Thursday, June 15, 2023

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (USA: Ryan Coogler, 2022)

 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (USA: Ryan Coogler, 2022: 161 mins)

Flight, Thomas and Tom van der Linden. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Cinema of Meaning #40 (December 1, 2022) ["Thomas Flight and Tom van der Linden discuss the implications of Wakanda entering the world stage and upsetting the global status quo, Marvel’s reluctance to really dig into revolutionary and post-colonial politics, and the struggle to continue the Black Panther story after the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."]

Pierrot, Grégory. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever— Eternal Return of the Afro-Horn." Evergreen Review (Spring/Summer 2023) ["Having completed an initial cycle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney has begun to unleash the first installments in its new ten-year plan. Brace for the onslaught and a new opportunity to wonder how many variations on the same generic plot structure are needed to screw in the neon sign of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a galaxy as full of variety and promise as it is frustrating in its commitment to the generic. It is arguably one of the great frustrations of the Age of Marvel that after it finally figured out the special effects to do justice to the expansiveness of the original comic books, Disney also worked overtime to distill and dilute all that was weird, silly, garish, elating about them into a surefire, hit-making formula. The hero may have a thousand faces and Disney a hefty roster of them at hand, but inside they’re also all made of the same flesh, and a lot of it is twice lab-grown, having gone through comic book assembly lines before reprocessing in Hollywood. In those circumstances, departures from formula become all the more significant. When Ryan Coogler directed Black Panther, he did not just bring fifty years of Black superhero comics to the screen; he was expressly inspired by all the Black writers and artists, from Billy Graham, Christopher Priest, Brian Stelfreeze, and Alitha Martinez to the Hudlin brothers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Roxane Gay, all of whom contributed along the years to turn an often corny cat into a cultural icon. Coogler brought as Black Panther’s main foe Killmonger, a cousin and polar inversion who could have been as cringeworthy as Bizarro, but turned out as existential a nemesis as Poe’s William Wilson, and sharing the same sharp fate. The film managed to simultaneously propose and absorb a notion that Killmonger made something painfully clear: however cool and well-meaning, a monarch—and both these guys were monarchs—can’t be a revolutionary. Still, working within these limits, Coogler made a way out of no way with humor and by sprinkling historical and political Easter eggs for those who would explore."]

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Chungking Express (Hong Kong: Wong Kar-Wai, 1994)

 Chungking Express (Hong Kong: Wong Kar-Wai, 1994: 102 mins)

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of 1990s cinema and the film that made Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung Chiu Wai), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out food stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing. -- Criterion Collection

Bordwell, David. "Narrative Symmetry in Chungking Express." Current (March 26, 2018)

Chow, Vivienne, et al. "Chungking Express — Wong Kar Wai puts "Dreams" on the menu." MUBI Podcast (April 27, 2023) ["Shot on a shoestring in six wild weeks, CHUNGKING EXPRESS is the movie that put legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai on the international map—along with his star, pop diva Faye Wong...and her Cantonese cover of The Cranberries's hit "Dreams." Host Rico Gagliano learns how the song, the director, and the singer all came together to capture Hong Kong at a moment of anxiety and hope—and how the tune still unites people in karaoke bars across Asia. Featuring Cranberries guitarist Noel Hogan, Hong Kong-born indiepop star Emma-Lee Moss (aka Emmy The Great), Variety and Artnet writer Vivienne Chow, "Chungking" score co-composer Roel A. Garcia, and NPR critic-at large John Powers—the author, with Wong Kar Wai, of "WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai.""]

Flores, Steven. "The Auteurs: Wong Kar-Wai." Cinema Axis (January 5, 2014)

Jenkins, Barry. "What Wong Kar-wai Taught Barry Jenkins About Longing." Current (November 29, 2016)

Kotzathanasis, Panos. "Film Analysis: Chungking Express (1994) by Wong Kar-wai." Asian Movie Pulse (April 7, 2022)

Martin, Emily. Lonely Cinema: Urban Alienation, Solitude, and Longing in Wonk Kar-Wai's Chungking Express." The Daily Fandom (December 28, 2021)</

Taubin, Amy. "Chungking Express: Electric Youth." Current (Movember 16, 2018) 

Tsui, Curtis. "Cop 223 Gets Lucky." Current (October 24, 2018)

Wang, Oliver. "A Cantopop Dream Girl’s First Film Reverie." Current (October 21, 2019)