Saturday, October 31, 2009

My first post!

Welcome to my very first post of my movie blog! Let's get started, shall we?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long)
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang
Released: 12/22/00
Viewed in theaters: 3/17/01

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to Gladiator)
Best Director - Ang Lee (lost to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus, and Kuo Jang Tsai (lost to Stephen Graghan for Traffic)
Best Art Direction (won)
Best Cinematography (won)
Best Costume Design (lost to Gladiator)
Best Editing (lost to Traffic)
Best Original Score (won - great soundtrack, you can't go wrong with Yo-Yo Ma!)
Best Foreign Film (won - duh!)

What do Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain have in common? I can name six things:

1. They both feature horses.
2. They both feature mountains.
3. They both feature people who fall in love with each other after spending time together in the great outdoors.
4. They both have star-gazing scenes.
5. They both won Best Score at the Oscars.
And what's the other one? Oh yeah...
6. They were both directed by Ang Lee.

I thought it would be interesting to compare Lee's two best-known and critically acclaimed movies. Obviously, they're nothing alike plot-wise, but they do share some similarities. (Though the first two may be a bit of a stretch since countless movies have horses and mountains in them - okay, maybe they were all a bit of a stretch!)

Look, a mountain!

When I first saw this movie, I knew Michelle Yeoh from one of the James Bond movies and I had heard of Chow Yun-Fat. It was actually the second foreign film I had ever seen. (The first was the other foreign film that has been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar - Life is Beatiful). Nine years later and I've seen about thirty foreign films; not a whole lot, but better than two! I know there are people out there who are opposed to foreign-language films because they don't want to be bothered to read the subtitles or they're just too lazy to read them! It's a shame because those people are missing some good movies out there. I don't know, maybe subtitles don't bother me because 1)I'm a fast reader so I can quickly read what's on the screen and be able to see the action, and 2)I've gotten used to subtitles by now. The CTHD DVD does come with the option to watch the dubbed English version, but I prefer to watch it with its native language and read the subtitles. I did watch it in English once and it just didn't resonate the same. Supposedly the three main actors all have different accents since they're all from different parts of Asia, but I couldn't tell with my American ears!

I love this movie because it's just so much fun to watch and visually stunning. Obviously invisible wires were used, but I have no idea how they were so graceful during the fight scenes and they must have taken months to choreograph. The film does a good job of giving the audience enough of the martial arts scenes to keep us entertain, but it doesn't drown in them.

My favorite scene would have to be the one where the petite Jen (Zhang) is eating her meal and all those burly guys come in to "teach her a lesson" and she pretty much ends up kicking all their asses! It's hard to believe Zhang is going to be 31 this February; she's so youthful- looking and looks like a porcelain doll in this film.

This movie has the honor of being the first foreign film to reach over $100 million in the U.S.

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