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  • Vengeance

    Vengeance

    Johnnie To's multilingual near-masterpiece follows a gnomish, trenchcoated hitman-turned-restaurateur (craggy Johnny Hallyday) who hires a trio of Cantonese assassins (including Anthony Wong and To's very own Victor McLaglen, Suet Lam) to find the men who killed his daughter's family. For all of the love that To and his indefatigable screenwriter Wai Ka-Fai have for the mechanics of genre, their characters are individuals instead of merely types, and as such they occupy the frame instead of merely moving through it; these…

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  • Ali

    Ali

    The greatest films made on biographical subjects--whether it's Mizoguchi's UTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WOMEN, Eisenstein's IVAN THE TERRIBLE, Becker's MONTPARNASSE 19, Rudolph's MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRLCE, Tarkovsky's ANDREI RUBLEV, Pialat's VAN GOGH or Mann's ALI--were made by people who weren't interested in biography, but in life. ALI is what Orson Welles meant when he called for a hallucinatory cinema. There's the opening sequence, which folds a decade in on itself; the boxing rings that might as well be…

  • The Three Musketeers

    The Three Musketeers

    Paul W.S. Anderson—"one of the last fully committed genre filmmakers in captivity," per Dave Kehr—makes ridiculous, lively B flicks marked by cartooniness, narrative compactness, and an extensive use of large, cavernous spaces; an imaginative formalist fixated on "coolness" the way filmmakers of previous generations were fixated on "beauty," he's more or less the Josef von Sternberg of video game adaptations. If comparing Joe von S. with the guy behind RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE sounds like a stretch, then consider THE THREE…