Tag Archives: Hero

Top 10: Musical Movie Moments

CineFix is back after a long hiatus with a brand new list highlighting the 10 best uses of music in movies, instances where music is used inside the film to further the plot…but not musical numbers or scores.  There’s actually a word for this if you want to forgo a rip on your Word-of-the-Day Calendar: Diegetics.  Within this concept are a whole lot of extremely specific uses for music in films: music provided by characters in a scene, contrapuntal scoring (or music provided to underscore a scene wildly out of sync with that particular scene’s gravity; think The Mickey Mouse March in Full Metal Jacket or the closing number from The Life of Brian), songs character choose to play that help define that character (ex: Peter Quill dancing to “Come And Get Your Love” in Guardians of the Galaxy), and a whole bunch of more esoteric musical film categories.  Diegetics, people.

Diegetic sound. Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film: voices of characters. sounds made by objects in the story. music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)

Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption

My Favorite Scene: House of Flying Daggers (2004) “Bamboo Fight”

Before we talk about the absurdity that is The Wall (the Matt Damon fighting monsters on The Great Wall of China film that is opening this weekend), it’s best if we remember the film’s director, Zhang Yimou, for directing two of the most beautiful films of the last 25 years.  I talked about 2002’s Hero awhile ago (click here for that), and I think it and 2004’s House of Flying Daggers are the equal of, if not better than, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
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Top 5: Foreign Language Films

Hero, Zhang Ziyi

Here’s a phrase that I hate hearing emerge from people’s mouths, “Ugh, I hate subtitles.  If I wanted to read, I’d have stayed home with a book.”  First off, no one who says that actually reads books, so don’t pretend.  Second, if you restrict yourself to only watching English-language films you’re missing out on some of the best films that have ever been made.  Yes, you may have to do a little work and access your brain (dusty up there, I know), but the payoff is completely worth it.  Most foreign films are poorly marketed in the States so one of the few things I actually depend on the Academy for is to identify foreign films for me to try out.  This, ironically, would not have worked for 60% of my top 5, which is why we’ll bring this thought full circle: the Academy is dumb.

Hero (2002)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)


Intouchables (2011)

The Sea Inside (2004)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)


Honorable Mentions: Red Cliff, The Orphanage, The Secret in Their Eyes (not the remake coming out), Incendies, Ip Man, The Lives of Others and Kung Fu Hustle.

My Favorite Scene: Hero (2002) “Swordfight in Autumn”

Recently, I wrote a piece on the Most Underrated Films of the Last 25 Years.  For 2002, I picked Hero, and in talking with people since then, I’ve been shocked at how many haven’t even heard of Zhang Yimou’s masterpiece.setting-hero-film-leaves-battle

The film uses a brilliant, Rashomon-esque approach to telling the story of a Nameless Hero (Jet Li) sent to assassinate the Emperor of China.  Depending on from whose vantage point, or whose story is being told, Yimou uses a brilliant color palate.  This movie is, bar none, the most beautifully colored film I’ve ever seen.  It’s much more than just a martial arts epic, but it does contain some of the most amazingly choreographed fights you’ll ever see.  My favorite, and it was tough to choose one, is the Red Leaves duel between Zhang Ziyi and Maggie Cheung’s characters.  If you check out no other film from that list I put together, give Hero a try.


The Most Underrated Films of the Last 25 Years!

Stranger Than Fiction, Harold Crick, Will Ferrell


The first post from the new Killing Time HQ has to be something special; something memorable.  Now, I could’ve gone to see Fantastic Four.  We could have all shared a memorable time listening to me spew venom forth on another failed attempt to do what only Brad Bird has succeeded in doing: getting the FF right.  I could, but that would involve me actually paying my money to SEE the motion picture.  As a grad student once again, I can tell you that is a lot of Ramen that I’m trading for a guaranteed foul mood.

No, what we should celebrate are the hidden gems; the overlooked films.  We’re going to go back 25 years (starting from 2014) and I will posit my most overlooked film.  The criteria for such is as follows: the film must have received little to no critical awards, the film cannot have been a blockbuster, and the film must be at least a 8.5 on my ratings scale (the one that matters).  Some of these you may have seen, some you may have never heard of, but in my opinion they’re all good and they all got overlooked.  Let’s try to cleanse our mental palates of non-MCU Marvel films and find some new friends.
Continue reading The Most Underrated Films of the Last 25 Years!