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Entries in Asian cinema (88)

Thursday
Jul142016

Link Night

EW first pick of Jude Law as the baddie in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017).
Interview talks to Viggo Mortensen (audio interview)
The Playlist translates a controversial interview with Director John McTiernan in which he trashes Mad Max Fury Road and Captain America movies an discusses a potential upcoming project 
MTV Teo on how musicals got their groove back 
Variety Emmy breakdown by studio. HBO is still dominating the Emmys but not by the margins they use to.  
Playbill Live Musicals did well at the Emmys with Grease: Live and The Wiz Live! scoring big 

My New Plaid Pants new photos from Man Down starring Shia Labeouf & Jai Courtney 
EW TV's best comedies are... tearjerkers!
/Film the terribleness of Batman v Superman is not stopping excitement for Suicide Squad which is tracking for a spectacular August opening weekend
MNPP on the poster for Disorder (which is taking forever to hit movie theaters) 
Pajiba Ranking the men of Jane Austen by Swoon Factor from Sam Riley in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on up
Towleroad a gay version of The Bachelor is currently in production because making a mockery of commitment and true love shouldn't just be for straight people! 
New York Times interviews the new lead of Hamilton, Javier Muñoz
Pajiba recommends five crime thrillers from Korea including The Yellow Sea and Memories of Murder 

Revivals & Remakes
iTunes Trailers Howards End, one of the greatest films of the 1990s is coming back to theaters in a new restoration. It really should've won Best Picture, I tell ya.
EW Power Rangers release character posters. Very attractive cast which is useless since they have those face covering costumes
The Film Stage wonderful choice - Colin Farrell in talks for the male lead of The Beguiled remake
OMGBLOG John Waters Multiple Maniacs has been restored by the Criterion Collection, coming in August 
i09 China might not screen Ghostbusters but their name for it is wondrous 
Towleroad Paul Feig blames the studio for keeping Kate McKinnon's Ghostbusters character closeted. (SPOILER: But once you've seen the movie, you'll see that McKinnon comes through loud and proud and clear, anyway.)  

Saturday
Jun042016

When Tony Met Janet. And Other Stories...

Today in movie related history...

1907 Cracking Rosalind Russell is born. Stars in many classics including: His Girl Friday, Gypsy, and Auntie Mame and is nominated for 4 Best Actress Oscars. The only actresses that share her fate of 4 Best Actress nominations w/out a win: Greta Garbo, Marsha Mason, and Barbara Stanwyck. Of the four only Marsha Mason didn't receive an Honorary later on.
1913 Suffragette Emily Davison runs onto the track at the Epson Derby and is trampled by King George V's horse. It's a huge turning point in the court of public opinion and the suffragette movement. It was reenacted in last year's Suffragette.
1936 Bruce Dern is born and never stops acting thereafter. Also donates Laura Dern to the world for which he has our undying gratitude
1940 The last allied soldiers leave Dunkirk. Britain's PM vows that his forces will "never surrender". Christopher Nolan is currently filming a movie about Dunkirk called, you guessed it, Dunkirk
1942 The Battle of Midway begins in World War II. John Ford directed an Oscar winning documentary about it that you can watch for free online. If you're interested in the topic you should definitely read Mark Harris's book "Five Came Back" about famous Hollywood directors during the war. 

1951 Rising actors Janet Leigh (23) and Tony Curtis (26) are married. Much bigger stardom is thrown at them like so much rice via iconic films like Psycho, A Touch of Evil, and The Manchurian Candidate (Hers) and Some Like It Hot, Spartacus and The Defiant Ones (His) shortly thereafter. They break up in '62 but not before gifting us with Jamie Lee Curtis.
1952 70s TV star Parker Stevenson is born. Later becomes half of The Hardy Boys and marries Kirstie Alley who famously refers to his junk "giving me the big one" in her 1991 Emmy speech. This was long before the days when the internet made bulge-watching a national pasttime. (Music cue: "Class" from Chicago here, please. Whatever happened to it? It's all Kirstie Alley's fault!)
1964 Kōji Yamamura is born. Later nominated for an Oscar for the Animated Short Mount Head. It's worth your ten minutes, it's so trippy.
1975 Angelina Jolie emerges. The world is never the same.
1978 Deniz Gamze Ergüven is born in Turkey. She was Oscar nominated last season for her debut film Mustang, which made our top ten list.

They're here.

1982 Poltergeist and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan both open in theaters
1984 Bruce Springsteen releases his classic "Born in the USA" album the title track of which is used in many movies since. The first video "Dancin' in the Dark" introduces the world to soon to be household name actress Courtney Cox. 
1989 The Tiananmen Square protests come to a violent end in Beijing with hundreds of young protesters killed. Hollywood has ignored it despite their love of historical event movies and Chinese films usually ignore it too due to the topic being taboo with the government. But two sexually controversial movies released in the Aughts used it as part of the narrative: the gay drama Lan Yu (2001) which won four Golden Horse awards and, more prominently, the college student drama Summer Palace (2006) which was banned at home, and withdrawn from competition at Cannes. Both films are worth seeing.

Tuesday
May242016

Doc Corner: Jia Zhangke Gets a Tribute in 'A Guy from Fenyang'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at Walter Salles' doc about Chinese film giant Jia Zhangke.

In the opening scene of Jia Zhangke’s sublime Mountains May Depart, characters dance to the Pet Shop Boys’ euphoric rendition of “Go West”. The song may have been a demand for a gay utopia, but it is also an apt choice for a movie in which characters slowly shift from rural China to the blue skies and bright lights of Australia. Zhangke’s characters are often caught between two worlds, travelling down a road (literal of metaphorical) to an unknown future and it is these pervading themes that have made him the unofficial cinematic chronicler of modern day China. They are also what makes Jia Zhangke: A Guy from Fenyang such a fitting tribute to the man.

Directed by Walter Salles, A Guy from Fenyang follows the director in intimate fashion as he returns to his hometown as well as prominent filming locations featured across his filmography in movies like Xiao Wu, The World, Platform, Still Life (my personal favourite of his works), and most prominently A Touch of Sin for which this doc was made as a sort of companion piece. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May012016

Box Office Before the Civil War

No, not that civil war. Movies weren't invented yet.

Next weekend Hollywood is steering completely clear of Captain America: Civil War on four trillion screens. Nobody's even trying to counterprogram but just conceding Disney/Marvel's complete dominion over pop culture. Unless of course you are talking arthouse where the sexiest quartet imaginable will be f***ing around in A Bigger Splash. So before Civil War destroys the box office whilst simultaneously ushering in summer movie season and embarrassing its weird thematic twin predecessor Dawn of Justice, here's a look at where the box office for the year stands in four categories along with links to reviews if we did them (though we've been doing a ton more reviews of late the biggest hits seem to have eluded us in most categories).

How many of these pictures have you seen and what did you take in this weekend? I went to Keanu which rustled up just 9 million this weekend. I was sad to feel shruggy about it since I love kittens and Key & Peele but you can only tell the same few jokes so many times...

TOP TEN OF 2016 THUS FAR
01 Deadpool $361+  Reviewish
02 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $325+ Review
03 Zootopia $323+  Reviewish
04 The Jungle Book $252+
05 Kung Fu Panda 3 $142+
06 Ride Along 2 $90+
07 10 Cloverfield Lane $71+
08 Divergent Series: Allegiant $65+
09 London Has Fallen $65+
10 Miracles From Heaven $59+

TOP TEN (NON-FRANCHISE)
01 Zootopia $323+  Reviewish
02 Miracles From Heaven $59+

03 The Boss $56+ Review
04 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi $52+

05 How to Be Single $46+

06 Risen $36+
07 The Boy $35+ 
08 Dirty Grandpa $35+
09 Gods of Egypt $31+ Reviewish
10 Hail, Caesar! $30+ A Secret Musical?

TOP TEN FOREIGN FILMS
01 The Mermaid $3.2 (China)
02 Ip Man 3 $2.6 on (Hong Kong) 

03 Kapoor & Sons - Since 1921 $2.6 (India)
04 Compadres $2.3 (Mexico)

05 Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer $1.7 (Mexico)

06 Fan $1.6 (India)
07 Neerja $1.5 (India)
08 Embrace of Serpent $1.2 (Colombia) Review | Interview
09 Wazir $1.1 (India) 
10 Ki & Ka $.8 (India)

TOP TEN DOCUMENTARIES
01 Where to Invade Next $3.8 Glenn's Review, Manuel's Review
02 Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus $.9 

03 City of Gold $.5 
04 The First Monday in May $.3  Interview

05 Francophonia $.1 

06 Vaxed: From Cover Up to Conspiracy $.1 
07 Requiem for the American Dream $.1
08 Colliding Dreams $.06 (Colombia)
09 Trapped $.06 Review
10 Los Sures $.06

 

Tuesday
Apr262016

Throne of Blood's Best Shots - A Visual Index

After realizing that we'd never featured an Akira Kurosawa on Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we obviously had to. Ran (1985) was tempting but it gets a lot of attention already. So we opted to watch his other Shakespeare inspired masterpiece, Throne of Blood (1957) which is still the best Macbeth movie even if its more Macbeth-inspired than traditionally adapted.

If you've never seen it, give it a shot. It's gorgeous and haunting and unlike most Shakespeare films grippingly compact at only 110 minutes.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot(s)
Throne of Blood (1957)

Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai 
Click on any of the 11 images to be taken to its accompanying article

Throne of Blood teaches us how to watch it. 
-Antagony & Ecstasy


The minute we see Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji in this cold spare room, we know exactly where things will go...
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema 

One of my favorite ideas in these Japanese stories is that the living and dead (or the supernatural) could live together, without a hereafter.
-Cal Roth

What Shakespeare does with language, Kurosawa and Noh do with movement.
-Dancin Dan on Film 


Kurosawa injects into the tragedy of Macbeth an incredible sensorial expressiveness of poetic dimensions by placing it in mystic version of feudal japan.
-Magnificent Obsession 


Fujimaki's own splatter-painting.
-The Film Experience

The staging of the two actors is just brilliant...
-Zev Burrows 


The camera becomes like a piece of stagecraft
-Film Mix Tape

the vast space and the wealth that implies, as well as the ample room for Washizu and his wife to contemplate their guilt
-Film Actually


The movie builds with precision, early shots foreshadowing what is to come
-I/fpw 

My favorite scene in Macbeth and they do it very well here
-Rachel Wagner

 

The End.

NEXT TUESDAY NIGHT WARNING: "NOW a warning?" It's Death Becomes Her (1992), rereleased in a collectors edition. Please join us for what will surely be a fun group of screengrabs

Monday
Apr042016

April Showers: Kurosawa's Dreams

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at memorably soaked moments in the movies. Here's Lynn Lee on Dreams (1990).


The sun is shining, but it’s raining.  Foxes hold their wedding processions in this weather.

But they don’t like anyone to see them – if they catch you watching, they’ll be very angry!

Dreams (1990) may be the most personal of Kurosawa’s films, and has always struck me as one of his most underrated.  It’s uneven, yes, but at its best it really does capture the vivid yet elusive, disorienting nature of a recurring dream that always seems to slip just out of your grasp – the kind of dream that can turn on a hair from a beautiful vision to a nightmare and back again...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb202016

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer and Adi on The Look of Silence

Amir here. I first fell in love with Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence in September 2014, at TIFF. It was the last, and best, film I watched at that festival, and it left an emotional mark that I lived with for days. I caught up with the film again when it was released for the public and my conviction that this was one of the best documentary features of all time was reaffirmed – in my book, one of 2015’s holy trinity of films. So, you can understand my excitement when I finally had the chance to speak with director Joshua Oppenheimer, and Adi, the subject of his film.

The Look of Silence, nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary, a companion piece to the director’s earlier film The Act of Killing (also nominated in its year), is about the victims of the Indonesian genocide, who live side by side with the men who perpetrated those crimes against their loved ones. In his graceful and compassionate study of these people and their haunted spaces, Oppenheimer finds the language to bring invisible pains to the screen and push the limits of documentary form.

We talk about the relationship between his two films, his experiences in Indonesia, influences on his filmmaking, where documentary cinema stands today, and Adi’s life after the film’s release.

AMIR SOLTANI: I know you’re probably tired of comparisons between your two latest films, but I feel like there’s nowhere else to start but The Act of Killing. There’s a theatrical element to the first film that The Look of Silence, despite being polished, stylized and even often staged, doesn’t have. It’s more formally understated. What initiated your formal approach to the second film?  

JOSHUA OPPENHEIMER: I think these two films are both rigorously about the present, or rather, the past’s role in the present. [More after the jump...]

Click to read more ...