Sony Pictures Classics 10th Anniversary (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon / Pollock / Sweet and Lowdown / The Spanish Prisoner)

 
9780767888592: Sony Pictures Classics 10th Anniversary (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon / Pollock / Sweet and Lowdown / The Spanish Prisoner)
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 
Review:

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Hong Kong wuxia films, or martial arts fantasies, traditionally squeeze poor acting, slapstick humor, and silly story lines between elaborate fight scenes in which characters can literally fly. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has no shortage of breathtaking battles, but it also has the dramatic soul of a Greek tragedy and the sweep of an epic romance. This is the work of director Ang Lee, who fell in love with movies while watching wuxia films as a youngster and made Crouching Tiger as a tribute to the form. To elevate the genre above its B-movie roots and broaden its appeal, Lee did two important things. First, he assembled an all-star lineup of talent, joining the famous Asian actors Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh with the striking, charismatic newcomer Zhang Ziyi. Behind the scenes, Lee called upon cinematographer Peter Pau (The Killer, The Bride with White Hair) and legendary fight choreographer Yuen Wo-ping, best known outside Asia for his work on The Matrix. Second, in adapting the story from a Chinese pulp-fiction novel written by Wang Du Lu, Lee focused not on the pursuit of a legendary sword known as "The Green Destiny," but instead on the struggles of his female leads against social obligation. In his hands, the requisite fight scenes become another means of expressing the individual spirits of his characters and their conflicts with society and each other. The filming required an immense effort from all involved. Chow and Yeoh had to learn to speak Mandarin, which Lee insisted on using instead of Cantonese to achieve a more classic, lyrical feel. The astonishing battles between Jen (Zhang) and Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh) on the rooftops and Jen and Li Mu Bai (Chow) atop the branches of bamboo trees required weeks of excruciating wire and harness work (which in turn required meticulous "digital wire removal"). But the result is a seamless blend of action, romance, and social commentary in a populist film that, like its young star Zhang, soars with balletic grace and dignity. --Eugene Wei

Pollock
The long road to Pollock began when actor Ed Harris received a biography of Jackson Pollock from his father, who noticed that his son bore an uncanny resemblance to the artist. Harris's fascination with Pollock matched his physical similarity; the actor chose to direct and star in this impressive film biography. And his devotion assured a work of singular integrity, honoring the artist's achievement in abstract expressionism while acknowledging that Pollock was a tormented, manic-depressive alcoholic whose death at 44 (in a possibly suicidal car crash) also claimed the life of an innocent woman. The film also suggests that Pollock's success was largely attributable to the devotion of his wife, artist Lee Krasner, played with matching ferocity by Marcia Gay Harden in an Oscar®-winning performance. In many respects a traditional biopic, Pollock begins in 1941 when Pollock meets Krasner, who encourages him and attracts the attention of supportive critic Clement Greenberg (Jeffrey Tambor) and benefactor Peggy Guggenheim (Amy Madigan). As Pollock rises from obscurity to international acclaim, Harris brings careful balance to his portrayal of a driven creator who found peace during those brief, sober periods when art brought release from his tenacious inner demons. The film offers sympathy without sentiment, appreciation without misguided hagiography. As an acting showcase it's utterly captivating. As a compassionate but unflinching exploration of Jackson Pollock's intimate world, there's no doubt that Harris captured the essence of a man whose life was as torturous as his art was redeeming. --Jeff Shannon

Sweet and Lowdown
Woody Allen makes beautiful music but only fitful comedy with his story of "the second greatest guitar player in the world." Sean Penn plays Emmett Ray, an irresponsible, womanizing swing guitar player in Depression-era America who is guided by an ego almost as large as his talent. "I'm an artist, a truly great artist," he proclaims time and time again, and when he plays, soaring into a blissed-out world of pure melodic beauty, he proves it. Samantha Morton almost steals the film as his mute girlfriend Hattie, a sweet Chaplinesque waif who loves him unconditionally, and Uma Thurman brings haughty moxie to her role as a slumming socialite and aspiring writer who's forever analyzing Emmett's peculiarities (like taking his dates to shoot rats at the city dump). The vignettelike tales are interspersed with comments by jazz aficionados and critics, but this is less a Zelig-like mockumentary than an extension of the self-absorbed portraits of Deconstructing Harry and Celebrity. The lazy pace drags at times and the script runs dry between comic centerpieces--the film screams for more of Allen's playful invention--but there's a bittersweet tenderness and an affecting vulnerability that is missing from his other recent work. Shot by Zhao Fei (The Emperor and the Assassin, Raise the Red Lantern), it's one of Allen's most gorgeous and colorful films in years, buoyed by toe-tapping music and Penn's gruffly charming performance. --Sean Axmaker

The Spanish Prisoner
Campbell Scott plays a green young technocrat who invents a secret and highly successful high-tech process that, it appears, most of the free world would like to get their hands on. His own company may not be dealing with him fairly, and competitors are lurking around every street corner and kiddie carousel in New York (not to mention Caribbean hideaways) hoping to steal, cajole, or trick him out of the formula. The plot is as full of switchbacks as a mountain highway, and the delights are in watching it unfold around Scott, who is not so much of a naif that he doesn't catch on that not only his formula, but his life, are in dire danger. Steve Martin is consummately assured--and scary as hell--as a wealthy big shot determined to come out on top. David Mamet's script is refreshingly free from his trademark mannerisms; it's his most satisfying film since 1987's House of Games. --Anne Hurley

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

(No Available Copies)

Search Books:



Create a Want

If you know the book but cannot find it on AbeBooks, we can automatically search for it on your behalf as new inventory is added. If it is added to AbeBooks by one of our member booksellers, we will notify you!

Create a Want