Notes on Curse of the Golden Flower

This is a new film by the director of Hero (my favorite) and House of Flying Daggers, and it has the two biggest movie stars in China, Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat, in a 10th century tale of a ruling family beset by infidelity, secrets, plots, mis-understandings, and death worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. It also has, rather unnecessarily and to some excess, the fantasy acrobatic violence characteristic of these films and of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in this film mostly in the last 20 minutes or so, capped by an oddly inappropriately syrupy lounge song over the final credits. Those peculiar misgivings aside, it’s a spectacular film and worth seeing.

On an entirely different matter, I can’t help quoting this line from Dave Itzkoff’s review of Michael Crichton’s Next, referring to Crichton’s visit to the White House to discuss global warming.

Imagine: the modern era’s leading purveyor of alarmist fiction, seated side by side with Michael Crichton.

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