During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
After more than four hundred years of war between the Shinobi warriors of the Manjidani Koga and Tsubagakure Iga clans, the Lord Hattori Hanzou decrees that they must live in peace. Both ... See full summary »
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century. On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai (Jay Chou). His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress (Gong Li), this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan (Li Man), the Imperial Doctor's daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress's health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path? The Emperor harbors equally clandestine plans; the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) is the only one privy to his machinations. When the Emperor senses a looming threat, he relocates the doctor's family from the Palace to a ... Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Although sometimes not noticeable, each actor is dressed in 4-5 layers of clothing, sometimes 5-6 layers. Each layer is meticulously embroidered. See more »
Given Chan leaves the inn almost immediately after Wan does, why does it take so long for her to reach the palace? (Consider everything that happens to Wan after he arrives back but before Chan arrives.) See more »
It has been 25 years. I thought that I would never see you again.
[attempts to touch Mrs. Jiang's face]
[knocks the Emperor's hand away]
[grabs Mrs. Jiang]
And you married the Imperial Doctor!
[slaps the Emperor roughly]
At the time, you were only a lowly captain plotting day and night to become Emperor. You flattered the King of Liang into letting you marry his daughter. You planned meticulously to have my entire family put in prison. Later, I alone managed to escape. Far from home, I almost died....
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At first, you will be struck by the lavishness of the decors and the elaborate "choreography" of the palace servants. Then it will be the truly exquisite costumes and armors throughout that will impress you. The lighting and colors are also quite wondrous. Visually, it's all quite stunning sometimes to the point of distraction. But those are secondary considerations. The story was delightfully complex yet understandable and for most of the first 2/3 of the movie revolves around palace intrigue and family secrets. The emperor and empress were wonderful in their roles. Gong Li in particular is amazing at conveying emotion without saying a word. Unfortunately, as it went on, I realized that two of the sons weren't up to the acting quality of their "parents". They were both somewhat lacking in terms of emoting and charisma and it undermined all the drama going on.
Besides the opulent and magnificent production values, this was obviously filmed by a great director at the peak of its form with its carefully constructed yet original cinematography. There are moments of quiet beauty and epic battles with moments I had never seen anywhere before. Actually throughout the last act, my mouth often stood agape at the sheer coolness of it all. I wish I had seen this movie on a big screen or at least high-definition because this grand spectacle deserves it. Why do I not rate this higher? Because I wish it had more emotional resonance (like Hero or House of Flying Daggers both from the same director) and a few better actors would have helped a lot. In finishing, without spoiling anything, one should admire the courage and intelligence of the Chinese director at indirectly denouncing the current Chinese regime.
Rating: 8 out of 10
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