Friday, October 19, 2012

Tai Chi Zero

IndiefestTai Chi Zero  (2012)  Chen Village is a place where everyone is a master of martial arts, even children. A young man, Lu Chan (Jayden Yuan), comes to the village to learn the Chen fighting style, even though it is forbidden for outsiders to learn. When the village discovers that there are plans to destroy their village to build a railway, they decide to trust Lu Chan with their sacred style fighting in hopes that he will lead them to victory.  This is a film that mixes a number of different genre into its mix, including Steam Punk (think large steam powered machines with lots of wheels and levers, combined with Victorian era style clothing), Silent Film, Animation and Video Games.  Lu Chan is called "The Freak", as he has a small horn protruding from his head, and he can mimic any style of Kung Fu after he has seen it just once.  But, this small horn could be his un-doing, as it is magical and will take over his body and kill him if he doesn't learn how to overcome its mystical ways.  While some of the attempts at mixing genres doesn't always work (the silent film part showing his childhood comes off too comical), the action sequences that mix the video game visuals with the modern music work extremely well and are highly entertaining.  As with most Martial Arts films, the acting isn't always the best, but the extremely creative fight scenes more than make up for it.  This is the first of three films in the series, and be sure to stay through the first series of credits to see a scene that sets up the next film and a trailer for the next two films.  The film is from China and is in Mandarin with English subtitles.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Tai Chi Zero Info
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#14 Best Film
The Apartment  (1960)  Groundbreaking for its frankness about sex and the people who have affairs, this film comedy/drama was written and directed by Billy Wilder, who won a Best Director for the film.  C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) works for a successful insurance company, and C.C. has plans to make it big in the insurance business.  He finagles good reviews and other perks by lending out his apartment to his immediate superiors, who use his apartment to have affairs with various women.  When the big boss, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) gets wind of the apartment, he promotes C.C. with the understanding that Sheldrake now has exclusive rights to use the apartment any time.  One problem, the woman (Shirley MacLaine) that Sheldrake is having an affair with is the same woman that unknowingly, C.C. is in love with.  This is an incredibly funny but touching film, one that is still relevant today, and which doesn't feel at all dated.  MacLaine is lovely as Fran Kubelik, the elevator girl whom C.C. secretly loves, and MacMurray is perfect as the slimy Sheldrake who wants to keep his marriage and his affair going at the same time.  But, it's Jack Lemmon who makes this movie the sensational film that it is.  Lemmon is perfect as C.C., with great comic timing and an ability to utter very quick, funny lines with ease.    The Apartment Info
Forgotten FilmThe Razor's Edge (1946)  Tyrone Power plays Larry, a dashing young man, who, at the last minute, breaks off his engagement to Isabel (Gene Tierney).  Larry wants more out of life than fine living and goes on a ten year journey to seek enlightenment.  His travels finally take him to India where he encounters a guru who guides him and teaches Larry how to delve deep inside himself.  Years later, Larry finds his way to Paris and encounters his former love, Isabel, who is now married but not happy, and Sophie (Anne Baxter), a childhood friend who has fallen on hard times.  Larry uses his new-found personal insight to try and help his friends find love and happiness.  Tyrone Power is outstanding in the role of Larry, and shows great range in his acting skills moving from the young, carefree man to someone who has found happiness from within.  But it's Anne Baxter who steals the film and your heart with an Oscar winning role as the woman who is seemingly cursed and doomed.     My Rating:  Full Price   The Razor's Edge Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD)That's My Boy (2012)  No matter what I see for the rest of the year, this film will make my bottom ten list.  Todd (Andy Samberg) is getting married, and guess who shows up to wreck all the plans? His father Donny (Adam Sandler), who became a celebrity at a young age when he got his middle school teacher pregnant.  It says a lot about a film when you know the only performance you enjoyed in the film was Vanilla Ice's.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again   That's My Boy Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Guilt Trip (2012)  Just the title alone makes you want to avoid this film, but then you find out it's a road trip film with Seth Rogan as the son and Barbra Streisand as the mom.  If I were hitching a ride and they stopped for me, I would just tell them never mind, move along.    The Guilt Trip Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Taken 2:  Tea Men

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLes Miserables (2012)  Just in time to qualify for the Oscars this film based on the Broadway musical hit, arrives. The film has an all star lineup, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.  The unusual thing about this film is that production did not pre-record the sound track - all the singing was done live on-camera, something that has never been done to this extent and should produce very real and intense performances.   Les Miserables Info
Until Next Time!

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