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Horror in the East (2001) (TV)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Solid BBC documentary on Japanese atrocities in the 1930s, 5 May 2007

While most documentaries about Imperial Japan focus on Pearl Harbor and the war that followed, this solid BBC production covers Japanese activities in Asia in the 1930s. Without sensationalizing or demonizing, it shows how the Japanese notion of racial superiority and the military's inhumane training of its own soldiers made it easier to brutalize civilians following the 1937 invasion of China. After indiscriminate bombing of Chinese cities by Japan's air force, the empire's army invaded and began committing atrocities to rival Nazi crimes in Europe. Thousands of women were gang raped and living men were used for bayonet practice. I'd recommend it for high school classroom use, although teachers should be aware it contains graphic images of Chinese casualties.

Primer (2004)
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
If you like riddles and Rubik's cubes..., 4 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

People "get" "Primer" only after repeated viewings. So if you like riddles and Rubik's cubes, you might enjoy this movie. But if you want comprehensible editing and dialog and only plan to watch it once, prepare for disappointment and frustration.

"Primer" tells the story of engineers who inadvertently build a time machine. The characters first try using it to get rich, then attempt to prevent a crime from being committed by altering the past. Because the characters travel only a few hours or days into the past, they encounter multiple copies of themselves, all of whom also know about the machine and who are also time travelers.

You can see how this quickly turns into a mess, both for the characters and the viewer.

Critics have praised the film for making no concessions to the viewer. Far from including obvious exposition to explain what is going on, the filmmakers (who play the main characters) speak fast, frequently interrupt each other and lace their dialog with jargon. In refusing to "dumb down," they have purposely made a movie that is incredibly hard to follow. Fans of "Primer" see this as a good thing: Rather than pander, the movie holds viewers to a high standard.

But if incoherence is usually a sign of a bad movie, why is it a virtue in this case? "Primer" is not a film for movie buffs but for puzzle junkies.