January 31, 2013 6:15am EST
The former Bond girl will receive the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award on 18 March (13) in her adopted home of Hong Kong.
She says of the honour, "It's my goal to continue as an advocate of the Asian film industry and to promote a positive, strong image for Asian women in international films."
The prizegiving will mark the start of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the event's director, Roger Garcia, adds, "Michelle has excelled as both an action star and a serious actress - a very rare combination in this business, and practically unique. She is the perfect choice to be awarded with this prestigious honour."
January 24, 2013 3:06pm EST
Here we go again! One of my favorite (and by favorite I mean least-favorite) things the big ole Hollywood machine can do: sequelize and franchise everything. And since The Weinstein Company and Miramax penned a deal allowing them to do such a thing back in 2010, no movie is safe. You might've thought "eh, we're nearly three years out from that deal: [insert favorite movie here] is probably safe." And well, we hate to break it to you, but you might've thought wrong.
Because here comes the sequel you maybe forgot you wanted (or possibly don't!): Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The acclaimed 2000 Chinese film picked up a bevy of awards (I believe the technical term is "all of the awards, ever, jeez") when the Ang Lee made its way into the hearts and theaters of critics everywhere. So it's no surprise that Harvey and friends would want to capitalize on that sort of success, but, ugh, do we have to? Whatever happend to leaving well enough alone?
It seems as though Weinstein and Sony don't particularly care either way, as Deadline is reporting that filming is already slated to begin in May. The film, based on a series of books by the author Du Lu Wang more commonly known as the Crane-Iron Series (of which there are five), will continue to be set in Asia. As for the story? Well, the project already has a script from John Fusco and is courting director Ronny Yu to helm the production, said to be based on the series' fifth book Iron Knight, Silver Vase. It will continue to revolve around the character Yu Shu Lien (originated by Michelle Yeoh), and while it's not clear which actors will reprise roles, some are expected to do just that. "This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil. ... I found characters from the second and third books in the series to create a most interesting stew while being as true to the source material as I could be," explained Fusco.
No word on if the sequel will be titled Pouncing Tiger, Visible Dragon, but there's always hope.
What do you think of the sequel news? Excited or over it? Sound off in the comments below!
[Photo Credit: Sony]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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November 09, 2012 2:09pm EST
Of all the scenes in the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, there is one that everyone is going to be talking about. In fact, they're already talking about it. No, it's not the motorcycle chase across the roofs of Istanbul, it's not the fist fight in a Komodo dragon pit, and it's not the explosive ending. Yes, all those things are awesome, but the part everyone is going to remember is James Bond being outrageously hit on by the villain Silva.
For those who haven't seen the movie yet (first I must say: you better go now, and second: I'm gonna be talking all about it, so if you see a spoiler, you've been warned), the first time we meet Silva is when he's on his deserted island in the South China Sea and his henchmen have Bond strapped to a chair with his hands behind his back. Silva approaches him and starts talking about how he can take over the world with just a computer. But there's something in his voice that is sexually charged. Then, he starts making double entendres, and gets closer and closer to Bond, eventually unbuttoning the agent's shirt, caressing his face and body, and putting his hand perilously close to Bond's gun (not the Walther PPK). The scene ends with Silva telling James Bond there is a first time for everything... meaning, you know, doing it gay-style. Bond replies, "What makes you think it's my first time?"
Of course the kicker is brilliant and turns this scene, and our ideas about Bond, on its head. While Daniel Craig (a favorite of gay men ever since he walked out of the sea in his blue bikini) has said there will never be a gay Bond, that the character would even allow his sexuality to be put into question is revolutionary. Of course we all know Bond is notorious for bedding everything with a vagina and a pulse in his path. But could he be so sexually voracious that he has been with a guy? No one in the audience even blanches at the fact that our hero could have kissed a not-girl and liked it, and that says something positive about the continued rise in gay acceptance.
Skyfall's gay screenwriter John Logan told The Hollywood Reporter that he wrote the scene to be like the classic confrontations between Bond and his nemeses, but wanted to find a new way to do it. This is Silva's "sexual intimidation," where he does something that he thinks will make Bond remarkably uncomfortable. The truth is, being so overtly hit on by another man would make many with a Y-chromosome squirm in their seats. In fact, the exchange is similar to another homoerotic Bond encounter in Casino Royale, where he is stripped naked and placed in a chair with no bottom, and has his nuts hammered by a mercenary. This is a similar scene, but Silva is more cerebral in all of his tactics. He has Bond strapped to a chair, but his ball torture takes place in Bond's mind.
But there is no torture, and that is the great thing. Bond may or may not have experience with members of the same gender, but he certainly doesn't mind arousing one (he knows who looks at him when he wears those bikinis) or being touched by one. That is a message that has never been transmitted before, which is why it gets cheers at screenings.
My problem with this scene is Silva. There is a long, sad history of gay villains in Hollywood movies where the effete or effeminate are driven to do awful things and then are punished for being different. We see this in everything from Silence of the Lambs and Braveheart to Zoolander and Talladega Nights. It appears that Silva is the same type of tired stereotypes. Though Javier Bardem plays him as a man with a calm depravity whose manic tendencies often break through in unexpected ways, in that initial scene, we're lead to believe that Silva is crazy because he's gay.
At this point in the movie, we don't know that Silva is a former protegee of M's who holds her accountable for his winding up on the wrong side of the law. We know nothing about him other than that he's bad and gay. In fact, we never quite learn what drove him to evil in the first place. We do discover he views M as a withdrawn and unloving mother figure, something that is badly equated with creating gay men in movies. Again, it's the stereotypical formulation of a crazy queer.
On his press tour, Craig has been fond of saying he doesn't think Silva is gay. He says he'll "f**k anything." Since the character's sexuality doesn't really crop up again, it's entirely forgotten about. Other than a throwaway line before he assassinates one of his female operatives (who slept with Bond), we have no cause to speculate Silva might be attracted to, as Craig says, everyone. I would also like to think that Logan, as a gay man, didn't intend that soon-to-be-famous scene to say that being gay makes people evil. Maybe the intention was to say that Silva is more interested in making Bond uncomfortable with homosexuality (a trick that triumphantly fails) than he is in exploring his orientation in any direction.
These mixed messages seem especially painful because there are no positive gay role models in the Bond world. While his boss has been played by a woman, and the MI6 of the Craig era includes people of color and badass female agents (not to forget Michelle Yeoh kicking ass and taking names in Tomorrow Never Dies, which even predates Craig), I can't think of one positive gay character in the franchise's history. The new Q is played by gay actor Ben Wishaw, so why not give us a little nudge that he'd rather prefer the company of Bond than Miss Moneypenny? The same could go for Ralph Fiennes, who steps in as the new head of MI6. I'm not asking for him to have a big gay wedding with Liza Minnelli performing (thanks for ruining that fantasy, Sex and the City 2), but maybe just acknowledging he has a boyfriend would go a long way. Until then, at least I'm stirred that Bond seems to be a friend of the gays, even if his opponent's tactics leave me a little shaken. Maybe the next time around Bond will go from being our friend to being our hero.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures]
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August 14, 2012 7:20am EST
The concept for 2010's sensory overload The Expendables was simple: get every action star from the '80s, '90s, and '00s and put them all in a movie together and let them blow a bunch of s**t up. The formula paid off, as the all-star bonanza — which featured the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Bruce Willis — earned nearly $275 million worldwide.
So when it came to the inevitable sequel, the filmmakers applied the old adage, "If it's broke, Jason Statham probably destroyed it." Well, that and, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The Expendables 2, which hits theaters this Friday, is taking the same formula (and cast members) from the original and throwing in a few more action heroes, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth, and Chuck Norris.
With both Expendables films having now compiled just about every male action star on the planet and a possible third with all the ones they missed this time around, we here at Hollywood.com think it's high time female action stars get their turn in the franchise. (Sorry, Charisma Carpenter, we know you're there to represent!)
From legendary action stars like Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton (pictured, being totally awesome in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), to hot newcomers like Gina Carano, we see no reason why there can't be an all-female Expendables. Here are our picks for the lady Expendables. Hollywood, take note: these fearless, gun-toting, power-packed ladies know how to kick ass, take names, and would no doubt make for a big opening weekend.
Sigourney Weaver: When it comes to the most knock-out, drag-down bad-ass female in movie history, there's no one comparable to Weaver's iconic Ripley. While there were plenty of powerful female action stars who came before her (think Tura Santana in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) Weaver has become the gold standard for tough movie heroines. In The Expendables world, she would be the seasoned vet of the bunch, like the Stallone or the Schwarzenegger of the crew, only with acting skills to boot. Weaver made the crowd go wild with just a cameo in The Cabin in the Woods, so imagine an entire movie of her being awesome (and hopefully reviving her classic Aliens line "Get away from her, you bitch!").
Linda Hamilton: Like Weaver's Ripley, Hamilton's Sarah Connor is one fierce mama. Just how awesome was Hamilton in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day? (Well, first, see photo above. If that isn't that very definition of female badassery, we don't know what it is.) She turned the genre on its head by turning the female lead from a damsel in distress to an all-out tough-as-nails action figure.
Jane Fonda: Before she was kicking all of our asses on her workout tapes, Fonda was kicking intergalactic ass in the 1977 classic Barbarella. While it's been a little while since Fonda was in action heroine mode, she certainly hasn't forgotten what it's like to be a tough, take-no-prisoners lady in Hollywood.
Pam Grier: No one dared to mess with Grier in movies like Coffy (pictured below), Foxy Brown, and of course, Jackie Brown — and they most certainly wouldn't now either.
Brigette Nielsen: Think of her as the Lady Lundgren: tall, blonde, and damn intimidating. Before she was Flava Flav's love interest (a superhero feat onto itself), Nielsen was a bona fide action star, working alongside the likes of Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja) and her ex-husband Stallone (Rocky IV, Cobra).
Grace Jones: Jones would be a Lady Expendables double threat. Not only would she be able to harkon back to her action heroine days a la A View to Kill and Conan the Destroyer, but she could also provide the kick-ass soundtrack.
Lucy Lawless: A lady Expendables movie without Xena? Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyi! We wouldn't stand for it.
Michelle Yeoh: No all-star action movie ensemble would be complete without a martial arts phenomenon. Yeoh has wowed audiences for years with her skills in flicks like Super Cop (pictured below), Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Oscar-winning masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. No one has ever made kicking ass look so graceful as Yeoh.
The Next Generation
Milla Jovovich: Jovovich has carried an entire action franchise (the Resident Evil films) for a decade, but at just 36 the model/actress still has plenty of on-screen butt-kicking years ahead of her. In addition to bringing iconic video super heroine Alice to life, Jovovich has one of the most memorable movie costumes of all-time with her bandaged duds in sci-fi favorite The Fifth Element.
Carrie-Ann Moss: Same goes for Moss, actually. Not only does she have one of the most famous movie costumes of the 90s (who didn't dress like Trinity and Neo?) but she was the female face of the wildly successful Matrix franchise. Sure Keanu was the top-billed star, but Carrie-Ann was the one who had moviegoers saying, "Whoa!"
Gina Carano: The true rookie of the new generation of female action stars. Sure, Carano may be new to the big screen (she beat some of Hollywood's hottest guys, including Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, to a pulp in 2012's action caper Haywire) but she's been a full-fledged action star for years. The 30-year-old is a world champion mixed martial arts fighter and was once an American Gladiator. No stuntwoman necessary here, Carano, pictured here in a scene from Haywire, is the real deal.
Angelina Jolie: Every Expendables movie needs a cameo (for the sequel it's tennis great Novak Djokovic) and who would be a bigger, better cameo than Angelina Jolie? The most famous woman in the world may be a beautiful, serious Oscar-winning actress (and mother and humanitarian and Brad Pitt's fiancee), but she's also a bona fide action star thanks to her roles in movies like Salt (pictured below), Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, Beowulf, Gone in Sixty Seconds, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. With a resume like that, it's amazing any paparazzi ever try to get in her way.
Would you see an Expendables movie with an all-female cast? Who would you want to see in it? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
[Photo Credits: Hamilton: TriStar Pictures; Weaver: 20th Century Fox; Grier: American International Pictures; Yeoh: Dimension Films; Carano: Lionsgate; Jolie: Relativity Media]
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
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June 29, 2012 2:15pm EST
The three stars are among the 176 actors, film experts, directors, producers and executives invited to join the organisation which oversees the Oscars.
Also making the list this year: actors Simon Baker, Sean Bean, Melissa McCarthy, Andy Serkis, Jonah Hill, Jessica Chastain and The Artist stars Jean DuJardin and Berenice Bejo; cinematographers Florian Ballhaus and Guillaume Schiffman; directors Asghar Farhadi, Rodrigo Garcia, Terrence Malick and Michel Hazanavicius; composers Ludovic Bource and Conrad Pope, George Clooney's production partner Grant Heslov and horror writer Stephen King.
January 02, 2012 12:15pm EST
The former Bond girl steps into Suu Kyi's shoes in new movie The Lady, which tells the story of the National League for Democracy leader's 15 years under house arrest.
During her research for the role, Yeoh visited Suu Kyi in Burma in December 2010 - and she's confessed she hatched a secret plot with the movie's director Luc Besson to sneak a few luxury items into the campaigner's home.
She tells Hello! magazine, "Luc wanted me to take her a printer and laptop and all those things she had been denied, but I was worried about being stopped for smuggling. So I did the girl thing and brought her some of my favourite lipsticks... She was thrilled."
Yeoh returned to Burma in June last year (11) but was denied entry at the border and deported because she is now on a blacklist.
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Both movies are up for Best Film, alongside The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, Shame and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy while Drive's Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks are among the nominees for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
Competing with Gosling for the Best Actor trophy will be George Clooney (The Descendants), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Brendon Gleeson (The Guard), Tom Hardy (Warrior), Woody Harrelson (Rampart), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter).
The Best Actress prize will be a fight between Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur), Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Vera Farmiga (Higher Ground), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Emily Watson (Oranges & Sunshine), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and Michelle Yeoh (The Lady).
The Descendants, Shame and The Artist each have six nominations, while The Help and Hugo have five apiece.
Leading the Satellite's TV nominations are dramas Justified, Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce with four nominations each.
Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce will compete with Cinema Verite, Page Eight, Thurgood and Too Big To Fail for the Best Miniseries/Motion Picture Made for Television gong, while Justified will battle with Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy and Treme for the Best Television Series, Drama prize.
The Big C, Community, Episodes, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louis and Modern Family will compete for Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical.
Special Achievement Awards will be handed out to Mitzi Gaynor (Mary Pickford Award), Peter Bogdanovich (Auteur Award), late filmmaker and photojournalist Tim Hetherington (Humanitarian Award), Jessica Lange (Outstanding Performance in a TV Series for American Horror Story), the cast of The Help (Best Ensemble) and Paddy Considine (Best First Feature for Tyrannosaur).
The 16th annual Satellite Awards will be held on 18 December (11) at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
October 03, 2011 6:11pm EST
Yahoo! Movies today debuted a brand new trailer for The Lady, French director Luc Besson's true-life tale of activist Aung San Suu Kyi's efforts to bring democracy to the nation of Burma. The film stars Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi and David Thewlis as her husband, author and lecturer Michael Aris.
The Lady is currently without a U.S. release date.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
Click on the image below to view our Michelle Yeoh photo gallery:
June 28, 2011 5:00am EST
The former Bond girl arrived in Yangon on 22 June (11) but was denied entry because she is on a blacklist.
A government official says, "She did not have the chance to enter... She was deported straight away on the first flight after arriving at Yangon (Rangoon) International Airport."
Yeoh previously visited the country in December (10) to shadow democracy campaigner Suu Kyi and research her role in Luc Besson's forthcoming movie The Lady, to be released later this year (11),
Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, was freed from house arrest in November (10) after spending 15 years being detained because of her political views.
May 25, 2011 2:34pm EST
There is a moment in Kung Fu Panda 2 Dreamworks’ stellar follow-up to its 2008 talking-animal blockbuster that is as clever and subversive as any I’ve seen in recent animated films. Just before the climactic final battle our hero Po (Jack Black) thought to have been vanquished re-appears above a rooftop to declare his challenge to the villainous Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who sits upon a battleship in the canal below preparing mount his siege. As Po launches into his speech the camera pulls back to reveal that Shen is in fact well out of earshot; he can’t make out a single word the panda is saying. Shen pleas in vain for him to speak up only to give up in frustration and commence his assault forthwith.
There are lovely bits like this scattered throughout Kung Fu Panda 2 little moments that undermine traditional action-movie tropes to hilarious effect. Much praise is owed to director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and returning writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger who have adroitly addressed the chief – and arguably only – complaint about the first film: that its story was too lightweight too formulaic too cautiously adherent to the conventional hero’s journey blueprint. Their follow-up may not be as charming or whimsical as its predecessor but it makes up for it with added depth and emotional resonance.
How much depth you ask? Genocide childhood abandonment issues and industrialization’s destabilizing effects are just a few of the formidable topics touched upon in the sequel. But don’t fret; the filmmakers haven’t suddenly set their sights on Pixar-grade profundity. The tone of Kung Fu Panda 2 is still as earnest and unpretentious – and joyful – as before.
And it’s still anchored by a refreshingly restrained Black as the voice of Po the chubby noodle-slinger turned kung fu superstar. The second installment finds Po and the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie) Mantis (Seth Rogen) Crane (David Cross) Monkey (Jackie Chan) and Viper (Lucy Liu) – facing a formidable new foe in the diminutive guise of Lord Shen a seething tyrant whose new invention the cannon threatens to make kung fu obsolete. Po has a personal connection with the peacock: It was Shen who spooked by a soothsayer’s premonition sacked Po’s native village several years prior forcing Po’s parents to ship their infant son off to safety – and onto the doorstep of his adoptive father Mr. Ping (James Hong).
Po’s only hope of victory his mentor Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) informs him is to find inner peace. (That’s all?!?) The path to nirvana is a jagged one marked with dizzying chases and riveting kung fu battles all elaborately choreographed and beautifully rendered. As we’ve come to expect with CG sequels the animation in Kung Fu Panda 2 surpasses that of the previous film retaining its signature look while adding greater detail and more exquisite landscapes. Though the 3D is top-quality I would still recommend seeing the film in 2D if only because of the darkening effect caused by so many 3D projectors. Colors these lush deserve as bright a canvas as possible.