I’m not going to spoil this book by posting any of its many, splendid pictures or attempting to describe what you’ll find inside.
All I should need to say is this:
If you’re a film fan, you need this book. You need THE CINEMA OF WONG KAR WAI by Wong Kar Wai and John Powers. Just buy it!
However, for those who need a bit more, I’ll say this:
Cinephiles often dream of a book by their favorite filmmakers in which the filmmakers do not shy away from any subject. In this dream book, the filmmakers talk freely, about the meaning of their films, how they did certain tricks, and even their personal lives.
THE CINEMA OF WONG KAR WAI is that book.
In it Wong talks personal, he talks meaning, he talks shop. Wong himself says he has not previously been willing to talk about most of the things in this book. Why the change? If you take the journey with Wong and John Powers from cover to cover, something I recommend, you will come to an end where Wong explains why he decided to open up and you will be moved.
To say more will spoil the book. Even to flip through the pages will spoil it. So save up your pennies (it ain’t cheap), buy it, tear off the cellophane, open the book to page one, and start your journey with Wong Kar Wai and John Powers. You won’t be disappointed.
9/10 stars (At least one star off for numerous typos. I counted four typos in Young Orson by Peter McGilligan (yes, I’m one of those people), but four was enough to drive me nuts. I don’t know if there’s even a word to describe what all the typos in the Wong book did to me.)
FYI: I paid for my copy. It was NOT a free review copy.
EXTRA: When a book is as expensive as the Wong Kar Wai book, why not treat it nice? First, if it has a dust jacket, Brodart it, that is, put a plastic cover on the dj. Second, to avoid bending, or even cracking, the book’s spine, do this:
Finally, I recommend putting the book in a plastic bag. Books hate dust, but plastic will keep them safe.
Maybe you think plastic bags are a bit much. Maybe you think it’s all a bit much. But do you really want your beautiful copy of The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai to end up like this?
If you say, “Yes!,” please don’t try to borrow my copy. I won’t answer the door when you knock and I’ll hide in the dark until you go away.
Question: What do these movies have in common?
- Seventh Heaven (1927)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
- Pinocchio (1940)
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
- E.T. the Extraterrestrial
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Deja Vu
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- Edge of Tomorrow
Is Hollywood obsessed with resurrection, aka the denial of death?
1. Like watching someone else play a video game for hours on end. Someone with a cheat code. In Groundhog’s Day, the repetition was not a good thing and Murray tried to stop it, without success. In this film, repetition is what enables Cruise to win. Without it, he, and all of humanity, would lose. Why should we care about someone who has an unfair advantage in the game? Like I said, it’s like watching someone play a game and win only because they have the cheat code. Not cool and more than a little boring.
2. The first part of the film is about getting beyond the main battlefield. The third act is about confronting the aliens in an entirely new location. I think this was a mistake. It’s ok that they left the main battlefield, but I think it would have been more interesting if they discovered that what they were seeking was on the main battlefield all along, so the third act should have been a return, once again, to the main battlefield. Sorta like an ABA’ structure.
3. The setup didn’t make sense. Why would they send a PR guy like Cruise, inexperienced in combat, into battle on such an important day? Is his superior officer secretly working for the other side, intentionally trying to sabotage the war effort? It might make sense if the guy somehow knew what was going to happen to Cruise. But he’s just as clueless about the future as anyone at this point.
I had multiple issues with Ender’s Game, but I’m going to talk about just one: the twist. It makes little sense that Ender, having been presented as super smart and distrustful of Harrison Ford throughout the movie, does not suspect something’s up when he and his squad destroy the planet in what they think is nothing more than a simulation exercise for graduation.
This weakness could have been resolved if Harrison Ford said something like this in reply to Ender’s, “You tricked me.” “That’s bullshit, Wiggin, and you know it. You’re too smart not to have suspected the truth. We needed someone who would go all the way, and only a psychopath could go all the way. We chose you because you repeatedly showed signs of being a psychopath. That’s what we wanted, and that’s what you gave us. Deep down inside, you knew that. You wanted to destroy the planet. You wanted permission to kill a species. And that’s what you did. So don’t give me that bullshit about being tricked.”
Of course, I doubt the filmmakers intended us to see Ender as a psychopath, but it’s unavoidable and if that’s the impression, then the best thing is to embrace it. Perhaps the main problem is the setup. An alien invasion sets everything in motion, but we never see any real fighting or real aliens until the end. The would be second invasion functions more as a MacGuffin, but it’s a MacGuffin gone wrong because what happens to the aliens cannot be avoided. I get the impression that the story could have been better told had something with lower stakes than an alien invasion and the fate of the entire planet been chosen because the story that ends up being told would seem to be best setup with preliminaries closer to Starship Trooper (that is, a story about fighting aliens mano a mano, up close and personal) than a story about kids in a military academy.