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Emperor Review


Good

An attempt to spice up a true story with fictional characters and events leaves this film feeling artificial. And it doesn't help that the two likeable lead actors never quite crack the surface. But this is still a fascinating moment in history, and the film captures a strong sense of the setting as well as the importance of this urgent meeting of two cultures.

It takes place in August 1945, just after Japan surrenders to the Americans. General MacArthur (Jones) is now charged with determining whether Emperor Hirohito (Kataoka) should be tried for war crimes. So he assigns General Fellers (Fox) to define Hirohito's role. Fellers has experience with Japanese culture: he lived there before the war and fell in love with university student Aya (Hatsune). But he never knew what happened to her, so in addition to working with his translator Takahashi (Haneda) to meet with various wartime officials, he also looks for news about Aya.

There's something fishy about this whole Aya business right from the start, as we doubt that such a high-ranking military officer, charged with such a vitally important task, would spend so much time on his own personal search. We also never really care about Fellers' feelings for Aya, so nothing about this plot-thread and its gauzy flashbacks feels realistic. And sure enough, a bit of research reveals that it's complete fiction. The far more interesting relationship here is between Fellers and Takahashi, which is played with intriguing texture by Fox and especially Haneda but is never properly explored on-screen.

Continue reading: Emperor Review

Woman On Top Review


Weak
Once in a very great while a motion picture comes along to captivate the minds and spirits of audiences everywhere, magically suspending disbelief in all who witness it. And, though it tries earnestly, Woman on Top is not that picture.

I love movies. In particular, I hunger for films that invite me into a world beyond the limits of mundane, material, daily existence. While Woman on Top deserves some credit for its fresh, innocent effort to make this invitation, it is disappointingly infantile once we all get to the party.

Continue reading: Woman On Top Review

Tortilla Soup Review


Very Good
This fairly remake of the Chinese film Eat Drink Man Woman puts the father-and-his-daughters comedy in the kitchen of a Mexican-American family instead. Hector Elizondo lords over his uniquely messed-up offspring with a knowing twinkle in his eye. He's having fun, and so are we. Elizabeth Peña's supremely anal Leticia is a highlight, as is Raquel Welch's vixen putting the moves on dad.
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Vera Blasi Movies

Emperor Movie Review

Emperor Movie Review

An attempt to spice up a true story with fictional characters and events leaves this...

Woman on Top Movie Review

Woman on Top Movie Review

Once in a very great while a motion picture comes along to captivate the minds...

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