(Photo by Focus)

15 Fresh Tony Leung Movies

After four decades in entertainment, Hong Kong acting legend Tony Leung Chiu-wai makes his American major movie debut with Shang-Chi and and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Even audiences who have never seen Leung on-screen before will gravitate towards the human vulnerability he brings to his antagonist role in the Marvel blockbuster. The smoldering sensitivity is something Leung has perfected over his career, though he started his career doing TV comedies in the early 1980s as part of young actor ensemble called the Five Tigers.

1989’s City of Sadness, directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, represented an enormous leap for his international profile, leading to projects with the most renowned Chinese and Taiwanese directors, including John Woo (Hard-Boiled, Red Cliff) and Ang Lee (Lust, Caution). Across them all, Leung is best known for his collaborations with director Wong Kar-wai: Together, they’ve made seven films, including romantic masterpieces Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, and The Grandmaster, which was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design Oscars. A 2002 Leung-starring movie, Infernal Affairs, was remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed.

Since the ’80s and ’90s Hong Kong cinema boom, Leung has communicated willingness to act in an American production if the role were worthwhile. That search occupied just mere decades: As Wenwu, he’ll appear with Hong Kong action great Michelle Yeoh in the MCU’s Shang-Chi. Now, discover Fresh and Certified Fresh movies starring Tony Leung!

#15

Lust, Caution (2007)
72%

#15
Adjusted Score: 78082%
Critics Consensus: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is a tense, sensual and beautifully-shot espionage film.
Synopsis: During World War II a secret agent (Tang Wei) must seduce, then assassinate an official (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#14

Cyclo (1995)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 61460%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An 18-year-old orphan who is only known by his profession of a cyclo (pedal-taxi) driver, struggles on the streets of... [More]
Directed By: Tran Anh Hung

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 80953%
Critics Consensus: Wong Kar Wai's redux, with a few slight changes from his 1994 classic, is a feast for the eyes, if a little difficult to follow.
Synopsis: When his friend Huang (Tony Leung Ka Fai) visits mercenary Ou-yang (Leslie Cheung), they trade stories including that of princess... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#12

The Grandmaster (2013)
78%

#12
Adjusted Score: 83179%
Critics Consensus: Though its storytelling is a tad muddled, Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster still exhibits the auteur's stylistic flourishes in gorgeous cinematography and explosive action set pieces.
Synopsis: The story of the martial arts master (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who taught the Wing Chun style of kung fu... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#11

Happy Together (1997)
82%

#11
Adjusted Score: 82841%
Critics Consensus: Happy Together's strong sense of style complements its slice of life love story, even if the narrative slogs.
Synopsis: Lai (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and his boyfriend, Ho (Leslie Cheung), arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong, seeking a better... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#10

2046 (2004)
86%

#10
Adjusted Score: 90495%
Critics Consensus: Director Wong Kar-Wai has created in 2046 another visually stunning, atmospheric, and melancholy movie about unrequited love and loneliness.
Synopsis: A train in a futuristic landscape takes passengers to a place where they can recapture their memories, a place from... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 91989%
Critics Consensus: Even if all it had to offer were writer-director Wong Kar-wai's thrillingly distinctive visuals, Chungking Express would be well worth watching; happily, its thoughtfully drawn characters and naturalistic performances also pack a potent dramatic wallop.
Synopsis: Every day, Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) buys a can of pineapple with an expiration date of May 1, symbolizing the... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 95115%
Critics Consensus: This understated romance, featuring good performances by its leads, is both visually beautiful and emotionally moving.
Synopsis: In 1962, journalist Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and his wife move into a Hong Kong apartment, but Chow's... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#7
Adjusted Score: 109084%
Critics Consensus: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn't entirely free of Marvel's familiar formula, but this exciting origin story expands the MCU in more ways than one.
Synopsis: Marvel Studios' "Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings" stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past... [More]
Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 70626%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Women struggle in a Shanghai brothel where everything only appears to be beautiful.... [More]
Directed By: Hsiao-hsien Hou

#5

Hard-Boiled (1992)
94%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96488%
Critics Consensus: Boasting impactful action as well as surprising emotional resonance, Hard Boiled is a powerful thriller that hits hard in more ways than one.
Synopsis: A cop who loses his partner in a shoot-out with gun smugglers goes on a mission to catch them. In... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#4

Infernal Affairs (2002)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 94646%
Critics Consensus: Smart and engrossing, this is one of Hong Kong's better cop thrillers.
Synopsis: Idealistic police cadet Chan Wing-Yan (Tony Leung) is recruited by Police Superintendant Wong (Anthony Wong) to go deep undercover as... [More]
Directed By: Wai Keung Lau, Siu Fai Mak

#3

Hero (2002)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101764%
Critics Consensus: With death-defying action sequences and epic historic sweep, Hero offers everything a martial arts fan could ask for.
Synopsis: In this visually arresting martial arts epic set in ancient China, an unnamed fighter (Jet Li) is being honored for... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#2

Bullet in the Head (1990)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 52233%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three Hong Kong gang fighters (Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee) try crime in Vietnam and land in... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#1

A City of Sadness (1989)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100164%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Soon after Japan relinquishes control of Taiwan in 1945, the Lin brothers face hardships from the changing culture. Bar owner... [More]
Directed By: Hsiao-hsien Hou


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The 2010 Best Foreign Language Film winner The Secret in Their Eyes is being remade…as Secret in Their Eyes,  a murder mystery starring Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. As Americans, we don’t need definite articles in our movie titles, but we do occasionally need help thinking up stories to shoot, prompting this week’s 24 Frames gallery of foreign thrillers versus their Hollywood counterparts.

Anyone who’s seen all three of the "Infernal Affairs" flicks had to know this was coming: Word is that we’ll probably be getting a sequel to "The Departed," and perhaps even a prequel as well!

It’s been buzzed about for a few weeks, but Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg recently had a chat with Empire Magazine, and here’s what he had to say: "They’re talking about bringing in De Niro to play a senator or a congressman … You know, the corruption obviously going deeper and higher up the ranks — reaching up the political chain. So it’ll be fun. And if it’s a success, they’re gonna do a prequel and bring everyone back…make it a trilogy."

So while director Martin Scorsese is not (yet) attached to the project, it seems that screenwriter William Monahan is presently hard at work on sequel number one. Mr. Wahlberg seems to think things are moving forward; he claims the sequel could begin production by late this year. If so, cool.

No word yet on whether "Departed 2" will follow along with what went down in "Infernal Affairs 2," but I guess that’s part of the reason we’ll want to go see it.

Martin Scorsese’s "The Departed" is nearing the end of its successful box-office run, and already rumors have started that not one, but two films may be appended to the director’s latest effort.

"The Departed" was, of course, a remake of "Infernal Affairs," a Hong Kong classic which eventually became part of a trilogy; now, IGN Movies reports, "Departed" co-star Mark Wahlberg has informed MTV.com that audiences may see sequels, prequels, or some combination thereof:


Scorsese (left) already talking sequel(s)?

"We may do another one because it’s based on a Hong Kong film, and there is a trilogy. So we may do a sequel with a new cast, and a prequel and bring back the rest of the guys…They’re talking to Robert De Niro and a couple of other people…Anybody who is anybody wants to work with Marty."

Wahlberg’s next project, the action drama "Shooter," arrives in theaters this spring.

Martin Scorsese scored the best opening of his career, and his first number one film in fifteen years, with the star-studded gangster thriller "The Departed," which led the North American box office over the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

Moviegoers also showed interest in the horror prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which debuted in second place, as well as the new comedy Employee of the Month which bowed in fourth with respectable results. The new releases helped to boost attendance at multiplexes as the top ten set a new record for the holiday frame selling just a bit less than $100M worth of tickets.

Starpower ruled the box office this weekend as the ultraviolent pic The Departed starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson opened convincingly at number one grossing an estimated $27M in its first outing. The Warner Bros. release averaged a vicious $8,954 from 3,017 theaters and set a new opening weekend record for acclaimed director Scorsese beating the $10.3M bow of his 1991 Robert De Niro thriller Cape Fear, which also happened to be the filmmaker’s last top spot opener. The 63-year-old director usually sees more narrow releases for his films. His last picture The Aviator took off in limited release before expanding nationally over Christmas weekend in 2004 with 1,796 theaters while his previous pic Gangs of New York bowed in 1,504 locations. Both were set in the past, starred DiCaprio, and released by Miramax. The Departed marked Scorsese’s first film ever to debut in more than 2,000 theaters.

A remake of 2002’s award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, The Departed finds Nicholson as a crime boss who sends a mole (Damon) into the Boston police force. DiCaprio plays an undercover cop infiltrating the crime syndicate. Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg co-star in the R-rated feast. Critics drenched the pic with praise giving it some of the best reviews of the year. Starpower combined with strong reviews and a solid marketing push from Warner Bros. contributed to a powerful turnout from movie fans. Departed brought badly-needed good news to the distributor which is struggling through a year full of costly misfires. It ranks dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in 2006 market share and has only generated two other number one debuts this year – V for Vendetta and Superman Returns.

Produced for a hefty $90M, The Departed does seem to have a promising road ahead of it. Not only have critics been giving it high marks, but so have ticket buyers. The gangster film has earned an encouraging A- grade from over 2,000 users on Yahoo Movies. Plus it has given DiCaprio only the third number one opener of his career and his first since Titanic set sail on its record-shattering voyage in 1997. Damon has enjoyed several top spots debuts in recent years most notably with his Bourne and Ocean’s flicks. Meanwhile, Nicholson proved once again why he remains the biggest box office draw of his generation.

Opening with strength in second place was another violent R-rated film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which bowed to an estimated $19.2M. Scaring audiences in 2,820 theaters, the New Line franchise pic averaged a strong $6,791 per venue. The opening was below the $28.1M debut of the 2003 remake of Chainsaw Massacre which went on to gross a terrific $80.1M. However, Beginning was never expected to reach the same neighborhood and with its relatively low $16M production cost, it should easily be yet another profitable horror film.

The new film benefited from a lack of scary movies in the current marketplace, but the road ahead should be tough with a pair of horror sequels set to attack the box office in the coming weeks. The Grudge 2 launches this Friday the 13th while Saw III will be unleashed on the weekend before Halloween. The new Leatherface frightfest performed just like another of New Line’s horror franchise pics from this year, Final Destination 3, which debuted to $19.2M in February on its way to a $54.1M final. The two scary movies have delivered the best openings for its distributor over the past year.

Sony’s hit toon Open Season fell from first to third place but managed to show good legs easing only 32% to an estimated $16M in its second hunt. Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten, the PG-rated pic has upped its ten-day cume to a solid $44.1M and could continue to post impressive holds in the weeks ahead as there is little competition for its family audience until November. Look for Open Season to reach $80-85M from North America. Though impressive, Sony Pictures Animation’s debut venture still does not seem like it will reach the heights of other non-sequel non-summer digital toons like Ice Age ($176.4M), Shark Tale ($160.8M), Robots ($128.2M), or even 1998’s Antz ($90.7M).

The new Lionsgate comedy Employee of the Month opened in fourth place with an estimated $11.8M from 2,579 theaters. Averaging a respectable $4,575 per venue, the PG-13 film stars Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, and Dax Shephard and tells of a love triangle among workers at a superstore. Reviews, not surprisingly, were mostly negative.

Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner dropped three spots with their Coast Guard actioner The Guardian which collected an estimated $9.6M in its second mission. Down 46%, the Buena Vista release has collected $32.4M in ten days and should find its way to $50-55M domestically.

The fall season’s top-grossing hit Jackass: Number Two dropped 56% in its third weekend to an estimated $6.4M pushing its stellar total to $62.7M in 17 days. Later this week, the Paramount sequel will fly past the $64.3M of its 2002 predecessor. The MGM comedy School for Scoundrels tumbled 60% to an estimated $3.4M in its sophomore frame. With $14M in ten days, the Billy Bob ThorntonJon Heder pic should wind up with around $20M.

The Rock‘s football flick Gridiron Gang followed with an estimated $2.3M, down 50%, for a $36.6M total to date for Sony. Jet Li was close behind in ninth place with Fearless which fell 56% to an estimated $2.2M putting its sum at $21.7M for Focus. Rounding out the top ten was the durable period mystery The Illusionist which slipped only 33% and took in an estimated $1.8M. Yari Film Group has taken in a respectable $34.1M after its eighth weekend, the last six of which were spent in the top ten.

In limited release, ThinkFilm launched its unrated sex romp Shortbus in only six arthouses but grossed an estimated $121,000 for a potent $20,108 average. Playing in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver, the John Cameron Mitchell-directed film will expand to ten more markets next weekend.

New Line premiered its Kate WinsletJennifer Connelly pic Little Children in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $108,400. The suburban drama averaged a sturdy $21,680 and will expand over the weeks ahead.

Among holdovers expanding in limited release, Miramax’s The Queen reigned supreme taking in an estimated $401,000 from eleven theaters for a stunning $36,455 second weekend average. The acclaimed Helen Mirren drama widened from its three-theater debut in New York and has grossed $634,000 to date with a promising road ahead.

Fox Searchlight’s Idi Amin tale The Last King of Scotland expanded from four theaters in two markets to 30 sites in 14 markets and grossed an estimated $300,000. With a solid $10,000 average this weekend, the Forest Whitaker pic will invade 20 new markets on Friday expanding its dictatorship into more of North America. Cume to date is $541,000 after 12 days.

The Michel Gondry flick The Science of Sleep held steady in 221 theaters but dropped 39% to an estimated $680,000 in its third dream. Warner Independent averaged a mild $3,077 and pushed the cume to just $2.7M.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s word-of-mouth hit Little Miss Sunshine grossed an estimated $1.3M in its eleventh weekend, down 36%, and pushed its total to a stellar $55M. Acquired at the Sundance Film Festival in January for a hefty $10.5M, the dysfunctional family comedy has become the second biggest grosser ever for the distributor and looks to end its run close to the $60M mark. That would also make it the second highest grossing R-rated film of the summer after the $63.4M of Miami Vice which cost tons more to produce and market.

MGM’s World War I adventure Flyboys crashed 56% in its third flight and took in an estimated $1M. With only $11.8M in 17 days, the James Franco flop should finish up with under $14M. The Black Dahlia, another of this fall’s historical dramas to be rejected by moviegoers, has collected just over $22M to date. Budgeted at $60M, the Universal release should close its case with a mere $24M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $99.7M which was up 23% from last year when Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit debuted at number one with $16M; and up 5% from 2004 when Shark Tale remained in the top spot for a second time with $31.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Movie studios are offering something for every age group over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Mature adults will go undercover with Martin Scorsese‘s cop thriller "The Departed," twentysomethings looking for a scare get the horror prequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," while teenagers have a chance to laugh with the new comedy "Employee of the Month."

Meanwhile, last weekend’s number one film – the animated comedy "Open Season" – will continue to play to young children during a frame when a large percentage of students will have no class on Monday. The top ten will try to crack the $100M mark for the first time in nearly two months thanks to the variety of good product.

Ranking dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in year-to-date market share, Warner Bros. has a lot of catching up to do in the fourth quarter if it wants to prevent snapping its five-year streak of billion-dollar-plus box office years. So this weekend, it hands the ball off to Scorsese who delivers what critics are calling one of his best films ever with "The Departed." The R-rated picture stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen. Overflowing with starpower, the Boston-set film is an American remake of the award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster "Infernal Affairs" which finds an Irish cop going undercover into the underworld and a mob mole infiltrating the police department.

After rejecting a seemingly endless line of period dramas including "Hollywoodland," "The Black Dahlia," "Flyboys," and "All the King’s Men," adult audiences should be ready to throw its support behind a modern-day action thriller juiced up with major stars worth paying top dollar for. If the cast isn’t enough to seal the deal, glowing reviews from critics across the board should have a big impact on driving in traffic. In fact, reviews are among the best of any wide release hitting theaters this year. DiCaprio and Damon appeal to a wide age group so expect strong numbers from young adults. And Jack is that rare star who can flirt with age 70 but still be relevant to the iPod generation. With $100M blockbusters in each of the last four decades, the Oscar-winner is a perennial favorite and his films are
events.

Warner Bros. has backed "The Departed" with a solid marketing campaign which is effectively exciting ticket buyers. No R-rated film has hit the $30M mark on opening weekend in nearly a year so that could once again be the ceiling on this film’s short-term potential. Appeal to both men and women is substantial, although as is typical at this time of year, business from males may be affected by football and the baseball playoffs. But word-of-mouth is likely to be very positive so look for the pic to remain a contender for weeks to come. With a colossal amount of starpower, sensational reviews, and a Monday holiday helping Sunday night sales,
the Leo vs. Matt flick should be able to generate plenty of excitement with audiences this weekend. "The Departed" opens in 3,017 theaters on Friday and could gross about $27M over the frame.

Leo DiCaprio, ‘lending a hand’ in Martin Scorsese’s "The Departed."

Moviegoers that don’t get starstruck, but instead want some gore and violence in their weekend entertainment, can opt for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." The prequel to the 2003 remake of the 1974 horror classic is an R-rated tale with Jordana Brewster ("The Fast and the Furious", "Annapolis") as its only star. Horror remakes usually do not rely on stars anyway, but on the brand name of a popular terrorfest. Budgets are relatively low with most of the money going towards production values rather than talent. Three years ago, the previous "Massacre" posted powerful numbers bowing to $28.1M in mid-October on its way to a brutal $80.1M. It opened the door to many other moneymaking remake hits like "Dawn of the Dead," "The Amityville Horror," and "The Omen" which each went on to gross over $50M.

"Beginning" will play to hardcore genre fans that are older teens and young adults. But look for some older horror aficionados to take a curious peek too. The marketplace is primed and ready for its arrival as there has not been a major horror hit since June’s "Omen" pic hit cinemas. Add in the fact that Halloween is around the corner prompting audience demand for the genre to rise and a large turnout should be expected. Excitement does not seem to be reaching the same height that this installment’s predecessor had, so an opening in the high 20s may not result. Plus Leo, Matt, and even bad boy Jack will be drawing away many twentysomethings this weekend. Buzzing through victims in over 2,800 theaters, "The Texas Chainsaw Massace: The Beginning" could scare up around $19M this weekend.

More teens in trouble in the latest "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" film.

The classic love triangle storyline is set in a Walmart-like super store in the new Lionsgate comedy "Employee of the Month." The PG-13 pic stars Dane Cook and Dax Shepard as co-workers competing for the attention of the hot new sales clerk, played by Jessica Simpson, who only dates those who win the coveted employee prize. The comedy should play to a teen and young adult audience and with the weekend’s other new films being R flicks, Month could score some points with the under-17 crowd. Teenage girls have especially been neglected this fall. Why would they care about 1940s murder mysteries, moronic stunt films, or Sean Penn as a flamboyant politician? Two hunky young dudes fighting over the former Daisy Duke could make for the most interesting film to grab their attention since "Step Up."

Still, "Employee of the Month" will have its work cut out for it. Many older teens and young adults will be drawn away by "Departed" and "Chainsaw" and Ashton Kutcher fans are still checking out "The Guardian." Starpower is not too high, but teenagers in need of a laugh will not have many other options. Opening in 2,579 theaters, "Employee of the Month" could debut with around $10M.

Dane Cook, in his first leading role in "Employee of the Month."

Sony’s animated comedy "Open Season" enjoyed a healthy start to its run last weekend and will face no new competition during the sophomore frame. Plus with the Columbus Day school holiday, the Martin Lawrence – Ashton Kutcher toon should remain a popular (and only) option for young children. A 30% drop would give "Season" about $16M over the weekend and a sturdy ten-day cume of $46M.

Buena Vista’s Coast Guard adventure "The Guardian" did moderately well in its debut last weekend, but adult audiences will be pulled away by the starpower of "The Departed" this weekend. The studio has been reporting strong exit polls so word-of-mouth could prevent a large falloff. A 40% decline would give "Guardian" about $11M for the weekend and $34M in ten days.

"Jackass: Number Two" will face some stiff competition from the weekend’s two new R-rated films so a 45% drop could be in order. That would leave the Paramount hit with $8M and an impressive 17-day total of $64M allowing the comedy sequel to surpass the gross of the 2002 original in under three weeks.

LAST YEAR: New films invaded the box office over the Columbus Day frame taking four of the top five slots. Leading the way was the acclaimed claymation pic "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with a $16M debut. The DreamWorks film enjoyed good legs and ended up with $56.1M domestically plus the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Jodie Foster‘s two-time chart-topper "Flightplan" held up well in its third weekend grossing $10.8M for Buena Vista. Cameron Diaz opened her new comedy "In Her Shoes" in third place with $10M on its way to $32.9M for Fox. Universal followed with the sports betting film "Two For the Money" with a $8.7M bow and Sony opened its drama "The Gospel" in fifth with $7.5M. Final grosses reached $22.9M and $15.8M, respectively. Lions Gate saw its new comedy "Waiting" launch in seventh place with just $6M leading to a $16.1M final. Opening with strong results in limited release were the acclaimed dramas "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The Squid and the Whale" which both earned rave reviews and kudos during awards season. Their domestic grosses reached $31.6M and $7.4M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got cops and robbers in Boston ("The Departed," starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon), chainsaw massacres in Texas ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," starring Jordana Brewster), and retail employees in New Mexico ("Employee of the Month," starring Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook). What do the critics have to say?

Is Martin Scorsese America’s greatest living filmmaker? He’s certainly bolstering his case with "The Departed." The film, which is a loose remake of the Hong Kong thriller "Infernal Affairs," tells the story of two moles, one of whom (DiCaprio) a cop undercover within a Boston crime family led by Jack Nicholson, and the other (Damon) a hood who has infiltrated the police department. Critics say Scorsese has created a crime drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality that infused such past triumphs as "GoodFellas," with outstanding work from an excellent cast. At 96 percent on the Tomatometer, "The Departed" may signify a new arrival for the master director; Scorsese’s best reviewed wide release since "GoodFellas." And it’s not only Certified Fresh, but it’s also the best reviewed wide release of the year.


"Wait a minute… you’re telling me I ripped that ‘how do you like them apples’ line off from you?"

The lives of wage slaves are often grist for the cinema’s mill, whether comic ("Clerks"), dramatic ("One Hour Photo") or both ("The Good Girl"). Now comes "Employee of the Month," starring Cook as a slacker at a Costco-like box store who whips himself into shape when attractive new hire (Simpson) comes on board. Critics say the movie has a few good laughs, but Cook and Simpson lack chemistry, and the film doesn’t do much beyond showing employee antics. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, audiences may want to hire a different "Employee."


"And these are called ‘numbers.’ I know, it’s confusing."

For horror fans who are interested in the origin of Leatherface, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" provides some back story on the Lone Star State’s scariest resident. It also provides oodles of gore, and a style reminiscent of the original. Unfortunately, the critics say it doesn’t provide enough scares to make the experience worthwhile. The plot involves a group of young adults headed to Mexico for a good time before two brothers go to fight in Vietnam; naturally, Leatherface curtails their enjoyment in a hurry. The scribes say the film is a little too rote, and at 14 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Chainsaw" doesn’t cut very deep. (Read RT’s interview with director Jonathan Liebesman here.)


"The unsuspecting teenagers wail/ along the trail/ deep in the heart of Texas"

Also opening this week in limited release: "Blood Tea and Red String," a handmade stop-motion fairy tale 13 years in the making, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "So Goes the Nation," a documentary about the 2004 election season in Ohio, is at 100 percent; "49 Up," the latest in Michael Apted‘s remarkable documentary series about growing and changing in England, is at 94 percent; "Black Gold," a documentary about the global effects of the coffee trade, is at 88 percent; "Little Children," a tale of suburban angst starring Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly, is at 79 percent; "Shortbus," John Cameron Mitchell‘s warmhearted exploration of unconventional sexuality, is at 68 percent; and "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," a documentary about the eponymous Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning scribe, is at 55 percent. And "The Queen," which is expanding this week, is at 98 percent, making it the third best reviewed limited release of the year.


"Blood Tea and Red String":"The King of Cartoons!"

Recent Martin Scorsese Movies:
—————————————
92% — No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)
89% — The Aviator (2004)
77% — Gangs of New York (2002)
100% — My Voyage to Italy (2001)
72% — Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Texas Chainsaw Massacres:
———————————-
86% — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
50% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
23% — Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1989)
16% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
37% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Best Reviewed Wide Releases Of 2006
————————————-
(Releases with at least 40 reviews)
96% — The Departed
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
93% — Little Miss Sunshine
90% — United 93
88% — Inside Man
84% — Akeelah and the Bee
83% — Slither
83% — The Descent
80% — A Prairie Home Companion
78% — The Devil Wears Prada

Best Reviewed Limited Releases Of 2006
—————————————
(Releases with at least 40 reviews)
98% — Kekexeli: Mountain Patrol
98% — The War Tapes
98% — The Queen
96% — Army of Shadows
95% — Wordplay
93% — Fateless
93% — Little Miss Sunshine
92% — The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
92% — An Inconvenient Truth
92% — Lassie

Any new movie from Martin Scorsese is something to look forward to, but considering the cast and the source material the filmmaker’s working with this time out, "The Departed" looks like it could be something extra special. Check out the all-new trailer…

Trailer’s available right here at Yahoo! Movies.

Synopsis: "Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy is quickly gaining Costello’s confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy — and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself."

Also part of the stellar cast are Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, Anthony Anderson, and Vera Farmiga.

"The Departed," which is based on the first "Infernal Affairs" flick, opens on October 6th.

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin don’t seem to work together anymore, but now that MGM is apparently interested in re-starting the "Stargate" movie franchise, the old partners might just be back in business. And Devlin seems pretty confident about getting James Spader and Kurt Russell back for a pair of sequels.

Courtesy of IGN FilmForce: "We always envisioned ("Stargate") as a trilogy, and, unfortunately, the way in which the movie got made, we didn’t really have control," Devlin explained.

"They think there is an audience out there who would like to see what part two and part three were intended to be because there was a larger story arc that we had in mind," he explained, adding, "and we never got to explore it. So I think it will be very exciting to actually get to go do parts two and three."

Devlin also said that the first film’s stars, Kurt Russell and James Spader, have long expressed interest in making a sequel. "The irony is actually because it was twelve years ago that we made "Stargate," part two was actually supposed to take place about twelve years later. We were just going to kind of age them up as actors so it actually works out really nicely."

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Head on over to the Ghost House Pictures website and you’ll find a new press release that’ll thrill all you ravenous "Grudge" holders. Seems the sequel just started production in Japan, and that "The Grudge 2" will be ready for ticket-buyers this October, a month that promises a whole lot of goodies for the horror geeks.

"Principal photography has begun on "The Grudge 2," it was announced today by Columbia Pictures and Ghost House Pictures. The film is the much-anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit "The Grudge," which earned $188 million in worldwide box office receipts.

"The Grudge 2" delves into the secrets behind the grudge’s wrath and introduces a seemingly unrelated host of new characters who find themselves connected by the same terrifying supernatural curse.

The movie stars Amber Tamblyn ("Stephanie Daley," "Joan Of Arcadia") with Sarah Michelle Gellar returning in her role as ‘Karen.’ Arielle Kebbel (upcoming "Aquamarine") joins the growing ensemble cast with Jennifer Beals ("The L Word") and newcomer Teresa Palmer (upcoming "December Boys") co-starring.

Japanese actress Takako Fuji reprises her role as the terrorizing ‘Kayako,’ making it the fifth time that she has played this role—three times in the Japanese "Ju-On" as well as the first installment of the English version. Ryo Ishibashi also returns briefly in a cameo as ‘Detective Nakagawa.’

Other supporting cast includes Japanese teen pop star Misako Uno of the popular group AAA in her feature film debut, Shaun Sipos ("Complete Savages"), and the well-known Chinese actor Edison Chen, who is best known for his role in "Infernal Affairs," the 2002 hit Hong Kong film which is being remade by Martin Scorsese and set to be released as "The Departed."

Also returning are director Takashi Shimizu, writer Stephen Susco, and producers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Taka Ichise.

Producer Sam Raimi offers, “For "The Grudge 2," Ghost House has reunited our original team led by master filmmaker Takashi Shimizu. It promises to deliver gripping sequences of suspense and shocking jolts that should have the fans of "The Grudge part 1" leaping out of their seats and coming back to the theater again and again.”

Other key filmmakers returning for the second installment include Production Designer Iwao Saito who ingenuously designed the house for the first movie; Visual Effects Supervisor Hajime Matsumoto who handled the three Japanese versions of "Ju-On" as well as the English-language version; and Editor Jeff Betancourt ("When A Stranger Calls," "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose"). In addition, Cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima who has made a name for himself in collaborating with respected Japanese writer/director Takeshi Kitano, in the recent cult classics “Zaoitchi: The Blind Swordsman” and “Dolls,” joins this talented group in his first English-language movie.

With the story still set in Tokyo, the production is shooting on location in various places around the metropolitan area as well as the famous Toho Studios, the largest sound stages in Japan. Filming began on Monday, Feb. 13, and is scheduled to wrap at the end of April. Columbia Pictures will release the movie on October 20, 2006, in the United States."

Richard Gere will star in the upcoming thriller entitled "The Flock," says The Hollywood Reporter. The movie will mark the English-language debut of "Infernal Affairs" director Andrew Lau.

Written by Hans Bauer and Craig Mitchell, "The Flock" deals with "a hypervigilant federal agent (Gere) who, while training his young female replacement, must track down a missing girl who he is convinced is connected to a paroled sex offender he is investigating."

The newly incorporated Bauer Martinez mini-studio will handle the financing as well as distribution.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter comes some casting news on an upcoming and as-yet-untitled horror movie from Oxide & Danny Pang. The Columbia Pictures project now has Kristen Stewart ("Panic Room"), Dylan McDermott ("Texas Rangers"), Penelope Ann Miller ("The Relic"), and John Corbett ("Serendipity") among its cast members, and shooting is scheduled to begin in Canada any day now.

The plot focuses on "a family that moves into a run-down sunflower farm in North Dakota. After the farm begins to revive, the family slowly is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder."

The Pang Brothers ("The Eye," "Infernal Affairs," "The Park") will be working from a screenplay by Stuart Beattie ("Collateral"), Todd Farmer ("Jason X"), and newcomer Mark Wheaton. Sam Raimi‘s Ghost House shingle is one of the several production houses involved.

Just last week it was announced the funnyman Anthony Anderson was joining Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Matt Damon in Martin Scorsese‘s "The Departed," and now comes some casting news of the feminine variety. Joining the testosterone-heavy ensemble is up & coming star Vera Farmiga, whom you most likely remember from movies like "Iron Jawed Angels" and "The Manchurian Candidate." Given a cast (and director) like what’s being offered here, "The Departed" is obviously a hotly-anticipated project, plus it’s a remake of an Asian cult classic ("Infernal Affairs"), so each little bit of casting news is certainly worth mentioning. Screenwriter William Monahan ("Kingdom of Heaven") is doing the adapting.

The Hollywood Reporter shares some casting news regarding an all-star project. Director Martin Scorsese ("The Aviator," "Goodfellas") will be directing "The Departed," which is a remake of the popular Hong Kong gangster film "Infernal Affairs." Already on board are Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon & Leonardo DiCaprio, and the latest actor to join the ensemble is funnyman Anthony Anderson ("Kangaroo Jack," "Barbershop"). Screenwriter William Monahan (whose debut feature, "Kingdom of Heaven," hits theaters in May) is adapting Felix Chong & Siu Fai Mak’s original "Infernal" screenplay. Expect WB to release "The Departed" some time in 2006.

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