Blog Archives

Cutie Honey (2004)

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Right. It is hard to review this film without going all Valley Girl speak. “Like, dude, this film is seriously sick!” There is something about its bright day-glo colours, insane plot and relentless cheerfulness that just screams substance abusing slacker teenagers let loose in a mall with a bunch of sticky crayons and glitter.

Or maybe that is just me.

Cutie Honey is not unlike the ’60s TV serial Batman in its lurid psychedelia and campness. And, much like that … (read more)

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Wonderful Days (2003)

Did you read that synopsis? Did it not sound like a rejected Dr Who script? Did you wonder why there would be a city that thrives on pollution? Is it the only city on the whole world? If so, why are there people living outside of it? In fact, why would anyone live in it, considering it looks kinda grimy and empty and not a lot of fun? Did you think I was just making this whole thing up and … (read more)

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Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003)

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Director He Ping’s film Warriors of Heaven and Earth clearly owes a debt to the American Western as well as the films of Akira Kurosawa. It has been a while since a Chinese historical sword flick has been made with this sort of lineage and it is interesting to consider the ways in which this film deals with its somewhat traditional subject matter.

Much like Kurosawa, who insisted that motion pictures should be full of motion, He Ping makes sure … (read more)

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The Untold Story (1992)

This is one of those flicks that get labelled “controversial” and it is pretty darn easy to see why. Sure, we are a long way from Salo territory but Untold Story definitely disturbs. Far more than Audition which regularly gets mentioned in the same sentence as ‘gut-churning’.

All this needs some explaining though so here goes. Wong Chi Hang is a rather weedy, highly strung restaurateur in Macau. When police discover the sliced and diced limbs of a relative of … (read more)

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Deadly Outlaw Rekka (2002)

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Takashi Miike is the quintessential maverick film maker who just happens to have made a number of films about quintessentially maverick psychos. There is, no doubt, a connection, but Deadly Outlaw Rekka, for all its occasional bent humour and oddities, is actually one of Miike’s more straight forward efforts.

Like much of Miike’s yakuza work the film opens in a blaze of violence. We watch a series of fast seemingly unrelated cuts which jump in time but mainly focus … (read more)

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Casshern (2004)

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Well that was a frivolous synopsis for a film that is anything but. Casshern in that form, and, indeed, from the look of the trailer, appears to be nothing more than a pretty, CGI filled actioner.

But although those elements are part and parcel of the flick, Casshern is primarily a long, bleak and bittersweet analysis of the futility of war and the eternal capacity of human beings for intolerance. No, really.

It’s a theme played out in a number … (read more)

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The Big Swindle (2004)

The Big Swindle certainly owes a lot to The Usual Suspects. I am not the first reviewer to recognise that and it is pretty darn obvious — there is a team of dangerous men, hints that not all is as it seems and much of the plot is revealed by its participants in flashbacks. And there is a real Keyser Soze moment around half-way through. Nuff said.

But the film also owes a good deal to the great heist … (read more)

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