REVIEW: 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen] [1971]

“One should rather believe in ghosts than not” It’s enlightening to read writer/director King Hu‘s press notes that accompanied the Cannes premiere of his then newly-cut 俠女 [Xia nü] [A Touch of Zen]. 1975 was four years removed from the film’s original release—as two parts, a format his producers demanded to try recouping some of its ballooning budget—and six years after he began constructing the elaborate sets utilized during a long, piecemeal shooting schedule to combat changing seasons from ruining continuity. He finally received the ability to restore his three-hour…

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FANTASIA15 REVIEW: 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] [2015]

“Where the heart is lies eternity” You can’t watch 奇人密碼: 古羅布之謎 [The Arti: The Adventure Begins] without finding yourself in awe of the amazing puppet work on display. While told it was only “enhanced” by CGI, it looks as though a lot more was computer-generated than such a verb would infer. For one the smoothness at which the characters move seems impossible and two there appears to be too many instances of fake backgrounds and green-screen effects to believe there weren’t other shortcuts taken. So it definitely behooves you to…

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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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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: 色, 戒 [Lust, Caution] [2007]

“I have a mission” I can’t stand American film distributors and how they handle foreign films. With their money-scheming minds, they give us movie trailers without any dialogue, trying their best to disguise the fact that the work is not in English. If they don’t let us hear a strange language or show a single subtitle, people may just think that it was a minimal piece meant to strike our senses. Unfortunately, for someone like me, I know before seeing the trailer that it is a foreign film—I’ve probably been…

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REVIEW: 满城尽带黄金甲 [Curse of the Golden Flower] [2006]

“Family dysfunction” My introduction to writer/director Yimou Zhang was his first foray into epic territory Hero. The film took the beauty of Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and infused it with inventive and powerful storytelling a la Kurosawa’s Rashômon. As a result, the film was an amazing feat of technical and emotional brilliance. I still haven’t seen his follow-up, House of Flying Daggers, as it seemed a more cartoony look into the genre, with visual style pushed to the forefront while story is pushed back. With his newest film,…

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Top 25 Films of 2000

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 67 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: The Emperor’sNew Groove directed by Mark Dindal #24: Pay It Forward directed by Mimi Leder. #23: Tully directed byHilary Birmingham #22: X-Men directed by Bryan Singer #21: Quills directed by Philip Kaufman #20: State and Main directed by David Mamet #19: Best in Show directed byChristopher Guest #18: Tigerland directed by Joel Schumacher. #17: Almost Famous directed by Cameron Crowe. #16:…

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