LOVEHKFILM.COM
- reviews - features - people - panasia - blogs - about site - contact - links - forum -
 
 
Search LoveHKFilm.com
Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
… On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life.

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather.

Archive for the ‘Links of Interest’ Category

Karate Kid “Konundrum”

With THE KARATE KID (2010) set to hit North American movie theatres in a week, the publicity machine for the film is starting to hit top gear.  Since it has yet to be screened for critics, the early press has been mostly positive because it’s just been the people behind the movie who have been talking.  Will Smith and his family appeared on Oprah last month and, earlier this week, producer James Lassiter spoke to The Los Angeles Times.

Last Friday, a review appeared on Ain’t It Cool News declaring THE KARATE KID (2010) to be a “worthy successor to the previous incarnation”.  On Monday, Todd Brown at Twitch said the movie was “better than good”.  Also on Monday, Gregory Ellwood at HitFix.com speculated on why it might be “June’s breakout hit”.

All of this positive buzz has created a bit of a conundrum for me.  Going back to February 1996 and the North American release of RUMBLE IN THE BRONX, the only Jackie Chan movie I haven’t seen during its opening weekend was THE SPY NEXT DOOR - and that was mostly because I wasn’t a 7 year-old kid.   However, I was going to skip THE KARATE KID (2010) next week in favour of THE A-TEAM.  Based on the trailer that I saw before IRON MAN 2, THE A-TEAM looks like it’ll be a whole lot of fun while my pre-conceived notions for THE KARATE KID (2010) are not compelling me to rush out and see it.  My pre-conceived notions:

TORTILLA SOUP poster1. There are only really two legitimate reasons to remake a movie.  The first is technology now exists to update it.  It’s like putting a new coat of paint on an old house.  There’s nothing wrong with the house but it just may look better with a new coat of paint.  See KING KONG (2005) and CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010).  The second is a remake set in a different culture than the original.  Keeping the premise but putting it in a completely different setting gives people the opportunity to explore the original themes and ideas from a different angle.  See DEATH AT A FUNERAL (2010), THE DEPARTED (2006) and TORTILLA SOUP (2001) - the thoroughly enjoyable Hispanic remake of Ang Lee’s EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN.

Otherwise, remakes are usually just tepid versions of their originals because it’s hard to live up to the challenge of competing with the legacy of the originals while establishing a new identity, a new raison d’être.  See: THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (2009), THE INVASION (2007), THE WICKER MAN (2006), PLANET OF THE APES (2001), PSYCHO (1998) and THE PINK PANTHER (2006).

THE KARATE KID (2010) faces a similar problem.  From the fish-out-of-water premise of the “Joisey” kid moving to California to the “You’re The Best Around” montage to the over-the-top bad guys (”Get him a body bag! Yeeaah!”), the original KARATE KID is great because it has a unique combination of cheesy chemistry.  Re-creating that chemistry is a “lightning strike twice” situation, not impossible but highly unlikely.

2. Will Smith is producing the movie.  On the upside, “Big Willie Style” means a big budget and excellent production values.  On the downside, Smith casting his son Jaden in the lead screams “vanity project”.

3. I’m obviously not in the target demographic for this movie.  I’m not a child and I’m not a parent of a child.  The original had a 21 year-old Elisabeth Shue as the “compelling hot babe”.  The “love interest” for 11 year-old Jaden Smith is played by a similarly young Chinese actress named Han Wenwen.  Definitely not — unless you’re under 12 years old -  “compelling hot babe” material.

4. As I don’t want Skynet/the Cylons to keep track of my web surfing activities, I have my browser cache and cookies cleared before I shutdown my computer.  Consequently, I lost a link to an article from earlier this week where someone wrote that the Jaden Smith-Jackie Chan relationship in the movie serves as an allegory for how America needs China and China needs America.

“Child, please”, as Chad Ochocinco would say.

A publicity photo for THE A-TEAM movie.

Before this week, all of these pre-conceived notions had me leaning towards going to see THE A-TEAM next weekend instead of THE KARATE KID (2010).  However, after being subjected to the Sirens’ call of the publicity machine, I started thinking that I might have to check out THE KARATE KID (2010) first.  Then, I read this whopper of a quote from producer James Lassiter in The L.A. Times article “‘Karate Kid’ update breaks down some Chinese walls”:

The people run the country.  So if people didn’t want you shooting in their neighborhood, there’s no authority that can tell them they have to. That’s why it’s called the People’s Republic of China.

Like a splash of cold water to the face, that quote snapped me out of the stupor created by the publicity machine.   Yes, GeekPadre and Todd Brown gave positive reviews but, like early returns on election night, that doesn’t mean anything.  I’ll wait until other critics get a chance to see the movie but unless reviews are overwhelmingly positive, I’m probably waiting until a cheap night Tuesday or a second-run discount theatre or possibly even a video rental before I see THE KARATE KID (2010).

Only my brain, with its bothersome thinking and dilemmas and conundrums, is compelling me to see the remake.  My heart is telling me I’ll have a much better time at THE A-TEAM.  “Don’t think! Feel!”, noted 20th Century philosopher Bruce Lee said in ENTER THE DRAGON.   THE A-TEAM it is.

RELATED LINKS:

Images credits: Samuel Goldwyn Films (TORTILLA SOUP poster); 20th Century Fox (THE A-TEAM publicity image)

News Links: Cinco de Mayo 2009

A happy Cinco de Mayo to all — Mexican or non-Mexican because this blog recognizes the Confucian principle of “all within the four seas are one family”. :-)

Four Seas One Family

Speaking of Mexico, this swine flu coverage from the media is getting out of hand.  Last night, the news had a breathless story on “swine flu survivors”.  Really?  Are you sure you want to drop the word “survivor” here?  Apart from thinking of contestants on a cheesy but fun CBS reality/game show, when I hear the word “survivor”, I usually think Holocaust survivor or airplane crash survivor.  “Swine flu survivor” is a bit much — no?  Heck, I was involved in a bitter struggle with the Big C for more than a year and I don’t go around referring to myself as a “survivor”.

Whatever happened to a little something called perspective?  I’m writing this paragraph on Tuesday evening and, according to the World Health Organization website, there are currently 1,419 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu world wide — that’s 1,419 out of 6.7 billion people or 0.000000211% of the population.  Yes, this flu is something people need to take seriously and watch carefully but is this degree of media coverage necessary?  I’m starting to think that, ultimately, there may be more harm to society from the media crying wolf than there will be from this flu outbreak.

Enough nonsense about the nonsense, let’s celebrate the outmanned and outgunned Mexican army’s victory over Napoleon III’s French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 with some links:

LINK OF INTEREST:

While we’re on the topic of underdog victories, here’s a link to an off-topic but interesting piece from The New Yorker:

Annals of Innovation: How David Beats Goliath

MOVIE REVIEWS:

HK Magazine reviews:

IN PRODUCTION:

Nicholas Tse Went all out for New Role

Vivian Hsu on Freezing Filming Set

CRI ENGLISH movie capusle: SHANGHAI (Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, John Cusack)

EAST WIND, RAIN: Wang Baoqiang Is a ‘Xiao Kai’ in Shanghai

Mainland TV: Four Generations under One Roof

Japan: Warner brings ‘Death’ to bigscreen

FEATURES:

Challenges keep Xu Jinglei Alive

Another Shot At Success: Electric New Paper feature on Mrs. Kozo aka Karena Lam Ka-Yan

Mainland Mission: Screen Daily feature on Peter Chan Ho-Sun

Bau Hei-Jing: The “eldest” best actress

A Heinous History: bc Magazine feature on I CORRUPT ALL COPS

It’s Because We’re Very Vain: Electric New Paper feature on Grasshopper

Cultural Revolution: Screen Daily feature on Polybona boss Yu Dong

Up Close: PUSSYCAT THEATRE

HK Magazine interview with actress/director Crystal Kwok Kam-Yan.  Ten years ago, she directed an intriguing movie called THE MISTRESS.  Definitely worth a look if you can find it on DVD.  There’s an unique shot of a pig in the film that you won’t forget.  It was a remarkable directorial debut for Kwok and it’s a bit of a shame that she hasn’t directed another movie.

High on Action: Feature on young Thai actors from the Thai film POWER KIDS

GENERAL NEWS:

New Bride: 61-Year-Old Liza Wang

Andy Lau’s wedding is off, says HK media

Chow Yun Fat and other Hong Kong stars on the swine flu and Mexico

Nicholas Tse’s Last Album takes off

PHOTOS: Nic Tse promotes his album with a little help from his old man

SARFT reminds you to avoid celebrity scandals

Wouter Barendrecht remembered in Hong Kong

OBITUARIES: Variety; The Guardian

PHOTOS: Xinhua News

Singapore: Jaime Teo plans showbiz comeback

Strong Showing: Article on the Singapore film industry

SEXY PHOTOS GATE:

Cecilia Cheung ‘hopes to act again’ after a year break

PHOTOS: Cecilia Cheung meets with Derek Yee

Gillian Chung performs on TVB charity show

JACKIE CHAN:

On Sunday, Jackie Chan made his first public appearance in Hong Kong since his infamous ramblings at a Mainland business forums last month.  Chan performed at an event celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.  He left immediately after his performance and did not speak to reporters.

RELATED: Xinhua news photos

Jackie Chan wears a political jester’s hat, too

Jackie Chan stages show at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest

PHOTOS: Jackie Chan performs

Jackie Chan Stars Concert in Bird’s Nest

Jackie Chan: There’s no place like home!

Rain joins in Jackie Chan concert

Jackie Chan now the mail lead

Jackie Chan, Yao Ming appointed ambassadors for 2010 Shanghai World Expo

Jackie Chan and The World’s Largest Sushi Roll

CONCERT REVIEW:

Hail the Music Man: Lee Hom-Wang in Malaysia

Lee Hom dazzles fans

OPINION:

City of sorrow: Competing film portrayals of the Nanjing Massacre

PHOTO GALLERYS:

Stalkin’ The Stars: Faye Wong in Hong Kong 1, 2

Faye Wong landed in Hong Kong earlier this week for some shopping and to meet with her friends Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Carina Lau Ka-Ling and Rosamund Kwan Chi-Lam

More Stalkin’ The Stars: Zhang Ziyi shops for shoes in Hong Kong

Vivian Chow Wai-Man shoots a cosmetics ad

Joey Yung, Lisa S. (Daniel Wu’s squeeze) at an event for Tiffany & Co.

Jessica Hsuan, Sunny Chan, Natalie Tong promote their TVB series JUST LOVE II

Zhou Xun: Expo Green Queen

Zhao Ziqi’s Punk Style

Olympic diving star: Guo Jingjing

CHINESE PEOPLE BEING CONTROLLED:

Hubei orders public servants to smoke local cigarettes

FOLLOW-UP: China cigarette order up in smoke

Link of Interest

Around this time last year, in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, Washington Post Film Critic Stephen Hunter wrote an article that made some egregious arguments linking the actions of madman Cho Seung Hui and John Woo movies — in particular, THE KILLER. While it may be difficult for some Asian film fans to take anything Hunter has to say seriously after that article, he has written an excellent obituary for Charlton Heston. Here are the opening paragraphs:

He was the hawk.

He soared. In fact, everything about him soared. His shoulders soared, his cheekbones soared, his brows soared. Even his hair soared.

And for a good two decades, Charlton Heston, who died Saturday at 84, was the ultimate American movie star. In a time when method actors and ethnic faces were gradually taking over, Heston remained the last of the ramrod-straight, flinty, squinty, tough-as-old-hickory movie guys.

He and his producers and directors understood his appeal, and used it for maximum effect on the big Technicolor screen. Rarely a doubter, never a coward, inconceivable as a shirker, he played men of granite virtue no matter the epoch. He played commanders, biblical prophets, Jewish heroes, tough-as-nails cowpokes, calm aviators, last survivors, quarterbacks and a president or two.

Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star’s trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried had only one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land — like Moses.

Even if you think that Hunter is a complete idiot for trying to tie John Woo to the Virginia Tech tragedy, you have to admit that this is great writing.

I’ll be back later with the HKFA Best Actress preview.

 
 
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright © 2002-2017 Ross Chen