Posts Tagged ‘Ziyi Zhang’

Invasive Species

Godzilla II: King of the Monsters

Director: Michael Dougherty

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Ziyi Zhang (The Grandmaster, The House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) , C. C. H. Pounder (Baghdad Cafe), Anthony Ramos, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Director Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla II: King of the Monsters should be viewed within the same context as Legendary pictures predecessor films Gareth Edwards’s 2014 film Godzilla and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts Kong: Skull Island

Returning to the cast are scientists Dr Ishiro Serizawa and Dr Vivienne Graham played by Oscar nominee’s Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water).

Amidst the re-emergence of Godzilla and the global threat of his fellow titans, a selection of invasive species called Mothra, Rodan and the three headed dragon Ghidorah, there is the familial conflict of the Russell family. There is the father Mark played by Kyle Chandler (Argo, Super 8, First Man) and estranged wife Dr Emma Russell played by Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) and their beloved daughter Madison played by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.

As Dr Russell and Madison are captured by the ruthless Jonah Alan played by Charles Dance (White Mischief), Mark Russell with the help of crypto-zoological agency Monarch scientists to unleash Godzilla who is released to fight Ghidorah from the plains of Mexico to the fiery urban landscape of contemporary Boston, Massachusetts.

If viewers are Monster movie fans, then Godzilla II: King of the Monsters is sure to satisfy them with amazing production design and dazzling visual effects as the primordial clash of the titans begins.

Also in the cast are Thomas Middleditch (The Wolf of Wall Street, Kong: Skull Island) as Sam Coleman, Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) as Admiral William Stenz who is hell bent on launching nuclear firepower at the Titans to save the earth from being ravaged by monsters.

Other supporting cast members include C.C.H. Pounder from Avatar, Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born), Bradley Whitford (The Post) and Chinese superstar Ziyi Zhang from such classic films as The Grandmaster, The House of Flying Daggers and Ang Lee’s Oscar winning film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

As far as plot goes, Godzilla II: King of the Monsters is basically a family drama about the Russell’s as parents fight each other for custody of Madison superbly played by Millie Bobby Brown framed within a larger war between enormous monsters including the trustworthy Godzilla as he battles Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed dragon Ghidorah who likes to devastate cities like the Dragons in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Godzilla II: King of the Monsters gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is extremely enjoyable for those that love monster movies as this cinematic piece is jam packed with crazy beasts ravaging the earth, which serves as an allegorical tale of the unprecedented effects of climate change on this planet.

A Tiger Never Abandons his Mountain

Grandmaster

The Grandmaster

Director: Wong Kai Wai

Starring: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang, Chen Chang

Films about martial arts have a niche market audience, but in this beautifully orchestrated and visually rich tale of Ip Man, the Grandmaster of Kung Fu, director Wong Kai Wai provides an extraordinary blend of history, action and breathtaking beauty in his groundbreaking cinematic spectacle The Grandmaster.

hero

Featuring Asian martial arts stars Tony Leung (Hero, Lust, Caution) as Ip Man and the poised and gorgeous Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha, House of Flying Daggers) as Gong Err two opposing grandmasters who first encounter each other in a lavish brothel, The Golden Pavilion and who display their unique Kung Fu skills and also an enduring love for each other. Gong Err has to contend with her father’s legacy and the rivalry of an adopted brother known as The Razor played by Chen Chang who threatens to usurp her position as head of the family home in 1930’s Foshan, China following the proverb of a tiger who never abandons his mountain. In this case honour trumps defeat.

As the action seamlessly follows these three characters, the historical narrative moves from Foshan in 1936 through the Japanese invasion of China to post-war Hong Kong which becomes the haven for contemporary Kung Fu in the 1950’s. Ip Man incidentally becomes the Grandmaster of Martial Arts star the legendary Bruce Lee who revolutionized martial arts films in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Director Wong Kai Wai’s sumptuous tale of the evolution of Kung Fu is gorgeously told in The Grandmaster with breathtaking cinematography by Philippe Le Sourd who deservedly got nominated for a 2014 Oscar but lost out to Alphonso Cuaron’s film Gravity. The intricate Oriental costumes of 1940’s China are superbly evoked in The Grandmaster which also got a nod for Best Costume Design but lost out to The Great Gatsby at the 2014 Oscars. One particularly memorable scene comes to mind when Gong Err is attending her father’s lavish funeral march as she encounters the followers of the Razor on the icy plains of Northeastern China all beautifully attired in crisp white funeral robes.

The Grandmaster is both a martial arts film but also a historical account of the fortunes of the two central Chinese characters as their lives are disrupted by the invading Japanese and both are forced to flee south to the safety of Hong Kong. Memorable scenes include the Chinese New Year fight sequence at a train station between the unflinching Gong Err and her adversary and the opening sequence of legendary Ip Man as he swiftly defeats a gang of rivals in a rain soaked Foshan alleyway.

house_of_flying_daggers_ver2

As the opening film of the 2013 Berlin Film Festival http://www.davidrwalker.co.za/2013/05/2013-berlinale/ The Grandmaster  is authentic Asian cinema at its best, with Chinese dialogue and English subtitles along with flawless visuals and wonderfully elegant fight sequences to rival directors Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern) and Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lust Caution). This is highly recommended viewing especially for film enthusiasts and lovers of authentic martial arts cinema in the tradition of Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

 

 

2000 Toronto Film Festival

2000 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

Tiff2000poster

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Canada.
Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

Stardom_FilmPoster

Opening Night Film: Stardom directed by Denys Arcand, starring Jessica Pare and Dan Aykroyd

crouching_tiger_hidden_dragon_ver3

People Choice Award: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon directed by Ang Lee, starring Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang

Waydowntown

Best Canadian Feature Film: Waydowntown directed by Gary Burns, starring Don McKellar and Marya Delver

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

 

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