Another Donnie Yen movie, and another high-profile project that has huge anticipation written all over the place. This time it involves much sought-after directing duo, Felix Chong and Alan Mak (best known for screenwriting INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy and CONFESSION OF PAIN) as well as directing the 2008's police surveillance drama, OVERHEARD. Their last directing effort in the 2008's LADY COP & PAPA CROOK is a huge disappointment, but their latest effort here is really something to look forward to -- a costumed martial-art drama centers on the legendary story of Guan Yu which is taken from Luo Guanzhong's popular classic novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. However, anyone who is expecting RED CLIFF-like sensational storytelling and epic grandeur will be sorely disappointed by the more bumpy approach Felix Chong and Alan Mak given here in THE LOST BLADESMAN.
Adapted from the story of "Guan Yu crossing five passes and slaying six generals", the movie begins as the tyrannical Cao Cao (Jiang Wen) is determined to conquer all China in the name of Han dynasty. During an ongoing war against Yuan Shao, Cao Cao enlists General Guan (Donnie Yen) to help him launch an attack against the enemy troops and subsequently killing the rival General Yan Liang (Chin Siu-Ho) in the process. Thanks to Guan's victory, Cao Cao awarded him an honorary title of "Marquis of Hanshou" and hoping that he will continues to serve him as his close ally. Unfortunately Guan remains faithful to his sworn brother Liu Bei (Alex Fong), who is actually Cao Cao's intended enemy as well. So out of respect, Cao Cao allows Guan to leave home peacefully, even though his fellow advisors are feeling uncomfortable with his decision. As a result, his advisors take their opportunity to inform every general to apprehend and kill Guan at all cost. In the meantime, Guan is fulfilling his duty to escort Liu Bei's concubine, Qilan (Sun Li) back home safely. And to make things complicated, Guan has been secretly in love with her but afraid to express his feeling because he doesn't want to betray his loyalty against Liu Bei. Soon their long journey becomes increasingly dangerous as Guan has to find way to overcome a few generals, hence the "crossing five passes and slaying six generals" in the process before able to reunite with Liu Bei.
Despite the intriguing story, it's a shame that Felix Chong and Alan Mak's adapted screenplay is poorly-executed. Those who never read the classic novel before will have tough time trying to figure out the whole story here. Thanks to their heavy-handed narration, the storytelling process is very confusing with plethora of characters and events which are too reliable on verbal context than visual interpretation. The romance factor, which centers on the forbidden love between Guan and Qilan is more of a burden than a necessity that could have been eliminated out of the story altogether. Not only that, dialogues are awfully stilted and the characters are surprisingly average at best.
Speaking of characters, Donnie Yen has the heroic presence to portray the great Guan Yu as a fearsome warrior but he only excels the best when comes to technical skill. His acting performance remains as wooden as ever, and he's practically a bore when requires to dramatize a lot. Jiang Wen is suitably cunning as the way he looks and telling gestures for his Cao Cao character, although he's not nearly as imposing as Zheng Fengyi's superb performance of similar role in RED CLIFF. As for Sun Li, her character is more of a thankless role.
Whereas the story and the characters fail to elevate the material into expectation, the action remains watchable enough to sustain the movie from a total disappointment. Except that the action isn't as consistent as one might expect from Donnie Yen, who also serves here as action director. The movie's finest sequence is the one-on-one alleyway spear battle against Guan Yu and General Kong Xiu (Andy On), which also marks one of Yen's most exhilarating martial art choreography ever staged. Unfortunately the rest of the action set pieces pale in comparison. There's few hiccups as well, notably in a fight-to-the-death scene against a troop in the dimly-lit setting that is too difficult to see what is going on and somewhat an awkward scene involving a bloody massacre that happens off-screen behind the closed doors. (Seriously, that kind of artistic approach would have work better for somewhere else). As for the ending, don't expect any save-the-best-for-the-last action sequence that normally associated with Donnie Yen's movie. Rather, it's strangely anticlimactic that doesn't offer any satisfying payoff after so much anticipation has build up earlier.
Technical credits are top-notch, with Bill Lui's impressive production design and Henry Lai's stirring music score. Chan Chi-Ying's cinematography is fluid and exciting, especially during the action sequence while the sound effects -- whether the whooshing of the firing arrow or the swinging of the spear -- are greatly emphasized.
Too bad THE LOST BLADESMAN could have been a better movie, but all we have here instead is a half-realized effort. Count this as a second consecutive disappointment in the row for Donnie Yen after his last year's LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN.
I know a lot of mainstream viewers might feel skeptical about Chris Evans' Captain America costume in the World War II-era we're going to witness for this year's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. I mean, I'm sure most people have long associated with Captain America and the image of the modern-looking costume.
However, in a recent interview with MTV News, Chris Evans has reported that the old-fashioned Captain America's suit will get a modern upgrade when he joins Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and among others in next year's THE AVENGERS.
"It's a new costume. Yeah, it's awesome. It's really cool."
That is definitely sounds cool. Can't wait to look forward for THE AVENGERS next year.
Okay, I admit a hulking actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger combined with the name of the title that says CRY MACHO does sounds like a parody of sorts to me. But that's not the case, since CRY MACHO is actually a drama based on the 1975 novel by the late N. Richard Nash. So naturally it won't be the usual muscular action genre approach we used to see in many Schwarzenegger's movie. Instead it's more of a dramatic role since Schwarzenegger wants to stretch some real acting performance for his return to the big screen. In this movie, he will play a "damaged-goods horse trainer who's just been ignominiously put out to pasture by his feckless boss. In exchange for some retirement money, the broken - and broke - horseman agrees to kidnap the boss's 11-year-old son from his rich Mexican ex-wife. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when the ex-wife is all too glad to be rid of her juvenile delinquent."
CRY MACHO will be directed by THE LINCOLN LAWYER's Brad Furman and produced by Al Ruddy, the producer of Oscar-winning movies including MILLION DOLLAR BABY and THE GODFATHER.
Hmm... Schwarzenegger's first live-action movie will be a dramatic role? Sounds interesting... (Which means we have to wait longer for his much-anticipated return to TERMINATOR franchise...)
Check out the two posters of Hong Kong's latest psychological thriller, THE DEVIL INSIDE ME, which stars Tony Leung Kar-Fai and Kelly Lin, which will hit theaters this year. As for now, details about the movie remains unknown here.
After months of teasing little glimpses of action-packed footage for Michael Bay's highly-anticipated TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, here is the full-length trailer you've been waiting for! (And I must say, it's freakin' cool!) Check out the video below.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON will invade theaters on June 30 (one day ahead of July 1 U.S. release)
"From The Producers Of 300"... Swords, sandals, bloody carnage, muscular action! Relativity Media has finally released a teaser trailer for the much-anticipated Tarsem Singh's (THE CELL) IMMORTALS. If the name of the director doesn't really ring you a bell, perhaps you are more interested to know that this movie starred Henry Cavill as Theseus. Yup, that Henry Cavill we soon going to witness him as Clark Kent/Superman in Zack Snyder's upcoming reboot, MAN OF STEEL, set for next year. Watch the teaser below.
IMMORTALS will slash its way into theaters on November 11.
One of Hong Kong's most anticipated movies of the year is certainly the dynamic collaboration of STEEL PIGEON director Dante Lam along with recent Hong Kong Film Award winner Nicholas Tse and popular Taiwanese singer-actor Jay Chou in an action thriller entitled AGAINST WAR!
Now, the production has chosen none others than Kuala Lumpur for location shooting, which due to start next month. Selected locations will be the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Dataran Merdeka, KLCC, Sunway Lagoon, and the Maju Expressway.
AGAINST WAR is expected to be one of the most expensive Hong Kong movies ever made, which is reportedly costing at about HK$200 million (RM77 million)!
Apart from Kuala Lumpur, the movie will also be shot on locations at Jordan, Xi'an in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.
With Michael Shannon already on board to portray Superman's arch-enemy, General Zod, here comes another villain -- in the form of a villainess named Faora. German actress Antje Traue (PANDORUM) has been cast for the role in the upcoming Zack Snyder's SUPERMAN reboot, MAN OF STEEL.
Previously, it is reported that Mark Wahlberg and Justin Bieber are going to collaborate for a movie together and the story will be an inner-city drama of sorts. Now, according to exclusive report from Deadline, Wahlberg and Bieber are in negotiations with Paramount Pictures for an untitled drama that will revolved around street basketball. This deal comes after Bieber's recent concert movie NEVER SAY NEVER has been making a lot of money for Paramount.
As for this untitled street basketball drama, the movie will be written by Ian Edelman (who is the creator of the HBO's HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA). The tone of the movie is described as THE COLOR OF PURPLE meets THE KARATE KID.
Oookay... now that 17-year-old Bieber has become such a teenage pop sensation around the world -- here lies the biggest question -- Can he become a successful actor?
While the Stateside will enjoy CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER on July 22, we have to settle for a (slightly) longer wait... on August 4. Anyway, director Joe Johnston (THE WOLFMAN) has recently compared the pacing of his movie to another franchise which also takes place in the same era of the 1940s and 1950s -- what else -- INDIANA JONES!
Here's what he had to comment below.
"When you sit down to watch it, it's certainly not Raiders of the Lost Ark which is a very different kind of film in the final analysis. But sometimes when we had questions and we were stuck we would say, 'What would Indiana Jones do? What would be the answer to this in Raiders of the Lost Ark?' I've always loved Raiders and the great achievement of it was the tone and the fresh feeling of the movie. It was period but didn't feel like it was made in the period. It felt like a contemporary film about this period in the past, and that is the goal we have with Captain America. And I can say this - it definitely has an Indiana Jones pace."
That sounds like a fantastic news. To add more jubilant anticipation for the movie, lead star Chris Evans who portray Steve Rogers/Captain America, also revealed how he came to worry about the early scenes where the effects team used CGI to make him a skinny young GI before he became a super soldier.
Here's what he had to comment below:
"If something like that isn't done right, it takes you right out of the movie. You're suddenly thinking, 'Wow that doesn't look real, look at that actor' and it can really ruin it. And if it's early in the movie it can undermine the whole way the audience connects with the story. They nailed it, it works, they really put a lot of time into it. It was a big relief for me."
It's clearly that the studio have going full-throttle on marketing their upcoming PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGERS TIDE, the fourth installment in the lucrative franchise, to the max. Now, check out the new one-sheet below, featuring Astrid Berges-Frisbey portraying the mermaid Syrena.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGERS TIDE will set sail on May 19 (one day ahead of May 20 U.S. release).
Okay, so the Sundance hit short film BOOB, which is written and directed by Honest is old news (it was released back in 2009)... but this particular short film is nothing short of inventiveness. I mean, c'mon, who could have thought that a boob can be that vicious, bad, mad and bloody?
Check out the video below, and enjoy!
(Synopsis: A doctor performs an experimental breast enhancement procedure to be able to remotely enhance a woman's breast size. Unfortunately a surge of electricity brings her boob to life! What happens next is a series of bloody massacre!)
Indonesian filmmakers has gone a step further by going against their country's highly restrictive anti-porn laws by casting foreign porn stars for their locally-made movies. And one such movie is the horror comedy called POCONG MANDI GOYANG PINGGUL which features one of U.S.'s top porn stars, Sasha Grey. The producers, of course, making big deal of promoting their movie with Grey being the "central attraction" of sorts. You can judge that by the look of the poster on your left (along with a disclaimer that reads: "shot both in Indonesia and Hollywood, Amerika").
Additionally, you can check out the trailer below.
POCONG MANDI GOYANG PINGGUL is currently showing in Indonesia, which already opens today.
While director Paco Plaza is currently on production for the upcoming [REC]3 GENESIS, the producers at Filmax have now released the official poster art. You can check it out below.
In the third installment of the popular [REC] horror franchise, the original [REC] are making their comeback and this time they will endure another fight for survival against the zombie infection. Unlike the previous two movies which shot in you-are-there camera angle, the third movie will broaden the more traditional cinematographic style. Still the movie will retain some of its trademarks, where viewers get to see certain events unfold through the eye of the video camera.
The story will tied to the events of the first two movies, and it will take place miles away from the original location where some are shot partly in broad daylight. Clearly this move is to give the movie a fresh angle to an otherwise cramped space we have previously witnessed before.
Of course the third movie will work on an inevitable clever twist, where it will leaves the door open for the final installment, the future [REC]4 APOCALYPSE.
Hmm... sounds like the franchise is going the RESIDENT EVIL way. Let's hope this third movie continues its creativity rather than product placement of sorts.
Check out the brand new second trailer of the upcoming summer prequel X-MEN: FIRST CLASS via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP24T-dq_N4, which will hit theaters on June 2 (one day ahead of June 3 U.S. release)... with more detailed and never-before-seen footage!
Yup, you read that above title just right. Mark Wahlberg, the star of THE FIGHTER (2010), is teaming up with teenage pop star sensation Justin Bieber for a new movie project at Paramount. (No kidding, since Wahlberg has gone on the record claiming he's a Justin Bieber fan!).
"The world needs Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber is like the white Tupac. Compared to a lot of people."
Anyway here's what Mark Wahlberg had to say about working with Justin Bieber.
"Yeah, well, we're putting it together. Yeah, we're doing it at Paramount. We pitched them the idea, and we talked to him about doing it and he loved the idea. He sent me a video of himself and yeah, I think he's really talented."
So is the movie going to be a drama or comedy? Mark Wahlberg has further commented it will center around mentoring in an inner-city environment.
"More of a drama. It's interesting, right? You want to know. They'll probably announce it. They may announce it fairly soon ... kind of like a reluctant mentor in an inner-city environment. You know, I don't want to say."
Warner Bros. has finally unleashed the first trailer for the eagerly-anticipated final installment of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2, which will zapped into theaters on July 14 (one day ahead of July 15 U.S. release). Check it out below!
John Hyams' UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION (2009) is surprisingly one of the best direct-to-video sequels I've ever come across in recent times. Nifty cameraworks (particularly the opening car chase scene) and of course the memorable rematch between Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren in a down-and-gritty fight scene!
Now a fourth installment is about to happen! Writer-director John Hyams has expressing a desire to return to the franchise, while Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren are slated to make their comebacks as well. Not only that, there's a worthy addition -- in the form of Scott Adkins (the underrated martial art star who made his name in numerous direct-to-video features including UNDISPUTED 2 and 3, and NINJA)!
Here's what he had to say via Twitter:
"Getting on a plane to go and make Universal Soldier 4 with Dolph & JC."
Wow... that was fast. After the much-publicized debacle of ONG BAK 3 which left him under great deal of pressure, Thailand's martial art superstar Tony Jaa is finally back in front of the camera that will sees him reunite the entire TOM YUM GOONG / ONG BAK team for the sequel. His regular director, Prachya Pinkaew will be directing the movie while fight choreographer Panna Rittikrai is handling the action sequence. That's not all, Jaa will also teamed up with CHOCOLATE martial art star Jija Yanin in a significant role. Lastly, the sequel, currently titled as TOM YUM GOONG 2 will be shot in digital 3D.
Tony Jaa and Jija Yanin? Now that's one hell of a lethal combo! Can't wait to see this happen.
"I'll be back!" That is the memorable catchphrase immortalized by Arnold Schwarzenegger in THE TERMINATOR movies.
Now after years of speculation, Schwarzenegger is finally set to return to THE TERMINATOR franchise in the fifth installment after his last outing in 2003's TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES. Director Justin Lin (FAST FIVE) is indeed directing the new film after all. According to Deadline reports, the two will shopped around for a rights package in order to set the new film at a studio.
This will be interesting to see what Schwarzenegger and Justin Lin whether they can bring anything new to the TERMINATOR franchise in the coming future. Stay tuned.
Marvel Studios has finally released an official set photo for their upcoming superheroes movie extravaganza, THE AVENGERS. Check it out below.
In the meantime, director Joss Whedon (TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse) has previously revealed himself that the movie has already officially begun shooting on Monday. Shooting is currently gearing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but will then move to Cleveland, Ohio and New York City.
As for the cast, those confirmed actors for THE AVENGERS will be Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, Clark Gregg as SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson as SHIELD head honcho Nick Fury.
The supporting cast will include Cobie Smulders as SHIELD Agent Maria Hill, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Stellan Skarsgård as Professor Erik Selvig (the latter two which will be appeared in THOR).
Plus, there is a synopsis as well:
"Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster."
Paramount Pictures has release a new photo of Decepticon Shockwave from the upcoming summer sequel TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, which will hit theaters on June 30 nationwide (one day ahead from July 1 U.S. release). Check it out below.
And here's the trailer for SERU, which haunt theaters this Thursday on April 28th nationwide!
SERU is directed by Woo Ming Jin and Pierre Andre. The movie stars Awal Ashaari, Pierre Andre, Nora Danish, Shaarnaz, Khatijah, Nisha Dirr, Cut Mutia, Azman, along, sufian, Qhaud, Dazrin, Murshid, Nabila, Nursyarifatun, Dewa Sapri and Mohd Majid.
The phenomenal success of ONG BAK and TOM YUM GOONG has definitely did director Prachya Pinkaew a lot of favor to establish himself as one of the top action filmmakers to watch for. Now it's no surprising that the U.S. studios has finally enlisted him to direct his first Hollywood action picture entitled ELEPHANT WHITE for Millennium Films. Despite the caliber of cast including Djimon Hounsou and Kevin Bacon, the movie is dumped for straight-to-video release slated for May 17th, 2011.
In the meantime, check out the trailer below and tell me what you think about it.
Following from the recently-announced "Director's Cut" of the 1989's sci-fi action picture CYBORG, Albert Pyun is now in the process of acquiring remake rights for the picture he always wanted to make.
Here's what he had to say below.
"It will be an epic of post apocalyptic cyber punk movie filled with an Expendables type all star casting of action stars. I think it will be a true metal classic! A violent mash up of my Cyborg and Nemesis action movies. Should begin shooting in late summer."
EXPENDABLES-type all star casting of action stars? Now that really rocks! Bring it on! Can't wait to see what future development for the CYBORG remake Pyun is going to make here.
By the way, here is the trailer of CYBORG below for the old time's sake.
Expect the unexpected. Celebrated Hollywood screenwriter Kevin Jarre, who wrote such popular screenplays including 1985's RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II, 1989's Civil War drama GLORY (which won Denzel Washington his first Oscar in Best Supporting Actor), 1993's western movie TOMBSTONE (which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer), 1997's Harrison Ford-Brad Pitt thriller THE DEVIL'S OWN, and 1999's THE MUMMY -- has died of heart failure on April 3 at his Santa Monica home.
Jarre is a history buff, in which he is particularly fond of Civil War. That labor of love became his source of inspiration for one of his most acclaimed screenplays he's ever written, which is none others than GLORY.
"I never thought I could interest anybody in it," Jarre told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. "A Civil War epic, about black people? But I'd got really attached to the story.... I'd end up in tears when I got through writing."
His unexpected death is nevertheless a total loss. As a remembrance, here is the trailer from GLORY.
Thanks to Yahoo!, here's a new clip from the upcoming western-influenced post-apocalyptic thriller PRIEST (opens on May 12), featuring Maggie Q battling against a small group of ruthless bikers in the middle of the desert. Check out the video below. Sweeeet...
Whoa! Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz wants to be an AMERICAN IDOL judge? It's really hard to believe it... but you may wanna take a look at the video via Jimmy Kimmel Live at YouTube below. (and I must say, he can be a fine comedian after all).
Talk about uncanny resemblance... Daily Mail has an exclusive still photo of Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, who played her husband Denis, shown together in a recreated shot of the 1980 Conservative Party conference at Brighton. In this important scene, the Iron Lady put the country on alert over battles with unions regarding pay and jobs.
Check the photo below, which is taken from Phyllida Lloyd's upcoming biographical drama THE IRON LADY.
Now here's the reel version... Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.
A source from Next Magazine via CRI has stated that model-turned-actress Lynn Xiong (or sometimes known as Lynn Hung) is rumored to have a brain tumor about 2.5cm in diameter.
The 30-year-old beauty who started her successful acting career in the award-winning IP MAN (in which played as Donnie Yen's wife), and subsequently appeared in movies like ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL 2010 and IP MAN 2, had been suffering constant headaches and seek medical advice at the hospital.
She was heartbroken upon discovering her brain tumor result, and insisted on going home even though the doctor suggested her to stay in the hospital for further observation.
As of now, it remains unknown whether the brain tumor is mild or severe.
In the meantime, her pop singer-actor boyfriend Aaron Kwok has reportedly been looking for famous doctors in the related fields of both Western and traditional Chinese medicine.
Despite the heartbreaking news, Lynn's manager Kim, however, denied such rumors and goes on a record saying, "She does not have any brain tumor at all. She visited the hospital because of a stomachache."