Tsai Ming Liang Film review, Reverse ShotThis
explains why we know everything about Tsai’s characters except what
they are thinking. His characters seem like strangers even to themselves
not necessarily because they are alienated but because we have access
to their bodies, rather than their selves. We are omniscient rather than
House of Flying Daggers Film review, H2SO4 In the film's first half,
Zhang and Takeshi act almost ostentatiously badly, like goofy, dreamy-eyed
cartoon people, bouncing around, propagandizing their fairy tale emotions.
Old Song Chinese poetry translation, Five Fingers Review
Of Of Essay, MeThree
This is an apology for the word of, maybe my favorite word. I realized it was my favorite word when a friend of mine asked me what my favorite word was and I said of was my favorite word.
Statue of Liberty Fiction, Palimpsest
Sideways Film review, Reverse Shot Satire is the narrative
of critique, but its critique is like Hulk Hogan telling us he could knock
out Andre the Giant. All satire tells us is that one fake thing is better
than another fake thing.
Mercury Rising: Contemporary Poetry from Taiwan Book review, Kyoto Journal
Let’s say that somewhere out there, there are factories for souls.
Let’s say that you’re a soul-engineer and you’ve just
got handed an assignment: lyric poet. How would you make the best poet
Hero Film review, Reverse Shot
As with many beautiful non-realist films, watching Hero is a humorless quest.
What’s surprising is how all the thrilling verb-qualities of the action
have been stripped away from the glamorous punch-outs.
Spiderman 2 Film review, Reverse Shot
The chief adversaries in Spiderman 2 aren’t Spiderman and Doc Ock:
they are private life versus public life. His grades take second priority
to sleepless car chases, his eyes wilt baggily from too much dutiful vigilantism,
and Mary Jane all but abandons him for the odd way he’s always disappearing
on her—Maguire’a character has to choose between being Spiderman
or being Peter Parker. In other words, Spiderman 2 is a four-color allegory
about distributive justice.
Lord of the Rings: Return of
the King Film review, Reverse Shot
Watching a great tennis match can be exhilarating but we don’t call
it an artistic masterpiece: why then should we treat The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King any differently?
City out of Breath Essay, Manoa
In Hong Kong, the world stretches time until time—along with space
and language—goes elastic. It's like a Chinese painting, in which
conflicting perspectives soak through the landscape like radiation. A
McDonald's sits next to a vegetable cart tended by a woman who looks about
five hundred years old. The all-Chinese police band plays bagpipes and
marches in kilts for the Saint Patrick's Day parade. Street markets are
the opposite of flowers: opening up at night and closing at day. In Hong
Kong, all times are contiguous.
The Ring Film review, Bridge
Watts became a star in a David Lynch comeback (Mulholland Drive) and now
follows that up with The Ring, a David Lynch appropriation. If parody
can be likened to a fun house mirror, an image that reflects another image
while distorting it, then the shape of appropriation is more like a box.
Ishmael Reed Interview, Satellite
“I'm not bound by the opinions of the American cultural elite which
often sounds like an overseas colony yearning for the motherland.”
How to Win Writing Prizes at
Berkeley Essay, Satellite
Don't believe what everyone else thinks--it's much harder to lose prizes
than win them. Winning the Berkeley writing prizes that pop up each March,
for example, confers the respect of one's peers and mentors, as well as
near-infinite sums of money. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is difficult.
How computers will change storytelling Essay, C-Theory
But, the most defining test medium is life itself. If the online narrative
succeeds as a popular art form, it may be like a film — rarely expressionistic,
completely literal, and conforming to the reality of the physical world.
Speak Magazine editor Dan Rolleri
"My ambition is to produce a magazine, not a brand and not a demographic
I, Object Poetry, Satellite
All Across America graves need to be dug! We must lay to rest those who
lack personalities! I shall be the first to be buried!
Comics 101: Five Comic BooksYou
Should Read Essay, Satellite
Love and Rockets is one of the few comics that can ace that most popular
yet grueling of tests--your girlfriend will like it.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at American
Beauty or Why I Hated It Film review, Satellite
American Beauty is not satire--it's just bad writing.
Pick-a-Flick: The Movie Recommendation
Machine Film review, Satellite
This May, the creators of The Rock are releasing Pearl Harbor, another
archetypical summer movie with Ben Affleck and Cuba Gooding Junior. What
many people don't realize is that there was actually a battle in World
War II bearing, coincidentally, the same name.
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(c) Ken Chen, 1998-2006. Ken Chen can be reached by email.