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  • 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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Popular reviews

  • 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…

  • Mission: Impossible

    Mission: Impossible

    In contrast to the James Bond movies—clean, steady work for largely interchangeable journeymen—the mutable MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series has eschewed any semblance of "house style" in favor of putting strong, distinctive personalities at the helm (in order: Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and, for the upcoming fourth film, Pixar icon Brad Bird, making his live-action directing debut); it's America's premier crypto-auteurist action franchise. Considering its status as the first blockbuster of the contemporary variety—based on an established property, budgeted…