March 8, 1996 |
Wong Kar-Wai's "Chungking Express" is as fresh as falling rain, a pair of love stories full of pain and humor. Shot fast and sometimes furiously on crowded Hong Kong streets, it speaks in its own highly personal shorthand, expressed through the most fluid of cameras and punctuated with bold whooshes of color and potent bursts of American pop music.
September 2, 2011 |
"Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" finds Tsui Hark, a genre wizard, in top form in this splendid, action-filled period epic. It has opulent, stylized settings of elegance, grandeur and scope, flawless special effects, and awesome martial arts combat staged by the master, Sammo Hung. Yet bravura spectacle never overwhelms either the plot or the key characters. Chang Chia-lu's intricate script bristles with wit and suspense; the film from start to finish is a terrific entertainment.
July 4, 2008 |
HONG KONG -- After 16 years directing Hollywood movies, John Woo is returning to Chinese film with an ambitious two-part historical epic that he hopes will also appeal to Western audiences. "Red Cliff," whose first installment is due out in Asia this month, is based on a famous battle in divided 3rd century China that saw 2,000 ships burned. It draws from a storied period in Chinese history that has spawned comic books and video games. Expectations are high for the movie.
October 30, 1992 |
"The Lover" is easy to watch and even easier to forget. A pleasant enough piece of commercial sensuality from French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, its selling point is its very pretty, clothing-optional sex scenes. Their effectiveness, however, is undercut by an air of self-congratulatory pomposity that the film is way too insubstantial to support.
April 30, 1993 |
John Woo's time is now. Known as the director who never leaves you begging for more, Woo is a veteran of the rowdy, populist Hong Kong cinema who's been embraced both by fickle critics and the financiers of Hollywood. "Hard-Boiled" (at the Monica 4-Plex) not only demonstrates why, it doesn't keep you waiting to find out.
February 2, 2001 |
Given that it settled on a title scant days before its world premiere last year at Cannes, "In the Mood for Love" is remarkably well-named. A swooningly cinematic exploration of romantic longing, both restrained and sensual, luxuriating in color, texture and sound, this film raises its fascination with enveloping atmosphere and suppressed emotion to a ravishing, almost hypnotic level.
November 14, 1992 |
"The Lover" is easy to watch and even easier to forget. A pleasant enough piece of commercial sensuality from French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, its selling point is its very pretty, clothing-optional sex scenes. Their effectiveness, however, is undercut by an air of self-congratulatory pomposity that the film is way too insubstantial to support. In this art-house erotica mixing of simulated love making with strained seriousness, "The Lover" (at the Park) follows a path of proven success.
August 1, 1996 |
With his Oscar-nominated "The Scent of Green Papaya," writer-director Tran Anh Hung took us into a French-Indochinese world of ritual and tradition so enclosed that he was able to shoot it on a sound stage in France, using several interiors that provided only glimpses of narrow streets outside.
January 7, 2005 |
The opening scenes of Wong Kar-Wai's 1991 "Days of Being Wild" feature the unnervingly handsome and conceited Yuddy, played by Leslie Cheung, as an insistent suitor to Su Lizhen, Maggie Cheung's apprehensive snack bar clerk. He gradually wears her down, warning that the moment she gives in -- 3 p.m., June 16, 1960, to be exact -- will forever be etched in their memories. It certainly will remain in ours.
November 14, 1994 |
Pablo Dotta's "The Dirigible," Uruguay's first 35mm feature in 30 years, screens tonight at 9 in the AFI's eighth Americas Film Festival, which runs through Thursday at the Monica 4-Plex. It's a quirky political fable that luckily is as engaging as it is elliptical. Its point of departure is the highly public suicide by pistol of an Uruguayan president of the '30s in the face of a coup d'etat; why, Dotta wonders, didn't any of the news photographers on hand capture the actual moment?