Martial Arts in Media 5/14

The cinemas in China continue to multiply, and the audience continues to grow, but the films that are being fed to them are like meat to lions. If they’re hungry, they’ll devour anything thrown at them and roar for more – no matter how tough the gristle. Producers and studios don’t mind. “Look how successful
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Martial Arts in Media 4/14

In the shadow of the Hong Kong Film Awards April 13th, the China Directors’ Guild Awards refused to bestow any Best Picture or Best Director prizes, because “the artistic quality of the films in contention was too low to deserve honor.” On the one hand, this was a protest that the government still refuses to
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Martial Arts in Media 3/14

After months, if not years, of drips and drabs, the martial arts media world has erupted with some major events, with promises of more landmark thrills in the months ahead. First, there’s Kung Fu, award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang’s homage to Bruce Lee. This theatrical event is playing at the beautiful Signature Theater at 480
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Martial Arts in Media 2/14

If you want to know just how “interesting” it is to make a movie in China today, you need go no further than the first minute of the opening credits for Jackie Chan’s newest, Police Story 2013. There, for almost a full sixty seconds, comes a parade of pre-title personages. There are, in order of
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Martial Arts in Media 1/14

For the first time since China took over Hong Kong in 1997, the future looks interesting (at the least) and hopeful (at the most) for kung fu film fans. To put that contention in perspective, The Hollywood Reporter recently cited Chinese cinema’s growing concern about international disparities. “While China’s domestic box office in 2012 was
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2013’s 5 Best (& 10 Worst) Film Fights

Yes, yes, I could’ve done my somewhat annual list of the top and bottom TV shows and films of the year, but everybody does that. So I figured, why not do a list where my so-called “area of expertise” would have some sway? So here, then, in alphabetical order, is my p.o.v. on what made,
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Zatoichi 26 Liner Notes

Believe it or not, since posting my 11/13 Martial Arts in Media column, I’ve had some requests to see the liner notes I wrote for the now hard-to-find U.S. DVD release of Shintaro Katsu’s final Zatoichi film, then titled simply Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman. Here then are those liner notes as originally written: More than
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Martial Arts in Media 11/13

Oh brother. First, I’m sorry this column is so late in the month, and second, sorry it’s going to be so short. Anyone who knows me probably understands at least one of the reasons why this is such a busy time of the year for me (hint: ho ho ho, second hint: santaconfidential.com). But also,
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(Not) Frozen in Time

Be warned: it is very hard to discuss the Disney Animation Studio’s new semi-musical film Frozen without teetering periously close to spoilers. But really, spoiler-squawkers, IT’S A DISNEY FILM. Whadyathink, everyone DIES at the end? The reason it’s tough to talk Frozen sans spoilery allusions is that the very thing which makes it special —
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Thor Not Sore

I quite liked Thor: The Dark World. At first I wasn’t sure whether it was because it was a pleasant surprise after all the negative things I heard about it, but then I realized it had to be good since I was hyper-attuned to whatever inanities and illogicals I had been warned about. And when
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