Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Liu’


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.33.55 PMRichard sits in with CP24 anchor Nneka Elliott to review the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours” and “JeruZalem’s” found footage thrills.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.35.23 PMRichard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien chat about the found footage thrills of “JeruZalem,” the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3” and the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours.”

Watch the whole ting HERE!

Metro In Focus: Kung Fu Panda directors riding a wave of Po-pularity

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.16.42 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

It’s all about Po, don’t you know.

When I ask Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson how she feels about being one of the highest grossing female directors of all time, she demurs and gives all the credit to her star.

“I think it is a testament to how much people like Po and like these films. There is such a huge fan base it is really flattering to have been helming something that huge.”

Alessandro Carloni, her directing partner on Kung Fu Panda 3, adds, “I think it will be fair to assume this will be the highest grossing movie ever to be directed by a Korean woman and an Italian man.”

For the uninitiated, Po is the clumsy giant panda that became an improbable hero, dumpling-eating champion and kung fu master in the first two movies. Voiced by Jack Black, in the new film he is reunited with his biological father Li Shan (Bryan Cranston) who takes his son back to the Panda Village so the youngster can learn about himself, become a Chi master and do battle with Kai, a supernatural bull villain played by Oscar winner J.K. Simmons.

Both directors have great affection for Po and understand why audiences have fallen in love with the character.

“We love how enthusiastic he is, how geeky he is, how much passion he has,” says Alessandro. “One thing I have heard someone say is often there are movies where the side cast steals the show because they are the most fun while the central character is the straight guy. But we made a movie around a goofball and everybody else are the straight characters. He is the one who steals the show. When Po is on screen you will love him.”

“He has got so much enthusiasm and is basically wishing for something that is bigger than him,” says Yuh. “Something he is not able to achieve and yet he perseveres. That’s why we root for him because we’ve been there. Everyone has been there where there is something you wish you could do but don’t have the means to do it and yet you keep on going. You have to root for that.”

The pair have been with Po for a long time. Yuh was head of story and the action sequence supervisor on Kung Fu Panda before taking over the reins for the second film. Carloni worked on the first film as animation supervisor and story artist on part two.

Their almost 10-year journey with Po has been shared with Jack Black, who was the model for the character.

“He’s very unique in that he’s so funny but underneath the funny he’s got so much heart,” says Yuh of Black.

“He’s not somebody you laugh at, you laugh with him. You root for him and that is very rare. Usually you have these more jaded guys that are funny and you laugh at them when they fall on their face. But you feel bad for this guy when he falls on his face. I think that just leaks out of his performance.”

KUNG FU PANDA 3: 4 STARS. “more legendary adventures of awesomeness.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.17.42 PMIn “Kung Fu Panda 3,” Po (voice of Jack Black), the Warrior of Black-and-White, continues his “legendary adventures of awesomeness” when his long-lost panda father suddenly reappears. The movie reunites the stars from the first two films, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman, and ups the marquee value with the addition of Bryan Cranston as Po’s dad and J.K. Simmons as Kai, a supernatural bull villain but will it deliver the same kind of Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique fun of the first two?

A quick catch-up: Over the course of two films dating back to 2008, a clumsy, giant panda named Po became an improbable hero, dumpling eating champion and kung fu master. Raised by a noodle-making goose named Mr. Ping (James Hong), he becomes the leader of the Furious Five—Angelina Jolie Pitt as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper and David Cross as Crane—a celebrated band of warriors with prodigious fighting skills.

The new film sees Po reunited with his biological father Li Shan (Cranston) who takes his son back to the Panda Village so the youngster can learn about himself and become a Chi master. Meanwhile Kai (Simmons) has returned to the mortal world after a five hundred year absence with an army of Jade Warriors. He’s been collecting the Chi—the life force—of China’s masters and only needs two more for a complete set, the ancient tortoise Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) and his protégée, who happens to be Po.

The “Kung Fu Panda” movies don’t look like anything else. State of the art 3D computer animation brings the characters to life, but the gorgeous hand drawn animation in the action sequences is uncommonly sumptuous and gives the movie real character. High tech and traditional art collide to create a beautiful backdrop for the slapstick of Po and company.

Simmons and Cranston are welcome additions to the cast, bringing distinctive voices and humour to their characters.

The visuals are captivating but the star here, the reason to return for a third time to the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, is Po. He’s a classic character, an underdog (underbear?) unsure of his abilities, going up against great challenges. He’s lovable, aspirational and audiences like to laugh with him, rather than at him. He is us… only in panda form and he—along with Jack Black’s voice work—is worth the price of admission.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” is the rare sequel that holds up to the original. It’s respectful to the story but more importantly it’s respectful to the audiences who have grown to love these characters.


Charlies_Angels_movie_stillIt’s hard not to like a movie that features scantily-dressed fun-lovin’ women kicking butt and having a good time, but Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle rings so hollow I can’t muster much enthusiasm for it.

The first film, 2000’s Charlie’s Angels was empty-headed, but at least had a sense of fun. This instalment ups the hip quotient, taking all the elements that worked well in the previous one and amplifying them – the actions scenes are louder, the kicks (and the skirts) a little higher, Cameron Diaz has not one, but two dance sequences and story is even more confusing than the first – jamming maximum eye candy into every frame. It has everything that summer audiences crave, everything that is, except soul. The MTV reared director McG moves the action along at the speed of light, proving that he has an attention span only as long as his name.

Last time around McG and producer Drew Barrymore (who also starred as Dylan Sanders) created a movie that paid homage to, but winked at the original 70s television series. In that daftly subversive movie the trio were at the beck and call of the mysterious Charlie, but were in no way enslaved by him, which was the uncomfortable reality of the television show. The movie Angels were playful and powerful.

This time out the film tries to hard. The fun, what little of it there is seems forced and uninspired. Instead of empowered women, Full Throttle offers up high kicking Barbies devoid of the charm that made them so winning the first time. In lieu of an actual character Cameron Diaz (look for her to earn multiple nominations when the next Golden Booty Awards are announced) simply flashes her toothy smile and underpants around, while Lucy Liu is still trading off the same hard-core dominatrix pose she perfected on Ally McBeal. Only Barrymore’s character seems rooted in reality, but even that sense of humanity evaporates the first time we see her fly through the air, kicking the stuffing out of the bad guys.

As the villainous ex-Angel Madison Lee, Demi Moore looks fabulous in her barely-there wardrobe. Apparently she has spent a good deal of time since we last saw her on the big screen at the gym. Too bad she didn’t skip the weights and take an acting course or two. Never a brilliant actress, I believe this is the first time Moore has actually been upstaged by her own abs.

Other supporting cast members fare only slightly better. Demi’s ex Bruce Willis is seen for under a minute, while the teenage Olsen Twins barely muster ten seconds of screen time. Other star cameos include Pink, Robert Forster, Carrie Fisher, Eric Bogosian and television Angel Jaclyn Smith. Director McG should be fully throttled for his mishandling of John Cleese as Lucy Liu’s father. It’s a funny idea to have a tall gawky Brit playing the diminutive Liu’s father, but his talent is utterly wasted. He’s given nothing to do except react with bulging eyes to a string of cheap double entendres. On the plus side Crispen Glover reprises his role from the first film as The Thin Man, delivering a delightfully unhinged performance as the hair fetishist assassin.

In the end big and bloated are two words I’d never use to describe the Angels (for fear of bring pummelled) but would use to describe the movie.