1-20 of 49 items from 2009 « Prev | Next »
As we say good-bye to 2009, we reflect back on a year of space opera spectacles, animated allegories and protracted period pieces. The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Up in the Air were favorites among critics in 2009, though one of those films actually didn't make our list of the twelve most entertaining films of 2009. We'll let you read on to figure out which one was omitted—you can feel free to chastise us in the Comments section below if you think we were unfair for leaving it out.
How do we interpret "entertaining," you ask? Not necessarily the best, or most influential…or most "important"…but what we considered to be the dozen most enjoyable and/or absorbing films of 2009—broadly defined, films that pulled you into the story for one reason or another, and weren't forgotten 10 minutes after leaving the theater. Films that elicited an emotional reaction, not through manipulation, »
We are leaving Kubrick behind and fast approaching Hyams. If you get that reference, go grab yourself a cookie. It is time for us to reflect back on the decade that was. On January 1st, 2000, Disney released Fantasia 2000. On Wednesday, December 30th, 2009, The White Ribbon is set to bow. Between the release of these two films, thousands of films came and went, and some of them were far more memorable than others. It was a long trek getting this list together, but here are our collective top 100 films of the past decade.
Quick Year-to-Year by the Numbers:
2009 – 11
2008 – 11
2007 – 7
2006 – 14
2005 – 12
2004 – 8
2003 – 7
2002 – 12
2001 – 10
2000 – 8
93. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’S Stone (2001) – Chris Columbus
90. Tasogare Seibei »
- Movie Geeks
Zhang Yimou, whose Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou, and Hero were nominated for Academy Awards, will receive a lifetime achievement award at the next Asian Film Awards ceremony. The awards presentation will take place during the Hong Kong Film Festival in March 2010. Zhang, 58, has been making movies since the late ’80s. His first film, Red Sorghum, starred Gong Li, with whom the director was associated off-screen as well. Among Zhang’s other features are The Story of Qiu Ju, To Live, Shanghai Triad, and The Curse of the Golden Flower, all starring Gong; and the epic The House of Flying Daggers, starring Andy Lau and Ziyi Zhang. Zhang Yimou’s latest, The First Gun (aka The Simple Noodle Story), is [...] »
- Irene Young
When Tian makes a new film, I take notice. Without a doubt my favorite Chinese arthouse director, though his somewhat modest productivity makes it difficult to built a solid view of his style and strengths. The Warrior and The Wolf is his latest, and even though he's seemingly pursuing a more commercial route, it won't take long to realize it's all just a façade.
Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger) and Yimou Zhang (Hero) started an ongoing trend in Chinese cinema, leading arthouse directors to direct big, epic and action-filled period pieces. And while the world is still waiting for Hsiao-hsien Hou's The Assassin, Tian is filling the current void. Though it must be said, Tian's The Warrior and The Wolf doesn't really compare well to Zhang and Lee's efforts, but lies closer to grittier films like The Warlords or Battle Of Wits.
Those expecting another straight-forward genre piece, be warned. »
December’s edition of Alliance Magazine includes interviews with two of the rising stars of the world of emerging philanthropy – actors Jet Li, star of Romeo Must Die and Hero, and Olga Kurylenko, best known for her role as Camille in James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
In an interview with Alliance, Jet Li outlines the unique philanthropic model of his One Foundation, and gives his thoughts on how grassroots efforts can complement government aid; also discussing how his near-death experience during the 2004 tsunami inspired his mission. “The experience of surviving the chaos and witnessing the devastation caused by this natural disaster has changed me forever”, Li tells Alliance.
Read more »
Film geeks still slaver over the early output of John Woo such as Hard Boiled and The Killer for their devotion to style and fantastic action sequences. However, the mid-90s and early aughts brought disappointment in the director for his less-than-stellar fare including Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Hard Target, the shockingly bad Mission: Impossible II, and the forgettable Philip K. Dick adaptation Paycheck. But with exhilarating, epic action reminiscent of both Braveheart and Hero, the ancient Chinese war film Red Cliff restores Woo to the hall of the hallowed. It has the director's trademark style in spades, but it never skimps on story or character development.
Red Cliff is the most expensive movie in Asian cinema history, and it's easy to see where the money went. Countless actors in period costumes, numerous special effects shots, and impeccable sound all contribute to a masterfully created film that matches Hollywood's high standards with its impressive visuals. »
Listen up hi-def humbugs and Blu-ray Scrooges! This is the year you'll not just want, but need, to buy a new hi-def plasma screen and a shiny black Blu-ray player for Christmas (and/or whatever other holiday you choose to celebrate with lavish gifts). Why? Because this technology has reached its performance plateau. And it is finally at a reasonable price most of us can afford. Not only that, it serves as the one prefect gift the entire family can enjoy together. With more Blu-ray titles being released right now than ever before, there simply couldn't be a better time to dive head first into this leading technological platform.
But wait! There's one thing you don't want to overlook after all that exciting new equipment has been unwrapped. Without a stack of Blu-ray discs strategically placed in each family member's stocking with care, your gorgeous new HD flat screen becomes a delectable serving tray, »
There are few people that are aware of the growing movie market overseas. Thailand is emerging as a serious threat in the marital arts action genre with the help of Tony Jaa (Ong Bak); Russia is proving they can make a slick and entertaining film thanks to studios like Disney (Black Lightning); and, of course, Japan has always been the source for many Hollywood studios’ “inspired” horror remakes (The Ring, The Grudge). One foreign market that tends to be brushed off as only doing kung-fu or martial art films is China.
Today we have a trailer for a new Asian film which has the odd IMDb genre label of romance/sci-fi called Ci Ling (Treasure Hunter). Why are we at Screen Rant sharing this trailer with you? Because Treasure Hunter stars an actor most English-speaking audiences may not be familiar with yet, but will be next year: Jay Chou. Chou »
- Paul Young
Celebrating the birthdays of the film-famous. If it's your birthday, we'll sing you a happy one in the comments.
1908 Joseph McCarthy, he saw only Red(s). He's been a villainous figure in movies ever since, whether seen, unseen or fictionalized. See: Guilty by Suspicion, The Way We Were, The Manchurian Candidate, Good Night, and Good Luck. and many more...
1919 Veronica Lake, femme fatale, purveyor of the peek-a-boo bang (her hair also being legend). Kim Basinger didn't even have to get "cut" to look like this goddess in La Confidential. She just had to sell those glorious blonde waves.
1951 Zhang Yimou, fine director, awesome goddess worshipper. Think of what he »
- NATHANIEL R
Singer and music producer Jeymes Samuel is preparing to direct a film adaptation of “Buskers”—a graphic novel he co-wrote with Sean Michael Wilson and artist Michiru Morikawa.
Kevin Spacey, Damon Albarn, Ian Brown and Mos Def are signed to star in the “Buskers” movie, Samuel told HeyUGuys, with the film expected to begin shooting in December. “Inglourious Basterds” producer Pilar Savone is also onboard and the London-based musical collective The BulliTTs will provide the soundtrack.
Released earlier this year by Insomnia Publications, the graphic novel follows a man who loses his high paying job as a banker and is forced to reevaluate his life as he falls into the underbelly of London’s busker community. "Buskers" are entertainers who perform in public for tips.
Samuel—who is perhaps best known for his single “When It Rains”—said the female lead has not yet been cast. The official “Buskers” website is already online. »
- Blair Marnell
Lots of arrows flying in this clip, an exclusive from John Woo's "Red Cliff." Maybe not as many as there were in the 2002 Jet Li flick "Hero," but I would argue that they're used to better effect here. In this action-packed scene, our heroes storm a fortification under fire from flaming arrows and catapult projectiles. If you enjoy epic-scale warfare, you will enjoy this clip.
The best place to really absorb the scale of something like "Red Cliff" is in theaters, which you can do starting November 18. For those who absolutely can't wait, you can also check out the movie via Video OnDemand services, Amazon and Xbox Live starting today, October 22. So get on it.
- Adam Rosenberg
True to its name, the Scream Awards is an award show where the winners are decided by the biggest scream, like talent shows of olden days, before text messaging and toll-free numbers were invented. In this case, Scream winners are decided by internet votes. It's not surprising to then see current trend-grabbing vampires dominate the show; but the awards, it seemed, are secondary. The highlights of the night are all the honorary awards, celebrating the legends of their own mediums.
It was a little disconcerting to notice that the award winners were all telegraphed by the adoring cheers of the audience, too. The more enthusiastic the cheers, the likelier for that person to win. Vampires are definitely in this year, with notable appearances/wins for Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire's Assistant and Let the Right One In.
The most telling part of the award show being entertainment first-recognition second is »
- Arya Ponto
American audiences first got a taste of Hero in 2003 after Quentin Tarantino put his name on it in an attempt to bring some extra attention to and leave untouched the artistic vision presented in Zhang Yimou’s Chinese epic. While some theaters at the time cautioned unadventurous American audiences that the film is presented in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles (so yes, reading is required), Hero was universally critically acclaimed as much more than a mindless martial arts flick, rife with drama, complex storytelling, absolutely stunning cinematography and a challenge to common notions of what makes a hero. It went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Six year’s later, the stunning epic that is Hero makes it way to hi-definition Blu-ray for the first time, and considering the reliance on beautiful cinematography, the upgrade is a worthwhile one. Hero is more vibrant »
- Bill Jones
John Woo is back to his ass-kicking roots with Red Cliff, a sweeping historical epic that reunites him with Tony Leung for the first time since Hard Boiled. The film is based on a legendary battle that effectively ended the Han Dynasty and features more massive armies of Chinese warriors than Hero, and I wasn’t sure that was even possible. Check out the first English language trailer below, even though all we can really do with a movie like this is provide a booming voiceover to let us know what’s going on. Look for Red Cliff November 20th, 2009. »
- Paul Tassi
Art-house fave Zhang Yimou offered up his gorgeous, meditative entry, .Hero,. into the martial-arts genre headlined by Jet Li in an obvious bid to out wuxia Ang Lee who met enormous success with .Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. the year before. Visually, the film is perfect for a Blu-ray release and despite some audio shortcomings comes recommended. The most expensive Chinese production at the time (costing a comparatively whopping 30 million), savvy Chinese stars Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi all signed up to give the film considerable star power with Yimou returning to the spotlight after a series of low-key smaller pics. Disappointing for some martial-arts aficionados, the martial-arts in this pic »
- Frankie Dees
DVD Playhouse—September 2009
The Human Condition (Criterion) Masaki Kobayashi’s epic (574 minutes) adaptation of Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel was originally made and released as three separate films (1959-61), and is rightfully regarded as a landmark of Japanese cinema. Candide-like story of naïve, good-hearted Kaiji (Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor, to Imperial Army solider, to Soviet Pow, and Kaiji’s struggle to maintain his humanity throughout. Unfolds with the mastery of a great novel, beautifully-shot, and a stunning example of cinematic mastery on the part of its makers. Four-disc set bonuses include: Interview with Kobayashi; Interview with Nakadai; Featurette; Trailer; Essay by critic Philip Kemp. Widescreen. Dolby 3.0 surround.
State Of Play (Universal) Russell Crowe stars as a veteran Washington D.C. political reporter investigating the murder of an aide to a rising congressional star (Ben Affleck), who also happens to be an old friend. »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Quentin Tarantino gets lots of credit for creating pop-culture purees with each of his films. He takes from countless sources of media old and new and combines them into something interesting. Tarantino has another talent though. He has an eye for knowing which films deserve a chance. Bring Hero into the equation and you realize just how good Tarantino’s eye for aesthetic brilliance really is. The rich vibrant colors, the beautiful choreography and a magnificently told story make Hero one of the most gorgeous and luscious films to ever come across the sea from China.
Before the Great Wall of China could be built, an emperor had to conquer and unite all of the kingdoms in the land. Consequently, it’s a time of great turmoil with towns being burned and many people dying in the process. For all the good such change can bring through unity, the side »
- Lex Walker
To the typical American mainstream movie fan, The Ultimate Force of Four Blu-ray box set may be a treasure trove of remastered “Kung Fu” flicks. Though not the best the genre has to offer, it does contain some of the biggest hits on these shores since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon first arrived and opened the eyes of an unsuspecting populace.
Included in the Blu-ray set is the 1994 Jackie Chan film The Legend of Drunken Master which was released in the States in 2000. Directed by Chia-Liang Liu, Chan defends the honor of the Chinese people by kicking, punching and leaping off buildings in order to stop the heinous transfer of Chinese treasures by the evil British. Though The Legend of Drunken Master, isn’t the best example of the genre nor Chan’s best, it’s a favorite for easy Sunday afternoon movie watching. Considering Chan’s energy and dynamic action »
- Erik Buckman
Chicago – Attention martial arts fans, Buena Vista Home Video recently released a wave of martial arts films on Blu-Ray under the title “The Ultimate Force of Four” box set, including one of Jet Li’s best films, the spectacular “Hero,” from director Zhang Yimou. “Hero” is easily the highlight of the quartet of recent HD releases but “Iron Monkey,” “The Legend of Drunken Master,” and “Zatoichi” will all satisfy fans in 1080p (as long as they’re not purists about audio tracks).
Three of the four titles are merely HD imports of special features and films already available on standard DVD. The exception is “Hero,” which includes an all-new featurette and a digital copy, but is actually one of the most divisive Blu-Rays of the year. Miramax/Buena Vista has made the baffling choice to include a higher caliber quality of audio for the dubbed tracks on “Hero,” “Iron Monkey, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
For the film fanatic, there was an evolution. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Hong Kong cinema came to a prominence because of the great works of filmmakers like John Woo and actors like Jackie Chan. This was the second boom of the industry after Bruce Lee invigorated youths in the 70’s, but died all too young. And from that there was also a loyal following for the Shaw Brothers from some, and an interest in Chan - among others - but you had to live near a Chinatown or have a kick ass video store to find this stuff. Not everyone was so lucky. The crossover appeal was there, but mostly for film nerds willing to watch some shitty ass copies of great films. As time progressed Asain cinema of all stripes made a huge dent in nerd culture, with Japan and Korea following, as filmmakers like Takashi Miike, »
- Andre Dellamorte
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