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Movie Reviews

Not So With The Panda

How disdainfully did I snicker when I first played this film out of desperation and exhaustion for a couple of elementary-school tutorees who had for several weeks running refused to speak to me during our hour-long classes, snorting at the first lines—”Find more metal!”—and failing to see at all through my prejudices. This is a kid’s movie, I thought. Unworthy of my austere grandeur.

It took two or three more viewings to realize that something remarkable was present in this film. For months I had been showing a battery of Disneys and Pixars to my very young son, sticking to the dictum proffered to me by some philosophical friends that you should only let your kids watch what you yourself enjoy. Though he slept through a lot of these he seemed to like them, never requesting to see them again after we had finished.


Movies

I feel as if I have just absorbed a great work of art. A. and I went to see There Will Be Blood at a nearby DVD Bang, a seedy but effective place (which one could say of the entirety of this country) where you pay about six or seven dollars per person to sit in your own dark little room, on a reasonably comfortable bed with plastic covers and plastic pillows and a thin zebra blanket, with a gigantic high definition television and some very decent speakers not four feet away from your outstretched legs.

The experience is better than most movie theaters, since you don’t have to deal with people on their cellphones, the blue-white glow of text messages, the ceaseless babbling of idiots; you can also spontaneously have sex or masturbate, if the inspiration strikes, as there is a convenient plastic sphere of toilet paper sitting behind you on the bedstead.


I Only Watch Good Movies

Kingdom of Heaven—Visually a perfect piece of cinema, its impossible hero, played by Mr. Mediocrity Orlando Bloom, wounds the film very deeply, and acts like an extra who accidentally wandered into the movie’s exquisite costumes and sets, all while there are several other actors (Jeremy Irons, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton) who are crying out to be the center of what could have been a masterpiece. Also, pretending that violence is bad when you yourself are making an incredibly violent movie is stupid. But I love it anyway.


The Black Sheep of Korean Cinema Only Alienates Himself Further with Increasingly Slipshod Work

AMEN (Kim Ki-Duk, Korea) – 5/100


Hong Sang Soo Unleashes Power of Korean Cinema


My review of “The Power of Kangwon Province” (Hong Sang Soo, 1998) for Busan Haps magazine is now online here:

http://busanhaps.com/issue4/powerkangwonprovince.html

The hard-copy version of this magazine is available for free in most of the bars, travel agents, and restaurants in Busan that cater to foreigners.


Basterds Disembark on Korean Shores


Inglourious Basterds

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christopher Waltz

“This is the face of Jewish vengeance!” declares the protagonist of “Inglourious Basterds” as a room full of high-profile Nazi commanders is engulfed in flames, and two machine-gunners riddle their corpses with bullets. Welcome to Quentin Tarantino’s world – one where Nazis fear Jews, and World War II is just the backdrop of a fairy tale.


Bright Star PIFF REVIEW

Tales from the Golden Age PIFF REVIEW


My review of “Tales from the Golden Age” (Cristian Mungiu…, 2009) is now online here:

http://busanhaps.com/worrel.html#tales


Lourdes PIFF REVIEW


And they just keep on coming…

My review of “Lourdes (Jessica Hausner, 2009) is now online here:

http://busanhaps.com/worrel.html#lourdes


A Letter to Uncle Boonmee PIFF REVIEW


My review of “A Letter to Uncle Boonmee” (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009) is now online here:

http://busanhaps.com/worrel.html#uncleboonmee


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