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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mini Reviews: August 27 & 29
by John P. McCarthy

Although most of this week's releases have not been screened yet for critics, Cineman Syndicate presents the following Mini Reviews for Year of the Fish and Traitor.

YEAR OF THE FISH. A modern-day Cinderella story set in Manhattan's Chinatown, David Kaplan's debut feature has tremendous visual appeal, achieved using a new technique in which watercolor-like images overlay live-action footage. When a naïve seventeen-year-old (Nguyen) arrives from China and is forced to work in her distant cousin's massage parlor, a princely musician must rescue her. Complete with an evil madam and two sex-worker stepsisters, the tale is narrated by a goldfish and hinges on a fortune-telling hag. Unfortunately, much of the novelty is eclipsed by ethnic stereotypes and an oppressive score. Good fortune eventually shines on the heroine, if not the project as a whole. (N/R) FAIR FANTASY. Director -David Kaplan; Lead - An Nguyen; Running Time - 96 minutes. Capsule review by John P. McCarthy. (Opens August 29 in New York City)

TRAITOR. Here's the smartest, savviest, most subversive movie yet about the "global war on terror." And the most subversive thing about it may be how calm and small-c conservative it is. A federal agent (Guy Pearce) hunts for a rogue American (Cheadle), who appears to be deeply involved in a plot to unleash multiple simultaneous suicide attacks on the United States. Put aside that it's a tense and engrossing action movie: that’s easy. Harder is managing to depict the fight against terrorism as a police procedural and making that seem obvious, as if any other response (like, say, invading a noninvolved nation) were simply ridiculous. (PG-13) GREAT ACTION DRAMA. Director - Jeffrey Nachmanoff; Lead - Don Cheadle; Running Time -110 minutes. Capsule review by MaryAnn Johanson. (Opens August 27)


(Photo: Year of the Fish. © 2007 Gigantic Films. All Rights Reserved.)

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