December 16 - December 23, 2004
January 12 will bring the 2003 Hong Kong film, MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK to Cinema Village for one screening only. A sex comedy send-up of US and Hong Kong action (victims include INFERNAL AFFAIRS and SE7EN) this local comedy is like PORKY'S or MEATBALLS only done with more class and technical polish, and in Cantonese. Plus, it might make you cry if you're a softie.
February 2005 looks like the US release for the rocking Thai action movie, ONG BAK.
The Korean anime SKY BLUE (previously known as WONDERFUL DAYS) will get a theatrical release in February 2005 as well.
read a review: http://www.destroy-all-monsters.com/wonderfuldays.shtml
IN GENERAL RELEASE
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is the latest in Zhang Yimou's candy-colored fast-flying empire of fun. This time, see Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau mix it up over a totally superfluous plot. Story? Who cares! It's pretty, the action rocks, the actors glow and everyone fountains blood at the end. Hooray!
American Museum of the Moving Image
WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH (2003, China, 114 minutes)
Friday, December 17 @ 7:30PM
This mainland Chinese epic Western (set in old timey time China) is a pretty drab affair. There's a certain amount of "let's go on an epic quest" feel to it, and the performances are generally good, but after HERO, well, where's the pretty colors? However, check out the funky "we are all spacemen now" ending. Psychedelic!
read a review:
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
Dec. 17 - 30, daily @ 4:30PM, 7PM, 9:45PM; Friday - Sunday @ 2PM
Zhang Yimou's multi-colored, flying, fighting, party movie goes to exotic Brooklyn for several screenings in the high art comfort of BAM.
read a review:
Broadway Theater (Broadway and 53rd)
The hit British musical, BOMBAY DREAMS is chuffing along. But even a score by A.R. Rahman (including "Chaiya Chaiya" from DIL SE, and "Shakalaka Baby" from NAYAK), a role for Madhur Jaffrey, the biggest Indian cookbook writer in the West, and inflatable Ganesh statues (plus a big fountain) haven't saved it from almost unanimous critical slams. Yikes! I liked it, but I like Bollywood, and if you don't know Bollywood you probably won't like it, and who in the US knows much about Bollywood? Bolly-bummer.
Ticket info: 212-239-6200
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
starts December 17 @ 1PM, 3:15PM, 5:30PM, 7:45PM, 10PM
Everyone's calling this a "horror movie? but don't be fooled. Director Kim Ji-Won (THE FOUL KING, THE QUIET FAMILY) takes all the cliches of Asian horror (the dead wet girls, the weird noises, the burlap bags with something bloody inside, the heavy art direction) and actually says something with them. The movie itself sounds (and looks) like a Bavarian fairy tale (and it's based on a Korean folktale). Two little girls are sent into the woods to live with their wicked stepmother, and things get very weird, very fast. But Director Kim is not trying to scare you with this flick, he's trying to turn your heart inside out. Absolutely wrenching.
for more info:
Daily @ 2PM, 4:35PM, 7:10PM
Le You's follow-up to SUZHOU RIVER (his VERTIGO remix) is this twisted tale of resistance fighters in WWII China. Zhang Ziyi (without make-up and looking so plain) stars as a revolutionary, and various men and women cross her path, most getting turned into bloody targets. Action setpieces and melodrama mix it up with a narrative that's much more oblique and hard-to-follow than it needs to be. It could have been a beautiful masterpiece, instead it's a fascinating lost opportunity.
HUNTER AND THE HUNTED (2004, Japan, 110 minutes)
December 12 - one show only
Directorial debut by Izuru Narushima is a slow, funny, Ozu-paced cops and robbers flick. A small town cop (Koji Yakusho, DOPPLEGANGER) and a cat burglar match wits. Variety calls it "lovingly and leisurely observed" and "haunting". I'll stop now before I sound like a publicity shill.
DOLLS (2002, Japan, 113 minutes)
starting 12/17 @ 3:05PM, 7:20PM
Takeshi Kitano's movie before ZATOICHI is virtually unseen in the West. This famously fractitious collaboration with fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is bafflingly, weird, beautiful and very, very sadistic. It's like a Punch and Judy show staged for Satan. If Kitano is channeling the spirit of Shintaro Katsu to do his ZATOICHI remake, then he's channeling some of the flamboyance of Suzuki Seijun in DOLLS. Only meaner.
GODZILLA CONQUERS THE GLOBE: Japanese Movie Monsters in International Film Art
C.V. Starr East Asian Library
Through December 2004
It's back!!! We had no idea this was running through December, but you can see it now.
A big exhibition of GODZILLA film materials from around the globe. For exhibit times and how to get to the library and find the exhibit please go to the website listed below. Check out the website anyways, because if you can ignore the goofy picture of Godzilla (who looks more like the Loch Ness Monster here) you can also see a map and a case by case listing of every single object in the exhibit. And, apparently, the exhibit is BYOED (Bring Your Own Exhibit Descriptions) so make sure you print out the website as there's almost no signage at the library.
The exhibit extends through three rooms on two different floors; part of it is in the Main Reading Room of the Starr Library, which is open all day during the academic term, but the other two rooms are open only M-F 9AM - 1PM. Curated by Prof. Gregory M. Pflugfelder, who deserves a Nobel prize for his Godzilla scholarship, it'll run through May 15, and the good Prof. Pflugfelder (is that a made-up name?) is organizing a Godzilla symposium on December 4th. A Godzilla symposium?!? Could we possibly live in a better world?
DAYS OF BEING WILD (Hong Kong, 1990, 93 minutes)
Daily at 2:40PM, 6:15PM and 9:40PM
The movie has been held over due to popular demand. Keep going! Keep buying tickets! You can do it!
Wong Kar-wai had a hit on his hands with his first movie, AS TEARS GO BY, and his producers wrote him a blank check for his second movie, DAYS OF BEING WILD. Legend has it that one of the producers promised his wife a diamond bracelet with the profits he anticipated. I mean, come on, every major Hong Kong star in a romance set in the 60’s? What could go wrong? As the producer walked out of the first screening of the film he turned to his wife and said, "Forget about the bracelet." The movie flopped but it's gone on to become a modern classic.
Set your mind on trance and go see what all the sultry, wet fuss is about in this new 35mm print with new subtitles.
read a review:
BORN INTO BROTHELS (USA, 2004)
December 8 - December 21 @ 1:15PM, 3PM, 4:45PM, 6:30PM, 8:15PM, 10PM
A documentary about kids growing up in the Calcutta brothels, this film is saved from a myriad of sins by the fact that the director gave cameras to the kids and let them shoot photos of their own lives. Sure - they'd probably be better off with full tuition to a boarding school, but apparently they love it and some of them are even ace photographers.
(239 East 59th Street, btwn 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
SHWAAS (India, 2004, 107 minutes)
For an Indian movie, SHWAAS has a tin ear for music, but it hails from the Marathi film industry, not from the song and dance capital of Bollywood. India's 2004 submission to the Oscars, SHWAAS is a quite, humble movie about a granddad who brings his grandson to the big city to get a consultation on the kid's eye problems. The doctor diagnoses a rare form of cancer that requires the immediate removal of the kid's eyes....so now what? Wringing subtle comedy from an accumulation of small details, and sporting some impassioned performances this movie ends without any big messages. By the time the credits roll, forms have been filled out, decisions have been made, and consequences have been accepted. The characters meet an uncertain future with as much dignity as they can muster, not because they're heroes, but because they have no choice. A great holiday film.
read a review:
SWADES (India, 2004, 180 minutes)
starts December 17
One of this year's much-anticipated Bollywood blockbusters. From the director of LAGAAN and with music by the incomparable A.R. Rahman, this flick finds a NASA engineer (played by Shah Rukh Khan) returning to his hometown in India to find his childhood nanny. Awww...
SUSAN SONTAG ON JAPANESE FILM, PART 2
October 15 - December 17
Curated by brainiac, Susan Sontag, this series of hand-picked (like cherries and apples) Japanese classics features some stand-out films and some of the same-old same-old. The last time she did this it was successful. Will it be a winner again?
HIMATSURI (Japan, 1985, 126 minutes)
Friday, December 17 @ 6:30PM
A woodcutter resists commercialization creeping into his village. There's also a fire festival.
Korean Cultural Service
LOW LIFE (2004, Korea)
Wednesday, December 22 @ 6:30PM
Im Kwon-Taek's 99th film (and his latest) is all about corruption, gang fighting, and politics in Korea. This will probably be a screening of the DVD
HULCHUL (India, 2004)
This Bollywood remake of the Malayalam hit, THE GODFATHER, is a flat-out, unrepentant comedy about two feuding families. Starring Ashaye Khanna, Jackie Shroff, Amrish Puri and Kareena Kapoor it's being alternately blasted and praised. Here's some hating: "Every actor's mouth is subjected to scatological humour repeatedly. Jokes about nature's calls, unclean bums and spittle litter the narrative..." Unclean bums?!? Yikes! Read more reviews, then you can be the judge. Do you like unclean bums?
This movie has unclean bums:
But I like this movie:
Museum of Modern Art
They're back! MOMA has come back from Australia (or was it Queens?) and they're now in Manhattan, in a beautiful new building, and charging about $5000 per ticket to get in their front doors. Oh well - that's the way life is: the pretty people always get more money. To celebrate their new HQ, Team MOMA - World Art Police, are showing a bunch of movies. Here's what's coming:
NEW TALES OF THE TAIRA CLAN (Japan, 1955, 107 minutes)
Wednesday, January 5 @ 6PM
Sunday, January 9 @ 2:30PM
Kenji Mizoguchi's samurai movie slashes its way into MOMA in a newly restored print.
I'M BOBBY (USA, 2004, 32 minutes)
Wednesday, January 5 @ 7:30
Saturday, January 8 @ 2:30
An animated send-up/homage to Raj Kapoor's evergreen Bollywood classic, BOBBY. Featuring "nonprofessional child actors who wear false moustaches and lip-synch Kapoor dialogue) and imaginative animated sequences." Hmmm...who has a moustache in BOBBY besides the fathers? The catalogue entry also refers to BOBBY as "Bollywood's scandalous answer to ROMEO AND JULIET." Um, scandalous to whom? Okay, so the lead actor wears jump suits - I thought we were mature and didn't think of that as scandalous anymore? Do yourself a favor, there's a great DVD of BOBBY out there that's easily accessible. Buy it, watch it, and be "scandalized" all over again.
NOBODY KNOWS (2004, Japan, 141 minutes)
Thursday, January 6 @ 8:30PM
Kore-eda directs this story about four kids, abandoned by their mother in an apartment in the city. Child actor Yuya Yagira won Best Actor at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for his performance here, and critics have been raving about this movie the way they tend to rave.
YOKO ONO: NEW WORK
Friday, January 14 @ 8PM
Yoko Ono is back to "break down traditional boundaries and fracture entrenched narrative structures." This time she's experimenting with "digital" technology in her latest work called ONOCHORD. Whoa - a performance artist with a digital video camera? I've never heard of such a thing! Unique! Smashing!
There's a special series at Columbia University of lectures on aspects of Japanese art and literature. They're the Donald Keene Center Special Lecture series and you can find updates at: www.columbia.edu/cu/ealac/dkc
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