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Six months ago or so, Collider enjoyed the rare opportunity to visit the set of The Book of Eli, Allen and Albert Hughes’ postapocalyptic thriller about a laconic hero (Denzel Washington) who battles a shrewd but ruthless mercenary (Gary Oldman) and picks up a plucky barkeep (played by Mila Kunis) while walking across country to deliver a mysterious book. The day we were on set, however, there wasn’t a lot of book-bringing; rather, a massive firefight erupted outside a rickety, dilapidated house as we huddled inside a wind-whipped tent, futilely attempting to shield ourselves from billowing, violent clouds of dust. In fact, the weather was so unhospitable that Eli himself, Denzel Washington, couldn’t get over to us to sit down (or even huddle) for a quick chat.
A few weeks later, the small group of attending journalists caught up with Washington via telephone, where he offered a few »
- Todd Gilchrist
Well, there he is. That's Donnie Yen sporting a mustache and looking quite debonair in the role of Chen Zhen in Andrew Lau and Gordon Chan's Legend of Chen Zhen. Yes, the same Chen Zhen played by other martial art film greats Bruce Lee and Jet Li, in Fist of Fury and Fist of Legend respectfully. Quite a difference, eh? We heard they were going somewhere different with this and this is going to take some getting used to.
Andrew Lau, "So, Gordon Chan and I were discussing how to change. We noticed that the period after Chen Zhen left Jing Wu Men gives plenty of room for story development. And against the backdrop of 1925 Shanghai, we thought that Chen Zhen should be like this. It would shock everyone initially, yet after watching the whole film, you would feel that this Chen Zhen is very real, very compelling. Chen Zhen »
By Terry Keefe
It's a world apart from "CSI." Cristi, the young Romanian police detective played by Drago Bucur in director Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective (Politist, adj.), is on a case far removed from the hip procedural universe of cool lighting, clothes, and shocking plot twists that we've come to know on network television. Instead, the director puts us right in the middle of low-level surveillance work in Romania, and lets us feel the ennui of this daily grind. Cristi inhabits a world of paperwork and bureaucracy, and the way he fills out an official form, and the words that he uses to do so, can make a big difference in the life of the person he is writing about. The plot twists in Police, Adjective come not from action set pieces, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Almost two decades since they last worked together on King of New York, Abel Ferrara will be re-teaming with Wesley Snipes in Game of Death - which is not a remake of the Bruce Lee film. - Almost two decades since they last worked together on King of New York, Abel Ferrara will be re-teaming with Wesley Snipes in Game of Death - which is not a remake of the Bruce Lee film. The state of Michigan will offer a tax benefit for the action thriller that in a perfect world would put Snipes back on the map. Screen Daily reports that Sony already holds the Us rights to the story of a hospitalised politician’s bodyguard who discovers the truth behind his mission as he tries to stop five of the world’s top assassins from killing his boss. Billy Dietrich (exec producer on Giallo) and Rafael Primorac »
- Ioncinema.com Staff
For fans of martial arts and cult cinema, “Stoner” has a truly fascinating production history and cast. The film was originally set to be the biggest budgeted kung fu film to come from Asia, and was to star none other than the legendary Bruce Lee in the lead role, alongside Japanese genre favourite and “The Street Fighter” himself, Sonny Chiba, as well as George Lazenby, who for many discerning aficionados remains the best James Bond ever to grace the screen. Unfortunately, after Lee died, Chiba jumped ship, leaving the production somewhat stranded. Thankfully, director Huang Feng was able to bring in the best possible replacement in the fierce, shapely form of Kung Fu queen Angela Mao, who he had worked with before on such classics as “When Taekwondo Strikes”, “Lady Whirlwind”, “The Himalayan” and the awesome “Angry River”. As if the dynamite combination of Mao and Lazenby wasn’t enough, »
- James Mudge
Reed’s Bargain Bin  is a recurring column where Reed Farrington tells us about a movie he bought for under $5, and whether or not he regrets the purchase. For those who think that the best martial arts films are the ones that star actual martial artists, I present to you two films that defy this categorization: Dark Assassin (2006) and The Fifth Commandment (2008). I wasn’t even going to bother reviewing these two films, but after watching the behind-the-scenes documentaries on each DVD, I found out that much effort and perseverance were involved in getting these films made. So I thought I would at least offer these films some recognition even though I won’t have many good things to say about them. However, discussing these films might be of some interest. And with the recent release of Ninja Assassin, I thought there might be an interest in assassin movies. These »
"The Green Hornet" is the classic crime-fighting character of film, television, radio and comic books, returning to the big screen in Columbia Pictures' new feature, starring Vancouver actor Seth Rogen as the disguised vigilante.
Production started in Los Angeles on the Michel Gondry-directed film, produced by Neal "I Am Legend" H. Moritz. Executive producers are Michael "The Accidental Tourist" Grillo, Rogen, Evan "Pineapple Express" Goldberg, Ori "Evan Almighty" Marmur and George W. Trendle, Jr.
"The Green Hornet" also stars Taiwanese actor-pop star Jay Chou as 'Kato', Cameron "The Mask" Diaz, Edward James "Miami Vice" Olmos, David "Revolutionary Road" Harbour, Tom "Valkyrie" Wilkinson and the villain 'Chudnofsky' played by Austrian actor Christoph "Inglourious Basterds" Waltz.
Academy Award-nominee John "Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian" Schwartzman is director of photography, production designer is Owen "The Matrix Revolution" Paterson and Kym "Speed Racer" Barrett is costume designer.
- Michael Stevens
Sundance has announced the short films that will be playing at this year’s Festival. Some of the notable filmmakers include James Franco, Spike Jonze, Rory Kennedy, Patrik Eklund and Paper Heart director Nicholas Jasenovec.
Also, as Sundance points out in the press reelease:
The Sundance Film Festival’s shorts program has long been established as a discovery for directors, including: Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O Russell, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Tamara Jenkins, Ted Demme, Tim Blake Nelson, Alexander Payne, Paul Dinello, Martin McDonagh, and Jason Reitman.
Since there are so many short films playing at the Festival, hit the jump for the full press release, which lists the categories, the films, and the synopses.
2010 Sundance Film Festival Announces Short Film Program
70 Short Films Chosen from a Record 6,092 Submissions
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
First the features, which were unveiled last week; and now the shorts.
I haven’t looked through the list yet, but I will eventually. Feel free to flag any for me if you’re aware.
For now, here’s the full press release I received:
2010 Sundance Film Festival Announces Short Film Program
from Sundance Film Festival | Press Releases
Park City, Ut- Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival’s Short Film Program comprises 70 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,092 submissions up 8% over 2009. The 2010 Sundance Film Festival runs January 21-31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at www.sundance.org/festival.
As previously announced, the Festival will break tradition by foregoing the conventions of one opening night film and instead focus on »
Before we get to this week's poll results, I think it's worth mentioning that there was some heated discussion over what exactly constitutes a "martial arts movie". The truth is, I have no idea... I was thinking of just about any action movie in which the majority of the combat uses some form of Asian fighting style. Clearly that's a pretty broad way to categorize it, but some people felt that a movie like Seven Samurai should not qualify, probably because it has a little more to it than simply fighting for the sake of fighting. Either way, Bruce Lee came out on top, although the number of votes seemed to correspond largely to how well-known a movie was (ie. the more obscure "classics" ended up getting the least number of votes). Do you agree that Enter The Dragon is the greatest martial arts flick of all time? What are »
Ninja Assassins Gives birth to a new action star I grew up watching “Chop-Socky Flicks” which is all Ninja Assassins is with a bit more spit and polish. The CGI computer graphics amplify the gore and add matrix-esque quality to the actors martial arts skills. This movie and essentially all the Kung-Fu/Karate genre movies owe their existence to four Bruce Lee Films. Bruce is often imitated but never duplicated. The common flaw is the heroes just do not have the charisma nor the acting chops of Bruce Lee.
With a barrage of fast paced multiple fight scenes, action is certainly the foundation but they must be anchored by star power to succeed. Few come to mind: Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and some of Chuck Norris’ films accomplish this but Bruce is like james Dean or Elvis - the total package. Brandon Lee the »
[Bruce took the day off yesterday to eat some turkey but he's back now. Here ends our A Bruce A Day series with a look at Lee's final completed film.]
Though his life would end tragically just as he hit his prime, having completed just four feature films, at least Bruce Lee fans can take solace in the fact that the iconic performer left at the absolute peak of his game, his final completed work standing as an absolutely indisputable classic of martial arts film.
With Enter The Dragon, Bruce Lee achieved the sort of cross over success he had longed for. Produced cooperatively by Hong Kong and Hollywood interests, Enter the Dragon allowed Lee not only all the resources that Hollywood could offer - resources clearly seen on screen - but also the ability to appear on screen as he wanted - as a distinctly Asian leading man, rather than as a Hollywood caricature or piece of token casting. This was Lee arriving at the peak, hailed by both the Us and Hong Kong as a legitimate star on »
Do you ever celebrate the birthdays of your favorite movie folk? You should. Here are your options for 11/27
1940 Bruce Lee Chinese American trailblazer, 70s icon, legend. Without him, whose to say how long it would have taken martial arts films to gain as much international popularity? Without him, no Uma Thurman in a yellow track suit.
1951 Kathryn Bigelow director, action fan. An Oscar nominee in about 2 months and a week.
1956 William Fichtner actor
1957 Callie Khouri, screenwriter. She'll always have Thelma & Louise
1957 Kevin O'Connell, the most nominated never-winning Oscar anything. He's been nominated 20 times (!) for his sound work. He has only his Emmy and lucrative blockbuster heavy career to comfort him. His next project is the Gyllenhaal action flick Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. [editor's note: You may recall that the second podcast ever here at Tfe was an interview with his then working partner Greg P Russell whose own Oscar tally totals 12 nominations without a win.]
- NATHANIEL R
(And another film with no Twitch review. Allow me to put that right.)
The Longest Night in Shanghai could have been a disaster. It's a formula rom-com at heart, yet another riff on Pygmalion where a glossy pan-Asian cast is headed up by two lonely beautiful people who only need one fleeting meet-cute to establish they're meant for each other. It's helmed by an arthouse director, Zhang Yibai, coming off a shaky second picture (Curiosity Kills the Cat) in which the more predictable genre elements he tried to introduce killed a great deal of the atmosphere stone dead almost before it even got started.
But it's not a disaster. It's far from a perfect film; it's too long, and its multiple plot threads vary wildly in quality, but the sumptuous production values, stellar cast and gorgeous soundtrack paper over the (very) rough spots to leave the viewer with one of the quietest, »
The Lady Miz Diva: Ninja Assassin is a really violent, bloody film. Were you concerned that so much of your fan base, which consists of younger kids and people who might not usually go to this type of movie, wouldn't be able to see your big Hollywood film?
Rain: Yeah, I know, but it's gonna be huge. I believe they will like my movie. I am a little bit worried, but it's something different from what I've done, so it's interesting that way. And I believe more male fans will be interested in this movie.
Lmd: Raizo is a full of a lot of rage. What did you find inside yourself to create that constant anger he feels?
R: Well, before the shooting the Wachowskis and James McTeigue always »
The most playful film in his canon by far, The Way of the Dragon is also arguably the truest image of how Bruce Lee wanted to be seen by his fans. Beginning more as a comedy than an action picture - the first fight does not arrive until just past the half hour mark - The Way Of The Dragon does not just star Lee but was also written and directed by him. And, that being the case, while Way will never compete with Lee's other Dragon film for overall fan appeal it is, nonetheless, absolutely required viewing for fans.
Lee stars as Tang Lung, a country boy raised on a farm in Hong Kong's New Territories, a young man who spends his days on the farm practicing martial arts. And so it is culture shock in more ways than one when he is sent off to Rome - not »
I studied Ninpo-Tai Jitsu for years so anything ninja related is pretty fascinating to me. Hollywoood still gets it wrong everytime they do a ninja film, and while Ninja Assassin is no exception (throwing stars were meant as distractions, not as skull crushing hatchets) it's still a lot of fun to watch on screen. I had a chance to speak with director James McTeigue, star Rain and Producer Joel Silver about Ninja Assassin. Joel talked about how difficult it was back in the day to do fights scenes like the ones we're now used to and also updates on some of his future projects like Lobo.James and Rain talked about ninja training, how Rain got the part and James discusses the look of the film and if he was ever worried about the MPAA coming down on his bloody, gory ninja movie. Rain also says he hasn't made up »
At last weekend’s press junket for Ninja Assassin, I had the opportunity to speak with producer Joel Silver twice. The first time was an exclusive TV interview, and the second time was during a roundtable interview the following day. While I normally would be happy to use just one of the interviews, since Joel Silver is producing so many high profile projects (Lobo, Sgt. Rock, The Apparition), I knew getting to speak with him twice would be a good thing.
Also, what a lot of people don’t realize is how much info a producer can tell you. While it’s always great to talk with an actor, unless you’re a Brad Pitt, most actors don’t have that much juice to get a project made. So that’s why getting to speak with Joel Silver is so great, because not only can he talk about all his projects that are getting made, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Though films with substance can be the most memorable, now and then a decent movie that invites you to check your brain at the door can be rewarding. The problem is those types of films have to be somewhat decent and they are getting pretty rare nowadays. The last action film I saw that asked me to throw logic out the window and was still entertaining was Timur Bekmambetov's “Wanted' and since then hyper-kinetic films of the genre have got dumber and dumber. 'Ninja Assassin' is no exception. It's actually one of those movies you want to succeed, because its tough to remember when was the last time we got a decent ninja flick which is a poorly developed genre. I never though I'd write this, but 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' comes to mind and I'm talking the recent CGI version, not men in ridiculous Muppet suits. »
[We continue our A Bruce A Day run through the career of Bruce Lee with his sophomore starring role in Fist Of Fury.]
Just a year after making his leading man debut with The Big Boss Bruce Lee would reunite with director Lo Wei to tackle one of China's most popular folk heroes, Chen Zhen, in Fist of Fury. The favored student of legendary martial arts master Huo Yuan-Jia, the story of Chen's return to Shanghai on the death of his master and subsequent clash with the Japanese occupying forces is a favored rallying point for Chinese patriotic pride and one that has been told many times with this film and later Jet Li star vehicle Fist of Legend being the most high profile examples.
The most drama and character oriented of all Lee's films, this is the one occasion in his big screen career where Lee was asked to step in to an already existing - and very popular character - rather than creating a new character from scratch. As a result, »
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