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Archive for March 26th, 2012

by Jaime Grijalba.

(China, 92 min)

There’s a whole industry, sub-genre. fascination and overall love for epic-period-war-dramas from the land of Asia, specially when we talk about Mainland China, where this is more like the norm than the exception regarding big budget films (regarding exportation, that is, it is rare to see a Chinese romantic comedy or heavy tearjerker or anything that is not blown out of proportion in every way it can show, production wise), at least I think there is, because every other film is a period piece with long costumes and accurate (ha) description of events of a certain era or dinasty of China. I mean, there must be some kind of love or need, a market specialized in these kind of films that at this rate are becoming common place and not as surprising as before. I mean, take the chinese classics from the 90’s that started the craze, continuing down the path with the beautiful wuxia entries and the degeneration that started with what I like to call ‘costume porn’, a film that only is made (apparently, at least) to feature its accurate period setting as well as its lavish costumes and colours. Now, I’m not dissing any specific film, but when it gets into a trend, the bad films start to appear, and that is when a revolution is needed: we either need something to break the mold, something raw and dirty… or we just need to rework other themes and more interesting experiences inside these big budgeted costume epic dramas of war times… and the second is what this film does.

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Screen capture from "The Hunger Games" directed by Gary Ross and based on best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins

by Sam Juliano

June weather in March.  Pink and white blossoms in bloom.  Air conditioners running in full force.  Everything’s gone haywire, but many are all smiles with all the outdoor options and the likelihood of a good time ahead during spring break.  The Major League Baseball season is just days away, and Easter Sunday is just two weeks ahead.  The Tribeca Film Festival launches on April 17 and runs until the 29, and as usual Dennis Polifroni’s friends there will enable WitD staff to again take in a number of the event’s most desirable features.  Negotiations are underway to sort things out, but as was the case the previous years, screenings will be conducted at the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas and other nearby facilities.

At Wonders in the Dark, it’s business as usual with regular contributions by the site’s staff offering up some stellar prose, including Peter Lenihan’s defining essay on John Ford’s silent western classic The Iron Horse, Jamie Uhler’s buffo treatment of the British rock group “T. Rex” and Bob Clark’s moving remembrence of Moebius.  As always Allan led the way on Tuesday and Friday with two new ‘Fish Obscuro’ entries, and his popular Sunday survey of cinema history from the earliest years to the present.  This week he’s asking voters to consider 1932, a banner year for the movies, and particularly for American cinema.  Everyone is encouraged to cast their votes on the post thread, which appeared yesterday.

An unusually busy week with film openings instigated a spirited run at the cinemas that resulted in the negotiation of seven (7) films, including a special TCM one-night nationwide anniversary run of the beloved classic Casablanca, complete with interviews and introduction by film historian Robert Osbourne.  Lucille accompanied me to all the screenings except the aforementioned Casablanca, which I saw with Dennis and my son Sammy at our Edgewater multiplex: (more…)

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