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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Archive for the ‘Murderer’ Category

The Audience as Victim — MURDERER

Aaron’s Review

Aaron Kwok’s reaction to Murderer’s script.

Murderer is the kind of film that makes me both relish and regret my position as a movie reviewer. For those of you who’ve seen this turkey of a film, “relish” might be an easy reaction to understand, thinking that I would love, love, love to mock this movie. But “regret”? Maybe you’d think I mean that in terms of regretting to have to sit through it, but that’s not what I mean by “regret” at all.

While I recognize some films are work-for-hire/totally commercial enterprises, I would hope that most movies are labors of love for the filmmakers involved. Why dedicate a good chunk of your life to something you don’t feel strongly about? Why even bother? A quick glance at the “Making of” Featurette included on the Murderer DVD confirms that director Roy Chow (not to be confused with Rey Chow), writer Christine To, and two-time Golden Horse winner Aaron Kwok devoted countless hours to preparing for this movie.

And after all that hard work, here I come — the snobby film critic — ready to pan their precious creation into oblivion. To tell you the truth, I actually don’t like being in that position. Writing reviews is sometimes difficult, but negative movie reviews are probably some of the easiest reviews to write, as it’s fairly easy to list all the ways you didn’t like a given film. But with that “passion” there’s also the potential to be just plain catty or unnecessarily personal in a review, and I really try to avoid that. I haven’t been perfect; there are plenty of reviews where I’m just a little too snarky, but otherwise, I do try my best to stick to the film at hand.

Anyway, it’s been over a year since the movie was released in theaters, but since most people outside of Hong Kong haven’t necessarily seen Murderer or even heard about it, I have to be careful about spoilers. For those of you who do not want to be spoiled about the plot, continue no further. Some would say that you need to come into the film totally unspoiled to appreciate the twist, but I went in having a somewhat vague notion (Kevin told me, but I forgot the details) and it wasn’t a problem. Actually witnessing the scene play out was nothing less than breathtaking. I’m not kidding. So, for those of you who’ve seen the film and for those of you who haven’t but would like to be spoiled, please feel free to follow me down the rabbit hole…


Should Our Reviews Have Ratings?

Siskel and Ebert

When returns from its hiatus, it probably won’t add star-ratings to its reviews. This issue has been discussed internally a couple of times, but when all was said and done, Kozo stood firm on the current format. Honestly, I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other. If he wants ‘em, let’s do it. If he doesn’t, that’s fine with me.

Of course, it would likely be a huge logistical nightmare if we were to implement star-ratings.

Not only would it be a massive headache going through the entire back catalog of reviews and applying a star-rating to each film, but what do we do about movies we’ve changed our minds about? For example, I gave Justice, My Foot! a lukewarm review after first seeing it, but after watching it again, I liked it better and put it on my Hong Kong Cinema Recommendations List. So should I award a star-rating based on my old opinion or tweak my review to match how I currently regard that funny Stephen Chow film?

And what about movies that were reviewed by people who no longer work for the site? Do we leave ‘em as is or try to track them down? Or how about trying to rate movies that are neither great nor horrible? The difference between a two-star film and two-and-half star film would probably not have any mathematical basis whatsoever. And most important, what about movies like Murderer that simply defy a ratings system altogether?

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