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As I’m sure it’s already abundantly clear because I can’t shut up about the things I like, I love Asian cinema. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Thai – you name it. I’m mostly a fan of horror films, documentaries, historical and period dramas, etc. and rarely watch the for-no-reason soap opera drama no matter what language it’s in.

I also happen to be a big fan of many Asian stars like Chiaki Kuriyama, Lee Sin Je, Kensaku Watanabe, Jyoji Shibue, Yun-Fat Chow, Miyuu Sawai, Li Gong, Yeoh Michelle, Qi Shu and of course, Ziyi Zhang. Well, apparently Netflix knows where I live because when I logged in today I was met with the suggestions of a Ziyi Zhang film I’d never seen before, a film from 2000 named The Road Home.

The Road Home Poster Review: The Road Home (2000)The Road Home is the love story of eighteen year old Di an her village’s new teacher, and the lengths they went through to be together. The story is 40 years old, and is being narrated in the present day by their son who’s come back to their village to help his mother to carry out a seemingly impossible tradition after his father’s death.

Di has asked the village to carry her husband’s body back along the road back to their village, shouting at him the whole way that this was the way home, so he wouldn’t get lost and wouldn’t forget. But her son soon finds out that all of the strong young men in the village have left, and there’s no one who’s fit to carry his father home. But his mother is stubborn and insistent on getting her way. It’s not until her son begins to retell the story he’s heard from his parents that he and the audience start to understand why.

This film beautifully illustrates what I would consider to be actually romantic, without all the trumped up drama and bs you see in a lot of other films. They tackled the subject delicately, and I can’t think of anything wrong with this film. The acting is amazing, the scenery and score are beautiful, it was wonderfully shot and extremely moving. I wish I could give it more stars than five out of five. There are a few film stills below.

pixel Review: The Road Home (2000)

Originally published at Neon Angel. Please leave any comments there.

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Oy vey, do you think it’s taken me long enough to review this film? First I had to remember to watch it, then there was this whole shonda where I had to remember I had this blog, then all the writing… To say the least it was a headache, that and having to spend hard earned money to get a new domain name because apparently Dot.tk domains are so linked with spam that Google won’t let them gain page rank. So NeonAngel is now at NeonAngel.in, which looks cooler anyway, no?

Now, on to the film. Careful where you step, there are a few steaming spoilers on the carpet.

The Duchess is a 2008 period Saul Dibb film in which Keira Knightley portrays the infamous tragic fashion plate Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire who’s life and love were wasted on her cold, brutal and unfaithful husband William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire.

My first thoughts on the film were simple ones. Keira is amazing as always, aren’t the sets beautiful, wow they spent a lot of money, and so on. Until the Duke becomes a major player in the film, at which time my thoughts continue to dwell on, “Wow, Lord Voldemorte is quiet. I wonder how long he can keep that fake nose on? Is it just me, or is Voldemorte kind of hot in this?” If you haven’t guessed by now, Gorgiana’s husband William Cavendish was skillfully played by Ralph Fiennes, famously Lord Voldemorte in the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately, because of his time in those films I have a hard time separating his other performances in my mind even though he has amazing range as an actor.

Keira Knightley was the heart and soul of this film. When she laughs you believe it, when she cries you want to cry. Her hard work gives a face and warmth to Georgiana, and she makes you feel for her and want history to change just to give her something, anything in her life.

There’s a great moment in the film when Georgiana confronts her best friend Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell) about an affair with Georgiana’s husband, which Bess tells her she only agreed to so that she could use William’s power to get her children back. Georgiana tells her that she crossed a line and there are limits to the sacrifices you make for your children, to which Bess replies that there are not limits. This is a great moment in the film as it manages to set up Georgiana’s fate later on.

The Duchess is moving, touching and sad without being at all melodramatic or pretentious. I can’t give this 10 out of 5 stars, so stars are out of the question. If you haven’t seen The Duchess, you’re missing out.

pixel Review: The Duchess (2008)

Originally published at Neon Angel. Please leave any comments there.

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Last night Yvonne and I went to the Rigney to see the latest Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows Part One. I can’t say enough about it, it’s my favorite of the Harry Potter films so far and if this one doesn’t at least get an Oscar nod then the awards are all rigged.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has, by far, the loneliest feel to it. It’s broad and expansive, and if J.K.R. isn’t trying to put a mirror up to society then she’s getting extremely lucky. I’ve heard a lot of schlock about it being too long, or being boring and that’s just not the case. HP7 is easily the best of the films, and I’m glad now that I put off reading the 7th Harry Potter book until I’d seen the Deathly Hallows (still have to wait for part 2 before I can read – might make me crazy).

Dan Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint all put in their best performances in this film, and you’d think by now they’d have stopped trying, wouldn’t you? The rest of the cast is amazing, the only time I was bored during the entire film was during the preview for Red Riding Hood (which looks like a bowl full of dog doo, to me).

HP7 is scary, moodly, thoughtful, touching and exciting.
Rating: star star star star star

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Originally published at Neon Angel. Please leave any comments there.

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Whee, whee, whee I tell you, whee! One of my all-time favorite Japanese TV shows, Kodakawa Horror Anthology, has at least a FEW of it’s episodes online for me to gleeee about!

The one I’m linking to here is called Lost Souls, about an adorable couple who pull into a noodle house for dinner and get more than they bargained for. For anyone who loves Asian horror, specifically Japanese horror, this one is sure to be a new classic for you – and much like all the best horror stories it gives us a brand new sound to be scared of! Kairo had, “Help Me!”, One Missed Call had that spooky ringtone, Ju-on had the incessant cat screaming and death rattle, and Lost Souls has the phrase, “Don’t look!”.

NO they are not paying me to say this, eff beans I wish they would because I can’t say enough good things about it! I hope they have all the episodes online for free (it’s legal, btw!), because there are two (one involving a cannibalistic demon in a rural mountain community) that I haven’t seen in years and I’d just love to see them again.

While I go look, do yourself a props and check out Lost Souls on Crunchyroll!

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Originally published at Neon Angel. Please leave any comments there.

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Nancy Ramirez

May 2011

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