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The Sun Review


Excellent
How do you like your tyrant? You have so many choices these days that it's hard to figure out what's best. Take Hitler for example. If you want him stone cold and terrifying, go for Oliver Hirchbiegal's Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz gave one of the most intense performances of the year as the Fuhrer. Want it weak and sorta awkward? Noah Taylor's turn as Adolf in Menno Meyjes' halfhearted Max should be your ticket. But for outright strangeness and surrealism, you've got to stand and marvel at Aleksandr Sokurov's Moloch, about a day in the life of Hitler with his mistress, Eva Braun, and some other close friends. It's not any easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, which explains why most of his films don't get U.S. distribution: One has to track down these films in DVD or at film festivals. Don't expect his latest, The Sun, to be any sort of exception.

While Moloch dealt with Adolf Hitler and 2001's Taurus dealt with Lenin, The Sun takes on Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) during his August 1954 meetings with General Douglas MacArthur. Under any other director, a film like this would be a political thriller with crisp tension and lots of shouting about pride. Sokurov isn't interested in that stuff, thank God. Instead, Sokurov uses his entrancing, methodical style to search inside the Emperor and look at the character in relation to his use of power and the stress it puts on him. His meetings with General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) are straight-laced and hushed, like two lovers lying in bed in the dead of winter. Even when Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor come up, it's a solemn and sacred speech that they don't want to soil with such emotions as anger and resentment.

Continue reading: The Sun Review

The Most Terrible Time In My Life Review


Excellent
Asian cinema always seems to have its own voice, its own reasons, and its own functions. Kaizo Hayashi's The Most Terrible Time in My Life is a great example of amazing cinema that has been emerging from the Asian Pacific Rim in the past decade.

The Most Terrible Time in My Life is the first installment of a three-part series concerning Maiku Hama - a punk-turned-respectable private eye whose office is located in a movie theatre. A gritty, violent tale of gangland warfare, missing people, and friendships, and betrayal, Maiku's exploits begin by defending a waiter at a local mah-jongg parlor from two Yakuza thugs, culminating in Maiku getting part of his pinky finger sliced off. The waiter, Hai Ting, then hires Maiku to find his brother who has gone missing for a year since arriving in Japan. Maiku contacts his old cabby buddy Hoshino and finds out the Taiwanese and Hong Kong mafias are planning an all-out turf war in Japan.

Continue reading: The Most Terrible Time In My Life Review

The Sun Review


Excellent
How do you like your tyrant? You have so many choices these days that it's hard to figure out what's best. Take Hitler for example. If you want him stone cold and terrifying, go for Oliver Hirchbiegal's Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz gave one of the most intense performances of the year as the Fuhrer. Want it weak and sorta awkward? Noah Taylor's turn as Adolf in Menno Meyjes' halfhearted Max should be your ticket. But for outright strangeness and surrealism, you've got to stand and marvel at Aleksandr Sokurov's Moloch, about a day in the life of Hitler with his mistress, Eva Braun, and some other close friends. It's not any easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, which explains why most of his films don't get U.S. distribution: One has to track down these films in DVD or at film festivals. Don't expect his latest, The Sun, to be any sort of exception.

While Moloch dealt with Adolf Hitler and 2001's Taurus dealt with Lenin, The Sun takes on Emperor Hirohito (Issei Ogata) during his August 1954 meetings with General Douglas MacArthur. Under any other director, a film like this would be a political thriller with crisp tension and lots of shouting about pride. Sokurov isn't interested in that stuff, thank God. Instead, Sokurov uses his entrancing, methodical style to search inside the Emperor and look at the character in relation to his use of power and the stress it puts on him. His meetings with General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) are straight-laced and hushed, like two lovers lying in bed in the dead of winter. Even when Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor come up, it's a solemn and sacred speech that they don't want to soil with such emotions as anger and resentment.

Continue reading: The Sun Review

Godzilla 2000 Review


Weak
I have a confession. Even though I am a movie junkie--I saw Eye of the Beholder and yet I still watch movies--I've never seen any of the original Godzillas. (Note that Godzilla 2000 is not a sequel to the U.S. Godzilla released in 1998; it's the American release of a 1999 Godzilla flick called Gojira ni-sen mireniamu.)

So, part of me was excited as I drove to the local multiplex to see Godzilla 2000--the latest entry in an almost 50-year old franchise. This was a long-awaited treat. I was expecting a goofy good time, complete with bad dubbing, science fair level sets and a ludicrous plot line.

Continue reading: Godzilla 2000 Review

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Godzilla 2000 Movie Review

I have a confession. Even though I am a movie junkie--I saw Eye of the...

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