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Van Damme and the Action Stars

  • MUBI
Bruce Willis winces, Jason Statham mouths off, Arnold Schwarzenegger quips and gets irritated, Jackie Chan mugs earnestly, Steven Seagal swings his ego like a big distended gut—but only Jean-Claude Van Damme gets frustrated, looks scared, cries, stares off into the distance, shrugs, sighs, yelps in pain.

The negative image of all other action stars, who are defined by degrees of persistence, only Van Damme can lower his eyes and look as though he'll never raise them. Sure, Sylvester Stallone gets sad, but only Van Damme is ever miserable—and in the end what does in Stallone is his half-paralyzed face, which gives him the look of a man trapped inside himself. Emotion crawls out at odd angles from the cracks and crags around his eyelids and nose, and his forehead swells up red like a slab of beef. Van Damme's reactions come out through every pore of his skin,
See full article at MUBI »

[DVD Review] Jade Warrior

Jade Warrior, or Jadesoturi, is not a full-fledged martial arts film. The cover of the DVD may lead you to believe otherwise but I assure you, there are three major fights in the film and a number of smaller scuffles, and none of them would qualify the film as a “cross-cultural martial arts epic.” On the other hand, Jade Warrior, a Chinese-Finnish production budgeted at $3.5 million, is a film that requires and rewards patience. A perplexing, sometimes downright confusing take on two distinct mythologies, the film works best as a Finnish reworking of Chinese Wuxia themes. This is a martial arts art film, far from the high-flying action of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and closest in spirit to the second reel of Jet Li starrer Fearless. As it is, the film is a pleasant surprise, a mature, professional production that rises well above many shoestring, brainless martial arts would-be epics.
See full article at JustPressPlay »

Kamome Diner: Review

Ogigami scored a relatively small arthouse hit with Megane in 2007. Somehow that one slipped past me, but if it's near as good as Kamome Diner than it's going straight on my watch list. Kamome Diner is the cinematic equivalent of a little time-out. A blissfully pleasant feel-good film that charms with its minimalist means and feels like a short but relaxing vacation.

Kamome Diner is characterized by two main elements. First of all there is the lack of dramatic tension. Even though the main characters are not free of troubles, they seem to regard their issues as something to conquer. Which they usually do in about 2 minutes. There is no drama, no negativity, no evil. It reminded me a bit of Totoro, which has that same lack of urgency. It's sure to put some people off, but me personally, I love it.

And then there is the food. It's probably some Asian thing,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

The Man Without A Past

Directed By: Aki Kaurismaki

Starring: Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Juhani Nielmela

Just imagine yourself at a birth of a child. It almost feels like you’re witnessing one of the most tragic points in your life. But at the end of it all everybody seems to have a smile on their faces some even laugh. The baby is still left crying but you seem to be oblivious of all that. This is a similar feeling I got from watching this really downbeat comedy.

The film begins with a vicious mugging of a man named M who...

(more...)
See full article at Reel Suave »

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