Reviews

10 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
MASH (1970)
10/10
One Of The Greatest Films Ever Made
23 February 2006
Some people may think I'm insane for saying this. But this is one of the greatest movies ever made. It was so shockingly different back in 1970 and it influenced war films in the 70s (the "war is insane"-type atmosphere of the film was used by "Apocalypse Now".) The black comedy elements are as original as Dr Strangelove. I have watched this film over ten times and I get astounded each time by it's amazing originality. It's too bad Robert Altman doesn't get as much as recognition as Kubrick or Fellini though I feel he is in the same league. Today the admirable but inferior TV series is more well-known than the movie but I feel the movie is one of the great achievements in film history.
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Titanic (1997)
8/10
A Great Film - Even With A Flawed Love Story
24 July 2005
Lot of men truly hate this movie. I don't blame them. An ultra-silly love story that is basically unrealistic as well as naive; it's a purest example of puppy love.

However, I really do think this is an excellent film. You take away the love story, and you will see a very accurate portrayal of an very tragic event.

There are some scenes that will break everyone's heart. One is the old couple waiting to die in their bed as their room is being consumed by water. Another is the string quartet playing music while death and destruction surround them. The scene that really wrenches my gut is when the captain commits suicide. I find these scenes very emotional mainly because they probably actually happened.

Is the love story really corny? You bet. But many films such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "The English Patient", and even "Lord of the Rings" have lot of silly sentimental corny love story lines but they are much more acclaimed than Titanic. I have a feeling the reason why this film got so much bad rap is that much of the audience are very young females and that their being head-over-heels over DiCaprio annoyed lot of men. (I think DiCaprio DID do a mediocre performance in this movie.) But the silly love story in my mind didn't affect the emotionally devastating impact I had watching the powerful sequences of death and dying. "Saving Private Ryan" is the only other film that affected me more than "Titanic" in showing the horror of human beings struggling to survive.
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7/10
Contains One Of The Greatest Battle Scenes
3 April 2005
"Tora! Tora! Tora!" is not exactly a great film. Mediocre acting and script. However, it contains one of the greatest battle scenes ever shot on film, if not the greatest. It's a treat for war film lovers to watch. I still find the simulation of the Pearl Harbor attack to be a totally mesmerizing spectacle.

This film is done before CGI, which the vastly inferior "Pearl Harbor" used ad nauseum. This fact makes this film much more amazing. (This film must cost 300 million to make nowadays!)

The only bad battle scene in this movie is the bombing of Arizona, in which you can tell the ship is floating on a bath tub. But other than that, you'll be hard-pressed not to say, "Wow!"
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10/10
A Far Superior Film To "Dances With Wolves"
6 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This masterpiece of Arthur Penn (who also did "Bonnie and Clyde") is a far superior film to "Dances With Wolves" but probably a lot less known.

There are several truly heartbreaking scenes in this film that made me almost completely break down. *Spoilers ahead!* One is is the reservation slaughter sequence. And another is the ending in which the Chief was awaiting his death but it didn't come; pretty soon his kind would "die" since it would be nearly wiped out.

I personally don't know why this film wasn't more popular especially after "Dances With Wolves" was released. Also, there doesn't seem to be much talk among modern critics (it was rarely reviewed in Rottentomatoes.com or rarely talked about in IMDb's messages.) This is one of the greatest films of the 70s that should get the attention it deserves.
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10/10
One Of The Cinematic Experiences Of My Life
8 September 2003
Watching "Saving Private Ryan" was one of my greatest cinematic experiences.

The first twenty minutes of the film is truly astonishing. It's as if I was actually running up the beach, with bullets going all around me, slicing people to bits and bombs blowing off everywhere, tearing everyone to shreds. There was a feeling of total hopelessness of the existing and forthcoming carnage around me.

I remember when I first saw the film, there was somebody left of me who was so traumatized by the Omaha invasion sequence, she covered her eyes and went out of the theater. There was a seemingly hardened old man right of me who said he has never have seen such horrifying experience in his life.

Yes, this film has many flaws. I found the script to be very conventional and there were many corny cliches. The characters are not very well developed. Even the tank battle at the end, an amazing scene than matched the Omaha scene in tension, is pretty much Hollywoodized; it showed many military inaccuracies. I had participated in message boards that many military analysts rightfully criticized the ending as being very unrealistic.

However, it's still hard to not say this is a groundbreaking powerhouse of a war film that will (and had probably already) changed Hollywood war cinema forever. The intense violence of this film will teach generations of people that war is not fun and games. War really sucks.
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Animal House (1978)
It's a DAMN funny movie!
8 September 2003
Let's admit the truth about "Animal House." It's pretty much a b-movie. The dialoque is very stupid. The story is pretty simple. The corny Us-vs-Authority idea is used a million times. The direction is very horrible (don't really blame Landis for this - and I think Landis is a great director as evident by "An American Werewolf in London" - because the studio made him rushed the project.) It's full of cliches. The film seems to made for TV if not for the swearing and sex. It's really a stretched-out version of a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

Having said this, I saw "Animal House" close to ten times and I can't stop laughing each time. It's in my tope ten favorite comedies.

The genius of "Animal House" is that it intended to a b-movie type of film. Nothing is taken seriously. The casting is excellent and the comic timing of all the performances are very great.

I understand since there have been so many imitators the film might seem very outdated. However, please see the film as it as if you were back in 1978.
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A Good Series That Won't Satisfy War Buffs
23 August 2003
Not a bad television series. However, this program is mainly a political history of the war and not really a military history. True Vietnam War buffs will be disappointed by it's very brief mentioning of the Ia Drang battle, Khesanh siege, etc. There were NO mention of the battles of 1966. Some of the legendary battles of the war such as Dak To and Dong Ha are brushed aside.
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One of Spielberg's Worst
17 August 2003
This is should be in Spielberg's waste basket of disposables along with "Hook", "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade", and "1941." Spielberg seemed bored and rushed through out this project. Unlike "Jurassic Park", which is one of the best suspense films of the past twenty five years (very few scenes can come close to the nerves-splitting T-Rex scene in which the kids were menu items in a car), this film doesn't have any ounce of tension.

Luckily, after this film, Spielberg made one of the greatest films of the all time in "Saving Private Ryan" so that this potentially Tyrannosaurus Rex type disaster became only a small glitch in his career.
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8/10
One of the more realistic films about Chinese Americans
17 August 2003
When "Year of the Dragon" was released in 1985, it was ripped to pieces by Chinese anti-defamation organizations as being a very racist film. The film was likewise given lot of bad reviews by critics, who probably wanted to be politically correct.

Being a Chinese American who was raised in Boston's Chinatown, I had expected bad things about this film. Even though "The Deer Hunter" is a great film, the depictions of Vietnamese and Chinese in that film are truly horrendous (no, Chinese DID NOT engage in Russian Roulette!!) I expected the same with "Year of the Dragon." I was totally shocked after I saw the film at how realistic the film was about Chinatown. I do understand many Chinese Americans do not want themselves portrayed as drug dealers, gang members, etc. However, I don't think there has been any film in Hollywood history who portrayed the dark side of Chinatown as accurately as this film. I know because I grew up in the area when there lot of Chinese street gangs and mafia activity.

The sad thing is after this film was released, depictions of Chinese Americans has gotten a LOT worse; they are depicted as chopsocky kung fu gangsters (now isn't that ironic!!) in Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies, or as baby killers, rapists, or domineering bigots in "The Joy Luck Club" (by the way, this film is truly truly AWFUL in it's portrayals of Chinese; the ignorant critics however gave this movie great reviews.) Strangely, Chinese anti-defamation leagues has been very silent during these years.

"Year of the Dragon" is Cimino's unappreciated gem. According to my view, it's his second best film. I understand this film has flaws but Cimino was brilliant in showing the side of Chinese Americans that few Americans know. Not all of us Chinese went to CalTech or MIT and became successful software engineers or research scientists.
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The Thing (1982)
When John Carpenter Ruled As A Horror Director
7 August 2003
According to my view, "The Thing", despite it's flaws (most notably the lack of character depth), is one of the greatest sci-fi horror films ever made. In many ways, it's better than the other ground-breaking sci-fi horror film "Alien." I was jolted a lot more in "The Thing" than I was in "Alien"; the suspense sequences of "The Thing" are so intense at times, you can almost feel your blood vessels about to burst, your nerves about to be ripped from your body; only "Jurassic Park" did better. And I feel the astonishing make-up/animatronic effects of Rob Bottin is far superior to the rubber costume in "Alien." Only after "Aliens" was released was "The Thing" surpassed in animatronic effects.

I am very disappointed that John Carpenter hasn't made a great horror film after this one. Along with "Halloween", he made some of the greatest horror masterpieces of the past twenty-five years.
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