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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Baian The Assassin–The Review.

Since I have been in an Asian mood lately, I decided to watch a popular Japanese TV miniseries entitled “Baian the Assassin” starring Ken Watanabe as Baian Fujieda, an acupuncturist by day and an assassin by night.  His preferred method of dispatching his prey is inserting a long needle into a certain place on the victim’s neck.  His friend Hiko, a toothpick artisan by day, is also an assassin by night and often teams up with Baian to assist in their complicated and diabolical deeds.  The series comes in four parts and while it was made for the general audience of television it nonetheless contains many elements of the more violent assassins like Zatoichi and the Lone Wold.

Another interesting technique used in this miniseries is a fair amount of narration. Some found the narrator to be annoying or otherwise unnecessary, however I found it quite helpful and appropriate given my general unfamiliarity with the subtle rules of assassination.

The entire series consists of four DVDs each containing several episodes lasting about 90 minutes apiece. I must say for a TV show this isn’t too bad at all. I don’t have a problem watching one of the episodes over again particularly when I’m with somebody who has never seen the series.

All in all it’s worth a watch, but it is not always the easiest flick to find. It certainly is not crap. Plus I never knew anyone could make a living making toothpicks by hand as our friend Hiko does in his day job.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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The Divine Weapon–Not a Bad Flick

The Diving Weapon is a decent time piece tracing the development of a Korean weapon system known as the Singijeon, a multiple rocket launcher made by Korean general Choe Mu-seon in 1377, during the Goryeo Dynasty.

"The Divine Weapon"

The small, but righteous, nation of Josen develops the Singijeon long before the tyrannical Ming Dynasty can and uses the weapon’s devastating capabilities to establish its independence from Ming.  It is a fun story replete with diabolical generals, furious sword play, an intelligent and beautiful woman as well as good costumes.

The movie does try to be all things to all people; that is, a romantic comedy/melodrama/martial arts/swordplay film with an abundance of characters.  Even though the film tries to cram all of these themes into a couple of hours, it still has all of the elements of solid Asian historical epic making it worth your two hours to watch—I doubt you will demand the time back.  Definitely not crap. I have been advised that my rating of this movie was totally off the mark.  According to Bonnie Juettner, guest reviewer at large (and beloved fiancee), “this movie may require you to update your rating system, JP, with a level that is a step below the glory of Red Cliff and a step above the mediocrity of a mere ‘not crap.’ Like Red Cliff, The Divine Weapon offers compelling characters (including at least two strong women who even the most dedicated male chauvinist would not be able to help but admire), a strong story line in which you cannot help but root for the underdog, a historical education, and some awesome martial arts (though not at the level of the fight scenes in Red Cliff). Unfortunately, it also contains a horrific leave-the-room-for-this-part child castration scene–and, some things are really too horrible to put into the movies. I would call this level, ‘Almost Red Cliff,’ or possibly a Rosebud.”

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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Battle of Wits a.k.a Mozi Warrior. Watch it.

A great Chinese Warring States period film staring the well regarded Andy Lau (Ge Li) as the “Mozi Warrior” a quasi-monk type of order that, in addition to preaching universal love and acceptance, are experts at defending city-states against aggressors.

In the face of doom the small state of Liang (about 4,000 people) faces a Zaho army of 100,000.  The 100,000 troops are on their way to fight another large state its just that Laing happens to be in the way.  Liang pleads with the Mozi order to send an army to help them survive.  The order sends Ge LI to set up the city’s defenses against the large army.

Ge Li does manage to hold off the Zhao army which needs to get to their primary objective and can’t waste time fooling around with this insignificant city.  During the siege,  Laing turns on Ge Li who must also deal with the real world and his universal love philosophy.

This movie is a great film the only complaint is a sub-plot “love story” which takes away from the hard nosed winner take all warfare that plagued China for hundreds of years.

Watch it.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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Guest Reviewer Charles Takes a Look at Avitar.

I saw Avatar in 3d but not IMAX.  While the plot is a bit weak, it is one of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen.  I recommend it highly if for nothing else than to see the special effects.  Given the accomplishment of the movie, in the future is will not be necessary to have actors or scenery.  Movies can be completely generated in the computer.

The plot is a rather typical environmentalist nativist concoction.  Obviously the humans who colonized Pandora forgot the lessons taught by Cortez and the United States’ handling of native peoples.  While made out to be ruthless, the Pandora colonists had nothing on those who colonized the New World.  Obviously, some remedial history was in order.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

Armored–Believe it or not it is actually worse than 12 Rounds.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed 12 rounds, one of the worst, moronic movies I had seen in quite some time; that is, until I tried to watch Armored.  I have not seen Matt Dillon in a movie in some time–which was too bad because he has made some great movies i.e. Wild Things playing one of the leads (Sam Lombardo) co-staring Bill Murray, but after this abortion you have to wonder did he need the money, was he drunk when he sign the contract or can we blame his agent?  Dillon plays an armored car guard who is in financial trouble (versus the wealthy armored car drivers who live in luxury) and to add a bit of contemporary flavor, his house is going into foreclosure.  Oh my goodness! Hopefully he will show the man by robbing his own vehicles of forty-two million dollars with no planning, scheming or even a conversation.

In the end it does not matter, because the sum total of this movie and their great plan to rob from their own “armored” trucks (oh so clever naming the movie armored) is  . . . I don’t know because I could not stand it anymore.  I was embarresed for Matt Dillon, I found myself trying to come up with excuses for him and his role in such a waste of film.  It takes a certain kind of crap for a movie to actually put me in a bad mood, but Armored had no problem achieving that goal.  

Mr. Matt Dillon, I am still a big fan but lay off the booze when you pick your next movie role it will save us both a lot of embarrassment.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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Law Abiding Citizen

TWO  Thumbs up for this guy. very well planned out . More citizens should take heed to the real justice system and do what they feel necessary.

From Tim X (Guest Reviewer)  Viewer and Hater of the Justice System Deliver of Man’s Own Punishing System.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 
 
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