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Lust, Caution Review


Good
Halfway through Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain, Mr. Yee, a collaborator with the Japanese in WWII Shanghai, throws the flirtatious wife of a businessman onto a bed and proceeds to have sex with her, precariously straddling the fence between rough sex and rape. Mr. Yee (the inimitable Tony Leung) and the woman, Wang (Tang Wei), will go on to have a dark and detailed set of trysts, each more carnal and sweatier than the last. Lee's camera doesn't show a hint of timidity as it sways around every curve and canal of each lover's body, at times so penetrating that one wonders if Lee's precursor was Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs. It's not Ledger spitting in his hand before he gives it to Gyllenhaal, but it's not far off.

But before we ever get to see these thrashing entanglements, we are plummeted into the early rumblings of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese occupation. Little does Yee know that the woman he is tossing around the bedroom would love nothing more than to feel his blood splatter all over her in the middle of one of their sessions. See, Wang was once a schoolgirl with aspirations in acting, sparked by collegiate cutie Kuang (Wang Leehom), a director who wrote (terrible) plays about the damages of the war and subsequent occupation on the normal Chinese family. While discussing politics in a theater balcony, Kuang and his actors turned from thespians into resistance fighters, planning the assassination of the traitorous Yee.

Continue reading: Lust, Caution Review

Hero (2002) Review


Excellent
After political (Raise the Red Lantern), sexy (Ju Dou) and reflective (The Road Home) films, writer-director Zhang Yimou embraces the aerodynamic action of digitally enhanced kung fu swordplay made famous in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The object here is to outdazzle that genre landmark and, perhaps, to outdo it at the box office.

It's probably too late and too familiar a technique to do either, but there's plenty to admire despite those limitations, for which it has already received critical and award level acclaim. At the time of this writing, it is one of the 2002 Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film.

Continue reading: Hero (2002) Review

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Lust, Caution Movie Review

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