Friday, September 02, 2011

Camera Obscura: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame; Changing 'Star Wars' Again and Again

While it is only slated to play in a handful of cities in the U.S. and Canada over the next month, the epic adventure "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame'' has already been a film festival hit. Here's the trailer:

J. Hoberman of the Village Voice has the mega-hipster review:

Magnificent and cheesy, the latest and most proudly absurd of Chinese historical spectaculars, Detective Dee is a cinematic comic book for people who are sick of the mode. Arriving at summer's end, this supernatural period fiction sweeps the season's accumulated superhero detritus straight into the Hollywood dream dump. Tsui Hark's tale of China's late seventh-century Empress Wu (Carina Lau) careens from set piece to set piece, distinguished by its nonstop action, emphatic expository dialogue, bird's-eye angles, decorative snow flurries, and cosmic winds (not to mention fabulous costumes and hairdos). As one character describes the so-called Ghost Market to another, it's "a spooky pandemonium."


Movie directors critique other movie directors in what is best described as the "30 Harshest Filmmaker-On-Filmmaker Insults In History" - includes tidbits like:

Ingmar Bergman on Orson Welles:
“For me he’s just a hoax. It’s empty. It’s not interesting. It’s dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of — is all the critics’ darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it’s a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie’s got is absolutely unbelievable."

Other insults are more ... "colorful" ... in this list.


Fanboys (and girls) from around the world are up in arms (again) over changes to the "Star Wars" movies on DVD Blu-Ray - such as adding in a line or two for Darth Vader in "Return of the Jedi" so that he yells "Nooooooo!" to the Emperor as he tries to kill his son Luke with evil lightning bolts. I suppose it is meant to echo the laughable "Noooooo!" uttered by Vader at the end of "Revenge of the Sith" and (oh, boy, does this indignant fan reaction get weird). There's also complaints that the original trilogy - as originally shown in theaters - isn't available on DVD.

One blogger points out some comments from director George Lucas himself, in which Lucas seems to hurl accusations at his future self for all the changes the future Lucas is making to his movies:

American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history. People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians ....

Why are films cut up and butchered?

Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.

I hope you have the courage to lead America in acknowledging the importance of American art to the human race, and accord the proper protection for the creators of that art--as it is accorded them in much of the rest of the world communities."

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