elsewhere) is that Chang Chen's character is the same as the man Gong Er was seeking revenge from. Apparently, there is some reading of the Chinese names that support this. I think it makes everything more interesting at the very least.

BRB, happy to read that the Hong Kong's version compares favorably. I was a little disappointed by the non-strong reviews for this one, but I will now blame the version entirely.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkin

kin -- but then why is it two different actors? i'm not sure i follow.

December 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

BREIF SPOILERS


The theory goes Chang Chen is playing the character after what happened at the train station. Basically he moved to Hong Kong to start a new life and thus somehow there is a new actor. IF it is true, I don't think Wong did enough to show this um change, but again, at least then Chang CHen is more useful/interesting.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkin

kin: That doesn't really make sense to me, in that one of the versions I saw at least (or both? I am having a hard time separating the two in terms of which scenes are in which), there is a trademark Wong-style woozily romantic coincidence wherein ZZ and CC are on the same train and I think share a seat (?) as she speeds up toward her confrontation with the bad guy in the north. CC is meant to be one of the Grandmasters, along with Tony Leung and the Grandmaster that ZZ would have been had things worked out differently, etc.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBRB

"CC is meant to be one of the Grandmasters, along with Tony Leung and the Grandmaster that ZZ would have been had things worked out differently, etc." By which I mean that his style of kung fu is meant to be (and I think, meant to have always been) a separate strand from the school whose legacy ZZ and the bad guy are fighting over.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBRB

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