A tradition continues: Hollywood destroys Hong Kong
What does Hollywood have against Hong Kong? The first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong dropped this week, and the city features prominently in the kaiju-fronted blockbuster. The film expands on Warner Bros and Legendary’s ambitious MonsterVerse franchise, which began in 2014 with Gareth Edwards’ moody take on Godzilla, before continuing with the 1970s-set Kong: Skull Island (2017), starring Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, and 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which starred Zhang Ziyi and added a host of other classic creatures to the mix. Godzilla vs. Kong, directed by Adam Wingard (Blair Witch, Death Note), appears to use Hong Kong as a battleground for a climactic stand-off between the t
Home-cooking healing: five movies to inspire your inner chef
It’s safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has upended life as we once knew it.  Gone are weekend brunches, happy hour drinks with friends and delicious dining out experiences. Now, many people around the world have been forced to fend for themselves in the kitchen. And unless you’re lucky enough to know a cordon bleu chef or be one yourself, we’d hazard a guess that, by now, quarantine cooking is starting to sour. Here at Inkstone, we want to bring a bit of spice back into your culinary life with inspiration from these five films about the healing power of home cooking. Babette’s Feast (1987) The Danish drama sees a once-celebrated chef, Babette Hersant (Stéphane Audran), seeking refu
5 celebrities that can join Meryl Streep and wow with Chinese language skills
Lauded for her acting, Meryl Streep has revealed another talent – speaking Chinese. Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, earlier this month, the Hollywood legend was coaxed to recite the famous Chinese poem, “The Deer Range”, which she learned in 2011. While the 71-year-old did not get the tone of some of the characters correct, her recitation led to widespread praise from social media users in China who were shocked she remembered it.  Many applauded her ability to master what is not an easy language. “I went with [cellist] Yo-Yo Ma to Beijing for a cultural exchange concert in the Bird’s Nest stadium,” Streep explained to the host. “I was going to [recite] it first in English,
How John Woo reinvented action movies
Director John Woo, who turned 74 on May 1, should be considered the godfather of the modern action movie. Mixing spectacular set pieces with sentiment, he started tropes now synonymous with the genre. These include slow-motion fight scenes, Mexican stand-offs and characters firing multiple guns at the same time. The repeated use of doves, however, is a style all his own. Born in Guangzhou in 1946, the director of films such as A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled (1992) grew up in Hong Kong after his family fled persecution under Mao Zedong.  “As a kid, I always felt like I lived in hell – the slums of Hong Kong were horrible,” he told Venice Magazine. “I always had t
Avengers can’t save China’s box office from Beijing’s tightening grip
Tougher regulations and a lackluster performance by imported films saw China’s box office revenues grow last year at the slowest rate in over a decade, according to official data. The world’s fastest-growing film market generated box office revenues of $9.2 billion in 2019, up 5.4% from a year earlier. But it was the second consecutive year that China’s box office growth slowed. Revenue from Chinese films expanded by 8.7% in 2019. Revenue from overseas produced films, however, rose only by 0.1%.  Of the overseas produced films, only Avengers: Endgame and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw appeared on China’s top 10 list for 2019. Hollywood blockbusters now contribute only around a th
‘The Matrix’ can thank this man for its iconic fight scenes
Hong Kong martial arts director Yuen Woo-ping’s action scenes are the defining feature of The Matrix trilogy, yet Yuen himself never sought to work in Hollywood. When the films’ sibling directors, the Wachowskis, were preparing the first in the trilogy, a producer for the film had to track Yuen down in Hong Kong and convince him to go to Los Angeles to discuss choreographing the martial arts scenes in The Matrix. “I’d already been asked to work in Hollywood a couple of times, and I’d said no. I didn’t feel that my English was good enough to work there,” Yuen said. “What happened then was that one of the producers of The Matrix contacted Shaw Brothers [a Hong Kong production company] to find
Simu Liu is ‘changing the world’ as Marvel's first Asian superhero
This hotel room in West Hollywood, dimly lit with the curtains drawn, shows no signs of film-star excess. No half-full bottles of flat champagne, no overflowing ashtrays. No powder-flecked mirrors on the countertops. No cracks in the plasma television.  Just some fresh clothes folded neatly over a chair and, on the table in front of us, a Nintendo Switch and a big bag of sour candies. And anyway, its occupant isn’t exactly a film star. At least not yet. Thirty-year-old Simu Liu clears off a spot on the couch and apologizes for the mess.  This room – what a TripAdvisor review might deem “perfectly adequate” – has been his home for the past few months. The only clues Liu has spent that time in
Michelle Yeoh hopes Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a one-hit wonder
Things are changing fast in Hollywood for Asian actors, and it’s about time, says Michelle Yeoh. The Malaysian-born actress, who made her name as a Hong Kong action heroine in the mid-1980s, stepped back into the international spotlight with her performance in Crazy Rich Asians, the hit romantic movie she credits for Asian performers’ increased opportunities in American film and television. “It’s been a long time coming, so let’s not make it a one-hit wonder,” Yeoh says in New York ahead of the release of her latest film, Last Christmas, a light romance inspired by the Wham! hit of the same name. “There have been changes in Hollywood, and you can definitely see more Asian faces on the screen
‘Abominable’: The hidden cost of playing by China’s rules
One after another, international brands from the NBA to Dior have had to apologize for offending Chinese sensitivities. But one country’s political correctness can be another’s taboo, as the fallout from the animated film Abominable has shown. The DreamWorks co-production featuring a yeti in the Himalayas has found itself at the center of a geopolitical dispute over the vast waters of the South China Sea. Several Southeast Asian countries with competing claims with Beijing in the resource-rich waterway have pulled the film from cinemas. For companies looking to do business in the world’s second-biggest economy, this highlights the political liability of carrying the Chinese government’s off
A few pixels on a Chinese map sank ‘Abominable’ in Vietnam
An animated family film about a fluffy white yeti has been caught up in an international territorial dispute. The movie, Abominable, has been reportedly pulled from cinemas in Vietnam because of a brief scene featuring a map showing China’s disputed claims in the vast and resource-rich South China Sea.  The map offended the Vietnamese government for including the so-called “nine-dash line,” which is used by Beijing to illustrate its claims in the contested waters, Reuters reported on Monday.  Abominable, a co-production between DreamWorks Animation and Shanghai-based Pearl Studio, depicts how a Chinese girl and her friends help a yeti return to its home on Mount Everest.  The controversial