5 items from 2014
Two action movies opened in U.S. theaters this past weekend. One of them — which you may not have heard of, thanks to the Weinstein Co.’s criminally nonexistent marketing campaign — is “Snowpiercer,” Bong Joon-ho’s marvelously imaginative dystopian railway thriller. The other one — which you have undoubtedly heard of and perhaps already seen — is “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Michael Bay’s brain-dead celebration of stunted male adolescence.
Film Review: “Transformers: Age of Extinction”
These movies are, to put it mildly, rather different. If “Snowpiercer” offers a master class in tension and pacing, then “Transformers 4″ plays like a remedial course in bloat and overkill. Bong’s movie unfolds on a train doomed to forever circle the globe; Bay’s movie trots the globe and feels like it lasts forever. “Snowpiercer” is a resourceful independent production that will, with any luck, translate strong reviews and word of mouth into respectable arthouse success Stateside. »
- Justin Chang
Japan’s rarefied geisha culture is kookily crossed with Broadway musicals in “Lady Maiko,” Masayuki Suo’s variation on “My Fair Lady.” Gorgeously appointed and exuberantly choreographed, this crowded ensemble drama is a visual treat that, at well over two hours, needs a romantic spark to give it stronger dramatic momentum. Audiences aware of what a tacky knockoff “Memoirs of a Geisha” was may well appreciate the production’s dedication to authenticity, but it doesn’t entertain on the level of Suo’s “Shall We Dance,” or boast the zany humor of “Maiko Haaaan!!!” Still, Suo’s rep and the fascinating subject matter should ensure a decent run in select Asian markets.
The ancient, masonic world of geishas, sometimes referred to as Hanamachi (Flower Street), is almost synonymous with Kyoto, a city proud of its artistic heritage and exclusion of non-locals. However, the film reveals that since the profession’s heyday, »
- Maggie Lee
Hong Kong – The upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival has set “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as its closing film on June 22.
The Michael Bay-directed film was partially shot on multiple locations in China and Hong Kong. It sees China Central Television’s China Movie Channel (CCTV6) as a production partner alongside Paramount Pictures and Dibonaventura Pictures. CCTV6 last year ran a talent show to cast young Chinese actors for supporting roles in the picture.
The film will open around Asia from June 25 and in North America from June 27.
Previous editions of the franchise have done huge business in China. “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” grossed $165 million in China.
The festival will open with the 4K restoration of Chinese classic, “Two Stage Sisters,” bowing some 50 years after its first release.
Siff also completed its main competition line-up with the addition of four more recent movies.
The fest (14-22 June) has »
- Patrick Frater
Hong Kong – The Shanghai International Film Festival (14-22 June) looks set to be a starry affair.
Joining top Chinese actress Gong Li on the main competition jury are the UK’s Sally Potter, Korean director Im Sangsoo (“The Housemaid”), Japanese director Shunji Iwai (“All About Lily Chou-Chou”), Chinese director Liu Jie (“Courthouse on Horseback,” “Deep In the Clouds”), Iran’s Payman Maadi (“About Elly” as actor, “Snow on the Pines” as director), and Denmark’s Lone Scherfig (“An Education,” “Italian For Beginners”.)
Kidman will »
- Patrick Frater
Organisers said the full Golden Goblet line-up has yet to be announced but will also include Volker Schlöndorff’s Diplomatie; Thai filmmaker Tom Waller’s The Last Executioner; Greek filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris’ Mikra Anglia; Maiko wa Lady, from Japan’s Masayuki Suo; Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig’s Predestination (Australia); Jeanne Herry’s She Adores Him (France); Mehdi Rahmani’s Snow (Iran); Zhang Meng’s The Uncle Victory (China); and Marko Nabersnik’s The Woods Are Still Green (Germany).
As previously announced, Gong Li will serve as president of the Golden Goblet jury, which also includes »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
5 items from 2014
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