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  • The Return of Godzilla

    The Return of Godzilla

    ★★★½

    You can the nuts and bolts of what became SHIN GODZILLA in this back to basics 1984 monster movie that set up the Heisei series of pictures. The human story revolves around whether the Russians and Americans will use nuclear weapons to contain the Godzilla threat at the cost of millions of Japanese lives. The Super X is actually a fun foil for Godzilla, a hard thing to manage in these single monster movies.

    Good, but a little dry. They'd refine the formula over the next decade.

  • Shogun Assassin

    Shogun Assassin

    ★★★★

    SHOGUN ASSASSIN holds the dubious distinction of being the best film ever made... that you shouldn't watch.

    Concocted as a mash up of the best parts of SWORD OF VENGEANCE and BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX for American distribution with a faithful dub and a nifty synthesizer score, SHOGUN ASSASSIN has all the arterial spray but none of the nuance, or silence of those pictures. It's a fine time at the pictures but you're better off with the originals.

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  • The Wild Bunch

    The Wild Bunch

    ★★★★★

    IV. THE WILD BUNCH: CODES AND CODAS

    THE WILD BUNCH is a film of its moment that retains the power to shock and amaze even today. It's the quintessential "end of the Old West" picture, a document of startling depravity and heroic sentiment. Peckinpah contrasts his titular gang (William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, and Edmond O'Brien all ICONIC) with the hired killer gangs of railroad tycoons, bloodthirsty Mexican generals, and Prussian proto-fascists in a cocktail…

  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

    ★★★★½

    SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE (2002, SOUTH KOREA)
    Dir. Park Chan-Wook

    SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE is a postmodern masterpiece and assuredly one of the ten best films of this century. All of that makes it sound as dull as dishwater, but SYMPATHY... isn't interested in scoring brownie points with the critics, it's an engrossing, hilarious, disturbing thriller.

    I used the word "postmodern" above, and I want to spend some time expanding on that so it's not just a hanging piece of…