Film Review by Sedai

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Originally Posted by Sedai
House of Flying Daggers
Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau
Direction: Zhang Yimou
Swirling Silk, lush forests, vivid colors, porcelain faces. These are the bricks with which the House of Flying Daggers is constructed. Released overseas in 2003, we here in the staes are just now getting treated to Zhang Yimou’s new film, which is absolutely breathtaking, while at the same time a bit irritating. I must first express how much I enjoyed this film, before touching on it's minor flaws.
I've seen Crouching Tiger, Flying Daggers and Hero. I loved Crouching Tiger and expected a similar reaction to Daggers and Hero. It only partially happened. Here was my problem...

Daggers and Hero strayed too far from reality. These people are incredibly skilled and magical warriors but they aren't gods. D&H goes into god territory.

Problem #2...One or two plot twists are fine but when it approaches five or six, that's overkill. After the third plot twist, I can no longer trust anything about the movie. I liked Daggers much better before the plot twists began unfolding one after the other.

I haven't seen Kung Fu Hustle yet but I should. Until the "serious" movies like Dagger and Hero can reign in the absurd just a bit, comedy may be a better format for these types of movies.

A system of cells interlinked

Joss Whedon

Back in 2002, Fox TV aired an extremely short lived science fiction program, titled Firefly. It was the story of a ship, and the small band of space pirates that lived on board. Created by Joss Whedon, creator of cult favorites Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Firefly was an intriguing mix of space adventure, western, and comedy. Aired out of order, and on varying nights almost every week of it’s short run, the was cancelled almost immediately by Fox. Like Star Trek back in the 60s, a massive fan outcry emerged and when the Season one DVD set hit the shelves, it became apparent that the show had not only a loyal following, but a sizable one.

Fast forward a couple of years and Serenity was born. Firefly’s big screen translation took everything that was great about the show, added a larger budget, and the result was one of the better science fiction/fantasy films to hit screens in years. Writer/director Joss Whedon has crafted an air tight script, lovable characters, and has created an interesting and robust universe. I have seen comparisons drawn to the early Star Wars stuff, and I agree to a point, in that the film borrowed what was great about the first Star Wars, and discarded what wasn’t so great about the newer Lucas pieces. You see, Joss Whedon remembered that it was the disheveled Han Solo and his rust-bucket ship that were cool back when Star Wars first hit screens, not a bunch of preachy, stilted Jedi.

The characters in Serenity are realistically drawn, flawed, and human. Audiences can relate to these characters, who are just trying to get by, and are doing whatever it takes to do so. There is no utopian prime directive here, no ham-fisted Jedi code being tossed about, no pretentious morality play, just a band of interesting people on a good old fashioned adventure. This is cinematic story telling at its best. Another refreshing aspect of Serenity, is that the film never takes itself too seriously, while still getting across some valid, and quite serious points. Many parallels are drawn between the universe of Serenity, and the society of today, yet we are never bludgeoned with these ideas, and they only serve to enhance the rich storyline.

In most Whedon creations, the dialogue is snappy and clever, sprinkled with comedy in just the right places, and the character set is interesting and creative. Serenity is no exception, and may just represent Whedon’s best, and most balanced work yet. That said, the crew of Serenity is a tad large for a big screen ensemble cast, and fans of the show will have to adjust to a couple of their familiar characters being relegated to smaller roles. I feel it was a necessary change, in order to tell a compelling story in the short time frame of a feature film.

Speaking of a compelling story, Serenity has a real winner here. The Galactic Alliance, the big bad government of the Serenity universe, has been experimenting on a young psychic, River Tam (Summer Glau). Here brother, Simon Tam (Sean Maher), finds out about the mistreatment, and breaks River out of the medical facility in which she is being held against her will. They book passage on Serenity, hoping to find refuge on the outer rim planets the ship frequents. Alas, River knows too much, and has learned a valuable and deadly secret about The Alliance, and they mean to get her back before the knowledge becomes public. An assassin, known only as Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is sent to track and destroy the Tams and anyone they have come in contact with. Operative is the sort of placid, calculating villain that has been missing from so many recent films, and was a pleasure to watch.

In fact, the entire cast was a pleasure to watch, from the swaggering Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillian), to the randy ship’s mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), to the bad-ass gun-slinging heavies Zoe (Gina Torres) and Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and the wise-cracking pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), the whole crew of Serenity is just great fun to share an exciting adventure with. Not to mention the incredibly mesmerizing ship’s “companion” Inara (Morrena Baccarin), looking as voluptuous as ever. All the players are convincing and interesting, and help to make Serenity one hell of a ride.

Serenity is great fun, and I will be seeing it multiple times before it flies off to DVD, and I must congratulate Mr. Whedon, whom, with the possibility of a big film franchise put in front of him, was still willing to take some chances and make some decisions to make sure he told the best story possible. I believe he did just that.
“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell

Thanks for the great review Sedds, this is one I must see,
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

Originally Posted by Sedai
I liked Kill Bill Volume 2. At this point I think I may like Volume 1 a bit more, but I have a feeling after additional viewings of both, that may change, as Volume 2 is a more character driven, personal film. So if you don’t mind some drawn out conversation and additional character development, I recommend Kill Bill Volume 2. If you’re looking for another high energy action film, You may want to stick with Volume 1.


Production Design


i'm shocked, shocked i tell you!! volume two is slightly better in my honest opinion...

A system of cells interlinked
Adidasss - Yeah, I am still on the fence about it, and have just sort of taken to thinking of them as one film. I like them both, and I guess it all depends on the mood I am in. I think Part II probably has some of the best sequences in the whole thing, what with pai-mai, the burial scene, and the trailer fight....

Pyro - See the film! It is great fun!

Nebbs - Thanks for reading!

That goes for the rest of you, too!

I know I'm late... but great review for Serenity... and I hope you post some new ones soon...
You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough.
~William Blake ~

AiSv Nv wa do hi ya do...
(Walk in Peace)

chicagofrog's Avatar
history *is* moralizing
you never disappoint us, Sedai! be careful, you set the standards so high it'll become impossible to write anything remotely interesting after your posts here on the MoFos!
We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.

A system of cells interlinked
Hehe, thanks for reading guys. yeah, I have been slacking on the reviews (again). Just been super busy work and the projects in SL, but I promise I will hit you folks up with another one soon!

Again, thanks for taking the time to read!

birdygyrl's Avatar
MovieForums Extra
I watched this over the weekend and I just loved it! Of course, I was a big fan of Firefly so I knew what to expect. This surpassed my expectations and I've added it to my meager DVD collection. Thanks for the were right on the money.
Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Success is the only Earthly judge..
Thanx for the great reviews...I'm kinda new but i do have have a strong subtle opinion...

Didn't see any movie reviews on King Kong...So here it goes

It was a great movie overall; with plenty of comedy for the kids, sincere love and friendship, and plenty of action and violence...Yes this movie touched all the bases.
In fact the only thing this movie didn't have was a vampire and a massive explosion, and neither would have fit well in the movie. Jack Black played his role brilliantly in my opinion and I hope to see him in similar roles...

Jack Black, by the way, is due to star in the movie about his band, Tenacious D, expected this October...Here's hoping!

Thanks again for your attention and genius reviews...
Success is the only earthly judge of right and wrong...

A system of cells interlinked
Hiya Opie, and welcome to MoFo. Thanks for covering my lack of review for Kong, and I haven't even seen it yet. Generally, this thread is reserved for my reviews, and other users can either:

1-) Create a review section of their own

2-) Just go ahead and post the review in the reviews section by creating your own "King Kong" Thread.

That said, I don;t mind the review being posted here, I just think it might not get seen as much in my lil' ol' thread.

As you are a new member, The forums rules won't allow thread creation until you have at least 25 posts. It is recommended that you "lurk" a bit, to get the hang of how things happen on the boards before creating threads, hence the restriction.

I will have the site admin (Yoda) move the post to the King Kong thread for now,p and maybe after you have been around for a while, you can create your own thread in the review section and it can be moved once more to your own personal review thread, which gives you your own speace to hammer out your style, while keeping your works consolidated in one place.

For now, cruise the various sections and threads to get the feel of how MoFo works, then get to posting!

Thanks for your thoughts on King Kong, and thanks for reading my reviews! Check out some of the other review threads run by members, as there is hours and hours of great reading to be had.

A system of cells interlinked
The Man From Earth

Richard Schenkman

I recently had a chance to watch Richard Schenkman's The Man From Earth. Adapted from the late, great screenwriter Jerome Bixby's (The Twilight Zone, Fantastic Voyage) final work before he died. This film is about a professor that invites his colleagues over for a quiet evening of drinks and conversation on the eve of his departure from the region. Having taught at the college for 10 years, the professor feels it is time to move on to new experiences.

While chatting and relaxing, the professor poses a question to his peers, and then gives them the floor to debate the possibilities.

The question?

"Is it possible for a man from 14,000 years ago, a native of the Cro magnon era, to have survived until present day, and, if so, what would he be like?"

The group, comprised of a psychologist, a biologist, a Christian Scientist, and other scientific scholars, have some fun with the issue as they share hypothesis and counter-argument. That is, until the professor claims he actually is this man. What follows is an extremely compelling, interesting, and riveting discussion about whether or not this guy is crazy, deluded, or actually a 14,000 year old man. His story is iron clad, and the scholars have great difficulty stumping him, as he always has an immediate answer for whatever query they can think to pose.

It's a fascinating watch, and my gears are still turning, analyzing the concepts that were presented in the discussion.

Done on a miniscule budget, and shot in under a week, the film does have a couple of minor directorial issues, but they didn't bother me much, as the concepts were what mattered here. The cast is wonderful, chock full of lesser know, sometime B-movie talent like John Billingsley, William Katt, Tony Todd, and David Lee Smith as the would-be caveman. B-movie crew or not, they all turn in great performances, and the viewer can't help but feel like a part of their little dinner party.

Intimate, interesting, and in many ways profound, this little-known gem is one of the better cerebral pieces I have run across in a while. Bravo to all involved.

Thanks Sedai, this is the second really interesting take I've seen about this film. I'm going to pick this up when I see it.
We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...

The People's Republic of Clogher
You really should go down the 'long opinion' road more often, Seds.
"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how the Tatty 100 is done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan

Registered User
Your reviews really really help.