Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"It's my blog, and I can write if I want to..."

Write if I want to...

Write if I want to...

You can write, too, if you really want to (da-da-da-da-DA... duh-duh-duh-dum...)


Sorry. It's just nice to have my own space online in which to write. Now I can post anything I want, no matter how irreverent, and not have to worry about infringing on anyone else's space.

It's kind of like owning one's own home for the first time... or so I've heard...

Anyway. Enough random posting for tonight. I'm off.



(must... live... real... life......... must... get... off... line.........)



I am addicted to the internet. Seriously.



Nat gave Brokeback an "A"

And that, in my blog, is totally worth its own post.

(Hee... I wrote "in my blog" as a play on "in my book"... isn't that clever? I think it is.)

But yes, anyway, that makes me very happy.

Nathaniel Rogers, the go-to guru of film-obsession, has the best taste of any critic I know, online or otherwise (and yes, by best, I mean most in line with my own), and his endorsement of Brokeback Mountain has only confirmed my suspicion not only that I will LOVE this film, but also that it will have MANY passionate fans. And perhaps some passionate, though misguided, detractors. I really think it's going to a really. big. deal. Like, an on-everybody's-lips event film kind of thing.

And while a Best Picure oscar is a bit much to ask... I can still dream, can't I?

I will be rooting for it anyway.

Gay cowboys forever.

Peace out.

I'm still kind of annoyed at Memoirs

Yeah, OK, for some reason I just got newly pissed off at the whole Memoirs casting fiasco. Well, at least I think it's a fiasco. And I know there are people out there who agree with me.

I mean, really. Rob Marshall was quoted as saying something like, "we looked at lots of Japanese actresses, but Ziyi Zhang was just the best... she was the only one who had the beauty, dance skills, and proficiency in English that the role demanded."



I mean, REALLY?

So he's saying that in all of Japan, there was not ONE single actress who
a) could act
b) was pretty
c) could dance, and
d) could speak passable English

I refuse to believe that.

It's laziness, pure and simple. Hold open casting calls! Scour the country! SOMEone of actual Japanese descent had to have fit the bill. I know for a fact that there are SO many talented, struggling actors out there in every country in the world just waiting for their big break that you could cast AT LEAST one entire huge oscar-bait epic with all of them. And I'd bet money that one of them is a beautiful, talented Japanese actress with English skills who could dance. Hell, there was probably someone like that actually living in southern California trying to make it in the movies.

And really, from what I've heard, Ziyi Zhang isn't really fluent in English anyway. And from her line readings in the trailer, I believe it. Very stiff, those readings were.

And as for the argument that she'd draw in American audiences with her big name... well, first of all that shouldn't be prioritized over racial and ethnic authenticity, and second of all, it's just silly. Yes, she has a nice resumé of hit films, but you can't tell me that many average American moviegoers actually know who Ziyi Zhang is. It's not like she's WIll Smith or Meryl Streep. She can't exactly open a movie. I mean, being able to paste the line "star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers" by her name is nice, but will it really get more people to see the film? My gut and my brain both say no.

And as if Zhang Ziyi weren't enough, Marshall had the gall to cast Chinese actresses in ALL THREE major roles. Cross-ethnic casting was not the exception; it was the rule. It just shows a total lack of respect for the material in my opinion. And a lack of respect for Japanese culture, and for true Geisha. It really isn't much different from casting white actors and just dressing them up in Geisha makeup and wigs. And if Rob Marshall thinks it is, then he should learn to tell the difference between how Chinese and Japanese women look. Hell, I'm not Asian, and I can tell. When I look at Ziyi Zhang, I see a Chinese girl. And so will everyone else, since she's been in so many hit Chinese movies. See, her resumé actually works against her in that respect. People will know. Unfortunately, they may not care, and that's what really irks me.

Chinese and Japanese people don't look the same. They just don't.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pride & Prejudice

Saw Pride & Prejudice last night. Liked it a lot. I suppose I didn't "love" it the way I love some films - it just didn't have that spark of magic I sometimes find - though it does seem worthy of repeated viewing. It's one of those movies where everything just works... that sounds so simple, but it's really quite rare. A work of art that seems simple and effortless is, as always, the mark of a great artist with real skill. So kudos to Joe Wright.

Sadly, though, he's not the one likely to reap awards when the time comes. That honor would go to the lovely Keira Knightley. Given the weak best actress field, I'd be surprised not to see her nominated. I just hope she goes drama at the golden globes (where she might actually win the trophy); otherwise, she might have some trouble. Comedy/drama-wise, the film is right on the line and could go either way. Usually with a movie like this it would be a good idea to just go comedy to assure recognition, but this year, the comedy field is unusually strong, especially for actresses, while drama is pretty empty. In fact, I can't see who could actually win the drama globe if Knightley is not nominated there... but her breakout starlet story would fit the bill.

The whole cast deserves credit, though. It's a great ensemble piece. Knightley just happened to have the leading role, and she, like her castmates, delivered. I'd like to see the screenplay, director, sets, costumes and music all honored, and the ensemble nominated at the SAGs, but that's a lot to ask for a small movie handled by a studio that's already got its hands full (Focus Features' real loyalty is to Brokeback Mountain... and I REALLY hope they give it a good campaign). Still, we'll see. Everybody really likes this film. Mass awardage is quite possible.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Walk The Line is NOT going to flop

So, yeah, Walk The Line grossed $22 million last weekend and almost $20 million this weekend (both against Harry Potter), and is now sitting pretty in second on the charts with $54.7 million. Not bad. So I guess, really, the appropriate thing to say would be "Walk The Line DID NOT flop". At this rate, it'll hit $70 million in another week and just keep making steady money all through the season. I bet it'll top out somewhere between $100 and $120 mil when all's said and done... a very nice total, and way ahead of last year's Ray.

This would definitely be the obligatory "hit" in the best picture lineup. It's looking like a surefire nominee for best pic, director, actor, actress, and probably screenplay, too... not to mention sound, editing, etc. It might even win best picture at this point, if Munich and Brokeback prove too political.

In any case, I am looking forward to seeing it, and hearing Reese and Joaquin sing. It's glorious to hear people sing together when they're in love. Even when they're just acting it.

In other news, I just went to the fitness center and worked out today for the first time in months, and it felt great. Plus I sang all the way back to my room. Ah, the body... a wondrous, wondrous thing.

Memoirs of a Geisha is going to flop

Well, maybe not financially (we'll see), but the early critical notices are not good. Of the first six rotten tomatoes reviews, four are negative. One critic compares it to The Color Purple (which I, a child of the 90's, have not seen), saying both were merely surface-level portraits of complex cultures. I think this film is headed for a very mixed critical reception, but it remains to be seen whether that will affect either its box office or its oscar chances. My bet is that if the reviews affect the box office (i.e. the film flops), then THAT will affect the oscar chances. Otherwise, it may still hit the top categories, including lead and supporting actress. After all, Whoopi, Oprah, and Margaret Avery were all nommed for The Color Purple, which was also nommed for best picture. How much money did that one make? Anybody know?

I suppose the comparison may not hold up, but the films do seem strangely similar, from the three nominatable female roles, to the Spielberg connections, to the "great ethnic epic" tags. I'm interested in seeing how this film is received. In any case, I personally am not expecting to like it. That Pan-Asian casting call just totally rubbed me the wrong way.

But anyway, to Rob Marshall, Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh: may you get the awards and attention you deserve. Or not.

official second post

OK. The previous post is officially now my first post, because I deleted the one from January. Awesome. Also, how irreverent am I? That last post was terrible. Not only were there numerous typos, but it just didn't make much sense. Oh well. I'd go back and edit it, but I think sometimes it's nice not to cover up mistakes. My first blog post is going to be one of those times. I try not to make a habit of appearing perfect. It's so unhealthy.

But I do reserve the right to fix bad posts in the future. So no one will know of any mistakes I may or may not make. Mwahahaha.

Ah, mystery... I do love it so. Selective inclusion and editing are wonderful. But so is revealing. Perhaps more so. But it's the balance that's the real trick, isn't it?

And that, dear readers (if any of you are in fact here) is my brilliant, profound insight of the day.

Peace out.

first post in a while

Alrighty, here we go. I think I made an offical first post way back in January when I creating this blog, saying something like "wow, this is awesome, I have a blog", but that turned out to be kind of a false start, so here I am again, starting up for real. In the coming days and weeks, I will probably be whoring myself out to um, "coordinating" with other blogs I frequent in order to try to get someone here reading (and commenting), because I really don't like writing in a vacuum. It's so depressing.

I generally will run the gamut here between silly film awards discussion and deep thoughts about my life and future (have I typed that before somewhere? or did I delete that?), so be prepared for heavy contrast. I figure contrast is key to any great work of art or literature, so there's nothing wrong with contrast in the contents of a blog. Film awards. Politics. My "acting career". Random insecurities. Profound insights. It's all good. Nothing will be excluded here.

That said, I'm probably headed for a whirl of film awards obsession, since the season is now upon us. Unfortunately I haven't been seeing anything lately, partially cause I'm busy, partially cause I'm lazy, partially cause I'm cheap. Yeah. I'd start a whole screening log/grades/reviews/awards thing, but that's gonna have to wait until I'm seeing more than likr 5 movies a year. Pathetic. Pathetic, it is.

I really think I'm just psychologically healthier when I'm seeing movies. Like sex, they provide a great emotional release/catharsis. What was that called in old Asian theatre theory? "Rasa," I believe? No, "rasa" meant "taste"... the "taste" of theatre. Man, I am a bad student. Whatever, I'm a practicioner, not a theorist. I'm an actor, dammit!

Anyway. I apologize. Blog sometimes brings out my worst tendencies. I promise that in some posts I will sound deep, reflective and intelligent. I'm very two-faced like that. It's like there's a petulant child and an old sagely wise man fighting for control of my thoughts and words. Maybe I'm a touch schizophrenic. My great grandmother was. Or at least they called it that back in the day. She may just have been generic "crazy".

My hope is that I've picked up just enough of it to be an effective actor/writer and but not enough to be certifiably insane. That would be ideal.

But wait, that reminds me of something the casting director Michael Shurtleff wrote in his book, Audition. He said that wanting to go into acting was like asking permission into an insane asylum: anyone may apply, but only the certifiably insane are admitted.

Sigh. So much for the theory that I'm not crazy.