The Criterion Collection re-issues Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece of style and suspense, High and Low.
Writer Anne Lee reports on this year's Asian American International Film Festival in New York, covering Wayne Wang's Princess of Nebraska, Jessica Yu's Ping Pong Playa and more.
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Korean cowboys dominate at the box office, Pakistani film industry decides to share, and Arnold and Sly continue to make us laugh. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
In its opening weekend, Kim Ji-woon's The Good, the Bad, and the Weird topped the Korean box office, hitting 2.19 million in just four days. Veteran filmmaker Kim was not surprised with the turnout; the cast consists of the talented Song Kang-ho from The Host, Korea's heartthrobs Lee Byeong-Heon from Beautiful Days, and Jeong Woo-seong, from A Moment to Remember. To reach a broader audience, both for the over one million expats living in Korea and the international audience, the movie will be accompanied with English subtitles upon its release. The film will be distributed in US theaters in early 2009. In addition, the movie is also about to release in UK, France, China, Singapore, with Japan, Italy, Spain, and Scandinavia as possible prospects. With the success of The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, Kim attracted the attention of Warner Bros which wants him to direct a Hollywood Western, as well as StudioCanal, which is looking for a director for their remake of Max et les Ferrailleus. A subtitled trailer is available here. --Cathryn Chen
Sly and Arnold share an Incredible Love
Wait, what? Long time Hollywood rivals Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same movie? That's almost as crazy as Jackie Chan and Jet Li appearing...oh wait, scratch that. It gets stranger. The two aging superstars will be united for the first time on the silver screen not in a Hollywood production, but a Bollywood feature called Incredible Love. Filmed at Universal Studios, the movie follows an Indian stuntman that finds success in Hollywood, but aspires for greater things like love and other romantically idealistic dreams, I presume. How Rocky and the Governator fit in all this, who knows. Will they sing and dance at their advanced age? Can the two gaffers carry a beat or will they wind up beating each other up instead? Or both, even? Color me curious and a little frightened at the possibilities. Well, could be worse, I suppose. --William Hong
...and another unlikely team
Lady Cop & Papa Crook, an aptly named new film by Alan Mak and Felix Chong, is set for Asian release in September of 2008. Their first film, Infernal Affairs -- also Martin Scorsese's inspiration for The Departed -- achieved record-breaking box-office in Hong Kong, international renown, and a number of statuettes at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Their film's premise is pretty much like it sounds, but with a touch of irony and class. Just look at its trailer tagline: "She's the leader of vogue. He's the master of rogues. When a fashionista meets a Mafioso...all hell breaks loose!" John Fok (Eason Chan) is the questioning kingpin who gets shoved for wanting to break out of the criminal life. His son is kidnapped and he gets help from police inspector (can you say love interest?) Molline Szeto, played by Sammi Cheng, who's been out of the film industry for nearly three years. --Ian Shaikh
As the first Pakistani film to have a day-and-date release in India, Mehreen Jabbar's Ramchand Pakistani will open on Aug 1st in both countries. Not only is it Jabbar's directorial debut, the film is produced by former Pakistani politician and filmmaker Javed Jabbbar. Featuring gifted Indian actress Nandita Das, the film follows the consequences of a Pakistani boy who accidentally ventures into invisible Indian territory. The movie delves into serious political conflicts that still plague both countries, such as social stratification due to the rigid caste system and the harsh treatment of the untouchables. Based on a true story, the film reflects on the political and religious atmosphere in India and Pakistan. --Cathryn Chen
The Mummy lurches past Chinese censors, loses battle with Chinese Olympics
Chinese censors have cleared The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the third chapter of The Mummy series, for Chinese release. While the first two installments of the trilogy were held up by Chinese censors due to concerns about the depiction of superstition, the latest sequel, which was partially filmed in China, only required minor edits. Partially filmed in various locations in China, the film stars Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, and Jet Li. The summer blockbuster features an epic battle between Fraser as mummy hunter Rick O'Connell and Li as the Dragon Emperor, complete with an army of 5,000 terra cotta warriors. But the Emperor must also battle another epic Chinese force -- the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Originally projected to premiere in Beijing on July 24, the film's distributors have decided to push back the Chinese release date until after the Olympics. American audiences, on the other hand, can catch Tomb of the Dragon Emperor on August 1. --Justin Jimenez
Hiroshima Animation Festival
Geared toward cultural exchange and taking place, rather fittingly, near Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, The Hiroshima Animation Festival, co-hosted by the city, will take place August 7-11. Two prizes will be awarded in the competition segment of the festival: the Grand Prix and Hiroshima Prize, both amounting to roughly $10,000. The first such prize was awarded in 1985 to none other than Osamu Tezuka, the artist behind Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, which are, like the park itself, fervent advocates for peace. There will be screenings of Disney and Pixar films and shorts, as well as tributes and retros. It is a festival made for aspiring animators, and to that end it will also feature an Education Film Market for students to meet recruiters from animation schools and companies. --Ian Shiakh
Chinese Ministry of Culture bans foreign dissenters
Following a string of foreign artists who have recently vocalized their criticisms of Chinese politics, the Chinese Ministry of Culture issued a notice banning overseas entertainers who have participated in acts that may "threaten national sovereignty." The statement also threatens to ban groups or individuals who "violate religious policy or cultural norms," "whip up ethnic hatred," or "advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition." The Chinese government is now looking to Chinese event planners to carefully screen acts for potentially threatening material, requiring even encores to be approved. Notable foreign artists who may be subject to this ban include director Steven Spielberg, whose disagreement with China's economic policy in Sudan prompted him to leave a planning committee for the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony, as well as singer Bjork, who chanted "Tibet! Tibet!" at a concert in Shanghai. --Justin Jimenez
Date Posted: 7/25/2008