March 12, 2009 |
The funniest thing about Marnie Stern isn't how she attacks the fret board with the nimbleness of Eddie Van Halen, the complexity of a Frank Zappa, or the shredding capability of Slayer's Kerry King. It's not that the Upper East Side-raised guitar goddess started her recording career in alt-punk metal after age 30, when she released In Advance of the Broken Arm in 2007. It's not even that the blond, tanned Stern carries her small pooch, a Morkie named Fig, with her while on tour.
September 7, 2008 |
There's a hilarious scene in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy where the members of various news stations around town gather to fight gangland style. Too many outlets in San Diego, they mutually decide, so they grab tire irons and chains and do battle. Philly needs to thin the field, too. The market is saturated with Eagles entertainment in the hours before game time. Between Comcast SportsNet's new Pre-Game Live , and the offerings on WYSP-FM and WIP-AM, there are far too many suitors for your attention leading up to kickoff.
August 15, 2008 |
While the J-Horror fad may have come and gone (well, most of these films have gone to remake-land in Hollywood), things have never been better for that old mainstay of Asian cinema - the martial-arts movie. Genius Products (a division of the Weinstein Brothers) has practically cornered the market on the best of Hong Kong martial-arts cinema with its "Dragon Dynasty" DVD collection. The remarkable series, launched just two years ago, already boasts 29 titles, each featuring a wealth of extras, including at least one commentary track, making-of featurettes, and cast and crew interviews - not to mention surveys of martial-arts weapons and techniques.
April 18, 2008 |
As one of the four or five people in the world who thought "Bulletproof Monk" was a good movie, I guess I'm the target audience for "Forbidden Kingdom. " The setup is eerily similar - an American kid (Michael Angarano), obsessed with kung fu movies, gets drawn into a centuries-old battle among supernatural Chinese factions, centered around some magical relic. In this case, it's a fighting staff belonging to a good but mischievous king (Jet Li), who sends the relic into the future so it will not fall into the hands of an evil emperor.
March 14, 2008 |
Mixed martial arts meets the movie box office. The introduction to one of America's fastest-growing sports comes today by way of Never Back Down, the big-budget film starring Djimon Hounsou. Kung-fu arts and ninjitsu were the traditional way that movies explored the martial arts. The Chinese term kung fu has been defined literally as energy time. Mixed martial artists use this principle to become complete striking and submissions grappling experts. Will real MMA fighters appreciate the way their sport has been translated into cinema?
March 30, 2007 |
Though their work mainly suggests otherwise, Guariglia and Chen do not come through the fine-art channels. Not so long ago, Justin Guariglia was a documentary photographer; Zoe Chen is a fashion designer who has worked for Issey Miyake. Together, the two have created a seamless, quasi-conceptual collaborative art that borrows its look from the worlds of fine art, advertising, commercial photography and Buddhism (that their work was recently selected for a two-year Nokia print and TV ad campaign and will also be the subject of a book published by the Aperture Foundation tells you something about its broad appeal)
February 19, 2007 |
A team book starring Misty Knight; Colleen Wing; Black Cat; Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu; Tarantula; and Orka, the Killer Whale would usually have trouble making it past the pitch stage. After all, Shang-Chi is the only one who has been able to sustain his own series. So the odds were against "Heroes for Hire" being a sales success. It has been surprise hit, however, for several reasons. First, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are telling, fun, fast-paced stories.
June 27, 2006 |
"So what are you up to this afternoon?" came the idle inquiry. "I'm seeing Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon. It's a kung-fu comic-book opera. " There's no better conversation stopper, so beyond comprehension is this fusion of unlikely genres. Yet even in a bare-bones world-premiere production by Peregrine Arts on Sunday at Drexel University's Mandell Theater, the vision behind the piece couldn't have been clearer. Conceived, cowritten and composed by Fred Ho, himself a walking fusion of progressive jazz and cutting-edge classical, Deadly She-Wolf was a paragon of shrewd decisions about what this particular theatrical animal would and wouldn't do. The title is the story: A young woman trained from girlhood to be an assassin ("a killing machine," in comic-book parlance)
April 22, 2005 |
Set in a 1930s Shanghai slum called Pig Sty Alley, Kung Fu Hustle takes place in a realm where both the laws of gravity and the laws of cartoons apply. Under the former, a body in space plummets to earth; under the latter, a body in space remains suspended until made aware of his situation; under both, a body in space receives a buss from Buddha. The film is set in a movie-referential world where a comedy clown not unlike Buster Keaton is landlord to tenants not unlike Jackie Chan, Daffy Duck and The Bride (Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill)
August 27, 2004 |
The success of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon gained new martial-arts fans, and restored some faith we Five Fingers of Death types had lost in new major motion pictures. Today's release of Hero should keep the genre alive and kicking here in the States. For those looking to build on their martial-arts library, or just get a taste of the style, a number of solid DVDs have been released recently. They range from the classic and familiar to the truly strange: "Enter the Dragon" (Two-Disc Special Edition)