Movie: Springsteen & I

Last night TS1 and I saw this new Ridley Scott-produced Springsteen fan documentary and I was blown away. Maybe my expectations were on the low side, I was sort of expecting repetitive yammering, but director Baillie Walsh did a superb job of mixing up touching home videos and career-spanning concert videos.

If you haven’t heard about Springsteen & I, this is the basic story: A bit more than a year ago the call was put out for Springsteen fans to make short videos talking about what Bruce meant to them, with the best submissions to be used in this film. Phone cams, web cams, whatever, the important thing was what the person said.

I wanted to make one but nerves got the better of me and I punked out 😦 Who’s sorry now, right?

If there was one negative about the choices Walsh and the producers made it was the almost complete lack of mention of any of the E Street band members. I find it hard to believe no one sent in a video that included a sentimental bit about Clarence, for instance.

Some of the stories were great, more than one had me tearing up, a bunch were funny (Philly Elvis, I’m looking at you, dude!), and only one or two were mawkish (e.g., the couple dancing).

There was even one from a long-suffering husband of a huge Bruce fan whose main request to Springsteen manager Jon Landau when the couple met him and Bruce was could he maybe shorten the epic shows. As if! I empathized with that guy since I think TS1, who probably enjoys Bruce and the band somewhat more than him, generally puts up with my devotion.

What I would have said

In three words: power, connection, endurance. (Fans were asked to include this)

Bruce came into my life in 1975 when Mike Appel, his first manager/producer, snuck an early release of Born to Run out of the studio to a few key radio stations with DJs who were already supporters. One of them was WNEW-FM, the main rock radio station in the New York City area in the ’70s, and they played the heck out of it. For me it was a revelation, even after 40 years I’m hard put to say just why. When the album was finally released and Bruce was on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone the same week I was already ruining the vinyl by playing it constantly. For three months nothing else was on my turntable!

The second event, the one I think sealed my fandom, was a radio concert (also broadcast on WNEW-FM) from the beginning of the 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. In those days three years between releases was an eternity but Bruce lost two years to a brutal court case to get free from Appel and then, well, he never thinks a record is done.

Anyway I remember sleeping over a buddy’s house to listen to the concert together, was a big deal since this was a Wednesday night during the school year. Springsteen still told long stories as part of the intro to songs–which I wish he still did–and the way he drew me in to his world with the stories in top of the band’s amazing rock and roll and soul music was just what my 17 year old self wanted.

Or needed. Suburban New Jersey teenage life was privileged and easy, to be sure, but not necessarily filled with excitement. The closest I guess I got was an episode three months before the concert in Asbury Park of all places.

That was it. Bill was hooked, then and forever. I remember bugging the guys at the off-campus record store two years later every week after the posters announcing The River went up. Is it here? Do you have it yet? 52 year old me remembers the excitement and passion, and seeing five of the 10 concerts they played in LA at the start and end of the tour.

That’s my story, I guess. And no mention of any E Streeters, so I guess that explains why the film was the same.

Thanks Bruce, Danny, Clarence, Roy, Steve, Garry, Max, Nils, Soozy, Patti, Vinny, David, Boom and Jon!

Earth to Hollywood: No more 3-D until you get it right

We saw Transformers 3 tonight in 3-D. I felt the effect was almost totally unnoticeable except for the headache the glasses gave me.

With all the extremely fast motion and shooting there was plenty of opportunity for the 3-D to add to the movie but Michael Bay used none of it. Say what you will about Bay’s directing abilities but he does do good blow’em up, and he did in this flick, but he never took advantage of the extra dimension to shoot bits out at the audience.

We saw Green Hornet in 3-D and a few others. None have impressed me except maybe Avatar.

I’m reminded of the South Park episode where the boys go to Lucas and Spielberg and beg them not to mess up their old movies. I wish the boys would do another episode where they blow up all the 3-D manufacturing plants.

I don’t mind the extra couple of bucks, I understand everyone needs their mansions and Porsches. Just raise the damn price and stop playing stupid optical tricks. Please!

My Future Web Invoice

Reading MC Seigler’s Netflix Original Content Is Much More Than A Strategy Shift — It Could Shift An Industry I thought again about cutting the cord. Our household is a very heavy consumer of cable content: soccer on Fox Soccer Channel, Gol TV and ESPN, movies and series on HBO, Showtime and Starz, original cable series on SyFy (though much less so than I would have expected if you asked 30 years ago!), USA, FX, AMC and A&E plus the normal fare from the fivefour main over the air networks.

Accordingly we pay Comcast a pretty hefty fee, adding on broadband internet to the above. North of $200 a month to be honest.

What if we could just buy the broadband from Comcast and get the sports and entertainment content online, per Siegler’s post? That would mean paying the higher internet fee–somehow Comcast gets away with charging about $15 a month more if you don’t take both cable and internet.

I made a list, and am probably missing a couple of things, but even so we’d save a chunk of money:











Showtime/Movie Channel
Fox Networks


includes FSC, FSD
Disney Nets


includes ESPN
NBC Nets


includes Versus, USA, SyFy
CBS Nets


includes Comedy Central, MTV+


Starz, Encore


Wonder how soon I’ll really be able to do this. Networks, can you feel me?

Tiffany Shlain’s The Tribe

A grade school buddy of mine now living in Shanghai passed along a link to this terrific short film, The Tribe, made a few years ago by Tiffany Shlain (thanks, Les!). You can watch the trailer at the end of my post, order it from her website, or see it online, unofficially.

What can the most successful doll on the planet show us about being Jewish today? Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film mixes old school narration with a new school visual style. The Tribe weaves together archival footage, graphics, animation, Barbie dioramas, and slam poetry to take audiences on an electric ride through the complex history of both the Barbie doll and the Jewish people- from Biblical times to present day. By tracing Barbie’s history, the film sheds light on the questions: What does it mean to be an American Jew today? What does it mean to be a member of any tribe in the 21st Century?

When people ask how I identify myself I usually answer Jewish. Not in the religious sense but culturally and as my ethnicity. People who think of themselves as Italian, Australian or Chinese may not understand my answer for me it’s as reasonable as what they say.

Nota bene: I wanted to write more but time is just getting away from me so this short entry will have to suffice.

Today’s movie: Kill Bill

True, this was released as Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 but even the chapter numbering shows that Kill Bill is really one film that Miramax for commercial reasons chopped in half. Starz was considerate enough to run them consecutively tonight with Vol. 2 as the Saturday night premiere but for the most part this writeup treats both parts as a single piece. I have to admit hearing the title, which is repeated many times over the course of the thing, had a disconcerting effect as some aspect of my inner self reacted as if it were directed at me.

Quentin Tarantino can really make a movie when he puts in the effort. But he works at his own pace, enjoying the luxury and variety afforded by his success. If he wants to act or produce or just take time to kibbitz on other peoples’ projects, he does, though this doesn’t endear him to the public or the movie studios; I still think, however, that his lead performace in Destiny Turns on the Radio is sorely underrated. So while his reputation isn’t what it could be, I get the impression Tarantino doesn’t care. More power to him.

What does matter is that in about a dozen years he’s written and directed four movies, three of them (including this one) classics and one (Jackie Brown) questionable to some viewers but which I thought was pretty good. Reservoir Dogs worked within the gangster/heist genre boundaries but was an incredible take on it and Pulp Fiction simply blew up American cinema.

Anyway… Kill Bill. A very basic plot, set up in the opening scene: The Bride (Uma Thurman) was once part of an elite team of assassins run by Bill (David Carradine, after Warren Beatty declined) but, visibly pregnant, has run away to marry Tommy and work in his used record store; Bill and the other assassins (Vivica Fox, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Darryl Hannah) show up at the wedding rehearsal and, guns blazing, kill everybody. Except, of course, Thurman isn’t dead, just in a coma for four years, and when she wakes up goes after the others for revenge. The movie is more or less told in voiceover by Thurman so no spoiler in noting that she gets everyone in the end.

The key is how she gets them. The creativity in dialog and plot twists, the imagination in visuals and staging the fight sequences (for which Tarantino got help from the acclaimed Woo-ping Yuen and Sonny Chiba, who also plays a small but significant role as maker of the finest Katana swords). Particularly impressive is his ability to integrate elements and conventions of many different classic film genres into a coherent, holistic new style. Inglorious Bastards, apparently his next major effort due out in 2006, is about a gang of misfits on a mission in World War II (in the vein of The Dirty Dozen) and I’m truly eager to see what he does with it.

Thurman, Carradine and Hannah give outstanding performances; Madsen and Liu are good and Fox has too small a role too early in the film to judge. Thurman carries this movie on her back in what seems to me to be the most impressive job of her career. Lately we’ve hardly been lacking in female action hero and sueprhero flicks but very few of those stars have made such meat out of their part. Hannah’s role is so contrary to the soft, sweet women she’s always cast as but looking at her more recent and upcoming credits in IMDB shows that producers aren’t picking up on this but perhaps she’ll get lucky and be cast in a TV drama that runs for years.

definitely recommended

Today’s movie: Dirty Deeds

I should know by now that seeing John Goodman listed in the credits is a near perfect indicator that I am going to end up not enjoing a film. This is true even when the film is set in Australia, as here, which automatically gives a film bonus points because I have an irrational attachment to the land Down Under and is not particularly connected to whether Goodman does the business or not.

Dirty Deeds is set in 1969 Sydney, where young Darcy has returned from a tour in ‘Nam and mobsters Tony (Goodman) and Sal have arrived from Chicago bearing a prototype video slot machine. Plus $2 million US in cash to buy their way into control of the flourishing slots business, currently controlled by Darcy’s uncle and surrogate father Barry (Bryan Brown). Barry’s married to Sharon (one of my favorites, Toni Collette) and sleeping with Margaret (the gorgeous Kestie Morassi), who lives in the apartment next door to Darcy. Of course the two youngsters fall for each other, particularly after Collette puts the facts of life to Morassi. Sam Neill, who I quite enjoyed in a recent run of old Reilly: Ace of Spies episodes, is a corrupt police detective giving cover to the gangsters.

Not an unreasonable setup, but writer/director David Caesar doesn’t give enough emphasis to any of the various plots to bring them to life except the Darcy/Margaret romance. Brown’s characer gets most of the best lines with Collette getting one or two good scenes. Neill is wasted and the two visiting mafia soldiers are cardboard stereotypes. If I had to guess I’d probably have cut out the subplot where Brown is being challenged by another local wiseguy.

not recommended

Today’s movie: Monument Ave.

From 1998, Monument Ave. is one of those small films that I’m really glad get made. No big explosions or special effects, no rash personal transformations. Just some really good acting driven by good characters in an interesting situation.

Denis Leary plays the lead, a smalltime Boston gangster named Bobby O’Grady, edging well into his 30s with no prospects for the future and nothing more anchoring him to the present than a few friends (busy Brit Ian Hart and Ed Diehl of Miami Vice and The Shield) stuck in the same rut; all three work for a jerk boss, played by Colm Meaney. Mixing it up a bit is O’Grady’s cousin Seamus, over from Dublin, looking to make something happen in the States he couldn’t find at home. Martin Sheen as a local cop and Famke Janssen as a women in the middle round it out.

There isn’t much plot, basically just a few eventful days in the life of Leary’s O’Grady, but the man really shines. You can see a lot of what he later used as the cop in The Job and the fireman in Rescue Me, just from a different angle. Director Ted Demme (Blow and a bunch of other Leary films) stitches the scenes together by nearly always alternating day and night, transitioning through photos of what one can only assume are the main characters as kids. Very sharp and just enough of Leary’s trademark nasty humor.


Today’s movie: Ripley’s Game

Some movies take a novel and make something completely unrelated from it, save perhaps a few character names and a basic idea, while others slavishly attend to the author’s word as stone tablets; either way the movie may be good or bad. Yet some movies stay quite faithful to the author’s work while creating an original and authentic work, and this is what writer/director Liliana Cavani has done with Ripley’s Game (official site).

Released theatrically in Europe to some reasonable box office success, the film could not secure a distribution deal here in The States and went straight to cable where it premiered last night on the Independent Film Channel (next showing doesn’t appear to be until Sep. 20!). And yes, this is the same Ripley character that Matt Damon played in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Patricia Highsmith wrote five Ripley novels with the Damon feature giving us the ‘origin story’ more or less while the others show him 15 or more years later. Recall that Tom Ripley isn’t even Tom Ripley but another person who murdered the real person of that name and stole his identity.

So it’s not unreasonable for Tom Ripley to be played in Ripley’s Game by John Malkovich; this version of Tom is much older, settled in his skin as one who simply does not have a conscious and does not miss it. While I do appreciate Damon as an actor (Bourne Identity and Italian Job were top of my list the last two years), he has yet to learn the subtle and casual acting skills which Malkovich was born with.

In this outing, Ripley is matched with ‘innocent wanker’ Jonathan Trevanny (played by Dougray Scott) and ruthless crime lord Reeves (Ray Winstone of Love, Honour & Obey and Sexy Beast). Ripley and Reeves have earned together in the past, established by the opening act where the partner on the sale of some forged art, while Trevanny runs a framing shop in the little village where Ripley hides away to enjoy his ill-gotten gains. But Trevanny is dying of leukemia and Reeves needs someone unknown to get close to a rival and murder him–the viewer should understand that though the film is set in the present, the novel was written in the post-WWII, pre-Free Love period and it reflects that sensibility.

Ripley, somewhat maliciously, matches Reeves and Trevanny and Trevanny heads off to Munich to do the contracted deed. He takes his pay, thinking he’s gotten a little stash to leave behind when the disease takes, but of course life in a mystery story isn’t so easy. Reeves shows up and tells him that there’s a second job, like it or not, this one not as simple. Fortunately Ripley shows up to help out with the assignment but then the baddies come after the three of them, having seen through Reeves’ attempt at misdirection.

Scott is almost too hard and pretty to be believable in his part of the innocent but with a little makeup and determination, does well. Winstone has zero problems with the Reeves character, just another in the long line of gangsters he’s played; perhaps he even was a bit of one before falling into acting? Lena Headey plays Scott’s wife, reasonable job though only a small piece of meat, and Italian actress Chiara Caselli is Louisa Harari, Tom’s concert harpsichordist wife.

Cavani has done a very interesting job with Ripley’s Game and I’m disappointed that the movie isn’t getting a bigger play. Many people who might otherwise enjoy it will miss out but perhaps in the near future it will show up on DVD or a major cable channel. She moved the locale of Ripley’s home from rural France to rural Italy, a choice that only enhanced the movie, and made smart choices in the simplification/editing that must take place in tranforming a several hundred page into a two hour movie.

Definitely recommended if you get IFC.

Today’s movie: Pulp

Mike Hodges and Michael Caine followed up the original (that is, not the crap Sylvester Stallone remake) production of Get Carter the next year with Pulp. In Carter, Caine plays an insider looking to right a wrong but in Pulp he is the outsider trying to figure out an old puzzle. In both films, though, solving the mystery has the beneficial side effect of saving the protagonist’s skin. Caine really was a masterful actor back in the day, totally able to slip into the skin of his characters and not just playing some variant of himself in every film.

Pulp is fairly obscure and I expect the only reason I saw it was that Showtime (and HBO and Starz as well) needs more and more product to fill the ever-expanding set of channels. Tivo seems to understand that I like British crime dramas. The combination works well.

Caine plays Mickey King, a man who ran away from his wife, three children, and funeral home business to pursue his dream of writing gangster fiction (pulp) while living near the Mediterranean. He’s been successful enough (though his publisher continually credits the works to a series of double entendre pseudonyms) that a man (Hart to Hart’s Lionel Stander) has come to make him a mysterious offer: a great man, nearing the end of his life, wishes King to ghostwrite his autobiography. Someone, or some group, does not wish this book written, though, and keeps trying to kill King and the mysterious great man. All the author has to go on in uncovering his nemesis is a photo of a group of men who participated in a weekend of hunting and debauchery many years ago.

The great man is retired, reclusive movie star Preston Gilbert, played by Mickey Rooney, who lives on a great, isolated island estate (this part of the film was made on Malta and there is a good deal of sun-drenched natural beauty to be seen). Gilbert was one of the men in the photo, along with a communist-turned law and order politician whose campaign for office we are shown frequently. This politician, and others, are worried that the central story of a girl’s death during the debauchery will come out in the actor’s life story and they are determined to prevent this.

Mike Hodges, who also directed the recent Croupier, does a decent job of directing, though I give him less points for the script. This film, stylistically, is meant to be seen as in synch with the time in which it was made (1972). King is thrown into events, never able to control them, even at the end where he is laid up in bed and scared off from pursuing his story any further. There are drug-inspired bits thrown in for no plot or character-related reason, such as the sequence of taxi accidents at the beginning. And so forth.


Today’s movie: Gangster No. 1

Continuing the recent theme of quirky British gangster movies and even plain old gangster movies, we saw the new Malcom McDowell/Paul Bettany flick Gangster No. 1 (the official site pissed me off some with a Flash intro that can’t be skipped passed and other than some clips from the cutting room floor is a surprisingly useless website). One of the real positives for this film is that all the dialog, for a change, is understandable to American ears.

The action is split between 1968/9 and 1999. The film opens in the latter period with Malcom McDowell surrounded by a table of associates in a very fancy ballroom with a boxing match going on in the center. The men are chatting and laughing, reminiscing, when one of them mentions that another “golden oldie, Freddy Mays” is getting out of the joint after 30 years. McDowell gets up from the table, leaving his pals wondering why, and leaves. We flash back to the ’60s and hear McDowell’s voiceover tells us that we’re seeing the younger him (Paul Bethany) in a pool hall and he has been summoned to meet Mays for the first time.

Through the rest of the movie, even though the character (who is never given a name) is played by mostly Bettany, we have McDowell providing the voiceover. No doubt that Bethany does look like a young McDowell; he will be familiar to you as Crowe’s imaginary friend in A Beautiful Mind and Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale. Given that there are three other characters we see in both times, all played by the same actors using makeup, I don’t really understand why Paul Bettany doesn’t play our protagonist throughout. Nothing against McDowell but I don’t see that he does much that Bettany couldn’t.

Frankie Mays (David Thewlis) has established himself as an English crime lord (nicknamed The Butcher of Mayfair) and is quite good in the 1968/69 sequences but not much in the later scenes. Saffron Burrows is quite lovely, all legs, and big eyes, as the nightclub dancer who’s pushed into love at first site with Mays, much to the dismay of our protagonist.

Director Paul McGuigan is responsible for keeping us engaged. There are no real subplots here, just the two main lines of action and while he does go in for a little more of the red stuff than one might deem necessary (and why do we need to see the older gangster Tommy’s puke?), it’s all believable, all straightahead. The script is credited to a Johnny Ferguson but he has no other credits in IMDB and this makes me wonder if this is a pseudonym.

The climax actually comes in the next to last scene, a confrontation between McDowell and Thewlis, and, in this reviewer’s opinion, should have been the end; the last scene is unnecessary and really detracts from what’s come before. Overall this is a very bloody, violent film so don’t go if this makes you ralph.

Also, the film was released in the UK and elsewhere in 2000, one must wonder why we’re seeing it here only now.

Recommended but not for the quesy

Today’s movie: Love, Honour and Obey

Sometimes Tivo Sugestions are really brilliant, yeah. Jonny Lee Miller gets lifelong pal Jude Law to bring him into uncle Ray Winstone’s North London mob in Love, Honour and Obey and, fancy that, Jonny is after a bit more of the old bang bang than Ray and Jude are really up for. Definitely one of those quirky English gangster films of recent years like Sexy Beast and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and not a bad example at that. In a strange twist, most, but not all, of the characters have the same first name as the actor playing the part.

Jonny is a courier bored out of his skull with life. He’s a childhood buddy of Jude’s and sees the mob as a way out of his troubles. Jude is not inclined to bring him in but Jonny comes up with a moneymaking scheme that clinches the deal. Soon enough he’s showing signs that he’s much more aggressive than the others, who seem content to earn their dosh and explore their sexual inadequacies. This aggresiveness leads to a series of mishaps for know-nothing gang member Perry beginning with a stabbing (by Jonny) and ending with a revenge firebombing (to revenge an unauthorized action by Jonny against the other gang). It also almost brings open warfare against the rival South London gang. No one can get quite to the level of anger and despair, other than Jonny, though, and so the two leaders find a way out.

Ray is married to TV star Sadie. One part of the movie that doesn’t match up with the rest is a subplot where Sadie’s co-star on a soap opera tries to play up a romance between the two. This does piss off Ray no end, of course, and lead to a serious beating for the co-star but the only way it ties back into the main plot is to show that even a tough guy can be lead around by a woman.

Recommended if you can put up with not quite understanding all the dialog due to British accents and overly loud soundtrack.

Tonight’s movie: Road to Perdition

Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law go Prohibition era gangsters in Road to Perdition. So many others have acclaimed this as the movie of the year and the best gangster film since Godfather 2 but allow me to disagree. Sure, I enjoyed it, thought it was well-made, well-acted, with an interesting and original story, but it still doesn’t top The Bourne Identity or Spider-Man as my choice for best of 2002.

Hanks plays completely against any previous role, which many have commented on, but I think he was perhaps not the best choice as he’s gruff but not, well, menacing; the scene where he confronts the club owner is an excellent illustration. Jude Law reminds me so much of Malcolm MacDowell circa Clockwork Orange in this film. The way customer designer Albert Wolsky and the makeup department collaborate to emphasize his face yet take away his hair is probably why. Tyler Hoechlin is intense as Hanks’ son.

Director Sam Mendes and screenwriter make one big mistake, though, when they have Hoechlin narrate the opening standing on a beach. Otherwise I really like the way Mendes works, he’s not a film school graduate but a stage director and he gives us film which shows his fascination with the possibilities film offers visually and aurally that he doesn’t have on stage.

Recommended, certainly

Tonight’s movie: The Royal Tenenbaums

On a last minute spur, I went to see this strange film this afternoon. Must be a week for it, after seeing Vanilla Sky as well. Wes Anderson’s script and direction (co-star Owen Wilson also co-wrote the script) are mostly focused on the odd members of the Tenenbaum family and those in close orbit rather than on a sophisticated plot. The family has a conman loser for a dad (Gene Hackman, who must never get tired), an adopted daughter played by Gwyneth Paltrow (who IMHO gets far too many good roles) who wears racoon-like eyeliner and is married to an obvious father figure, one son–Ben Stiller, who never really gets to set loose the emotions–who has never forgiven dad for some childhood slights and is in mourning for his six months’ dead wife (but dresses himself and his two young sons in identical adidas track suits in nearly every scene), another son, Wilson who cratered a top ranked pro tennis career when his adopted sister married another, and a mother who is more or less a blank slate. Owen’s brother Luke plays a neighbor who’s a childhood friend, Gwyneth’s lover, and latent homosexual. Bill Murray and Danny Glover, who both look extremely old, fart around the edges mainly.

This Reuters article claims that director Anderson has a “vision” of filmmaking so that his films don’t look like other movies. I wouldn’t dream of disagreeing with that. A good example is that the clothing worn, the hairstyles, the cars (especially the taxi cabs seen throughout), the furniture, the city streets, all look like the 1970s, yet the film is actually set in the present day. Alec Baldwin provides odd narration, with the pretense of him reading out loud from a book with the same name as the movie; we see at the beginning of each chapter a page from the book with the first couple of lines which Baldwin reads and then the visual fades into the actors. The script throws all these people and elements into a farcical blender, so be warned because this ain’t mainstream Hollywood fare!

Tonight’s movie: Chocolat

The best movies are all about emotion, about evoking an emotional response inside the viewer. Chocolat is all about that. There is a plot, revolving around a chocolate shop in a small French village in 1959, but the movie, nominated for five Academy Awards in 2001, is about pulling happiness straight out of your heart. The beautiful Juliette Binoche stars as the wandering chocolatier, Alfred Molina smolders through his own interior walls as the village count, Judi Dench and Carrie-Ann Moss as a mother and the daughter who can’t forgive her, and, not the least, Johnny Depp as a wandering minstrel. The cinematography by Roger Pratt (Batman, 12 Monkeys, The End of the Affair) is lovely, capturing the wind pushing Binoche, the light at a dinner party, a boat floating on the river. Sophisticated direction by Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Cider House Rules) and script by Robert Nelson Jacobs (Disney’s Dinosaur). A sweet, wonderfil film, watch it.

Tonight’s movie: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wow! What a cool movie! Beautiful to watch on the big screen but works really well on a good TV too. Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography. Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Zi Yi, and Chang Chen are fabulous in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The film blends fantasy, martial arts, romance, and true emotion in a way I’ve never really seen before. Highly recommended, one of the few films I think is worth buying on DVD!