Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Zhang Yimou's Latest Spectacle

I've been a huge fan of Zhang Yimou since his first film and nothing surprised me more than his graceful switch to action epics like "Hero" and the even better "House Of Flying Daggers." That's why I'm even more shocked that his new melodrama "Curse Of The Golden Flower" reunites him with Gong Li, pairs him for the first time with Chow Yun Fat and yet the results are so tepid. This is potboiler melodrama, with poorly staged action scenes that never excite a la "Crouching Tiger" or simply astonish with their beauty a la "Flying Daggers." It seems somehow rushed and -- despite the lavish sets -- a little cheap somehow. Still Yimou is a major talent, so I enjoyed this LA Times profile and was glad to hear Variety reporting his new film is so successful in China that other filmmakers are annoyed they can't get access to any movie screens.

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