Netflix is on a superhero roll lately, what with their much-vaunted Daredevil, Jessica Jones and now the upcoming Iron Fist TV series on the air. After wallowing in obscurity in the 80’s and 90’s, Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones) is about to bring a can of butt-kicking down on superhuman crime and he definitely won’t be going at it alone, if the recent reports coming in are anything to go by…
Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams chronicles the trials and tribulations Werner Herzog faced when attempting to mold his masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, without once wavering from his daunting personal vision. Outside of the filmmaking process, what Blank’s documentary captures best is the way that dreams can consume us if we’re not careful. Herzog was an artist driven by his own unique brand of madness and, in the end, triumphed over adversity (not to mention a deranged Klaus Kinski) to deliver what might be the defining narrative picture of his career. With Kung Fu Elliot, “non-fiction” filmmakers Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau explore a similar consumption by artistic fascination. Only instead of resulting in a masterwork of idiosyncratic expression, their profile of “Canadian action star”, Elliot “White Lightning” Scott is nothing less than a cataloguing of pathological lies, culminating in a deeply disturbing portrait of partner abuse. (more…)
In a rare bit of Hollywood restraint, the latest project to come down the recycling pipeline is actually something that’s been over and done for more than 35 years – Kung Fu. Yes, the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine, the slow-motion kicking mo-fo that wandered the Old West and beat up the bad guys shall be coming to theaters near you. And now it looks like Legendary Pictures may be lining up one unusual choice of directors – Baz Luhrmann. (more…)
The International trailer for Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi has hit the Internet. The movie opens stateside sometime later this year. Reeves plays the controller of a Beijing underground fight-to-the-death club who brings in a skilled tai chi practitioner (Tiger Hu Chen, Reeves’ Matrix stuntman and trainer) to fight in his deadly martial arts fighting circus . . . wait, circus(?) . . . I mean circuit.
I went into this thinking I wouldn’t be interested, but after checking out the trailer I think I might just buy a theater ticket. The fight scenes look crisp and interesting and the slippery slope that Chen’s character is put on should provide some entertaining drama.
What do you think?
Bill Paxton is slated to direct a big-screen adaptation of the 1970s martial arts western series, Kung Fu, the series that made David Carradine a star and is routinely talked about when discussing casting Caucasian actors in Asian roles.
Paxton is best known as an actor with numorous well known roles from Aliens to Tombstone, but has directed two well recieved films, The Greatest Game Ever Played and the 2001 horror film Frailty. Paxton began his career in film making behind the camera working with the legendary B-movie director Roger Corman as a set designer in the late 1970s, before embarking on a successful acting career.
A film version of Kung Fu has been working it’s way around Hollywood for at least five years: the original series, stared David Carradine quietly gained a cult status over time and the death of its star in 2009 only served to increase interest. Quentin Tarantino’s decision to cast Carradine in the title role for his two-part paean to martial arts films, Kill Bill, also helped bring the series to the attention of a new generation of filmgoers.
Kung Fu starred Carradine as a Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine, who leaves China in order to try and find his family in the old American west. Details of his current life are interspersed with flashbacks to his training with blind mentor Master Po, who refers to him as “grasshopper” and always seems to have something intensely wise to say. Carradine’s brother Keith portrayed the same character as a teenager in some flashback sequences.
The series has always been the subject of a degree of controversy as the widow of the Hong Kong martial arts star Bruce Lee, Linda Lee Cadwell, claimed in her memoirs that her husband came up with the idea for a series about a Chinese monk traversing the old west and had it stolen from him by Warner Brothers in the early 70s. Lee was considered for the role, but lost out to Carradine in what many actors saw at the time as evidence of prejudice against Asian actors in Hollywood.
Studio Legendary Entertainment plans to shoot the new version of Kung Fu next summer, partly in China.
“The Last Airbender“, directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan is tortuously lethargic, uninvited, abysmal, and uniformly atrocious (in every aspect). And that’s me being nice!
Based on Nickelodeon‘s beloved animated series (to which I am only vaguely familiar and thus can’t compare) is set i a world in which the population is divided amid the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water and Fire) and some skilled practitioners whom can “bend” these elements to their will. Since the elements are naturally at odds with each other, an overall controller is needed to maintain order among the kingdom. This role is played by the Avatar, who can manipulate all the elements and thus can keep balance and peace amongst the tribes. Only problem is this Avatar has gone missing for 100 hundred years.