Thursday, September 10, 2015

Happy Together: My Visual Reviews of Grandmaster Wong Kar Wai


Yup, it's time for more Visual Reviews.  I'm trying to get some posts scheduled so that, throughout my unfortunate absence, you won't forget about me.  This is one of them.  More will follow (I think).  What better way to remember me than by basking in some Visual Reviews.  What better subject than Shanghai born auteur, Wong Kar Wai.  There is no denying that Kar Wai's films are GORGEOUSLY framed, and because of that they lend themselves rather easily to these Visual Reviews.

So let's get started!


As Tears Go By (1988) **/*****


Oddly static in parts...
I hate to say this, but I checked out rather quickly...
Like little boys playing with guns...
It's attempts to loosen up felt half-assed...
Wait, aren't they cousins?

Days of Being Wild (1990) *****/*****


Lush...
Focused...
Understands timing beautifully...
Sultry!
Spritzed with a cheeky likability...

Chungking Express (1994) ***/*****

A great deal of fluff...

Thematically mirrored...

Blurry...

Discloses too much...

The praise feels expired...

Ashes of Time (1994) *****/*****


Splintered details spellbind...

Rousing force of nature...

Stampedes forward with energy to spare!

The story ripples through the mind...

Just enough remains ominous to inspire a second watch...

Happy Together (1997) *****/*****


Crushing...

Uncomfortably comfortable...

The wilting is perfectly captured...

Beautifully dirty...

The passion is painful...

Fallen Angels (1998) **/*****


Blindingly dislocated...

Too abstract for comfort...

A touch...ugly?

Busy...

Not coming back for seconds...

In the Mood for Love (2001) *****/*****


WKW at his best...

Emotionally stalking...

Feels almost intrusive in it's stripped delivery...

Silently observant and wholly aware...

Tenderly progressive...

2046 (2005) *****/*****


Devilish...

Curiously observant...

Shocking!

Lavishly melodramatic when necessary...

An auteur reaches another level...

My Blueberry Nights (2007) ***/*****


This project sounded delicious...

But it got nervous...

It promised something bold...

But it lost sight of its intentions...

Talk about wasted potential...

The Grandmaster (2013) **/*****

It has a way with making grand entrances...

It feels more technique than substance...

I kept waiting for it to show its face...
While it visually soars, it's narratively flat...
I want Weinstein's blood!

16 comments:

  1. OMG WOW I LOVE THIS POST. Almost as much as I love Wong Kar-Wai hehehehe.

    In The Mood for Love is definitely his masterpiece, followed closely by Happy Together, for me. I LOVE Chungking Express - kind of like a weirder, grittier, Asian Amelie - but I can see where others have issues with it. I tried with Fallen Angels once but got called away in the middle and haven't felt the desire to go back. 2046, Days of Being Wild and especially Ashes of Time are HIGH on my watchlist. My Blueberry Nights never sounded good to me, and every review I've seen has confirmed those initial suspicions.

    The Grandmaster... I was disappointed. Mostly because, there is CLEARLY a GREAT movie in there just DYING to get out, but it was held back by weird pacing issues and placing too much importance on the relationship between Ziyi Zhang (who has never been better) and Tony Leung. I've heard that the original Hong Kong cut is an improvement so someday I'll have to bit the bullet and buy it on Blu Ray, but it's so hard to tell which version is which (there are THREE versions that were screened in different parts of the world). I want Weinstein's blood too for his stupid insistence that he knows best and his too-easily bruised, vindictive ego (the way he treated The Immigrant and Snowpiercer is just unconscionable).

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    1. YAY!!!! So glad you love this post. So glad you love WKW!!!

      Grandmaster is such a hard one to judge because I know that I saw the butchered version, so I hate being hard on it. I'll argue that Zhang was better in 2046 (where, she's, like, the best ever), but she was great here too.

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  2. WKW is one of my favorites as I just love his work (with the exception of My Blueberry Nights which I think is just WKW-lite). I just think he's one of the finest filmmakers.... ever! I await for his next feature film.

    @Daniel-I have the Chinese cut of the film and believe me, it is a major improvement over the godawful version that Harvey Weinstein created.

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    1. He's one of my favorites. Sure, I think he has some lows, but his highs are, in my humble opinion, higher than almost everyone else.

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  3. Some of these images are just mesmerizing. Ashes of Time and Mood for Love really stuck with me. This is wonderful to get someone interested in the films. Hope the move and all are going well.

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    1. In the Mood for Love is in my top 15 films of all time. Truly. No lies. It's that absolutely perfect.

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  4. I miss you! lol

    I haven't seen any of these, though I've had Happy Together in my Netflix queue for ages. These images are beautiful though.

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    1. Awwww, I'm not gone yet, but November is going to be a VERY slow (maybe dead) month...and December may not be much better...but January will burst back to life!

      Delete
  5. Man, this reminds me I need to see more of Wong Kar Wai's work, esp In The Mood for Love. I agree w/ you on The Grandmaster though, very much style over substance.

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    1. Oh yes! See more. In the Mood for Love is the PERFECT place to start.

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  6. Excellent work man!

    I haven't seen Fallen Angels, but I'd also rank As Tears Go By and The Grandmaster at the bottom of WKW's filmography, though I like them a little more.

    I need to rewatch In the Mood for Love. I'm kind of split between that, Amores Perros and Code Unknown for my Best Picture winner that year.

    Isn't that Grandmaster shot (with the car) from Road to Perdition? Not that I mind. It's a much better film. ;)

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    1. Yeah, I'd rank In the Mood for Love above both Amores Perros and Code Unknown, but I also have it in my 2001 ballot...where it loses to In the Bedroom.

      Maybe I should move it to 2000 where it would SWEEP.

      Also, while it looks similar, that shot is indeed from The Grandmaster.

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    2. Err...hold that a second...I'm Googling it again.

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    3. Holy hell!!! You're right. The website I pulled the image from was comparing the two films, visually, and I didn't realize that. Changing it now.

      Delete
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