Tag: cinema

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Judge Dee Burns Up the Screen

Went to see the new Tsui Hark film “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame“ [狄仁杰之通天帝国] at one of the downtown shopping centers in Taipei and loved it! Apparently, the only showing in America so far has been at the Toronto Film Festival in September where it was reviewed as a return to fun for Hark.  I certainly thought it was fun myself, harking back to the crazy wuxia themes that played so well in Chinese Ghost Story [倩女幽魂] __and Green Snake [青蛇]. For those of us who also loved the series of novels fashioned on Judge Dee by Van Gulik, this movie seems to distort the character into a much-larger than life action hero.  Nonetheless, the cinematic style and lavish attention to sets create a fantasy epic very much worth seeing.  The underworld scenery and throwaway characters reminded me of the similar backdrops used in Hellboy II and Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Singapore sets, suggesting that Tsui Hark has made a close study of those design ideas and paid homage to them.

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We need a new racket!

Boys, it says here that GoogleMoon is buying up all the prospecting claims from Tycho all the way over to von Braun. With the kind of muscle those guys are bringing in, our little stake will be wa

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Visual Trope: the Alien Encounter

On this snowbound Solstice weekend in New England, I happened to be reading reviews of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, and pondering the ways in which humans have envisioned our first contact with alien life forms. Without going too heavily into the subject, I pondered the range of human-alien frission typically presented in SF, from the over-hyped assumption of instant warfare, or the however improbable love at first site, to the more nuanced anthropological approaches of Chad Oliver and the intensely portrayed psychological gestalts of Theodore Sturgeon. At that point Sturgeon’s amazing story To Marry Medusa (aka _The Cosmic Rape_) popped into my mind, and in particular the lush red cover image for the 1968 paperback by Paul Lehr. This image, so typical of Lehr (with a mountainous half-organic construction looming in the center, while miniscule beings flit around it like so many fleas,) represents the contact between human and alien minds in the realm of abstraction and metaphor. In that sense it fascinates more than the familiar image of some athletic dork with a ray gun zapping the tentacles off of a bug-eyed wierdo.

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Your Brain Is On the Menu

Yes, it is that time again… no, not Presidential Election Day! World Zombie Day, when hordes of shambling, bloody-mouthed fiends stagger through the streets to find you and eat your brain. What

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APE 2006, lost but not forgotten

While cleaning up a shelf, I discovered a folder full of freebie cards that I picked up at the Alternate Press Expo (APE) in 2006. It was a fun time that year, with Keef Knight as one of six GoH, and a fine cast of erstwhile comix artists and DIY crafters filling the concourse. There is no point in just stashing these away in a box, so let’s look at some eye candy! First up, Doug Sirois and Steamcrow :

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*ollywood, where are you?

Shouldn’t there be a little Bollywood, or as the case may be Tollywood, Kollywood, and Lollywood, in all of us? If not for these bizarrely enterprising cinema juggernauts, we would never have seen t

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Nyoka, Jungle Girl

Okay, it’s not exactly a panel, but it is sort of weird… And it did clue me into the some arcane tidbits of film history. For example, I didn’t even know about the fifteen part-serial Nyoka, the Jungle Girl (1941), which claimed to be based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs 1929 novel, Jungle Girl, even though ERB’s book takes place in Cambodia, and Nyoka (“snake” in Swahili) is clearly set in the Hollywood mythos Africa.

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Box Office Brother

Here’s an amusing snapshot of my brother, Sangpo, on the set of the TV film series <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AQ6A9E?ie=UTF8&tag=diambayrese-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789