The Criterion Collection's latest issue of a modern classic is Ang Lee's uncategorizable masterpiece The Ice Storm.
It took 25 years in the business, but Jackie Chan and Jet Li finally give their fans what they want: a fight together. So why is the main character a 16 year-old white boy?
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Dark Matter hits theaters, AZN officially says goodbye, and Jackie Chan and Jet Li fight family-style. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Dark Matter creeps into theaters
As a melodrama set in academia, director Chen Shi-Zheng's Dark Matter is loosely based on the true story of a brilliant Chinese physics postgraduate and his bumpy transition into American culture. Liu Xing (Liu Ye) is assisted by wealthy university patron Joanna Silver (Meryl Streep) as he becomes obsessed with his radical theory on dark matter -- which upsets his idol and professor, famed cosmologist Jacob Reiser. What begins with hope and inspiration becomes tragic, as the cultural miscommunication between the Eastern and Western way of thinking leads to an irrevocable conflict between student and professor. Dark Matter scored the Alfred P. Sloan award at the Sundance Film Festival last year, which is given to films that thematically focus on science or technology. Dark Matter opens in theaters in limited release on Friday, April 11th. --William Hong
The End of AZN
With the death of AZN Television, it seems that the only "Network for Asian America" is the intricate network of the internet. Oh, and ImaginAsian too. Unable to gain consistent advertisers and wide distribution, cable television juggernaut Comcast shut down broadcasts at noon on April 9. Despite the channel's very average array of selection, Comcast's acquisition was promising. Former Viacom VP Peilin Chou had been hired to direct production and programming while Jay Chen from National Geographic Asia and Kimberly Wang from ESPN and MTV had jumped on
board respectively as creative director and developer of original shows. Not only relying on big name individuals, Comcast joined with big name partners such as Sony and the NBA. Lastly, giving evidence to the attempts for new and original shows, Comcast bought show ideas from Teddy Zee, who once directed Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. Although there wasn't much left to shut down, the few faithful viewers of AZN will miss the channel's Hong Kong news shows, Bollywood films, Asian soap operas, and anime shows, forcing them to turn to ImaginAsian or MTV Chi, the second of MTV's trio of Asian American music media channels, for Asian television media.
After laying off 43 employees on March 31, Comcast's Tim Fitzpatrick commented: "We are restructuring AZN to leverage consolidated network functions in Comcast's programming operations. As we complete this restructuring, we will continue to deliver high-quality programming for Asian Americans." Or at least until noon on April 9, right? --Timothy Natividad
Ghost in the Shell to be Shrek'd
O, Ecstatic Ambivalence, thy name is American Adaptation. Ghost in the Shell, the favorite Japanese manga/anime of yours truly, went and had its rights acquired (not read) by DreamWorks Pictures, courtesy of a personal interest of Steven Spielberg. It is to be adapted into a 3-D animated film. For readers who haven't yet seen the Major dive off skyscrapers and wink into transparency (fans, you know), the plot follows the justice-doing of Section 9, a supernaturally moral and pensive ingredient in the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. Set far in the future when the very brain may become a cyber cafe, the story is nevertheless strongly rooted in the real issues of today's world. But though it traverses the labyrinth of justice and poses the queries of existence, it seldom bores, seldom slows, and the soundtrack, like the story, is hauntingly unforgettable. Praises aside: Steven Paul and Avi Arad (producer of Marvel flicks like Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Incredible Hulk) will produce. That DreamWorks perceives it as comic-to-screen material is predictable but, I feel, naïve. Add to that Jamie Moss, screenwriter of Street Kings, who will pen the adaptation. O, Ecstatic ambivalence... --Ian Shaikh
Andy Lau, Maggie Q, Sammo Hung, and classical Chinese literature combined
Catch the Tibeca Film Festival premiere of the latest big budget Chinese epic film Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon. Hong Kong director Daniel Lee has put together a period epic based on a famous Chinese novel and starring Asia's biggest stars. Three Kingdoms is based on Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms which is ranked one of five most important literary works in China. The film stars Andy Lau as General Zhao Zilong who leads victorious battles against competing warlords until he is challenged by archrival CaoYing (Maggie Q). Advertisements suggest that the film promises the “solemn of Braveheart” and the “kung-fu and melodrama of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.” --Christie Liu
Hollywood Chinese comes to the big screen
Arthur Dong (Forbidden City U.S.A, Licensed to Kill) has a new documentary that was released on April 11th in the Bay Area, before it trickles down to Pasadena and other parts of the country. The documentary is titled Hollywood Chinese and traces the history of Chinese Americans in Hollywood. Starting from the very first Asian American film, The Curse of the Quon Gwon, which was directed by Marion Wong in 1916, this documentary discusses the representation of these Chinese Americans and the roles they have played. The documentary features interviews from a wide range of guests such as James Hong, Tsai Chin, Joan Chen, Nancy Kwan, Ang Lee, Justin Lin, James Shigeta and B.D. Wong. Audiences can catch this feature at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco or at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. --My Thanh Mac
For those fixing for a taste of old school, hard boiled yakuza drama, the American Cinematheque is presenting a Tetsuya Watari double header. The first film is Gangster VIP, penned by a real life, former yazuka Goro Fujita. Based on Fujita's biography, the film depicts the tragic life of a younger Goro (played by Tetsuya Watari), who becomes caught in the yakuza underworld. Director Toshi Masuda imbues the film with a noirish world view, moody romance, and compelling accounts of the gangster life. In the Velvent Hustler, Tetsuya Watari plays a freelance hitman notorious for whistling as he handles his business. Filled with a colorful cast of gangsters and beautiful women, this color remake is dripping with visual flourishes influenced by Jean Luc Godard. Both yazuka hits can be experienced first hand on Friday, April 25th at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. --William Hong
Jackie Chan and Jet Li together at last
Forbidden Kingdom is out in theaters Friday, April 4. For the first time, Jackie Chan and Jet Li are featured in the same film; both will be flashing their moves and keeping the movie screen action packed. While the pairing of Chan and Li will certainly appeal to diehard kung fu fans, director Rob Minkoff brings together a unique artistic fantasy. Minkoff's Lion King and Stuart Little have blended artistic innovation with commercial success. The Forbidden Kingdom is a story about a Caucasian boy who is magically transported back into ancient China and embarks on a journey with a kung fu master (Chan) and a monk (Li) to rescue the legendary Monkey King. --Christie Liu
Date Posted: 4/18/2008