The Karate Kid

Justin Bieber

News popped up last spring that Mark Wahlberg was planning to make a dramatic movie with tween pop sensation Justin Bieber. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, because why would Mark Wahlberg, an actor who spent years trying to shrug off his own reputation as a music industry pop act, want to dive back into that can of worms by appearing in something alongside the current flavor of the week? He must have his reasons, however, because MTV recently asked the actor/producer a few questions about the project, and it sounds like it’s still on.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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This Week in Blu-ray

The winds of change are blowing here in Austin, Texas. With Fantastic Fest over, a tad-bit of emptiness has washed over the land and left me yearning for more great genre experiences. Which brings me to this week’s selection of Blu-ray releases — one that includes a few unique genre flicks and one lovable turd that reminds me of a documentary that was launched into the stratosphere by the film community here in Austin. Also, there’s this animated movie from the Mouse House that will absolutely blow your mind on Blu-ray. It’s as if the cosmos has looked down upon us in our post-Fantastic Fest haze and said “hey, here are some good movies to satiate your need for the good stuff.” It’s a week full of releases that are delivered right on time, just as the leaves start to change and Halloween begins to peek its head around the corner. Time to spray blood on the walls and fall in love again with a tale as old as time, or some other confused multi-metaphor. It’s another round of This Week in Blu-ray.

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Culture Warrior

For better or worse, this summer of movies is over, and now we’re in the early-Fall transition into the inevitable season of so-called “serious” awards-friendly films, films that supposedly say a lot about human nature and our time and place as a culture. However, I’ve always contended that it is often the films that seemingly exist only for “entertainment’s sake” that have the most to say about culture, mainly because they operate in such a way that allows us to turn our minds off, passively consume them, and therefore go along unquestionably with the socio-political presumptions explicitly or implicitly embedded within their narratives. Such films that purport to exist solely for entertainment value often end up telling us a lot about how and what we think about the present, and it just so happens that these types of films are most often relegated to the summer months. Summer movies in 2010 ranged from highbrow to lowbrow, blockbuster to indie to sleeper, with head-scratchers and brain-cell-killers alike, but many of these films, intentionally or not, had something to say or assume about the present cultural moment.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Eric D. Snider from Cinematical, Film.com, and ericdsnider.com joins us, we get caught with weed, and we try to fight off the uprising of the Promotional Movie Screening Regulars.

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The Karate Kid

Remember back on Thursday when I said I didn’t see too many more $50-million plus opening hitting our theaters before the end of the Summer? You can scratch that, because The Karate Kid has already proven me wrong.

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Harald Zwart Karate Kid

His next film, a remake of The Karate Kid, is the kind of movie most web-savvy movie fans might not expect much from (or might downright despise the very idea of it as another studio-insisted reboot). With those expectations, the film is sure to surprise more than a few people, and, again, Zwart will be one of the main reasons for that.

I was fortunate enough to speak with the director about a variety of topics – the beauty of China, getting Will Smith to carry sound equipment, and the possibility of getting your ass kicked by an 11 year old.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hops in a time machine to 1984 to grade The A-Team and The Karate Kid.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil hop in a time machine and travel back to 1984 to relive the glory days of The A-Team and The Karate Kid. Then they lay down a Fat Guy Five about 80s TV shows that should get their own movie before learning the true meaning of Mr. Belvedere.

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Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) have been relocated (with no other real financial options) to China, where Sherry will be working in the automobile plant there. When Dre gets his eyes blackened by another boy on playground, he becomes obsessed with learning how to defend himself, and finds an unwilling mentor in maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). Dre falls in puppy love with Meiying (Wenwen Han), but he faces difficult training ahead and the threat of fighting his attacker in an open kung fu tournament.

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The A-Team

Shrek’s reign at the top of the charts is sure to come to an end this weekend, and two new films are battling it out to see which can take the crown. Will it be Jackie Chan’s mastery of karate or Quintin ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s skills at driving a big ass van that wins the weekend?

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Ralph Macchio Pat Morita Karate Kid

You can’t talk about The Karate Kid — new or old — without mentioning Ralph Macchio. Or Pat Morita, for that matter. Without him, there would have been no 80s classic underdog story for Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan to rehash. And all the while, I’m sure many of you have wondered what Macchio has been up to. The folks at Funny or Die have the answer: Ralph is trying to become Hollywood’s next bad boy.

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Some days I lament moving away from Austin. On those days, I normally go eat at Whataburger and In-n-Out since Tucson has both, and I laugh and laugh. Still, this is a mild concession compared to missing out on the Alamo Drafthouse, the Highball, or Saturday Afternoon Jello Wrestling Hosted By Neil Miller at Reject HQ. However, it’s in Austin that a man has launched a protest against the constant stream of remakes coming out of Hollywood. Take that, Karate Kid!

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Jaden Smith The Karate Kid

They should do this for every action movie, not just the ones that involve Jackie Chan’s ill-advised facial hair experiments and Jaden Smith’s desperate attempts to take over the family business. Sony Pictures has released a trailer for The Karate Kid that is dedicated to one thing and one thing alone: action. Whether it’s young Chinese kids doing kick-flipping Parkour or Jackie Chan hitting Jaden Smith with what appears to be a broom handle and a boxing glove (ouch), it’s all about action.

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June 2010 Movie Guide

Now that American Idol and Lost are over, you have the entire month of June free for movies. What the hell are you going to watch?

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It’s been a while since This Week in Blu-ray has been so late. But traveling got the best of me this past week, and here we are. Sure, it’s Thursday. But my most loyal readers will have waited, especially in a week like this, when it could very well go either way on so many of the new releases.

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Sony Pictures has released the full theatrical trailer for their upcoming reboot, The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. And while this trailer does look like it might eventually turn into a movie worth of the moniker, I can’t help but feel as if The Kung Fu Kid might have been a more appropriate title for the film.

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Fear not, poster lovers, This Week in Movie Posters is back. And just in time, as I’m about to embark on a journey to redecorate the walls of my own personal man cave with posters.

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Columbia Pictures has released the first teaser for the upcoming remake The Karate Kid, the rebirth of a fan favorite from the 1980s, which will star Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. And oddly, it doesn’t suck.

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KungFuKid

Warning: These pictures are not suitable for anyone with OH MY GOD OUTTA THE WAY I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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