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Unleashed (2005)
9/10
Return to form for Besson, Li proves he is an actor.
30 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is far from a perfect movie but it is a a great action drama. For the first time since the professional we saw a glimpse of the writer who wrote the best action-drama ever. Unleashed is no professional but you can see some of the fine elements from it. How much more does the action matter when there is a character like Danny for us to feel for. A new family like Leon and Matilda to worry about.

Danny's pain of almost losing his new family makes for a martial arts film that raises the emotional bar. Hats off to Jet, Besson and everyone involved. It's not every film where you can comment on how brutal the fights were and then talked about how strong the emotional content was.

personal I have always known Jet Li could act and I would argue that he proved that in Kiss of the dragon but here is a film where it cannot be denied.

As for writer Luc Besson can he make the most hateful villains or what. The professional's DEA guy, the dirty cop in Kiss of the dragon but Danny's uncle played by Bob Hoskins is demonic. Way to go bob. Morgan freeman is great too of course.

Sure the story is ridiculous so what it's not the point. It's a story, it's fun. Enjoy this movie.
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9/10
So much better than gladiator
30 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I am not a huge fan of gladiator and am sorry to see this film was not the hit for Rdiley as his last historical epic. KOH is just a much better film. Beyond that I felt it's message was important. The in case you are too unaware to know this the film ends with a reminder than there is still no peace in the holy land. I think it is great to show the roots of these conflicts a thousand years old.

Scott did a great job of balancing out the insanity between all parties involved. All sides of the crusades did in reality have there maniacs and there great leaders. How it is the maniacs who seem to still drive the conflict in Palestine today.

As far as film goes it was never boring, well acted and only lost one point with me for the fact that Bloom gave 3 braveheart style speeches to many.
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The Brood (1979)
7/10
Boring early on but there is a huge pay-off.
26 November 2004
Sometimes writers and directors just have to be given a chance to be boring. Some stories just can not give you the goods from beginning to end. The brood is a film that cannot put all the cards on the table right away. Cronenberg is as always exploring issues within the horror format that are usually ignored for simple baseless gore. While the plot is not going to make a lick of sense to someone without a dark imagination it is very inventive.

I can't say for sure but serious horror fans may note that the later half of this film could easily stand along many the stories in Clive Barker's books of blood. Cronenberg I think can take some credit in inspiring later works from the horror prince who would explore a lot of these issues with a little more supernatural zeal. Isn't great that Cronenberg played a serial killer for Barker in Nightbreed!

The film is slow out of the gates for sure but Oliver Reed puts in a strange and compelling performance as the weird doctor. Samatha Eggar was very brave in her performce as the brood's disturbed mother. While some of the scenes with the brood children alone in the world look silly like everything else in the film there is a pay-off in the last half hour.

If you give up early on this film you will really miss out because the last half hour is where cronenberg packs everything in. Truly vile gore, full on madness of characters and spine chilling terror for the daughter.

For serious horror fans only.
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Near Dark (1987)
7/10
Original southwestern Vamp flick
7 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Near dark:

There are actually 3 southwestern Vampire films( From dusk til dawn, Carpenters'Vampires), and Near Dark is the diabolical best. Features B- movie greats from Lance(frank black) H. to Tim Tomerson (Trancers and Dollman fame). Bill Paxton as usual steals the show with his over the top redneck vampire that looks strangely familiar to most of his other over the top redneck roles from the eighties.

The acting is all pretty well done for a film of it's budget, in fact everything is well done for a film of it's budget. The writers were going for western vampire crossover. When I watch this I reminded that westerns do not have to be period films. The wild bunch is not exactly in a traditional western time and Sean Penn's the pledge is very much a western.

I digress. Near dark is a excellent Vampire film that was written and directed with intelligence and despite's budget almost never falls into camp. While a there are few moments the sun just appears I will forgive the film.

For those who don't find the film scary they are failing to do the one thing that makes horror films scary. You must put yourself in the shoes of the characters. More on that in the spoilers section of this review.

Near dark succeeds on every level for me, above all it never fails to entertain. Highly suggested for horror fans of discernible taste.

Spoilers ahoy:

Imagine for one moment you were just some redneck hanging out playing pool at a bar. Jessie and his crew of Vampires come in. They bully people and then kill the waitress and drink her blood. Yes you would scared, or if you were the main character when he discovered his sister in the hotel room. Yeah you would be freaked. Good stuff.
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Saw (2004)
6/10
Bad acting should not ruin a excellent horror film
30 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
No horror film,novel or story is scary unless you are willing to imagine yourself in the shoes of the characters. Name a movie that would be more terrifying to be a part of I dare you!

Who was it was said the most important part of directing is casting? Let me say just I as a life long fan of all things horror I enjoyed SAW, bottom line was the that had the acting not blown ass the reviews would have been very different. I gave SAW 6 out of 10 had the acting been pitch perfect I think people would have been carried out of the theater.

Saw seems to now be racking up negative reactions which I think could have been avoided if we factor in a few things.

1).Hype. This film had a lot of hype. People were convinced that they were going to see that most frightening film in years so expectations were super high. I think if this had quietly been released limited or straight to video

and the word spread by word of mouth the effect would have been better for the people watching, That is scary for studio and no one would gamble like that, however it would've had less expectations.

2).This was a low budget horror film not 'The hours' when everyone complains about the acting I have to wonder what there favorite horror movies are? The two men behind this film are clearly planted on the coat tails of Dario Argento and his brutal films. Argento has made some of the best horror films ever and not single one of them contained a good acting performance! While I admit It hurt a film that was so dependent of psychology, Acting doesn't ruin all horror films.

3).People need to realize how hard making a movie is and remember that saw is a film by a first time director on a low budget. He may have wanted to take more time to film multiple takes of (which could have given Cary Ewles a chance to not suck) scenes. He was probably under pressure to get things done fast and in budget.

*Spoiler* 4).Try this…explain to someone who is not in to horror movies the reverse trap scene. Explain that to save her life she would have cut open a person who was drugged on the floor to find the key to the contraption that was seconds from splitting her head apart. Twisted, look at the faces of the people you tell it to!

*End spoiler*

I thought the writing was amazing, which only makes the weakness of the directing and acting so much more painful. I think in the hands of a larger budget and more experienced director this could have met all the hype and more. Instead we are left with a slightly better than average low budget horror film.
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8/10
adds emotional weight as any prequel should
19 August 2004
Internal affairs 2

As a fan of the first film I was interested to see what Andrew Lau did with this prequel. I am generally a fan of his films even less popular films like avenging fist and Man called hero. IA 1 showed a mature sense of direction that Got the eye of one of America's greatest gangster film directors( Martin S.) to buy the rights. If the on screen reuninion of Brad Pitt and Ed Norton happens in the American version of IA I wanted to see the prequel that would follow.

I was not disappointed by this film in the least. It was a worthy prequel and did for me the essential thing that prequels exist for, adding emotional weight to the story we already know. Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang are great as well as the actor who played Hau. Despite the two young male leads gracing the discs , they were not the center of this story.

I know I will be flogged in the film geek world for admitting this but I have never watched the godfather films. So maybe it was to close to the second godfather but it didn't other me. Watch this film, Great crime drama.
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9/10
More Somber than humor really. and yes blame bowling
19 August 2004
Bowling for columbine

As the early reviews of F.9/11 started to come in we heard many times that this was a more subdued Moore that he had toned down for the subject matter. After re-watching BFC I would have to say this was true of this film as well. While conservative pundits and the insane people who think Bush actually did a good job will try to discredit Moore at every turn- don't believe it.

I don't always agree with Moore, his views on Fast food, mumia and faith in the American public seem misguided. As a Gun owner I don't feel threatened by this film. Moore asks important questions about American insanity.I feel he is not wanting to look at the real reason behind the insanity Free market capitalism and American imperialism. Sure he touches on it but perhaps that is another film.

This last time I found the fact that Marilyn Mason had better come to grips with school shootings than just about anyone else was interesting. No one blamed /Clinton and his use of Violence. Violent video games, films and music are in all these countries with less gun violence.

America is the one with the gun violence…it is also the one with the violent foreign policy track record going back…oh since the country existed. America is the one with the biggest gap between the rich and poor, with the least insured in the first world. Important questions.

Al Franken said something important about the difference between liberals and conservatives it can be seen in the reaction to this film and Moore's other work. Conservatives love America like a 4 year loves it's mommy. Liberals love America like an adult. Willing to look at it's problems. Well I am no liberal, and I hate conservatives. That makes me radical that is glad at least Moore gets the issues on the table.
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Sky High (2003)
6/10
Interesting film. Orginal for sure.
11 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Sky High This movie has a lot to do with why I enjoy Asian films. This is a story that I as a jaded Hollywood movie junkie could not predict. It is an impossible story to tell or imagine outside of Asian culture. The plot involves A woman who shows up to walk down the aisle with her heart ripped out. Bummer. She ends up at the Gate of rage and is given ten days to decide between 3 choices basically come down to heaven, hell or get revenge and go to hell.

While making her decision she and her still alive husband(who can't see or hear her) discover that she was the victim of a madman who is stealing the hearts of the women who in between lives had served the as the guardian of the gate. Apparently he believes with their hearts together he can bring back his wife.

Swordplay, CGI effects, Strong women characters and a little gore all help Sky high worth a rental. While the plot and the story are far from perfect it is a cool film from Kitumara the director who made popular Swordplay films Versus and Azumi. While Sky high probably has more in common with his second film Alive, alive and sky high are not quite as popular. I thought all four films were good but I think Sky high and Alive involve better more developed storylines.
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Before Sunset (2004)
7/10
Good but For Arthouse romance, Twilight Samurai all the way
11 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Before sunset

My wife and I basically cut this deal the other day. She picked a romantic movie and I picked one. Over two days we would watch them. With both picked films that either were playing at the art house or had played there at one time. She had picked Before sunset and I picked Twilight Samurai. For that reason I will have sadly and unfairly compared the two films.

Before sunset is a romantic comedy that is basically an experiment. Two one night stand vet's reunite after 10 years and we watch there 80 minute conversation in real time. The direction and acting pull off this concept in a way that works. (Spoiler in the next paragraph) The conversation flows, and Julie d.'s character is worth falling in love with, imagine many people watching did as well. Ethan Hawke's character I am not so sure about, He loves his kid. Is it fair that he feels this way when he has wife back in New York. Maybe she is unhappy about the marriage maybe she is not.

For my indie romantic dime I would have to stay with Twilight Samurai. TS is a film whose love story is charming, sweet and more importantly Guilt free.
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Natural City (2003)
5/10
Conflicted feelings,is worth a rental.
11 August 2004
Natural city

While Natural city gets often compared to blade runner, I think it is a comparison is not quite fair to Blade runner. Don't get me wrong I don't think NC is a bad movie, but it is not the ultra paranoid Phillip K dick style future noir. The film looks great and shows a dirty, unhappy view of korea's future like Blade runner.

I admit I got a little lost and bored at times but the film has great visuals and for the most part the story is a interesting take on cyborgs robots and the like. The gun battles and the various martial arts action scenes were well done(except for a minor overuse of Slo-Mo).

Worth a rental. If you're a Sci-FI addict it should be on your list.
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8/10
Great follow up
11 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Bourne supremacy

Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne and I am surprised to say that while I don't think it was quite as good as the original it is a good follow up. Doug Liman's Bourne Identity was a character driven action film that did not chop story for action. The studio was smart to hire Paul Greengrass the director of the excellent Bloody Sunday. While Bloody Sunday was a genius film it was almost a documentary. So It didn't know what to expect. Very little of the movie is actually based on the novel. In the novel Bourne had assumed his real identity and he and marie lived in Canada. Here he and Marie are living in India. Perhaps the only similar note is that someone is killing people and living clues leading to Bourne who is innocent. In the book the killings were in Hong Kong but I think wisely the film returns to it's European feeling.

I think the power of the story is found in the writing. The direction of the actors and the pace is done will but the action leaves something to desire. Greengrass was smart to use annoying ‘shakey cam' in Bloody Sunday but here it causes us to miss out on everything Damon trained for and mostly just gives people head aches.

The film however finds Bourne's moral center and shows us the torment that these memories and knowledge is doing to him.

***Spoilers***

I am sure it was done for business reasons but I was bummed at the death of Marie. She was a good character and I am not sure where they will take the next film since in the books they had children and a family. The scene where Bourne talks to the Russian woman whose parents he killed was excellent in writing, direction and Damon nailed it.

Heck yeah GO SEE IT.
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10/10
10 out of 10, Yeah it is that awesome.
11 August 2004
Twilight Samurai

I don't have a top ten list of all time favorite films but if I did Twilight Samurai would be on it. Nominated for best foreign film the same year that the Hollywood film the last samurai got a few nominations it is impossible not to compare the two. While I enjoyed the Last Samurai and it's message of questioning western cultural imperialism Twilight Samurai is a film on whole different level.

LS is a bloated Hollywood epic that delivers intense battles with huge numbers and a unrealistic unsatisfying bullshit love story. Do we really believe that the woman who lost her husband to Tom Cruise the smelly drunk white would fall in love with him?

Twilight Samurai is the opposite in everyway and in everyway it is a better film that is bound to move to tears the hardest of yall out there. It is the story of a petty samurai who after the long lingering death of his wife finds himself become a devoted father.

When Twilight comes and the other samurai go out to drink, he rushes home to clean the house, tend the field and care for his daughters. He has lost track of his imagine, he smells and all he cares about is what is best for his daughters.

When his childhood crush returns and revolution looms this petty samurai is forced into confronting his status as a samurai. Unlike last samurai the small battle between two samurai's at the end is more emotionally involved that any CGI enhanced battle could ever be. The romance in the film is so sweet, tender and believable that is makes the film special.

This could not be as special as it is without excellent acting, direction and above all writing. Holy crap see this movie.
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Dreams (1990)
9/10
I think people are not getting it,because they don't want to.
12 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Kurasawa's DREAMS

Is there a greater director ever? Few would argue that anyone besides maybe Kubrick comes close. Dreams is the Swan song of Japan's most amazing and artistic director in the most artistic film of his long life. Known for his Samurai films and occasional noir mystery dreams is a departure because it is not a story yet eight pieces of of cinematic expression. There are no Spoilers that could ruin this film because really it is like looking at a painting.

I have read many comments where time after time people comment that this personal film was not meant to be understood by anyone but the director. Please, why would Kurasawa do that at the end of his life. I think Kurasawa had a lot to say at the end and the sad part is that it went over many people's heads.

Well I believe many of the segments are open to interpretation but for anyone who knows that Kurasawa was a socialist, or that he didn't really dig how technology was taking the world. Well there lies your answer. Some of the segments use allegory express Kurasawa's feelings about the destruction of nature around him, the abuse of capitalism, His need for perfectionism and what he endured for it, the spoils of war and much more.

The man was dying and he wanted the world to know just how he felt about it. Amazing film. Beautifully shot. Amazing to look at. I gave it 9 out of 10. It would have been perfect with out Martin S. as Van gogh.

******Spoilers****

The scene in the wasteland with as the demons fighting over that last little pond of polluted water was such a viscous attack on capitalism I find it amusing that more people didn't understand it.
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Belly of the Beast (2003 Video)
6/10
As far as bad action movies go,pretty good
1 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Belly of the beast

There are two kinds of action movies. High quality intelligent action films like The professional, The killer, Ronin or the Bourne identity all films I totally love. Then there are action films like Invasion USA and Commando which I love because they are terrible and yet still very fun. Belly of the beast may strive to be in the first category but it remains in the so bad it is good realm with other Segal classics like On deadly ground, under siege and out for justice.

While Exit wounds was not as bad as Cradle to the grave, Segal has been going down hill since Fire down below. Don't get wrong the EPA agent with the license to kill worked for me, even when he was jamming with the country band at the county fair. However as his Belly grew, his star power and screen charm has faded.

There are lots of rules for bad action hero's things to do when your career needs a boost. Now that Segal has gone to a Hong Kong director for help the only thing left to do is a movie where he fights himself. What's up Segal? Van Damme has already fought him self like 4 times. The good news is that Segal got the best goddamn fight director possible. I know Woo Ping is considered the best by many but for me Ching Siu tung the man behind the action of Hero, duel to the death, The killer and countless others would be my choice if I was making a Kung Fu film.

Not only that he is the creative director behind some very neat films like the Chinese ghost story films. His creative film making skills are on the screen as well, even in the opening scene it is displayed in interesting camera motions that makes a above average experience for a direct to video movie.

The Good: As a low brow action film I enjoyed Belly of the beast, if you don't take to serious you will too. The action is well done. The story has some cool twists, Segal and Co. made some surprising turns with the story especially in the post 9/11 world.

****Spoilers****

I am sure many hated the spiritual show down between the shaman and the monks but I thought that was a cool and original scene. Shot with tinge of Chinese ghost story it brought a smile to my face. Brave also to have the Muslim terrorists be innocent of the kidnapping and to have the CIA behind, of course Segal is the man who wrote a screenplay where the CIA had invented AIDS. I can respect a writer who always blames the CIA.

The Bad: The romance for Segal was so misplaced and stupid. Trite and unbelievable. It was done for the direct to video hormonal action fans with Asian fetishes. Does anyone really believe this young Asian woman would fall for a washed up CIA agent with gut.

The ugly: This has to be the worst example of body doubles ever. Not since the enemy within episode of Star trek(Shatner an early bad action star, I mean he fought himself?) Segal…dude… Diet, exercise, disciple. I had a hard time with this, even made worse considering the word belly is in the title.

Above average Direct to video. If you are a fan of well done bad action it's worth a hour and half of your life.
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Gattaca (1997)
8/10
Cautionary Sci-fi coming true,send Genetic engineers to titan!
1 June 2004
Gattaca

This film is in a small league of brainy Sci-fi films that include 2001 and Solaris to name my favorite examples. I admit I had no interest in the film until my wife convinced me it was good. Gattaca is a film which unlike the matrix uses Science Fiction to make a statement about a fictional future that is already happening.

I saw a few reviews on here that pointed out the use of rockets, 50 styles cars as if to point out how `fake' Gattaca's future looks. Well I have to give the `duh' award to the viewers who feel the need to point this out. Unlike minority Report where spielberg assembled scientists to try and make it look like a possible future this is not the point of Gattaca.

I don't think for one second Andrew Niccol believed he was making a film about future history. Every element of the story existed to express the filmmakers fears of a world where genetic engineering was taken to it's horrifying limits.

The film is an amazing debut and yet I have not seen Niccol match it. He paced the story with a perfect timing. The casting was brilliant with excellent performances from Thurman, Ethan Hawke and as always Jude Law. I am glad the film also used minimum special effects it keep the focus where it was meant to be the characters.
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9/10
One of the few true Kung-Fu films
30 May 2004
36th Chamber of shoalin

As a lifelong devoted fan of chop socky I still did not see this film until last year because it was impossible in the U.S.(at least it seemed to me) to get a orginal language 36th Chamber of shoalin. Knowing that any video that said Shoalin Master killer or just Master killer would be a English dubbed atrocity I decided to wait.

Perhaps the best geek news of 2003 for me however was Celestial pictures releasing region 3 versions of old Shaw bros classics. Original language, subtitled well, subtitled bonus features, Dolby surround, Beautifully re-mastered and packaged. Director Liu Chia liang's masterpiece the 36th chamber was my first purchase in the series. The new re-issues have some of his other classics like executioners from shoalin(which Kill Bill 2 paid direct tribute to),8 diagram pole fighter and soon Legendary weapons of China.

36th chamber tells a fictionalized tale of the shoalin monk who broke rank with his temple and taught Kung Fu to the people. While the true story probably did not have the elements of revenge that make the story of the film that hardly manners this is a movie not a history class. It is a lesson the non-violent resistors of the world need to here again and again. When Gordon Liu and his fellow students ask them selves how can they defeat their violent enemy words of logic.

They decide that if they are going to effectively fight back what they learn at the university is not enough. So they travel to the shoalin temple. At the shoalin temple they are masters of martial arts but they stay out of worldly affairs. The 35th chamber of shoalin is the highest level and it is not a measure of strength of combat ability. It is enlightenment, mastery of oneself.

So this epic film, a 2 hour chop socky flick that's story takes place over 10 years, has a interesting plot. Can this man driven by anger complete training in Buddhist temple where his motivations are against the very basics of there teachings. It is impossible to imagine Hollywood making movie that includes forty minutes of Buddhist philosophy, training and no love story. Well lets face it I not sure a woman is in this movie at all.

The martial arts in this film are amazing and every bit as impressive as stuff done today. The training parts while probably not realistic are entertaining and don't bore. The acting is all well done. The direction is steady, the story well told.

For fans of this film note that the director, star and studio teamed up last year to make a film called drunken monkey. Shaw bros big return to Kung Fu movies has been well received. It's next on my list, to rent.
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3/10
As bad for your mind,as the title substances are for your body.
24 May 2004
I love Dead man. Night on earth was awesome. and Ghost dog...hell yeah one of the best movies ever. I was excited to what would come out of this experiment shot over 17 years. While some parts were very,very funny. Iggy pop,the twins and the RZA-Bill Murry part. the rest was just so boring I could hardly stand it.

I give Jim J. credit for trying something different but I pretty bummed I spent a evening walking to the theater,shelled out $10 dollars(more than a hours work) to pay to sit in a film that is better off being on IFC. Of course then you would be able to flip your remote control on to something less boring like Macguyer re-runs on TV land or even maybe a Saved by the bell re-runs.
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8/10
An all time favorite.
24 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The Bride with White hair

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Sure it is less than perfect,but in the end the bottom line is a entertaining piece of martial arts fantasy. What is most impressive with this film is what is done with a low budget. After listening to the commentary track on the DVD after having seen the movie many times over the years I surprised to learn it was shot almost entire indoors. All but 1 shot.

Ronny Yu and DP Peter Pau(he was behind the lens on Crouching tiger) did an amazing job of created a surreal looking universe that seemed other worldly. The action is not the best mostly because of the odd slow motion effects on the fight scenes and lack of any real martial artists in the cast. The special effects and wire work are not that great either.

So what! This film has a real gothic feel to it and the thing that makes it soar is the powerful emotions that play off of the two lead actors. Both Bridgette Lin and Leslie Chung go the distance to make you believe in the love of the characters.

This is I believe the second film made based on this novel. I believe the general opinion is why bother with the other which is called `wolf girl'. Great movie for fantasy fans!

Spoilers starting now*******

The love scene in the waterfall is beautiful and revivals the power of any love in scene in any Hollywood films. The scene is the perfect way to convey sex in a fantasy such as this one. The ending is heart breaking and who call the bride for freaking out just a little. The twins are so rad and super creepy villains.
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Versus (II) (2000)
7/10
Dumb plot, So what.
22 May 2004
Versus

The stupid excuse for a plot was pretty high concept for a film so low budget they shot the entire thing in the woods. 'the forest of resurrection' excuse me. Some points of the story for example the fact that there are 666 portals to this other dimension was a laughably stupid concept. But I give them credit for making the most of the elements they had to work with. There was also at least one super annoying gangster who drove me crazy.

That all being said I thought the movie still rocked. Watching Versus for an engaging plot is like listening to death metal for melody. Versus is a excellent piece of low budget pulp cinema that has Japanese gangsters, zombies, sword fights, martial arts and shows amazing potential of a young director.

Well many did not like his follow up film(alive) I thought it was a better albeit totally incomparable film. I have yet see AZUMI which I have been told is great, and hey it land him the 50th anniversary Godzira film.

If you like pulp movies versus is a must see.If have something up your ass that makes it impossible to enjoy anything that isn't 'art' well then rent some boring crap. Also on a side note this movie beats the tar out of JUNK which was held up by fangoria to be some great b-movie Japanese zombie flick. That movie is a turd compared to versus.
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Shao Lin si (1982)
6/10
important for jet fans to see.
22 May 2004
Shoa lin Temple

This is important for Jet Li fans to see his humble start. I think Jet can act pretty good now, but here is acting was clearly rough. That is ok because you never see jet move like this anymore. This is the way to see jet show why he was a champion martial artist. Just an amazing athlete in general.

The film starts off with this super hilarious song about the shoa lin temple. I mean this song is worth the rental. The story is pretty pointless you killed the my father- let me join the temple so I can learn martial arts – You don't have what it takes – Yes I do – Blah, blah. Who cares? The same basic story was told so much better in the 36th chamber of shoal in. You are not watching this movie for the story it is for Jet kicking some serious butt.

Since my user name is what it is it should be no surprise the only thing I hated about this movie was all the disgusting meat-eating. I am used to people eating dead animal flesh in movies but it was super offensive to have Buddhist Shoalin monks eating flesh off the bone. I am sorry but no monk would say as long as you have Buddha in your heart you can eat meat.
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6/10
Good,but no Musa
21 May 2004
Ginko bed 2

While a huge fan of Ginko bed 1 I do have it on VCD. I remember GB1 to be a sorta Korean version of Ghost(you know demi moore,Swayzee) calling this film a sequel is kinda a stretch. It would be like making a fantasy film about another dimension with Zuhl and the gatekeeper and calling it a Ghostbusters sequel.

I was drawn to this film to by a comparison that comments from the Sing Young here San Diego had put on the box referring to it as `A South Korean Conan'. I don't think that is fair. A South Korean Lord of the rings maybe. You see there is a holy mountain, a quest which involves the sacrifice of a woman who is loved by two warriors.

The massive swords are about the only thing Conan and this film share.

That is not to say I didn't enjoy the film. I did. There was massive amounts of brutal battles and touches of well done CGI effects. The film however would have been better off to fully embrace the fantasy element with some Wire-fu. They went for a more brutal style of fighting, a style done brilliantly in MUSA but this is not MUSA.

The biggest problem with the fill was the melodramatic romance that looked like a what I imagine a Korean Days of our lives to seem like. It was also cool to see the woman from Shiri return with another awesome role.
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7/10
It's a horror film alright. No doubts
21 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
In a glass cage.

Some plot spoilers

The review I read started with Vile and disturbing. Yet fascinating. Could not say it any better. This film is a masterpiece of Shock art. Moody and unflinching this movie tells the story of a nazi pedophile who after failing to end his f***ed up life is tortured when a young male nurse intends to carry out his perversion in front of him as a paralyzed witness.

That is what I call a horror film. The kind of horror film many even horror fans would not be able to sit through. This film not just exploitive crap though. It is well made with attention to detail and well acted through out.

Big thumbs up. I am not sure however how many people I would recommend this movie to.
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8/10
Shaw brothers classic! - Spoilers
2 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Executioners from Shoalin

This is a great Shaw brothers epic that has some of the best martial arts fights of the seventies. Just one year before Lau Kar Leung unleashed the 36th chamber was on the world this classic of Shoalin martial arts is a must have for true Kung Fu movie geeks. Forget that dubbed c**p. If you have a region 3(or all region) DVD you must see the new re-mastered original language re-issue from the awesome Celestial pictures series.

The Celestial series is the best way to see Shaw bros. movies.

This movie is the epic tale of a man who vows to avenge his master who was killed by a white browed monk who is referred to only as `white brow'. White seems invincible and what follows is a movie that follows years of training and a whole family working together to make the vengeance happen. Great film.

Anytime A big time Holly wood filmmaker pays tribute to lesser know classics they become more known for the tribute factor. Kill Bill Vol.2 quotes this movie and when people see it now they are going to know the monk grabbing the foot when kicked in the balls and crushing the foot. That fact is QT has good taste in kung fu movies.
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9/10
I don't think hollywood could ever have a western this good
2 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Leave to the Italians... This is Sergio Leone's finest western if not the best ever. What some people might find boring is what makes Once upon a time in the west filled with more tension than most suspense films. The first 12 minutes is a amazing sequence built around a sound scape that gives you the feeling that you are there at the train station in flagstone.

The story revolves around several characters and outside of Henry Fonda's Frank(who is a truly nasty villain) I think there is a lot of grey area at . No clear cut good guys.but who am I kidding this is a Sergio Leone film of course everyone is bad. Leone was a true pessimist and I suppose that is one reason I like his westerns. There is no idealism in how he portrays the old west.

Here is the bottom line of the review. This movie is not for everyone. I think requires the ability of the viewer to appreciate grim, dark tone, moments of baddass violence and at the same time a patience cinema as art. Yes this movie is a werid but awesome mongrel of many breeds. All of which add up to a great film.

The score is amazing. The sound is designed in a way that I don't think can be compared to any other movies. The performances are all pitch perfect. Henry Fonda plays such a perfect asshole to totally wigged me out as I think of him as the sweet old man in `on golden pond.'. Bronson gives a humble yet perfect performance and Jason Robards is also fun to watch.

******Spoilers*******

The only thing I didn't think was good was the widow. I realize it is part of the story that she was a hooker in New Orleans but the sexuality in the film seemed misplaced. I don't understand her getting with Frank.

The part with Harmonica flashing back to his brother's death is powerful and an amazing pay-off for all the build up. Great movie
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The Hunted (2003)
6/10
Not friedkin's best but has some killer moments.
1 May 2004
I was surprised to see how many people didn't like this movie. No it is friedkin's best film far,far from it. However the film has some excellent moments and great acting from both the main stars. My idea of who the hero and villains are is probably different from most people. Del toro's character to me did nothing wrong. He is a victim. That is one of the most impressive things about this film is that friedkin doesn't take a side at all.

The hunted is lean film that doesn't mess around much and most gets serious about telling the story and doesn't take side tracks at all. Hallum ( Del Toro) does play a updated Rambo that had the benefit of better technical advisor in Tom Brown. What I didn't like was the lack of explanation behind what Hallum did, and why the government wanted him so bad. Friedkin wanted the movie to be a lean action movie and I have a feeling there was 15 pages of screenplay in his trash can.

That being said worth a rental.
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