Movies At Midnight's Published Articles
Conversations with GoD: ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ Co-Star Li Bing-Bing
September 27th, 2008 at 9:54 am | |
Earlier this month, I spoke with The Forbidden Kingdom screenwriter John Fusco and his influences that helped forge the script. Now, I am lucky enough to speak with one of the film’s co-stars, Li Bing-Bing, who makes her Hollywood debut playing Ni Chang, better known as The Bride With White Hair.
Geeks Of Doom: Thank you for taking some time today to answer some questions about your current film, The Forbidden Kingdom which is your first English language film, after ten years of acting in Hong Kong cinema. Did you have any trouble adapting to an American production work schedule?
Li Bing-Bing: I was very lucky to be part of The Forbidden Kingdom. The Forbidden Kingdom has a fantastic filmmaking team with director Rob Minkoff, cinematographer Peter Pau, martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, and Jet Li, and Jackie as world class martial artists and teachers. Everyone was very professional. The Forbidden Kingdom cast and crew also had a great team spirit attitude — they had high expectation for all cast members, no matter that their backgrounds maybe. Everyone had the same treatment and everyone was thoughtful as well. I quickly became accustomed to the U.S. filmmaking culture and learned a lot from the experience [...]
DVD Review: Son of Sam
September 24th, 2008 at 10:18 pm | |
Between 1976 and 1977, David Berkowitz murdered six people and wounded seven others in a series of attacks that terrorized New York City. He was dubbed the .44 Caliber Killer by newspapers and was self-titled the Son of Sam in a letter found near one of the shooting victims. After Berkowitz was finally arrested, in part due to an unpaid parking ticket, he cited both a Satanic cult he was supposedly a member of and his next door neighbor’s dog that was possessed by a demon who commanded him to go out and kill. This is Berkowitz’s story, as recounted through the imagination of Ulli Lommel.
Lommel, who has been making movies since the early 1970s, has seemingly made his post-2000 career out of writing and directing low budget direct-to-video tales about true-life serial killers or knockoffs of Hollywood fare. One would guess that after a handful of misses he’d finally get one right, but Son of Sam is not that film. Here, Lommel takes broad strokes with the most generic information about Berkowitz to paint a clearly unnecessary fictionalized account of the Son of Sam murders. Truth is always stranger than fiction [...]
TV Review: Kung Fu Killer
September 13th, 2008 at 6:01 pm | |
DVD Review: The Morgue
In this two-part mini-series, an elderly Caucasian monk named White Crane (David Carradine) returns to his monastery after wandering the world for two decades to spend the rest of his days. But soon after he returns, an army battalion under the rule of criminal mastermind Khan sweeps into the monastery and systematically wipe out most of monks. White Crane vows to take revenge and soon finds himself in Shanghai, where he actually becomes the bodyguard of Khan in order to get close to him, and learns of Khan’s plan in creating a gas that will kill countless thousands.
White Crane also meets up with Jane (Darryl Hannah), a singer from Brooklyn who is now the main attraction at a local bar, and whose brother coincidentally is the scientist who is being forced to work on Khan’s death gas. When Khan is finally ready to test his new gas, White Crane sees this as the moment to show his true allegiance, and strikes with vengeance in his heart and in his fists!…
September 12th, 2008 at 4:02 pm | |
Life moves at a pretty repetitive rate for Margo, and that is just how she likes it. Every night, she rides her bike over to the local morgue and mausoleum to vacuum the rugs, give the night watchman his liquor and try once again to get that pesky stain off the bathroom floor that is said to be blood from one of morticians when they committed suicide. But tonight, her peaceful routine is interrupted when a dysfunctional family comes in looking for gas and to use her bathroom. Margo does her best to help them, but when a pair of men burst into the morgue badly injured, Margo knows that something is very wrong.
Things go from bad to worse for the group when they discover that not only are the phones dead, but that there seems to be something stalking and hunting them in the shadows. Margo tries to take the lead of the perplexed and confused, but whatever it is in the darkness seems to know their every move before they make it…
Conversations with GoD: ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ Screenwriter John Fusco
September 8th, 2008 at 8:19 pm | |
DVD Review: Lost Boys: The Tribe
John Fusco’s latest screenplay to hit the big screen and about to be released on DVD this Tuesday is The Forbidden Kingdom, which will be remembered for the first on-screen appearance of both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Fusco was the pen behind the Young Guns films, as well as the Viggo Mortensen flick Hidalgo, and he also scripted the Weinstein Company’s upcoming re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai.
Geeks Of Doom: Were you aware of the Chan and Li team-up when you began writing the script?
John Fusco: It actually began as a bedtime story for my young son who was beginning martial arts. Because I have a background in kung fu, I wanted to introduce him to what I felt was the right foundation: the philosophy and literature and mythology that informs the practice. If I had tried reading Lao Tzu or the Four Classics to him I would have lost him. So I made up a fun time travel journey that would be something of a primer…
September 8th, 2008 at 12:17 pm | |
After Chris is kicked off his surfing team and loses his endorsements, he and his sister head off to the sleepy town of Luna Bay to lay low and hopefully start anew. Within twenty-four hours of arriving in the town, he discovers that his one-time surfing idol Shane lives in the town, meets up with a delusional surfboard shaper who claims to be a vampire hunter named Edgar Frog, is invited to a party at Shane’s who picks up Chris’ sister Nicole, and has sex with a woman who turns out be a vampire.
Confused, bewildered, and none-to-happy that Nicole also seems to be displaying symptoms of vampirism, Chris turns to Edgar for some unbelievable advice. Edgar, who has been hunting vampires for more than twenty years, quickly catches Chris up to speed with a stack of comic books. He tells Chris that Nicole is only half-vampire — as long as they can kill the head vampire before she feeds, she will be saved. And with that, Chris makes the fateful decision to become half-vampire himself so he has the strength to fight, while Edgar loads up on stakes and holy water to dispatch this latest tribe of bloodsuckers who have invaded his town…
DVD Review: Trapped Ashes
August 31st, 2008 at 4:16 pm | |
In the late 60′s and early 70′s, anthology horror movies poured from low budget production houses throughout Europe, including the time-honored Black Sabbath from Mario Bava and EC Comics inspired Tales From The Crypt by Freddie Francis. Anthology horror on the big screen took on new life in the US in the 1980s with Creepshow and sputtered out in the early 1990s with Tales From The Darkside: The Movie. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, a ghostly anthology series called Troublesome Night has been going strong since 1997 and most recently the East Asian anthology films Three and Three: Extremes have been chilling audiences around the world.
But is there hope for a revival of this horror niche here in the United States? Writer Dennis Bartok would like to think so. Bartok, who has spent much of his career on the fringes of the film community as the head of programming at American Cinematheque in Los Angeles and as an interviewer for DVD featurettes, makes his screenwriting debut with Trapped Ashes, and with the help of some Japanese financing has brought along some top-name talent to back him up…
DVD Review: Human Lanterns
August 26th, 2008 at 1:25 pm | |
Rivals Lung and Tan have been at each other for years, trying to best the other in everything from martial arts skills to festival competitions. When Tan invites Lung to his home, only to show off what will be his entry in this year’s lantern competition, Lung is jealous and humbled. But when Tan brings out a local prostitute in front of Lung and his wife, who Lung has been secretly seeing, Lung is humiliated. Vowing revenge, Lung turns to a master lantern craftsman (Shaw Brothers legend Lo Lieh) to construct a lantern guaranteed to win the competition.
Meanwhile, a psychotic madman with a mastery over monkey-style kung fu has vowed to take away everything that is precious to Tan and Lung. Dressed in black and donning a skull mask, the madman begins to kidnap women including Tan’s sister and Lung’s wife. Tan and Lung at once begin to suspect each other, and bring in the local police to place blame on one another. The police begin to search for clues, hoping to find the women still alive, unaware the kidnapped victims have already been skinned alive to be used as material for the madman’s dazzling lanterns.
Mixing the expected incredible martial arts choreography that the Shaw Brothers are known for with the rising desire for macabre subject matter of the early eighties, director Sun Chung (The Sexy Killer, The Avenging Eagle) along with co-writer Ni Kuang, who has written pretty much every worthwhile Shaw Brothers title since the mid 1960s, created what would become one of the studio’s most sought after cult films…
DVD Review: Tai-Chi Master
August 8th, 2008 at 8:26 am | |
DVD Review: Doomsday
Jet Li’s early collaborations in Hong Kong during the eighties and nineties, including work with renowned visionary Tsui Hark in the Once Upon A Time In China series and Ching Siu-Tung in Swordsman II, helped to set him apart from the rest of his movie compatriots as a solitary actor but even more so as a martial arts master. However, it was his first work with legendary martial arts choreographer and director Yuen Wo-Ping in 1993 including Tai-Chi Master that truly unleashed a fury that had been building in him for the better part of twelve years.
Under the guidance of Yuen Wo-Ping and with the aid of his talented his stunt team, Jet Li gives a performance that was arguably unparalleled at the time of the film’s release (but would be universally surpassed the following year with Fist of Legend).
August 4th, 2008 at 12:43 pm | |
After wowing horror fans with his debut Dog Soldiers and scaring the wits out of unsuspecting cinemagoers with 2006’s The Descent, director and writer Neil Marshall set his sights next on creating a perfect love letter to ultra-violent post-apocalyptic action films that dotted the eighties. Marshall taps into the main plotline of Escape From New York while injecting heavy doses of the Mad Max trilogy to create a foundation for a wild and fully entertaining flick.
The opening sequence, with Malcolm McDowell’s eerie and gravelly monologue unfolding the fate that befalls Scotland, sets the grim tone for the rest of the film. Meanwhile Marshall, who has shown us twice before that he and his crew can dish out the grue, starts blowing everyone to Hell just moments after the stark and sudden title screen with a giddy delight of someone whose just learned how to rig a squib for the first time. And with a glimpse of the computer monitor that details the wall that is placed around the country while the lo-fi soundtrack pulses underneath, it is hard to remind yourself that this is not 1982.
DVD Review: Invisible Target
July 15th, 2008 at 9:05 am | |
Movie Review: Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
After his lighthearted action-comedy Rob-B-Hood, Hong Kong director and co-writer Benny Chan returns to the shadowy streets of honor and revenge for his latest cops versus robbers spectacle.
July 12th, 2008 at 3:44 pm | |
DVD Review: The Eye 3
Until Batman Begins hit theaters in 2005, 1993′s animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was arguably the best big-screen representation of the iconic superhero.
July 7th, 2008 at 3:26 pm | |
Comic Review: ‘The Black Coat’ One-Shot
Equally known as The Eye 10 and The Eye: Infinity in the international market, the writing/directing duo of the Pang Brothers take their in-name-only sequel in a new direction to pump some fresh blood into the series for what is mostly its final outing.
June 27th, 2008 at 1:42 pm | |
DVD Review: The Eye (2008)
This 52-page one-shot from Black Coat co-creator and writer Ben Ben Lichius contains two Black Coat tales, Heart of Ice and First Blood.
June 26th, 2008 at 8:57 am | |
Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, and Parker Posey star in this U.S. remake from directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud.