Blog Archives

Enter the Dragon (1973)

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I love Enter the Dragon. I love everything about it. Critical distance? I think not. This is a film I feel particularly strongly about, and one I refuse to discuss in a removed manner. I love Bruce Lee. I love Bruce Lee’s performance. No matter what anyone says, Lee is not just a fighter – he’s also a fine actor and a snappy dresser. I love Lalo Schiffrin’s score – it really is too cool for words. I love … (read more)

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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

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I was looking forward to Clint Eastwood’s new film Letters from Iwo Jima, the companion piece to his excellent Flags of Our Fathers. Unfortunately, Letters is a far lesser film than Flags. Produced in the Japanese language and screened with English subtitles, it is a serious attempt to give an honest view of the Iwo Jima campaign from the Japanese perspective. Apart from standout performances by Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya, the movie is crammed with stock … (read more)

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Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

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“…an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.”

The Age of Innocence

I couldn’t help but think of Edith Wharton’s witty summary of 19th century opera society as I watched Memoirs of a Geisha. Hollywood’s oriental-chic movie of the year is based on a novel narrated by a Japanese geisha, but written by … (read more)

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Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004)

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So, now that this tale of bloody revenge has reached its climax, which ‘r’ do I feel? Relief, that it met my expectations? Regret, that it’s all over? A little of both actually, but mostly I feel Respect. From the opening ‘Massacre at Two Pines’ to the surreal final chapter ‘Face to Face,’ this proves to be a brilliant film; one quite different to the first half of The Bride’s quest to kill Bill, but certainly no less of a … (read more)

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Kung Faux – Vol. 1 (2003)

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Not so long ago, the greatest joy I took from writing for Heroic Cinema was the fact that I could use my position on the team to justify watching all sorts of crazy crap, usually starring Amy Yip. Seeing as I could never be sure what Mark would ask me to review next, I had no problems at all sitting down with a copy of Erotic Ghost Story, or similar, and feeling just fine about all the exploitative sex … (read more)

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Notorious C.H.O. (2003)

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Notorious C.H.O.? There’s no rapping or rhymin’ to be seen here and no P. Diddy stylistics either. This homegirl just jumps on stage and delivers comedy. But she will certainly be going down in American standup history as being notorious – notoriously funny, raunchy, honest, and of course watchable.

Filmed in Seattle 2001, Notorious C.H.O is a live recording of Cho’s show at the end of what seems like an incredibly long US tour. Opening shots of punters lining up … (read more)

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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

When Final Fantasy The Spirits Within came out in early 2001 there was talk not so much about the film itself but about the future of filmmaking. There was a great deal of hype about how realistic this all-CG film was, about how life-like the characters were, right down to individual strands of hair and their eyelashes. There was even, at one point, a fair amount of fear-mongering (at least in the media) about how this film was the way … (read more)

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Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003)

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I was always going to score this film a 10. This is also the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. Not, mind you, because Kill Bill failed to meet my 10-out-of-10 expectations — quite the opposite in fact. Tarantino has made a film that is far better than anything I could have (and did) imagine, and the highest compliment that I can pay his work here is that I had to watch it a second time right away. Unfortunately … (read more)

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