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The Blood + series, now out on DVD, skips the extraneous and satisfies an audience thirsty for diverse characters and entertaining plot twists.
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The Chaser catches Hollywood, Margaret Cho back on TV, and George Takei, country music star. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
The Chaser caught by Warner Bros.
Based on the story of a real-life serial killer, The Chaser was a surprise hit in South Korea. Less surprisingly, Hollywood wants to do a remake. Warner Bros. has captured the rights to co-produce The Chaser with Bidangil Pictures for one million dollars. The Chaser follows a cop-turned-pimp (Kim Yoon Seok) as he tries to find his prostitute before the suspect (Ha Jeong Woo) makes his next kill. The interest in remaking scary Asian films, crime thrillers in this case, comes on the heels of The Departed. This was the successful American remake of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs, directed by Martin Scorsese. Another factor behind the purchasing of The Chaser is a taste for movies about psycho killers, since No Country for Old Men won the best film and best actor Oscars. DiCaprio, who starred in The Departed, is one of the possible leads for the American Chaser. Seems like the perfect plan to make a box-office killing. --Lisa Leong
Cho's new Show
Margaret Cho has a new television show coming out this summer on VH1. The Cho Show will be a reality sitcom following Cho as she "fights to be herself" in an industry that "in the past wanted her to be something other than herself." This is alluding to her role in the first all Asian American sitcom, All American Girl, back in 1994, over which she had bitter disagreements with the television network. Cho, best known for her comedy and in-your-face attitude on issues of race and the Asian American experience, tends to draw opinions from both ends of the spectrum -- either extreme love or extreme disgust. And television definitely isn't what it was back in the 90s -- who remembers life before reality TV? So, this could be interesting. Or cringeworthy, at the very least, we might have something to add to our List of Cringeworthy Moments. --JoJo Yang
George Takei's Secret Talent
Everybody knows him as Sulu from Star Trek, but George Takei is revealing his secret talent: country music singing. Takei will make his country singing debut on CBS's Secret Talents of the Stars. The reality show pits celebrities against each other in a secret talent competition. Like a copycat of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, Secret Talents will let viewers phone in their votes to determine which celebrity has the best hidden talent. Takei's country crooning will go up against R&B singer Mya's tap-dancing, former child star Danny Bonaduce's unicycling, deadpan comedian Ben Stein's jitterbug, plus about a dozen other semi-famous people. For those who like to see celebrities embarrass themselves or perhaps, earn their fame, Secret Talents begins on April 8. --Lisa Leong
Nana playing at the ImaginAsian Theater
The 2005 film that launched the careers of Mika Nakashima and Aoi Miyazaki is finally making its way to the States. Based on Ai Yazawa's popular comic, Nana is about two young women, both coincidentally named Nana, who move to Tokyo on the same day and meet on the train ride over. Mika Nakashima's Nana is your smoky-eyeliner, leather-jacket-wearing badass aspiring rock star, whereas Aoi Miyazaki is your cutesy wide-eyed girly-girl who moved to Tokyo to be closer to her lame boyfriend. They become unlikely pals, and Nana launched two J-pop careers: Mika Nakashima, with her catchy "Glamorous Sky," and Yuna Ito, who has a cameo in the film singing "Endless Story." Since then, there has been a less-successful sequel, Nana 2, in 2006. Yui Ichikawa replaced Aoi Miyazaki, who couldn't reprise her role. --Ada Tseng
Summer Palace on DVD
When a movie is banned, and then its director banned from making movies in China for five years, then both the movie and the director must be good. Such is the case for Lou Ye and his recently-released on DVD Summer Palace (2006). The film is about a well-off country girl Yu Hong (Lei Hao) who comes to Beijing to study. There she meets Zhou Wei (Ghou Xiadong), who pulls her into a passionate, epic, but taxing love affair that rages along the political conflicts in the late 1980s. Along with their friends Ruo Gu (Xianmin Zhang) and Li Ti (Ling Hu), these college students live through the riots in Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The DVD comes with some pretty decent extras, including a 36 minute "Making of Summer Palace" documentary, and "Chinese Censorship," a five minute interview with Lou Ye and others, where they talk about the immense controversy that led to the film being banned by the Chinese government. --Ian Shaikh
TBA Opens in New York
Performing right now at the CSV Cultural Center in New York City is the play titled TBA, written by Carla Ching and directed by Denyse Owens. Silas Park, a Korean American, is (of course) confused about his identity having grown up in a Chicano family, and he hides in his room writing his autobiography. Tension builds when Park's brother, Finn, appears and accuses Park of stealing his life.The play also explores the boundaries of storytelling and the connections that are formed when people tell stories to each other. Lloyd Suh plays Silas Park alongside Michi Barall as Park's ex-girlfriend, and J. Julian Christopher appears as Finn. TBA will run until April 5th. --My Thanh Mac
MoMA's new Asian cinema exhibition
The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan is introducing a new monthly exhibition, Contemporasian, featuring Asian films: both "recent independent gems and little-seen classics." Organized by Jytte Jenson, the Department of Film's curator, and William Phuam of Asian CineVision, the continuing exhibition will hopefully shed light on quality films worth noting. Kicking off the exhibition is Ling yi ban (The Other Half) directed by Ying Liang. Ling yi ban follows a young woman in Southwestern China through her everyday life: a 9-to-5 job, a gambling boyfriend, a distressed mother, etc. Next up in April is Senkyo (Campaign), by Kazuhiro Soda, a closeup look at a Japanese Liberal Democratic candidate's campaign in his district. --JoJo Yang
Date Posted: 3/21/2008