B.d Wong

B.d Wong

B.d Wong Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS

Focus Review


Good

A very odd blend of caper action, dark drama and romantic comedy, this slickly made con-artist romp never quite finds its stride. There's a merciful vein of sharp wit in the script, thanks to writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love) and a spiky performance from Margot Robbie. But Will Smith's presence leaves everything feeling rather tame, compromising his character by making him a nice-guy crook rather than the unpredictable black-comedy protagonist he really should have been.

It opens as the wide-eyed Jess (Robbie) approaches veteran grifter Nicky (Smith) about learning the art of the con. She follows him to New Orleans for some major pickpocketing and double-crossing in the run-up to a big football championship, but Nicky unceremoniously dumps her afterwards. Three years later, they meet again in Buenos Aires, where both appear to be running scams centred around the Formula One team owned by Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro), who's never far from his right-hand goon (Gerald McRaney). With help from his old pal Farhad (Adrian Martinez), Nicky sets out to run his sting. But Jess is a distraction, and the stakes are too high for him to take his eye off the game.

While it's one of the running gags, Nicky's soft centre is a serious problem here, making the movie feel like a vanity project for Smith, who seems far too determined to be sympathetic. (Ficarra and Requa know how to make an anti-hero likeable: see Bad Santa.) Instead, Smith is a jarring combination of beefy physicality, fast-talking thievery and squidgy emotions. Robbie is able to more effectively merge Jess' gung-ho personality with her gleeful criminality, but when they're both together on-screen it's impossible not to feel like everything about the characters' relationship is a big con. So we wait for the script to reveal its clever twists and turns. But they're surprisingly few and oddly inconsequential.

Continue reading: Focus Review

B.D. Wong Wednesday 6th July 2011 Opening night after party for the Off-Broadway production of 'The Judy Show – My Life As A Sitcom' New York City, USA

B.d. Wong

B.D. Wong Saturday 26th June 2010 Barefoot Wine & Bubbly reception for 'Celebrity Autobiography, Special Gay Pride Performance' held at the Barefoot Wine Foot Fetish Lounge at the Gramercy Theater New York City, USA

B.d. Wong
B.d. Wong
B.d. Wong

Stephanie March and B.D. Wong - Stephanie March and B.D. Wong New York City, USA - UJA-Federation of New York's Leadership awards dinner at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers Tuesday 9th June 2009

Stephanie March and B.d. Wong
Stephanie March

Taylor Dayne and B.D. Wong - Taylor Dayne, B.D. Wong San Francisco, California - San Francisco 10th Annual Gala benefiting amfAR for AIDS Research, held at Four Seasons hotel Saturday 15th November 2008

Taylor Dayne and B.d. Wong
Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne
Taylor Dayne and B.d. Wong
Taylor Dayne

B.D. Wong - Wednesday 16th July 2008 at Ziegfeld Theatre New York City, USA

B.d. Wong

Mulan Review


Very Good
In the rush to contrast the early-nineties Disney golden age (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) with the current crop of underperformers (Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range) that have resulted in Disney's foolhardy decision to jettison hand-drawn animation, some pretty decent films have been lost in the shuffle. Disney's Mulan, for example, is a beautifully drawn and exciting little adventure movie from 1998 (when it was a decent-sized hit, too). It's no kind of classic, but who says Disney Animation can't put out something minor now and again?

In their own ways, the late-nineties Disney cartoons (which include the similarly mythical Hercules and Tarzan) take risks in stylization and subject matter. The semi-experiment here is to craft a story around a strong female protagonist who is not, on any level, a princess (even intelligent and bookish Belle in Beauty and the Beast is defined by a love story with a prince, handsome or not). The title character (voiced by Ming-Na (now sans the Wen)) masquerades as a man in order to take her aging father's place in the Chinese army; it won't spoil your enjoyment to know that she isn't instantly killed and forgotten.

Continue reading: Mulan Review

Seven Years In Tibet Review


Very Good
Pitt stars as a reluctant Nazi who finds peace in, well, Tibet, in this sweeping epic about the holy kingdom and its own struggles against invaders. Seven Years only seems like two or three, though.

The Salton Sea Review


Excellent
The imagery of The Salton Sea surpasses standard noir. It's a tale of a desolate man lost in an abyss of emotional turmoil, desperately seeking redemption and revenge against unknown assailants. The film's opening shot of Val Kilmer, sitting on a barren floor surrounded by flames as he pours Miles Davis through his trumpet, delivers both the physical heat of the flames and the fiery, emotional pain of loss locked within his eyes. It's a haunting and eerily tragic moment of humanity displayed at its weakest point of existence.

The story of The Salton Sea is constructed as an updated version of a 1940s noir film. Expertly written by Tony Gayton, the film opens up with a brief history of speed, a crash course complete with 1950s housewives and Japanese kamikaze pilots. Then, the camera quickly navigates through a crazed house party and lands next to a heavily tattooed Kilmer, sitting amongst speed freaks on a four-day binge. Or maybe it's been three days. With a strong voiceover delivered by Kilmer, we learn about the double life he leads. One life is an addict and police informant known as Danny Parker, complete with numerous tats, leather pants, and skull rings on every finger. And another one, locked in his closet, is a trumpeter named Tom Van Allen, whose wife ended up dead years ago at the hands of masked men during a rest stop robbery while vacationing at the Salton Sea.

Continue reading: The Salton Sea Review

Jurassic Park Review


Good

When John Hammond, the rich billionaire who creates Jurassic Park, says he "spared no expense," we might as well be listening to Steven Spielberg, the film's prolific director. Jurassic Park cost somewhere in the vicinity of $63 million to make but that seems like nothing compared to the return, which was only a hair under $400 million. This is when we really knew what Spielberg could do: He could make a blockbuster better than anyone in the world. Jurassic Park isn't his best film by a long shot, but its mesmerizing entertainment and proof that the man is the go-to guy for action and adventure.

The beginning sets the pace perfectly: While transporting a cloned dinosaur into the titular theme park, a worker is pulled into its cage and ravaged while the other workers prod the beast to no avail. It's the following lawsuit that makes the park's owner, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), want to bring in married paleontologists Alan and Ellie (Sam Neill and Laura Dern), theorist Ian (Jeff Goldblum), and his lawyer Mr. Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) to consult and give the park their seal of approval. When they first arrive, they are amazed by the dinosaurs and charmed by Hammond, his money and his technology. They are also charmed by his grandchildren, Tim and Lex (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards), who come right before the security breaks down. Soon enough, the dinosaurs are loose, eating humans (and each other) with rampant glee.

The main attractions, obviously, are the dinosaurs and the wizards at Stan Winston Studios and Industrial Light and Magic, who did the special and visual effects for the film. For the raptors, specifically, they give the creatures such a fluid range of motion that the carnality of their attacks gives off a vibrant feeling. Spielberg has a knack for mixing visual fireworks with a solid storyline, but he still has trouble with his characters and making them deeper than mere sketches of people. It's easy: Hammond is the rich guy who learns his lesson, Alan is the logical, surprisingly adept hero, Ellie is his equal but understands more emotional things, Ian is the comic relief, Lex and Tim are the innocents, and the lawyer is a meal. But none of these characters really go beyond these archetypes, although the actors try their hardest to give the lines depth (special kudos to Dern and Neill). David Koepp, assisted by Michael Crichton, has crafted a great story in his screenplay, but he never gives enough care to the details of the characters.

It's been argued by a lot of people that Spielberg is a hack; that he treats his controversial films (Schindler's List, Amistad) with the same do-anything rush of his action/adventure films (Minority Report, the Indiana Jones trilogy). Maybe they have a point, but there is no arguing that Spielberg is an important director and a potent storyteller. Jurassic Park serves as an example of his control of story and imagery but also shows off his lack of character development, which has only really been cured in Jaws, indisputably his best film. His next film, Munich, was written by Tony Kushner, the famed author of Angels in America, which might make for a deeper drama from Spielberg. Either way, I guarantee that the producers spared no expense.

Continue reading: Jurassic Park Review

Mulan Review


Very Good
In the rush to contrast the early-nineties Disney golden age (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) with the current crop of underperformers (Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range) that have resulted in Disney's foolhardy decision to jettison hand-drawn animation, some pretty decent films have been lost in the shuffle. Disney's Mulan, for example, is a beautifully drawn and exciting little adventure movie from 1998 (when it was a decent-sized hit, too). It's no kind of classic, but who says Disney Animation can't put out something minor now and again?

In their own ways, the late-nineties Disney cartoons (which include the similarly mythical Hercules and Tarzan) take risks in stylization and subject matter. The semi-experiment here is to craft a story around a strong female protagonist who is not, on any level, a princess (even intelligent and bookish Belle in Beauty and the Beast is defined by a love story with a prince, handsome or not). The title character (voiced by Ming-Na (now sans the Wen)) masquerades as a man in order to take her aging father's place in the Chinese army; it won't spoil your enjoyment to know that she isn't instantly killed and forgotten.

Continue reading: Mulan Review

Father Of The Bride Review


Good
It's really hard to feel too terribly sorry for the uptight George Banks (Steve Martin) when he bitches and moans about the ever-rising costs of his daughter's wedding in Father of the Bride. After all, he lives in overstuffed opulence in a Pasadena mini-mansion, runs his own company, drives an antique sports car, has a perfect and gainfully employed wife (Diane Keaton), and two perfect kids (Kimberly Williams and Kieran Culkin). Is the wedding cake outrageously expensive? Get over it, George.

In fact, that's what wife Nina (Keaton) spends most of the movie saying. And that's what you'll be saying, too, as George whines about having to buy a tuxedo, mopes about the disruption to the house, disapproves of the perfect young man (George Newbern) who has deflowered his daughter, and gets all frantic about meeting his future in-laws (who are even richer than he is). What's really happening, of course, is that George simply doesn't want his daughter to grow up, and his way of raging against life's forward progression is to get cranky about the upcoming wedding day. How do we know? Because George tells us in his self-pitying narration. This is the kind of movie that has plenty of both show and tell.

Continue reading: Father Of The Bride Review

Slappy And The Stinkers Review


Weak
Your enjoyment of Slappy and the Stinkers will be directly proportional to your ability to be amused by a farting seal. In other words, if you're over the age of nine, this frantic melange of The Little Rascals, Caddyshack, and Free Willy will be of limited appeal. However, if you know someone under the age of nine, he or she will probably get a kick out of it.

The Stinkers in question are an adorable group of five seven-year-old ragamuffins who are in some sort of scholarship summer school program at an exclusive private academy. Their every move is carefully watched by nasty headmaster Morgan Brinway (B.D. Wong), an ultra persnickety and fastidious mincing prig whose idea of a music class is to lead the children through grueling rehearsals of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It's he who has nicknamed the kids Stinkers. Quite the educator.

Continue reading: Slappy And The Stinkers Review

The Salton Sea Review


OK

A handsomely stylish, semi-punk, drug-culture updating of the wronged-man's-revenge film noir plot, "The Salton Sea" has one of the most enticingly, quintessentially film noir opening scenes I've ever seen.

Picture this: Val Kilmer, dressed as a hep cat who just finished a gig at a downtown jazz club, sits on the floor of his burning apartment. Leaning on a wall, silhouetted against the orange flames, he's playing his trumpet and bleeding -- possibly to death -- from a gunshot wound. A bag full of money lies beside him with wads of bills spilling out onto the floor beside him.

"My name is Tom Van Allen. Or Danny Parker. I honestly don't know any more," he breathes in a honeyed, genre-perfect voice-over. "You can decide -- yeah, maybe you can help me, friend. You can help me decide who I am. Avenging Angel? Judas Iscariot? Loving husband? Trumpet player? Speed freak?"

Continue reading: The Salton Sea Review

B.d Wong

B.d Wong Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS
Advertisement

Jason Statham Loves The Mechanic's Complicated Action

Jason Statham Loves The Mechanic's Complicated Action

Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.

Advertisement
John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

In a busy year that has seen John Krasinski star in movies and TV shows, he somehow managed to find the time to direct, produce and star in the new...

Advertisement

B.D Wong Movies

Focus Movie Review

Focus Movie Review

A very odd blend of caper action, dark drama and romantic comedy, this slickly made...

The Salton Sea Movie Review

The Salton Sea Movie Review

The imagery of The Salton Sea surpasses standard noir. It's a tale of a...

Advertisement
The Salton Sea Movie Review

The Salton Sea Movie Review

A handsomely stylish, semi-punk, drug-culture updating of the wronged-man's-revenge film noir plot, "The Salton Sea"...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.