April 22, 2014

Tag Archives: Cinema of Japan

Spotlight on the Stars: Scarlett Johansson

After last week’s look at Jennifer Lawrence, I think this is now going to become another weekly series for me, tentatively called “Spotlight on the Stars”. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend or just because I feel they deserve a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (which is technically the second one in the series, though I didn’t have a snappy name for the inaugural Lawrence one), I wanted to take a look at Scarlett Johansson. To some, she’s merely a pretty face, but when I look at her, not only do I see a beautiful woman, I also see a criminally underrated actress. From her early days as a child star of sorts to this very weekend when she has a wonderfully complex leading role in an independent film called Under the Skin coming out, Johansson has way more to offer than some realize. Folks also don’t always catch on to why she’s chosen some of the projects that she has, but one look at the filmmakers that she’s acted for will give you some clue as to her decisions.
Johansson has worked with directors like Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Brian De Palma, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, and Joss Whedon. You can argue that one or two of the movies she did with these auteurs aren’t particularly great, but she’s certainly got an eye for working with talented people. That’s usually the mark of a strong actress with a good head on her shoulders. No one makes perfect decisions all the time, but even when the project might be misguided, usually there’s an A-list director that’s been a part of the decision to sign on.
Just as an actress, she’s got more range than a lot of people give her credit for. Compare her performances in Her, Lost in Translation, Match Point, and now with Under the Skin, and it’s as if there’s a different actress on display each time. Those four Golden Globe nominations didn’t happen by accident, even if sadly it never translated into an Oscar nod. The Academy in particular missed the boat on a nom for either Lost in Translation or Match [...]

‘Housewives of OC’ star cuts her hair short

HollywoodNews.com: For once not all the women on ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ will have long blonde hair as Alexis Bellino recently chopped her hair much shorter.
Bellino recently revealed that she took out of extensions and cut her hair in a style she has been wanting to do for some time, states UsMagazine.com. “I wanted to do this cut for over a year! After last season nothing scares me! Thoughts?” Bellino said about her new edgy bob.
However, she received some backlash as many felt like she copied Gretchen Rossi who took out her extensions and cut her hair a bit shorter not too long ago.
But she set the record straight: “Let’s just put this fire out now . . . I’m probably putting extensions back in 365 days from now and I’m not copying anyone. I’m calling it now. LOL.”
What do you think about her change?
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Venice film panel to reward best 3-D feature

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: With the Venice Film Festival prepping to open tomorrow with the world premiere of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” organizers have announced a continued commitment to 3-D technology, bridging the gap between classic and modern cinema.
Takashi Shimizu (“Ju-on,” “The Grudge”) heads the festival’s jury panel, which will select the best 3-D film offering. Shimizu will be joined by Village Voice film critic Jim Hoberman and stereoscopic specialist David Zamagni.
Some of the films in contention for Venice’s 3-D award, presented in partnership with Persol 3-D, include James Cameron’s “Avatar,” Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and Pixar’s brilliant “Toy Story 3.”
We’ll have plenty more on Venice once the festival kicks off on Wednesday. It runs Sept. 1-11. For more information, visit http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema.
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Fantastic Fest announces first wave of programming

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: With the majority of the film community turning its collective attentions to San Diego for the brewing publicity storm that is Comic-Con, the good folks at Fantastic Fest in Austin have decided to steal a little thunder of their own by announcing the first wave of programming.
The sixth edition of Fantastic Fest, which describes itself as a film festival with the boring parts cut out, is scheduled for Sept. 23-30 in Austin, Texas. The fest will include:
Bedevilled (2010)
Director: Cheol-soo Jang, South Korea, 115 minutes
If you beat, brutalize, dehumanize and torment a country girl for her entire life, take note: when she reaches the breaking point, you’d best hide the farm implements.
Corridor (2009)
Directors: Johan Lundborg & Johan Storm, Sweden, 80 min
Lonely medical student Frank is pleased with his flat, a quiet place to focus on his coming exams. But when he meets the girl upstairs, his peace and quiet, his sanity and his possibly even his life become jeopardized.
The Dead (2010)
Directors: Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford South Africa, 100 min
After his plane crashes in the South African bush, Rob Freeman (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) joins forces with Prince David Osei (a superstar actor in his native Ghana) to cross the vast desert by any means necessary. A daunting task under normal circumstances becomes particularly challenging after the zombie apocalypse.
Gallants (2010)
Directors: Derek Kwok & Clement Cheng, Hong Kong, 98 minutes
The funniest, most ass-kicking, hard-rocking, pedal-to-the-metal movie of the year. It’s COCOON with kung fu! (New York Asian Film Festival)
Golden Slumber (2010)
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura, South Korea, 139 minutes
Last year, Yoshihiro Nakamura’s FISH STORY saved the world from certain annihilation and became the word-of-mouth hit of the festival. This year, Nakamura’s back with another ode to the human connection, GOLDEN SLUMBER, a brain-melting thriller send-up that’s two parts THE BIG CHILL, three parts BOURNE IDENTITY and a million parts awesome. (New York Asian Film Festival)
Ip Man 2 (2010)
Director: Wilson Yip, Hong Kong, 108 minutes
It’s a rousing Canto-fable, a Hong Kong empowerment movie , a return to old school martial arts filmmaking with AVATAR-era production values, and on its opening weekend in Hong Kong it beat IRON MAN 2 at the box office like a redheaded stepchild. (New York Asian Film Festival)
Life and Death of Porno Gang (2009)
Director: Mladen Djordjevic, Serbia, 90 minutes
Adult movie director Marko steals money from his mobster producer Cane to create his masterpiece: an experimental black and [...]

Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo II and III picked up by IFC Films

HollywoodNews.com: IFC Films, the leading American distributor of independent and foreign films, announced today that the company has acquired North American rights to two films from director Shinya Tsukamoto’s acclaimed Tetsuo trilogy: TETSUO III: THE BULLET MAN, the third installment in the series and the first new Tetsuo film in nearly 20 years, and TETSUO II: THE BODY HAMMER (1992), the second film in the series. The series tells the story of a man who, upon getting angry, becomes a human weapon. The company plans an early 2011 release for both films.
Shinya Tsukamoto was among a group of directors responsible for a revival of innovative and daring Japanese cinema beginning in the early 1980’s. TETSUO I: THE IRON MAN (1989), Tsukamoto’s first major feature and a now legendary cyberpunk classic, was one of the seminal films made during this period. The Tetsuo films have won worldwide acclaim for their inventive visual effects and industrial themes, which are often cited as an influence by a generation of Western filmmakers including David Cronenberg, Quentin Tarantino, and Gaspar Noé, as well as Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.
TETSUO III: THE BULLET MAN, Tsukamoto’s first English-language film, stars Eric Bossick as Anthony, a young man who was born and raised in Tokyo and is now raising a family there. What should be a happy time in Anthony’s life is not: his wife is crippled by anxiety and unable to leave the house. She also has recurring nightmares about a horrible fate awaiting the pair’s young son, Tom. Those nightmares turn out to be prophetic when Tom is cruelly run down in the street. Anthony flies into a terrible rage, and soon discovers that the power of his emotion transforms him into a strange, metallic monster. This delights the mysterious man who ran down Anthony’s son, a man who now continually taunts Anthony from a distance.
An early version of TETSUO III: THE BULLET MAN had its world premiere at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. After Venice the filmmaker made revisions and launched a new cut, which debuted at the 2010 TriBeCa Film Festival. The film has the aggressive visuals, special effects and soundtrack that are Tsukamoto’s trademark while also being the first Tetsuo installment with a strong narrative.
Director Shinya Tsukamoto expressed pleasure at having the multifaceted independent distributor introduce TETSUO III: THE BULLET [...]