in Movie Reviews
So during my first trip to Hong Kong not so many moons ago, I browsed through the video shops of Causeway Bay and picked up 3 fairly current movies that had received good reviews. Shaolin Soccer, Infernal Affairs and The Eye.
Shaolin Soccer, one of Stephen Chiau's goofball comedies, went through a torturous path to reach American screens. Unfortunately, a path that is all too common for Hong Kong films, including massive cuts and redubbings to accomodate attention-deficit Americans.
Infernal Affairs was recently nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. Oh wait, no it wasn't. Martin Scorsese's The Departed was nominated for these awards, even though it's clearly an inferior product to the original.
This interview with Christopher Doyle, renowned Hong Kong cinematographer and visual consultant for Infernal Affairs, talks about Hong Kong cinema and Hollywood.
If you have something to say, then people will listen. If you have nothing to say, then you make or remake Shrek 3. [laughs his hyena laugh] Or, as in America, you buy the rights to all these wonderful Asian films because we've run out of ideas. Hello! Ha-hah! We've run out of ideas so, "Fucking hell, how come they have all these very interesting stories? Let's buy them!" And then you put it on a shelf and you don't know what to do with it and then you don't realize until the Beijing Olympics in 2008 how far Asia has gone, and then you say, [whispering] "Fucking hell."
Tarantino is the perfect metaphor for the West: Appropriation, references. It's articulate in its own way but it's chop suey. [laughs]
That's a jerk-off. As well as it works, it's still a jerk-off. It's still an intellectual conceit, as pedestrian as he tries to pretend it is, as working class as he tries to pretend he is.
Which brings me to news about the third of the three films I bought not so many moons ago, The Eye. It just came across my rss reader that Tom Cruise has hired Jessica Alba to star in his remake of The Eye. I've got nothing against Jessica Alba, but Tom Cruise remaking this movie scares me.
The Eye is a horror/supernatural movie from the Pang Brothers. A blind girl receives eye transplants and can see again. Unfortunately for her, the eyes come along with the ability to see ghosts. Having been blind, she doesn't realise that everybody else can't see the ghosts as well. The rest of the story deals with the very Chinese concept of ghosts and their restlessness due to the manner of their deaths or burial and how to satisfy them in order for them to find peace (and hopefully de-supernatural the eyes).
I doubt Tom Cruise's ability to understand the underlying theme of bringing peace to the unresting dead. Though even scarier is having a man who sees invisible aliens as an important part of his life handling a movie about a woman gaining the ability to see invisible ghosts. This could go from being a remake of a decent, visually slick, supernatural film to being a chicken real fast (and no, I don't mean a Golden Chicken.).