Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jackie Chan has good taste. 

Turns out he's not so hot on the Rush Hour series.

"When we finished filming, I felt very disappointed because it was a movie I didn't appreciate and I did not like the action scenes involved. I felt the style of action was too Americanized and I didn't understand the American humor," Chan said in a blog entry on his Web site seen Sunday.


"Nothing particularly exciting stood out that made this movie special for me ... I spent four months making this film and I still don't fully understand the humor," he said, adding the comedic scenes may be lost on Asian audiences.

There are certainly cultural differences to be considered in the poor translation of Rush Hour's humor, but really, I just see that as an indicator of that series' reliance on tired stereotypes and Chris Tucker shticking rather than real, relatable, human humor. Real humor has a much better chance translating across cultural lines; humor derived from an assumption that the audience understands the same pop culture cues as you is weak sauce.

Chan has been known to be blase about his Hollywood work. He said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press that he uses the high salary he earns in the U.S. to fund Chinese-language projects that truly interest him.

As anyone who knows anything about the business can tell you, this is not exactly an unusual attitude or practice; Ben Affleck even makes this joke in the Kevin Smith-penned Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. "You're like a child. What've I been telling you?" He says to co-star and friend Matt Damon. "You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him."

Cue Affleck and Damon giving the camera a long-suffering look.

Okay, I know, director Brett Ratner is the hackiest hack to ever hack his way out of Hack Town, and he has a monstrous ego to boot, so he's a damn safe and easy (and fun!) target. But I find it damn amusing that Chan is so candid about his lukewarm feelings toward the aggressively mediocre RH series. I find it even more amusing that he seems to be much, much smarter than his director. Chan does the big stupid movies to get funding for the real work, while Brett Ratner will attach his star to this series so much so that he'll actually have the third installment sold as "A Brett Ratner film," as if that means fucking anything to fucking anyone.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A touch of class. 

Link credit to Johnny B.

Make your own here.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Across the Universe 

This movie hit limited release (and a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival) while I was out of town, and thus I was unable to cross-post the review here in a timely fashion. I hope no one made the rash decision of seeing it first...


Understand that I’m only half as interested in Across the Universe as I am in the critical reactions that will appear on opening day. I’m speaking specifically of critics who would be the same age as the characters if those characters were real and alive. Will these lions of critical thinking be suckered in by such rampant nostalgia? Like so much of the pop culture blowback from the 1960s, Across the Universe is a Rorschach test upon which an entire generation’s reaction can be interpreted. It’s unfortunate that the movie in question is ultimately as shallow as it is, but even this can be useful.


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Friday, September 14, 2007

My present to you, while I'm away in Tuscaloosa. ROLL TIDE! 


Friday, September 07, 2007

R.I.P. Madeleine L'Engle 

From the NY Times obituary:

“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”


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Shoot 'Em Up 

When Shoot ‘Em Up begins, we’re confronted with the face of Smith (Clive Owen). We take in his intense, maybe even lunatic eyes. The five o’clock shadow. The wild hair. And just as we begin to appreciate the finer details of this dangerous man gone to seed, he lifts a big carrot up and takes a bite off the tip. By the time the end credits roll, at least four people will die with the assistance of carrots; this is three more carrot-related fatalities than I have seen in the past ten years of movies combined. The first was in Jack Frost, a movie about a serial killer who comes back to life as a snowman. Just let that soak in for a while: In the Venn diagram of film history, Shoot ‘Em Up overlaps with Jack Frost.


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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dear Moviegoers of Dallas: 


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