Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hong Kong cinema masterpiece now playing at the Angelika

September 2, 2011

We can’t think of a better way to spend the long weekend than watching a film described as “CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON meets SHERLOCK HOLMES”.  This labor day, head to the Angelika for DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME – directed by legendary HK director Tsui Hark and starring accomplished martial artist and actor Andy Lau, it’s sure to be amazing.

 

About DETECTIVE DEE:
A bizarre murder mystery brings together the most powerful woman in China, the soon-to-be-Empress Wu Zetian (Carina Lau, CURIOSITY KILLS THE CAT), and exiled detective Dee Renjie (Andy Lau, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) at the infamous Imperial Palace in international action thriller sensation DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME. Hoping that he will solve the crime before her coronation, Wu appoints Dee Chief Judge of the Empire and implores him to combine his indisputable wisdom with his unparalleled martial arts skills to save the future of her dynasty. Director Hark Tsui (SEVEN SWORDS) teams with legendary stunt director Sammo Huang (IP MAN, KUNG FU HUSTLE) in this heart-pounding, epic thriller inspired by the incredible true story of one of the Tang Dynastyâ??s most celebrated officials.Check out A. O. Scott’s excellent review of the film, and we’ll see you at the movies this weekend – no parkour in the cafe, please!

SEX AND ZEN: Bring it on. [NSFW]

August 15, 2011

Earlier this year, SEX AND ZEN 3D: EXTREME ECSTASY was released in Hong Kong with an opening day take that beat out AVATAR. Chinese nationals visited the island in droves to see The World’s First 3D Erotic Film. Australia and New Zealand next experienced the film’s glossy production, revolutionary 3D effects, and yes: erotica, Thanks to our friends at China Lion Entertainment, who import first run Asian titles for the SpotlightAsia! program at our affiliated theaters in Hawaii, SEX AND ZEN is coming to America!

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It’s loosely based on a sort of “Chinese Kama Sutra” -  The Carnal Prayer Mat – which contains such wisdom as:

For instance, if you have an ugly wife who does not greatly excite you during intercourse, and you get your pleasure by imagining her as the pretty girl you saw that day, how do you know that at that very moment your wife isnâ??t just as put off by your ugliness and isnâ??t getting her pleasure by imagining you as that handsome young fellow she saw the same day? This sort of thing is universal, of course, but although no oneâ??s chastity has been compromised, damage has been done to even the stoutest heart and, in its way, that damage is also retribution for lechery.

Sage advice for the fifteenth century male.

From what we gather, SEX AND ZEN 3D: EXTREME ECSTASY is going to be a lot more fun than its literary counterpart. We’re looking forward to over the top costumes, lush ancient temples, and a LOT of camp. Bring it on!

Opening at the Angelika Dallas (9/9), and the Village East Cinema and East 86th Street in NYC (both 8/19).

#1 Independent debut GUN HILL ROAD continues at the Angelika

August 9, 2011

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Sundance Film Festival hit GUN HILL ROAD – which opened last weekend as the highest grossing independent film in the nation – continues through this weekend at the Angelika. Director Rashaad Green spent the weekend answering questions and discussing this moving film to sold out audiences every night, and we’re excited to announce he’ll be back for more Q&As!

WEDNESDAY 8/10 following the 6:00PM and 8:00PM shows

THURSDAY 8/11 following the 6:00PM and 8:00PM shows

FRIDAY 8/12 following the 8:00PM and 10:30PM shows

SATURDAY 8/13 following the 8:00PM and 10:30PM shows

SUNDAY 8/14 following the 4:00PM show

Advance tickets are available online.

Letter from the director: 5 DAYS OF WAR

5daysposter.jpgRenny Harlin, director of such action classics as DIE HARD 2 and DEEP BLUE SEA, tackles real life modern warfare in 5 DAYS OF WAR – opening August 19 at the Angelika. Check this exclusive letter to Angelika Blog readers, detailing the his interest in the story of 4 civilians trapped in the middle of the Georgian struggle for indepence in 1991, and the incredible process of shooting on location in Tsalka, Georgia:

After a teeth-rattling and bottom-numbing ride of four hours we’d finally arrived. The narrow dirt road that serpentined us to our distant destination had been freshly soaked by torrential rain, an especially nice additional touch considering the 1,000-foot drop that lay only a muddy tire widthâ??s away for most of the journey. In my infinite wisdom I had requested to see this location because of its unique features. First, it was nestled in a breathtakingly beautiful valley. Second, and most importantly, it was home to the ghost town of Tsalka. I had given my producers an unusual yet gratifying task of finding me a town that I could blow up. And so here we were, in August of 2009, in Tsalka, Georgia, as the few inhabitants of the picturesque village were eyeing us with great curiosity and deep suspicion. When I say few, I include the twelve humans, a handful of cows, goats and chickens, and an entire pack of wild dogs that circled our overloaded vehicles.

Now, you might ask how far from Atlanta said mountain village might be located. To clarify, Iâ??m talking about the Republic of Georgiaâ??as in the former Soviet country that won its independence in 1991 when the rusty Iron Curtain finally collapsed, creating dozens of new countries free to find their own way in the rapidly changing world.

Georgia is located south of Russia and north of Turkey, between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. It is considered a Mediterranean country, and home to some of the oldest Christian Churches in the world. Christianity started to spread throughout Georgia in the 1st Century, and is thought to be one of the first areas that Christianity was practiced. Because of its very strategic location, Georgia has also experienced more savage wars in the last few thousand years than anyplace else.

The reason Tsalka is so abandoned lies in the history of the country. The town was originally populated by Greek immigrants who traveled freely between their home country and Georgia. However, under Soviet rule, the Greeks one day found themselves unable to leaveâ??the borders had been closed. Entire generations grew up in Georgia without ever seeing their original homeland. Not until Georgian independence in 1991. At that point, just about every able-bodied Greek descendant packed up their belongings and traveled back to their country of ancient Gods and temples. Tsalka almost ceased to exist.

Enter Hollywood. We’d arrived to recreate a Russian assault on one of the dozens of similar towns, which were erased from the face of the earth during a brutal war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. It was actually on the opening day of the Beijing Summer Olympicsâ??August 8, 2008â??when Russian troops crossed the border into independent Georgia, sparking a war that left hundreds dead and tens of thousands homeless. The conflict lasted only five days, and the world barely blinked. But what happened in those five days was devastating and the results will reverberate for years to come in European, Russian and US politics.

But to find out what really happened you will have to see my new movie 5 Days of War.

When a group of Georgian producers left Georgia in the fall of 2008 to come to America in search of film financing and filmmakers, it was almost like a scene from Billy Wilderâ??s Ninotchka. They were foreigners far away from home, and lacked all the connections and experience usually required to make the Pearly Gates of Hollywood open. But their mission was simple, and determination solid; they wanted to tell the world what the mass media had failed to convey. They wanted to put Georgia and its story on the map.

Due to their tenacity, they managed to find Hollywood producer George Lascu for the project, and through a series of coincidences, a blueprint for a film about the war ended on my desk. It was now summer of 2009, and I had been begging my agent to find something interesting for me to do for a while. I had grown tired of the typical Hollywood fare and wanted to mount a project that would involve my heart and soul. After the first meeting with the producers I was hooked. I saw photos from the war and read the stories of survivors. I knew that my twenty-five years of making action films and thrillers had only been a training phase on my road to this story.

I asked my friend, screenwriter Mikko Alanne (Oliver Stoneâ??s Pinkville, Angelina Jolieâ??s West with the Night and The Dictatorâ??s Shadow), to come on board, and together we dove into research, interviewing war journalists, refugees, politicians, soldiers, and everyday people who had all been there as the tanks rolled down their streets and fighter jets dropped bombs in their neighborhoods. We sifted through reportage from all sides and read various independent reports of the war by the United Nations, the European Union, and Human Rights Watch. And we decided to look at the events from the point of view of war correspondents. After all, five of them died in this strikingly brief conflict, and over fifty die every year at different hotspots around the world. This focus also gave us an opportunity to connect to the everyday people in the story and show the horrors of war from a civilianâ??s point of view.

We wanted to shoot in Georgia, mostly in the actual locations of the war, only one year after the end of hostilities. You can imagine that setting off loud pyrotechnics and hours-long volleys of gunfire just 20 miles from an actual, patrolled conflict zone border comes with its own list of apprehensions and considerations.

Our crew was put together from 17 different countries. The actors came from all ends of the world. The financing was a patchwork of independent financiers, bank loans, and pre-sales of distribution rights. The project fell apart a half dozen times, but by October of 2009 we were all on location, in Tsalka, ready to shoot.

Facing us now on the mountaintop, as the sun was rising, were eighty T-72 tanks and other military vehicles, eight MI-24 and Huey helicopters, and 2,500 troops in full battle gear. Overhead, three SU-25 fighter jets were screaming through the terrain with their afterburners glowing. I was speechless, and so was everyone else. I lifted my megaphone to my mouth with emotions dwelling in my heart. This is what I had dreamed of doing when I was a kid, watching classic war movies, and here I was standing in front of thousands of people with only one request on their minds: â??Tell our story to the world.â? I took a deep breath, prayed for confidence in my voice, and said: â??Cue the jets.â?

Hollywood agents spend weeks negotiating the size of their starsâ?? motor homes, and hotel accommodations in five star hotels. Tsalka was four hours away from any hotel or restaurant. The crew lived on an old Russian train, parked next to the village. The train had no showers, and a nightâ??s sleep was frequently interrupted by the noise of workers shoveling coal into glowing furnaces in order to keep the temperature from dropping below 20 Fahrenheit. The cast, Mikkoâ??the writer, and I shared an old farmhouse. We each had a bedroom, and shared a tiny kitchen and one bathroom and shower. Some of the cockroaches were big enough to be put on a leash. It rained often, and all roads turned into impenetrable mush. But never did I hear a word of complaint from the cast or crew. The Georgians welcomed us with open arms. Their homemade meals, wine and chacha (a local firewater), kept our spirits high. The days flew by, and our relationships grew into camaraderie that nothing could break.

We blew up houses, staged firefights, shot car chases… well, tank chases actually…

5 Days Of War is a movie I wanted to make for that segment of the movie-going public (especially Americans) who are not exactly drawn to subtitled art house films set in foreign countries at war. The story of what happened in Georgia in August 2008 is too important for that. So while the film has a serious heart and deeply emotional moments, itâ??s still a Renny Harlin film, with all the action, thrills, and exciting visuals people like to see in my movies. And while several of the war correspondent characters and their storylines are admittedly dramatic creations, all the major events of the war that you will seeâ??as well as the film’s glimpses behind the scenes of war politicsâ??are all very real, recreated as faithfully as we could make them.

As for the distant mountain village of Tsalka, itâ??s still standing, and a new highway is in the works.

ANOTHER EARTH, another interview

August 5, 2011

Adam Conway had the pleasure of talking to fascinating and adorable filmmaking duo Mike Cahill and Brit Marling about their Sundance Special Jury Prize Winning film ANOTHER EARTH, opening this weekend at the Angelikas Dallas and Plano. They discuss the short films that evolved into this one, their influences, and the complicated emotions inherent in the script. And then they turn the tables and ask Adam some questions. This interview is better than anything in commercial theaters this weekend, we promise.

Dominic Cooper on his two roles in THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE

THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE opens today at the Angelikas Dallas and Plano, and this over-the-top film has one obvious takeaway: Sadadm Hussein’s son Uday was a violent, gluttonous, unstable man who killed a lot of people with little cause and spent 90% of his time partying. Underneath that, however, is a complex snapshot of the intense situation in Iraq in the early 90s carried by Dominic Cooper’s portrayalf of both Uday and his body double, Latif Yahia. We sat down with Mr. Cooper last week to discuss the difficulties of his two roles, video below:

Catch this thoroughly entertaining gangster flick this weekend at Dallas or Plano — what better way to avoid the Iraq-desert-like Texas heat?

It’s our party and we’ll show movies for free if we want to

August 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Angelika Dallas! In celebration of our 10th Anniversary, we’re putting on an extravagent celebration of 10 years of independent film in Dallas – free screenings of Angelika classics from the past decade, 10-cent popcorn and soda, and a star-studded cake cutting ceremony earlier today.

Cake Cutting
(Photo thanks to our home, Mockingbird Station)

Dallasites, you can still catch MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, MULHOLLAND DR. and more this evening – full schedule of showtimes below. The rest of you Angelika fans can live vicariously through the fantastic photos we’ll be posting later this week.

1:30 PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005)
1:45 SWIMMING POOL (2003)
2:00 TELL NO ONE (2008)
4:30 BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2003)
4:45 (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)
5:00 LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006)
7:15 MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002)
7:30 MADE (2001)
7:45 THE STATION AGENT (2004)
9:30 MULHOLLAND DR. (2001)
9:45 THE TOWN (2010)
10:00 CHILDREN OF MEN (2007

Michael Rapaport kicks it with the Angelika

July 30, 2011

Michael Rapaport, director of engrossing new doc BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, sat down with Adam Conway from the Angelika Blog to discuss his new film. The film chronicles Tribe’s rise to one of the greatest rap groups of all time, their rocky relationship as they deal with the fame and pressure to please their fans, their label, and themselves as artists — all seen through the eyes of one of their biggest fans, Michael Rapaport himself. Check the interview, check the rhime, and check out the film at the Angelikas Dallas and Plano.

Mopeds for LARRY CROWNE

July 5, 2011

LARRY CROWNE opened at the Angelika Dallas last weekend, but prior to that we hosted an exciting preview screening for the Ready Steady Go! Dallas Scooter Club. The group assembled nearly 100 local scooter owners to ride to Mockingbird Station, then see the new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts film before its release. Head over to the Angelika Dallas Facebook for some great pictures of Dallas’ unique scooters – and LIKE us while you’re at it for regular updates on events like this!


Click to view an interview with some of the Participants at MyFoxDFW.com.

The horse whisperer visits Angelikas Dallas and Plano

Buck Brannaman, the real life horse whisperer and star of Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner BUCK, visited the Angelikas Dallas and Plano opening last weekend to speak with Gwen Reyes of KSCS 96.3 Big Country and speak to audiences at the theaters. Check out the video below, then head over to our website to purchase tickets for this incredible documentary, playing at least through 7/14 at both Dallas and Plano.

ABOUT BUCK:

BUCK, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows true American cowboy Buck Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life â??horse-whispererâ?, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Winning the Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, BUCK is about an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.