* Bilge Ebiri, a frequent commenter on this blog, has a movie playing in NY called New Guy. It's even garnered a favorable NY Times review. So when's it coming to LA, bud?
* From the New York Times Magazine's movie issue: Manohla Dargis' thinkpiece on the state of cinephilia. Dargis doesn't say anything I haven't read before, but her observations are mostly spot-on as she gives an optimistic spin to current developments in movie-loving, contra Susan Sontag. I agree that the DVD boom is a great boon for cinephiles (even as it devalues the "religious" rep house experience), but she plays down the ghettoization of world cinema. By turning it into a cult or niche phenomenon, it becomes difficult to envision a foreign filmmaker becoming the kind of familiar cultural icon like Godard or Fellini in this day and age. Almodovar comes closest, but he's basically it. [Add Lars as well. Thanks, Steve.] And that's a shame.
* A.O. Scott's ruminations on recent themes in world cinema is also solid. Written for the non-film buff, it provides a good, brief summary of the developments in recent world cinema and the dilemma facing foreign films in the United States. Only problem is Scott framing his discussion around Jia's new movie The World, which sorta falls prey to the American critic's bias for foreign films that somehow touch on the zeigeist (this decade: globalization and its discontents, namely nationalism and identity). For non-movie buffs looking for a crash course, get Scott's three minute "Contemporary World Cinema for Dummies" lecture in this interactive feature.
* The editor of the NY Times Magazine must be a big fan of In the Mood for Love. On the heels of the mag's mega Wong Kar-wai profile despite his movie not playing in NY this year, this week we get a lengthy profile of Maggie Cheung, whose new movie Clean is also not hitting the Big Apple theaters any time soon. It gives you a glimpse of the sphinx that is the divine Maggie, and it raises the intriguing question, why isn't Maggie a huge star in North America? Well, actually, the article provides the answer in this passage:
American producers do occasionally send Cheung scripts, but the independent films are always about, as she put it, "ABC's," or "American-born Chinese," struggling with their identity, and the Hollywood scripts feature dragon ladies or Chinatown mafia molls or martial artists or mysterious fortunetelling women.
The Asian experience in Hollywood in a nutshell.
* Speaking of Wong, my uncle got me the 2046 DVD from China. The quality is pretty okay from the five minutes I skimmed through. Should I just watch the DVD and catch up to the projected film later? I'm inclined to wait, but it's tempting to just pop the disc in. What to do, what to do?
* Yes. I know, I should be posting some of this stuff to a certain moribund movie nerd discussion group instead of encouraging movie nerd diaspora.