Author Topic: News Coverage: January 2008  (Read 4780 times)

Offline tpe

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News Coverage: January 2008
« on: Jan 02, 2008, 10:09 AM »

I agree fully with the assesment given here about the 2006 Oscars.  Sadly, even a Best Forign Language Film for Lust Caution will not erase the slight.



Lust, Caution (18)
Damon Smith
2/ 1/2008

158 mins. Drama/Thriller/Romance. Tony Leung, Tang Wei, Joan Chen, Wang Leehom, Chu Tsz-ying. Director: Ang Lee. Released: January 4 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

IN March 2006, Taiwanese film-maker Ang Lee was embroiled in one of Hollywood's most shocking robberies.

Riding proudly to the Academy Awards with his love story Brokeback Mountain, Lee deservedly collected the statuette as Best Director only to see his picture sensationally denied the top prize in favour of homegrown drama Crash.

The gasp of disbelief, which echoed around California that night, was almost as loud as the sound of jaws collectively dropping around the world.

Lee sensibly escaped the furore by returning to Asia for this slow-burning adaptation of Eileen Chang's short story "Se, Jei", set against the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during World War II.

Lust, Caution is the director's first Mandarin language film since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the two features couldn't be more different.

Whereas the 2000 martial arts epic boasted breathlessly paced action sequences, this new work - a meticulous study of female repression - is achingly slow paced, punctuated with graphic sex scenes that leave nothing to the imagination.

The film's flawed heroine is demure Wong Chia Chi (Wei), who bolsters her self-confidence by joining the university drama society run by radical Kuang Yu Min (Leehom).

She blossoms on stage, learning to hide behind various masks, even growing to like cigarettes because one of her co-stars tells her "It comes in handy on stage."


Offline tpe

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Re: News Coverage: January 2008
« Reply #1 on: Jan 16, 2008, 07:56 AM »

Ellen Huang's Queer Lounge
by Suzanne Corson, Contributing Writer
January 15, 2008

Film buffs know that mid-January in Park City, Utah, is about more than great skiing — it's the home of the Sundance Film Festival. Since 2004, LGBT Sundance participants have had a hub of their own with Queer Lounge, created by former film executive and out bisexual Ellen Huang.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, Queer Lounge provides a place for LGBT filmmakers and actors to connect with each other and with mainstream film industry movers and shakers. It's also a place for audience members and the press to get the scoop about all the LGBT offerings at Sundance and the other film festivals happening concurrently in Park City.

Ellen Huang's vision for Queer Lounge came about after attending the Cannes Film Festival, where the international pavilions offer spaces where guests can get online, read papers in their own languages, and network with others. She thought that a place like that would be great for queers in the business at mainstream festivals, and Sundance was a logical place to begin.

"Sundance is known for launching some of the most seminal LGBT films, the most cutting-edge stuff, the best filmmakers," Huang said. The first Queer Lounge was the result of only eight weeks' worth of prep time. "The first year we didn't know what we were doing, and I didn't know whether I was going to have lawn chair furnishings for the lounge."

The hard work at the beginning paid off, as Queer Lounge was an instant success. In subsequent years, Huang and her crew became more savvy about what kind of events to hold and how to market Queer Lounge. Then in 2006, a film about two cowboys in Wyoming, starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, broke big.

"Brokeback Mountain was a really big factor in our having visibility in 2006," Huang says. "I became an expert on [it], is how my publicist pitched me, and it was fun, because I did have some expertise on how films are made and how films are marketed. … But it also brought a lot of momentum to the aspects of Sundance that were gay/lesbian that year."


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Offline tpe

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A budding career cut short
« Reply #2 on: Jan 22, 2008, 07:47 PM »



Heath Ledger: A budding career cut short

Ledger, right, received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain.
By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY

Heath Ledger broke hearts as Ennis Del Mar, the taciturn cowboy who maintains a secret 20-year affair with another man in 2005's gay landmark, Brokeback Mountain.

Now Ledger is breaking hearts for real. He died Tuesday at the peak of his brief career. The 28-year-old actor's naked body was found in a New York apartment by a housekeeper and a masseuse, according to police, who said signs point to suicide.

Brokeback, the cinematic groundbreaker directed by Ang Lee and co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal, was embraced by gay and straight moviegoers alike, collecting $83 million at the box office on a $14 million budget.

The tragic Western allowed the Aussie actor a chance to finally erase the teen-hunk label that he was saddled with ever since his breakthrough in 1999's 10 Things I Hate About You, Disney's high-school takeoff on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Ledger not only earned respect for his work on Brokeback but also won an Oscar nomination for his efforts.

He also met and fell for his co-star Michelle Williams. The romance lasted long enough to produce daughter Matilda, now 2.

Ledger, whose first name was taken from Heathcliff in the gothic literary romance Wuthering Heights, told USA TODAY in 2005 that his performance in Brokeback was inspired by his 60-year-old uncle who hid his homosexuality most of his life.

"It was only a couple of years ago that he really came out to me and my friends," he said. "He is really tough, the most masculine man out there. He had to overcompensate." Following his example, "I wanted to create the most masculine character I've played to date."

Until Brokeback, the depth of his latent talent was kept in a closet. Only his role as Billy Bob Thornton's browbeaten son in Monster's Ball hinted at his mostly untapped emoting ability. He and Mel Gibson did make an interesting father-son pairing in the 2000 Revolutionary War epic, The Patriot.

The majority of Ledger's résumé, until recently, was a litany of premises gone wrong (A Knight's Tale, The Order) and missed opportunities (The Brothers Grimm, Lords of Dogtown).

Lately, his work opportunities were looking up. In 2007, he performed one of six interpretations of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. Most impressively, he won a role of a lifetime as The Joker, complete with a lipstick-smeared leer, in The Dark Knight, this summer's highly anticipated follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins.

He called playing the Caped Crusader's nemesis "the most fun I've ever had with a character. He's just so out of control — no empathy. He's a sociopath, a psychotic, mass-murdering clown. And, I'm just thoroughly enjoying it."

As for personal happiness, he seemed to have found it, at least for a time, with Williams and their baby.

"Any hype or excitement around work doesn't mean anything," he told USA TODAY in the fall of 2005. "Having this child takes any pressure off my shoulders in terms of what people think of the movies. It doesn't matter."