Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
House of Flying Daggers
In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.
Worth viewing strictly for the visuals, sets and costumes alone! But it has so much more going for it than that! Masterfully executed martial arts fight scenes make this an exceptional film! One fight scene that stands out from the rest involved a high flying bamboo ballet that was particularly exciting, the aesthetics were especially pleasing to the eyes!
I could be mistaken but I'm pretty sure there was some hellacious Bean Fu going on in the film in the opening scene! It's scenes like this that propel this film into the territory of greatness!
I'm not normally into romance films but when it comes to this one I'm more than happy to make an exception!
It reportedly received a 20 minute standing ovation at the Cannes film festival and having witnessed its gorgeous cinematography and epic fight scenes for myself I can fully understand why!
A blind showgirl and the undercover agent sent to catch her run away together, pursued by scores of soldiers AND OH MY WORD, WILL YOU LOOK AT THOSE COLOURS, I THINK MY EYES HAVE AN ERECTION. Zhang Yimou's stunning, vivid, extremely green contribution to the wuxia genre is like opium for your optics: beautifully designed and filmed in colours both bold and gentle, vibrant but never garish, its vast widescreen frame filled with an abundance of detail: drums, trees and ribbons all seen as if seen for the first time.
There's also like a story. Zhang Ziyi stars as a blind, dancing prostitute and enthusiastic insurgent - allied to a revolutionary movement called the House of Flying Daggers - who's…
It's my birthday today. I am 20 years old. Which feels weird. But throughout the day, instead of celebrating, I've been writing an essay about Guillermo Del Toro and in particular Pan's Labyrinth. Not the usual activity one would usually indulge in on their birthday but otherwise it's been a peaceful day and that, in spite of my noisy nephew visiting - shouting and screaming and beating me up is all I really want in general, and also because a birthday is albeit an almost inane celebration, a nice day.
It's a time when oddly, some people say happy birthday and I say thank you and I open gift wrapped presents from my mother (she bought me Under the Skin…
March Across the World Challenge Film #9 - China
For many, not seeing a film like House of Flying Daggers would not be considered strange as I would imagine that even at it's peak of popularity, Chinese wuxia cinema wasn't exactly something embraced by a majority. For me though, after over a decade since its release, the fact that I was finally experiencing this exciting and literally colorful movie seemed hard to believe.
I love wuxia. The style, the surreal action, the melodramatic performances that somehow fit the overall tone perfectly. House of Flying Daggers has it all, and while the lackluster storyline leaves plenty to be desired, the costumes, the set pieces, the vivid usage of color and the…
Shi mian mai fu (House of Flying Daggers) was for me nothing special. I know it got out before the movie I'm about to mention, but this movie really reminded me of 300. Two different cultures (Chinese and Greek mythology) , but the same kind of style and use of slow-motion. Where 300 is darker, House of Flying Daggers is more colorful.
The choreography in the movie is really, really good, but of course it falls in the category of being very unrealistic, usually I'm not the guy who is really picky about things being far from realistic or not, but I just didn't get that ''wow''-effect. The story itself isn't anything extraordinary either, was just so and so for…
Wife: Why are you watching House of Flying Daggers again?
Me: It's been awhile since I've seen it. I've watched a lot of martial arts and Hong Kong movies in the last couple of years and I'm curious how it holds up.
Wife: How is it?
Me: Kinda weird. It's so ornate, rococo in costumes and sets and plot and everything. So pretty, but it feels like there's something missing. The plot is so ridiculously convoluted and hard to follow: everyone is lying to everyone else all the time so no one's motivations are ever really clear and even the ostensible conflict of the film, the fight between the rebellious Flying Daggers movement and their Tang Dynasty rulers, is totally…
Very ambitious film, but didn't totally do it for me. Definitely bumped up for the cinematography which was extremely stimulating as a spectacle. Can appreciate the work put in. Feels like one of those that were made for IMAX.
Needs a re-watch.
I wonder how much of my reaction to this is based in my letdown that this is a much more conventional film than Hero. Maybe another viewing, with lower expectations, will reveal it to be a perfectly serviceable genre film, but I doubt it will ever manage to involve me emotionally. Certainly it's beautiful, but it's also kind of hokey, with its virtuoso action sequences coming off as obligatory additions to its dopey plot (could Zhang Ziyi's shirt possibly be ripped off more times?), instead of extensions of its characters' psyches. As in Hero, personal concerns are pitted against communal ones, but there's barely any conflict at all in that notion, perhaps because the characters this time out are much younger than they were there.
Tout simplement magnifique. Les images sont à coupé le souffle et le scénario reprend bien l'esprit traditionnel des histoires chinoises.
A tragic, utterly breathtaking love story meets martial arts extravaganza. Though melodramatic and convoluted on paper, the story--punctuated by revelation after revelation and double-cross after double-cross--is immaculately told on the screen, its intricate machinations playing out gracefully under Yimou's masterful direction. The action choreography is breathless and beautiful, and the constantly-moving camera matches those physical feats beat for beat. The film's use of the seasons as a deliberate stylistic choice elevates rather than detracts, and the climax it all builds to is awe-inspiring. This is the best film I've seen in quite a while.
There occasionally comes a time when the visual flair is so aesthetically-pleasing and hypnotic that it masks all the inadequacies elsewhere.
This is not one of those times.
Though Yimou Zhang is fully capable of this, proof being Hero from two years prior, but it looks like he didn't give it his all here. With only a third of the budget he had with Hero, I can see how that could be an issue. The computer-generated daggers used so generously is so immersion-breaking I can't help but chuckle a little every time I see it. The oversaturation of colours that I loved so much in Hero appeared much less here than I hope it would've. There were also fewer fights…
The plot was just, y'know whatever, but those visuals were beautiful all the time, and the sound work was phenomenal constantly
Totally forgot what happened in this movie, since I saw it so long ago, but once again I come to the conclusion that this is easily one of the best movies ever.
So many pretty colours. If only other films would embrace a wider colour palette than "orange and teal" or "brown and grey"
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.