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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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13 Assassins who don't talk much

From John Keefer, Phoenixville, Penn.:

Having just watched "13 Assassins" and really enjoyed it, spot on with the action sequences though I would hesitate to call them sequences since that usually implies (in 'Merican action films of late) that the entire movie stops so that something poorly executed and dripping with CGI laziness can occur. More so they tell the story, as you pointed out in your review and as I don't need to point out since you already knew that.

Something did stick out a bit while watching the film that did feel rather Western to me. There seemed to be an ample amount of one-liners ("You're Welcome!" followed by a decapitation springs to mind). Now I've seem a good amount of samurai films but am by no means an expert and I was wondering if this struck a similar chord with you or anyone else. Now it didn't take me out of the film at all, someone yelling "Kill" in a samurai movie usually has the opposite effect in that I scootch forward in my seat a bit probably unaware of a goofy grin forming on my face. But is the one-liner a more Western conceit? Are there glaring examples of this that I am just missing? Or is it a mingling of action traditions across oceans (and true ones at that! Having recently decided to watch every Bruce Lee film, having only really seen "Enter the Dragon" in full, I was stunned by the simplicity of just showing what's happening instead of cutting every 0.00001 seconds because...frankly I don't know why anymore?

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In any case a lovely review of a pretty brutal film. Doesn't Miike make three movies a year or something like that? Is it possible for a 28 year-old from Pennsylvania to get in cool with Toho so I can do that too? At this point I'd make Syfy channel movies... maybe that can be a new wave, Syfy channel originals but shot with a Sam Fuller spirit, real ball grabbers.

...nah, that won't happen. Back to the 'top!

Ebert: Hollywood films aimed at the international market often use sparse dialog. But I'm not sure "kill!" is out of place in a samurai film.

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