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New York premiere of 'Marco Polo'

Joan Chen - Shots of stars as they arrived for the New York premiere of 'Marco Polo' which was held at the AMC in Lincoln Square, New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 2nd December 2014

Joan Chen
Joan Chen
Joan Chen
Joan Chen
Joan Chen

Marco Polo - Featurette


"The true story of Marco Polo is so much more compelling and exciting than the mythology" explains John Fusco ('Young Guns'), series creator and Executive Producer of 'Marco Polo'. Lorenzo Richelmy who plays the title character explains his motivation, saying: "His father was a great merchant, so his dream is to become a great merchant as well." Executive Producer Daniel Minahan ('Game of Thrones') adds some insight into the story of the series, explaining how Marco travels to China with his father, but negotiations break down quickly and Marco is left as an offering to serve the court of Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong).

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Hollywood Costume - press view held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Last Emperor, John Lone and Joan Chen - The Last Emperor - John Lone and Joan Chen Wednesday 17th October 2012 Hollywood Costume - press view held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

1911 Trailer


In 1911, China is under the rule of the 250 year old Qing Dynasty. However, the country has been divided due to a state of unrest and unease. Many people are starving under the rule of a seven year old emperor.

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24 City Review


OK
An intriguing hybrid of fiction and documentary, this film chronicles the dismantling of a notorious factory in Chengdu to make way for a new luxury community. It's skilfully assembled, but a bit dry for Western audiences.

As Factory 420 prepares to close, people recount their experiences. Born in the 1930s, He Xikun is the eldest former employee. Guan is a former security boss remembering the factory's role in the Korean War. Hou recounts her emotional experience in Chengdu. Dali (Lu) walks through the site to start a new job. Gu (Joan Chen) remembers her colleagues' efforts to find her a boyfriend. Zhao (Chen Jianbin) grew up in the factory and is now a TV presenter. And Su (Zhao Tao) is a young woman moving forward.

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24 City Review


Excellent
Perhaps I just have to say it plainly: Jia Zhang-ke is the most original and hyper-modern filmmaker currently at work in the foreign film industry. He is certainly the most perceptive and important director out of the swell of "Sixth Generation" filmmakers coming out of China. Speaking directly to his country's dead past, evaporating present, and the rampant juggernaut of progress, Zhang-ke conjures times, people, and places -- both invented and startlingly real -- but all very much of the beguiling now.

Still Life, the director's last stateside-distributed film object about the displaced wanderers surviving on the outskirts of the Three Gorges Dam project, demonstrated how very strange life in rural China has become. In Jia's new film 24 City, which takes place in Chengdu City, the most memorable images are more subdued and compacted: An assembly of workers singing "The International," a factory being demolished, Joan Chen playing a one-time factory employee whose co-workers remark that she resembles Joan Chen.

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The Home Song Stories Review


Extraordinary
The Home Song Stories is Tony Ayres' divulgence of the most traumatizing, deeply personal events of his childhood. It's not often that a director summons the courage to bare his soul, but in Ayres' case, Stories isn't so much a film for self-expression as it is an experiment to better understand his late, manic-depressive mother. Whether you walk out of the theater hating, loving, or sympathizing for the director's mother, Stories succeeds in enabling you to see through the eyes of an angry, confused little boy -- who continues to exist in Ayres today with a broken heart.

Stories centers on Rose (Joan Chen), a Chinese nightclub singer struggling to raise two children in '70s Australia. A needy woman who demands constant attention, she goes through men like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Rejection is completely unacceptable: Dump Rose and she'll attempt suicide, only to be discovered unconscious by her daughter and son.

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The Last Emperor Review


Good
Toy trucks and accessorized dolls are common props of the wide-eyed two year-old's wonderment. While Puyi, who was appointed China's last emperor at that tender age, might have substituted fine silk curtains for plastic as he explored the Forbidden City -- toddling the breathtaking, empty rooms and splashing in bathtubs -- the veil of childhood was quickly lifted to reveal a solitary life of duty and responsibility. Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor deals with many false truths, but the most disappointing is that the film, itself, doesn't live up to its grandiose individual efforts.

Despite its bold opening of Puyi's attempted suicide as a prisoner in a reeducation camp in his late 50s, The Last Emperor is your standard biopic, complete with the framework of the aged character telling the story of his life. Of course, Puyi's peculiar childhood is the most interesting half of the two-and-a-half-hour film, and it's there where Bertolucci's grip on the material is the strongest. From the seven-year-old Puyi's desperation to connect with the mother he was separated from six years prior to the teenage Puyi's pet mouse. Bertolucci's poetics seem to transcend the film's immaculate design and execution. It helps that the material is inherently interesting -- we are all bound by duty in some regard and are constantly looking for an escape. Still, Bertolucci takes chances, even shocking us with a seven-year-old Puyi nestling in his mother's bare bosom or the pet mouse meeting its demise against the Forbidden City's gate at the hands of a frustrated Puyi. These are not mere exploits, however, but sad moments where it's clear that Puyi's childhood and foreshadowed adulthood needs and desires are controlled by others.

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Twin Peaks: The Complete Series Review


Excellent
X-Files, Heroes, Lost? They all owe their very souls to a short-lived TV series that ran for just two seasons from 1990-1992. You might have heard of it: Twin Peaks.

I'll admit now that I wore an "I killed Laura Palmer" t-shirt thoughout my freshman year of college. Am I embarrassed by that now? Yes, but not as much as you'd think. Twin Peaks was a bona-fide phenomenon, the most subversively popular thing of its day and still a brainy-slash-guilty pleasure with few equals.

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Lust, Caution Review


OK
Halfway through Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain, Mr. Yee, a collaborator with the Japanese in WWII Shanghai, throws the flirtatious wife of a businessman onto a bed and proceeds to have sex with her, precariously straddling the fence between rough sex and rape. Mr. Yee (the inimitable Tony Leung) and the woman, Wang (Tang Wei), will go on to have a dark and detailed set of trysts, each more carnal and sweatier than the last. Lee's camera doesn't show a hint of timidity as it sways around every curve and canal of each lover's body, at times so penetrating that one wonders if Lee's precursor was Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs. It's not Ledger spitting in his hand before he gives it to Gyllenhaal, but it's not far off.

But before we ever get to see these thrashing entanglements, we are plummeted into the early rumblings of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese occupation. Little does Yee know that the woman he is tossing around the bedroom would love nothing more than to feel his blood splatter all over her in the middle of one of their sessions. See, Wang was once a schoolgirl with aspirations in acting, sparked by collegiate cutie Kuang (Wang Leehom), a director who wrote (terrible) plays about the damages of the war and subsequent occupation on the normal Chinese family. While discussing politics in a theater balcony, Kuang and his actors turned from thespians into resistance fighters, planning the assassination of the traitorous Yee.

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Wild Side (1995) Review


Grim
Worse films have been made, but at least this one has a lot of Anne Heche naked. The story is one of ostensible high intrigue in the corporate world, coupled with high-priced hookers and federal investigations into all of this. Doesn't make a lick of sense -- Cammell wants to be David Lynch but he just doesn't have the script here to do it. Memo to star Christopher Walken: What is that on your head?

What's Cooking? Review


Weak
Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha's feminine feast drama What's Cooking? serves up the ingredients for a potential tasty meal, but the remaining aftertaste leaves much to be desired. In the film, Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach) concocts a multi-ethnic, estrogen-driven drama that overextends itself to hysteria. The notion of profiling a broad range of distinctive, Los Angeles-based families preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday makes for an entertaining sociological premise, but Chandra's concentration on these culturally diverse women and their loved ones feels strained and contrived. She tries gallantly to fortify this film with her brand of cinematic seasoning, but the characters come off as a bunch of overdramatic caricatures going through the prototypical TV-movie-of-the-week antics. Consequently, What's Cooking? is a flavorless fable that is as hard to swallow as a piece of tough turkey.

The film's families consist of African-American, Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic protagonists, all exaggerated characters who weave in and out of hackneyed plots. From the Jewish perspective, there's the tongue-tied matriarch Seelig (Lainie Kazan) who has an annoyingly cute way of enunciating certain words. Ma Seelig is somewhat speechless when she eventually gets to meet her daughter Rachel's (Kyra Sedgwick) lesbian lover Carla (Julianna Margulies, late of television's ER). Then there's the Spanish viewpoint where an estranged couple, the Avilas (Mercedes Ruehl and Victor Rivers), are forced to reunite upon the insistence of their adult children. There's also obvious tension when Vietnamese Jimmy Nguyen (Will Yun Lee) dares to play footsies with Hispanic Gina Avilas (Isidra Vega). And the black family the Williamses (headed up by Alfre Woodard and Dennis Haysbert) has issues as well.

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