Rosalind Chao

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Nanking Review


Excellent
Four years before Pearl Harbor, Japan was already on the march in China, grabbing territory in its quest for imperial expansion. After Shanghai fell, Japanese troops set their sights on Nanking, the capital of China at the time. It was just 160 miles up the Yangtze River.

The events later known as the rape of Nanking happened quickly, over just six horrific weeks at the end of 1937 and into 1938, and because the city was so cut off at the time and the war went on for eight more years, much of the story went untold for decades. It wasn't until writer Iris Chang documented the tragedy in her 1998 book The Rape of Nanking that the true scope of the horror was made apparent. It was that book that inspired Nanking, a highly effective documentary that uses interesting techniques to tell its remarkable story.

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Enemies Of Laughter Review


Weak
Yet another entry into a genre popularized in the late-1990s: The Hollywood romantic comedy about the successful man who just can't make romance work. (Later this would evolve into the woman who just can't make romance work genre, followed by the lesbian who just can't make romance work genre).

Saddled with the worst title you could give to a comedy, Enemies of Laughter gives us David Paymer as Paul, a semi-failed sitcom writer whose experiences in Hollywood are echoed in his love life. He ends up on dozens of dates with your typical collection of L.A. airheads, but it isn't until he meets Carla (Rosalind Chao) that Paul figures he's met his match. Too bad he ruins their date with paranoid crazy-talk, sending Carla running for the hills.

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The Joy Luck Club Review


Excellent
SCENE: Two guys shooting baskets at a basketball court. The conversation is mundane, until GUY #1 starts talking about movies.

GUY #1: I don't know how he doesn't sleep with Famke Janssen in that movie, it's friggin' mystifying to me. She's all legs and hair.

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Just Like Heaven Review


Weak

Reese Witherspoon gets off to a bad start in "Just Like Heaven." Playing a workaholic young doctor with an Type A personality, she rushes through her medical dialogue as if she learned it phonetically and doesn't have a clue what any of it means.

Thankfully that doesn't last long because she's hit by a truck, at which point the story switches over to Mark Ruffalo with such abruptness that it's clear the filmmakers are trying to hide Witherspoon's fate for a reveal later in the picture.

Ruffalo plays a depressed guy (for reasons also conspicuously saved for later) who apparently has no job but can still afford to sub-lease Witherspoon's fantastic but homey (and furnished) San Francisco apartment, which has gorgeous, fog-free views and access to a large roof which boasts an even more spectacular 360-degree panorama of the city, bridge and bay. The one drawback is...Reese is haunting the joint.

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Rosalind Chao

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