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5 items from 2007


Weekend Rental: Farewell, My Concubine

21 July 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- This week Chen Kaige commences principle photography on Mei Lan Fang a 15 million project with Zhang Ziyi headlining and a popstar by the name of Leon Lai being showcased as well. THR states that Mei is well known for having stood up to the Japanese occupiers who liked his art but for whom he is said to have refused to perform. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Japan's worst atrocities in China, known as the rape of Nanjing, when as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians were killed by the Japanese army. Apparently this true story was the inspiration for Kaige's 1993 film. Our Weekend Rental pick is Farewell, My Concubine.Until Farewell, My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji), not many people were aware that most members of the Peking Opera were originally orphans or illegitimate castaways with nowhere else to turn. Such is the case of the film's protagonists, Duan »

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Shanghai Film Festival opens doors to China

18 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

SHANGHAI -- Suspense started the Shanghai International Film Festival Saturday morning as no opening film was named in the catalog and market booths costing $800 and up remained empty.

By evening, however, the 10th annual fest -- separated from the Shanghai Television Festival for the first time -- began to show signs of the life organizers hope someday will rebill China's commercial capital as its movie capital for the first time since the 1930s.

More Shanghai Film Festival coverage

A VIP reception at the imposing municipal building saw the likes of Hong Kong hitmaker Bill Kong ("Crouching Tiger") rub shoulders with director Jia Zhangke, whose "Still Life" won at Venice last year, and Jerome Paillard, director general of Cannes' Marche du Film.

Absent were Ziyi Zhang and Gong Li, but Sharon Stone and Norah Jones -- and the directors of other film festivals from Hawaii to Dubai -- brought an international air to the fest. Some sipped champagne before a move in sponsoring Cadillacs to the opening ceremony at the Shanghai Arts Center next door.

Veteran director Chen Kaige -- best known in the West for "Farewell My Concubine" and in China these days for "The Promise" -- is festival jury head. Chen, who in a few weeks will start shooting a biography of Chinese opera legend Mei Lanfang, reminisced and offered guarded praise.

"A long time ago, the Shanghai government didn't know how to start a film festival," Chen said. »

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Shanghai Film Festival opens doors to China

17 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

SHANGHAI -- Suspense started the Shanghai International Film Festival Saturday morning as no opening film was named in the catalog and market booths costing $800 and up remained empty.

By evening, however, the 10th annual fest -- separated from the Shanghai Television Festival for the first time -- began to show signs of the life organizers hope someday will rebill China's commercial capital as its movie capital for the first time since the 1930s.

A VIP reception at the imposing municipal building saw the likes of Hong Kong hitmaker Bill Kong ("Crouching Tiger") rub shoulders with director Jia Zhangke, whose "Still Life" won at Venice last year, and Jerome Paillard, director general of Cannes' Marche du Film.

More Shanghai Film Festival coverage

Absent were Ziyi Zhang and Gong Li, but Sharon Stone and Norah Jones -- and the directors of other film festivals from Hawaii to Dubai -- brought an international air to the fest. Some sipped champagne before a move in sponsoring Cadillacs to the opening ceremony at the Shanghai Arts Center next door.

Veteran director Chen Kaige -- best known in the West for "Farewell My Concubine" and in China these days for "The Promise" -- is festival jury head. Chen, who in a few weeks will start shooting a biography of Chinese opera legend Mei Lanfang, reminisced and offered guarded praise.

"A long time ago, the Shanghai government didn't know how to start a film festival," Chen said. »

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TMNT

19 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the theatrical release of "TMNT".While "TMNT" is the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles project to take advantage of CGI animation, the movie stakes out no new ground for the highly profitable franchise. A certified phenomenon in publishing, toy manufacturing and TV cartoons -- along with three live-action features in the early '90s -- the green fighting machines' return to movies is a tad too conservative and calculated.

CGI delivers best on moody sets and a noirish atmosphere achieved by lighting, backgrounds and visual effects. But the characters look like plastic dolls, and the story is recycled sci-fi. The film will satisfy youngsters and newcomers but might divide older fans. Those fans certainly will turn out, though, so Warners and the Weinsteins should see respectable boxoffice figures for the first two weeks.

Other than a few sequences in Latin America, "TMNT" sticks close to home -- meaning the rooftops, sewers and back alleys of nighttime Manhattan. Its crime fighters are arrayed against the usual forces seeking the destruction of civilization, but writer-director Kevin Munroe, a CGI vet making his feature debut, focuses his main conflict within the Turtles' family.

The rift comes when the Turtles' rat sensei, Splinter (voiced by the late Mako), sends team leader Leonardo James Arnold Taylor) away for training. When he returns, younger brother Raphael (Nolan North) is miffed at his prolonged absence. Since Leo was obeying their sensei, much of this conflict over Ninja Turtle Family Values feels contrived.

While Leo is away, the family falls into a kind of languor. Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) entertains at children's birthday parties as "Cowabunga Carl". Bored Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) provides computer tech support by telephone. Only Raphael has continued crime fighting, secretly masquerading as a one-man vigilante known as "The Nightwatcher".

Leo's return leads to a showdown between the two brothers, Leo and Raphael, while the other Turtles all but disappear from the screen. Two other crime fighters might as well disappear because the movie finds little use for them. These are April Sarah Michelle Gellar), an archaeologist/martial artist, and baseball-wielding Casey Jones (Chris Evans), a ghost of his former crazed self. Curiously, his face is drawn so narrowly as to resemble Adrien Brody.

The villainy here is vague, almost as if it were an afterthought. At first, the enemy appears to be tech-industrialist Maximillian J. Winters (Patrick Stewart), who is assembling an army of ancient stone warriors. Then it becomes 13 monsters that slipped through a portal from another dimension 3,000 years ago. Then it's the Turtles' old nemesis, Karai (Ziyi Zhang) and her mercenaries for hire, the Foot Clan.

Younger children might be baffled by the switching alliances between bad and good guys, but when the world gets saved, you don't ask too many questions.

The Turtles were created in 1984, so the real threat to its Family Values might be tired blood. Even CGI doesn't pump much life into these kung fu critters. The new film's calculations show the most in the mix of tame violence to maintain a PG rating and youthful humor and a skateboarding sequence to keep the appeal broad. Ultimately, the movie seems driven more by the need to keep a toy line and franchise alive than any creative inspiration.

TMNT

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures and the Weinstein Co. presents an Imagi Animation Studios production

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Kevin Munroe

Based on characters created by: Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman

Producers: Thomas K. Gray, H. Galen Walker, Paul Wang

Executive producers: Francis Kao, Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick U. Fierst

Director of photography: Steve Lumley

Production designer: Simon Murton

Music: Klaus Badelt

Visual effects supervisor: Kith Ng

Supervising animator: Kim Ooi

Co-producer: Felix Ip

Editor: John Damien Ryan

Voices:

Leonardo: James Arnold Taylor

Raphael: Nolan North

Donatello: Mitchell Whitfield

Michelangelo: Mikey Kelley

Casey: Chris Evans

April: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Splinter: Mako

Karai: Ziyi Zhang

Narrator: Laurence Fishburne

Diner Cook: Kevin Smith

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

»

Permalink | Report a problem


TMNT

19 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

While TMNT is the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles project to take advantage of CGI animation, the movie stakes out no new ground for the highly profitable franchise. A certified phenomenon in publishing, toy manufacturing and TV cartoons -- along with three live-action features in the early '90s -- the green fighting machines' return to movies is a tad too conservative and calculated.

CGI delivers best on moody sets and a noirish atmosphere achieved by lighting, backgrounds and visual effects. But the characters look like plastic dolls, and the story is recycled sci-fi. The film will satisfy youngsters and newcomers but might divide older fans. Those fans certainly will turn out, though, so Warners and the Weinsteins should see respectable boxoffice figures for the first two weeks.

Other than a few sequences in Latin America, TMNT sticks close to home -- meaning the rooftops, sewers and back alleys of nighttime Manhattan. Its crime fighters are arrayed against the usual forces seeking the destruction of civilization, but writer-director Kevin Munroe, a CGI vet making his feature debut, focuses his main conflict within the Turtles' family.

The rift comes when the Turtles' rat sensei, Splinter (voiced by the late Mako), sends team leader Leonardo James Arnold Taylor) away for training. When he returns, younger brother Raphael (Nolan North) is miffed at his prolonged absence. Since Leo was obeying their sensei, much of this conflict over Ninja Turtle Family Values feels contrived.

While Leo is away, the family falls into a kind of languor. Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) entertains at children's birthday parties as Cowabunga Carl. Bored Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) provides computer tech support by telephone. Only Raphael has continued crime fighting, secretly masquerading as a one-man vigilante known as The Nightwatcher.

Leo's return leads to a showdown between the two brothers, Leo and Raphael, while the other Turtles all but disappear from the screen. Two other crime fighters might as well disappear because the movie finds little use for them. These are April Sarah Michelle Gellar), an archaeologist/martial artist, and baseball-wielding Casey Jones (Chris Evans), a ghost of his former crazed self. Curiously, his face is drawn so narrowly as to resemble Adrien Brody.

The villainy here is vague, almost as if it were an afterthought. At first, the enemy appears to be tech-industrialist Maximillian J. Winters (Patrick Stewart), who is assembling an army of ancient stone warriors. Then it becomes 13 monsters that slipped through a portal from another dimension 3,000 years ago. Then it's the Turtles' old nemesis, Karai (Ziyi Zhang) and her mercenaries for hire, the Foot Clan.

Younger children might be baffled by the switching alliances between bad and good guys, but when the world gets saved, you don't ask too many questions.

The Turtles were created in 1984, so the real threat to its Family Values might be tired blood. Even CGI doesn't pump much life into these kung fu critters. The new film's calculations show the most in the mix of tame violence to maintain a PG rating and youthful humor and a skateboarding sequence to keep the appeal broad. Ultimately, the movie seems driven more by the need to keep a toy line and franchise alive than any creative inspiration.

TMNT

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures and the Weinstein Co. presents an Imagi Animation Studios production

Credits:

Screenwriter-director: Kevin Munroe

Based on characters created by: Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman

Producers: Thomas K. Gray, H. Galen Walker, Paul Wang

Executive producers: Francis Kao, Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick U. Fierst

Director of photography: Steve Lumley

Production designer: Simon Murton

Music: Klaus Badelt

Visual effects supervisor: Kith Ng

Supervising animator: Kim Ooi

Co-producer: Felix Ip

Editor: John Damien Ryan

Voices:

Leonardo: James Arnold Taylor

Raphael: Nolan North

Donatello: Mitchell Whitfield

Michelangelo: Mikey Kelley

Casey: Chris Evans

April: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Splinter: Mako

Karai: Ziyi Zhang

Narrator: Laurence Fishburne

Diner Cook: Kevin Smith

Running time -- 88 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

»

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2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2001

5 items from 2007


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