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Monsieur Hire (1989)
9/10
A Brilliant Masterpiece !!
26 July 2000
A brilliant, haunting performance by Michel Blanc who portrays a cold, lonely and strange voyeur who may or may not be a murderer (the movie keeps you guessing until about 3/4 way when all is revealed -- but even then there is a twist !!). I have never seen such a finely nuanced acting performance where everything is conveyed through the eyes, which are indeed the "mirrors of the soul." The film is marvelously paced, every frame has so much mystery, and so much meaning -- loneliness, obsession, love and betrayal are all wrapped up into a strange birthday package and then slowly and deliberately unwrapped in front of the audience -- nothing is what it seems, until the end when everything falls into place and fits together.
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9/10
Two great young actresses, an apt title
14 July 2000
This is a funny, sad and tragic look at friendship, love and obsession. The actresses: Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier are absolutely wonderful, brilliant and more importantly real. I cannot imagine ANY hollywood actress playing these roles and I fervently pray that they do NOT try to remake this for "American tastes". The story is simple, but the acting and writing so absorbing that I found myself riveted to the screen ( and believe me I really needed to sleep -- having about 8 hours over the last two nights !!). The plot, the ideas, the naturalness, the absolute lack of any artifice is so refreshing, like taking a bite into a slice of cool, sweet melon on a hot summer day. It's like watching the puzzle of life come together and come apart. The surroundings and everything about the world in this movie is drab and grey, yet this is a beautiful film with a very apt title.
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The two greatest fight scenes ever !!!
14 July 2000
I have to disagree with a lot of the comments. This is a great martial arts movie !! The fight scenes are few and far between, and the plot a bit convoluted -- but the quality of fighting is absolutely superb. Tsui Hark has managed to restrain himself and just get some really kick-ass moves out of Jet Li and Donnie Yen (the later movies in this series are just way too fantastical for a classic kungfu movie). I have seen almost all of Jet Li's movies (and several of Donnie Yen's) and I will have to say that the two fight sequences between Li and Yen are the best ever filmed. I found myself skipping over the rest of the movie just to see these two scenes over and over again. Their techniques were simply marvelous...(It was refreshing to see David Chiang, an old favorite of mine back in the 70s, though). How they ever filmed it boggles the mind. "Fist of Legend" and "Tai Chi Master" may have more colorful fighting, and the latter may be a better overall movie, but the true afficionado (and I have been watching these kungfu flicks for about 30 years) will really appreciate the quality of fighting here. Tsui Hark has distilled the essence of HK kungfu movies into these two scenes.
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Rampo (1994)
8/10
A Beautiful Film to Watch
10 July 2000
"The Mystery of Rampo" with its lush colors, mysterious and sensual (Michiko Hada is simply captivating) storyline, and dream-like sequences is the most beautiful film I've seen in the last 10 years. Every scene in this film could be framed and sold as an art poster. I don't want to give the impression that this movie is simply another demonstration of "form over substance," there is a story to tell here, a strange one worthy of Rampo ("the Japanese Edgar Allen Poe") himself, but what really makes this film stand out is the way it unfolds: the direction and cinematography are innovative. There may be many who fault this movie on its really weird/kinky/convoluted plot -- but this is one film I could watch over and over again.
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1/10
Terrible waste of time and talent
3 July 2000
It is hard for me to believe that someone who directed and wrote "Purple Rose of Cairo", "Crimes and Misdemeanours" and "Hannah and Her Sisters" -- three of the best films ever made -- could come up with this. I haven't seen a Woody Allen film in ages and judging by some of the viewer comments about this being better than his recent fare -- I'm glad I haven't. This is a terrible film -- plotless, predictable, childishly silly, extremely unfunny and a waste of the wonderful comic talents of Tracey Ullman. I couldn't wait for the movie to end.
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