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  • The Five Venoms

    The Five Venoms 1978

    ★★★ Watched 04 Apr, 2016

    It may have been influential, but it certainly ain't the best Shaw Bros film I've seen. The animal styles and fights that bookend the film are enjoyable, but the mystery plot that overtakes the film is too simple and drawn out.

  • Eight Diagram Pole Fighter

    Eight Diagram Pole Fighter 1984

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Apr, 2016

    An over the top action fest, with lots of shouting and lots of amazing fights. It slows down in the middle with the obligatory training montage (with wolf wooden dummies!) but resumes in the latter half with, quite possibly, the best fight I've ever witnessed! In anything! Ever! My eyeballs were hanging out! Oh, and the defanging - amazeballs!

  • Floating Clouds

    Floating Clouds 1955

    ★★½ Watched 12 Apr, 2016

    My second Naruse watch and it's another I struggled to engage with. Differentiating the time periods wasn't particularly easy and the wretched characters didn't help. Though Takamine's performance was wonderful and her character the most sympathetic, Yukiko was ultimately as disappointing as the loathsome men she kept returning to.

  • Under the Skin

    Under the Skin 2013

    ★★★ Watched 11 Apr, 2016

    Visually arresting, with an atmospheric, unnerving score, that contributes greatly to its success; its a mix of The Man Who Fell To Earth and Species, by way of a typical night out in Glasgow. With its minimal dialogue, the narrative is fairly open to interpretation; containing multiple thematic layers such as loneliness, sexism, sexuality, humanity and nature. Though, its also effective as a simplistic, sci-fi alien story too. Yet, while I was intrigued with its charms and smitten by ScarJo's…

  • Return Of The One Armed Swordsman

    Return Of The One Armed Swordsman 1969

    ★★★★ Watched 07 Apr, 2016

    It doesn't reach the classic status of the original; but some dodgy wire fu aside, this is bloody and brutal, with fun, inventive fights that use many different weapons and styles.

  • The Boxer from Shantung

    The Boxer from Shantung 1972

    ★★★½ Watched 06 Apr, 2016

    A Kung Fu Scarface would be quite an apt description. The brutal, awesome fight scenes are what raise this above the ordinary. Hatchet in stomach fight, case in point!

  • Gate of Hell

    Gate of Hell 1953

    ★★★½ Watched 03 Apr, 2016

    My eyes were bleeding rainbows while watching the remastered version! The cinematography, the colours, the sumptuous costumes, the wonderful score; simply glorious! A tale of obsession and a spiralling descent into the depths of hell / despair; the story, unfortunately, isn't on the same level as the visual aspects. It's just too straightforward / lacking depth and melodramatic.

  • His Girl Friday

    His Girl Friday 1940

    ★★★ Watched 29 Mar, 2016

    Concentration levels need to be maintained to keep up with the verbal ping pong; but, while the rapid witticisms were quite amusing, they just didn't tickle my funny bone often enough.

  • They Live

    They Live 1988

    ★★★½ Watched 27 Mar, 2016

    Entertaining and still relevant, but Carpenter's political and social commentary is about as subtle as a brick to the face. While Roddy Piper ain't much of an actor, the wrestling / fights are fun and his performance works in the context of the movie. Bonus points for the alien makeup and Keith David.

  • My Darling Clementine

    My Darling Clementine 1946

    ★★★½ Watched 26 Mar, 2016

    Man, John Ford could sure as hell frame a picture! While the performances are great (Fonda and Brennan in particular), the narrative path didn't particularly grab me. The main reason for Wyatt Earp staying in town is pushed out of the way (until resurrected for the final shootout) and it diverts to Mature's Doc Holliday. An interesting aside, sure, but an aside all the same.

    ps. It's also notable for the high regard Kurosawa held it in, and its easy to spot the influences it had on his productions.

  • Shane

    Shane 1953

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Mar, 2016

    Echoing practically every Shane review ever; how annoying is that bleedin' kid!? Sure, it may have aged a little, and yes, the music is très overbearing; but the beautiful cinematography (with stunning vistas) and the underlying subtexts, make this an intriguing and pretty great western.

  • Creed

    Creed 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Mar, 2016

    A successful reinvigoration and continuation of the Rocky franchise, with impressive performances from the three leads and an interesting story angle (that's obvious, but also surprising that no one had ran with until now). Unexpectedly, it's the drama at the heart of the story that's most effective, rather than its generic boxing scenes and underwhelming adversaries. Particularly, the main rival; the unthreatening, wooden, Liverpudlian.