Photo Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / May 25, 2011

Last week, Audrey and I caught Kung Fu Panda 2 opening night. We loved the first film and were very curious to see where they would go with the second. Would it expand the world of Kung Fu or would it be a rehash of the same thing? I’m happy to report that it is a worthy sequel and answers the biggest un-asked question from the first film, how is a goose the father of a panda?

So poking around on the interwebs, I just learned that the director of the film, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, is the first woman to solely direct an animated Hollywood feature film and the first Asian American woman to do so. She is one of four women to direct features at DreamWorks Animation. Brenda Chapman, Vicky Jenson, and Lorna Cook shared the director’s chair with at least one other male director. Brenda Chapman would have joined the ranks of women to direct animated features without a co-director with Pixar’s upcoming film, Brave. But after six years of working on the project that she co-wrote with Irene Mecchi, she was let go for “creative differences.” As of yet, Pixar has had no women in the director or co-director chair.

Nelson worked on the first Kung Fu Panda film as the head of story and directed the 2D animated opening sequence that absolutely blew me away. She impressed her producers so much with that sequence that they gave her the chance to take the reigns of the second film.

It’s clear that she’s a fan of kung fu flicks as the film is full of references and call backs to kung fu classics. The action scenes are spectacular. But it’s the emotional center of the story that really brings it home. The LA Times article has a wonderful write up of Nelson. I think we can expect to see some more lovingly animated features from her in the future.

Source: LA Times

Bruce Lee has had a huge impact on my life. His martial arts philosophy has sort of shaped the way I look at my life and career. His skill with the nunchachu inspired me to take up the weapon at an early age. He married a white chick. So did I. Twice. Ha! Okay, so maybe that wasn’t inspired by Bruce.

But really, words don’t quite do it when it comes to Bruce Lee. So here are my favorite Bruce Lee, ass kicking scenes.

It’s no big secret that the Chinese and Japanese do not traditionally get along. My Chinese grandfather initially refused to let my mom marry my Japanese dad. I was never really sure where this nationalistic hostility stemmed from until I came across Iris Chang’e The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. I don’t read book books that often so I don’t actually remember why I picked it up, but after reading the book, there was no question in my mind why the Chinese hate the Japanese.

Through primary sources including interviews, documents, and photos, the book recounts the cruel and vicious atrocities committed against the Chinese by the occupational Imperial Japanese Army forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Every time I picked up the book, I felt nauseous reading the descriptions of the brutal acts of inhuman violence. There were times I found myself gagging. I could never imagine such hateful cruelty. It was a difficult book for me to get through because it felt like a punch to the gut. But it is an important part of history that I never knew.

Shortly after publication of The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang became a human rights activist calling for the Japanese government to apologize for its terrible war crimes.

Sadly, Iris Chang is no longer with us. She committed suicide in 2004. I found this out yesterday and it completely fucked me up. Suicide and depression have touched my family. That combined with the memories of the book just kind of swirled around all day like a tornado of depressing shit. And then I read Paula Kamen’s eulogy for Iris Chang and it lifted my spirits. Iris was a force of nature, always on the go, always reaching as high as she could. I quite imagine she’d be one of those people who would light a fire under your ass the moment you met her.

The story of Iris Chang continues. The Iris Chang Memorial Fund strives to continue her great work. Her mother, Ying Ying Chang, has written a book remembering her daughter, The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking, A Memoir.

So apparently, the state Senate Judiciary Committee of Tennessee believes that if they prohibit teachers from talking about homosexuality in schools, they can completely ignore the issue of gay bullying. George Takei has the perfect solution.

George Takei is officially my favorite human being.

Source: It’s Okay to be Takei

Look at those bedroom eyes!

Keanu Reeves has passed on a role for the Warner Bros Steve movie, the pre visualization department for the film was shut down, and most of the staff set to work on it have been let go. Warner Bros would have us believe that this is typical in the development of a film:

Production on ‘Akira’ has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is still very much in the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.

They should sculpt this into a statue of NEVER BEING MADE.

I’m so pleased that Keanu stepped away from this mess and absolutely overjoyed that production is slowing down. I hope someone over in Warner Bros is listening to the fan outcry here and takes that into account as they “scuplt” this bullshit. Honestly, it would be best if this was never made. Not every comic has be turned into a live action film.

Thanks to Laurie Lachapelle for the heads up!

Source: JoBlo