REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS

Supposedly true and based on the Chinese underworld scene in NYC during the 1980s and early 90s, this could have been exciting, but it’s a snoozer. Ray Liotta appears for maybe 10 minutes (probably as a favor to producer Scorcese). Doomed by too small a budget, too many characters, too-small sets (it appears to have been shot in real tenement apartments), and a script that never comes to life.

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If you’re not already, this will make you a Geoffrey Rush fan. I don’t want to say too much about the film because it’s best enjoyed by going in clueless with no expectations. It’s so well filmed, especially the opening sequence which firmly establishes Rush’s character with little or no dialog — pure visual storytelling. Just sit back and enjoy.

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KILL ME THREE TIMES

Apparently some viewers/critics took this film seriously. I found it laugh-out-loud-funny at times. A whole buncha people — some DIY types plus an ex-husband who hires a contract killer (Simon Pegg) — want Alice (played by the very pretty Alice Braga) dead.  It has the noir sine qua non of events spiraling out of control but lots of farcical elements as well. Filmed along a beautiful stretch of coast in Western Australia.

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EX MACHINA

(spoilers ahead) Once you accept the bizarrely intricate setup (I suggest calisthenics for your suspension-of-disbelief muscle), this is a fascinating movie. I’m a sucker for anything involving the singularity and this is a truly unique approach. Ana is a marvelous mix of human and CG imagery and, as portrayed by Alicia Vikander, totally engaging as a character. You can’t blame Caleb for falling for her. Nathan’s hubris and self-imposed isolation seem over the top at times, but work for the story. I don’t want to say much more. It’s a quiet film — even the brief burst of violence is low key. It’s loaded with dialogue – but clever, intelligent dialogue. Keep your ears open. Thoughtful SF with slowly building suspense mixed with growing sexual tension.

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