15 items from 2014
Hong Kong actor and writer-director Stephen Chow has been an immensely popular figure in Asia since first appearing on TV and in films in the late 1980s. He is best known in the West, however, for his two breakout international hits of the 2000s: Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung Fu Hustle (2004). These two films, in which Chow exercised a great deal of creative control as lead actor, producer, and writer-director, introduced audiences outside of Asia to his considerable comedic and visual talents. Despite his great success with these films, though, Chow remains under-appreciated in the West beyond Hong Kong cinema aficionado circles. Even though his most recent film, last year's big-budget CGI spectacle Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, was his biggest hit yet...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
Blades of Glory: Lee Brings the Old West to the Ming Dynasty
Hong Kong filmmaker Daniel Lee’s 2010 film, 14 Blades is at last making its way to Us soil this summer. It’s been a curiously long wait considering the film plays like a genre hybrid of Western gunslinger cinema and martial arts aesthetics, and Lee has gone on to direct two other features since completing this one. Amassed with bountiful action sequences and handsome visuals, the expertly utilized special effects will be reason enough for genre fans to enjoy the film. But at a running time of nearly two hours and a slim narrative, the film outweighs its welcome for those hoping for a bit more substance.
Sometime during the Ming Dynasty, a group of assassin warriors known as the Jinyiwei serve the emperor’s will. It’s explained that the Jinyiwei can either represent a help or »
- Nicholas Bell
The World Cup is in full swing (or over already for England fans…), so what better time than to put your knowledge of cinema and the beautiful game to the test in our the latest Sunday Quiz here at Flickering Myth as we ask, ‘Do You Know Your Football Movies’? Can you manage to get all ten?
Question 4 Bend It Like Beckham Gracie Gregory's Girls
- Gary Collinson
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Just how far would you go for a dare? David Koechner ("Anchorman") plays a super rich dude who's looking for some cheap thrills at the expense of a couple of guys who need cash. Pat Healy ("Compliance") and Sara Paxton ("The Innkeepers") co-star.
Why We're In: This disturbing indie got great reviews, but it's definitely not for everyone. If you like your gore with a side of sly political commentary, this could be your jam.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"The Life Aquatic"
What's It About? Bill Murray stars as Steve Zissou, an oceanographer who's making a documentary about his hunt for the Jaguar Shark, which made a snack out of his old partner. He's joined by a ragtag gang played by Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, and other Anderson all-stars.
Why We're In: This Criterion package includes audio commentary, »
- Jenni Miller
On the eve of the start of Cannes, Fortissimo Films announced that it has struck a deal with the globally expansive Chinese media conglomerate, Wanda Media to co-handle the worldwide representation (ex-Hong Kong, Taiwan/Southeast Asia) on Wanda's massive commercial hit, The Great Hypnotist. Currently in release in China the film is at the top of the local charts with a first week box-office approaching Us $25 million. The studio has released the first two photos from the thriller, which you can see below.
The film, a mystery thriller is a game-changer representing a new direction in genre films for China and marks the 2nd commercial success there for its Taiwan-born Director Leste Chen who previously scored with his 2013 rom-com Say Yes. Starring Chinese Superstar Zheng Xu (Lost in Thailand) and Hong Kong singer/actor phenom Karen Mok (Around the World in 80 Days, Shaolin Soccer), The Great Hypnotist was produced by Tina Shi, »
Stephen Chow is a genius. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can take his numbers: the number of roles he successfully performs in film-making (writer, director, actor, producer…), the number of genres he successfully mixes in his hotchpotch fantasies (comedy, drama, romance, horror…), and the number of record-breaking successful blockbusters he’s responsible for (Shaolin Soccer, Kung-Fu Hustle, Journey to the West…). With so much going on for him, we are so glad to present you this: an interview with Stephen Chow.
More than a simple performer, a one-man-orchestra; and more than a simple star, a one-man-constellation, Mr. Chow stand out not only for doing a lot, but also for doing it differently, as he almost single-handedly brought to life a new comedy genre: mo lei tau, his special kind of absurd humour, that is further developed in his latest hit: ‘Journey to the »
- Miguel Angel Aijon
A quarter-century ago, Kevin Costner hit a double-play, following up "Bull Durham" with "Field of Dreams" and becoming king of the sports movie. Twenty-five years later, as "Field of Dreams" marks its 25th anniversary (it was released on April 21, 1989), Costner is back with "Draft Day." The movie's about football, not baseball, and Costner's character plays in the executive suite, not on the field, but his mere presence still offers a reminder of great sports movies past.
And after all, isn't nostalgia a key element of sports movies? "Field of Dreams" makes this explicit -- we long for the sports heroes of our childhood, for a supposed long-gone golden age of our preferred sport, as a way of connecting with our past and bridging the generational divide that separates us as adults from our parents. Sports movies offer more than just the drama of winners and losers, or the journey from dream to achievement, »
- Gary Susman
‘Journey to the West’ is a loose comedic adaptation of the namesake Chinese novel published in the 16th century (better known as simply ‘Monkey’, an abridged translation, in the west, as its more charismatic character is no other than the mischievous Monkey King). More precisely, this film revisits a specific part of the novel in which Buddhist-with-hair monk Xuan Zang (played by Zhang Wen) defeats a quaint group of demons in dire need of redemption… and some ass-kicking. Although this movie’s story is complete and self-contained, it’s also an obvious attempt to establish an epic saga that would show us the rest of the tale in future installments. Given the huge box-office success that ‘Journey to the West’ enjoyed, we can rejoice on the fact that sequels are more than probably coming our way. And that’s good news, because this is a good twist on a good story, »
- Miguel Angel Aijon
Magnet Releasing has announced that they will be releasing Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons on iTunes/On Demand and in theaters starting March 7, 2014.
Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is an action-comedy film by Chinese director, producer and actor Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7) and Derek Kwok (Gallants, The Pye Dog). The film is loosely based on a Chinese literary classic Journey to the West written by Wu Cheng’en.
The story is centered on a Buddhist Tang Sanzang who is trying to protect the village from the demons; his emerging feelings for a powerful demon hunter Miss Duan who helps him fight the demons, and his transformative encounter with the Monkey King. Journey to the West stars Qi Shu (as Miss Duan), Zhang Wen (as Xuan Zang) and Bo Huang (as Sun Wukong).
This is a world plagued by demons, who cause its human inhabitants unspeakable suffering. »
- Nermina Kulovic
Stephen Chow has more fun making movies than you do – and by “you,” I mean the average Hollywood director. Chow isn’t bothered by trends or popularity, weaving tales of ancient fantasies and magical worlds filled with powerful warriors, brooding demons, and colorful locales that breathe wonderful creativity. Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons is the latest film to exemplify our writer/director’s vivacious talents, as we’re hooked from the very first visual of a bright, lively harbor town full of charismatic townsfolk. We’ve become so used to dark, gloomy films like 300, Man of Steel, and every other overly morose action adaptation – enough of the darkness. Follow Stephen Chow on a Buddhist martial-arts adventure into the light, focusing on exploratory, original storytelling much like Kung Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer. Enlightenment is simply a film experience away…
In a mystical world where demons roam free, “demon »
- Matt Donato
Feature Simon Brew 11 Feb 2014 - 06:32
How do we decide what's a four star movie? Are all five star movies made equal? Simon explains the issues with star ratings
A pair of reviews went up on this site last week, for films that - for differing reasons - we rated at four stars apiece. Above the four stars, in both cases, were many hundreds of words discussing the films in question. Yet both, in different ways, continued to fuel the ongoing, interesting debate about the star rating system, and its suitability.
Because in the comments below our reviews of both RoboCop (2014) and The Lego Movie were some pertinent, constructive questions. We're not going to name the commenters, as the aim isn't to expose them to flaming or such like. Yet they raise some interesting questions and points - which we've quoted directly - that in many ways frame the ongoing star rating debate. »
Harvey Weinstein has earned himself a reputation for mercilessly and needlessly hacking up the foreign movies unfortunate enough to fall under his distribution in the U.S.; whether through Miramax or The Weinstein Company, he’s gotten hands-on and snip-happy with pictures ranging from Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha to Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (among many others).
Most recently, it appeared as though South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s latest effort, sci-fi actioner Snowpiercer, was up next on Weinstein’s chopping block, with the threat of a twenty minute cut looming over Bong’s film (with regard to its U.S. theatrical release).
Though their dispute looked a little touch and go for a while, a resolution has finally been reached and it’s an artistic win for Bong: Snowpiercer ...
Click to continue reading ‘Snowpiercer’ Director’s Cut Will Get a U.S. Release
The post ‘Snowpiercer’ Director’s Cut Will Get a U. »
- Andy Crump
Feature Simon Brew 5 Feb 2014 - 06:48
Directing a massive blockbuster is the dream, isn't it? Not always, it seems. Here are some directors who've dropped out of big projects...
The explosion of the DVD market, and of the current generation of American and international independent cinema, has sent movie bosses scouring the shelves and the planet for interesting directors. Said studios then try and pair those interesting directors with blockbuster movies (a trend that continues later this year with the rather excellent decision to give Gareth Edwards Godzilla to make). But things don't always work out, and ways are parted before a single frame of footage has been shot.
So then: what we've looked at here are examples of where interesting directors were hired for blockbuster movies, only for them to leave the project before the film in question was complete. We've avoided stories of directors not returning for sequels »
Burgeoning filmmaker Fung Chih Chiang’s (the writer of Stephen Chow's “Shaolin Soccer”) lively fusion of classic, surreal, farce and traditional kicking action - The Bounty - has just gone on sale on UK DVD. Starring Fiona Sit and Alex Man (As Tears Go By), “The Bounty” focuses on the eccentric Cho, who finds himself in a small island resort on the hunt for a fugitive robber and a highly alluring reward. However due to the nosey inhabitants who are alarmed by his unorthodox ways, Cho is lead into a comedy of errors and misunderstandings. Kung Fu Hustle it isn’t. but there seems plenty of action and laughs to go around. Synopsis: following bounty hunter and martial artist Cho Sai Fung (Chapman To) on a job to track down a fugitive. Cho arrives at the Lazy Inn, situated on an island in Hong Kong, to search for thief »
15 items from 2014
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