News from April 24, 2001

Even More on AI

Jawad over at informs me his sources are disputing my reports this week that AI might be delayed. That’s great news.

Sony Wakes Up

After the monstrous success of their award winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sony Studios has opened yet another distribution arm, Sony Repertory, to handle more targeted releases. Now, while this doesn’t sound like big news in and of itself, check out their first two titles, both from one of China’s most acclaimed action filmmakers, Tsui Hark.

This Friday comes the first American release of the uncut 134 minute Jet Li starrer Once Upon A Time In China. Based on the legend of the same Wong Fei-hung portrayed by Jackie Chan in the Drunken Master series, the film is supposed to open in eight markets on Friday, although we can only confirm shows at Film Forum in New York (Daily at 1:00, 3:45, 7:00 and 9:35) and the NuArt in Los Angeles at this time. OUATIC is also scheduled to open “soon” at the Shattuck in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the Egyptian in Seattle.

Then on May 4th, Sony Repertory sends Time and Tide (Senlau ngaklau) out to battle against The Mummy Returns. Wu Bai, Nicholas Tse and Cathy Tsui star in the story of Tyler, a impatient 21-year-old street smart Hong Kong native who secretly fantasizes about living the good life in South America. However, he is about to become a father, so he signs on as a bodyguard to support himself, making friends with a former mercenary resolute to begin a new life. Their friendship is brief, as both are forced towards opposite sides in a deadly showdown.

Currently, these are the only two releases on their schedule. If you happen to be in any of the cities where China is opening this weekend, grab all your friends and see it this weekend. Then go see Time and Tide the following week. Without your early support, these two films might not make it to other cities. Without your patronage, Sony will think it’s a waste of their time and money to clean up and distribute the original Hong Kong versions of these films. Then there will be no future American releases of Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, John Woo, Jet Li and Ringo Lam movies in their original full length widescreen editions. Because I promise you, once you’ve seen Rumble In The Bronx the way it was meant to be seen… seen Black Cat at all… seen A Better Tomorrow on a big screen…

Hell, you’re just never going to get why film lovers have been geeking out for over a decade now.