Red Cliffs, part 2 Review

red-cliffsRed Cliffs is based on a historical battle found between the three kingdoms of China during the Han dynasty.  Cao Cao, the most powerful, is portrayed in both part one and two as greedy and unethical.  He covets Sun Quan’s wife as well.    Liu Bei, the other warlord, forms an aliance with Zhou yu and shares his master of strategy with him.  The action shots and special effects are quite good and add to the legend-like quality of this historical action/drama.  It’s John Woo, after all.  The story is romanticized in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, by Luo Guanzhong.

I enjoyed both parts and rate it 4/5 acorns.  No clives.

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Robo Vampire, review

The best part of the movie are the hopping vampires.  I didn’t know vampires hopped in China.  It makes them look a little silly.

Love and Honor, Review

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Love and Honor is one of the 3 movies directed by Yoji Yamada.   Twilight Samurai is my favorite more contemporary samurai picture and I really enjoyed Love and Honor.  The period of all three movies, ( the third one being The Hidden Blade) is that time when the samurai class is started it’s decline.  The gun has arrived and the “west” is knocking at Japan’s door.

In this story, Shinnojo Mimura, played so well by Takuya Kimura, is a mere 50 koku samurai, who’s job, with 5 other samurai,  is to taste the Lord’s food to screen for poisons.  At 50 koku, he has one vassal, and a very devoted wife.  One day he becomes ill after eating an exotic seafood, and is in coma for about 3 days.  When he wakes, he is blind.  His family bickers about who will have to support him, so his wife goes to government official for help.  The sleaze ball had offered help, and she naively goes to him at the urging of her in-laws.  He promises help in exchange for services.  She is very shamed, but when the Lord’s officials tell them that has been decided that he should keep his 50 koku, she feels she must continue for the love of her husband.

Meanwhile, the man decides he is not useless, but that he should follow his dream of becoming a fencing master.  His teacher works with him and he developes a sense of his opponents moves.

He begins to suspect his wife is up to something and has his vassal follow her to one of her rendezvous.   It is Mimura’s right to kill her, but he banishes her from his home, in the middle of the night.  After suffering his vassal’s horrid cooking and have to subject his guest to the worst cup of tea, he agrees to take in a cook.  But before that he discovers that the Lord had insisted on supporting Mimura as he was very grateful that Mimura sacrificed so much to save his life.   When he finds out that his wife was duped he challenges the corrupt official to a duel.

These one on one duels are always the high point for me in any samurai movie and this one does not disappoint.

I recommend this movie and give it 5 acorns.

Masters of Horror

I haven’t been able to watch these gifted blu-ray discs as I lack the hardware.  My TV is also dying and everyone is pink.  I was able to watch these on my son’s PlayStation on his TV, so I started with volum 4.  I have seen the Miike one, Imprint, before.  It is quite disturbing and I have no desire to watch it ever again.

Homecoming, by Joe Dante of Gremlins fame is a story of soldier zombies who come back for one reason.  When denied their purpose, they do what zombies do best…eat some brains and other body parts.

Haeckel’s Tale by John McNaughton of Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.  A young women has died and her distraught husband seeks a crone to reanimate her.  She tells him Haeckel’s tale to try and dissuade him.  Haeckel is Dr. Frankenstein’s comtemporary.  While traveling home to see his ailing father he crosses paths with a medicine man who claims to be able to bring people and animals back to life.  He demonstrates on a dead dog he has in a basket.  He is convinced the man is a fraud.  As he travels on he is invited to take shelter from a storm in the home of man he meets on the road.  This elderly man has a very young and beautiful wife, who mysteriously goes out at night.  She goes to the graveyard where she party’s with the undead.

Chocolate is the story of a man, separted from his wife and son, who dreams he tastes chocolate, and then dreams about a woman and a place he’s never been too.  He follows his obsession with some unexpected results.