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Entries in Asian cinema (73)

Wednesday
May202015

'some say Link, it is a hunger, an endless aching need...♪'

The Star is TIFF about to get an "In Competition" slate at their annual festival? They've always avoided it
Playbill Sutton Foster visited "The View" and talked Thoroughly Modern Millie and her new show Younger (which she is typically excellent/adorable/funny in if you haven't yet watched it. No musical numbers yet though, boo!)
Wired has a longform oral history of ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) for its 40th anniversary, the fx house created originally for Star Wars that changed movies. 
The Daily Beast on Flula Borg, the German scene stealer from Pitch Perfect 2
Playbill this always kind of annoys me but non-nominated musicals will be performing at the Tony Awards: Gigi, Finding Neverland, and It Shoulda Been You. Better to spend the time focusing on nominees, I think.
Comics Alliance Vertigo Comics was totally prepared for the world to go wild for Mad Max Fury Road. They already have prequel comics and an art book with pre-comissioned tributes by major comic artists.
Towleroad Nick the Gardener takes you on a behind the scene tour of Magic Mike XXL for Ellen

Cannes Cannes
RogerEbert.com loves Hou Hsiao-hsien’s longawaited epic The Assassin starring Shu Qi. Another Palme d'Or contender? This year seems highly competitive.  But mixed on Youth... which is apparently highly influenced by 8½
Awards Daily Sasha says that Paolo Sorrentino's Youth about two old men in the film industry, one retired (Caine) one still working (Keitel) will be catnip to Oscar voters 
In Contention says Emily Blunt is "spectacular" in Sicario but Benicio del Toro is the MVP
The Playlist [NSFW] has a clip from Gaspar Noé's Love  

"Mad" Must Reads
Because people can't stop writing about the Mad Men finale and George Miller's fourth Mad Max film. These are highly recommended!

Emily Nussbaum on the "existential brilliance" of the Mad Men finale 
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd examines how the meaning of Don Draper --or what we thought the show was about -- seem to have shifted over time
Alan Sepinwall grapples with the two Dons or rather Don & Dick and what we want from a person/character and who they really are
Mark Harris on "Artisinal Macho" and why the Mad Max Fury Road action scenes make recent action films feel so weightless 
Arthur Chu offers up a rundown of the long form feminism and "toxic masculinity" of the Mad Max franchise - the headline and subheader are kind of misleading but the actual point by point content / argument is terrific 

1979 to Go
Criterion Collection got Bette Midler to reminisce about The Rose (1979) for a dvd release!!! Take a look.

 

Wednesday
May202015

Cannes Actress: Zhao Tao and Jane Fonda

The latest buzz from Cannes is that the Best Actress race is heating up. Or at least speculation is. Marion Cotillard's Lady MacBeth has yet to screen but those that have seen it early are typically wowed. But we know at this point not to expect Cannes juries to point and go "Her! Her!". If there is a Blanchett-Vanquisher out there it may well be Zhao Tao who stars in the "giddily ambitiousMountains May Depart.

That's the latest from the reknowned Jia Zhangke, a regular at the fest for whom Zhao Tao is a recurring player (Still Life, Platform, A Touch of Sin). Mountains is Zhangke's fourth try at the Palme and though he usually comes away empty-handed, his last attempt A Touch of Sin (2013) took Best Screenplay. Despite the jury completely changing each year Cannes somehow has an Oscar-like sense of momentum wherein you generally move up the ranks as to which prizes you take; longevity wins the Palme. (It's not as simple as that of course but there can be a weird cumulative coronation effect.)

So that makes the Palme race: Hungary's Son of Saul vs. USA's Carol vs China's Mountains May Depart? (Or am I forgetting something that's been similarly ecstatically received?) Typing them out that way it makes Cannes sound like the Olympics of the movies, only annual instead of bi-annual. And maybe it is?

In other Canne actressy news, our friend Kyle Buchanan says that Jane Fonda walks away with Paolo Sorrentino's Youth which stars Michael Caine as a retired film composer.  I'm hearing that Fonda's role is very showy (an old combative muse to Harvey Keitel's director character), but quite small. Nevertheless I couldn't help but immediately picture both Grace (Jane) and Frankie (Lily) as Oscar nominees this year in Supporting (for Youth) and Lead (for Grandma) and how much media fun would that be? Sorrentino had a major Cannes sensation and eventual Oscar winner with his last film The Great Beauty. This one is in English which naturally will give it a leg up with Oscar voters if it opens this year but it's already more divisive which can be a problem. Still love/hate divides are tough to predict with awards. All you sometimes need is the right people on the love side to turn the critical tide around. And anyway when this mixed review called it 'elegant fun' I just thought... doesn't that describe a lot of well received prestige films?

But just to remind us that she's already one of the immortals (with 2 Oscars, multiple classic films, and celebrity outside of acting as well, the legend is assured) here is Jane Fonda looking amazing on the cover of W --  their oldest cover girl ever.

Here's an interesting bit on self-awareness from the W interview

One day on the set of On Golden Pond, a film that she coproduced so that she could costar with her father, the legendary actor Henry Fonda, she was fixing her hair when Katharine Hepburn (who played her mother in the film) pinched her cheek and demanded, “What do you want this to mean?” “It was 1981, and I didn’t know what she was talking about,” Fonda recalled. “Back then, I didn’t give my looks a fare-thee-well, and that bothered Katharine. She said to me, ‘This is what you present to the world. What do you want it to say about you?’ Her question has been lodged in my psyche ever since. I now think what Katharine meant was awareness of a persona. She wanted me to consider how I wanted to be seen. Now I pay attention to how I present myself to the world. I realize that it matters.”

 

Saturday
May092015

Tim's Toons: 1979 and the first film of Hayao Miyazaki

Tim here. May is 1979 Month at the Film Experience, and as far as animation goes, that was a pretty meager year (ardent fans of The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone would no doubt disagree, but sadly, they do not exist). There was one clear highlight, though: 1979 was the year that a Japanese animator and TV director named Hayao Miyazaki made his first feature film. And 36 years later, he’s one of the only name-brand individuals in animation, anywhere in the world.

You wouldn’t necessarily be able to guess the full range of Miyazaki’s future career from Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. For that is the title of this debut film, and if that whole “subtitle after the colon” thing makes it feel like it might have been part of an established franchise, that’s exactly the case. Lupin III was an anime series made by TMS Entertainment, adapting the adventures of a gentleman thief from French pulp literature; the first batch of episodes started to appear in 1971, and iterations of the animated franchise kept poking up for decades; the series still remains a cultural touchstone in Japan and it’s reasonably popular anywhere there’s an enthusiastic audience for classic anime.

more...

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Friday
May082015

Beauty Break: China Through the Looking Glass?

Eeep. We haven't even mentioned the Met Gala which is like the Oscars of May for how many stars come out. Each year the Met Gala theme comes from the new event exhibit which this year is "China: Through the Looking Glass." It's tough to say what is Chinese inspired about many of the looks we saw a few nights ago but who cares about themes when you get THIS photo (shared by Jessica Chastain) of three of the best and most beautiful actresses on the planet. As I said on twitter...

My brain / heart / cinephilia just exploded. See you next week once i’ve collected the pieces. 

[more photos after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr262015

A.I. "2046"

Who’s ever fallen in love with an android?”

So wonders the train captain, jovially dismissive of his staff of beautiful female robots aboard a train leaving the futuristic district of 2046. The answer, as we know from the annals of cinematic and literary history, is many a man, and Tak (Takuya Kimura) is merely the latest.

Dave continues our artificial intelligence celebration after the jump...

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Sunday
Nov232014

Golden Horse Gets a "Blind Massage"

It's your annual report of the Oscars of the Chinese world, the 51st annual Golden Horse Awards. Unfortunately this year had little crossover in terms of what made it into US theaters. There's generally at least a few winners/nominees that opened in the US. This year only one as far as I can tell - the Oscar submission The Golden Era though the Gong Li vehicle Coming Home will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics supposedly at some point. 

It was a big night for Lou Ye's Blind Massage, a rough night for acclaimed festival hit Black Coal Thin Ice and just your regular Saturday night for Ann Hui who took home her third (third!) Best Director prize for the Oscar submission The Golden Era. It wasn't a good year for the internationally recognizable acting contenders:  Tang Wei (The Golden Era) and Gong Li (Coming Home) lost to the woman with the lowest profile and Chang Chen (Brotherhood of Blades) lost Best Actor. As far am I'm aware

Full list of winners is after the jump...

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