Category Archives: Movies

Newsbits: Olbermann, Nguyen, Asian Health

Some links and stories from around the web and blogosphere:

Olbermann Slams Malkin for Daring to Question Clinton Straw Donors

MSNBC’s Keith “Chicken & Waffles” Olbermann attacked conservative blogger Michelle Malkin for “ethnic profiling” of Chinese restaurant dishwashers in New York City who donated to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Of course, running off of the liberal Media Matters script, Olbermann failed to note that Malkin’s problem is not with the donors’ ethnicity per se, but that it’s highly suspicious when low-wage earners pony up a few thousand to give a political candidate.

’21 Jump Street’ star Dustin Nguyen is back in action

Flash back to 1987. “21 Jump Street” was one of the hottest new shows on television, showcasing the talents of young heartthrobs Johnny Depp and Dustin Nguyen. For Depp, already a rising star, it would be a launching pad for enormous big-screen success. For Nguyen, who played Officer Harry Truman Ioki, it was a rare opportunity in the national spotlight during a time when there were hardly any Asian Americans on television or in the movies.

Coverage, Access and Quality | Asian-Americans Express Concern About SCHIP Veto, Program’s Future

According to recent U.S. Census Bureau data, 15.5% of Asian-Americans and about 21.7% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are uninsured. Other Asian-American subgroups such as Korean-Americans and Vietnamese-Americans also have a large percentage of uninsured. However, because some subgroups have relatively higher incomes and education levels and are labeled as the “Model Minority,” the groups’ need for access to health care often is overlooked, the Pacific Citizen/New America Media reports.

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Halle Berry caught making racist Jewish joke on Jay Leno – and Leno tried to cover it up

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Well – not only is she an Academy Award winner  – the first black actor to win the Best Actress award – but now you can add racist joker to her resume as well. On a recent stint on the Jay Leno show while showing distorted pictures of herself in a comic routine, when she came to one of the pictures of her with a magnified nose she said it made her look like “her Jewish cousin”.

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That was nice Halle.

And you almost got away with it too, because according to reports you asked Jay Leno to take it out for the actual television showing – which he did – but audience members leaked it out.

So not only was there a racist joke made at the expense of Jewish Americans – you know – those people with big noses who control all the media and never were involved in something called the Holocaust (because you probably think that’s a sham) – but you also had your friend Jay Leno – the man who likes to let comedians rip on Asian people – try and cover it up for you.

Next time maybe you can do some photos of you with some slanty eyes with some chopsticks and a laundry ticket and start sputtering out stereotypes and latent prejudices about Asian people too?

Please? Pretty please?

Then maybe Jay Leno can try and cover that up as well.

“Lust, Caution”: Lots of lust but no love? Banned from the Oscars, and Too Chinese?

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While Ang Lee’s film Lust, Caution has been getting great reviews and doing extremely well at the box office internationally and in limited release in the states – there’s been a lot happening lately with the film – and not all of it great either – some of it seeming to have more to do with politics and being myopic than anything else.

Too Chinese?

Apparently the head of the production company that made Lust, Caution is weary of expanding the film in the U.S. because it’s a “very Chinese” film. Huh?

So martial arts and anything having to do with geisha is O.K. – but an art-house romantic war epic featuring Asian people might be too much for the general public to handle. 

Banned from the Oscars

Even though Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had few Taiwanese crew and actors associated with the film, it was still allowed to be nominated for the U.S. Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category – but this year – Taiwan’s Foreign Language Film Award Selection Committee was notified that Lust, Caution would not be allowed to compete in the category because it didn’t have enough Taiwanese crew working on it who were in “lead positions”.

So the director – famed director Ang Lee – and the screenwriter who are both Taiwanese aren’t “lead position” enough? Because one of the actors is from mainland China (Tang Wei) and they had a Mexican cinematographer and French composer it still can’t be a Taiwanese film? 

It isn’t foreign language enough?

No Hong Kong Film Awards – Mostly

It seems HK is no different either. Because there weren’t enough people from Hong Kong working on the film – versus mainland China – the movie won’t be eligible for numerous awards, however it still will be able to compete for the best Asian film category at least – which allows any Asian film, regardless of how many people from HK worked on it.

Why Bai Ling is Film Cool and the rest of us are just her minions

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If you watch Penélope Cruz in any of Pedro Almodóvar’s films, or a movie like Belle Époque, you get a very different feel from her as an actress versus if you watch her in something like Vanilla Sky or Bandidas. This isn’t saying that there’s anything wrong with those movies, but in films like Volver and All About My Mother there is more depth, more added layers to not just the characters, but also in how Cruz portrays them and brings them to life on the screen. There’s a dichotomy between the two Cruz’s. If you only know her from her more American films, you may not realize the full depth of her skills as an actress and an artist.

The same can be said for Chinese actress Bai Ling, where in the states she is sometimes mostly known not for her film roles, but rather her outrageous dress, her spot on the reality show But Can They Sing, and getting cut out of Star Wars: Episode III which coincided with her posing for Playboy.

But just like Penélope Cruz is more than her American roles, there’s more to Bai Ling as well.

That’s a lot of hardware

Bai Ling hasn’t just been awarded one Best Supporting Actress Award – she’s won two – for her work in the segment Dumplings from the film Three… Extremes  at both the Golden Horse Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards.  The U.S. National Board of Review also gave her the award for Female Breakthrough Performance for her role in the film Red Corner (which also garnered her a Female Discovery of the Year award).

Shanghai Baby and Shanghai Producer

In addition to acting in a plethora of movies, she also serves as the executive producer on one of her latest films Shanghai Baby

The Beautiful Country, The Crow, She Hate Me, Dumplings

When you’ve been in these movies – ultra cool movies – it says something about your work as an actress – past, present, and future. And with 45+ film and TV credits to her name she won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Is that network TV?

Wasn’t that Bai Ling on Lost? Network TV Lost? Multicultural it’s great to see another Asian face Lost? Just so there’s no confusion – that would be yes.

Because she’s not a docile-feet bound-her lips shut-bowing to the masses Asian woman

The bottom line is that Bai Ling does it her way. She doesn’t conform to any views of what people sometimes expect an award winning Asian actress to be; rather than just keep quiet and nod her head and comply – she does the exact opposite.

And is that any different from any of the other actresses out there? Didn’t Angelina Jolie wear a vile of blood around her neck, profess to be a nymphomaniac, and kiss her brother in a pseudo-sexual way? Wasn’t that Vanessa Williams who was involved in a nude photo scandal? Didn’t Marilyn Monroe have an affair with a U.S. President?

But aren’t they still deemed great actresses (or at least good ones)? Icons even?

Why is it that Asian women in the media seem to get held up to even higher standards than their non-Asian counterparts? Why can’t they be smart, flaky, trashy, demure, serious, introspective, self deprecating – anything they want to be – all at the same time, on and off the screen, and still be considered great actresses?

The answer is that they can – and they should.

Devon Aoki and the Mutant Chronicles

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This looks like it could be interesting – slated to come out in 2008 called Mutant Chronicles– where Devon Aoki will star alongside Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, and John Malkovich.

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Check out the movie’s official site here.

Dirty Sexy Michelle Krusiec, Far North, and the Vagina Monologues

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In case you may have missed it Michelle Krusiec (Saving Face) has been seen popping up in a few episodes of the new ABC show Dirty Sexy Money starring Donald Sutherland and Peter Krause. According to IMDB she’s set to be in a total of four episodes with episode #3 just airing last night – and while her character doesn’t have a huge part – it’s great to see her on the show.

Going Far North

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At the same time you can check out more of Michelle Krusiec in her new film Far North also starring Michelle Yeoh and Sean Bean which is getting some good reviews.

Go Go Vagina Monologues

Also – check out her performance from the VDAY Vagina Monologues at the Japanese Community Center in LA earlier this year.

Aishwarya Rai: The Queen of Bollywood and “The Last Legion”

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Film star Aishwarya Rai seems to be all over the place these days even more so than normal if that’s actually possible.

From filming the Pink Pather 2 with Steven Martin, charming her way into Ben Kingsley’s heart, getting ready to be seen in a slew of more films like Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodha-Akbar – Aishwarya still has her pick of pretty much anything she wants to do – but then again maybe that’s why one of her nicknames is “The Queen of Bollywood”…

Check out the trailer for her new Hollywood movie The Last Legion also starring Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley