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Mongol Review


Excellent
While American filmmakers flog the CGI action to drunken extremes (300, Beowulf), Russian director Sergei Bodrov spits at shortcuts (although he still digs CGI) and recalls the great movie spectacles of the old school, invoking the invigorating spirits of Abel Gance, Sergei Bondarchuk, and Samuel Bronston, in his rousing, grand, and old-fashioned epic Mongol.

The first film in a trilogy, Mongol charts the course of the young nine-year-old Temudjin, beginning in 1172 on the barren and unforgiving Mongolian steppes, and his ensuing trials and tribulations after his father's murder until 1206, when the adult Temudjin (the great Tadanobu Asano) becomes the legendary Genghis Khan, uniter of the Mongolian tribes, and soon to be conqueror of the world, all set to an incredibly rich musical score by Tuomas Kantelinen.

Continue reading: Mongol Review

The Road Home Review


Good
How did your parents meet? Frankly, I don't even know how mine met, but I'm sure it wasn't as enthralling as in The Road Home, wherein a young chinese boy relates the tale -- in flashback -- of how his parents hooked up, inspired by his father's death and his mother's grief. Long on scenery but short on substance (with long shots and discussions of fabricmaking, walking along paths, and eating), the movie is typical of recent Chinese period pieces, most likely to appeal only to those with a lot of (decidedly non-Western) patience. Still, it's filled with enough emotion, beautiful scenery, and genuine heart to make it worth your while. (Features Crouching Tiger's Zhang Ziyi in a leading role.)

Continue reading: The Road Home Review

Zhou Yu's Train Review


OK
Zhou Yu's Train is a movie in motion. By the time it's over, you'll have seen a good deal of rural China, not to mention a corner of Tibet. As Zhou Yu (Gong Li) rides the rails back and forth between her two boyfriends, you'll feel her confusion and her wanderlust, but you'll feel boredom and a little motion sickness, too.

A young and beautiful woman who doesn't know what she wants out of life, Zhou Yu seems to think that as long as she keeps moving, she won't have to make any tough decisions. She uses the time off from her job painting ceramics to travel hundreds of miles twice a week to visit her boyfriend, Chen Qing (Tony Leung Ka Fai), a librarian who writes and recites florid love poetry.

Continue reading: Zhou Yu's Train Review

The Road Home Review


Very Good

After her outstandingly multifaceted performance as the beautiful, stealthy young girl-warrior in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Zhang Ziyi took a role at the opposite end of the girl power spectrum in "The Road Home."

She stars as an idyllic rural teenager in 1950s China who falls in love with her remote village's new schoolteacher, a young man barely her senior with a broad, earnest smile that just lights her up inside.

You can tell he lights her up because Zhang's delicate, eager, ingenuous, resilient performance makes the audience feel so close to her it's like we're the butterflies in her stomach. There are so many levels of emotion, truth, and devotion in Zhang's eyes throughout this movie that she single-handedly makes it unabashedly and deeply romantic -- even though there's not a single kiss, not even an embrace, in the entire picture. In fact, the film's lovers spend less than 3 minutes of screen time face-to-face.

Continue reading: The Road Home Review

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Mongol Movie Review

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While American filmmakers flog the CGI action to drunken extremes (300, Beowulf), Russian director Sergei...

Mongol Trailer

Mongol Trailer

MongolTrailerWatch the trailer for Mongol, Genghis Khan is one of the most famous leaders in...

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Zhou Yu's Train is a movie in motion. By the time it's over, you'll have...

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