Wong Kar Wai

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Wong Kar Wai

Postby Pudie on Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:02 pm

Wong Kar-Wai to head 2006 Cannes jury

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai has a clear affection for the Cannes Film Festival, and Cannes has long returned his love. Starting in 1997 when Happy Together won Wong best director honors at the Festival, whenever his work appears there it is received with gushing praise. in 2000, In the Mood for Love was a Palme d'Or nominee, and his follow-up to that film, 2046, was recognized in the same way.

Now, though, Cannes has honored the director in an entirely different way: he's been selected to head the jury of this year's Festival. Though I've never full understood exactly how much power a festival's jury chair holds, the appointment is nevertheless both a recognition of Wong and of the rising status of Asian cinema on the world stage. It'll be interesting to see if any of Wong's fingerprints will be discernible when the jury hands out its awards this spring, or if the logic behind them will be just as murky as it usually is
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Postby Ribbons on Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:30 pm

Good for Wong. Like you said, I don't really know how much of a difference it'll end up making -- at least, not that we'll be able to see -- but for some reason this news seems really cool.
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Postby Pudie on Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:42 pm

I didn't write that, i cut & pasted. But I agree with it anyways. It seems more a sign of respect then a posistion of power. And for that reason he deserves it.
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Postby jgraphix on Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:45 pm

Last year it seemed that QT had quite a bit of influence on who won, no?
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:23 pm

2046 is rapidly becoming one of my favourite films ever. I consider it to be the cinematic equivalent of a night of no-strings sex with Monica Belluci, and Belluci has bought the Rum & the weed. And she lets you snort the occasional line off her intimate area.

And the way he's thematically referring back to all his other movies - :!: - the guy is intimidatingly intelligent. Definitely one of the first names I bring up in arguments about whether films are as good as books.

And the beauty is, you don't even need to have seen his other movies before you watch 2046. So you get a totally different vibe depending on which order you see his movies in - the guy is awesome, IMHO
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Postby Pudie on Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:31 pm

jgraphix wrote:Last year it seemed that QT had quite a bit of influence on who won, no?


Kinda, but it is a jury decision. Farenhiet 911 got huge praise all around and it was an anti Bush movie in France. But there is the whole Mirmax connection.
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Postby jgraphix on Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:37 pm

Exactly.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:23 pm

Cannes 2006, full lineup, juries, etc.

    JURY

    WONG Kar Wai, President
    Chinese director

    Monica BELLUCCI - Italian actress

    Helena BONHAM CARTER - English actress

    Lucrecia MARTEL - Argentinean director

    ZHANG Ziyi - Chinese actress

    Samuel L. JACKSON - American actor

    Patrice LECONTE - French director

    Tim ROTH - English director, actor

    Elia SULEIMAN - Palestinian director


That's right, Samuel L. Jackson is on the MOTHERFUCKIN' JURY!

[list]Competition

Pedro ALMODÓVAR VOLVER
Andrea ARNOLD RED ROAD
Lucas BELVAUX LA RAISON DU PLUS FAIBLE
Rachid BOUCHAREB INDIGÈNES
Nuri Bilge CEYLAN IKLIMLER
Sofia COPPOLA MARIE-ANTOINETTE
Pedro COSTA JUVENTUDE EM MARCHA
Guillermo DEL TORO EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO (Pan's Labyrinth)
Bruno DUMONT FLANDRES
Nicole GARCIA SELON CHARLIE
Xavier GIANNOLI QUAND J'ÉTAIS CHANTEUR
Alejandro González IÑÃ
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Postby jgraphix on Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:25 pm

Damn..wish I could attend.
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Postby brendonconnelly on Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:35 pm

What is the full Un Certain Regard list?
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:55 pm

Where the fucking FUCK is David Lynch??????!!!???

He said we'd get Inland Empire at Cannes this year!!!!

That bastard lied to me!!!!!

AAAAAAaaarghhhh!!!!!! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:



Anyhoo - so, in the cover notes for 2046 it says that LuLu is murdered by a jealous boyfriend - whereas in the movie itself, it says that she has been stabbed, which makes a lot more sense because Chow sees her years later and says something like "when I was depressed, I ran into LuLu again. She was still a very jealous person"

Also, on the back of the DVD (UK Tartan Extreme edition), it says Chow runs into a gambler from his days in Singapore - it seems to me that this is also patently not true. He doesn't "run into" Black Spider in Hong Kong, he just reminisces about her, correct?

Stupid Tartan really fucked up with 2046...... anybody have a clue what I'm on about?
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:48 am

I knew there was no way in hell this year's Cannes would be anywhere as good as last year's, still I'm a little dissappointed with the lineup. The poster for the festival kicks ass though.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:33 pm

Watch out for Andrea Arnold's 'Red Road' which I think is her first feature film. Word is, it's pretty amazing. It may prove a dark horse for the Palme d'Or. Likewise, Ken Loach's new one, which I've heard is one of his very best.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:40 pm

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:Where the fucking FUCK is David Lynch??????!!!???

He said we'd get Inland Empire at Cannes this year!!!!

That bastard lied to me!!!!!

AAAAAAaaarghhhh!!!!!! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:



Anyhoo - so, in the cover notes for 2046 it says that LuLu is murdered by a jealous boyfriend - whereas in the movie itself, it says that she has been stabbed, which makes a lot more sense because Chow sees her years later and says something like "when I was depressed, I ran into LuLu again. She was still a very jealous person"

Also, on the back of the DVD (UK Tartan Extreme edition), it says Chow runs into a gambler from his days in Singapore - it seems to me that this is also patently not true. He doesn't "run into" Black Spider in Hong Kong, he just reminisces about her, correct?

Stupid Tartan really fucked up with 2046...... anybody have a clue what I'm on about?


No, but pray tell. I'm interested in seeing it.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon May 29, 2006 6:54 am

so, how about Cannes 2006 eh?

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Hello?

Anyway, Mainpage Listed the Winners.

Congrats Ken, your heart's always in the right place, and I certainly respect your oeuvre. Can't wait to see Cillian in that as well, classy of him taking a role like that instead of whoring himself in Hoe-Wood.

Anyhoo, of more import for some, a positive (it's Variety, so take what you will from it) review of Pan's Labyrinth. Links to many other reviews on that page if you're curious.
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon May 29, 2006 7:08 am

Much love for Volver and The Wind that Blows the Barley. I'm unsure what to think about Babel, Amores Perros was spectaculr but 21 grams, dissapointed me, it wasn't that it was crap or anything it just seemed less of a progression than I'd hoped for. Also a few people thought Babel was self important tosh, but then they also complained about Magnolia, so I don't really trust them.

And props to Red Road, HB mentioned this might be one to watch out for and it won the jury prize so I'm excited. She was interviewed on talking movies on saturday and seemed very astute about the issues her film tackles.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon May 29, 2006 7:39 am

What's the score with the jury selection- do you have to have not released any material that year to qualify? Or are you not allowed to vote for yourself? Trust the French to not think this through properly.


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Postby magicmonkey on Mon May 29, 2006 8:10 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:so, how about Cannes 2006 eh?

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Hello?

Anyway, Mainpage Listed the Winners.

Congrats Ken, your heart's always in the right place, and I certainly respect your oeuvre. Can't wait to see Cillian in that as well, classy of him taking a role like that instead of whoring himself in Hoe-Wood.

Anyhoo, of more import for some, a positive (it's Variety, so take what you will from it) review of Pan's Labyrinth. Links to many other reviews on that page if you're curious.


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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon May 29, 2006 11:04 am

To say I'm pleased Loach has won is an understatement. He's been the UK's most consistent and committed director for the past 40 odd years or so, never afraid to stick his head above the pulpit by tackling social and political issues that others shy away from. It's about time he was recognised for a body of great work, stretching from 'Kes' to 'Barley'. I can't wait to see it. Also great to see Andrea Arnold's 'Red Road' acknowledged. She seems a director of great promise. I'll be seeing this, too, at the first opportunity.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:02 pm

Ashes of Time Redux?!?!

oh. your. G*D!

fuck the haters(locke).

This is my fave Martial Arts epic of the last 12years. Called "Last Samurai at Marienbad" by a critic far more savvy than myself, shot in China before that shit got "cool" to do, shot by Christopher Doyle in the height of his filter craze, starrring, well, EVERYONE who was anyone in the HK film industry circa 1994, this is the pic that Wong broke away from for a couple of weeks to shoot "Chungking Express", action choreography from Sammo Hung. Wong's got oodles (and oodles) of extra footage, rumored by different sources to be over 6hrs. of material, hell, word I heard years ago was that he could've made two sequels based on the cut material.

best. news. ever.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:56 am

I saw a version of Ashes of Time on the shittiest DVD I've ever seen, and wasn't sure what to make of it. I just hope someone (Criterion maybe?) will give this one the proper treatment. I also can't wait for Wong's American picture My Blueberry Nights. I'm a bit nervous about this one, Wong opperating outside of his native Hong Kong. He's done this before (Happy Together) but alot of the energy in that film came from openly acknowledging his sense of spiritual dislocation. Still, I hope it gets a wide release, I'd kill to see one of his films on the big screen.
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Postby magicmonkey on Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:36 pm

Oh man! 6 hours of "Ashes of Time". Sergio Leone, nay, Alejandro Jodorowsky look out!
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:26 pm

LeFlambeur wrote:I saw a version of Ashes of Time on the shittiest DVD I've ever seen, and wasn't sure what to make of it. I just hope someone (Criterion maybe?) will give this one the proper treatment.


heh, my VHS copy, bought in '97, looked just as good, if not better, than the DVD I purchased some years back. No chapters, no special features, and the stunning vistas are all rendered rather hazy.

LeFlambeur wrote:I also can't wait for Wong's American picture My Blueberry Nights. I'm a bit nervous about this one, Wong opperating outside of his native Hong Kong. He's done this before (Happy Together) but alot of the energy in that film came from openly acknowledging his sense of spiritual dislocation. Still, I hope it gets a wide release, I'd kill to see one of his films on the big screen.


fuck yeah. I've been fortunate enough to have seen Chungking, Happy Together, In the Mood and 2046 in theaters, often having to travel miles just for the pleasure.

But it's always worth it.

Rapturous imagery.
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Postby magicmonkey on Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:16 am

From the reviews on the main site, this don't seem to be going down to well.
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Postby Ribbons on Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:05 am

magicmonkey wrote:From the reviews on the main site, this don't seem to be going down to well.


Ahh!

I don't think I want to read any more reviews of My Blueberry Nights until after I see the film. Not that they're wrong; in fact, the volume of negative buzz is a little disquieting. But I want to walk into the movie at least somewhat optimistic, otherwise I'm afraid I'm going to be looking for flaws.
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Postby magicmonkey on Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:24 am

Yeah, good point. I re-watched the trailer and it doesn't look that godawful - kinda sweet. We'll see.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:46 am

A lot of the reviews I've read have really laid into some of the slo-mo shots and the generally slow-moving pace of the film.

Sounds to me like they've never seen a WKW flick! I'm really looking forward to this, but it's another one like I'm a Cyborg.... which does not seem to have secured a UK release yet :sad:
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:52 am

The FDA website lists the UK release of this as December 28 this year.


BAH!
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Postby LeFlambeur on Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:19 am

With My Blueberry Nights opening in limited release on April 4th, and the Ashes of Time Redux waiting in the wings at Sony Pictures Classics, it has occurred to me, that if MBN doesn't totally tank at the box office, and if Ashes of Time gets the Zhang Yimou treatment, it is very well possible that we, in the US, could see the release of two WKW films in one year. I don't want to get my hopes up here, but since Wong Kar-Wai is probably my favorite filmmaker, its tough not to be excited by the mere idea.

EDIT: I had the MBN release date in Feb, the date listed on imdb, but the Weinstein Company's website has it set in April.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:28 am

LeFlambeur wrote:With My Blueberry Nights opening in limited release on Feb. 13th, and the Ashes of Time Redux waiting in the wings at Sony Pictures Classics, it has occurred to me, that if MBN doesn't totally tank at the box office, and if Ashes of Time gets the Zhang Yimou treatment, it is very well possible that we, in the US, could see the release of two WKW films in one year. I don't want to get my hopes up here, but since Wong Kar-Wai is probably my favorite filmmaker, its tough not to be excited by the mere idea.


*crossing finger!*
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:51 am

LeFlambeur wrote:and the Ashes of Time Redux waiting in the wings at Sony Pictures Classics


whoa.

I wore down my VHS of ASHES, but even when it was pristine, the images never shone with that clarity, with that color...

I even sold back my bootleg DVD in anticipation of the Redux.

fucking psyched would be an vast understatement.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:12 pm

Just when I'd thought that The Dark Is Rising was the worst film I'd seen in a long time...

You all can quote me on that. I've just returned from seeing My Blueberry Nights, and have had about an hour and half since walking out of the theater to digest the film a bit, and I am very confident that it can be considered one of the worst films of 2008, period.

What I find most inconceivable is how Wong Kar Wai can go from producing a masterpiece, 2046, one of my absolute favorite films, to writing and directing one of the greatest abominations of all time.

How does a director go from a 10/10 to a 1/10? Yes, the film really is that horrible, as I will get into soon enough. I've disliked some films recently that a few people will go watch out of curiosity or to form their own opinions or whatnot, but I would like to put out a warning as sincerely as possible: do not go watch My Blueberry Nights, it will be an enormous waste of your time and money. I don't think I've said anything like that here before, but I really really mean it. At least I didn't PAY to see The Dark is Rising, I paid 15 bucks for this... this thing!

The film is not a glorious mess, it's not a film where a director has taken chances and fails. It's also not a film one should watch because one is a fan of so-and-so, My Blueberry Nights really has no redeemable qualities that I can think of, not even the cinematography.

Where to begin... well if you've already taken an interest in the film, you know that the protagonaist, Elizabeth, is breaking out of a rough relationship, not by choice, and sort of goes off to find some meaning to her life, or spur some change in it, or something.

She waits tables, she tends bar, she hangs out with a gambler, and that's pretty much it in terms of plot.

The film is absolutely lifeless. Its musings are half-assed and superficial. The entire approach to filmmaking here is akin to those dramatizations, where everything is sort of in this cheap-looking slow motion... the one-dimensional characters are incredibly melodramatic, it really was painful to watch how botched the depiction of emotion was in this film. Wong Kar Wai: master of style and subtlety, achieves neither of those things here.

It's also incredibly slow and boring... I've said this about films before, but not that often. Just, completely... lifeless. And none of the actors can be blamed, in my opinion. I have a feeling people will be/have been picking on novice Norah Jones, but honestly she held her own against the other players in this film. People will be picking on her as a way to excuse Wong Kar Wai's abomination, this film that should honestly be removed from his filmography. The responsibility is all Wong Kar Wai's. Poor, uninspired, tired writing, lazy, visionless direction, this film is an embarrassing flop, with no redeeming qualities that I could pick out.

Even low quality films like Chuck & Larry or The Heartbreak Kid, derivative, tired tripe, I always find some things to forgive, some things that bring at least a modicum of entertainment value, but there was simply nothing here.

I had low expectations going in. I hadn't really read reviews of the film, but I saw that there was a lot of negative buzz on this film. It is all deserved.

Save yourself the money, the time, there are many wonderful films you could probably discover on DVD, little gems that would have been overlooked during this year's awards season (2007 was an awesome year for cinema). Watch an old favorite, watch any other Wong Kar Wai film (hell, rent Paris Je T'aime, where Wong Kar Wai does one of the shorts... ok, it isn't that good, but it might give you a fix until his next film).

My Blueberry Nights, as low as my expectations had been, still managed to fall below them.

1/10 (Lowest possible score)
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:26 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:Just when I'd thought that The Dark Is Rising was the worst film I'd seen in a long time...
...
My Blueberry Nights, as low as my expectations had been, still managed to fall below them.
...
1/10 (Lowest possible score)


:shock:

:P

Hmm.

What do you think went wrong? I mean aside from what you mentioned in your review, because I've seen fifteen minutes of this online, and there are a number of similarties in style and subject to his other work. Why do you think it didn't work here?
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Postby Retardo_Montalban on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:32 pm

I've sort of been confused about this movie. Is this an American movie of Won Kar Wai's or is it a Hong Kong movie with American actors? I know this might seem unimportant but knowing who is pulling the strings could leave alot of clues as to what went wrong with the movie. I thought 2046 was badass.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:35 pm

Retardo_Montalban wrote:I've sort of been confused about this movie. Is this an American movie of Won Kar Wai's or is it a Hong Kong movie with American actors? I know this might seem unimportant but knowing who is pulling the strings could leave alot of clues as to what went wrong with the movie. I thought 2046 was badass.


Its financed by Studio Canal, run by WKW's production companies, and distributed by the Weinstiens.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:52 pm

LeFlambeur wrote:What do you think went wrong? I mean aside from what you mentioned in your review, because I've seen fifteen minutes of this online, and there are a number of similarties in style and subject to his other work. Why do you think it didn't work here?


The writing is the biggest culprit of this film I would say. There was no discernible plot, very little "action," all of the dialogue was extremely plain, characters talking about their woes... except it's all very superficial. The "problems" in the characters' lives are all immense cinematic clichés: being cheated on by a lover, being abandoned by a lover, living a lonely life, trouble with alcoholism, the dumb southern belle with no prospects, the southern professional gambler with daddy issues. I would say the list goes on, but in that one sentence I've summarized all of the characters' combined problems, so that would be a bit of spoiler there...

Won Kar Wai's normally cryptic musings are completely flat here... laughably so, like for instance little anecdotes related to neglected desserts, abandoned keys (as in door keys), writing postcards as opposed to telephoning, and a couple of others, function as leitmotifs in conversations, but they were all sort of tacked on in some effort to bring substance to otherwise lifeless dialogue such as "Hey, I see you're still rolling your own cigarettes," and "Why do you think he left me," and "Tell me the stories of these keys, I want to hear them all," "Well this set belonged to a young couple who were naive enough to believe that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together."

Visually Wong Kar Wai keeps to the neon colors, but the framing is a lot closer up to his actors, so the film lacks the signature composition of his previous two films at least, and instead opts for, bizarrely, a cheap-looking slow motion that adds a flavor of after-school special or televised "this is a dramatization of actual events," and the slow-motion, cheap as it is, becomes a visual leitmotif showing up at some really arbitrary moments.

And finally, 'cause my fingers are getting tired, :), the direction. Wong Kar Wai couldn't direct his actors here, one obvious reason being that the material they were given was weak to begin with. Nonetheless, as wooden as Norah Jones may have been, the others were either wooden or passed off as little more than a cheap impersonation of character TYPES, rather than actual characters.

That's about it really, but what else is there?
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:06 pm

Ahh, I see.

That about matches up to what I observed in the first fifteen minutes that I saw (as well as what I could glimpse from trailers). What seemed to be missing for me is what enlivened Chungking Express and Fallen Angels:

1. A sense of humor, both of those films were actually comedies. (if only Jude Law were Takashi Kaneshiro).

2. The injection of HK genre tropes into art house filmmaking.

In spite of what I've seen and heard I'm still seeing this if I can. Though maybe not with the same enthusiasm. Oh well, there may still be Ashes of Time. Thanks for sharing Pacino.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:14 pm

No worries, and at least I still have a few of Wong Kar Wai's earlier films to watch, which will hopefully remove my memories of this one.
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:56 pm

Curious to see the different approaches to this subject, but excited to get some WKW news.

AP entertainment writer Min Lee wrote:Bruce Lee's master subject of biopics
Feb 27, 2008

FOSHAN, China - Bruce Lee is the master to many martial arts fans, but less is known about his master, Ip Man, a pioneer in the kung fu style that influenced Lee. Hong Kong filmmakers hope to change that by bringing Ip's story to the big screen.

On Tuesday, action stars Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung from the U.S. TV series "Martial Law" prepared to start shooting one of two planned movies about Ip. They joined Ip's sons in paying tribute to their father at his hometown in the southern city of Foshan, a four hours northwest of Hong Kong.

Performers staged a traditional Chinese lion dance featuring four bright orange lions on outdoor platform near a memorial hall that honors Ip.

Yen posed next to a bust of Ip and performed a series of maneuvers against a wooden mannequin — a common practice in kung fu's wing chun style, which is known for its practical, no-frills style.

Yen, a veteran action star whose credits include "Blade II," "Hero" and "Shanghai Knights," said his role as Ip would be his most challenging ever.

"We all know that teacher Ip Man promoted Chinese kung fu around the world. He's also the teacher of my idol Bruce Lee. So when I took this role I put a lot of pressure on myself," he said.

Yen's reverence for Ip's legacy is testimony to his storied reputation.

Born in Foshan in 1893, Ip started training around 1903 in wing chun. He arrived in Hong Kong in the 1940s to escape the Communist takeover of the mainland. In Hong Kong, he started out teaching kung fu to restaurant workers but broadened his reach to hundreds of students, including Lee, before passing away in 1972.

Lee, who died in 1973 at age 32 from swelling of the brain, studied under Ip for five years, according to his official biography on the Bruce Lee Foundation Web site.

The movie starring Yen isn't the only production about Ip Man in the works.

Famed Hong Kong art-house director Wong Kar-wai is also planning a biopic starring Cannes best actor winner Tony Leung Chiu-wai, although the timetable for the project is unclear.

Wong's Jettone Films has not released any information about the movie, but Leung said this week he planned to devote the second half of this year to studying wing chun and hoped to start shooting at the end of the year or the beginning of next year.


Yen's movie, a $5 million production directed by Wilson Yip, aims to start shooting in March in Shanghai and to be released early next year, Yip said Tuesday.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:13 pm

huh, I thought the WKW pic was to be a biopic about Bruce Lee, with Leung Chiu-Wai playing Bruce.

which struck me as a bit odd, seeing how he's around 45 now, well older than Bruce when he died. I can see Tony playing Yip Man though, especially if Wong's going to jump the time line around (and, knowing Wong, of course he will!).

Reading through that quickly at first, I thought maybe, somehow, Wong had convinced Sammo to be his Action Choreographer again, something the big man said he wouldn't do again, after Wong blurred up all the dazzling action Sammo choreographed for ASHES OF TIME.

Wing Chun is a pretty crazy martial art...maybe the production will have a place for Michelle Yeoh, who did a bang up job with that style in the film that bears its name...
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:01 pm

is it WKW's best?

no, not by a long shot. And I've seen 'em all.

does it contain most of the essential elements that make a WKW film?

yes. Most resolutely, yes it does.

You will not see a more rapturous moment of cinema than two on display here...the slight, knowing smile of a not completely terrible Norah Jones, head lying on top of a diner counter, after her mouth was kissed clean of leftover ice cream runoff, and then the overhead finale of Jones and a not really surprisingly pretty awesome Jude Law, both heads supine on the same counter, locking lips in a passionate display that made some of the muddier aspects of the film worth slogging through.

How anyone can see this and not swoon over the never better cinematography of Darius Khondji is beyond me, and Wong adeptly puts up an able defense of the honorific I've bestowed upon him as having the best eye in the entire world of filmdom. Couple of breathtaking time lapse nature shots, the popping, filter abetted green tint to the windows from swooshing NYC subway cars, and all the scenes set in and around Law's diner are worthy of anything in the WKW cannon.

Does it work completely...egads no. But even in the decidedly weaker segments (Memphis, Nevada), I go to WKW films for beautiful people shot beautifully, for universal plights of love, loss, longing, for simple philosophy delivered with maximum visual panache, and on pretty much all fronts, MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS delivered.
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Postby Ribbons on Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:54 pm

Huzzah! Hope... slightly renewed!
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Postby Pacino86845 on Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:00 am

*Pacino scowls angrily in the corner* :)
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:23 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:*Pacino scowls angrily in the corner* :)


well, the one thing that was missing in MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, a film that often times felt like a compendium of WKW's greatest hits (which is basically the same thing I said, eons ago, about FALLEN ANGELS, that WKW was recycling his moves. I came around on FALLEN ANGELS years later, after a 3rd viewing, when I realized that an auteur is kinda, by definition, supposed to recycle ideas, that it's those themes that a director keeps coming back to is exactly what makes them an auteur) is the utter lack of alienation, of people's inability to connect to one another, the urban ennui that he captures better than anyone else.

that aspect is noticeably absent here.

in many ways though, MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS is WKW's first "woman's picture", which in itself is sorta interesting, as why would he and the $$ men behind the film wish for him to break with his successful ways in his first English language film?
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Postby Ribbons on Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:33 pm

If I had to guess (which can be a dangerous thing sometimes) I'd say that Wong was inspired by Norah Jones's persona in some way -- I'm assuming the part was written for her and not that she sought it out. So the idea for the film came before the decision to make one, to which the studio was like "Sure, whatever, just come make a film for us!"
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:28 pm

stray thoughts about BLUEBERRY NIGHTS...

Rachel Weisz should be commended for non-glamorous perf. It would seem if you shoot the left side of Rachel's face, she's some kinda hideous troll woman. Shoot the right, and she's one of the more stunning women on earth. Wong did, bless, him, finally show her in some flattering light, during her last scene, but before that...well, I can now see where the Rachel Weisz is fugly contingent is coming from.

Aside from Jones, Chan Marhall's brief turn, and a couple shots of Weisz, the haircuts in the movie were spectacularly hideous. Jude's so good looking that it didn't really matter (plus, I think it was a wig), but Portman's with her spunky spiky dye job was atrocious, Straithairn's do kinda fit the character but boy was it square, man, and Weisz's for the most part was a tussled, tangled mess (kinda fit the character though). For Wong, who traffics in style, who makes his beautiful people even more beautiful, it was kinda surprising to see so much bad coiffuture on display.

Speaking of Straithairn, his shot from the side speech speech about his "chips" was some damn fine emoting, and it was good to see Frankie Faison in a non-Wire related role.
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Thu May 01, 2008 4:18 pm

Gotta say that I thoroughly enjoyed My Blueberry Nights. Not at all disappointed that this was my first WKW flick in the theater, though I can easily see why a great many people were turned off. In fact, the friend that saw it with me loathed it. I gotta wonder if people were expecting WKW to go guns blazing with his first English-language movie and were sideswiped by this soft-shoed jazzy riff on relationships. It worked for me.

Now all I need is Sony to announce a release date for Ashes of Time Redux.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu May 01, 2008 4:28 pm

Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:Now all I need is Sony to announce a release date for Ashes of Time Redux.


it's screening at Cannes, so, soon, maybe?

long, spoiler-ish review of MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, from the blogsphere's former A #1 (or #1a, depending...) film critic, Matt Zoller Seitz, can be found here.

Wong Kar-Wai's films aren't just intoxicating; they're intoxicated. They deploy slow motion, fast motion, freeze-frames and other visual flourishes not to highlight pivotal narrative moments, but to italicize feelings -- some sorrowful or profound, others fleeting, playful, sensual. His frames are packed with chromatic and textural details and often separated from the viewer by environmental scrims (curtains, door frames, windowpanes, human blurs of foreground motion). Wong compounds disorientation by layering images atop each another in a series of luxurious dissolves. He glosses over dramatic housekeeping and fixates on tremors of emotion. His films seem to be struggling to remember themselves.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:50 pm

I saw this in the theatre a little while back. It was the first Wong film since Days of Being Wild to get little more than a shoulder shrug out of me. Let’s face it, for the past 10 years (from Chungking to 2046) WKW has raised the stakes with each new movie and succeeded brilliantly, and made it look easy.So naturally the question on everyone's mind as of 2004 was: after 2046 where does Wong go? An epic inward panorama, a darkly romantic, obsessive, fetishistic ode to romantic obsession and fetishism, 2046 was an endlessly self reflexive work so dense and so packed with existential baggage, wayward narratives within narratives, and reconsiderations of past work and ideas, that like an unstable hyper-dense neutron star, existed constantly on the verge of collapsing in on itself. How does an artist top such an achievement? He doesn’t. So Wong skirts the issue entirely, because he never attempts to. MBN is a low key, very relaxed work, with only a few traces of self-reference (Yumeji's theme gets a brief harmonica treatment for instance). The approach here is similar to what Wong did after his labored martial arts epic Ashes of Time, shoot something small and intimate after the creation of an exhausting epic. But MBN is something of an oddity in Kar-Wai's flexography. It lacks Chungking's freewheeling voyeuristic explorations, art movie genre riffings, and redemptive sense of humor. Compared to previous works, MBN is surprisingly static, especially for a road movie. Next to As Tears Go By it's his most straightforward movie to date.

The weakness at the center of all this is the film's unusual for Wong at least reliance on dialogue for exposition. Wong's disposition has always wavered between voyeurism and expressionism. Here he seems largely content to prettify the relatively basic dialogues with colorful abstract form (here is the one connection between MBN and 2046, both take a similar approach in their use of 2:35/1). Compared to previous efforts, Wong presents a coy temporal sensibility, even using title cards to help keep track of the days. In an interview with Charlie Rose star Norah Jones said that when she asked Wong what he would do if she showed up on the set and couldn't act he told her that he would have made her character a mute. I wish he would have. Not to slight anybody's acting (Jude Law is no Takashi Kaneshiro but he's not bad either) and by the end of the film you do begin to see what Wong sees in Ms Jones still, having her as a mute would have enlivened the proceedings considerably. The loneliness of Jerome would have been far better and more humorously underscored if he had latched onto someone who couldn't speak, and really there was nothing in her predicament that couldn't have easily been explained visually.

Whether MBN amounts to as Matt Seitz described it “an afterhours jam sessionâ€
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Re: My Blueberry Nights / WKW thread

Postby Spandau Belly on Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:51 pm

I saw this corny jazz romance movie last night called My Blueberry Nights. This is a feature film that deals with the theme of dependency. Dependency on other people, alcohol, blueberry pie, gambling etc. It’s definitely one of those movie type movies where people quickly form these offbeat relationships that only exist in movies. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never felt so comfortable around a waiter that I’ve passed out on the counter in his diner with blueberry all over my face and then woken up the next day and not even feinted mock-embarrassment.

The characters also seem to respect the mystique other characters are trying to build for themselves by not asking the glaringly obvious questions. For example, Natalie Portman plays a poker player who’s estranged father has to fake his death in order to speak with her. Not only does nobody ever ask her why he has to resort to these theatrics to talk, but there are several scenes where Portman says “I’ll bet I know what you’re wondering…” but then follows up with something other than “why won’t I speak to my father?” I mean, that’s what I was wondering. Considering a good portion of this movie takes place on a road trip to go see a father she says she won’t speak to, it’s pretty weird that it never comes up. I guess there’s some pretty interesting scenery to comment on, but really, I think curiosity would get the better of me after a couple days sitting next to somebody who I am giving a ride to go see a man she says she won’t talk to.

You know how in Paris, Texas Harry Dean Stanton just left his beautiful wife and wandered off into the desert for years and everybody thought he was dead until he showed up again years later acting all mute and spaced out and everybody just kinda gave him his space? It seems everybody in My Blueberry Nights has Harry Dean Stanton privileges of not having to explain themselves until they’re good and ready. And everybody else is another Harry Dean Stanton who understands and will never ask “Dude, what the fuck is up with you?”

I also want to add that the casting in this movie is bang on. Kar Wai Wong really managed his resources with this film. Jazz singer Norah Jones plays the lead character, an introspective young woman drifting through self-discovery. Normally this role would go to Scarlet Johansson, and I’m really glad it didn’t. Seeing as all this character has to do is play the quiet straightman to a bunch of more loud interesting characters, it’s not that demanding for a first-time actress. But Jones does a decent job of standing there and looking at other people like she’s listening to them. I think having to endure one more outing of the trademark Scar-Jo Blank Stare would’ve just killed this movie.

The only thing I remember hearing about this movie when it came out was critics taking the easy attack on Jones’s acting saying the obvious “she should stick to singing” like they always do when somebody who’s famous for something else tries acting. They probably also stayed true to form and made some pun on the title that escapes me now. Something super-movie-criticish like “this blueberry is stale” or “I wouldn’t want another slice of this”. Keep up the good work guys, the world’s counting on you!

I don’t think Jones shows huge potential to be an actress, but I’m not going to bust her chops because I think she was actually okay for this character. Her semi-engaged stare beats ScarJo’s blank stare in my book. I would’ve preferred if they hadn’t used her music in the film. I found it kind of jarring. Even though her character isn’t a singer and her speaking voice isn’t like her singing voice, it was still weird. Especially since she doesn’t do the whole soundtrack, they get all these other jazz singers to relax you. But every now and then one of her songs starts playing and it always freaked me out to see her lips not moving while her songs played like she was a ventriloquist or Ashlee Simpson or something.

Just like Wong gives an unchallenging straightman character to the inexperienced lead actress, he also deals out his other roles to suit the actors’ strengths. The character that just has to be charming and only occasionally border on acting gets played by Jude Law. He decides to go for an overacting performance out of Natalie Portman, which is much better than her usual attempts at actual acting. And he leaves characters that require real acting to Rachel Weisz and David Strathairn. So, a good use of the team, Mr. Wong.

I’ll admit that the main reason I rented this movie was the cast of hotties. I saw Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and Norah Jones on the cover all making sexy eyes and nibbling on their own fingers and since the cover art was an express trip to Bonersville I figured this would be some sort of artsy erotica movie like Sex and Lucia or Y Tu Mama Tambien. It was surprisingly unsexy, and more just kinda melancholy. The main thing that I think was supposed to be sensual was all the extreme close-ups of blueberry pies baking, but most of those shots just looked like infected wounds to me.

This film is done in a cheesy music video style from about twenty years ago that frequently employs lots of blurry slow motion shots filmed at a low frame rate. A lot of people complained when this technique was used in Gladiator because they felt the way the shots would blur and drop frames obscured the action. Well, in this movie there’s not so much to obscure since the only action is mostly people setting slices of blueberry pie down on countertops and eating them. I guess I would’ve appreciated a better look at Jude Law’s comb-over in this movie, because it’s a goddamn work of art.

This filmmaker, Kar Wai Wong, seems to be one of these guys that has a little cult of people who will attack anybody who criticizes his films. It seems anytime anybody says they don’t like a film of his, he’s always got a fan there to say that the critic just doesn’t understand and appreciate Wong’s style. Which is their way of saying you have to like his films in order to like them.

This is the first film of Wong’s that I’ve seen and I’ll say that I liked it, but it is corny and his visual style feels like it’s from a cheesy old George Michael music video. Lots of that cheesy low-framerate blurry slow-mo stuff. All sorts of type-lapse photography and corny shots of clouds parting and nature and I’m sure a bunch of other 80s music video tricks I’m forgetting to mention. I said this movie resembles Paris, Texas in its tone the nature of reality it presents. But the two different visual styles of the directors actually make these movies feel like they were made in each other’s time. Paris, Texas pretty much still looks like a movie that could’ve come out this year, while My Blueberry Nights looks like it was made twenty years ago. But that’s okay, twenty years ago ain’t so bad. And I generally liked this corny jazz romance movie because of its absurd hokeyness, so I think I’ll just contently pass out on a diner counter with blueberry pie all over my face and call it a night.
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