Movie of the Day – A Woman, A Gun, and A Noodle Shop

Have you ever thought to yourself that while you were watching the sublime Coen Brothers film “Blood Simple” that there would be a different take on the film?  Maybe wondering what it would look like if say a famous international director decided to pay tribute to the movie with his/her vision of the story line?  Well folks your prayers are answered as Zhagng Yimou decided  that Blood Simple needed to be remade with some Asian period piece flair and today I will talk about the exciting and wonderful remake, A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop.

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Movie of the Day – Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

One of the things I love about Netflix, other than the obvious, is that they are able to feed my documentary cravings from time to time.  I talked about some of my favorite films of the past year back in January and I made sure to split the favorites amongst feature films and documentary films.  Ai Weiwei made it on the top ten list of documentary films for last year, a list that included several personal favorites and a few Oscar nominated documentaries.  Ai Weiwei stood out  to me the most for the topical reason of the current events that were taking place with its subject Ai Weiwei.  A political activist that was currently under house arrest by the Communist regime of China.  A dissident that dared speak out on a national level about his country and in doing so, makes him of the biggest, most powerful figures in China due to his international fame.

This documentary looked to highlight the man who dared to speak out against the government, an artist that uses his art to make a commentary on the society he lives in.  A daring and dangerous prospect since China doesn’t seem too keen on people speaking out against them, so utilizing his fame to cast the light on his country is a ballsy movie.  Never Sorry doesn’t shy away from getting at the core of this amazing individual, who’s work is polarizing and provocative.  You get to see a side of the country that isn’t seen by most people, as Weiwei exposes the hidden side of life and showcases it to the world through art and his recordings.

Below is an excerpt from my original review, hopefully you will take a look at this movie on Netflix Instant as well.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is, by proxy of Alison Klayman, one of his best works.  A visual recording of what his life is like in an increasingly hostile government controlled country.  His character defines who he is, a man who doesn’t falter and never stops breaking the old ways and rules of the country.  His art, from breaking a priceless Han dynasty vase to painting product brands on the side of century old vases, shows a defiance, but calculated move to get people to pay attention to what he has to say.  Weiwei is often quiet and reserved in the privacy of his house with his numerous cats, but his actions are the loudest voice of dissent.  It’s the quiet, tranquil moments of Ai Weiwei’s life that highlight the stark reality he goes out and faces with the government when he leaves his house.  Tender moments with his loved ones are then dwarfed by police brutality and the threat of prison.

Full review here.

Weiwei

Movie Review – Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

I remember being in Beijing two months before the Olympics were to take place in the majestic city, one where economic boom was paralleled with a old way of life.  The Bird’s Nest was the crowning achievement of architecture in the bustling city, a gorgeous, twisted structure that was unlike anything in China.  Ai Weiwei was the idealist and artist behind the design of the stadium, a bear of a man who might seem imposing at first glance, but is soft spoken and kind.  His art and life are at the center of documentary by Alison Klayman in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

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Movie of the Day – The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

Now I have recently been watching the new trailer for The Rza’s kung-fu epic “The Man with the Iron Fists” over and over again.  It’s basically a dream come true in that The Rza has finally made his throwback epic to the days of Shaw Brother studio classics.  If you haven’t seen the trailer, I suggest clicking on the link I provided and indulge in what will be greatness.  With that said I went to back to my extensive collection of movies and picked out today’s film because why the hell not.  The Rza’s movie isn’t due out for a while and I need a kung-fu fix like a junkie, so why not watch the grand daddy of all kung-fu films with The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

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Movie of the Day – Lust, Caution

Time for sexy spy, thriller, Asian film, which I am certain that statement has filled some niche fetish out there, but I am talking about a classy sexy spy thriller.  Lust, Caution is another phenomenal from Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) that is both a historical, period piece and also a finely tuned spy thriller.  The film though is more so remembered for the controversy that it courted as it was rated NC-17 for explicit sex scenes.  Sadly this movie will be remembered for that fact rather than the beautiful acting and engaging story.  It’s weird that if you bring up this film, the sex scenes are probably the only thing that people will recall if they have heard of the movie.  What the fuck is the deal with people being hung up about a little acrobatic sex in movies?  Well I want to do this film justice and also talk about the sex scenes for some additional page views.

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Movie of the Day – Fist of Legend

I haven’t done a kung fu flick article in some time now and find that fact as a good excuse to write one today.  Now I have a rather expansive list of kung fu films I have seen that I can call upon.  The problem is which one do you write about.  I could have gone with something from Shaw Bros. ear or picked up some of the main stream martial arts films.  I decided on one that has a rather wide reaching story and also a cultural importance.  When I say cultural importance, I am more or less referring to the influence that the movie has on future films that look to emulate the film or feed off of it.  Fist of Legend is probably one of the best kung fu films around and also the movie that really launched Jet Li’s career and got fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping to be recognized as one of the premier fight choreographers.  Fast action, intense fight scenes, and rather rich back story set against the second Sino-Japanese War.

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Movie of the Day – Kung Fu Hustle

Everyone likes cartoon, unless you are one of “those” people, and everyone likes action movies, unless you are one of “those” people.  So if you are adverse to liking either of those two things, then this is obviously is not for you.  Stephen Chow managed to create something incredibly unique, so much so that it is able to cross genres and capture the eyes of a lot of movie goers.  For the longest time we have associated Chinese cinema with Kung Fu and period pieces.  If you are a true cinephile, you are probably familiar more with the Shaw Brothers era martial arts flicks or the Hing Kong action movies of John Woo.  Others might be familiar with some of the slap stick comedy films that is marred in cheesy, low budget affairs.  They aren’t the most appealing thing about Chinese cinema, but instead of making comedy that is culturally relevant to just China, Stephen Chow created the biggest potluck comedy film China has ever seen (at least to me anyways considering the massive amount of Chinese cinema I have been exposed too). So what is it that he made that is so astounding?

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Movie of the Day – Jade Warrior

If there was anything special that I got out of my time spent abroad in other countries, besides friends and some stories, is that I was able to experience world cinema in actual foreign countries.  So while I was in Finland visiting a friend, I was watching some television and came across a trailer for a rather interesting movie.  Jadesoturi, was a mix of Chinese wuxia and a Finnish Kalevala mythology.  I had to have the latter explained to me as I don’t even know what Kalevala is and the only words I knew at the time were phrases to pick up women and order another beer.  Both were useful in their own rights, but from a movie fan perspective, I had to know more about this movie.  So I was excited that it was playing at the local theater in Turku, Finland, but my American mind didn’t comprehend that the foreign language film in Finnish and Chinese were only going to be subtitled in Finnish, so no luck there.  I did finally get a chance to watch this movie 3 years later and well, it was worth it.

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