May 26, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the director of the new animated film "Kung Fu Panda 2," might have been destined for a career in pictures. After immigrating to the United States from South Korea with her parents and two sisters when she was 4, Nelson spent her childhood in Lakewood, Calif., watching martial arts movies, playing with cars and drawing. As a young girl, she would sit at the kitchen table for hours and watch her mother draw, copying her every stroke. Nelson traces the lineage of her career to those formative family experiences.
October 15, 2010 |
Fans of the odd, the bloody, and the extreme in cinema need not feel alienated: The Philadelphia Film Festival also offers "The Graveyard Shift," a series of 10 films that will delight the more twisted cinephiles. Here are some highlights: Actor-director Yuen Woo-ping, best known as the action choreographer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , returns to directing after more than a dozen years with True Legend , the story of the perpetually drunken kung fu folk hero, Beggar Su. Martial arts of a sillier tone figure in Mandrill , a spy spoof from Chile that reunites Kiltro 's director, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, and star, kung fu master Marko Zaror.
October 8, 2010
THE "MADE In China" label on this summer's "Karate Kid" is what made it such a surprising and interesting remake. Producer Will Smith took son/star Jaden inside China for this new version, featuring Jaden as a Detroit transplant who confronts local bullies by learning kung fu from a local master (Jackie Chan). The cast is engaging and the story efficient, but what struck me was the access the filmmakers had to out-of-the-way places, the picture they were able to present of life in contemporary China - a privilege that not many contemporary Chinese filmmakers seem to have.
August 13, 2010 |
On first glance the name Cuddle Magic sounds yucky, suggesting a fuzzy pink bear in an "I Heart U" T-shirt. But hear out this truly distinctive, Philadelphia/Brooklyn, N.Y.-based ensemble, and you'll understand. The name fits in a wondrously whimsical, imaginative yet decidedly grown-up way. Cuddle Magic is avant-garde lite, densely constructed yet playfully accessible. Many of the talents in this huge (like 12 strong) ensemble trained at the New England Conservatory, which is why this pop ensemble deploys strings, clarinet and vibraphone in such delicately finessed ways, alongside the more predictable guitars, keyboards and percussion.
June 13, 2010
Movies Opening This Week Air Doll A life-size blow-up doll comes to life and falls for a video store clerk. Japanese with subtitles. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work See Steven Rea's preview on H2. Jonah Hex Josh Brolin stars as a man with a bounty on his head who is given a shot at freedom in exchange for stopping a terrorist bent on wreaking havoc. Adapted from the comic book. Micmacs See Steven Rea's preview on H2. Toy Story 3 See Steven Rea's preview on H2. Winter's Bone A teen (Jennifer Lawrence)
June 11, 2010 |
There are different ways to make it as a child actor, but none, apparently, as effective as having Will Smith as your dad. His adorable son Jaden headlines the remake of "Karate Kid," the '80s B-movie classic that's been given an eye-popping upgrade on its way to serving as a star vehicle for little Jaden, who had three months of training from kung-fu master Wu Gang in advance of the epic four-month shoot. In place of Pat Morita is Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan, and in place of forgettable SoCal locations is . . . China.
June 11, 2010 |
How does a youth who stands out like a raisin on rice assimilate into an unwelcoming host culture? That's the hook of The Karate Kid , an appealing reboot of the 1984 inspirational that rethinks the American tale for the global age. Its star, Jaden Smith, spawn of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, is clearly a winner in the genetic sweepstakes. He's inherited Daddy's charm and Dumbo ears and Mom's looks and terrier tenacity. These attributes serve him nicely in the movie about the new kid who faces down bullies with the help of a martial-arts master.
June 5, 2010 |
Ashton Kutcher is way buff. Katherine Heigl is beautiful, busty, and slim. And the south of France, where their new flick, the eminently missable Killers , is set, is gorgeous. Hmm - so what else is there to say about this most mismatched pair's ill-conceived, boring, cliche-driven, humor-challenged romantic action comedy? Did we say the scenery is nice? Directed by Robert Luketic, the genius who gave us the insipid Heigl romance The Ugly Truth (2009), Killers is about a (really, really buff)
May 8, 2009 |
A businessman and his secretary, both married to different people, kiss in the office. Scandal! Scandal indeed - if you're talking about small-town America in the mid-1960s. Especially if that town is Peyton Place. That scene, and others like it, shocked many a citizen in 1964 when a TV version of Lana Turner's 1957 Oscar-nominated film - and Grace Metalious' controversial book - debuted on ABC. Peyton Place: Part One from Shout! Factory (www.shoutfactorystore.