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probably not a source for Rashomon
27 November 2008
This 1929 U.S. film is probably not a source for the groundbreaking 1950 movie classic Rashomon, because the 2 Japanese short stories which Rashomon is based upon were written in 1915 and 1922, while Thru Different Eyes came out in 1929, and was based upon a prior U.S. stage play. The writer of the short stories, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, killed himself in 1927. His style was highly influential in Japan, and he's considered the father of the modern Japanese short story, comparable to Edgar Allen Poe's influence in English literature, and of a similarly dark nature. Several of Akutagawa's other stories were made into films in the U.S. and Japan. Rashomon director Akira Kurosawa combined Akutagawa's 2 unrelated short stories in Kurosawa's film, which first brought Japanese cinema to world acclaim.

David Stevens
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Odette not Odetta
6 April 2007
A previous comment writer (FORREST136 says that Odetta the African-American folk singer is in this film, Hot Pants Holiday. Odetta has made a few acting appearances over her long, distinguished career, but this does not happen to be one of them. The actress featured in Hot Pants Holiday is actually the minor French actress Odette Myril. Myril's husband was a singer as one of The Two Bobs.

Hot Pants Holiday writer/director Edward Mann may also be held responsible for other films with incredible, multiple titles: The Mutations (1974) aka Dr. of Evil aka The Freakmaker aka The Mutation. Seizure (1974) aka Queen of Evil aka Tango macabre. Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow? (1971) aka Barney. Cauldron of Blood aka Children of Blood aka Death Comes from the Dark aka The Corpse Collectors aka The Shrinking Corpse. Hallucination Generation (1966). Island of Terror (1966) aka Night of the Silicates aka The Creepers aka The Night the Creatures Came aka The Night the Silicates Came.

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The Jet and his son
15 March 2006
An entertaining Jet Li period vehicle, which Li co-produced. Li plays a Chinese folk hero, a rebel who battled a violent, repressive Manchu government. Li teams with 10 year old martial arts prodigy, Xie Miao, who effectively portrays Li's kung-fu fighting son. The duo have some similarities to the "Lone Wolf and Cub" team in numerous, more atmospheric, very gory Japanese movies of the 1970's. Li and son are joined by a sly mother/daughter con artist team to protect 5 young boys who each have a segment of a rebel map tattooed on their back.

Fine photography and inventive action sequences, especially the opener, and one with a clever Trojan horse variant. Li's fight scenes are wondrous, as usual, but his part seems too stiffly written for a fluffy, child-oriented action film with much comic relief. Deannie Yip and sensual Chingmy Yau are energetic and funny as the kung-fu mother/daughter scammers.

The English dubbed version, made in 2000, has excellent, witty dialogue and appropriate voices. Prolific Hong Kong writer/director Wong Jing cameos in the closing scene.
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Kiss or Kill (1997)
Jim Thompson in the Outback
19 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Scary, sexy, demented and loony. Film exists in a world full of sin, recrimination, stupidity, and thrills similar to those in Jim Thompson's novels.

Has some unbelievable plot devices that make it hard to take it all seriously, such as the police seemingly breaking into the lovers/killer(s)-on-the-run's motel room early on, and Aussie character actor-par-excellence Barry Otto's role. Frances O'Connor is excellent as the female half of the Murphy game team - reminds me of the wild stage persona of singer/guitarist PJ Harvey.

Has a similar cartoonish desert feel (a la Roadrunner or Krazy Kat) to the Coen Brothers' kidnappers-on-the-lam Raising Arizona. The constant jump cuts in the film's first half distracted me so much, I put the film on the shelf for a year, before finishing it. Glad I did.
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Exploitation vehicle for NFL stars
31 October 2005
There appear among the stars of this little-known Black exploitation vehicle several 1970's National Football League players, who played mostly in the Baltimore/Washington area: Roy Jefferson (he was a Wide Receiver with the Chargers and Baltimore Colts), Mike Bass (he was a defensive back with the Washington Redskins), Mike Thomas (he was a running back with the Washington Redskins), and Frank Grant, who was a wide receiver. Several of the other actors may also have been pro athletes, such as Dennis Johnson (there was a Dennis Johnson who was a 1970's guard with the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns) and Larry Jones. For most, this is their only movie "credit."
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Mrs. R's Daughter (1979 TV Movie)
Effective TV Drama
26 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The title character is a naive small town teenager raped and beaten on an outing with some older men. Mrs. R's daughter is played by the attractive Season Hubley, daughter of the animators John and Faith Hubley. This film was made the same year as the Paul Schrader film Hardcore, in which Hubley played the hooker who helps a small town Midwesterner (George C. Scott) find his runaway daughter.

The rape investigation and trial are bungled by police and prosecutor, while the rapist's female attorney effectively defends her client (played smarmily by John Fitzpatrick). The rapist is acquitted, so her mother, Mrs. R (played by Cloris Leachman, 2 years after doing Mel Brooks' High Anxiety) sets out to avenge her, though her stepfather (played by Donald Moffat) opposes the plan.
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Miami Blues (1990)
Columbo takes on Jason
26 August 2005
Miami Blues is non-stop entertainment that zips along at a delightful pace. Co-star Fred Ward (who also co-produced the film) shines as a seedy detective whose badge is stolen by a charismatic ex-con, well portrayed by a young, slim Alec Baldwin. Their performances and that of Jennifer Jason Leigh, as a young prostitute who falls for Baldwin's character, have much more depth than normally seen in such action fare. Good score complements the action.

Director George Armitage is a Roger Corman protégé, who effectively emphasizes seediness and corruption beneath the glamorous facade of Miami.
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be warned: this is a dog
24 March 2005
The comment is intended primarily as a warning for anyone who just happens to see this film displayed in a videostore. Not only is this low-budget film terribly unfunny and amateurishly made, but the cover art on the front of the video box has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the actual movie. So you should be wary: this cheaply made film with a provocative title is a dog without a bark in more ways than one. The cast combines marginally-talented has-beens such as Robert Culp (I Spy), Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) , Phyllis Diller and the late punk-rocker/PETA activist Wendy O. Williams with deservedly-unknowns (everybody else).
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Hitman (1998)
Charisma, kicks and comedy
10 May 2004
Fast action and lots of laughs too!

In The Contract Killer, Jet Li supplies the charisma and quick kicks as a lowly trainee hitman going for the big score in tracking down the King of All Hitmen.

Li's character is in tandem with a sly, but bumbling conman, played by the great Hong Kong character actor Eric Tsang (Men Suddenly in Black, Accidental Spy), who excels at menace and comic relief. Tsang gives one of his typical 3D performance a la Bob Hoskins or Sydney Greenstreet.

A rare directorial effort from actor/stuntman Wei Tung, who also directed Magic Cop.
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The Chabrol family triumphs in creating a fictional evil family
17 November 2003
Director/co-writer Claude Chabrol creates a spellbinding film about 3 generations of a family cursed with evil, which bursts forth again in a mayoral campaign. As in other films, Chabrol enrolled his own family in the effort: son Thomas effectively plays a shrewd politician, son Matthieu provided the subtle score, and wife Aurore was the script supervisor of Flower of Evil's witty, trenchant dialogue.
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