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13 Assassins
Perfect 95 Points 2011

A perfect samurai movie, complete with the gathering of a hit-squad, an assassination-worthy villain, operatic action sequences, frequent comic relief, beautifully bucolic staging, buckets of blood and yet not a lot of gore. Action fans in general and samurai fans in particular will be tickled, …

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WikChip Image 2 assassins in "The Town of Death"
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Really Great 66 Points 1965

Morituri is a terrible title for a movie, now and in 1965 when this Brando-Brynner warhorse premiered. If that wasn’t bad enough, Marlon Brando refused to do publicity, limiting himself to one line of perverse grandiosity. The movie bombed. So they renamed it The Saboteur: Code Name Morituri

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The Wolverine
Great 83 Points 2013

The title sucks, but the movie rocks. Rox tops sux. How does it rock? Let us count the ways.

  1. Marvel spins well-wrought yarns, with superheroes defined by their foibles as much as their powers. Wolverine has love-lost and anger issues. At some level, who doesn’t?
  2. Nice that he’s facing-o…
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WikChip Image Issues? He's got a few.
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Girl Model
Very Good 66 Points 2011

Like most industries, the modeling industry has a supply chain. Girl Model documents one tawdry strand, originating in the tiny villages of Siberia and ending in the glitzy salons of Japan.

It’s not a pretty picture. It is full of pretty girls, many shockingly young. The Japanese like pub…

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WikChip Image Model scout: Regrets? She's got a few.
Very Good 66 Points 2013

Movies about real people who lived lives like you’d see in a movie aren’t often great movies, which Rush isn’t. It is – however – a well executed albeit conventional biopic, of the sporting variety.

Superstar powered by Chris Hemsworth as racing superstar James Hunt, it never reaches RUSH t…

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WikChip Image The real Lauda & Hunt: screen ready
The Last Samurai
Very Good 83 Points 2003

Well produced Tom Cruise historical epic, appealing to those of us who like such entertainments. As he so often does, Cruise plays a character at once naive and smug, who reveals an admirable steeliness by the third reel.

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Very Good 83 Points 2014

Big thing Godzilla, been around a long time, sixty years on screen, millions more in Godzilla story years. Archetype and moviestar, it’s a 350’ T-Rex that thrives on nuclear energy, making it a metaphor for nukes in general and nuclear bombs in particular. Godzilla 2014 proffers little new, ye…

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WikChip Image Traffic is slow leaving the Bay Area.
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47 Ronin
Good 17 Points 2013

Keanu Reeves sticks out like a sore thumb in this Asian world of mythical beasts and samurai warriors. A little overly dramatic and actually could have used more monsters, but more-than-decent sword action and a satisfying reverence to a samurai tradition makes for a decent stream or in-flight m…

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Good 17 Points 2016

Silence is a long and plodding film with plenty of forced drama from Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as Catholic missionaries returning to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson) after his failed attempt at converting the Japanese to true Christianity. Scorcese pours it on with intense and rich…

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The Wind Rises
OK 66 Points 2013

Hard not to think of The Wind Rises as The Zero Movie, as it’s about the engineer who designed Imperial Japan’s lethal fighter – the dreaded Japanese Zero. Instead, Jirô Horikoshi gets painted in hagiographic terms in a movie nominated this year for an Oscar and a Golden Globe: Best Animate…

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WikChip Video Flights of Fancy in a Fatally Flawed ...