August 10, 2013 |
BEIJING - Building cinematic bridges between the U.S. and China is a hot topic in Hollywood these days - American studios are adding special scenes set in China ("Iron Man 3"), casting Chinese performers ("Transformers 4") and erasing Chinese bad guys ("Red Dawn"). Much less is heard - on these shores, at least - about how some Chinese filmmakers are looking to internationalize their movies and narrow the East-West gap. But in a chilly warehouse on the outskirts of Beijing, actress-writer-director Eva Jin was busy last autumn doing just that on the set of her latest romantic comedy, "One Night Surprise.
August 2, 2013 |
Though not credited as a remake, "Breaking the Girls" takes the basic premise of "Strangers on a Train," the Patricia Highsmith novel famously adapted to the screen by Alfred Hitchcock - I'll kill for you if you'll kill for me - and transports it to the modern day. Law student Sara (Agnes Bruckner) has had a run of misfortune brought on in no small way by a jealous classmate, costing her a job, a scholarship and a place to live. She also meets the rich, troubled Alex (Madeline Zima), setting in motion a series of events to solve all their problems.
August 1, 2013 |
An explosion, a drug overdose, a car wreck, an undercover sting. All happen in such quick succession in the crime thriller "Drug War," the sensation is like being dropped into the middle of something much larger than random villainy. That is exactly what prolific Hong Kong director Johnnie To intended. The filmmaker treats "Drug War" like one of those high-profile cases that accidentally falls into law enforcement's lap. The film begins in Jinhai, a city in the southwest Chinese province of Guizhou and makes its way to one of the ports that a major drug cartel is considering for its export trade.
July 30, 2013 |
SANTA BARBARA - Midori is a formal and famously unflappable violinist. I don't know whether she is fearless, but she may be that too. She came to our attention at age 14 in 1986 as a soloist for Leonard Bernstein in his "Serenade. " She broke two strings during the performance, but nothing fazed her. Bernstein bowed to her afterward in awe. She's as committed a musician as you will find. She never lets an audience down. But there can be a downside to her dedication and her striving for perfection.
July 28, 2013 |
A refresher course in high school geometry isn't a prerequisite for "A Parallelogram," the play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Norris running at the Mark Taper Forum. But it certainly wouldn't hurt. The four actors in Norris' strange, ambiguous domestic drama serve as the corners of a narrative quadrilateral that keeps shifting and changing shape, at times threatening to break apart and enter another dimension. The more relevant course work might be advanced geometry of the non-Euclidean variety.
July 26, 2013 |
The controversial -- and nudity-filled -- video for Robin Thicke's " Blurred Lines " has attracted so much attention lately that one might assume it's behind the song's seven-week stint atop the Hot 100, an impressive reign that Billboard described this week as the longest so far in 2013. But "Blurred Lines" isn't just inescapable online -- it's also a fixture on the airwaves. According to a press release issued Friday by Thicke's label, Interscope Records, "Blurred Lines" has "broken the record for the highest radio audience ever recorded.
July 23, 2013 |
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Kaleidescape makes a highly regarded line of home media servers, but it faces at least two major hurdles to growth. First, it's been embroiled in a years-long battle with the entertainment industry over the legality of its core products. And second, the price tag on those products -- the entry-level Kaleidescape system costs around $15,000 -- confines them to the ultra-luxury niche. On Tuesday, the company is making a significant step toward hurdling the second barrier by releasing a $4,000 media server, dubbed the Cinema One. That's still a bridge too far for the typical DVD renter, but it's no longer out of reach for homeowners who splurge on custom home theater installations.
July 18, 2013 |
The conventional wisdom holds that summer is for teens - hence so many superheroes, fart jokes and massive pieces of machinery - and that adults better wait until fall if they want to visit the multiplex. "Red 2" is set to turn the conventional wisdom upside down. Three years after the first "Red" movie put guns into the hands of actors of a certain age and grossed nearly $200 million worldwide, Friday's sequel arrives squarely targeting patrons in their 50s and 60s. Yet even though the first film was a solid hit, the second installment was not considered a sure thing until "Red" also generated outsized DVD receipts.
July 17, 2013
"Pacific Rim" was not a big hit out of the starting gate last week, and perhaps that's understandable. Unless you are a fan of the "Godzilla"-influenced branch of Japanese popular cinema, the story of ferocious creatures called Kaiju facing off against massive robots called Jaegers may not sound all that appealing. Yet underestimating filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and what he can do on screen is something done at your peril. He's so accomplished a creator of images, so adept at humanizing the monstrous, so fearless an architect of awe, that the scenarios he throws himself into are invariably difficult to resist.
July 17, 2013 |
ORLANDO, Fla. - Civil rights leaders at the NAACP national convention Wednesday - Martin Luther King III and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - called the acquittal in 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's slaying a setback for race relations - and the audience agreed. In separate speeches to the gathering of several thousand, and in interviews, the trio called for an end to racial profiling and to Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law. Some in attendance murmured, "That's right" or "Amen.