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• First-look review: The Grandmaster
Wong Kar-wai laboured for years on this weighty martial-arts movie that first appeared in a longer cut at last year’s Berlin film festival. It is by turns intriguing, exasperating, beguiling. The Grandmaster is a distinctive piece of work, a deeply felt homage to the art form of kung fu and the art form of movies about kung fu. But it also feels like a slightly self-conscious piece of ancestor-worship, straining against an inertia of its own making. The Grandmaster is not a masterpiece, and compared to the blazing and compelling emotional reality of Wong’s magnificent In the Mood for Love (2000), it looks artificial and slight. The film is an elaborate, stylised cine-ballet inspired by the life of Ip Man, master of the wing chun discipline of »
- Peter Bradshaw
The Grandmaster, 2013.
Directed by Wong Kar Wai.
The poetically charged biographical story of Ip-Man, the martial arts expert and teacher , who went on to train Bruce Lee…
Wong Kar Wai is a film-maker gifted with a true sense of creating a luxuriant depth of visual detail married to a philosophical highlighting of universals that can cut across genres and standardised models of cinema. His best known film In The Mood For Love is a memorable ode to fate and destiny, crafted and contrasted in the most balletic and joyous modes of scene making. The follow up, 2046 took a science fictionesque framing of these themes and delivered them in a stunning collection of striking visual forms.
Coupled to both of these film’s attractive visual coordination and stimulation were scripts and »
- Robert W Monk
10. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Directed by: Max Ophuls
To be honest, the relationship at the center of “Letter from an Unknown Woman” barely even exists. It’s more of a longing from one side than the other. But the ways Ophuls structures the film qualifies it for this list. For the run of the story, we hear a voiceover, explaining the moments in these two characters’ lives. Lisa (Joan Fontaine) is a teenager who becomes obsessed with a pianist who lives in her building named Stefan (Louis Jordan). She only meets him once, but maintains her love for him. After her mother announces they will be moving, Lisa runs away, but sees Stefan with another woman. Lisa becomes a respectable woman and is proposed to by a young, family-focused military officer, whom she turns down, still in love with Stefan, a man she has barely met. Years later, she »
- Joshua Gaul
‘Starry Eyes’: The feel disturbed movie of the year
This film is at its very core a success story. A very demented, gory, horrifying and darkly comical success story – one with tinges of satanic cult horror wrapped in psychological terror. The plot follows a young aspiring actress, Sarah, as she is called back to audition for a horror film that is being produced by a mysterious production company that pushes her to her limits – a dark exchange for fame and fortune… click here to read the article.
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I’ is all prologue
In a previous review of the second instalment of The Hunger Games series for this website, I expressed some dismay that Catching Fire didn’t really have a conclusion to speak of, with its cliffhanger ending reminding me less of The Empire Strikes Back and more of The Matrix Reloaded orPirates of »
Written and Directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Hong Kong, 2000
A film centered on the human desire for affection, Wong Kar-Wai utilizes his poetic filmmaking style to construct In the Mood For Love, a movie that follows two individuals in their struggling marriages. Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr. Chow (Tony Chiu Wai Leung) yearn for adoration in marriages where their spouses have found it elsewhere. The movie asks its audience to reflect on the morality of their feelings. Although they never physically connect, is their growing emotional attachment overstepping the boundaries of 1960s Chinese culture? And from our perspective, does it even matter, as their own partners have already found comfort in one another? The beauty of this movie is that it alludes more than it does showcase, for story purposes, which forces viewers to critically think about the complexity of marriage and human need.
- Samantha Ladwig
Director: Kim Dae Woo.
Starring: Song Seung Heon, Lim Ji Yeon, Jo Yeo Jeong, On Ju Wan, Yu Hae Jin.
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Synopsis: Set in 1969 on a South Korean military base, a respected and married colonel falls for the wife of his new subordinate.
Director Kim Dae Woo has plunged the murky depths of forbidden love twice before, in both The Servant and Forbidden Quest. He’s also written An Affair and Dangerous Liaisons adaptation Untold Scandal. It’s therefore safe to assume that here is a man who understands period pieces and complicated love stories.
Obsession differs slightly in that it only goes back to the late 1960s, which immediately evokes memories of Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love and 2046, as well as Ang Lee’s Lust Caution. The most notable element at first is the rich cinematography. Everything has a slightly sunset tone to »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
Production is by Ann An, whose Desen Media was among the producers of “Tiny Times,” and the “Ip Man” features, and which is currently preparing a wartime epic “Moon Flower of Flying Tigers,” with Hollywood’s Paula Wagner.
“Queens,” currently in post-production, arrives at the Busan market handled by Easternlight, the specialty Asian arm of Australian-u.S. sales and production finance group Arclight Films.
The story involves three cosmopolitan women – an actress, a PR specialist and a gallery manager – wrestling with the ups and downs of their romantic lives. Along the way they manipulate friends, embarrass their »
- Patrick Frater
Eyes on Cinema —the prolific YouTube channel that posts frequent investigations into film and filmmakers— has just released a 21-minute interview with Shanghai-born writer/director Wong Kar Wai. American audiences might know him best as the man behind last year’s “The Grandmaster” (about Bruce Lee’s martial arts instructor, Ip Man) and 2007’s “My Blueberry Nights” (which starred Norah Jones, Jude Law, and Natalie Portman). In the video, Wong talks about making his 2000 release “In the Mood for Love.” Even moviegoers unfamiliar with that film are likely to find the (fairly uncut and definitely unpretentious) discussion illuminating, especially when the filmmaker talks about the rationale behind various artistic choices that led to the finished product. He begins with funding problems that plagued production, which oddly afforded him an opportunity to work simultaneously on “2046,” which shared a number of cast members and would open four years later. The interview is also. »
- Zach Hollwedel
Acclaimed French actor Catherine Deneuve, known for her iconic roles in films such as Repulsion (1965), Belle de Jour (1967) and Tristana (1970), and more recently in Dancer in the Dark (2000) and 8 Women (2002), will be conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival. The festival will screen a selection of her movies as a tribute.
Side bar events of the festival include master classes by internationally acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle, of Paranoid Park, Lady in the water, Psycho, In the Mood for love and Chunking Express; and noted director and writer Mahamat Saleh Haroun known for his films, Girgis, Bye Bye Africa, A Screaming Man.
Chaitanya Tamhane’s Venice “Lion of the future” winner Court is the only Indian film in international competition. The India Gold competition will showcase films like Avinash Arun’s Killa, Bikas Mishra’s Chauranga, Venu’s Munnariyippu, Dr. Biju’s Names Unknown and Vivek Wagh’s Siddhant. »
Chungking Express, 1994.
Directed by Wong Kar Wai.
Two stories reveal the love lives of two different policemen who struggle to find love in Hong Kong.
Considered one of the greatest films of the 2000’s, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love is a romantic and sensual cinematic masterpiece. Chungking Express, released six years prior, still holds the sensitivity and patience of In the Mood for Love but enjoys a more playful, youthful tone. Both are playing at the BFI Southbank as part of the A Century of Chinese Cinema season throughout September and October. Akin to Kar Wai’s 2000 delight, Chungking Express frames dual narratives (of love and cops) within the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. A set of moody, tender stories, Chungking Express demonstrates how, behind their stern exterior, men of the law can hold deeply fragile hearts. »
- Simon Columb
Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai is one of the world’s most visionary stylists and storytellers. However, despite making Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love – two titles that are pretty much admired universally by film fans – he has made some lackluster films as of late.
2013′s long-delayed The Grandmaster received a mixed reaction from critics and audiences (including We Got This Covered’s Sam Woolf), although it did impress enough people to earn Oscar nominations for costume design and cinematography. However, those who missed Wong’s latest title in theaters and on DVD are in luck, as the director wants to re-release the title in 3D for Chinese audiences – and a run in North American cinemas may not be far behind.
The Grandmaster, a biopic of influential martial arts mentor Ip Man, will see a release in China in mid-October. Kar-Wai had reportedly wanted to release his film in 3D originally, »
- Jordan Adler
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has struck a deal to be involved with the upcoming films of top auteur Wong Kar-wai.
The company revealed the deal in a regulatory filing by Chinavision, the Hong Kong stock market listed company that is soon to be renamed Alibaba Pictures Group.
“The Group has entered into several motion pictures development cooperation agreements with leading movie producers and directors, including cooperations with (i) Block 2 Films Limited and Mr. Wong Kar Wai (王家衛), a highly acclaimed and nationally renowned director, producer and script writer,” the Chinavision statement said.
Block 2 is a Hong Kong-based film production investment company that has been involved in several of Wong’s movies including “In The Mood For Love,” and “My Blueberry Nights” as well as others produced by Wong’s main company Jettone, including Taiwanese pictures “Miao Miao,” and “Touch of the Light.”
A spokesman for Wong confirmed the Alibaba deal »
- Patrick Frater
Every now and then, a film falls through the cracks. Independent dramas in particular are susceptible to a weird phenomenon we'll call the Distribution Bermuda Triangle – they're made, they play at a film festival or two, they rack up some early buzz and movie fans get excited.
And then... nothing. A gaping void where the release date ought to be.
The UK has been especially bad for this of late, with a slew of 2013's most buzzed-about dramas still without distribution. Below, Digital Spy rounds up the five we're most desperate to finally see on this side of the pond
In the wake of Shailene Woodley's recent box office double whammy (Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, if you've been snoozing), our hopes were high that this sophisticated teen drama would finally see the light of day in the UK. But as yet, there's been no word. »
The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
Themes of love, loss and the despotic force of time permeate Wong Kar-wai’s films and whole landscapes of emotion are suggested without words. This anomalous approach to storytelling works against the grain of Hong Kong cinema as well as Western narrative convention, and is perhaps best exemplified in his 2000 masterpiece, In the Mood for Love: an enigmatic melodrama where falling in love is anything but a panacea.
Set in 60s Hong Kong, the story chronicles the tentative relationship between a married man and a married woman (played by Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung), both of whom discover, after moving into neighbouring flats, that their respective spouses are having an affair. Drawn by their mutual cuckolded status, Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-Wan soon fall for each other but, stifled by propriety and moral restraint, never act on their impulses. Instead, their relationship comprises wry smiles, furtive conversations and even »
- Will Roberts
Wong Kar Wai took 6 years to give us The Grandmaster after his first English language film in 2007, My Blueberry Nights, but it looks hopeful that we won’t be waiting as long for his next project. Wong will be taking a short story from Zhang Jiajia’s collection I Belonged To You. The author confirmed the news on Weibo saying that he and Wong have collaborated closely on the project, but did not specify if Wong would be directing or producing.
The story chosen by Wong is Ferryman which is one of 38 collcted stories originally posted online as bedtime stories. The story follows an affair between a girl and a married artist, which certainly seems inline with Wong’s previous classics In The Mood For Love and 2046. Other stories from the collection have been sold to different film companies, so we may be hearing more about the works of Zhang Jiajia in the future. »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
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