Tag: “13 Assassins” AFI Film Festival

The incredibly strange uncle who stopped living but was a lot less entertaining than a dirty baker’s dozen of samurai at AFI

As fate would have it, aside from a double bill of “Eraserhead” and an oddly beat-up print of “Sunset Boulevard” presented by David Lynch, I only saw two complete films at this year’s AFI Film Festival at the Chinese Theater multiplex.

The first was this year’s Cannes Palm D’Or winner, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, aka “Joe.” This is obviously a film and a director with many ardent admirers, including a lot of online cinephile acquaintances I respect, and I can certainly understand why viewers much more patient than I with the “contemplative cinema” aesthetic would love it.

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It’s a sweet-natured and poignant magical realist non-story about a dying man and his family, with many striking individual moments but, by its own design, no narrative tension. Sadly, I seem to have a permanent allergy to the kind of deliberately slow-paced films that focus very intensely on the minutia of daily life with no particular story, even if, as in this case, it features plenty of arresting imagery and involves people who turn into half-monkey creatures and a ghost or two. I only nodded off once, but the gentlemen next to me was pretty much a goner at the 20 minute point. Snoring ensued.

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Monday’s trailer: It’s a “Bangkok Knockout”

I saw Takashi Miike’s rather astonishing “13 Assassins” last night at the AFI Film Festival and, though I’ll be discussing it more later, let’s just say my affection for Asian action action films has been born anew. But first, the wondrous spirit of the 80s-90s golden age of Hong Kong cinema lives — in Thailand and directed by Panna Rittikrai, the martial arts choreographer of the Tony Jaa vehicle, “Ong Bak.” That movie had some pretty amazing sequences, but it sure looks like the ante has been upped considerably.

This trailer, by the way, is in Thai and has no subtitles, but never fears, it speaks the international language of gloriously arranged mayhem.

h/t /Film

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