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#41 theoddone33

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 01:29 AM

I've been impressed with Kaige's technical and storytelling skills. The man knows how to put together an epic, that is for sure. I've been bored by both of the two films of his that I've seen, but they always seem to be rewarding in the end.

And yeah, the cast is a big draw. The best Liu Ye performance I've seen was in The Floating Landscape which was a good movie but not spectacular. Dang Jong-Kun and Nicholas Tse should also make this quite an affair. I'm hoping that it manages to be a better and more commercial version of The Emporer and the Assassin, while not stooping to the lows of terrible CG usage ie The Storm Riders. (Also a Cecilia Cheung flick.)

For whatever it's worth, the bc magazine review of 2 Young was a little less flattering. (Scroll down)

#42 opus

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 09:39 PM

LoveHKFilms just posted their review of 2 Young.

QUOTE
2 Young looks like a step down for Derek Yee. Last year's Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Yee eschews complex themes or clever narratives for this rather generic youth drama. This isn't a tough motion picture with difficult things to say. In fact, everything about 2 Young is simple to the point of probable annoyance. Yet despite that - or maybe even because of it - 2 Young turns out to be an enjoyable and surprisingly engrossing melodrama, and Yee's handling has plenty to do with it.


#43 theoddone33

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 02:33 AM

Misc. links, hopefully of interest:

Wong Kar Wai blames audiences for HK slump.

More 'Promise-ing' hype. Here's an interesting excerpt:
QUOTE
If [The Promise] had been made in Hollywood, it would have cost more than US$ 140 million. But thanks to support from the Chinese government, which even built roads for the shooting of the film, the production crew were able to save both money and time.


Jet Li almost gave up movies for Buddhism.

Edited by theoddone33, 18 May 2005 - 02:35 AM.


#44 theoddone33

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 10:33 PM

No big surprise here, but apparently the US distribution rights for The Promise have been sold, probably meaning a U.S. theatrical release in 2006. Story here:
QUOTE
BEIJING, May 18 -- Chinese director Chen Kaige's mega-budget film The Promise has sold its publishing rights in America, England and Australia to Weinstein Company and IDG New Media in Cannes.

Harvey Weinstein, the president of Weinstein Company, attended a screening of a 12-minute synopsis of The Promise at Cannes, along with 120 other distributors.

He confirmed Chen Kaige's status as a master of cinema and regards this film to be a top Academy Award prospect for the Weinstein Company.

The 35 million US dollar film is the most expensive Chinese film ever made and features an international cast drawn from Japan, Korea Hong Kong, and mainland China.

The Promise is currently on track for release in China this coming December.


#45 opus

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 01:28 AM

The Weinsteins got it?!? Crap... why do Asian filmmakers continue to sell their films' rights to those guys? They don't exactly have the most impressive track record when it comes to releasing films in a timely manner, or even intact for that matter. Need I remind anyone of how Hero or Shaolin Soccer were (mis)handled?

angry.gif

Edited by opus, 22 May 2005 - 01:29 AM.


#46 opus

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 12:07 PM

A short interview with Kim Ki-Duk
QUOTE
I don't make movies for a lot of money, so I don't see why I should have to spend much on advertising. I hope more South Koreans might appreciate my work in times to come. But, then again, I have no hard feelings toward South Korean moviegoers because I know exactly why they don't go to see my movies. There are several reasons, but one is that they generally don't like to see movies that are on the border between reality and fantasy. Most of them want to see a movie where everything is solved in reality. But my movies usually don't depict reality. The characters in my movies find ways to be happy through fantasy and overcome the pain in their lives. I want the audience to be psychologically happy through my movies, but I think what the South Korean audience wants is different.


#47 theoddone33

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 11:16 PM

QUOTE(opus @ May 24 2005, 09:07 AM)


Great interview. His new film frankly doesn't sound very interesting. I'm used to Ki-Duk films being about death or multilation or prostitution or all three, but I believe he can make anything interesting.

Some of the most interesting quotes in the interview were his statement about endless longing being beautiful and the final paragraph where he talks about his filming methods.

#48 theoddone33

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 01:56 AM

IGN is reporting that The Promise will be released in the U.S. on December 16, 2005. Here is some throwaway press about Cecilia Cheung's role in the movie.

Also, Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine was chosen as Hong Kong's favorite Chinese film, according to a recent poll. The rest of the top five films were, respectively, Days of Being Wild, A Better Tomorrow, Infernal Affairs and Happy Together. If you know anything about those films it might not surprise you that Leslie Cheung was the most popular actor, according to the poll. Another unsurprising result was Maggie Cheung taking the most popular actress category. I'm surprised and pleased with Fancis Ng's 3rd place finish for the "favorite actor" question.

#49 Persona

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 11:54 PM

Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center is at it again. In June they will be showing twelve new Korean films, from Kim Ki-duk's Samaritan Girl to Silmido, South Korea's all-time box-office champ. I hope to make it to at least a few of these great offerings.

Opus, I know that you just saw A Tale of Two Sisters, which is one I rented from Blockbuster, but the English subtitles did not work. I saw about three total minutes of the film. How did you see it? Is it worth tracking down again? I was so bummed out, because I am always on the hunt for a great ghost story... I feel like I've seen many ghost stories, but never a great one.

-s.

#50 Persona

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 12:00 AM

Just read your review, Opus... Seems it is worth tracking down. Now I only need to find a DVD in which the subtitles in English actually work.

-s.

#51 theoddone33

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:18 AM

Hmm, of the ones I've seen all three Kim Ki-Duk films are worth seeing if you can stomach his work. (3-Iron and Samaritan Girl are both pretty tame, but Bad Guy is a lot edgier.) Arahan is kind of a throwaway but I had a lot of fun viewing it. Silmido is a pretty good emotional ride and an intriguing look into a historical incident. Oldboy is also excellent... but what hasn't been said about Oldboy.

I'm very sad that they're not playing Memories of Murder, which I still regard as the best Korean film I've seen and which gives similar movies such as Se7en and Silence of the Lambs a run for their money. Also missing is My Sassy Girl which I regard to be the best romantic comedy ever filmed (granted the competition is not very... competitive), but I suppose that most people have seen this by now.

It's nice to see places doing things like this, though.

Edit: Oops I misread the page... I guess they're not actually showing all those I recommended. blushing.gif

Edited by theoddone33, 31 May 2005 - 02:27 AM.


#52 opus

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 12:31 PM

QUOTE(stef @ May 30 2005, 10:54 PM)
Opus, I know that you just saw A Tale of Two Sisters, which is one I rented from Blockbuster, but the English subtitles did not work.  I saw about three total minutes of the film.  How did you see it?  Is it worth tracking down again?  I was so bummed out, because I am always on the hunt for a great ghost story... I feel like I've seen many ghost stories, but never a great one.

View Post


I picked up a copy at some Chinatown shop when I was in Toronto last year. I know there are several Region 3 releases floating around, and there are a couple Region 1 releases (including an "Uncut" version). HKFlix seems to have them all in stock.

I enjoyed the film quite a bit, though as I said in the review, I think it relies on a few too many twists in the final act. There's one point where, if it had ended, would've made the film much more affecting, IMHO. That being said, it's a gorgeous film, visually-speaking. The country home in which the film takes place is beautifully lensed, and is so full of gorgeous textures and whatnot that I spent a lot of the film just looking at the space around the characters.

Although there are plenty of "cheap thrills" in the film, it's not at all like the other, more popular Asian horror films (i.e. Ringu). In fact, I was surprised at how un-supernatural the events seem to be, and how much the film calls into question whether there are really ghosts, if it's all in a character's mind, or some combination thereof. The film is a little ambiguous there, I thought, thanks to the extra twists.

I really need to watch Conduct Zero again. I bought it after reading some stuff comparing it to Shaolin Soccer, which is way off. Sure, there are a couple of over the top, CGI-enhanced fights, but the film is much more a nostalgic high school romance. The aforementioned fights all took place in the rumors and tall tales that are told concerning the main character's fighting prowess. As such, my expectations were way off, and I remember feeling very disappointed by the film. I have a feeling I'll like it much more the second time around, as I had a very similar experience to Ping Pong, which now I simple love.

Fighter In The Wind is one I've been meaning to check out, though my DVD spending needs to be a little curbed right now thanks to the new house purchase. Arahan is a lot of fun, probably much more fun than it has any right to be. I love, love, love the fight when the main character finally lets loose in the restaurant, taking on the thugs that humiliated him, and the ways in which the film tries to posit traditional martial arts into modern society was fairly clever, I thought.

Speaking of Tale Of Two Sisters and Arahan, the next films from their two directors - A Bittersweet Life and Crying Fist - both look solid, and should be out on DVD by summer's end.

Edited by opus, 31 May 2005 - 12:42 PM.


#53 Persona

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 09:30 AM

I just bought Memories of Murder from Korea. They have a double DVD R1 & R3 product, and from the many reviews I've seen, I just couldn't turn it down.

-s.

#54 Russ

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 09:47 AM

I like Memories of Murder a lot. Look forward to talking about it witchoo.

#55 theoddone33

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 12:36 AM

Random news:

Zhang Ziyi and Jia Zhangke (A celebrated indie/underground director in China) are high on a recent list of Mainland 'Youth Pioneers.' Qualities judged on were influence in their fields and presenting a positive image of China to the West.

Shooting recently began on a Kung Fu Hustle television spinoff, starring some of the original cast. This... probably won't make it to the U.S.

There's a nice article about actor Lau Ching-Wan's place in HK cinema, specifically his role in Lost in Time, which should definitely be in your Netflix queue if you haven't seen it. Lau is considered one of the most underrated actors working in Hong Kong today.

#56 opus

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 01:42 AM

QUOTE(theoddone33 @ Jun 2 2005, 11:36 PM)
Zhang Ziyi and Jia Zhangke (A celebrated indie/underground director in China) are high on a recent list of Mainland 'Youth Pioneers.'  Qualities judged on were influence in their fields and presenting a positive image of China to the West.

View Post


Heh, that's funny... I saw Jia Zhangke's The World in Toronto last year (my review). At the screening, we were told that it was his fourth feature, and the first that hadn't been banned in China. And even then, it wasn't exactly a glorifying tribute to the mainland. IIRC, one of the film's themes is the alienation in modern Chinese culture, especially as it seeks to become more modern and open to the West.

#57 theoddone33

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 10:45 PM

I Netflix'd Jia Zhangke's Unknown Pleasures a few weeks ago. I was a little underwhelmed, as it was a very slow film and the Netflix description seemed criminally misleading. I've heard him quoted as saying that he's turned over a new page starting with The World. I'd like to see it for comparison's sake.

#58 opus

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 02:42 PM

Saw this on Twitch...

The Criterion Collection will be releasing Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri later this year. I saw this a few years ago and was just blown away by it (here'smy review). It's a criminally overlooked samurai film starring Tatsuya Nakadai (aside from Toshiro Mifune, Japan's most famous samurai actor) that takes a dark look at bushido and samurai code of honor. A very dark and grim film, though not as dark and grim as, say, Sword Of Doom, but very powerful and gripping, due in large part to Nakadai's performance.

#59 Persona

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 03:58 PM

I finally caught Memories of Murder last night on a Region 1 & 3 disc I bought from Korea. It is a very well made film which I would recommend if anyone ever has the chance to see it. What the two cops go through in trying to catch the serial killer would be chilling, in a real life sort of way, and if it is indeed true that this is based on a real event, it is the kind of event that would leave psychological scars on one for life. It is little wonder that neither of them are cops today, if I read the ending right.

I believe I read somewhere that this is the highest grossing movie in Korea last year. With all the buzz around Korean film right now, one would think this would have found distribution here in the states.

-s.

Edited by stef, 11 June 2005 - 04:00 PM.


#60 theoddone33

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 06:32 PM

One of the best parts of Memories of Murder is the night scenes... both the scene where the
Spoiler
and the scene where
Spoiler
are both some of the most tense and chilling scenes in recent memory, while being beautiful visually at the same time.

If I remember right, this was either the director's debut or his second film. Either way, I'm floored every time I watch it. And yeah, it's based on the first serial kilings in Korea... and follows truth, as I've read, fairly closely. Perhaps the parts about the
Spoiler
were made up, but other parts such as
Spoiler
were all based in truth, if I remember correctly.