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Remapping Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Long recognized as one of the leading figures of New Taiwan Cinema, Hou Hsiao-Hsien has been revered as the most important living filmmaker, accused of formalist tedium, and critiqued in his native Taiwan for his controversial “observational” approach to national history

The Unseen and the Unspoken: The Films of Lee Chang Dong

With only four films, Lee Chang Dong has proved himself on the vanguard of the most powerful works in contemporary Korean cinema. Alongside the shocking sublimity of director Kim Ki Duk (The Isle) or the extremely violent meditations on vengeance of Park Chan Wook (Old Boy), standing out would seem no easy feat.

Less Talk, More Smoke

Happily, in the ‘60s, during Godard’s incomprehensibly creative ferment, during his pre-Maoist, pre-I’m-going-to-stand-in-a-French-corner-and-hold-my-breath-until-the-revolution-comes-or-I-turn-blue phase, Godard had damn few of them. Bad ideas, I mean. And if the relentless modernity of his pictures might argue that JLG thought too much and felt not enough, his characters usually suffer the opposite dilemma.

Shipwrecked (Again) on Apatow Island

And then, because this joke isn’t so funny, if I were director Nicholas Stoller, I would insert a picture of me with my pants down, penis blazin’. And then I’d have Judd Apatow sign his name on the picture of my penis. And then...well, you get the idea: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the newest Judd Apatow Production (Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin), sorta rocks balls.

Go See Neil Patrick Harris Ride a Unicorn on Mushrooms

John Hurwitz’s and Hayden Scholssberg’s Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay is possibly the most anticipated sequel in years—at least for those who love that sweet, sweet cheebah.

Silent Ozu & Late Ozu box sets

Ozu, who was a teacher before becoming a director, understood the purity of children through their carefree nature. That they are free of the (often unnecessary) complications of the adult world exonerates them from the seemingly selfish trappings of their uninhibited willfulness.

The Dragon Painter

Like this Chinese proverb, The Dragon Painter centers on the painting and unpainting of a dragon. Produced by, and starring, the Japanese-born actor Sessue Hayakawa, the film transplants an oriental tale onto the western screen, with a twist.

Blast of Silence

Blast’s key redeeming feature, a shockingly bleak – even for noir – view of life and fate, emerges not from the plot, but instead from the non-stop voice-over narration of gravel-voiced character actor Lionel Stander.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2008

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