REVIEW: The Great Wall [2016]

“I’m honored to be honored” The Great Wall of China took centuries to become what it is today. Construction began as early as 7th century BC with portions strengthened, rebuilt entirely, or expanded upon from the days of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang to the Ming Dynasty where most of what remains originated. It’s 5,500 miles of wall, trenches, and natural barriers—a fortification that protected its land from invasions and allowed a sense of control over trade and immigration. It’s bandied about as a “Wonder of the World” (although…

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REVIEW: 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] [1988]

“I found that glass” Writer/Director Kar Wai Wong hit the scene in 1988 with gangster drama 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] in a way that many compare to Martin Scorsese‘s debut splash Mean Streets. It’s a gritty look at the streets of Hong Kong populated by men who are nothing without their fearsome reputations. “Guts” are what sustain them, keeping them alive within this cutthroat underground of tough guys bluffing in the hopes loud threats prove enough to stay at the top and crazy psychopaths calling…

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NYAFF14 REVIEW: 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] [2013]

“Do you have evidence?” For fifty minutes—minus one crazy hand-to-hand combat fight on top of a fallen metal gate suspended over two adjacent buildings’ fire escapes in midair—writer/director Alan Yuen‘s 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] is a fast paced actioner that fearlessly goes to the darkest corners Hollywood never would. After it crosses that threshold of time, however, the film goes off the rails like an out of control locomotive crashing into everything along its path until it culminates in an epic street shootout with enough destruction to rival Man of…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2011: Misfires countered by fearlessness

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. September is the start of the film festival season. Unsurprisingly, while Toronto, Venice, and New York debut the flicks we’ve been waiting all year to see, the box office…

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REVIEW: 全職殺手 [Fulltime Killer] [2001]

“In our business, you’re bound to rub out someone you know” Filmmakers and creators of Milky Way Image, a studio in Hong Kong, Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai have been collaborating for many years as producers, writers, and directors, both getting their start in television. I think most people credit much of the work to To, or perhaps that’s just my naivety for never having heard Wai’s name before, but after seeing 全職殺手 [Fulltime Killer] and knowing it’s co-directed by the pair while also adapted from Ho-Cheung Pang’s novel courtesy…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: 精武風雲-陳真 [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen] [2010]

“Chinese are not sick men of East Asia” For a director whose only other film I’ve seen is the amazing Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s (no, not star Andy Lau) admittance to Bruce Lee being his ‘super idol’ while introducing his newest work 精武風雲-陳真 [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen] at the Toronto International Film Festival became quite the relevant tidbit. A far cry from the realistic cop vs. criminal thriller, Legend goes as far to the opposite end of the spectrum as it can, existing in a…

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REVIEW: Brødre [Brothers] [2004]

“He had a little boy” I really don’t mind Hollywood remaking films, honestly. If a filmmaker really enjoyed something made overseas, I can’t blame him for wanting to expose America to what resonated so well personally to him. However, shouldn’t he then go the route of Tarantino or Scorsese and bring the actual movie over, helping audiences experience the original? Or have we become so self-righteous and elitist that subtitles cannot be bothered with? Are we really that lazy? To be fair, I haven’t seen the new remake Brothers, so…

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REVIEW: 無間道 [Infernal Affairs] vs. The Departed [2002 & 2006]

“I can’t finish the novel, I don’t know whether he’s good or bad” This is a question posed to Andy Lau’s character, by his live-in girlfriend, in the brilliant Cantonese film 無間道 [Infernal Affairs]. She is a writer plodding through the plot of her new novel, which eerily mirrors the double life lived by her significant other. A small detail like this helped create characters that live and breathe with a history behind them. Unfortunately, while adding almost an hour of length, Martin Scorsese’s new remake, The Departed, fails to…

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