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Monthly Archives: May 2006

The odd thing about this film is that everybody appeared to love it before I saw it, yet afterwards, everybody I talked to wondered how this euphoria came about in the first place. Match Point is, after all, just another Woody Allen movie, the difference to his last ones mainly being that now he got an international distribution again (something Melinda and Belinda or whatever it was called could have done without, by the way). The location is different – London -, the protagonists are slightly different (few ariters and painters this time, more tennis players, shop clerks and fully-employed very rich people), but they all share the same problems with the personnel of previous Allen features: boredom, lack of perspective, love, etc. One nice difference is that in England, people appear to be hating the kind of dinner table conversation that usually make half of an average Woody Allen film. In a scene where somebody wants to talk about fate, destiny, meaning of life or something similar, the hero’s hunsband merely barks "Oh can we change the subject, pleeease" and everybody moves on to discussing the benefits of oldtimer convertibles.

The symbolism is a bit too apparent for comdort (reading Crime and Punishment, listening to Othello…), but the good thing about the Dosktojewski and Shakespearean plot lines is that there no room for mercy and every – well – crime gets the – well – punishment it deserves. While this may not necessarily the result of a court trial does not matter. In the end, consequently everybody gets exactly what he/she deserves, with one exception, which is the average male audience: there are at least three scenes where Scarlett Johannson’s "Babies" (recently read that she calls them that way) are almost on full screen, but at the end of the day, all you get is some kind of Miss Wet T-Shirt in the Wet Cornfield competition. Which is the same as every Woody Allen movie of the last 20 years: quite nice, but no reason to have a closer look again next time around.

The Telegraph, a Calcutta-based newspaper, notes on the forthoming (non-?)release of Mission Impossible III in mainland China:

"Beijing, May 15 (Reuters): Chinese media have speculated that flashes of underwear and other “inappropriate” images in the China scenes of Mission Impossible 3 (MI3) might jeopardise the mainland release of Tom Cruise’s latest Hollywood blockbuster.

Despite hitting American screens over a week ago, China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television , is yet to approve its mainland distribution.

Underwear hanging out to dry and other images “harmful to China” might be responsible, local papers said."
Full story at

Anybody out there who really (I mean: really!) likes Bob Dylan? I don’t know anybody, but I know a lot of people who appreciate that he is the songwriter who has delivered the most excellent songs for other people. Singing is just not his strength, I always mused. Admittedly, my attitude changed after watching Scorsese’s documentary (with completely amazing old backstage and in-car footage) and exposing myself to his music for about four hours at a time. I like the guy! The singing is almost hypnotic! I couldn’t help but hit the repeat buttin and torture my little household repeatedly with Mr Tambourine Man. And the film – maybe that’s what makes the film interesting: it is not about Bob Dylan, at least that is not the editor’s prime interest. It is about a singer/songwriter in the middle of very interesting and vivid times, meeting an incredible variety of incredible people, teaming with Joan Baez who had a voice like a fire engine back then but is now one of the most beautiful surprises that I’ve seen and heard in a while. (short grey hair, moderate voice… nice!). So if you want to learn how come that some children of the revolution are still wearing these funny clothes and tend to grow their hair a little longer than good taste would recommend, have a look. And then: get the CDs! I did a three-day intensive looping of the Greatest Hits compilation, and now I am cured again. It did not hurt, but now I can listen to Wolfgang Ambros "Allan wia a Staan" and Guns’N’Roses’ "Knocking on Heaven’s Door" with new sympathy.

Weirder stories have been told by the Japanese wizard company. But: without doubt an average Myiazaki production shows so much more serenity and ability in story-telling that it is basically without its like anywhere in the American pixel industry. Even though the stories are set in the most mysterious and magical surrounding, I like to think that these characters are the most real of all: humble little-old Sophie, for instance, who happens to be in the way of a ghastly witch and learns that not doing anything wrong is sometimes not enough. Or pride Howl, who almost falls apart after his carefully dyed hair acquires a bit of a red touch. Or the named witch, who needs all her magic powers just to remain stable on her feet and to keep every layer of double chain – with interesting effects after she is rid of these powers. They are all very human, even the little fire demon whose name I forgot, but who is a so much more subtle sidekick compared to Disney’s tea kettles and the like. (Which gives a chance to mention the dubbing: I don’t know about the Japanese original, but Lauren Bacall as the Witch of the Waste and Billy Crystal as the fire demon are definitely worth switching from Japanese to English at least now and again). Judging from the unanimous enthusiasm at, I should now buy the book…

Whatever the reason may be: Chen Kaige has a considerably big interview in
the famous Hawaiian paper Star Bulletin. The comments match the fortune
cookies quality of his latest movie (Wu Ji, whose US start, now that I read
the article in full, is the reason for the interview), e.g.:
“But I say that destiny is changeable. If you look at our history, I don’t
understand why people think that way. Even though there have been so many
bad things, revolutions and chaos, there still was change. It’s so very
clear. I’m convinced of the message that, yes, we can allow and gain power
to challenge destiny on the way to a better life.”
The intersting thing to be learnt is that Zhang Yimou was actually the
director of photography at Chen Kaige’s “Yell Earth” international debut.
AND some nice insight into Chen’s political past, too.

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