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Journey to the West is, kinda, the new film from Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle star/director Stephen Chow. He co-wrote, co-directed and produced the film, but doesn’t appear in the movie — still, it bears his distinct influence. The movie features a bizarre collection of monsters and demon hunters, who collide in battles that are decorated with weird, outsized CG embellishments.

This trailer shows some of that crazy stuff, like the guy who inflates his leg to the size of a house, the better to kick someone in the face. There are giant beasts and over the top comedy, all inspired (vaguely) by ancient Chinese tales. Read More »

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If you don’t have plans for the next couple of summers yet, you may be tempted to take some theme park trips after you read this post. After the jump:

  • Disneyland Paris will get a Ratatouille attraction in 2014
  • Check out the first model image from Shanghai Disneyland
  • Disney’s Imagineers will be the subject of a new documentary
  • Universal Florida‘s Transformers ride prepares for its launch
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem opens in Hollywood next year
  • Stephen Chow is making a Journey to the West-themed park

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we hate on the Nazi party, get weird with Stephen Chow’s latest, think globally but act locally buying organic, get confused with my inability to decipher what Tim Roth is saying, pick up a sixer of talent, and get all emotional with a movie that took five years to make. 

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Some of the best movie lore has to do with why projects didn’t happen, rather than the stories behind ones that did. This is halfway to one of those stories. The Green Hornet opens this week as directed by Michel Gondry, but the film might have been very different. Stephen Chow was set to direct, and Nicolas Cage was originally going to play the villain role that was taken instead by Christoph Waltz. Now, there is a bit more detail about the departure of Cage. It might not shock you that one of the key factors was a funny accent. Read More »

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It’s a slow news day, and that means rumor time! You might remember that, over a year ago, Stephen Chow stepped away from the director’s chair for The Green Hornet, supposedly to work on his own big Hollywood movie. Shortly afterward, it was said to be a vehicle for Jack Black and Anne Hathaway, and that it would be a big action-packed spectacle, with the CGI and humor that characterizes Chow’s films, just made with a bigger budget.

Now there’s a report that the film might be called Tai Chi, and that it is really a remake of Bruce Lee‘s film Way of the Dragon, released in the US as Return of the Dragon. Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Kato Casting Call Kicks Chow To The Curb?

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It would appear from a freshly surfaced casting call that the role of Kato in Michel Gondry‘s Green Hornet movie is currently vacant. After it was announced that Seth Rogen was to write, produce and star in a Hornet flick a heady cocktail of skepticism and intrigue flooded the web. Then, it was announced that Stephen Chow was going to both direct and co-star in the picture and the general level of enthusiasm went through the roof. After that, a nosedive as Chow left the director’s seat and while it seemed likely he’d also pass up on the acting position, nothing was made official and Rogen even intimated that Chow was just as likely to be his Kato as ever. This remained the case even after Gondry was announced as director.

That all changes now, however.

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Since Sam Raimi and Quentin Tarantino sky-rocketed Stephen Chow’s US reputation with their effusive praise of Shaolin Soccer, you’ll probably find that the least well received picture in Chow’s ouevre has been the sci-fi family film CJ7. Personally though, I absolutely love it, and this is in spite of its sometimes woeful CG work and the occasionally confusing slapstick non-sequiturs (see also: Drag Me to Hell). Despite the director’s long standing promise of a sequel to the masterful Kung Fu Hustle, it seems the first direct follow up to be spawned from one of Chow’s pictures will be a CJ7 continuation – CJ72, if you will. Instead of being live action like the first installment, however, this one is to be all-animated.

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