Spotlight Movie // Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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Crouching Tiger Racks Up Grosses, Oscar Nominations
  Ang Lee and the producers of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" have plenty to celebrate this week. On Monday, the film's U.S. box office total passed $60 million, which pushes "Crouching Tiger" ahead of "Life is Beautiful" for the U.S. foreign-language box office title. Yesterday, the film received 10 Oscar nominations, including a Best Picture nod. Toss in Ang Lee's January Golden Globe win for Best Director and you've got a sweet stretch of filmmaking bliss for the "Crouching Tiger" crew. The only drawback to the success is the increased threat of "Life is Beautiful" director/star Roberto Benigni leaving congratulatory voice mails. "I am loving 'Crouching Tiger!' You beat me! I give you Kung-Fu hug with man-kiss!"
Posted: 02/14/01

Review: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Grade: A) — Believe the hype. Reviewer Rob Wright says Ang Lee's soaring martial arts epic is a remarkable film.
    Posted: 01/02/01

  • Will Schizophrenic Marketing Hurt "Crouching Tiger"?
      "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," a martial-arts spectacle directed by Ang Lee, is gunning for "Life is Beautiful's" foreign film box office record. Roberto Benigni's WWII happy movie earned $57 million in the U.S., making it the biggest foreign-language film ever released in the States.

    The record seems within "Crouching Tiger's" reach, but an article from the New York Daily News says that Sony Pictures Classics, the U.S. distributor for "Crouching Tiger," has an odd, multi-pronged marketing plan for the film. Multiple marketing campaigns for the same film often confuse audiences, which is generally a bad thing unless the movie is directed by David Lynch.

    The marketing plan is risky, but Sony deserves credit for trying. The studio is targeting two diametrically opposed groups—art house audiences and action fans—with markedly different ad campaigns. The arty campaign, the News reports, will play up director Ang Lee's credentials ("Sense and Sensibility" and "The Ice Storm" were critically praised), while the action campaign will focus on "Crouching Tiger's" stunning martial arts sequences. To put it another way, the artsy ads will have flighty music and sprawling vistas while the action ads will mix roundhouse kicks with a smokin' techno groove.

    The studio is releasing the film slowly, hoping to cash in on word of mouth and potential award buzz. The News says the film will premiere in New York and Los Angeles in early December, expand to 22 cities December 22, then open nationwide January 12.
    Posted: 10/05/00

    A Matrix-free Look at "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
    © 2000 Sony Pictures Classics  
    For months I've been reading that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will be the next "Matrix." I finally got around to researching the film and now that I've done my homework I have no idea where these "Matrix" comparisons are coming from. The only thing "Crouching Tiger" and "The Matrix" have in common is fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping. Hell, if that kind of logic holds true then "For Love of the Game" should have been the next "Army of Darkness" because both were directed by Sam Raimi.

    Erroneous comparisons aside, "Crouching Tiger" is an epic love story that mixes fighting and fantasy elements. It's also a departure for director Ang Lee. Best known for directing "The Ice Storm" and "Sense and Sensibility," this is Lee's first foray into the martial arts arena. Lee's genre may be different, but the female-centric focus he's displayed in previous films is continued in "Crouching Tiger." What this means is that many of "Crouching Tiger's" fight scenes pit women against other women. On the surface this sounds like a feeble attempt to be different, but the inclusion of the exceptional Michelle Yeoh ("Tomorrow Never Dies") in many of these scenes should elevate them beyond mere novelty. In addition to Yeoh, American audiences will also recognize Chow Yun Fat ("The Replacement Killers," "Anna and the King") in a supporting role.

    The biggest obstacle facing "Crouching Tiger" is its use of English subtitles. Americans like their movies easy and comfortable, so there's a question as to how willing they'll be to read their way through the movie. It's a risky endeavor, but an early "Crouching Tiger" review at says the film's action should compensate for subtitle hurdles.

    "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will be released in the U.S. on December 22. For more information, including the trailer, visit the official site.
    Posted: 9/13/00