Yuen Woo-ping

Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger 2

“These are two different experiences, like going to a football game and watching a football game on TV.” Nope. There is no analogy that’s more annoying than the one above, this time spoken by Netflix‘s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. Watching a movie at home is slightly like watching a live sporting event on TV, but going to the movies is nothing like going to a live sporting event, whatsoever. Not even the most lively, infectious, communally synched audience at a movie theater is a fraction of that of a football stadium crowd. And there’s nothing relating moviegoing to the excitement of being there on game day and being part of a unique moment that isn’t replicable. I can say this as someone who loves the theatrical movie experience and pretty much never goes to football games. If there is anything remotely close, it’d be the difference between attending the world premiere of Veronica Mars at SXSW, with the cast and director present on stage, and seeing the movie at home via VOD. Sarandos was of course making the analogy, as it’s often made, in defense of day-and-date releases, claiming that a video-on-demand option of a movie simultaneous to its theatrical opening isn’t any more of an issue than a TV network broadcasting NFL games as they’re happening. This time it’s because Netflix itself has announced its first day-and-date release, for the sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend. The movie will be available for subscribers to stream on its release […]

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matrixtruth-1

Want to feel old? Consider that The Wachowskis‘ groundbreaking science fiction action film turns 15 years old this year. That’s old enough to start shaving and testing for a learner’s permit. Forget what you think about the polarizing sequels, The Matrix helped bridge the sometimes cheesy science fiction films of the 80s and 90s with the more modern, computer-dominated films of the 21st century. It wasn’t necessarily a new idea, but it was rather stunning how the Wachowskis presented it. It’s a staple of cyberpunk plots: man against machine. Still, as often as this device is used, watching the movie 15 years later got me thinking: Was the Matrix system even necessary?

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Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during Fantastic Fest 2010 coverage, but with True Legend seeing its way into theaters this weekend, we’re seeing our way into re-running it. Don’t be afraid of exploring that Fantastic Fest link at the bottom. Woo-ping Yuen has acted in several Hong Kong films, but he’s a legend in the world of martial arts cinema for his work behind the camera. As a director he’s responsible for Iron Monkey, Tai Chi Master, and more. As a fight choreographer he’s internationally renowned for his work on Kill Bill, Fearless, The Matrix, and more. The guy gets around. And the sixty five year-old is still going strong as his latest film as director shows him uninterested in slowing down or staying conventional. True Legend features blistering action, fantasy sequences, and truly menacing villain. Unfortunately, it also opens with its best scene, features an immediately forgettable middle, and continues for about forty minutes after the movie “ends”…

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Yuen Woo Ping is a master of martial arts filmmaking, and his latest is True Legend which hits select theaters in May. We got a chance to see it back at Fantastic Fest, where Rob loved most of the movie (except the final 40 minutes). Fortunately, we got our hands on one of the beautifully choreographed scenes of wire work from the film. Unfortunately, grabbing a screencap was insanely difficult because it moves too damned quick. Watch and take notes for the next time you have dozens of sharp objects thrown at your head.

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Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week looking for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent… this week we’ve got a dinner date with Shakespeare. By way of China. Ang Lee’s phenomenal Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon kicked off a decade of similarly beautiful wuxia epics with films like House Of Flying Daggers, Hero, The Promise, and Curse Of the Golden Flower. Lee’s film remains the best of the bunch by far, but one that comes close to equaling it in visual and aural beauty is The Banquet. It lacks the overwhelming emotion and heartbreaking romance of Lee’s Academy Award winning film, but it does have glorious imagery and cinematography, the always exquisite Zhang Ziyi, and a fine literary pedigree in a story based loosely on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Oh, it also has a lame Americanized title courtesy of the Weinsteins…

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Because we’re all too broke to go to the theater or afford gold-plated rental services, FSR is offering free movies every Monday for the month of September. If this title doesn’t strike your fancy, head to Crackle.com to see what else they have for your viewing pleasure. The selection is great, and even better – the price is right. There’s a lot of talk about what the best martial arts movie of all time is. Do you go classic with Bruce Lee? Do you boldly go modern with Tony Jaa? Do you insist on a Woo-ping flick? While that world is a difficult one to navigate, the genre is one of the easiest to enjoy, and Drunken Master is one of the finest examples of it. Jackie Chan before he was Americanized delivers stunts that would leave Evil Knieval’s jaw on the floor and will leave most of your eyeballs there, too. Plus, it marries two of our favorite past times: getting drunk and fighting. If you love it, you know you want to see it again (even if you use it as an excuse to also watch Snake in Eagle’s Shadow). If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to stop reading my ramblings and go watch it.

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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


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