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Archive for August 27th, 2009

 

basterds1

by Sam Juliano 

     Sophomoric.  Sadistic.  Racist.  Long-winded.  Repugnant.  Repetitive.  Lacking in depth. Quentin Tarantino’s two-and-a-half hour epic about a squad of Jewish-American commandos and a French Jew out to avenge the murder of her family at the hands of the Nazis is a serious-minded treatise that gives fleeting concern to black comedy, and showcases some of the director’s most tedious passages of his career.  Inglourious Basterds, which won’t have Tarantino winning any spelling bees, turns potentially furtive material into an endurance test, while simultaneously showcasing some of the most repellent imagery seen in the auteur’s canon, at least since the police officer had his ear carved off in Reservoir Dogs.  With the exception of a hair-raising burning theatre climax that attempts (but fails) to bring together scattered plot elements from four previous “chapters” Tarantino opts to bypass the rich possibilities in Third Reich satire, instead focusing on scalpings, gougings, chokings and mass slaughter, which in large measure are given  Kill Bill- styled operatic treatment.  (more…)

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Rouge (no 34)

rouge 1

(Hong Kong 1987 97m) DVD1/3 (Hong Kong only)

Twelfth Master, 3811, waiting at the same place

p  Jackie Chan  d  Stanley Kwan  w  Lee Bihua, Qiu-Dai Anping  novel  Lee Bihua  ph  Bill Wong  ed  Peter Cheung  m  Michael Lai  art  Piao Ruomu, Horace Ma

Anita Mui (Fleur), Leslie Cheung (Chan Chen-Pang, Twelfth Master), Alex Man (Yuen), Emily Chu (Ah Chor), Irene Wan (Suk-Yin), Patrick Tse, Wang Yu,

Yes, the producer is that Jackie Chan, of Police Story and Rush Hour fame.  But this couldn’t be further from all that.  What we have here is arguably the most poignant of all modern films.  In truth, it always was poignant, but since the tragic untimely deaths of both of its stars, its central story now has added retrospective irony.  It’s a film to both renew your belief in love and vow never to love again.

            In Hong Kong in 1934, courtesan Fleur works at the house of Yi Hung, visited by many of the local businessmen and celebrities.  There she attracts the attention of young Twelfth Master, heir to a fortune, who is promised in marriage to his young cousin.  However, when the two fall in love, they meet obstacles everywhere and, realising they can never marry they make a suicide pact…Flash forward fifty three years later to modern Hong Kong.  A newspaper office is closing for the night when a woman looking identical to Fleur arrives, looking very pale, and asks to put an advert in the paper.  It becomes apparent that this is Fleur, and she has an amazing explanation for both her antiquated attire and for her still looking so young.  She’s a ghost and is trying to find her dead lover from over half a century ago. (more…)

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