Category Archives: entertainment

No go for Asian Americans on primetime

I almost forgot with the war going on that “Black Sash” was premiering on the WB. Of course, my trusty TiVo was programmed to pick up stuff with Russell Wong, so I was happily reminded as it started recording the new show.

Unfortunately, I was not so happily impressed by the show itself. Yes, as I’m writing this, there’s still 20 minutes to go in the pilot, but so far, the show has been some updated version of “The Karate Kid”, except not as good as that might sound. Wong is an ex-cop who was set up by his former partner, getting caught with tons o’heroine and being sent to a Hong Kong prison for 5 years. He’s back in the Yay Area now and he’s teaching martial arts to a group of teenagers (none who are Asian it seems) and being the Mr. Miyagi of today’s angsty teens– there’s the the angry girl who wants to avenge her father’s murder, the abused teen trying to get out of a battered home, the nerdy girl who’s actually ridiculously hot and is pining away for a boy, and the black kid who, outside of a gadget habit and being the object of nerdy girl’s affection, seems pretty much to be included because he’s the black kid. And hey, after Jim Kelly’s crucial part in “Enter the Dragon”, you’ve always got to have the black dude who is into martial arts. I’m all for promoting Black-Asian relations.
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Those nefarious North Koreans

I have to admit: Bond movies are not my favorite movies of all time. Yes, they certainly have their appeal and no knowledge of pop culture is complete without them, but they can get kind of cheesy and formulaic. But, the newest Bond flick, Die Another Day, departs from that formula– a least a little. There’s no “Bond moment” where the villain explains his whole evil plan to Bond and compadres before his destined-to-fail attempt to off them. There’s no evil foreign temptress. And yes, the women in this flick are more than just notches for 007’s not-so-top secret bedpost.

And, damn, Pierce Brosnan is one good-looking mofo.

The big to-do about this Bond movie was that Oscar Award-winning Halle Berry was the new Bond girl. She’s looking good and is entertaining in the movie, but to be honest, I went to see it when I realized Rick Yune was in it. I gots to go support my people, you know? (For those of you who don’t know, Yune is one of the few highly visible Korean-American actors out there, starring in movies like Snow Falling on Cedars and The Fast and the Furious. He was also the first Asian American to land a national fashion campaign, being featured in ads for Versace and Polo. And he’s one damn good-looking man.)

Who knew that the latest Bond flick’s plotline featured some nefarious North Koreans out to conquer the world? I’m sure this is doing wonders for getting North Korea off of that “Axis of Evil” and for not inciting fear and hatred towards North Koreans and the like (and by “the like,” I mean anybody that resembles a North Korean– *ahem*, yellow peril anyone?).

But all in all, it was a good movie, full of great Bond action and tomfoolery. And not to mention the tasty Aston Martin Vanquish. Vroom.

“Rent” really lights my candle

I just saw a commercial for Rent, the Broadway musical– the tour cast has come to San Francisco! For anyone who hasn’t seen it and has the chance, go see it! Even if you aren’t into musicals. I must admit, despite growing up near enough to NYC to see a Broadway musical every now and again and even being in a high school musical production or two, I’m usually not that into musicals. Often, when I’m watching a musical, I’m going along with the story, learning about the characters, but then when everybody starts singing suddenly, I say, “What the hell? Why is everyone singing?” And then I remember: oh yeah, it’s a musical.

But I have no snarky comments for Rent. Written by Jonathan Larson, it’s a remake of La Boheme, but in true twentieth century, rock opera style. The story focuses on a group of young people living in the Lower East Side of New York City and fighting to keep the industrial loft space they live in. It’s a celebration of the Bohemian lifestyle they all pursue, but the story also focuses on three main relationships– gay, straight and lesbian. It touches on HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, sexuality, and more. It’s got a little something for everyone! I cry like a little girl every time I see it.

And don’t forget– the original Broadway cast included Taye Diggs as Benny and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins. And yes, it’s them singing on the original Broadway cast recording!

It’s a heart-wrenching tale and it’s full of pop culture references from the nineties. Unfortunately, Larson passed away from an aortic aneurysm the night before the show’s Broadway debut, but Rent has gone on to be one of the most successful shows on Broadway and people keep coming back for more.

Harry Potter is scary

So, I went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night. Even before the movie started, the night was eventful– the line to enter the theatre was wrapped around the outside and into the parking lot. So, there’s over a hundred people standing in line outside waiting to get in and some people from the show that just ended go to leave. Cars are parked all along the side of the road that leads into the parking lot and they decide to pull out of the parallel parked spot and try to back up all the way out of the lot. Unfortunately, the driver swings too far as she starts to back up and ends up hitting the minivan parked in front of her. She only knocks the side of the car, but ends up having the bumber to her little Civic just ripped off completely. It was so very sad and everyone in line saw it. There was a collective “Oh, damn!” when it happened. There was no damage to the other parked car, but damn, they don’t make Civics like they used to. Of course, they never made Civics like they used to.

Another pre-movie adventure: we tried to use the bathroom before the movie started, but the usher at the front said that they were going open the doors in like 2 minutes. But we really had to go! The guy almost gave in, but then the San Jose police officer sitting in the lobby jumped in and put the smack down on our little bathroom trip. Unbelievable! Two minutes my ass. We didn’t go in until at least 15-20 minutes later and then when we got into the theater, the po-po was watching over us as we all took our seats. Like the San Jose police doesn’t have anything better to do than make sure kids don’t sneak into Harry Potter? It’s Harry Potter for chrissake, not 8 mile. Which was a great movie, btw, and I don’t recall there being any problems with that movie. Bunch of minorities get together to watch a movie and people get all bent out of shape.

In any case, so the movie was a little on the long side (personally, I think they should have made it into a mini-series), but the book does cover an entire year at school. And they stuck pretty close to the book, which I always appreciate (especially after the way they fucked up Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned). I think it was better done than the first– they are finally getting the hang of it when trying to recreate this wizard world.

But, I must say that it was kind of dark at times. I mean, at the end of the day, the Harry Potter series is about a little boy who survived the brutal murder of his parents by an evil wizard and the evil wizard’s quest to finish the job. I love the books– they’re magical!– and I think that the topics they touch on are important ones that mirror issues in our real world and the books are a great way to teach kids about those issues. The whole Muggle-born versus pureblood issue. Ron’s issues with being poor. The house elves’ slavery. But the imagery you come up with in your head as you read the books and the visuals plastered on a huge movie screen are two different things and I could easily see how some of the scenes in the movie would be scary. I mean, come on, Tom Riddle? He’s creepy.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie and can’t wait to see the next one. Although, I’d much rather finally get to read the next book in the series. Come on, JK Rowling, get on that!