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'The Grandmaster': A Punched-Up Kung-Fu Saga
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In The Mood For Leung



Joined: 13 Jan 2010
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Location: State of Nirvana, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats and best of luck to TG Applause

As for the original version vs US version- I would prefer WKW's original vision- the vision he intended for others to see as well.
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Jamaica



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd probably prefer the one he didn't feel he had the time to tell.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oscar predictions 2014: The Grandmaster

http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/sep/24/oscar-predictions-2014-grandmaster



Our series continues with a look at Wong Kar-wai's martial arts epic, Hong Kong's representative in the race

The Grandmaster
Production year: 2013
Country: Hong Kong
Runtime: 130 mins
Directors: Wong Kar-Wai
Cast: Tony Leung, Woo-ping Yuen, Zhang Ziyi

What's it all about?

A two-hour-plus treatment of the complicated life of Ip Man, wing chun master and legendary teacher, who died in 1972 aged 79. Apart from his own accomplishments, Ip gained posthumous renown after one of his students, Bruce Lee, achieved worldwide fame as a film actor. With Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in the lead role, The Grandmaster covers his tumultuous early life, against the backdrop of the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, up until his death. It's full of elaborate, emotionally charged confrontations with Ip's challenger Gong Er (played by Zhang Ziyi).
How did it happen?

After the 2007 fiasco that was My Blueberry Nights, director and sunglasses devotee Wong Kar-wai has stayed quiet, releasing only Ashes of Time Redux, a reworking of his 1994 film Ashes of Time. He spent three years researching martial arts and shooting this one, which was bankrolled largely by American producer Megan Ellison. China got the full 130-minute cut of the film but the US – at the behest of Harvey "Scissorhands" Weinstein – saw one that came in well under two hours.

Nominations it wants

Best foreign language would be its most likely berth, and it's just cleared the first hurdle, having been picked by Hong Kong as its representative. With Weinstein's legendary campaigning skills, you'd expect it to be there on awards night. Any other noms would be a long shot.

What it might win

As above. Hong Kong has never won the best foreign Oscar. At this stage the smart money is on Saudi Arabia's Wadjda. But they don't have Weinstein in their corner.

Reasons to fall for it

It really is an amazing-looking, brilliantly-made film, a thoroughly Wongian (or should that be Wongesque?) take on a familiar, easily-digestible genre. Wong, for better or worse, remains a proper auteur, who goes his own way; the Academy may well see this as an opportunity to say thanks.

Reasons it might fail

The Grandmaster is no Crouching Tiger: where the latter was all high-bounding joie de vivre, Wong's film is solemn, stately, and not exactly easy to disentangle. The purist art-cinema crowd will admire it, but it will struggle to entice the Hollywood mainstream.

When can we see it?

It's been and gone in the US, though on past form there may be a small re-release to snare Oscar-related buzz. No UK release appears to be imminent, sadly, so unless you were in Berlin you may not get to see it on the big screen.

In six words

In the mood for kung fu.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

License to Bore

Getaway stalls out and The Grandmaster kicks itself senseless

By Wesley Morris on August 29, 2013

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9611528/getaway-grandmaster

I'm not someone who derives satisfaction from solving a movie's plot before the movie solves it for me. I'm paying for the satisfaction of surprise. I'm paying for a movie to mock my sense of cleverness or compound it with some cleverness of its own.

You're always five scenes ahead of Getaway, and it's exasperating. Euro-baddies have kidnapped the wife of a traumatized former race car driver (Ethan Hawke) and commanded him, by cell phone, to steal a Mustang rigged with surveillance cameras and drive it around Bulgaria in a way that causes maximum chaos. If he refuses, they'll kill her. But he has no idea what their ultimate goal is. He's the labor.

It's not long until Selena Gomez hops into the passenger seat (she happens to be the car's rightful owner and she appears to be wearing a Tigers baseball cap). Gomez explains the technology pulling Hawke's strings (she happens to be a computer genius, too). First she does so with the exasperation of a tween teaching her dad to text. Then she does it with the relief of an actor who remembered her lines ("It's not encrypted, it's uploaded to a public server!"). Anyway, now if she gets out the car, the wife still dies.

Once Gomez deduces what all this driving is about and tells Hawke what her father does for a living and seems to have put the bad guys' whole scheme together, you start to change your mind about what an obnoxious brat she's been, because she cracked the case. But instead of making it all explicit, she says: "I just wish I knew what he was after." This is not what you want to hear from a woman initially famous for her TV wizardry.

But if Gomez were allowed to be as smart in this movie as she would be while watching it, Getaway would last 35 minutes. As it is, this hour and a half reeks of contractual obligation. Why were Hawke and his non-Bulgarian wife living in Sofia in the first place? Was their tax break as good as the one for the film? The production couldn't have enjoyed outstanding police protection since the depiction of Bulgarian law enforcement makes the Keystone Kops seem like the FBI.

The whole movie should end after Hawke's first driving stunt, since no police department would allow that car to get away. Yet that Mustang escapes again and again and again. When a pair of officers gets close, Hawke drives into a cul-de-sac and shuts off the engine. And they don't see him. The bad guys have more success chasing that Mustang than the police do.

If the movie is as much a commercial for the Mustang Shelby GT500 as it appears, be sure to ask your dealer for the model that's indestructible, bulletproof, and never runs out of gas. If movies need us to suspend disbelief, you have to supply your own clothes hangers for Getaway. The budget is an alleged $18 million, but that can't be right. Half the film has been shot with webcams. Nothing that looks this terrible should cost even $18,000.

This is a movie that makes gruel of better hits — Die Hard, Taken, Drive, nearly anything with Jason Statham. But in each of those vehicles, the star got to demonstrate starriness. You keep waiting for the film to let Hawke flash some wit or grit, but he doesn't. Gomez isn't the actor he is, but she's been given more to do. She's the hero; the child of Sandra Bullock in Speed.

But even that feels more like an accident than a strategy. The director is a Canadian schlock producer named Courtney Solomon. Instead of devising a visual strategy, he just randomly dropped cameras and used whatever they captured. That explains why the movie's villain — who's shown from behind, hunched over a laptop, but mostly from the nostrils down, once or twice sipping a martini (the identity of this person is withheld either as a source of suspense or an act of integrity) — is filmed from multiple angles that reveal only an editor's indecisiveness.

Most action sequences now rely on an abundance of edits. But I've never seen a movie in which so much of that action is just editing (it's credited to Ryan Dufrene). There are two decent chases. One's between the Mustang and a guy on a motorbike with a gun at the site of a commuter rail station. But that ends in the sort of explosive overkill that says, "You guys, we've only spent $1 million so far!" The other chase has the Mustang trailing an SUV at dawn, and it's exciting because it's a single take in which the driving and stunt coordination feel intentionally under-rehearsed. It feels real. You can hear the shifting of gears and the revving of motors. The shot is exciting, because your nerves are being properly jangled rather than shredded. But it just doesn't culminate with anything exciting the way it might have with an artist like Nicolas Winding Refn or an absurdist whose commercial instincts are as uncanny as Luc Besson's. You never sense with Getaway that you're in the hands of a competent director. You feel like you're behind the wheel with a hack.



Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster tells the story of Bruce Lee's martial-arts teacher, the legendary Ip Man (Tony Leung), and it's almost as incoherent as Getaway. But the movie's problems are, in part, those of a great artist trying something new. It's a fine mess. There are a half-dozen endings and the passage of time — from 1930s China to Hong Kong in the 1940s and '50s, then back to China — doesn't happen with any kind of drama or urgency. Instead it's marked by the insertion of place cards that explain exactly how that time has passed. We don't get war. We get text telling us that war happened, people died, and it's no longer the 1930s.

But amid all the disjointedness is some of the luminosity and lusciousness one expects from the director of Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, and 2046. The Grandmaster runs on a diet of ellipses and slow motion and unconsummated attraction. It is very much the Wong experience in that sense. His attempt to make both a biographical film and a martial arts movie are another matter, and a lot of what's interesting about the movie involves the experience of a director applying his trademarks to such a well-established genre, in the same way that his fascinating but unsuccessful debut in English, 2007's My Blueberry Nights, applied his sensibility to what ultimately was a nighttime soap opera.

His way inside Ip's life is through the sort of repressed love story Wong prefers. What appears to be both a tale of territorial martial arts mastery (north versus south) and differing combat styles is distilled down to something more intimate than epic. Ip, who's from Southern China, butts heads first philosophically with the Northern veteran Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), and then with Gong's daughter, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi). After her father loses to Ip, she pledges to defend her family's honor with a duel. The film is given the arc of an important person's story, beginning near the end of Ip's life and ending at the beginning, and these tutorial fights — the lessons — are the source of the action.

The tussle between Ip and Gong Er isn't the film's first. Wong shows Ip preparing for a showdown with Gong père as a series of preparatory contests. The names and disciplines of Ip's more seasoned opponents appear in a top corner of the screen (Leung, by the way, is 51, but he continues to age in the opposite direction), and they partake in a robustly choreographed exchange of fists, feet, and forearms. Ip's encounters with Gong Er are something else. Whoever is the first to break a piece of furniture in their housebound duel loses. It's an exercise in violence predicated, in high Wong Kar-wai fashion, upon restraint. There is comedy in the near misses, but there's also absurd heat, like when she goes sailing over him and her face comes within millimeters of his.

Ip and Gong Er should have become lovers, but you know how it is. War, honor, and spouses: They're always in the way. In this case, the war is the Second Sino-Japanese War, and when it arrives at Ip's door in 1938, he moves himself, his wife, and his children to Hong Kong. The film is at its most incoherent at this point. The place cards explain the tragedies that have befallen him. He reunites with Gong Er, but she's a changed woman, her spunk snuffed. A flashback to 10 years earlier explains why, and you have to fight to stay with the scrambled calendar. You also have to fight the disappointment that Zhang has put away the wild and wildish things of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Rush Hour 2; House of Flying Daggers; 2046; or the all-Mandarin version of Dangerous Liaisons.

Zhang is so committed to patrician suffering that she even fights with a frown. Nonetheless, this is a character the martial arts universe rarely sees: a woman whose skill surpasses some men but whose sense of decency forces her to keep that superiority and her "64 Hands" technique to herself. Asked at some point to break her pledge, she says, "Heaven would know. Earth would know. My father would know." The only way Jane Wyman could have improved on that line would have been if Douglas Sirk made movies in Mandarin. The Grandmaster has its partisans. Some of them are Wong loyalists. But he fills me with ambivalence. His lugubriousness can be enervating, and his interest in things left unsaid and untouched is the sexual equivalent of being stuck in traffic: You can see your exit, you just can't get off. His intensely rapturous imagery doesn't come all the way through here and neither do most of the supporting characters. There's some sex and comedy in the fighting. And the rustling of moving fabric is unlike any rustling you've ever heard (and for $17.50 in Dolby Atmos, it should be). The movie's been shot digitally, and some images have the lush surfaces of certain watercolors; some look as if the paper has refused the paint. The version being released in North American theaters by the Weinstein Company is shorter by at least 20 minutes than its popular Chinese counterpart. I don't know what the excised minutes include, but they seem crucial.
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In The Mood For Leung



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Location: State of Nirvana, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jamaica wrote:
I'd probably prefer the one he didn't feel he had the time to tell.



you've got me there hehe...
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Jamaica



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good grief, that last review of The Grandmaster.... if the reviewer thought Ip Man moved his family to HK, he was even more confused than he admits to being. No wonder he didn't like it. He couldn't even follow it..... (Geez, I'm so mean, but REALLY.... he's knocking the movie for being a typical WKW movie. How is that being objective? The film was sunk before he even saw it, as far as he was concerned. WKW isn't easy to watch, but if you invest the time and patience, he's marvelous. Oh well.... to each, his own.)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at the process for the 85th Academy Awards nomination (last year) -

List of submissions to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_submissions_to_the_85th_Academy_Awards_for_Best_Foreign_Language_Film

This is a list of submissions to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has invited the film industries of various countries to submit their best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film every year since the award was created in 1956. The award is presented annually by the Academy to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue. The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all the submitted films. Nine shortlisted contenders will be revealed a week before the announcement of the Oscar nominations.

The submitted motion pictures must be first released theatrically in their respective countries between October 1, 2011, and September 30, 2012.

On October 8, 2012, the Academy announced the final list of eligible submissions, with a record number of 71 films. Nine finalists were announced in December 2012, which were shortlisted in January, with the final five nominees announced on January 10, 2013. The Austrian entry Amour directed by Michael Haneke was the eventual winner.

Kenya submitted its first film in the Foreign Language category with Nairobi Half Life. Cambodia made its first submission in 18 years (and its second overall) with Lost Loves.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

This translates to:

Hong Kong Nominates Wong Kar Wai's 'The Grandmaster' for Oscars 2014 Best Foreign Language Film on Sept. 2013.

An initial nine finalists will be shortlisted (in December?), which will be whittled down to five nominees that will be announced on Jan 16, 2014.

The nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards will be announced on Jan 16, 2014. The 86th Oscar Ceremony will take place on March 2, 2014.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
86th Academy Awards Timeline
http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/index.html
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kam On Film: ‘The Grandmaster,’ ‘King: A Film Record… Montgomery To Memphis’ and What’s New In Theaters

—by Kam Williams, September 4, 2013

http://www.theaquarian.com/2013/09/04/kam-on-film-the-grandmaster-king-a-film-record-montgomery-to-memphis-and-whats-new-in-theaters/

The Grandmaster

The Weinstein Company

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, smoking and brief drug use

Majestic Costume Drama Chronicles Career Of Legendary Martial Arts Fighter

Yip Oi-Dor (1893-1972), aka Ip Man, was a legendary martial arts teacher perhaps best remembered for some of the prominent protégés who attended his kung fu school, most notably, Bruce Lee. But this influential icon has finally been getting his due in recent years as the subject of several reverential biopics.

The latest, The Grandmaster, directed by Wong Kar-Wai (In The Mood For Love), is a majestic epic chronicling Ip Man’s life from the womb to the tomb. He’s very capably played by Tony Leung who just happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to President Obama, for what that’s worth.

At the picture’s point of departure, we learn that Ip hailed from Foshan, a city inGuangdongprovince where he started studying martial arts at an early age. By the time he was a young man, he had already developed a reputation as a formidable fighter, and was enlisted by his region’s elders to represent all of southern China in a match against Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), the best from the North.

Yip prevails in a showdown more mental than physical by employing an innovative combination of his trademarked “Spade,” “Pin” and “Sheath” techniques which prove to be far simpler than the 64 moves relied upon by his aging opponent. Soon thereafter, Gong finds himself dealing with dissension in the Northern ranks, between being betrayed by a disloyal heir apparent (Zhang Jan) and disappointed by his daughter’s (Zhang Ziyi) decision to practice medicine rather than follow in his footsteps.

That enables Yip Man to fill the void and eventually emerge as the greatest grandmaster in all of China. Director Kar-Wai resorts to flying harnesses, slow motion and other state-of-the-art trick photography to showcase his hero’s considerable skills. If you’re familiar with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, then you have a decent idea what to expect in terms of gravity defying kick and fisticuffs.

The overly ambitious production’s only flaw rests with its occasionally confusing editing, which unnecessarily resorts to flashbacks in recounting the decades-spanning tale when the movie might have worked just as well if allowed to unfold chronologically. Regardless, this comprehensive combination history lesson, love story and action flick features all the fixin’s necessary to entertain any fan of the martial arts genre.

Yip Man lives!

Very Good (3 stars)

In Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese with subtitles

Running time: 108 minutes
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