September 21, 2013 |
HONG KONG - There is a scene near the beginning of Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" in which the main character, the martial arts expert Ip Man, expounds on the ethos of his practice. "Kung fu: two words. One horizontal, one vertical - if you're wrong, you'll be left lying down. If you're right, you're left standing - and only the ones who stand have the right to talk. " Lately it seems filmmakers can't talk enough about Ip Man. Born in southern China in 1893, he was notable for having taught the iconic Bruce Lee and popularizing the Wing Chun school of kung fu. Though he died in poverty and exile in Hong Kong in 1972, Ip has become an almost mythical figure featuring in multiple films in recent years.
September 12, 2013 |
Sometimes, you just need a little help. That saying certainly holds true for Hector Chavez, the proud but beleaguered mixed martial arts fighter facing a hugely stacked deck in the action melodrama "Chavez: Cage of Glory. " More important, it also applies to Hector Echavarria, the film's writer, director and star (he was also an executive producer), who could have used a serious assist with each of his creative roles before striking up his one-man band and going all "Rocky. " Echavarria, a martial arts champion in his native Argentina, takes an über-earnest approach here.
August 23, 2013 |
Wong Kar Wai is known as an international master of moody romance, making films filled with a yearning melancholy. His "In the Mood for Love" was the only film from this century to make the Top 25 of a recent Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films of all time. So news that he was making a kung fu film tracing the life of Ip Man, who would famously go on to train Bruce Lee, caught many of his fans off-guard. Playing now in Los Angeles, the long-awaited film has already been the biggest commercial hit of Wong's career in China, even with its unlikely combination of a rousing martial arts story and a moving tale of romantic longing.
August 22, 2013 |
"The Grandmaster" is like a meal of all desserts, with maybe the tiniest bit of protein thrown in. You'll feel decadent enjoying it, but everything is so tasty, it would be foolish to object. An exercise in pure cinematic style filled with the most ravishing images, "The Grandmaster" finds director Wong Kar-wai applying his impeccable visual style to the mass-market martial arts genre with potent results. He's found a way to join the romantic languor of his earlier films like "In the Mood for Love" with the fury of Bruce Lee. Working with his alter ego, actor Tony Leung, and an impressive Ziyi Zhang - and leaving the action choreography to the masterful Yuen Woo-ping ("The Matrix," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon")
July 28, 2013 |
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock aren't the only ones packing heat. L.A.-based Viver Brasil scorched the Ford Amphitheatre on Saturday with its hybrid moves that mix Bahian Candomblé (white magic) folklorico and modern dance. Founded and directed by husband-and-wife team Luiz Badaró and Linda Yudin, the Afro-Brazilian troupe celebrated its 15 th season with six works in a program dubbed “Intersections/Ajê.” Even Badaró, normally heard (on percussion) and not seen strutting, sashayed alongside guest artist Dona Marivalda, his king to her decked-out queen (huge hoop skirt, crown, velvet cape)
July 19, 2013 |
The Bee Gees are playing on Roy Englebrecht's office radio, but the 67-year-old sports promoter has a saying taped on his wall to assure he's not stuck in days gone by. "Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore. " Southland boxing fans know Englebrecht's name. From 1985 until 2010 he promoted a grass-roots staple of the sport, the "Battle in the Ballroom" club shows at the Irvine Marriott. Future champions Shane Mosley, Genaro Hernandez, Johnny Tapia and Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez all won there - Englebrecht claiming victories too, by routinely pocketing profits that climbed to about $15,000 per show at the end. But the staying power of the quick-thinking entrepreneur - who still works 80-hour weeks in staging more fight promotions in California than anyone else - is about more than just placing a blood sport in a swanky venue.