From Thursday, August 3rd thru Thursday August 10th, 2006, The 5th Annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas will be rocking that city with twenty-four feature films and many, many shorts. For info, click here.
This September 6th will mark the eight anniversary of the great one's passing, but his name's still making news for better and possibly for worse.
The questionable news is that the Weinstein Company is planning to remake Seven Samurai, or perhaps I should say re-remake it, since it already has been remade as The Magnificent Seven. The Weinsteins are in talks with Ziyi Zhang to star first in a live-action version of Mulan then in Seven Samurai. No word on which role from the original she'll be playing, or how all this is going to work with a female lead. The script is being written by John Fusco, who scribed Hidalgo and the two Young Guns movies (!!). To put it kindly, the Weinsteins' mixed record with Asian films at Miramax does not bode well for this enterprise, which seems like a wacked idea to begin with. The thought of their doing this to one of Kurosawa's masterpieces, if not his ultimate masterpiece, fills me with trepidation. [Sources: Entertainment Weekly, June 30 - July 7, 2006; IMDbpro.com; comingsoon.net]
The positive news is that, according to the New York Times of April 13, 2006, a film school bearing his name has been established by Hisao Kurosawa, his son, and by Tatsuya Nakadai, who starred in such Kurosawa fare as High and Low and Ran. (Nakadai also had a bit part as a ronin in the street montage in Seven Samurai, as the spectacular Criterion DVD points out.) The first students of the two-year school - 30 hopeful actors and 80 production students - will start taking classes in September.
Hollywood has not been very kind to this great Hong Kong actor. The Replacement Killers and The Corruptor were o.k. films. I can't comment directly on Anna and the King 'cause I haven't seen it, but don't recall anything that positive ever being written about it and it's box office was anything but boffo. As for Bulletproof Monk, well let's not bother.
However, Chow seems to be poised to come to the attention of the American film-going public to a degree far beyond what he achieved with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He's filming Pirates of the Caribbean 3, in which he'll portray Captain Sao Feng. Given PotC 2's incredible appeal to movie goers (as opposed to critics), let's hope that the third time's an even bigger charmer, and that Chow will emerge with the stature, recognition, and film offers he deserves. Chow Yun-Fat, whose infectious grin makes me think of him as an Asian Cary Grant, is an incredibly talented and versatile actor. Check out his comic chops as Ko Chun in God of Gamblers, for instance. Here's hopin' he starts really gettin' his due from Tinseltown. [Sources: Entertainment Weekly, July 14, 2006: IMDbpro.com]
Wanted to let you know of great deals on Jackie Chan's Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights. They're on sale for the incredible price of $5.99 each from from J& R at jr.com. Both films are worth having in your collection, so I suggest ordering them if you don't already have 'em, or getting them as a gift for a friend. But act fast, as these prices may not last long. If you're not familiar with J&R, let me just say that I've been shopping at the J&R stores east of City Hall Park in lower Manhattan for over 25 years and give it my highest recommendation.